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Government reduces tax on crude oil

In a recent development, the Indian government has reduced the windfall tax on petroleum crude to ₹3,250 per metric tonne from ₹5,200, effective June 15. This tax, which is revised every fortnight, remains at zero for diesel and aviation turbine fuel. The decision comes after a previous reduction on June 1, when the tax was lowered from ₹5,700 to ₹5,200 per metric tonne. This move is part of India's efforts to regulate private refiners and prevent them from prioritizing overseas sales over domestic ones to capitalize on refining margins. The government's decision aims to strike a balance in the petroleum sector and ensure fair practices among fuel producers. sources

Published:
Jun 15 2024, 9 am

Agtech Empowers Agriculture in New Era

India, with a population of over 1.4 billion, is making strides in industrial development while focusing on agriculture. However, the agricultural sector faces challenges like a complex supply chain, low incomes, and climate change impacts. Studies show potential reductions in key crop nutrients due to CO2 levels. To address these issues, the agtech sector offers hope, with India being a top global exporter of agricultural products and a $24 billion opportunity for agtech startups. Aligning with Sustainable Development Goal 2, efforts are being made to enhance agricultural practices and combat food insecurity. Initiatives like e-NAM and RKVY promote agri-tech startups, while the Digital Agriculture Mission leverages technology for growth. Agtech solutions can improve crop yields, streamline supply chains, and enhance nutritional content, ultimately revolutionizing Indian agriculture and boosting national food security. sources

Published:
Jun 15 2024, 10 am

FSSAI investigating bad lab reports on spice samples

Rajasthan officials have raised concerns about packaged spice products containing higher than permissible levels of pesticides, prompting the Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) to investigate. Samples from brands like Everest and MDH were found to have exceeded the limits, leading to potential penalties and product recalls. This scrutiny follows global recalls of Indian spice products due to elevated levels of ethylene oxide. The FSSAI is conducting nationwide testing to ensure safety and quality standards are met. Despite some lab reports showing no traces of ETO, the issue remains unresolved as Rajasthan initiates recalls of certain batches. The FSSAI is under pressure to address these safety concerns and take action against brands that fail to meet regulations. sources

Published:
Jun 14 2024, 10 pm

IIIPI creates template for IPs to report Avoidance Transactions

The Indian Institute of Insolvency Professionals of ICAI (IIIPI) has introduced a new template to streamline the process of reporting 'Avoidance Transactions' to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). This template, developed by a Study Group under the chairmanship of Subodh Agarwal, aims to enhance the quality of findings and applications related to avoidance transactions, ultimately improving efficiencies in the insolvency ecosystem. Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), Avoidance Transactions are transactions carried out by a Corporate Debtor to defraud creditors or benefit related parties. Despite 1237 Avoidance Transaction applications amounting to ₹3.7 lakh crore being filed till March 2024, only 292 applications totaling ₹51,738 crore were disposed of by the court, resulting in a recovery of just ₹6,599 crore by creditors. The slow progress and low recovery rates have raised concerns among stakeholders. sources

Published:
Jun 14 2024, 10 pm

Titagarh Rail starts making trainsets for Bengaluru Metro

Titagarh Rail Systems has begun production of trainsets for the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation's Phase 2 Yellow Line project, under a contract with China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation. The Kolkata-based company is responsible for producing 34 out of the 36 trainsets required at its advanced manufacturing facility in West Bengal, with the remaining two to be manufactured in China. Delays in the original deadlines led to an MoU between CRRC and Titagarh Rail Systems, with production now underway to meet the project's specific requirements. The first trainset is expected to be delivered in August 2024. Titagarh Rail Systems, known for manufacturing freight rolling stock, is expanding into passenger rail systems and developing driverless metro trains in collaboration with ABB India. sources

