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India’s trade policy is calibrated with economic growth path: Piyush Goyal

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New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) India’s trade policy is calibrated with its economic growth trajectory as it aims to achieve a target of $2 trillion in exports by 2030, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.

“Our trade policy is calibrated based on our development journey, yet open for expansion. We will be doing $2 trillion of exports by 2030 and I have no doubt we will achieve it,” the minister said at a media event in New Delhi.

Goyal said that India had pulled out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019 due to stakeholder concerns and to protect the Indian market from being flooded by cheap Chinese goods.

He further stated that if India had not withdrawn from the RCEP, the country would not have scripted the growth story it has in recent years.

The flood of sub-standard, low-quality goods coming in from certain geographies would have killed the investment climate in the country, he added.

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Goyal pointed out that even America and Europe still levy high tariffs on several products.

At the same time, he said that India needs to internationalise its economy and look at a greater degree of engagement with the world and a high growth in exports.

The minister cited the recently signed European Free Trade Association (EFTA), in which Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, have committed an investment of $100 billion to create 1 million direct jobs in India in the next 15 years in exchange for market access.

He also said that India is open to being a part of trading blocs which include China, if the neighbouring country ensures its economic policy is transparent and complies with WTO rules.

–IANS

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Market Outlook: Monsoon, Budget & US GDP data key factors to watch this week

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Mumbai, June 23 (IANS) The outlook of the Indian markets will be guided by monsoon updates, any upcoming budget-related announcements, marco cues, and global factors like US GDP data this week.

Last week, Sensex and Nifty both posted minor gains of 0.20 per cent but it was the third consecutive week when benchmark indices closed with the gains.

On the Domestic front, key factors to watch will be the progress of the monsoon, FII, and DII fund flows, and crude oil prices.

On the global front, economic data like the US Q1 GDP data and the US core PCE price index will be released on June 27 and 28 respectively. The movement of the dollar index and US bond yields will be crucial.

Pravesh Gour, Senior Technical Analyst at Swastika Investmart said that this week, sector-specific movements are anticipated amid budget-related buzz.

“Key factors to watch include the progress of the monsoon, which will be closely monitored for its near-term impact on investor confidence,” he said.

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Arvinder Singh Nanda, Senior Vice President, of Master Capital Services said that in the Nifty index, consolidation persisted for last week, culminating in a weekly close with a minor gain of 35.50 points.

“Daily chart analysis indicates that Nifty has been consolidating within a broad range of 23,400 to 23,700, and this trend is likely to continue,” he said.

Pravesh Gour added that on the derivatives front, the long exposure of FIIs in index futures stands at 57 per cent, whereas the put-call ratio is sitting at the 1.04 mark, both of which point to a bullish tilt in the market.

–IANS

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Over $122 million embezzled by financial firms' workers over past 6 years in South Korea: Data

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Seoul, June 23 (IANS) Nearly 170 employees of banks and other financial firms embezzled around 180 billion won combined ($122.21 million) over the past six years in South Korea, but less than 10 per cent has been retrieved, data showed on Sunday.

According to the data from the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), a total of 168 officials from the country’s financial firms pocketed 178.92 billion won combined from 2018-2023.

The amount of stolen money came to 5.67 billion won in 2018 but surged to 15.69 billion won in 2021 and 82.76 billion won in 2022 before falling slightly to 64.26 billion won last year, reports Yonhap news agency.

But a mere 9.8 per cent, or 17.45 billion won of the total, has been redeemed, indicating that their embezzlement has caused damage to corporate profits and ultimately to customers.

In 2022, the FSS announced a set of measures to strengthen internal control, but critics have said that they are far from enough to prevent such cases.

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This year alone, 11 officials have been caught for pocketing 1.51 billion won combined, and 6.7 per cent of the amount has been retrieved, the data showed.

There have been renewed calls for stronger rules and supervision after a Woori Bank employee in his 30s was arrested earlier this month on charges of embezzling around 10 billion won by forging corporate documents.

The FSS is considering the introduction of a new law that holds CEOs of financial firms accountable for such embezzlement and similar crimes by their officials.

–IANS

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GST Council waives interest, penalty on notices to taxpayers under Section 73

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) As part of several taxpayer-friendly decisions, the GST Council on Saturday recommended the waiving of interest and penalty in cases of tax demand notices that have been sent under Section 73, of the GST Act, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said after the meeting.

“In the case of demand notices issued for 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, interest and penalty will be waived off, if tax is paid by March 31, 2025,” Nirmala Sitharaman said.

The GST Council has also recommended that the time limit to avail input tax credit in respect of any invoice or debit note under section 16(4) of the CGST Act filed up to the 30-11-2021 for the financial years 17-18, 18-19, 19-20 and 20-21 may be deemed to be 2011 to 2021.

So for the same requisite amendment retrospectively with effect from 1 July 2017, the Finance Minister said.

In order to reduce tax litigation which is expected to benefit both taxpayers and the government, the GST council recommended a minimum limit for filing appeals of Rs 20 lakh for the appellate tribunal, Rs 1 crore for the High Court and Rs 2 crore for the Supreme Court.

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In another taxpayer-friendly measure, the GST Council has decided to introduce Form GSTR 1A to enable taxpayers to add information they have missed when filing Form GSTR 1.

The new form can also be used to correct mistakes that they have made while filing their particulars in form GSTR 1.

–IANS

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Govt rolling out pan-India biometric authentication to prevent GST fraud

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council at its 53rd meeting on Saturday decided to roll out pan-India Aadhaar-based biometric authentication to check fake invoicing used to fraudulently claim input tax credit (ITC) by unscrupulous elements, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Two pilot projects for biometric authentication have already been carried out successfully and now the facility will be rolled out nationwide in a phased manner, the Finance Minister said at a press conference.

To facilitate GST registration, Aadhaar biometric authentication will become mandatory for new registrations across the country, she added.

“This will help us to combat fraudulent input tax credit claims made through fake invoices,” FM Sitharaman said.

FM Sitharaman also said that a Group of Ministers (GoM) for reationalising GST rates has been set up, which will submit a status report in the next meeting.

Bihar Deputy CM Samrat Choudhary will chair the GoM.

FM Sitharaman said that while a lot of decisions were taken at Saturday’s meeting, not all GST issues could be included in the agenda.

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The GST Council will meet again after the Budget Session of Parliament is over to take up these issues.

The meeting is likely to be held in mid-August, she added.

–IANS

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GST Council okays uniform 12 per cent GST on milk cans, cartons, water sprinklers

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The GST Council meeting held on Saturday recommended a uniform GST rate of 12 per cent on all milk cans whether they be made of steel, iron, or aluminum, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Milk cans will be governed by a standard measurement and not by the material they are made of, in order to avoid ambiguity, the Finance Minister said.

They are called milk cans but wherever they are used, that will be the rate applicable so that no disputes arise out of it, she added.

The council also recommended a uniform GST rate of 12 per cent on all carton boxes and cases of both corrugated and non-corrugated paper or paper board.

This will in particular help the apple growers of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

A uniform 12 per cent GST has also been recommended on all types of water sprinklers including fire water sprinklers, she added.

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–IANS

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