Today Sector News – 21.05.2018

Today Sector News – 21.05.2018


* AGRICULTURE: The onset of southwest monsoon in India is likely from May 29, ahead of normal date of Jun 1, India Meteorological Department said. The India Meteorological Department would be eyeing developments in the Arabian Sea next week, as forecast of a depression in the region could further guide the monsoon current over the country.

* AUTOMOBILE: Japanese auto makers Suzuki Motor Corp and Toyota Motor Corp are likely to firm up discussions regarding their partnerships by the end of this fiscal. Toyota Kirloskar Motor has started deliveries of Toyota Yaris across the country.

* BANKING: The finance ministry will renew calls for relaxing the Reserve Bank of India's February stipulation for defaulting accounts. The norms require banks to finalise a resolution plan within 180 days in case of a default on large accounts, failing which insolvency proceedings are to be invoked against the defaulter.

* COAL: Coal imports by power utilities fell 22.23% to 3.73 mln tn in April mainly due to decline in shipments by imported coal based power projects in the country.

* CORPORATE: The government has lifted restrictions that barred a company from lending or providing security and guarantee to a private enterprise where the former has a common director, or where its director holds a stake. HUL non-executive chairman Harish Manwani has been appointed as an independent director of Tata Sons.

* ECONOMY: Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said the finance ministry is open to tweaking the maturity of bonds offered for auction, if the shorter-tenor bonds fail to attract good prices.

* GOVERNMENT: The government has announced a number of secretary-level appointments in various ministries and departments, including those of commerce, department of investment and public asset management, and ministries of oil, steel and food processing.

* INFRASTRUCTURE: The government has sent back National Highways Authority of India (finance) member Rohit Kumar Singh to parent cadre Rajasthan, relieving him of his responsibilities at the highways authority with immediate effect.

* OIL AND GAS: A recent surge in global crude oil prices may push up India's oil import bill to $25 bln-$50 bln, Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said. As crude oil prices soar, the new biofuels policy might prove to be a timely impetus for ethanol production and blending, ease financial woes, and attract private investment in a sector dominated by state-run oil marketing companies.

* STEEL: India has dragged the US to the World Trade Organisation's dispute settlement mechanism
over the imposition of import duties on steel and aluminium.

* TAXATION: Due to technical glitches on the online portal of GST Network under Goods and Services Tax, the government has extended the deadline for filing returns under form GSTR-3B for April by two days till Tuesday. The Income Tax Department has cautioned employers who deducy tax at source to adhere to the stipulated deadline of May 31 for filing their statements, failing which they would invite a penalty of 200 rupees for each day of default.
 - The GST Council has asked the Centre and states to expedite setting up of appellate authorities for aggrieved entities to appeal against orders of the Authority for Advance Rulings.

* TELECOMMUNICATION: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal has set Jul 9 as the final date of hearing for the telecom regulator's norms on predatory pricing and transparent disclosure of tariff. Telecom minister Manoj Sinha said there is no proposal to merge state-run telecom companies Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam.

 - Incumbent telecom operators BHARTI AIRTEL, IDEA CELLULAR and Vodafone India have been able to contain subscriber churn during the March quarter despite introduction of a new round of tariff cuts by Reliance Jio Infocomm in the quarter. An international arbitration tribunal will begin hearing UK telecom giant Vodafone's challenge to India using a retrospective legislation to seek 221 bln rupees in taxes, in February next year.

* TRADE: Failing to find a mutually-agreed solution to India's export promotion programmes in the stipulated 30 days, which the US claims have harmed American workers, Washington has escalated the issue to the World Trade Organisation and asked it to refer the matter to the Dispute Settlement Body.