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Former finance minister Chidambaram hits out at ‘anti-consumer’ Centre over fuel price

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NEW DELHI: Former finance minister P Chidambaram today termed the Modi government “anti-consumer” over record-high fuel prices and asked the government to bring them under the ambit of GST to provide relief to consumers.

In a series of tweets, the Congress leader also criticised the Centre over ONGC’s acquisition of the government’s stake in HPCL, saying it will have an impact on the fiscal deficit.

“Petrol and diesel prices have hit the roof. Govt continues to squeeze the consumers. Absolutely anti-consumer,” the former finance minister tweeted.

Chidambaram accused the government of squandering the windfall gains, reaped through “massive taxation” on petrol and diesel, in “wasteful expenditure”.

He wondered why the BJP was not providing relief to consumers by bringing these two petroleum products under GST.

Diesel prices have touched a record high of Rs 61.74 per litre and petrol prices have crossed Rs 71.18 per litre in Delhi as international oil rates continue to rally.

Expressing concern of overshooting the fiscal deficit target, Chidambaram said: “Govt cuts borrowing by Rs 30,000 crore, but ONGC will borrow Rs 30,000 crore to pay govt for HPCL shares. It has the same effect.” State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation yesterday announced an acquisition of government’s entire 51.11 percent stake in oil refiner HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore, paying a premium of over 10 percent.

Analysts and the market will add Rs 30,000 crore to the fiscal deficit, he added in another tweet.

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Union Budget 18| Know your Income Tax Slab for this year

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The Budget 2018-2019 was presented by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in the Parliament on Thursday.

Here’s is an explainer as to how much tax you will have to pay according to your annual income

Income Tax slab for senior citizens who are 60 years old and above (but less than 80 years)

Income Tax slab for senior citizens who are 80 years old and above

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India’s Richest 1% Cornered 73% Of Wealth Generated Last Year: Oxfam Survey

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DAVOS: The richest 1 per cent in India cornered 73 per cent of the wealth generated in the country last year, a new survey showed today, presenting a worrying picture of rising income inequality.

Besides, 67 crore Indians comprising the population’s poorest half saw their wealth rise by just 1 per cent, as per the survey released by the international rights group Oxfam hours before the start of the annual congregation of the rich and powerful from across the world in this resort town.

The situation appears even grimmer globally, where 82 per cent of the wealth generated last year worldwide went to the 1 per cent, while 3.7 billion people that account for the poorest half of population saw no increase in their wealth.

The annual Oxfam survey is keenly watched and is discussed in detail at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting where rising income and gender inequality is among the key talking points for the world leaders.

Last year’s survey had showed that India’s richest 1 per cent held a huge 58 per cent of the country’s total wealth higher than the global figure of about 50 per cent.

This year’s survey also showed that the wealth of India’s richest 1 per cent increased by over Rs. 20.9 lakh crore during 2017 — an amount equivalent to total budget of the central government in 2017-18, Oxfam India said.

The report titled ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’, Oxfam said, reveals how the global economy enables wealthy elite to accumulate vast wealth even as hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive on poverty pay.
“2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days. Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13 per cent a year since 2010 — six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 per cent,” it said.

In India, it will take 941 years for a minimum wage worker in rural India to earn what the top paid executive at a leading Indian garment firm earns in a year, the study found.

In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year, it added.

Citing results of the global survey of 120,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, Oxfam said it demonstrates a groundswell of support for action on inequality and nearly two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the WEF meeting in Davos, Oxfam India urged the Indian government to ensure that the country’s economy works for everyone and not just the fortunate few.

It asked the government to promote inclusive growth by encouraging labour-intensive sectors that will create more jobs; investing in agriculture; and effectively implementing the social protection schemes that exist.

Oxfam also sought sealing of the “leaking wealth bucket” by taking stringent measures against tax evasion and avoidance, imposing higher tax on super-rich and removing corporate tax breaks.

The survey respondents in countries like the US, UK and India also favoured 60 per cent pay cut for CEOs.

The key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions, Oxfam said, include erosion of workers’ rights; excessive influence of big business over government policymaking; and the relentless corporate drive to minimise costs in order to maximise returns to shareholders.

About India, it said the country added 17 new billionaires last year, taking the total number to 101. The Indian billionaires’ wealth increased to over Rs. 20.7 lakh crore — increasing during last year by Rs. 4.89 lakh crore, an amount sufficient to finance 85 per cent of the all states’ budget on health and education.

It also said India’s top 10 per cent of population holds 73 per cent of the wealth and 37 per cent of India’s billionaires have inherited family wealth. They control 51 per cent of the total wealth of billionaires in the country.

Oxfam India CEO Nisha Agrawal said it is alarming that the benefits of economic growth in India continue to concentrate in fewer hands.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. Those working hard, growing food for the country, building infrastructure, working in factories are struggling to fund their child’s education, buy medicines for family members and manage two meals a day. The growing divide undermines democracy and promotes corruption and cronyism,” she said.

The survey also showed that women workers often find themselves at the bottom of the heap and nine out of 10 billionaires are men.

In India, there are only four women billionaires and three of them inherited family wealth. “It would take around 17.5 days for the best paid executive at a top Indian garment company to earn what a minimum wage worker in rural India will earn in their lifetime (presuming 50 years at work),” Oxfam said.

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Government set to make company registration process more fast

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NEW DELHI: The government will soon bring in changes in the registration process for new companies to make it faster and more user-friendly, wherein applicants will be required to provide only “need-based” information, a senior official said.

Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas said that if only need-based information is taken from the applicants, then with minimal information the name of a company can be reserved.

“At that stage, it might not be necessary to give so many other details because name reservation might not lead to registration. Now, name is reserved for 20 days and earlier it was 60 days. Information should be need-based and need not increase the information burden on the applicants,” he told PTI.

A new name reservation service is being developed and is likely to be in place on January 26, according to information on the ministry’s website.

The ministry is implementing the Companies Act, among others.

About the Central Registration Centre, Srinivas said it has been successful and that the same could be extended for registration of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs).

“Very soon, we will bring out some changes, which will make the registration process a faster exercise and more user friendly. It will be comparable with best systems prevailing across the world,” he told PTI.

There are around 12 lakh active companies.

According to Srinivas, compliance rate would increase if cost and time required for compliance is reduced.

“If enforcement is effective, compliance will go up. This is where the whole focus should be,” he added.

On Friday, the ministry launched a corporate data portal, through which stakeholders can soon have customised data on corporates, including about independent directors.

PTI

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