30 crore families have bank accounts under Jan-Dhan : Arun Jaitley

Addressing the Conclave on Financial Inclusions organised by the United Nations in India in Delhi on Wednesday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley highlighted the three-year progress of the central government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) programme.

Talking about the launch of the initiative three years ago, Jaitley emphasised that the programme came at a time, “when banking was just a prerogative of a small section of society, with almost 42 percent of India being excluded from it”.

Further, the FM went on to discuss the progress of the scheme. So far 30 crore new accounts have been opened under the PMJDY. Also, zero balance accounts have also decreased to about 20 percent from 77 percent in these three years.

Underlining the value of financial inclusion in the Central government’s policies, Jaitley also mentioned how the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will help make formalisation “beneficial” for the country.

Discussing how another initiative Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana has aided the cause of financial inclusion, he explained that the scheme has helped in providing small loans and financing small businesses and the recipients have been women and vulnerable sections.

Sources – Deccan Chronicle , Firstpost

Image Source – Dalip Kumar

 

Delhi HC seeks AAP chief’s reply on Arun Jaitley defamation case against Arvind Kejriwal

Bad situation for Delhi Chief Minister, Delhi HC on Wednesday looked for AAP convener’s reaction on a crisp request documented by the Union Finance Minister.

The interest required activity against Kejriwal for professedly documenting a false oath that he had not trained his guidance to utilise hostile words against Jaitley. . It has been learnt that Justice Manmohan issued a notice to Kejriwal and searched for his response inside a month.

Prominently, Jaitley had recorded a Rs 10 cr criticism suit against Kejriwal and five other AAP pioneers matter for December 11. Notably, Jaitley had filed a Rs 10 crore defamation suit against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders. In a fresh application, Jaitley said that Kejriwal had filed a reply denying that he had instructed his senior lawyer to make derogatory comments.

However, this was opposed by his former counsel Ram Jethmalani two days later. Senior advocates appearing for the Union finance minister, urged the court to allow them to file a criminal complaint against Kejriwal.
The high court had on July 26 requested that Kejriwal not put “shameful” inquiries to Jaitley amid the round of questioning in the criticism suit recorded by the Union priest against the central clergyman and five others – Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai. The court had conceded the round of questioning of Jaitley from July 28 to August 28 after Kejriwal’s direction looked for time.

The principal Rs 10 crore maligning suit was recorded by Jaitley against Kejriwal and five other AAP pioneers in 2015. Jaitley, who precluded every one of the charges from securing defilement leveled by the AAP pioneers in December 2015, had guaranteed that they had made “false and defamatory” explanations for the situation including the DDCA.

Sources: DNA, Outlook

Cigarrete prices to increase after GST

The stock market saw a fall of 15 percent in the shares of ITC Ltd, its steepest fall in 25 years. Many brokerages downgraded the stock and reduced their target prices as the government increased their cess on cigarettes, which ultimately led to the company going through an erase of nearly Rs50,000 crore in market value.

Not just that, other cigarette companies like VST Industries Ltd went down 3 percent and Godfrey Phillips India Ltd shares have also gone down by 6 percent mentioned Inshorts.

CLSA in a note mentioned “We were forced to downgrade to ‘sell’ as earnings outlook weakens,” adding, “Price hike would be required to grow earnings which may also impact volumes. The outcome is clearly negative from the neutral stance that the government always mentioned.”

Livemint also reported, that the prices of cigarettes will also increase by Rs 4.8-7.9 per 10 sticks, which further depends upon the specific filters and length of the cigarettes. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, quoted after GST Council meeting, the increase in cigarette cess will ultimately benefit the exchequer by an approximate amount of Rs5,000 crore per year.

Sources: Inshorts, Livemint

A possible home coming for Air India, our national carrier

N Chandrasekaran, chairman of one of the leading corporate houses of the country – Tata Group – has held informal talks with the government, expressing an interest in buying India’s national carrier – Air India – in partnership with Singapore airlines, according to Financial Express.

Times of India reported that the Tata Group is interested in buying a controlling stake in Air India with 51% equity. Recently, finance minister Arun Jaitley and civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati have both spoken openly about this. Though the government is keen on retaining Air India as a domestic air lines, it is happy about the proposal.

