• The Indian rupee on June 11, 2019 recovered 21 paise to settle at 69.44 against the US dollar in line with strong Asian currencies and rally in domestic equities.
  • The Australian government is set to sign off on the groundwater management plan for the Adani Group’s Carmichael coal mine project. Adani Group is set to begin work on the $2-billion project, after fighting environment groups for close to a decade.
  • The coal mine will be connected to the Abbot Point port by a 388-km-long rail line, estimated to cost some $3.3 billion, for exporting the coal.
  • The proposed Carmichael mine will be constructed in the North Galilee Basin, more than 300 km from the Queensland coastline and approximately 160 km north-west of Clermont in regional Queensland.
  • The Carmichael mine will be one of 125 coal mines in Australia and in its first stage will produce 10 million tonnes of coal annually. The mine is only slightly larger than existing mines in the Hunter Valley and the Bowen Basin.
  • The Carmichael mine, through mining taxes and royalties, will generate billions of dollars for the government in its first 30 years of operation.
  • In a huge relief to engineering goods exporters and others that use steel to manufacture products, steel-makers like JSW, SAIL and Tata Steel have agreed to charge these bulk consumers the same price for the raw material at which they are exporting it to other countries.
  • The residential real estate market across the country saw a 43% year-on-year decline in launches in March. However, sales during the month saw a 10% increase on y-o-y.
  • The launches saw a decline in March amid the uncertainty over GST rates as well as the liquidity crisis.This has led to an overall fall of 6% y-o-y to 286 million sq feet in financial year 2019.
  • The real estate market on All-India basis recorded sales of 37.3 million sq ft in March 2019 and reached to 443 million sq ft  in FY19, registered an increase of 7% against FY18.
  • According to a report, declining launches and improving sales momentum have continued to aid the unsold inventory as the all-India inventory decreased on y-o-y in March 2019. The outstanding inventory is expected to be liquidated in 33 months from 40 months in March 2018.
  • Launches remained steady in the NCR region in comparison to other metros in March 19.
  • In Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), there was an overall fall in the launches. MMR has witnessed the sharpest decline in inventories among all the regions, even as the outstanding inventory remains the highest at 272 million sq ft in March 2019. This inventory is expected to be absorbed in 40 months, based on the prevailing past 12 months sales.
  • Several State governments are pitching for a further revision in the highest GST slab of 28% but the GST Council is unlikely to take a decision on this, as the Centre is cautious of the revenue implications of the move.
  • Two important items for which a rate cut to 18% has been sought are two wheelers and cement, for which the annual revenue impacts are seen to be Rs 8,400 crore and Rs 12,000 crore respectively.
  • For the Centre, which has seen a huge GST revenue shortfall of  Rs1.6 lakh crore (against the original Budget estimate) and has set a daunting target of Rs 1.14 lakh crore/month for 2019-20, rate cuts on these items are unaffordable.
  • Since November,2017, the Council has reduced the items in the 28% tax slab to about 30 from over 230 while also bringing several other items into lower slabs, the Centre has seen an estimated shortfall of Rs 80,000 crore a year in revenue due to this exercise.
  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) proposes to award 6,000-km highway projects in the current fiscal FY20. If achieved, this would be the second-best for the authority ever, in terms of project awards. In 2017-18, NHAI had awarded 7,400 km highway projects.
  • The authority had built 3,320 highways in 2018-19 and hopes to construct 4,500 km (12.32km/day) in 2019-20, proposing to clock over 35% growth.
  • A majority of the projects would be awarded through the hybrid annuity model (HAM) in 2019-20, in which the government contributes 40% of the project cost in phases throughout the construction period, a source said. Some banks are not still forthcoming to fund projects under HAM.
  • Apart from land acquisition, the increased cost of land acquisition and the civil construction cost are coming in the way of higher award and construction of highway projects, an official said.
  • Around 1,000 km of the targeted 7,400 km would be awarded through the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) route in the current fiscal Fy20.There would be efforts to award 600 km project through the traditional PPP model.
  • NHAI proposes to raise around Rs 75,000 crore debt in the current fiscal from National Small Savings Fund, masala bond and through tax-free bonds from the domestic fund.
  • The authority is projected to get around Rs 37,000 crore budgetary support in the current fiscal. It hopes to raise around Rs 9,000 crore by giving around 1,000 km of highways on long-term lease under the toll-operate-transfer (ToT) model.