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Tuesday,28-September-2021

Business

Petrol nears Rs 100 a litre in Delhi with 35-paise hike

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The prices of petrol continued its upward march on Monday, the second day running, taking its price closer to century mark in Delhi and Kolkata, the only two metro cities where the fuel is still below Rs 100 a litre.

In Delhi, price of the fuel increased by 35 paise from Rs 99.51 on Sunday to Rs 99.86 a litre on Monday. In Kolkata, Petrol prices moved up from Rs 99.45 a litre to Rs 99.84 a litre.

With the increase, petrol prices are expected to cross the century mark in these two cities at next revision. With this the fuel will be over Rs 100 a litre in all four metros and other major cities across the country.

In the financial capital Mumbai, petrol price now stands at Rs 105.92 while diesel costs Rs 96.91, data available on Indian Oil Corporation’s website showed. In Chennai too, petrol has hit century with pump prices being Rs 100.75 a litre.

Like last week, OMCs kept diesel prices unchanged on Monday to provide relief to the transport sector that runs largely on this fuel.

The price of diesel in Delhi remains at Rs 89.36 per litre, while in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata it is priced at Rs 96.91, Rs 93.91 and Rs 92.27 per litre, respectively.

Officials in oil companies attribute the consistent increase in fuel prices to development in global oil markets where both product and crude prices have been firming up for past couple of months on rise in demand amidst slowing of pandemic. However, closer look at fuel retail prices in India gives a picture that it is high level of taxes that is keeping fuel rate higher even in times when global oil prices are firm.

Global crude oil price is now hovering around $75 a barrel. It was over $80 a barrel in October 2018 but even then, the petrol prices hovered around Rs 80 a litre across the county. So, even with lower oil prices now, petrol prices have hit century and crossed it by a wider margin now in several parts of the country.

The only way retail prices could be brought down in this period is by way of tax cuts by both Centre and States, suggests experts as crude oil prices are seen rising from here on.

Fuel prices are already touching new highs every other day.

Business

IFIN to sell 62 NPA accounts worth Rs 4.3K cr

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 IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN) has put its non performing asset (NPA) portfolio of approx Rs 4,300 crore up for sale as part of plan to bring down overall group level debt.

The sale of NPA would be done under Swiss Challenge with the new board already having received a binding bid.

Under this method of bidding, the seller who have already received a bid, publishes the bid and invite third parties to match or better it. The process also allows the entity which submitted the first bid then to match or better the best bid which comes out of the Swiss challenge process.

IFIN’s sale of NPA book includes 62 accounts aggregating to total outstanding principal of Rs 4,297 crore. Bids have been invited from eligible applicants for purchasing the entire sale asset book comprising all of the 62 accounts.

The public process of inviting bids was launched on Monday and the sale would be concluded on cash consideration basis. The last date for submission of bids is October 19, 2021.

IFIN has an asset under management of around Rs 18,000 crore involving external and internal loans and investments.

The sale of external corporate loans is part of the resolution process of the overall debt.

IFIN is a 100 per cent subsidiary of IL&FS and is registered with the Reserve Bank of India as a systemically important non-deposit accepting non-banking finance company.

IL&FS group had total outstanding debt over Rs 90,000 crore. The new team is resolving some these through a strategy of asset sale and combing resources of other entities.

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Service given by corporate offices to their branches taxable

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In what may pose challenge to companies having wider spread of employees and branches all across the country, an authority for advance ruling (AAR) had said that managerial and leadership services by a corporate office to its group companies and other construction sites registered in different states is considered as supply of service and would be taxable under GST.

This would mean companies having separate GST registration for its head offices and branches would need to pay GST on the services that a head offices gives to its branches and receive payment for it.

The order on the issue came from Maharashtra AAR or MAAR on application filed by Pune-based B.G. Shirke Construction Technology Private Limited.

The company supplied managerial and leadership services to its branch office and group companies, and received fixed monthly charges from each of them. It asked MAAR whether it is liable to pay tax on such service which gave its order on affirmative going by a similar order given Karnataka AAR on a separate application. This application is now pending before the Karnataka High Court.

Though AAR orders are valid only for the applicants, tax officials use it for other matters as well. These timings also form the basis for amendment to rules of taxation

According to the tax experts, the present ruling with respect to head offices and their branch operations would create a lot of confusion over the issue of valuation of services rendered and valuation taxes.

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India needs 4-5 more SBI sized banks: FM

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 India needs a lot more banks and a lot more large sized ones to meet the growing needs of the country needs in the path of making a smart recovery post pandemic disruptions, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday.

Speaking at 74th Annual General Meeting of Indian Banks’ Association at Mumbai, Sitharaman said there was an urgent need to scale up banking to meet the growing needs of the industry and also to ensure that all economic centres of the country are covered with at least one physical or digital banking presence.

“We need to scale up banking. The need is for at least four-five more SBI sized banks,” she said, while reminding that the amalgamation exercise among public sector banks have helped in moving ahead with creation of large banks.

Having done two rounds of bank consolidation earlier, the Central government in 2019 decided to merge six disparate and weak PSBs into four in one stroke.

Accordingly, Punjab National Bank (PNB) took over Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India; Allahabad Bank became part of Indian Bank; Canara Bank subsumed Syndicate Bank; and Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank merged with Union Bank of India. Earlier, State Bank of India (SBI) with five of its associate banks while Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank were merged with Bank of Baroda.

Sitharaman lauded the efforts of the PSBs to see through that the amalgamation of banks during the pandemic period was completed without any inconvenience to customers.

She said that that in the post pandemic world, hanks would need to change their mindset and the way they conduct their businesses.

Digitisation, the Finance Minister said has changed a lot of how businesses are done and banks will now need to think futuristically and keep pace with evolving technology.

Sitharaman also asked the IBA to conduct a digitised mapping of each district of the country with regard to presence of bank branch operation and their location. This, she said, would help to plug areas of gaps with no banking presence effectively.

“Not necessary to have physical banking presence everywhere. The country’s optic fibre network has covered two-third of about 7.5 lakh panchayats. This could be used to deliver banking services in unconnected areas as well,” the Finance Minister said.

She also asked banks to develop models and better understanding of businesses focused on exports as country has set a $2 trillion export target by 2030.

With regard funding for the infra sector, she said that a government sector development financial institution (DFI) is coming up soon.

Sitharaman said that Indian economy is at a critical stage of a reset and banks would form the backbone for it by providing best of the financial services.

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