The heavily debt-laden carrier has had no profit for the past ten years. The main reason behind Air India’s loss is the intense competition from the more efficient and cheaper private airlines. Presently Air India is reeling under a debt of rupees fifty thousand crore, of which rupees twenty-eight thousand crore is in capital debt and rupees four thousand crore in interest burden. While the Tata Group is concerned about the huge debt, they are also considering the 14% market share commanded by the airlines. Apart from that, government has also assured Tata Group that it will bring down the debt substantially to make the air line a lucrative one.

Tata chairman Ratan Tata had said in 2013 that the group would “be happy to look” after Air India as and when privatisation happens. So, this can be a home coming for Air India, as it was launched and owned by the group since 1932 before being nationalised in 1953.

Sources: Times of India, Financial Express

Jaitley firm on 1 July GST roll out with a historic Parliamentary Session

Despite pressure from various fronts, the NDA brass has decided to stick to the deadline of 1 July 2017 to roll out Goods and Service Tax (GST) which has been in the spotlight since the last couple of months. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday stated that the inputs of various political parties will be given due recognition in a special function to be held at the historic central hall of the parliament on 30 June.

All the key constitutional dignitaries, members of Parliament,  along with the members of GST council are expected to be present at the function. President Pranab Mukherjee, during his term as a Finance Minister in the UPA regime, piloted the the first Constitutional Amendment Bill in 2011 to bring in GST. He, too, will be present for the function.

Jaitley reiterated the fact that the GST will provide long-term benefits to the economy by increasing the revenues, boosting overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and keeping a check on tax evasion. However, he sounded cautious over the short term challenges and expected some challenges in the near future. The finance minister also stated that the roll out date of 1

The finance minister also stated that the roll out date of 1 July was announced long back and all the stakeholders including the Medium and Small Enterprises (MSME ) sector were expected to prepare themselves for the roll out in the stipulated deadline. He also informed that the time frame for filing returns have been extended to provide relief to firms. Commenting on the anti-profiteering clause of the Bill, he stated that the mechanism has been inserted to be used on a situational basis and not be used as a regular practice.

News Sources- ANI, Business Standard 

Centre rules out farmers’ loan waivers, asks States to fund it themselves

Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, has stated that the Centre will not provide any farm loan waivers. He further ascertained that the Centre will adhere to its fiscal targets. “I have already made the position clear that states which want to go in for these kind of schemes (farm loan waivers) will have to generate them from their own resources”, he said.

This statement comes after Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra governments announced loan waivers to the state farmers. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, delivered on his poll promise by waiving off farmer loans worth Rs 36,359 crore in April this year. Following similar demands, Maharashtra followed suit by waiving off loans of marginal farmers worth around Rs 35,000 crores. On June 20, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh announced crop loan waiver up to Rs 2 lakh for small and marginal farmers with less than five acres of land, and another Rs 2 lakh for marginal farmers with larger pieces of land.

Jaitley further stated that he would not comment on the loan waivers by the states, having made the Centre’s decision clear on June 12, 2017. He directed the states to find their own resources to fund such schemes and that the states should not expect any assistance from the centre.

The UPA government previously had waived farm loans worth Rs 74,000 crore in 2008.

 

Sources: The Hindu, Livemint

IWT brings India and Pakistan back to round table

India has favourably responded to Pakistan’s invitation to attend the meeting of Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) in March in Lahore. World Bank officials played catalyst and mediator to bring the two hostile neighbours to table after two months of rigorous diplomatic negotiation.

Following Uri attacks Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to “review” the Indus Water Treaty, following consultation with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar. “Blood and water cannot flow together,” said Modi on September 27.

Pakistan has repeatedly cried foul over two hydro-electric projects one over Jhelum and another over Chenab. The Kishenganga Project, on Jhelum has to have an installed capacity of 330MW, whereas the Ralte Project in Doda over Chenab will have 850MW. But, India continue to maintain that the projects do not violate IWT clauses.

World Bank experts Ian Solomon and then Ms. Georgieva visited both countries and met Mr. Arun Jaitley and his Pakistani counterpart Mr. Ishaq Dar. Both leaders were convinced that this matter should find a place on the table during talks in March by the experts.

This can mark a beginning in dialogue again between the nations which had become non-existent post terror attack in Uri.

Sources: The Hindu LiveMint

Image Source: Reuters