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Kandla Port gets green nod to develop Rs 1,176 crore smart city

Oct 23, 2017

State-owned Kandla Port Trust has received environment clearance for setting up a Rs 1,176-crore smart industrial port city in KutchBSE 4.96 %, Gujarat, a senior official said. 
 
The proposal is to develop a smart industrial port city at two separate sites in Gandhidham which would house about 35,700 residential flats, schools and parks, and would generate jobs to more than 60,000 people. 
 
The Environment Ministry examined the Kandla Port's proposal and gave the final environment clearance for developing a smart city at two identified sites, a senior government official said. 
 
Separate proposals for the two sites were submitted and both have been cleared with some riders after taking into account the ministry's expert panel, the official said.
 
As per the proposal, one smart port city in 580 acres has been proposed at Adipur side on South of Tagore road, while the second site over an area of 850 acres is near KPT complex in Gandhidham.
 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



IGST refunds for exporters start, but at a slow pace

Oct 23, 2017

 
In some relief to exporters, tax officials have begun clearing pending refunds of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST), albeit at a slow pace.
 
According to official data, of the total IGST claim of Rs.753 crore in July, only Rs.132 crore were sanctioned for refund in the first 10 days.
 
The slow pace of IGST refunds is significant given that the GST Council, in its last meeting, had announced that all pending refunds for July and August would be cleared at the earliest — those for July would start by October 10 and for August by October 18. The issue has now been raised by the Finance Ministry as well as exporters, who have urged tax officials to expedite refunds.
 
The Board is according utmost priority to the early sanction of the remaining export claims, said Vanaja N Sarna, Chairperson, Central Board of Excise and Customs, in a recent letter to field formations, stressing that these must be cleared at the earliest. The matter is also understood to have been taken up by Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia in a recent review meeting with officials.
 
Adhia had earlier this month said that pending refunds to exporters would be cleared by November-end. About ?67,000 crore has been collected as IGST from which refunds to exporters are estimated at about Rs.2,000 crore for July and August. Exporters claim that the refund process is getting delayed at the field level. Data at major ports such as Chennai and JNPT show that refunds are low. There are technical glitches that are creating problems, said an industry expert.
 
According to Ajay Sahai, Director General and CEO of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations: The refunds are on the lower side of our estimates. We hope that all refunds for July and August will be cleared by the end of this month. Though there is no GST on exports, exporters have to pay IGST, which is refunded.
 
However, refunds were initially stalled due to procedural confusion, and exporters complained they were facing cash-flow problems. After a series of measures by the CBEC, a committee led by the Revenue Secretary also recommended some measures to the GST Council. Accordingly, the Council, in its meeting on October 6, relaxed norms for exporters.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Kharif crops in good condition; not hit by rains: Pattanayak

Oct 23, 2017

 
The harvest-ready kharif crops of this year are in good condition and have not been affected by recent heavy rains in some parts of the country, Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak said today.
 
The minor losses due to rains in the isolated pockets was factored in during the first projection made last month with respect to total kharif (summer) foodgrains output for the 2017-18 crop year (July-June), he said.
 
According to the first estimate, the kharif foodgrains output was likely to be lower at 134.67 mt in 2017-18 from 138.52 mt in the year-ago period.
 
The recent rains have not impacted the 2017-18 kharif output. The crops condition is very good in the entire country, Pattanayak told PTI.
 
The southwest monsoon has nearly gotten over. During the monsoon withdrawal phase, there were rains in isolated pockets but that has not impacted the harvest-ready crops, he said.
 
Harvesting of most kharif crops is underway. More than 10 mt of paddy has been harvested and brought to mandis in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh so far, accrding to the official data.
 
Farmers, who have harvested their crop, have started preparing fields for sowing of rabi (winter) crops.
 
Asked about rabi sowing, Pattanayak said: It will start this week. Rabi crop prospects are really good.
 
The Agriculture Ministry has kept a foodgrains production target of 137.55 mt for the rabi season of this year.
 
Wheat is the main crop besides pulses.
 
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Apeda to promote north eastern products in Bangladesh, Myanmar

Oct 23, 2017

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) has taken up a programme for the promotion of north eastern products in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
 
Apeda, an apex organisation under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, proposes to organise the programme in Bangladesh and Myanmar in association with the High Commission of India in Dhaka and its Embassy in Yangon, an official release said here.
 
The promotional event in Myanmar is proposed to be held in November and that in Dhaka and Sylhet in Bangladesh in the first week of December, the release said.
 
Export of Apeda scheduled products to Bangladesh during 2016-17 stood at $396.44 million. Major products exported to Bangladesh include rice, vegetables, fruits, wheat, maize, dairy products and pulses.
 
