The cost of supplying fertilisers has increased due to a hike in cost of feedstock/raw materials, rupee depreciation, capital cost, transport and so on The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has accorded the ex-post facto approval for special banking arrangement (SBA) for Rs 10,000 crore for payment of outstanding claims on account of fertiliser subsidy in the year 2016-17. It also approved that, in future, Department of Fertilisers (DoF) would avail the SBA with concurrence of Department of Expenditure (DoE). Faced with fertiliser subsidy arrears of around Rs 35,000 crore by end of financial year 2016-17, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers,  Ananth Kumar had in January, 2017 sought from the Finance Ministry SBA for Rs  20,000 crore. Against this, DoF...
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Anti-profiteering Authority: an unworkable mechanism

In mid-November, the Union Cabinet approved setting up of a National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) so as to ensure that the benefit of lower taxes reaches consumers. If a consumer feels that the reduction in the incidence of tax under GST is not being passed on, she can register a complaint with the authority. The anti-profiteering mechanism provides for setting up of a ‘screening committee’ at the state-level and a ‘standing committee’ at the national level. The complaints will be first sent to ‘screening/standing committee’, depending on whether it is of local nature or of national import. If the complaint has merit, the respective committee would refer the case for further investigation to the...
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Subsidy reforms: even Modi won’t take that risk

Recently, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal vehemently opposed the hike in fares for travel by Metro Rail and offered to share the financial burden equally with the Union government to ensure that commuters are not affected. About three years ago, he had decided to give heavily subsidised power to households consuming up to 400 units a month. Then, too, he vowed to bear its financial burden out of the state budget. Kejriwal is not alone in giving subsidies using taxpayers’ money. During the last five decades of governance – be it at the Centre or in the states – successive political establishments have built a super-structure of subsidies, such as on fertilisers, food, kerosene, LPG, irrigation, power, credit, seeds, etc....
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The Reserve Bank of India has yet again cautioned the Government against excessive public expenditure as it could lead to fiscal consolidation and prove to be inflationary In its fourth bi-monthly monetary policy review for the current year (announced on October 4), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept the policy rate (rate at which the central bank lends money to commercial banks) unchanged at 6.0 per cent. This has come as a rude shock to industries and businesses especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which were anxiously looking forward to a cut for giving a much-needed fillip to growth. The SMEs are at the core of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda for promoting growth, creating jobs and increasing income....
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NPAs: is the axe going to fall on the common man?

Under the erstwhile UPA dispensation, particularly during its second term, 2009-2014, public sector banks [PSBs] gave loans recklessly to corporate houses without assessing the viability of projects and conducting due diligence. Tens of thousands of crores were pumped into power, steel, telecommunications, textiles and infrastructure. In many cases, the ability of the projects or businesses to generate cash to service the loans was in doubt from day one. There was an element of ‘inevitability’ in such loans becoming non-performing assets (NPA). Indeed, these did become NPAs but were not recognised in the balance sheet as such. In 2015, the Reserve Bank of India, under its former governor Raghuram Rajan, ordered an asset quality review (AQR) of all banks to identify...
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Problems in the pharma sector must be tackled right at the source. Pharma multinational corporations must instill confidence about the veracity of their cost figures — whether low or high According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), it costs a company just $648 million on an average in research and development to bring a cancer drug to the market — a small fraction of the $2.7 billion, the pharmaceutical industry claims, is the average cost of drug discovery. The report further shows that within about four years of approval (no drug is allowed to be marketed without taking prior registration from national regulator under relevant jurisdiction), revenue from sale of the drugs studied was, on an average, nine-fold...
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Perhaps critics of the Modi Government are taking a very myopic view of demonetisation. The fact remains that note ban was an extraordinary step that was never attempted before anywhere in the world and has had far reaching socio-economic ramifications The suspense is finally over with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) annual report giving exact details on total value of high-denomination currency circulating in the system. It has given a clear picture about the notes that came back to the banking system and those which did not. As against Rs 1,544,000 crore  embodied in these notes as on November 8, 2016, Rs 1,528,000 crore came back, leaving a meager Rs 16,000 crore in the hands of the public. This is just about...
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