Maha relaxes norms for setting up Integrated Industrial Areas

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 14, 2018

To compete with neighbouring states such as Gujarat and Karnataka in attracting investment, the Maharashtra government today relaxed its norms for Integrated Industrial Areas (IIAs).

The state cabinet passed a resolution today, which said that states such as Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu woo industries by providing them more facilities, hence the government was taking this decision.

The cabinet decision comes ahead of the forthcoming ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ investor summit.

As per the decision, mandatory condition of having 40 hectares of land for setting up an IIA has been relaxed to 20 hectares.

The land utilisation ratio of industry to residential area has been revised from 60:40 to 80:20, which means more land would be available for industry, an official statement said. The cabinet also approved an integrated mega project to promote ayurveda industry, tourism and education with an investment over Rs 1,000 crore.

Pune-based Centre for Perfect Health has tied up with the Netherlands-based Global Country of World Peace for technical support for the project.

The project, spread over 264 acres, is expected to generate direct and indirect employment for over 5,000 people, official sources said.

It will have initial investment of Rs 500 crore, and involve production of ayurvedic medicines, medicinal oils, processing of organic food products, an ayurveda college and an integrated treatment centre among other things, stated the the cabinet decision.

The state has also decided to set up 11 special courts for Divyang (disabled persons), senior citizens and neglected communities in 11 cities/towns. Over 11,000 cases related to persons from these categories are pending currently.

Rs 4.78 crore have been sanctioned for this purpose. In another decision, the government permitted women employees in the state service to seek transfer to other revenue departments on the ground of ill-health of in-laws.

The state government today also decided to finance a film on the life 19th century social reformer Mahatma Phule. Production house for the film will be chosen through tendering.

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Govt may cap trade margins to control drug prices

Source: LiveMint.com, Feb 14, 2018

New Delhi: The government is planning to cap how much drug retailers and wholesalers can earn on medicines they sell in an effort to arrest rising drug prices.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has recommended an increase in trade margins, or what wholesalers and retailers earn on the sale of medicines, on all drugs with maximum retail price (MRP) above Rs2 per unit—i.e. per tablet, capsule, vial, tube, bottle, injection, etc.—while retaining it at the current level of 30% for those priced below Rs2, two people aware of the matter said.

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EPFO sells a portion of equity to maintain 8.65% interest rate

Source: LiveMint.com, Feb 12, 2018

New Delhi: India’s retirement fund manager, the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO), has booked a profit of over Rs1,000 crore by selling some of its equity investments to maintain interest rate at the same level as last fiscal, said two officials in the know.The move, which comes ahead of its annual interest rate declaration, may help EPFO offset relatively low returns from debt investments this year, two officials aware of the matter said.

If EPFO pays 8.65% this year, the same as last fiscal, it will be considered a net positive for subscribers in the current market situation, especially when other PF and small saving rates including Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Government Provident Fund (GPF) rates are going down.

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Govt redefines MSMEs based on annual revenue

Source: LiveMint.com, Feb 08, 2018

The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to redefine micro, small and medium enterprises, or MSMEs, based on their annual revenue, replacing the current definition that relies on self-declared investment on plant and machinery.

The move is expected to improve ease of doing business, avoid unnecessary inspections and at the same time enable the authorities to verify claims of businesses using the sales data they have from the GST Network, the company that processes goods and services tax (GST) returns.

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Government frames guidelines for food festivals

images.jpgSource: ETRetail.com, Feb 07, 2018

In an attempt to highlight the regional culinary experience, the government has created guidelines for organising safe and hygienic food festivals, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said on Tuesday.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, the Minister said the guidelines for declaration of clean street food hubs had been framed, including for upgrading the infrastructure of existing food streets of the country, to popularise and promote local and regional cuisines.

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Government doubles import duty on sugar to 100 per cent, hikes chana to 40 per cent

downloadSource: The Economic Times, Feb 06, 2018

NEW DELHI: The government today doubled import duty on sugar to 100 per cent and raised duty on chana to 40 per cent to protect domestic farmers.

At present, customs duty or import tax on sugar is 50 per cent and that on chana (chickpeas) is 30 per cent.

The move is aimed at curbing cheaper imports and ensure remunerative prices to domestic growers.

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GST: E-way bill system becomes mandatory for transporters

Source: Financial Express, Feb 01, 2018

After a fortnight of trial run, the crucial anti-evasion measure under the goods and services tax (GST), e-way bill, will become mandatory for transporters across the country from Thursday, 1st Feb. According to a steady-state estimate, 7-8 lakh such bills will be generated daily. Under the e-way bill system, every inter-state movement of goods with a value of over Rs 50,000 and being moved beyond 10 km, the transporter will have to generate an electronic bill on the designated portal. The bill will have the details of consignment, supplier and recipient, which is expected to help the tax department in verifying self-assessed tax returns filed by taxpayers. During the trial period that began from January 16, almost all states had come on board and the system generated 28.4 lakh bills till Tuesday. GST Network, the IT backbone for GST, saw 3.4 lakh e-way bills being generated on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »