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Excise duty cut on petrol, diesel; subsidy announced for Ujjwala gas beneficiaries

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Amidst rising energy prices and inflation, the Central excise duty on petrol has been cut by Rs 8 per litre and on diesel by Rs 6 per litre, reducing the price of petrol by Rs 9.5 per litre and of diesel by Rs 7 per litre, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

“Today, the world is passing through difficult times. Even as the world is recovering from Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine conflict has brought in supply chain problems and shortages of various goods. This is resulting in inflation & economic distress in a lot of countries,” she said in a series of tweets.

The duty cut will have revenue implication of around Rs 1 lakh crore per year for the government.

Sitharaman went on say that despite the challenging international situation, the government has ensured that there are no shortages or scarcity of essential goods. Even a few developed countries couldn’t escape some shortages or disruptions, she added.

The government is committed to ensuring that prices of essential items are kept under control, she said.

She said: “I wish to exhort all state governments, especially the states where reduction wasn’t done during the last round (November 2021), to also implement a similar cut and give relief to the common man.”

In yet another major move, the government has decided that this year it will give a subsidy of Rs 200 per gas cylinder (upto 12 cylinders) to over 9 crore beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.

“This will help our mothers and sisters. This will have a revenue implication of around Rs 6,100 crore a year.”

Further, it is also reducing the customs duty on raw materials and intermediaries for plastic products where the country’s import dependence is high. It will result in reduction of cost of final products.

A notification with specific details on all these mention moves will be issued by the Centre within the next hours.

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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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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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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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