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Volkswagen takes localised route to cut maintenance costs in India

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New Delhi: Struggling to make a mark in India, German auto major Volkswagen (VW) is taking a localised approach to address high maintenance cost of its VW brand of vehicles that has been one of its biggest hurdles here.

The company said that it is introducing new schemes which will slash regular service cost by 24 per cent to 44 per cent across different models of the VW brand.

“The brand (VW) has been taking conscious efforts towards addressing its key requirement of the customer — high maintenance costs,” Volkswagen Passenger Cars Director Steffen Knapp said in a statement.

 

By adopting an India-centric approach, he said, “there’s been an overall reduction in the total cost of ownership while retaining the same quality, safety and value-for-money proposition that is expected of a Volkswagen.”

VW has struggled to make its presence felt in India, where it had high hopes of doing well. In 2018 the company’s sales declined by 22.5 per cent to 37,038 units as compared with 47,796 units in 2017.

Last year, the VW group said it would invest 1 billion euros (around Rs 7,900 crore) between 2019 and 2021 to enhance its presence in India, which would be led by group firm Skoda with more affordable products to be launched from the ‘MBQ’ platform.

The group has set a target of capturing 5 per cent of the Indian passenger vehicles market by 2025. The VW group, which sells Skoda and Audi besides the VW brand, has around 2 per cent market share in the domestic PV segment which stood at around 3.2 million units in 2017-18.

As part of the strategy to make ownership experience more affordable, VW said under its India-centric aftersales approach, “regular service cost has been reduced by 24 per cent to 44 per cent across Volkswagen carlines with the introduction of three free services up to 15,000 km or one year”.

Beginning 2019, Volkswagen said it will offer three free services to its new VW customers across models up to 15,000 km or one year as compared to just one previously.

Moreover, it has increased free road side assistance to four years from two years, while standard vehicle warranty has also been increased to four years or 1 lakh km from two year with unlimited kilometres earlier.

“Volkswagen is determined towards providing the best of our offerings to the value driven Indian customers,” Knapp said.


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Income Tax return processing time to reduce from 63 days to just 1 day

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Mumbai:The Union Cabinet approved an integrated income-tax e-filing and centralised processing centre (CPC) portal, which will reduce the return processing time from 63 days to just one day. The new portal is also expected to process the refunds within one day of filing of tax returns, in huge relief for taxpayers. However, one will have to wait for 18 months to see its launch.

“Earlier, taxpayers would face troubles because of delay in refund processing and the CBDT used to spend a lot of money every year as interest on pending refunds, which will be history now,” Union minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after the Cabinet meeting here.

Last month, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra had said a simplified return form and process would be put in place soon in which the department would process the self-declaration made by the taxpayer. The new Rs 4,241-crore project will incorporate these changes.

 

“This is a laudable initiative and will go a long way to ease tax compliance, and enhanced experience for taxpayers. However, the real success of this will be measured when it brings ease to a common man and is accompanied by changes in the culture of the tax authorities at the operational level,” said Neeru Ahuja, partner, Deloitte India.

Currently, the e-filing portal and the CPC work separately. While e-filing is being managed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the CPC is run by Infosys.

In the bids invited by the government, Infosys emerged as the lowest bidder and it would develop the ITR-CPC 2.0 project in 18 months from now, Goyal said.

Under the new system, Infosys will handle end-to-end solution — from e-filing to return assessment to refund processing. The CBDT and Infosys would work in a revenue-sharing model, sources in the know said.

Goyal said ramping up scrutiny was not the mandate of the new portal. Currently, about 0.3 per cent of the I-T returns are scrutinised, he said. The system intends to resolve taxpayer grievances as well as tax demands from the CBDT faster and equitably, he said.

“The decision will ensure horizontal equity by processing returns filed by all categories of taxpayers across the country in a consistent, uniform, rule driven, identity blind manner. This will assure fairness in tax treatment to every taxpayer irrespective of their status,” a government release said.

But even under the new ecosystem, only those applications which are clean would have the chance of getting processed in a day, sources said.

About 23 crore I-T returns have been processed, along with Rs 2.62 trillion worth of refunds, till September 2018 cumulatively. Of this, refunds worth Rs 1.83 trillion have been processed in 2018-19, said Goyal.

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Lenders considering resolution plan for Jet Airways: SBI

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Mumbai: State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday said lenders are considering a resolution plan for Jet Airways to ensure long-term viability of the debt-laden company.

The SBI statement comes a day after the crisis-hit airline said discussions were “progressing well” with stakeholders on a comprehensive resolution plan that also contemplates equity infusion and consequent changes in its board of directors.

There are rising concerns over financial health of Jet Airways, whose shares have also taken a beating at stock exchanges.

 

“We would like to state that lenders are considering a restructuring plan under the RBI framework for resolution of stressed assets that would ensure a long-term viability of the company,” SBI said in a statement.

It said the restructuring plan for the cash-strapped airline would need approval from boards of lenders.

“Any such plan would be subject to approval of boards of the lenders and subject to adherence and clearance, if required, from the RBI and/or Sebi (takeover code, ICDR regulations.) and Ministry of Civil Aviation and in compliance with all regulatory prescriptions,” the statement said.

Shares of the airline are trading 4.24 per cent lower at Rs 259.50 apiece on BSE.

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NGT slams Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore as per its 2018 order

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New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) slammed German auto major Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore in accordance with its November 16, 2018 order and directed it to submit the amount within 24 hours.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel took strong exception to the non-compliance of its order by the automobile giant and asked it to give an undertaking that it will submit the amount by 5 PM Friday.

“Why have you not complied with our order when there is no stay. We will not give you any further time,” the bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi, said while asking Volkswagen to submit an affidavit of compliance after deposit.

 

The tribunal deferred the matter for hearing after it was informed that the Supreme Court is also seized of the issue.

On November 16 last year, the tribunal had said that the use of ”cheat device” by Volkswagen in diesel cars in India leads to inference of environmental damage and had asked the German auto major to deposit an interim amount of Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

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