Published:
Jun 14 2024, 8 pm

India-Oman FTA deal in Commerce Dept's 100-day agenda SOPs

The Commerce Department is set to focus on finalizing a standard operating procedure (SoP) for negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs), with an emphasis on new and emerging issues like gender, labor, and the environment. The 100-day agenda includes priorities such as concluding the India-Oman FTA, developing e-commerce hubs for online exports, and launching the 'Trade Connect e-Platform' to assist exporters. A recent 'chintan shivir' discussed economic assessments, services, and digital trade in FTAs, as well as negotiations on the India-Oman Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). While progress has been made in India-UK FTA talks, unresolved issues like work visas and market access for automobiles await the outcome of the UK elections. Initiatives like e-commerce hubs and the Trade Connect e-Platform aim to boost exports and provide support to new exporters by offering information on sectors, export trends, and FTA benefits. sources

Published:
Jun 14 2024, 9 pm

Modi 3.0: Sugar industry's expectations

The 2023-24 season saw a remarkable success for the Indian sugar industry, with production reaching 32.135 million tonnes, surpassing both domestic and international demands, resulting in a surplus of 8.705 million tonnes. Looking ahead to the 2024-25 season, a slight decline in production to 29.75 million tonnes is expected, but a surplus is still anticipated. However, the industry faces challenges such as excess sugar leading to depressed prices, escalating production expenses, and government regulations impacting sugarcane prices for farmers. The industry is calling for increased Minimum Support Price (MSP) for sugar, ethanol policy adjustments, allowance for sugar exports, compliance with pollution control board regulations, support for bio-CBG and hydrogen production, financial assistance for multi-feed ethanol plants, and enhancing farmers' income to overcome these challenges and drive growth and sustainability. The government's support and collaboration with industry stakeholders are crucial for the industry's future success and contribution to India's economic and environmental goals. sources

Published:
Jun 14 2024, 9 pm

Government seeks to sell extra rice to control prices

Shippers are urging the Indian government to scrap the 20% export duty on rice and lift restrictions on white rice shipments to address the surplus of 17-18 million tonnes of rice in the official reserves for 2024-25. The Food Ministry is considering options such as extra allocations under the public distribution system and direct sales to states to lower retail prices. However, exporters argue that the government needs to be more realistic about rice prices, especially as states like Chhattisgarh and Odisha are paying high prices for paddy. The government, which requires 40-41 million tonnes of rice annually for welfare schemes, is facing challenges in disposing of the surplus without violating WTO rules. Despite lukewarm responses to previous sales attempts, analysts suggest that there are provisions to manage subsidies within WTO limits. sources

Published:
Jun 14 2024, 8 pm

India discussing with EU to avoid levies

India and the EU are set to engage in the eighth round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) from June 24-28 in Brussels, amidst discussions on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) introduced by the EU. The CBAM aims to impose levies on imports of specific carbon-intensive products from non-EU countries starting January 1, 2026. Indian officials are working with the EU to address areas where mechanisms need to be developed to meet requirements under the CBAM, including carbon pricing, accreditation of carbon verifiers, and potential benefits for MSMEs. The EU's commitment to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 is a driving force behind the CBAM, impacting sectors such as iron & steel, aluminium, and cement in India. The willingness of the EU to consider India's perspective in a more favorable light during negotiations reflects a shift in approach towards addressing global challenges such as carbon emissions. sources

Published:
Jun 14 2024, 8 pm

India tests green steel with hydrogen, not coking coal

India is making strides towards reducing carbon emissions in the steel-making process by exploring the use of hydrogen as an alternative to coking coal. Three pilot projects are planned, including one with 100% hydrogen-based DRI production, injecting hydrogen into an existing blast furnace, and blending hydrogen with natural gas in an existing DRI plant. The National Green Hydrogen Mission has allocated ₹455 crore to support these green steel-making initiatives. The steel industry globally is under pressure to decarbonize, as traditional blast furnaces reliant on coking coal produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide. The Indian steel industry aims to reduce its CO2 emissions intensity from 3.1 T/tcs in 2005 to 2.4 T/tcs by 2030. The government will provide funding for capital equipment for the hydrogen-based projects, but not for hydrogen production or land expenses. Funding will vary depending on the steel-making method adopted, with up to 70% of the total project cost covered for new pilot plants and up to 50% for other methods. sources

Published:
Jun 14 2024, 7 pm

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