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We take PM Modi’s views seriously while deciding oil prices: Saudi

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Viennai: Oil cartel OPEC will consider views of world leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who represent the voice of major consuming nations, with seriousness before taking a decision on cutting output to support falling prices, Saudi oil minister Khalid Al Falih said.

India is the world’s third largest oil consuming nation, which is more than 80 per cent dependent on imports to meet its energy needs.

Led by PM Modi, it has been very strongly making a case for oil producers’ cartel OPEC to price crude at reasonable and responsible rates.

 

Speaking to reporters at the meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Saudi oil minister Khalid Al Falih said: “We take the views of Prime Minister Narendra Modi seriously who (like US President Donald Trump) is equally vocal about the issue. We just met him in Buenos Aires (during G20 summit) and privately he made those points very very strongly that he does care for Indian consumers and is very serious about it. I have also seen him at three times at various energy events in India where he was very vocal.”

He was replying to a question on US President’s expectations from OPEC meeting.

“Well, President Trump is the president of the largest consuming country in the globe — 21 million (barrels), I believe, or thereabouts. That’s 20 per cent of global markets if not more. And the consumer in the US, just like the consumer in France, just like the consumer in India, just like the consumer in Saudi Arabia, wants affordable energy. So, he (Trump) has every right to wish for affordability of energy for the citizens of the United States and he is very vocal using his favourite communication tool which is Twitter and we hear him and we take his views seriously,” he said.

Ahead of the meeting, Trump in a tweet had hoped that OPEC will keep oil flowing and not take decisions that would lead to higher oil prices.

“Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!,” he had said.

Consuming nations are part of OPEC deliberations even when they are not physically present in the meeting room, the Saudi oil minister said.

“And the fact that President Trump tweets about it and reminds us, I think, is a healthy thing and we take it as one input factor but at the end of the day our most important guiding principle is to bring supply and demand into balance and we don’t think the US will benefit from an over-supply market for an extended period of time where investment flows stop and the fantastic growth in US shale is brought to a halt in the way it happened in 2015-2016,” he said. OPEC on Thursday delayed a decision on production until it meets with other producers on Friday. Following this, crude oil prices traded sharply lower. Growing concerns that oil producers won’t reach an agreement to aggressively reduce production has also weighed on prices.

West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery lost USD 2.30, or 4.4 per cent, to USD 50.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Members of OPEC concluded their meeting in Vienna, without deciding on output-cut figures. It plans to debate output figures with non-OPEC producers during their meeting .


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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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