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Nepal, India discuss revising transit treaty

Apr 25, 2018

Nepalese and Indian officials began talks here on Tuesday to revise a Transit Treaty allowing a transit facility to Kathmandu through Indian waterways. A sub-committee level meeting under the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) kicked off in Kathmandu, reports Xinhua news agency. The commerce secretary level talks will start on Thursday.
 
During Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s visit to India from April 6 to 8, the two countries issued a joint statement on new connectivity through inland waterways, opening the door for Nepal to reach the sea through waterways for the first time. If Nepal establishes direct access to the sea through waterways, experts said that it would reduce the cost of doing trade for the land-locked Himalayan nation.
 
The two sides are going to discuss on technicalities of incorporating the issue in the Transit Treaty, Rabi Shankar Sainju, joint secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply, told Xinhua. As it is the first time that two sides are discussing on adding waterway as mode of transit facility, we will basically discuss and try to finalize the content to be incorporated in the Treaty.
 
According to Madhav Belbase, joint secretary at the Water and Energy Commission, Nepal and India might have to form a joint study team to conduct the procedure.
 
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Source: Financial Express



Govt presents humble millet in a different way; declares as nutri-cereals

Apr 25, 2018

The ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare has declared millets like jowar, bajra, ragi, and kutki as nutri-cereals, as per a recent notification.
 
This has been done since millets are considered to hold great potential in substantially contributing to food and nutritional security of the country and thus they are not only a powerhouse of nutrients, but are also climate-resilient crops and possess unique nutritional characteristics.
 
In view of these strong points, millets such as Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi/Mandua), Minor Millets i.e., Foxtail Millet (Kangani/Kakun), Proso Millet (Cheena), Kodo Millet (Kodo), Barnyard Millet (Sawa/Sanwa/ Jhangora), Little Millet (Kutki) and two Pseudo Millets (Black-wheat (Kuttu) and Amaranthus (Chaulai) which have high nutritive value as nutri-cereals with focus on production, consumption and trade.
 
Taking a positive note, Prerna Gupta, assistant professor, food technology & nutrition, Lovely Professional University, and a partner with Food Safety Knowledge Assimilation Network (FSKAN), a body under FSSAI, said, The decision of the Indian government to give special consideration to millets is highly appreciated and welcomed. Millets are generally categorised as under-utilised crops, having great nutritional significance.
 
She added, They possess high nutrient content which includes protein, essential fatty acids, dietary fibre, B-vitamins, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium. They help in rendering health benefits like reduction in blood sugar level (diabetes), blood pressure regulation, thyroid, cardiovascular and celiac diseases. Pseudocereal like buckwheat has beneficial nutraceutical properties and its gluten-free nature can play an important role in preventing celiac problem and the flour is also rich in lysine, iron, magnesium and copper as compared to wheat flour.
 
Gupta mentioned, Its starch content has an important role in the preparation of low glycemic index foods. Thus can be used as functional food in many food preparations. Most of the consumers are not aware of the great advantages that these cereals can provide and hence not using them. Now as the government has ranked and given special place to these crops, everyone will become more aware of their proper utility, especially the agricultural farmers as most of these crops are being used as animal food only.
 
The notification highlighted that according to a recent research findings, it is showed that millets contain anti-diabetic properties and millet-based food has low Glycemic Index (GI) and reduces the postprandial blood glucose level and glycosylated haemoglobin. To publicise the consumption of these cereals, the government has already decided to include millets in the Public Distribution System (PDS) with the objective of improving nutritional support of the country.
 
Food technologists have already understood the importance of these crops and has taken many initiatives to utilise these crops for food product development so that maximum benefits and advantages can be availed by the consumers. Some examples are pearl millet in bread and bun preparation, buckwheat biscuits and so on.
    
Source: FNB News



Good news for traders Single-page GST filing system to be ready in 3-6 months, confirms Finance Secretary

Apr 25, 2018

Union finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia today said the proposed new single page GST return filing system will be in place over the next three to six months that will ease the present problems. At the April 17 ministerial panel meeting decided to roll out a new simplified model for GST return filing system in single-page, as per which credit could be given on a provisional basis once the supplier uploads the sales invoice. Replying to a query on the leakages being reported in GST-1 and GST-3(b), the top finance ministry official said,we are checking GST-1 and GST-3b. It is coming to the fore that there is leakage and we will plug it.
 
There are leakages but there is no perfect matching until the new system gets in place. Within three to six months a new system will be in place, making the whole process smoother, he said. Adhia was in town to address the convocation of the 70th batch of the Indian Revenue Services at the National Academy of Direct Taxes.
 
The GST Council, headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state counterparts, last month discussed on two models of GST returns and suggested that the GoM would discuss further simplification. One of the models presented before the council was provisional credit should not be granted unless the taxpayers file returns and pay taxes.
 
