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The Union Cabinet has approved India’s Currency Swap Agreement with Japan. The $75-billion bilateral currency swap arrangement is a milestone in mutual economic cooperation and special strategic and global partnership between two countries.
Currency Swap Agreements
A Currency swap agreement is a foreign exchange agreement between two parties to exchange a given amount of one currency for another and, after a specified period of time, to give back the original amounts swapped.
How Currency Swap Agreement can benefit India?
The currency swap agreement can be beneficial to India in the following ways:
- The currency swap facilities make it easier for India to pay for its imports. This aids in addressing the challenge of depreciation.
- Since the Currency swap agreement involves trading in local currencies. Countries pay for imports and exports through their own currencies rather than involving a third country currency. This does away with the charges involved in multiple currency exchanges.
- The currency swap makes it easier to improve liquidity conditions.
- Currency swap agreements help in saving for a rainy day when the economy is not looking in good shape.
- The swap agreements also contribute towards stabilising the country’s balance of payments (BoP) position.
- The agreement aids in improving the confidence in the Indian market.
- Together with ensuring that the agreed amount of capital is available to India, it also brings down the cost of capital for Indian entities while accessing the foreign capital market.
The Currency Swap Agreement was concluded between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the summit level meeting at Yamanashi, Japan.
The GST Council meeting on January 10 has taken the following important decisions:
- The exemption limit for Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration has been increased to Rs 40 lakh from the current Rs 20 lakh to ease the cost of compliance for small taxpayers or micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
- This exemption limit has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh for North-Eastern and hilly states.
- The increased exemption limit of Rs 40 lakh is applicable for those businesses who deal in goods and also do intra-state trade and not for those who do inter-state transactions.
- The small States such as Puducherry which have a small assess base have been given the option to ‘opt in’ or move to a lower exemption and registration limit.
- The threshold limit for the compensation scheme under which small traders and businesses pay a 1 per cent tax based on turnover has been increased to Rs 1.5 crore. The dealer under the composition scheme cannot issue tax invoice because the dealer cannot charge tax from their customers. They need to pay the tax out of their own pocket. The dealer is required to issue the bill of supply.
- Service providers and suppliers of both goods and services up to a turnover of Rs 50 lakh would be eligible to opt for the GST composition scheme and pay a tax of 6 per cent.
- Kerala has been allowed to levy a 1 per cent calamity cess on the intra-state sale of goods and services for a period of up to two years to mobilise revenues to meet the cost of rehabilitating parts of states that were ravaged by floods.
- A seven-member group of ministers would be formed to address the differences of opinion emerged at the meeting on the issues like the issues related to the lottery.
These decisions would be beneficial for MSMEs, which were adversely affected after the introduction of GST.
Goods and Services Tax Council is a constitutional body for making recommendations to the Union and State Government on issues related to Goods and Service Tax. The GST Council is chaired by the Union Finance Minister and other members are the Union State Minister of Revenue or Finance and Ministers in-charge of Finance or Taxation of all the States.
Every decision of the Goods and Services Tax Council shall be taken by a majority of not less than three-fourths of the weighted votes of the members present and voting. The vote of the Central Government shall have the weightage of one-third of the total votes cast, and the votes of all the State Governments taken together shall have a weightage of two-thirds of the total votes cast, in that meeting.