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GST Council Announces GST Rates

The GST Council headed by finance Minister Arun Jaitley has finalised tax rates and has approved all the seven rules for the GST regime that is scheduled to be implemented from July 1. The remaining two rules of the GST pertaining to transition and return is under the examination of the legal committee. In total, the council has fixed the rates of 1211 items. It will decide rates of some other items and services in the coming days.

Salient Highlights

  • Out of 1211 items, 81% of the items will attract tax of 18% or less. Only the remaining 19% of items will attract a highest rate of 28%
  • Household items like Sugar, Tea, Coffee and edible oil will attract 5% levy. Cereals and milk will be exempted from the tax.
  • Manufactured goods will attract 18% levy.
  • Luxury cars will attract 28% GST in addition to a cess of 15%. Small petrol cars will attract 28% GST plus a 1% cess, and diesel cars will be taxed at  28% plus 3% cess.
  • Capital goods, a key asset for the manufacturing sector, will be taxed at 28%.
  • Aerated drinks will fall under the 28% tax bracket.

Significance

The GST Council has not increased the overall tax in any of the 1211 items but have reduced tax on many items. For example, Soap, which is now taxed at the rate of 22-24%, will be taxed at 18%.

The present tax incidence in excess of 28% on luxury items will be treated as cess and will be deposited in the corpus for compensating states if they suffer any revenue loss. 

Food items are expected to become cheaper. Daily use items like hair oil, toothpaste, and soap are kept in the 18% tax slab instead of 28%.

The cost of energy generation is expected to become less as tax incidence on coal has been reduced from 11% to 5%.

GST regime is expected to unify the whole of the country into a common market eliminating both Central and State levies. Also, GST is expected to increase state and federal tax revenues, ease inflation and boost economic growth by 1-2% points in the medium term.

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Tata Group Named Country’s Most Valuable Brand in Brand Finance List

Brand finance in its 2017 report that lists India’s 100 most valuable brands has named Tata Group as the most valuable brand in India at an estimated brand value of $13.1 billion. Brand Finance is a global brand valuation and strategy consultancy firm. Tata Group has managed to top the list despite its brand value declining 4% from $13.7 billion in 2016.

As per the report, the total brand value of India’s top 100 brands have surged 15% in 2017 compared to the global average of 11%. Overall 68 of India’s 100 most valuable brands have registered growth in value this year.

Telecom operator Airtel at an estimated valuation of $7.7 billion has been ranked second in the list followed by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) with $6.8 billion.

IT firm Infosys and State Bank of India have been ranked fourth and fifth in the list with an estimated value of $6.2 billion and $5.5 billion respectively.

Backed by the addition of 35 new routes and increase in operations in the existing route, Indigo Airlines  jumped from No. 95 in 2016 to No. 62 in 2017 in the Brand Finance list.

Handset maker Micromax’s performance has suffered the most with its brand value dropping by 39% and fell to the 95th position in the list of top 100 brands.

Air carrier Indigo Airlines gained the most. Indigo jumped from No. 95 in 2016 to No. 62 in 2017 in the Brand Finance list.

The report has named ITC as the most powerful brand in the country. As per the report it is the country’s only AAA rated brand with a Brand Strength Index score of 86. 

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BSNL Signs MoU with Facebook and MobiKwik

BSNL has inked agreements with Facebook and MobiKwik in order to popularize the internet and its value added services among its customers. Further, BSNL has also signed a third MoU with Disney Land India to offer premium online gaming services to its mobile customers. The series of MoUs signed by BSNL comes at the backdrop of a stiff competition faced by BSNL from private telecom companies like Airtel and Reliance Jio.

Agreement with Facebook

As per the terms of agreement signed with Facebook, BSNL will facilitate connectivity for Facebook’s `Express Wi-Fi Program’. Express Wi-Fi service program of the Facebook has been launched commercially in India and the service is now available via 700 hotspots across four states of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya. Express Wi-Fi is a part of Facebook’s global initiative to expand internet connectivity. Express Wi-Fi” services will complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-cost, high bandwidth service allowing users to get online for accessing apps, downloading contents amongst other things at affordable rates.

Agreement with MobiKwik

As per the MoU signed with the digital payments firm Mobikwik, BSNL and MobiKwik will work together to create  a BSNL mobile wallet to facilitate payment for its products and services. The wallet will be made available exclusively to the customers of BSNL. In addition, MobiKwik will also facilitate digital sale of BSNL SIM cards through its app and website.

 

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