• The domestic steel industry is seeking reduction in basic customs duty on key raw materials such as coking coal, pet coke, limestone and dolomite in the upcoming Budget.
  • The Centre has allowed direct port delivery (DPD) clients and authorised economic operators (AEO) to pay terminal handling charges (THC) directly to the port terminals in a move that drastically alters the way the levy is collected.
  • The move is expected to end years of tussle between shipping lines and importers/exporters over the issue.
  • According to the government data, India’s thermal coal imports fell for three straight months for the first time in over two years, as an economic slowdown stifled demand from industries such as cement and sponge iron.

Union minister Pralhad Joshi said the Centre will stop the “substitutable import” of coal in the next three to four years and can go for auction of 100 fully explored blocks.

  • Nuvoco Vistas, the Nirma Group’s cement division, has emerged as the frontrunner to acquire the Emami Group’s nine million tonne per annum cement business for Rs 5,500-6,000 crore enterprise value to consolidate its position in the east. It is said that the Nuvoco bid is likely to trump competing offers from top cement makers such as UltraTech, Star Cement and Ambuja.
  • The Centre is taking several measures to boost consumption in a bid to put the country’s economy on the growth path, said Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs.
  • India is said to be facing the dual problem of a growth slowdown and high inflation , driven primarily by higher food prices.
  • Industry is hoping Budget 2020 to announce measures to revive consumption and spur growth, particularly in manufacturing.