The second model stated that provisional credit could be granted to a taxpayer, but returns have to be filed within 3-4 months and taxes have to be paid or else the credit amount would be reversed. The meeting decided that businesses would have to file only one return every month, instead of GSTR-1, 2 and 3 as was conceived earlier. Also there was unanimity that there would be no system based matching and purchaser would have to verify the invoice uploaded by the seller. The number of returns filed by both small and large taxpayers would be 12 in a year, in place of 36 at present.
 
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Source: Financial Express



Electronic trade among local mandis via e-NAM in the works

Apr 25, 2018

India plans to enable trades among its otherwise localised farm markets to enhance transparency in the sale and purchase of agricultural output, leveraging the electronic-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) platform that now hosts 585 large agri-mandis. 
 
The inter-mandi trade will facilitate more competition among trader and more choices to farmers, say agriculture ministry officials. In the past two years, more than 9.3 million farmers have sold 169.40 lakh tonne quantity farm produce worth Rs 43,050 crore through the e-NAM until April 19. Further, about 1lakh traders and 60,000 commission agents have been registered under e-NAM. 
 
We are trying to add 200 more mandis this year. Also, we want to improve the quality of transaction. By quality, we aim that we should start with inter-mandi trading and put logistics in place, said Shobhana K Pattanayak, secretary, department of agriculture, cooperation & farmers' welfare. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



First meeting on National Policy on E-commerce Tuesday

Apr 25, 2018

The first meeting of the think-tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce will be held on Tuesday, said the Commerce Ministry on Monday.
 
In an official release, the Commerce Ministry said that Suresh Prabhu, will chair the first meeting of the think tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce to be held on April 24.
 
Senior officers of the ministries/ departments of the Government of India involved in different aspects of e-commerce; high level representatives from the industry bodies, e-commerce companies, telecommunication companies and IT companies; Reserve Bank of India; and independent experts have been invited to participate in the meeting.
 
The think tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce has been established recently by the Department of Commerce.
 
The framework is expected to provide a credible forum for an inclusive and fact-based dialogue leading to recommendations for informed policy making, so that the country is adequately prepared to take advantage of the opportunities, and meet the challenges, that would arise from the next wave of advancements in digital economy.
 
The think tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce will seek to collectively deliberate on the challenges confronting India in the arena of digital economy with a view to developing recommendations for a comprehensive and overarching national policy on e-commerce.
 
Some of the issues that will be discussed by the think tank include the following aspects of e-commerce and digital economy: physical and digital infrastructure, regulatory regime, taxation policy, data flows, server localisation, intellectual property rights protection, FDI, technology flows, responding to disruptions in industrial organisation, need for skill development and trade-related aspects.
 
Developments on e-commerce at the WTO and evolving appropriate national position on the underlying issues, would be another important dimension of the discussions of the think tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce.
    
Source: SME Times



India may face pressure to cut duties on 90% of goods traded with China

Apr 25, 2018

India is likely to face greater pressure to eliminate duties on 90% of goods it trades with China under the mega trade agreement among 16 Asia Pacific countries that is in the works. 
 
Officials said that China, which has till now not aggressively pushed to fast track negotiations in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), has shown a new keenness to engage actively ahead of the next round of talks later this week, the first after it its trade standoff with the US. 
 
The talks are scheduled for April 28- May 8 in Singapore. The current situation can influence our negotiations. China looks keen to engage actively, said a government official. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Working with US to resolve all trade issues: Suresh Prabhu

Apr 25, 2018

In the backdrop of the US putting India on its currency monitoring list and deciding to review India’s eligibility to enjoy duty-free access for certain products under a tax benefit scheme, the Union commerce minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday said that the central government is actively working with the US to resolve all trade issues.
 
We have a special relation with the US, which is multi-faceted, multi dimensional and also very strategic. We are working with the US to address the trade issues, Prabhu said in New Delhi. On April 13, the US Treasury department put India on a monitoring list for alleged currency manipulation. Five countries — China, Germany, Japan, Korea and Switzerland — were already on the list. The US move and the higher rise in March trade deficit created nervousness in the foreign exchange market on Monday, with the rupee falling 29 paise against the US dollar to close at 65.49, a more than six-month low.
 
Prabhu said that over four million Indians are living in the US and it is one of the major markets for goods and services exports. In a situation like this, the US has taken certain unilateral actions. So we will follow the rules of WTO (World Trade Organization) as well as we will talk to them. We are completely in the control of situation, he added.
 
Based on the market access concerns it has with India, the US on April 13 announced eligibility review of India for the duty-free access under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The petitions filed by the US dairy industry and the US medical device industry requested a review of India’s GSP benefits, given Indian trade barriers affecting the US exports in those sectors. The acceptance of these petitions and the GSP self initiated review will result in one overall review of India’s compliance with the GSP market access criterion. Introduced in 1976, a wide range of industrial and agricultural products originating from certain developing countries are given preferential access — by removing import duties — to American markets under GSP. US Congress last month had voted to renew the GSP through 2020.
    
Source: Indian express



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