Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review tax rates on agriculture-related goods under the new regime of GST to provide relief to beleaguered farmers.
In a letter to the PM, Amarinder has expressed concern at the increased rates of taxation imposed under GST on agricultural inputs, including implements and drip irrigation equipment. This segment is now taxed at 18%, up from 5% tax under the VAT regime.
The CM, while citing data, also pointed out that while VAT on fertilisers had been 2%, the GST now was 5-18%. Likewise, from VAT of 12.5%, tax on insecticides had increased to 18% under the GST regime. On tractors, the VAT was 6.05%, with the GST now at 12-28%. The respective figures for mechanical parts were 12.6-14.6% (VAT) and 18% (GST).
Tax on micro nutrients has been doubled from 6% under VAT to 12% under GST, while that on canned food items had increased from 5% (VAT) to 12% (GST), Amarinder pointed out in the letter, adding that the increase ranged from 3% to 21.95%.
The cost of cultivation was only likely to increase with the implementation of the GST regime with higher taxation levels, further impairing the financial health of the beleaguered farmers, he said.
The CM out that increased taxation levels might hinder the adoption of micro-irrigation technologies under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, instead of enabling the government to incentivise their adoption to conserve fast-depleting water resources.
The government is looking to create a fund with a corpus of around Rs 20,000 crore to expedite refund of taxes paid or input credit on exports, two senior government officials told BloombergQuint.
The idea is to shorten the refund cycle as exporters are worried that working capital could be stuck after the government extended the deadline to file returns under the Goods and Services Tax. A dedicated fund could help if refunds through tax filings are delayed.
The suggestion was tabled by the Ministry of Commerce in a meeting of the Committee on Exports. The panel, headed by Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, is looking into problems faced by exporters after GST rollout.
The corpus would only be a reallocation of funds already collected by the revenue department under GST, PK Shah, former chairman of engineering exports body EEPC India, told BloombergQuint. And he finds the amount inadequate.
When we are talking about refund claims to the tune of Rs 65,000 crore for July and August, and refunds for September could be around Rs 35,000 crore, how would the corpus help? PK Shah, Former Chairman, Engineering Exporters Organisation of India
Sumit Lunker, indirect tax partner at PwC agrees. The government needs to stabilise the compliance so that exporters can file refund claims in time, he said. "Otherwise, this fund will not be of much use."
The Adhia-led panel will suggest proposals and a strategy to the GST Council to help resolve issued raised by exporters. Their concerns were also discussed in the two-day meeting of ministers chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to review the economy.
The fund could even be one of the steps the central government could take to put the economy back on track, the second official quoted earlier said.
Such a corpus would be a temporary measure, NR Bhanumurthy, professor at National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, told BloombergQuint. The cost to the exchequer will be minimal as the refund money is already with the government. It could help avoid disruption faced by the exports sector, he said.
Another proposal being considered by the committee is to increase rewards given through the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme. Under MEIS, exporters get 'credit scrips' as a percentage-2, 3 or 5 percent-of the on-board value of shipments. The scrips can be used to pay customs duty. The government is mulling an increase in the rate, and transfer 7-8 percent of the value of scrips to an exporter's cash ledger account.
Free on-board value means "when seller bears all the cost up to delivery to the buyer. Seller is responsible for any loss or damage up to delivery", said Lunker. Any increase in the MEIS rate will encourage exporters and compensate to delay in GST refunds to some extent, he said. "This seems to be part of the booster that is expected to cheer up the economy."
GST Network, the technology backbone of the Goods and Services Tax system, has tweaked some of the features on its portal over the past month to make the system more robust and allow glitch-free tax payment facility to nearly 35 lakh assessees, said GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar.
Of the total 87.33 lakh registered businesses on the GSTN, 68 lakh were eligible to pay taxes in August.
Of the total registered taxpayers, 24.56 lakh are new registrations, while 62.77 lakh have migrated from the earlier excise, service tax and VAT regime.
Kumar said the GSTN portal handled a load of 1.3 lakh tax returns, filing and payment, per hour on September 20 - the last day of filing of August tax returns.
"Nearly 35 lakh people had filed returns till Saturday. We have done some tweaking in our portal and it is evident from the load GSTN handled at the time of August return filing," he told PTI.
