• As per a study, road building in India is cheapest in Asia after the Philippines. The other countries compared to India in the exercise are China, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Bangladesh.
  • It is also to be noted that the exercise would not be strictly comparable to account for differences in taxes and subsides that affect the construction sectors across various economies.
  •  Growth in the eight-industry core sector stood at 2.1 per cent in February 2019 against 1.5 per cent in January 2019 and 5.4 per cent in February 2018.
  • This is the fourth month in a row that the expansion in core sector activities rose below 4 per cent and seventh consecutive month to witness sub-5 per cent growth.
  • Growth in the eight-industry core sector along with moderate retail price inflation may prompt the Reserve Bank of India to cut the policy rate on Thursday.
  • The data will have impact on the index of industrial production (IIP) as 40 per cent of the index is accounted for by the core sector.
  • A reduction in the speed of industrial activity and the fear of a global economic slowdown led the Reserve Bank of India to cut the repo rate by 25 basis points in the monetary policy review scheduled on April 4. The repo rate is the rate at which the RBI provides funds to banks to overcome short-term liquidity mismatches.
  • A rate cut will definitely give a fillip to growth and also the RBI could indicate more cuts through a possible shift in stance/ policy statement.
  • Changes in taxation laws in two different sets come into effect from April 1, 2019. One set is related to income tax and the other to Goods and Services tax.
  • As per the announcement in the interim Budget, there is no change in the slab/rate of income-tax, but only in the rebate system. The new norms will be effected from the assessment year 2020-21 — that is, financial year 2019-20 beginning April 1. The rebate is available for those with a taxable income between ₹2.5 lakh and ₹5 lakh.
  • The new proposal will provide tax benefit to some 3 crore self-employed, small businessmen/traders, pensioners & senior citizens and over 3 crore salary earners and pensioners.
  • The new norm for exempting income tax on suggested rent on a second self-occupied house comes into effect from Monday.
  • Ongoing projects must decide by May 10 whether to continue with the old scheme or to shift to the new rates.
  • The Ministry has also clarified that input tax credit will first be utilised to pay the integrated tax, and any remaining amount can be used to pay Central and/or State/Union Territory tax in any order. This will benefit all industries.

• In the wake of rising demand from the power sector, the SECL was striving hard to extract coal in full throttle and crossed 150 million tonnes on March 20 and are already at 153 million tonnes.
• The South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL) has become the first company in the country to have crossed coal production figure of 150 million tonnes in a financial year.
• SECL has also touched the highest ever single day production of 7.44 lakh tonnes.
• SECL, the largest subsidiary of Coal India Ltd (CIL), contributes about a quarter of the dry fuel production for the holding company.

  • The rupee slipped 42 paise to end at 69.30 against the US dollar on Thursday.
  • This is the rupee’s second straight session of decline.
  • Most Asian currencies are struggling amid expectations of dovish monetary policy by central banks following a deteriorating global economic outlook.