Export of Apeda scheduled products to Myanmar during 2016-17 stood at $24.15 million. The major products exported to Myanmar include rice, maize, cereal preparations, fruits, rice and vegetable seeds.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Basmati farmers in Punjab & Haryana rake it in

Oct 23, 2017

Low inventory and a fall in taxes on account of GST, coupled with rising exports, have helped basmati farmers in Punjab and Haryana to command a better price for their produce this season.
 
Even though the area under basmati rice was nearly 10 per cent less as compared to the last kharif season, the yield was better as more farmers decided to sow high-yielding varieties such as 1509 this time around, said All India Rice Exporters Association President Vijay Setia.
 
Basmati acreage down
 
As a result, arrivals in the mandis are good. Farmers are getting a good price this time around. This was because there were low carry-forward stocks and also because buyers were more aggressive as there was a misplaced perception the yield would be less as the total acreage under basmati rice cultivation was relatively low, he said.
 
According to a survey by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), basmati rice area in Haryana has come down 9.39 per cent to 6,52,000 hectares in the 2017 kharif season from 7,19,600 hectares in 2016.
 
Similarly, there was an 8.84 per cent reduction in the basmati area in Punjab, with the area coming down to 5,61,200 hectares.
 
The total basmati growing areas in seven States of north India came down by 7.92 per cent to 1.56 million hectares (mh) in the 2017 kharif season as compared to 1.69 mh, according to a recent report by Apeda.
 
Among the different basmati varieties, PB 1121 continued to be the most preferred one even though its area came down by 10.5 per cent to 1.1 mh. Pusa 1509, on the other hand, went up by 8.07 per cent to 1.29 lakh hectares.
 
According to Harpreet Singh Sidhu, General Manager Enforcement at the Punjab Mandi Board, total arrivals of basmati in mandis in the State stood at 1.86 lakh tonnes so far.
 
The total quantity of basmati rice traded in Haryana’s mandis till Monday was 86,741 tonnes, said a Haryana government official. Farmers, too, said they were happy with this year’s kharif yield.
 
I have received 24 quintals of basmati rice from my one-acre plot, said Rajinder Singh, a farmer in Rania, a small Haryana town 23 km away from Sirsa city. Singh chose to grow the short-duration, high-yielding 1509 variety, which accounts for most of the mandi arrivals.
 
High-yield varieties
 
Farmers who have opted for other varieties such as PB-1 and PB-1401 also seem to be content with the yield.
 
The harvest is planned after Diwali. The crop looks good and I expect the yield to be good, said Surdeep Singh of Ellenabad, a small town in Sirsa district that lies close to Haryana’s border with Rajasthan.
 
Most basmati varieties are commanding a good price, both traders as well as farmers agree. Surdeep Singh said he expects to get up to Rs.2,800/quintal for his produce.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Many issues on GSTN sorted, effort on to make it hassle free

Oct 23, 2017

Several issues around the GSTN portal have been addressed and efforts are on to make the filing smooth, the network's chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey said. 
 
In an interview, Pandey said a group of ministers (GoM) headed by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi reviews the functioning of the GST Network (GSTN) every fortnight to ensure that it is working smoothly. 
 
The GoM will meet next on October 28 to review the actions taken to make the filing of GST process smooth. This will be the third meeting of the GoM since it was constituted in September. 
 
Many of the issues which had arisen prior to the constitution of the GoM, have been addressed. The attention to these issues from government side is from a very high level. The CEO of InfosysBSE 1.12 % personally attends the GoM meeting. The objective is to make the return filing process very smooth, Pandey said. 
 
He said the GoM in the next meeting will decide on the future course of action with regard to the IT network. 
 
One review is what has been done and the other is what should be done in next two months so people do not face any difficulty. The GoM also looks into feedback from stakeholders, address issues in software system so that the whole system is hassle free, Pandey said. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



India eyes trade deals with Central American, Caribbean countries

Oct 23, 2017

India is looking to expand its trade footprint in America with initial discussions initiated in the government for a possible free trade agreement (FTA) with Caribbean and Central American countries and a logistics hub in PanamaBSE 0.24 % to help shipment of goods. The move comes with fresh overtures to Cuba, which is returning to the global mainstream. 
 
Sources told TOI that a plan for Indian logistics centres in Panama has been discussed internally. The Central American country is a major shipping and airline hub and the facility can be useful to encourage warehousing facilities to enable Indian goods to be delivered ‘just in time’ to companies in the region. 
 
 
Although it’s still in initial stages, a section in the Centre believes that it would be useful to explore a trade agreement with Carricom, the 15-nation trading bloc, along with a limited deal with the Central American countries, the sources said. While India had earlier tried to diversify its trade basket with a focused scheme for Latin America, the move has seen limited impact. The region’s share in India’s exports is less than 3%, with Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Columbia and Peru accounting for over 70% of this. 
 
