Business, Economy & Banking Current Affairs

GSTN reopens composition scheme window for small traders

The GST Network (GSTN) has reopened composition scheme window facility for small taxpayers with turnover of up to Rs.75 lakh to opt for composition scheme, which offers easy compliance for business as returns are to be filed only quarterly. The window will be open for those taxpayers who have migrated from earlier excise, service tax or VAT regime as well as for the newly registered taxpayers.

Earlier, small taxpayers were given time deadline of August 2017 to opt for composition scheme. But, only 10.86 lakh taxpayers, out of total 85 lakh registered businesses had opted for the scheme.

Background

The GST Council headed by Union Finance Ministry had decided to reopen window for allowing taxpayers to opt for scheme. Taxpayers who will opt for the composition scheme during the period will be given the facility from 1 October 2017. These taxpayers will be treated as normal taxpayer and will have to file monthly return.

About Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN)

GSTN is a not for profit, non-Government, private limited company incorporated in 2013. The Union Government holds 24.5% equity in GSTN. It has been set up primarily to provide IT infrastructure and services to the Central and State Governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

All States including two UTs (Delhi and Puducherry) and the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers (EC) together hold another 24.5%. Balance 51% equity is with non-Government financial institutions-HDFC Bank Ltd (10%), HDFC Ltd (10%), ICICI Bank Ltd (10%), NSE Strategic Investment Corporation Ltd (10%) and LIC Housing Finance Limited (11%).

The Revenue Model of GSTN after GST rollout will consist of User Charge to be paid by stakeholders who will use the system and thus it will be a self-sustaining organization.

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India’s Forex reserves cross $400 billion for first time

According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves have crossed $400 billion mark for the first time. The increase was due sharp rise in foreign currency assets.

India is now at sixth position in forex reserves ranking behind China (3,053 billion reserves), Japan ($1,188 billion), Switzerland ($743 billion), Saudi Arabia ($489 billion) and Taiwan ($441 billion).

Components

The Foreign exchange reserves act as buffer to be used in challenging times. The components of India’s FOREX Reserves include: Foreign currency assets (FCAs), Gold, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and RBI’s Reserve position with International Monetary Fund (IMF). FCAs constitute largest component of the Forex Reserves.

Key Facts

According to RBI, foreign currency assets were $376.20 billion, gold reserves at $20.69 billion, SDRs of $ 1.52 billion and $2.30 billion reserves in IMF.

The main reasons for rise in Forex Reserves are sharp increase in foreign currency assets, mainly huge inflows through foreign direct investments (FDI) in projects and portfolio investments. Foreign investors have pumped in Rs. around $ 6.7 billion in stocks and $20.55 billion in debt instruments in 2017.

It has resulted in strengthening of rupee 6% this year, making it best performer currency among major emerging economies. The rupee had slumped to 68.86 in November 2016 before recovering but now it is 64.09 to the dollar.

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