• The benchmark Sensex and Nifty hit new all-time high on Monday after favourable exit polls numbers projected for NDA government. Both indices surpassed their previous record highs touched on April 16. This is the biggest one-day gain in 10 years in point terms and the most since September 2013 in percentage terms.
  • With the Lok Sabha elections coming to a close, the hike in petrol and diesel prices in the coming days could range between ₹1 and ₹2 a litre. But the hikes are not expected to be steep, as globally, product and crude oil prices are expected to remain range bound.
  • On Monday (May 20, 2019), Indian rupee gained 48 paise to close at 69.74 against the US dollar due to favourable exit polls numbers projected for NDA government.
  • The exit poll numbers notwithstanding, intervention by Reserve Bank of India, global matters such as the US-China trade war and rising crude oil prices could keep the rupee from appreciating too much.
  •  The GST Council is likely to consider next month a proposal for setting up a national bench of the Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) to reconcile the contradictory orders on similar issues passed by AARs in different states, a move aimed at providing certainty to taxpayers.
  • It is said that a National Bench/ Regional Benches needs to be implanted in the quasi-judicial decision-making process of AAR so that decisions of the lower authority could be re-calibrated by a higher centralised authority freeing them from revenue bias and passing on relief of certainty by preserving a nation-wide single line of verdicts.
  •  India has registered trade deficit in 2018-19 with as many as 11 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member countries – including China, South Korea and Australia.
  • The RCEP bloc comprises 10 Asean group members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
  • India’s trade deficit with Brunei, Japan and Malaysia increased in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18. While Trade deficit with Australia, China, Indonesia, Korea, New Zealand and Thailand narrowed in the same period.
  • India had trade surplus with Cambodia, Myanmar and Philippines in 2018-19. But trade surplus with Singapore in 2017-18 has turned into deficit in 2018-19.
  • India did not carry out any trade with Laos in 2018-19.
  •  Industry body Association of Power Producers (APP) has urged the Finance Ministry to provide relief from double taxation on imported coal for the dry fuel-starved electricity generating firms.
  • APP has written to Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey seeking removal of Good and Services Tax (GST) on import freight for coal.
  • Power producers’ troubles have mounted since the GST regime came into effect in mid-2017. They are compelled to pay GST on import freight for coal even after paying tax on the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value of the imported dry fuel.