 
Commerce & industry minister Suresh Prabhu is making a rare visit to Cuba, where India is a partner country for the Havana Trade Fair, and is due to meet his Cuban counterpart apart from trade ministers from Suriname, Barbados, Dominican Republic and Haiti, sources told TOI. He is also expected to meet Cuban president Raul Castro, and the first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party. He then goes to Panama, where a logistics hub — something that China has already done — expected to figure on the agenda. 
 
 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



India stiffens restrictions on trade with North Korea

Oct 23, 2017

India has put in place a stricter regime for trade with North Korea in line with the restrictions imposed by the United Nations 
 
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has come out with a notification to widen the prohibition on direct or indirect import and export from/to North Korea. 
 
The direct or on direct or indirect supply, sale, transfer or export of specified items to North Korea is prohibited, it said.
The items include condensates and n
 
 
The items include condensates and natural gas liquids, refined petroleum products and crude oil.
 
Similarly, direct or indirect procurement or imports of products including seafood, lead ore and textiles are facing restrictions.
 
 
The notification seeks to update the para 2.17 of the foreign trade policy (2015-20, on imports and exports to North Korea, to account for UNSC (United Nations Security Council) Resolutions..., it added.
 
The bilateral trade between India and North Korea declined to USD 133.43 million in 2016-17 from USD 198.78 million in the previous fiscal. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



India’s exports to Bangladesh bounce back, record 13% growth in FY17

Oct 23, 2017

 
After a subdued show for two consecutive years, India’s exports to Bangladesh reported a robust growth in 2016-17. The growth is attributed to a significant rise in export of equipment and high-value machinery for project implementation in Bangladesh.
 
According to the Commerce Ministry, exports to Bangladesh touched $6.8 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2017, recording 13 per cent growth. Total bilateral trade had hit an all-time high of $7.5 billion, up 11 per cent.
 
Bangladesh is the ninth largest importer of Indian goods. According to the Ministry, Indian exports increased by a modest 4.6 per cent ($6.4 billion) in 2014-15 and dropped by 6.4 per cent ($6.03 billion) in 2015-16.
 
Data confusion
There is, however, difference in trade data between India and Bangladesh. This is due to difference in accounting period (Bangladesh follows July to June accounting year) and difference in estimates between Bangladesh’s Bureau of Statistics and the central bank.
 
According to the Bureau of Statistics, Indian exports dipped in the two preceding years before reporting 16 per cent growth to $5.7 billion (converted from Bangladeshi Taka) during the 11-month period from July 2016 to May 2017.
 
All statistics, however, show Bangladesh witnessed a marginal dip in exports in 2016-17, after a five-year long growth spell between 2011-12 and 2015-16. While Indian exports meet 11-12 per cent of Bangladesh’s total import needs, India shares less than two per cent of Bangladesh’s export basket, which primarily includes ready-made garments.
 
According to Selim Raihan, Executive Director of South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM) and a professor of Dhaka University, India and Bangladesh are yet to optimise trade potential vis-a-vis the significant bilateral cooperation.
 
One of the major reasons behind is the poor and costly trade logistics. Nearly half of the total trade (in value terms) is routed through Petrapole-Benapole land border by costly road transport. The non-containerised road cargo undergoes repeated loading and unloading operations at the border.
 
To add to the woes, the border infrastructure is far from adequate especially on the Bangladeshi side leading to congestion. In a recent study, SANEM indicated that Indian export consignments wait for 17-20 days to complete the customs procedure at the Bangladeshi gate of Benapole.
 
Poor trade logistics is reducing the price competitiveness of both Indian and Bangladeshi exports. According to Raihan, capacity augmentation at Petrapole-Benapole can increase bilateral trade significantly.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Economy headed in right direction: Modi

Oct 23, 2017

The Indian economy's fundamentals are strong and the economy is headed in the right direction, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.
 
The Prime Minister said this at a public rally after dedicating a ferry service from Ghogha in Bhavnagar to Dahej in South Gujarat.
 
Despite strict initiatives, the country's economy is on track and in the right direction, Modi said.
 
He said the foreign exchange reserves had shot up from $30,000 crore to $40,000 crore.
 
Modi said many economists too were saying that the fundamentals of the country's economy were strong. He added that his government had taken several steps to boost the economy.
 
Modi said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had made transportation seamless, helping save thousands of crore as now trucks need not stop at tax booths.
 
A truck that used to take five days now takes three. So much money is being saved in fuel cost and even money going to corrupt hands. Tell me, will all those who used to benefit from the old system not get angry with Modi or not?
 
The Prime Minister again tried to pacify the trade and business community, stating that his government was not interested in retrospective inspection or audit of their business.
 
For the section that is coming into the mainstream with honesty, I want to assure them that no official would be given the right to harass them, he added.
    
Source: SME Time



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