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After petrol and diesel, consumers face cooking gas price rise

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LPG-cylinders

Government seems to be in no mood to subsidise the price of common mans cooking gas which like the price of auto fuels petrol and diesel has maintained consistent increase for past few months.

The price of domestic 14.2-kg LPG cylinder was increased by Rs 25 on Thursday, the third increase in the month of February itself, taking its price Rs 794 a cylinder in Delhi.

While the practice of weekly or fortnightly price revision of cooking gas is normally done for non-subsidised cylinders, this year oil companies shave maintained almost equal increase in price of subsidised LPG cylinders as well.

This has equated its price with market prices cooking gas and thus helping the government to completely eliminate direct benefit transfer (DBT) benefits extended to cooking gas consumers.

“There may just be some element of subsidy that still may be involved in cooking gas if it is getting transported to far off distances from bottling plants. Otherwise, subsidised and non-subsidised cooking gas prices have almost remained same during entire FY21,” said an official of a public sector oil marketing company not willing to be named.

While consumers focus has remained on petrol and field prices, the cooking gas price has gone almost unnoticed. It had risen sharply by over Rs 100 a cylinder in the month of February itself from a level of Rs 694 to Rs 794 a cylinder now.

This month cooking gas prices increased on February 4 by Rs 25 (costed: Rs 719) and February 14 by Rs 50 (costed: Rs 769) and now again on February 25 by Rs 25 to Rs 794 a cylinder.

With government not supporting even cooking gas consumers in the time of rising prices, consumers are bearing the brunt of increase in both their transportation and cooking expenses during the difficult period of pandemic.

There are around 30 crore LPG connections in the country and the the levelling of non-subsidised and subsidized LPG cylinder means that the government substantially reduces DBT payments in FY22 as well.

If oil and products prices remain range bound even next year, by the end of the year even LPG subsidy would be completely eliminated, oil sector experts said.

Government’s DBT burden even from middle of current fiscal has reduced to nil due to softer LPG prices. The only money that the government would need in FY 22 is towards providing free cooking gas connection to 1 crore additional beneficiaries under the Ujjwala scheme.

As per provision made in this year’s budget, DBT transfer towards LPG subsidy has been brought down to Rs 12,480 crore in FY22 from a level of Rs 25,520.79 crore in the revised estimates for FY21.

The budget estimate for LPG subsidy this year (FY21) was even higher at Rs 35,605 crore but subdued global prices helped government to save on LPG subsidy prices that got used for providing three free cylinders to Ujjawala consumers for the lockdown period.

Government provides 12 subsidised LPG cylinder to a household in a year.

While the household buys LPG cylinders at market price, the gap between subsidised and non subsided cylinders is transferred to consumers bank accounts under the DBT scheme.

This transfer has remained suspended during most parts of FY21 as oil companies have raised price of even subsidised cylinders to market levels.

Business

Google Play introduces UPI Autopay payment in India

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Google announced on Tuesday that it is introducing UPI Autopay as a payment option for subscription-based purchases on Google Play in India.

Introduced under UPI 2.0 by NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India), UPI Autopay helps customers make recurring payments using any UPI application that supports the feature.

“With the introduction of UPI Autopay on the platform, we aim to extend the convenience of UPI to subscription-based purchases, helping many more people access helpful and delightful services – while enabling local developers to grow their subscription-based businesses on Google Play,” Saurabh Agarwal, Head of Google Play Retail & Payments Activation – India, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand said in a statement.

Moreover, UPI Autopay makes setting up subscriptions easy.

Users need to simply tap on the payment method in the cart, select “Pay with UPI,” and then approve the purchase in their supported UPI app after selecting a subscription plan to purchase.

Google Play helps consumers transact safely and seamlessly in more than 170 markets, according to the report.

Also, the platform supports over 300 local payment methods in over 60 countries, removing complexities associated with finding and integrating local payments.

UPI is one such payment option, introduced on the Play Store in India in 2019.

In India, UPI has transformed the mobile payment framework, and on Google Play as well, many people are enjoying and using apps that take advantage of UPI-based transactions, the statement added.

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Business

Invest Karnataka 2022 paved way for Rs 9.82 lakh cr investment: CM Bommai

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Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced at the concluding ceremony of the 3-day Global Investors Meet (GIM) in Bengaluru that “investments totaling about Rs 9.82 lakh have been committed in diverse sectors in the state.” Bommai thanked the participants in the event and investors.

Addressing the gathering, the CM said, “This GIM is different from other such Investor Meets as this has been organised during challenging times and has succeeded in showing us the way forward. What Karnataka thinks today, India thinks tomorrow. We will work with the investors shoulder to shoulder to make all these investments fructify on the ground.”

Thanking all the investors and delegates who participated in the GIM 2022, Karnataka Large and Medium Industries Minister, Murugesh Nirani, said “Invest Karnataka has laid a strong foundation for the development of Karnataka in the next five years. I am happy that we have met the core objective of this GIM, which is to bring in investments in diverse sectors and create jobs, and take industries beyond Bengaluru.”

The valedictory session was also attended by Bhagwanth Khuba, Union Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy, Chemicals & Fertilizers.

Inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually on Wednesday, the event culminated on Friday with the valedictory session in which Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai re-assured investors from all across the world of sustained support by his government.

Among top industrialists, Chairman of Jindal Group, Sajjan Jindal; Vice Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd, Vikram S. Kirloskar; Chairman, Wipro, Rishad Premji; Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, Rajan Bharti Mittal; CEO, Adani Ports and SEZ, Karan Adani and MD, Sterlite Power, Pratik Agarwal shared their experience in Karnataka and expressed continued interest in the state.

The Global Investors Meet witnessed 30+ immersive sessions spread across three days. These sessions were a mix of innovative formats such as panel discussions, fireside chats, and TED-style talks.

In addition to the speaker sessions, a number of networking events, cultural performances, business exhibitions (with 300+ exhibitors), and country sessions ran parallelly across the 3 days. The country sessions were hosted by partner countries — France, Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

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Business

Unfortunately, there is no choice: Musk on Twitter layoffs

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Elon Musk on Saturday said that there is no choice other than brutally firing half of Twitter’s workforce as the company is losing over $4 million a day.

After axing nearly 3,800 employees across the globe, including in India, the new Twitter CEO said that he has given three months of severance to everyone who has been asked to go.

“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day,” Musk tweeted.

“Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50 per cent more than legally required,” he added.

Musk has laid off people across the departments at Twitter, eliminating several teams across the globe.

He also said that Twitter has seen a massive drop in revenue as activist groups are putting undue pressure on its advertisers.

“Again, to be crystal clear, Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged. In fact, we have actually seen hateful speech at times this week decline below our prior norms, contrary to what you may read in the press,” he posted.

“Twitter will not censor accurate information about anything,” said Musk.

On charging $8 for the Blue subscription service, he said: “Trash me all day, but it’ll cost $8.”

The company lost $270 million in the April-June period after revenue slipped 1 per cent to $1.18 billion, reflecting advertising industry headwinds.

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