QBiz: Rs 70,000 Cr Black Money Detected; Peak GST Rate May Hit 40%

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1. Rs 70,000 Crore Black Money Detected So Far: Justice Pasayat

Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money, Justice Arijit Pasayat, said on Thursday that Rs 70,000 crore of black money has been unearthed so far. The sixth interim report on it will be submitted to the apex court in April, he said.

Of the Rs 70,000 crore, more than Rs 16,000 crore was detected after probe launched into global leaks about Indians stashing funds abroad.

He was speaking to reporters after a meeting with officers of several government agencies dealing with economic and financial affairs in Cuttack, Odisha.

He said the SIT made several recommendations in the past two years through its interim reports to check the generation of black money.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

2. Paytm E-Commerce Gets $200 Million from Alibaba, SAIF Partners

Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, along with investment firm SAIF Partners, are set to invest $200 million in Paytm’s online marketplace unit.

Alibaba Singapore E-Commerce Pvt. Ltd will invest $177 million in Paytm E-Commerce Pvt. Ltd – a unit of Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s One 97 Communications Ltd that operates under Paytm brand. The remaining amount will come from SAIF Partners, an early investor in One97, according to a filing with the Registrar of Companies.

Mint had first reported on 3 February that Alibaba will lead a $200 million investment into Paytm E-commerce.

Post the investment, Alibaba Singapore E-Commerce will have a shareholding of 36.31 percent in Paytm E-commerce, while SAIF Partners India will own 4.66 percent.

(Source: Livemint)

3. GST Bill To Make Peak Tax Rate 40%, Not Tinker With Slabs

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) levy may go up to 40 percent after the GST Council proposed raising the peak rate in the Bill to 20 percent, from the current 14 percent, to obviate the need for approaching Parliament for any change in rates in future.

The model Goods and Services Tax Bill will replace the clause which states the tax rate "not exceeding 14 percent, with "not exceeding 20 percent" when it comes up for debate in Parliament during the second phase of Budget session beginning next week.

The change in the peak rate will not alter the 4-slab rate structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent agreed upon last year for the moment, but is only a provision being built into the model law to take care of contingencies in future, two officials in the know told PTI.

The revised draft of model GST law, which was made public in November 2016, provides for a maximum rate of tax under the new regime at 14 per cent (14 percent central GST and an equal state GST, taking the total to 28 percent).

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(Source: PTI)

4. SBI Interest Rates on Term Deposits Slashed

The State Bank of India (SBI) has reduced interest rates on term deposits with maturities of between 180 days and one year, and between 456 days and three years with effect from 1 March.

The country’s largest bank by assets will now pay 6.5 percent on deposits with maturities of between 180 days and less than one year, and 6.75 percent on those maturing between 456 days and less than three years.

Earlier, SBI used to pay 6.75 percent on deposits maturing between 180 days and 210 days, 7 percent on those maturing between 211 days and less than a year, 6.95 percent on deposits maturing between 456 days and under two years and 6.85 percent on those maturing between two years and less than three years.

(Source: Financial Express)

5. Indian Pharma Companies Lobby to Win Donald Trump Over on Generic Imports

India’s largest pharmaceutical firms are looking to convince US President Donald Trump that his promise to lower drug costs should take priority over his vow to make sure the medicines are made in America.

Savings from cheaper imported drugs will outweigh the jobs created by producing them in the US, the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, which represents drugmakers including Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, said in a report obtained by Bloomberg News that urged the Indian government to take action.

One goal could be to win an exemption for generic drugs under any border-tax policy that is enacted in the US, it said.

“The early signals from the Trump Administration do not augur well,” the group said in a report sent to a government advisory body on 28 February, exhorting Indian authorities to lobby US lawmakers, regulators and media

(Source: Livemint)

6. Indian Hotels Stock Dips by 5% on Taj Mansingh Loss

The share price of Indian Hotels on Thursday fell by 5% intra-day before closing at Rs 123.30, after New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NMDC) decided to conduct an open auction of its property Hotel Taj Mansingh. This is the biggest intra-day fall for Indian Hotels stock since November 2016.

On 12 January, the Supreme Court had asked the NDMC to reconsider its decision to auction Taj Mansingh hotel within six weeks. The apex court had asked the civic body to settle the issue through negotiations or go for auction. NDMC on Thursday decided to go ahead with the auction.

The SC passed the order after Indian Hotels appealed against a Delhi High Court judgment which allowed NDMC to end the 33-year lease and auction the property.

(Source: Financial Express)

7. HMD Global to Make Nokia 3310, Other Models in India

Finnish firm HMD Global, which markets the Nokia brand, is likely to make all devices of the historic phone company in India, including the iconic "Nokia 3310".

"We will attempt to ensure all our products are made in India. We will source all our product from India," HMD Mobile India vice president Ajey Mehta told PTI .

HMD Global, which has struck a 10-year brand licensing agreement with Nokia for mobile phones and tablets, will launch a new version of the 17-year old ‘Nokia 3310’ during April-June for around Rs 3,500 a unit.

It will also bring in Android-powered Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 to India during the second quarter itself.

(Source: PTI)

8. ONGC Said to See Spending Plans Curtailed by Potential Merger

India’s plan to push its top oil producer to fund a takeover of a state refining company may threaten some near-term investments including a plan to revive a long-delayed development project aimed at cutting the nation’s energy imports, according to company officials with knowledge of its finances.

Oil & Natural Gas Corp’s capital expenditure plans, including a $4.5 billion investment in its oil and gas blocks during the year starting in April 1, would be imperilled by the government’s proposal, said the officials, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public.

The administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to push ONGC to purchase the government’s stake in either Hindustan Petroleum Corp, worth $4 billion, or Bharat Petroleum Corp, at $7.7 billion, people with knowledge of the plan said.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

9. AirAsia Plans to Restart Expansion, Fly International by 2018

AirAsia India, which is in the midst of a court case about foreign control and investments, plans to restart expansion and fly international by next year after regulatory authorities gave it tacit approval last month.

At a media roundtable in Delhi on Thursday, AirAsia India chief executive Amar Abrol said:

The issues continue but the DGCA ruling on the brand license agreement was quite in our favour. We have always maintained it. It’s not new to us, it’s probably new to the competition

The Bengaluru-based airline plans to expand its fleet to 14 Airbus A320 planes by October from the current eight. These will be used planes and not from the AirAsia Group, Abrol stressed.

(Source: Livemint)