Kumar said a significant number of returns were filed even after the due date of September 20 for August month.
Till September 20, over 30 lakh returns were filed, and the tally went up to nearly 35 lakh till September 23.
"A lot of businesses file returns even after the end of due date as the GST Council has done away with late payment fee. This delayed filing of returns used to happen at the time of VAT payment as well in states," Kumar said.
The ministerial panel under Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi to look into glitches in the GST Network will meet on October 4 to assess improvement in functioning of the portal.
The group of ministers will meet just two days before the full GST Council meeting on October 6 and would update the Council on its findings.
GSTN had faced glitches during the GSTR-3B filing for July, which had forced the government to extend the due date for filing of returns.
As many as 49.68 lakh returns in GSTR-3B were filed for July. This compares to 59.6 lakh businesses who are required to file returns. Taxes of over Rs 95,000 crore were collected in the maiden month of roll-out.
The GST Council had earlier this month constituted a group of ministers to sort out the issues faced by businesses while filing returns and paying taxes on GSTN portal.
After the first meeting of the Group of Ministers on September 16, Modi had said that 25 key issues have been identified and there would be visible change on the GSTN portal in next 7-10 days.
Mr. S. Hari Shankar, Whole-time Director of Lakshmi Card Clothing Mfg. Co. Pvt. Ltd., has been elected Chairman of the Textile Machinery Manufacturers’ Association (India) for 2011-2012. Mr. Prakash K. Bhagwati, Chairman, InspirOn Engineering Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad, and Mr. Jayaraman Anand, Managing Director, Veejay Lakshmi Engineering Works Ltd., Coimbatore, have been chosen the first Vice-Chairman and the second Vice-Chairman respectively of TMMA.
Mr. Pratik Rajnikant Bachkaniwala, Director, Himson Textile Engineering Pvt. Ltd., Surat, is the Hon. Treasurer.
Mr. Hari Shankar, an MBA from Philadelphia College of Textiles & Sciences, is on the Board of Directors of Prathishta Wvg. & Knitting Co. Ltd., and Governing Council member of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore.
Mr. Bhagwati has been a member of the TMMA Executive Council since 1998-1999. He received the Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering in LD College of Engineering in 1968 and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Wichita State University, Kansas, in 1970.
A member of the Development Council for the Textile Machinery Industry, Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, he has set up various social involvement bodies such as the Associated Industries Rural Development Trust with the main objective of socio-economic development in rural areas.
Mr. Jayaraman Anand is in charge of all family-run companies. He has travelled extensively in connection with business and has an experience of more than 15 years in the field.
Before becoming the Whole-time Director at various group companies at Himson, Mr. Pratik had been instrumental in setting up office and a joint venture company in China in 2008. In 2009, he had actively assessed and completed the procedure of takeover of a company in a similar line of product.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government is taking decisions at a rapid pace to fast track development in the interests of the poor.
After inaugurating and laying foundation stone of 25 projects at Varanasi today, Mr Modi said, his government's dream is to empower the poor.
The Prime Minister said, his government has taken measures to empower all sections of the society.
He said, previous governments seemed to hate development and looted public money to win elections. Mr Modi said, his government not only launch but also complete projects.
Referring to the inauguration of newly constructed, Deendayal Hastkala Sankul, a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts, Mr Modi said 300 crore rupees centre is a testimony of government's resolve for a better future for our weavers and craftsmen.
He said, the museum at the centre will also give a boost to tourism in Varanasi and it will be the hub of economic activity in the region.
Union Textiles and Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of State Textiles Ajay Tamta were also present.
The Prime Minister also flagged off the Mahamana Express through a video link. This train will connect Varanasi with Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat. He said, the train service will increase trade and economic activities between the two states.
Underlining the way of working of the government, he said, if his government lay the foundation stone of a project, it makes it a point to dedicate it to the people. Mr Modi launched projects worth 1000 crores rupees in a single day.
At the same venue, he also inaugurated banking services of the Utkarsh Bank, which specializes in micro-finance. Mr Modi also dedicated a Jal Ambulance service through a video link.
The Prime Minister is on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency. Tomorrow, he will address a public meeting at Shahanshahpur village.
