• According to the International Monetary Fund, India’s growth premium over the emerging economies (EMs) will hit a seven-year low in 2019-20 (FY20) and an 18-year low against the developed economy, including the US.
  • India’s gross domestic product (GDP) at constant prices is expected to grow by 5% in FY20, against 3.9% growth in EMs in the calendar year (CY) 2019. India’s growth premium over EMs in FY20 is expected to be the lowest since 2012-13, when it had shrunk to 0.1%.
  • 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.