• The steel ministry will provide a detailed “formal view” to its commerce counterpart on the proposed mega free trade agreement RCEP after having a meeting with its stakeholders, a senior government official said.
  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is being negotiated by 16 countries, including 10 Asean members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam), India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, since November 2012.
  • Supply of coal to the power sector by CIL declined by 2.6% to 80.9 million tonnes in the first two months of FY20 . Coal imports have increased by 12.9% to 235.2 million tonnes in FY19 over 208.2 million tonnes in FY18.
  • CIL had supplied 83.1 million tonnes of coal in FY18(April-May). In May, coal despatched by CIL decreased by 4.9% to 40.6 million tonnes from 42.7 MT in May 2017-18.
  • Coal supply by SCCL also dropped by 2% to 9.4 million tonnes in 2018-19 (April-May) from 9.6 million tonnes in 2017-18(Apr-May).
  • Mr Mahendra Singhi, President of the Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) said that forthcoming budget should reflect a roadmap of how the government will implement and execute their policies.
  • “The government aims at making India a 5-trillion-dollar economy by 2024, what is the vision document. If this message comes in the budget as well, it will grow more confidence in the economy and the consumption and demand will increase,” said Mr Singhi, the MD and CEO of the Dalmia Cement (Bharat).
  • As the representative of CMA they look forward to some prominent steps towards fast-track infrastructure, sustainable imperatives for economic development and export led growth, for example GST exemptions.
  • The industry expectations from this budget are to facilitate ease of doing business and tax rationalisation to bring better level playing field. Singhi suggested the following:
    • Uniform levies on development of mineral bearing areas across the states through DMF and removal of any additional state-specific taxes
    • Common formula (based on royalty) across the states towards stamp duty charges on mining leases
    • Custom and trade duties on import/export of cement should be timely revised to ensure a level playing field for domestic cement companies to compete with global counterparts
    • Anti-dumping duty should be abolished or either capital subsidy be given to user using indigeneous solar panels
    • GST should be applicable at the rate of 5 per cent on all items required for setting up solar power plant like inverters, transformers, cables and so on
    • Waste Heat Recovery System (WHRS)/ Waste Heat Recovery Boiler (WHRB) should be treated as renewable energy sources and no electricity duty should be imposed on energy generated
  • As the Goods and Services Tax (GST) enters its third year, tax consultants and industry groups point to the imperative need to ease the complexity surrounding procedures, especially with regard to registration and return filing, in order to build on the gains of the past two years.
  • “In the third year of the GST regime, addressing procedural complexities of the GST portal system, implementation concerns and making compliance easier will further accelerate ease of doing business for industry in India,” said Mahendra Singhi, president of the Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA). “GST has been one of the proactive steps by the government and the way the concerns are addressed by the Council makes it one of the most effective mechanisms,” he added.
  •  In order to break India into top 50 in the global Ease of Doing Business ranking, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has proposed a series of reforms including reduction in licenses, simpler registration processes and removal of renewal requirements.
  • The proposals are the part of a draft cabinet note on a national policy on ease of doing business.
  • Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Hon’ble Piyush Goyal, reviewed the draft National Logistics Policy and proposed the action plan for implementation of the policy.
  • Hon’ble Piyush Goyal directed that all four Ministries must work in coordination with each other to bring down logistics cost of India’s GDP from present 14% to less than 10% by 2022.
  • He also said that a central scheme for cold chain across the country especially for fruits, vegetables and perishables may be the part of the action plan of the draft logistics policy to improve efficiency and reduce the loss in agri produce of farmers.