He will also participate in a sanitation related activity in the village and will visit a cattle wellness fair. Mr Modi will distribute certificates to beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana during the function.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal who joined Mr Modi via video link from Vadodara in Gujarat, said, the speed at which the Prime Minister has envisioned a new India, this train is a new chapter in it. He said, the train will reduce the travel time between Vadordra and Varanasi. (AIR)
The African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) has warned that Cotton sector is at the verge of crashing if nothing is done. The organization has since called on government to inject $300 million (about K2.2 billion) in the cotton industry if the sector is to be revamped.
AICC Chief Executive Office Felix Lombe said if this money can be injected in the next three years, the sector could generate over $1 billion (about K730 billion) in the next five years.
Lombe said this on Monday during press briefing in Lilongwe. The development follows the continued dwindling levels of cotton production in the recent years.
Although Malawi’s fourth major foreign exchange earner, cotton production has continued to decline over the years now averaging yields less than 600 kilograms per hectare.
Uncertainty of availability of inputs and reliable markets are among the factors that have led many cotton farmers to seek alternative high value crops.
He said cotton production has been fluctuating from 20 000 metric tons (MT) to 100 000 MT between 2003/04 and 2015/16 growing seasons due to fluctuation in number of growers, cultivated area and yields.
Last year, output for the crop dropped by a third to 15 000 metric tons relative to the prior year due to dry spells among other key factors.
“Looking at the trends in the cotton industry, it is clear that we are really stuck, but cotton remains a strategic crop in Malawi.
“What we are also looking for is an injection of $300 million from government for the next three years. It might look like a huge amount but the benefits are enormous. We are calculating that in the next five years cotton can bring on board $1billion,”he said.
Cotton is grown by between 200,000 to 400,000 smallholder farming families and creates direct employment for about 200,000 farmers and over 800,000 dependents with a value of S$ 26.5 million.
Showcasing a wide portfolio of value-added fabrics, yarn, fibres and accessories, the 11th edition of Yarnex International Exhibition got off to a radiant start here on Thursday.
The three-day fair had participation of yarn, fabrics and accessories manufacturers from China, United States, Japan and India.
“The event is now not only an one-stop sourcing destination, but has also emerged over the years as a converging point for knitters and weavers to interact with spinners and discuss the emerging technologies,” said P. Krishnamurthy, Chief Executive Officer of S. S. Textile Media, the organiser of the fair
The current edition had witnessed a significant increase in the number of participants as 139 companies had set up stalls against 94 companies in the previous edition.
Mr. Krishnamurthy said that only 28 companies took part in the first edition held a decade ago.
Some of the innovative products that were on display include fire safe fabrics that have properties to retard fire, polyester fabrics with high moisture absorption properties, blended special yarn, dyed yarn, fibres made from recycling of Poly Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles and embellishments.
Earlier on the day, Tirupur Exporters Association president Raja Shanmugam inaugurated the event in the presence of TEA general secretary T. R. Vijayakumar and representatives of various other textile associations.
China is imposing new limits on trade with North Korea after the isolated country's latest nuclear test.
China's Ministry of Commerce said Saturday it would limit refined petroleum exports starting Oct. 1 and ban the import of North Korean textiles immediately. It would ban exports of liquefied natural gas to the North immediately as well.
China accounts of about 90 percent North Korea's trade, according to The Associated Press. The BBC estimates the textile ban will cost the North more than $700 million per year.
North Korea Says Pacific Test Of Nuclear Warhead Is Possible
North Korea Says Pacific Test Of Nuclear Warhead Is Possible
"Textiles are believed to be the North's biggest source of foreign revenue following rounds of U.N. sanctions under which Beijing cut off purchases of coal, iron ore, seafood and other goods," the AP says.
The new restrictions follow the United Nations Security Council's agreement on new sanctions on Sept. 11, as NPR's Richard Gonzales outlined:
"The new sanctions set a cap on crude and refined oil exports to North Korea at 8.5 million barrels per year, which represents a 30 percent reduction, according to U.S. officials. The sale of natural gas will be prohibited and refined petroleum sales will be capped at 2 million barrels annually. The Security Council resolution also bans all North Korea textile exports, worth an average of $760 million over the past three years."
Fuel Shortages And The North Korean Economy, Explained
Fuel Shortages And The North Korean Economy, Explained
The U.N. sanctions were a response to North Korea's sixth nuclear test, which experts said was its biggest by far, earlier this month. The country also has tested more than a dozen missiles this year, some of which have flown over Japan — a strong U.S. ally.
President Trump has accused China of not putting enough pressure on Kim's regime to step back from its sabre-rattling.
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un spent the past week trading insults and ratcheting up the already-high tension between the countries. At the United Nations, Trump called Kim "rocket man" and threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea. Kim responded in a statement, calling Trump a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" and said "a frightened dog barks louder."
The U.S. put its own sanctions on North Korea on Thursday, against banks or companies doing business with the country.
Some Analysts Say Time May Be Right For A Rethink On North Korean Nuclear Crisis
Some Analysts Say Time May Be Right For A Rethink On North Korean Nuclear Crisis
There have been so many rounds of sanctions against North Korea that it can be hard to keep track.
And it's possible that North Korea is able to undermine them. Reuters reported that North Korean ships have headed home from Russia carrying fuel, despite the ships declaring they were headed somewhere else. Experts say North Korea also uses shell companies to skirt rules.
After earlier U.N. sanctions were approved in August over missile tests this summer, John Delury of Seoul's Yonsei University told NPR's Elise Hu:
" 'It hasn't worked. So we're doing more of the same. ... One thing North Korea is extremely good at is absorbing pain. And the last thing they're going to yield on is their deterrence capability. Because they feel under threat and under siege.' "
Brushing aside rumours of glitches in the GST Network, GSTN Chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey on Thursday said the system is stable, adding that nearly 30 lakh GST returns that have been filed so far for August.
Pandey, who assumed charge at earlier this month, said that GST Network is in a 'very sound state' and the quantum of returns filed are a testimony to the system's strength.
He asserted that problems or glitches which exist in specific pockets will be dealt with expeditiously.
'Over 29.41 lakh GST returns have been filed for the month of August till noon. The very fact that majority of returns have been filed in last 2-3 days gives confidence about the availability of system,' Pandey told PTI in an interview.
He said GSTN has accepted up to 85,000 returns per hour yesterday -- which was the last day of filing GSTR-3B for August. About 75 percent of the registered businesses had not filed their returns until yesterday. As many as 13.76 lakh businesses had flocked the GSTN portal yesterday to file their returns -- the highest return filing in a day under GST so far. As per the Central GST and State GST Acts, an interest at the rate of 18 percent will be levied for the delayed payment of tax and filing of returns.
'I would like to request the business that they should file returns in time and not wait till the last moment. Even though our system can take the load, it is in the interest of businesses not to wait till last moment because there could be some problem at their end, their computer may not work,' Pandey said.
Over 90 lakh businesses have registered under the Goods and Services Tax regime, which was rolled out from July 1. Asked how he plans to steer GSTN forward, he said his focus would be to make operations smooth so that people do not face any difficulty while working on the systems.
'The GSTN system is in a very sound state. It is a huge system and will meet the expectation of people. There will be some problem or issues but they would be dealt with. But overall the system availability and robustness is there,' he said.
GST Network (GSTN) had faced glitches during the GSTR-3B filing for July, which had forced the government to extend the due date for filing of returns. As many as 46.4 lakh returns in GSTR-3B were filed for July and the tally is expected to be similar for August. Taxes to the tune of Rs 95,000 crore were collected in the maiden month of roll-out.
'Any large system like GSTN in the initial few months will have some issues and that is how the system becomes perfect. Generally the system has been working and people are able to file returns,' he said.
The GST Council had earlier this month constituted a Group of Ministers under Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, to sort out the issues faced by businesses while filing returns and paying taxes on GSTN portal. After the first meeting of the GoM last week, Modi had said that 25 key issues have been identified and there would be visible change on the GSTN portal in next 7-10 days.
Elaborating on this, Pandey said that the issues that have been identified relate to a specific situation faced by some taxpayer or a peculiar case that might have happened. Steps are being taken to ensure that everyone is able to file returns without difficulty, he said.