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Top 10 business headlines: RBI pauses on rate cut, GST slab raise & more

From RBI keeping rate cut unchanged, tough road for Subhash Chandra's Essel to Saudi Aramco raising $25.6 bn in largest-ever IPO, Business Standard brings you the top headlines of the day.

BS Web Team 

rbi, reserve bank of india
The central bank also said there should be no concept of “guaranteed bonuses” in the compensation plan

1. RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 5.15%, stance stays accommodative

The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday surprised markets by exercising a “temporary pause” on its interest rate, as it waits to get more clarity on inflation and government measures in the upcoming Budget in February, before re-engaging with the Centre on the “endeavour” of lifting growth. The six-member monetary policy committee, headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, voted unanimously to keep the policy repo rate unchanged at 5.15 per cent. Read More


2. Not in favour of scrapping consumer survey report: NSC's Bimal Kumar Roy

Cryptologist Bimal Kumar Roy, former director of Kolkata-based Indian Statistical Institute, took charge as chairman of the Statistical Commission at a time when questions were raised over the autonomy of statistical institutions. In his first interview after being appointed NSC chief, Roy speaks to Somesh Jha on the recent controversy over the government’s decision to scrap the consumer expenditure survey. Read More

3. 5% may be increased to 6%: Panel considering ways to boost revenue

The panel for shoring up muted goods and services tax collection is examining slab restructuring by increasing the 5 per cent rate to 6 per cent to begin with — a move that can result in additional revenues of Rs 1,000 crore per month. The 5 per cent slab covers essential commodities like basic clothing, footwear, and food items. The exercise assumes GST collection of Rs 1 trillion a month. According to the official data, the 5 per cent slab accounts for roughly 5 per cent of GST collection. Read More

4. quizzes senior officers over cancellation of Tata Trusts' registration

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has summoned senior officials who were till recently handling the case linked to the cancellation of Tata Trusts registration. The tax department is seeking explanation from these officials over the cancellation date to find out if there were lapses. Tata Trusts—the largest shareholder in the group’s holding company Tata Sons with a 66 per cent stake — had last month moved the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal to challenge the tax department order on cancelling the registration. Read More

5. Funds swindled by could be much higher than earlier estimates

The total amount borrowed by diamantaire — who was declared a fugitive economic offender by a special court here on Thursday — is much higher than the earlier estimates, said people aware of the forensic examination of the multi-billion-dollar fraud that hit Punjab Bank last year. He is the second Indian to be declared a fugitive economic offender, after liquor baron Vijay Mallya. PNB officials declined to specify the exact numbers of letters of undertaking issued to Modi, if all related records in their possession were shared with BDO India (which is conducting the forensic audit in the case), and the exact value of loans taken by him over nearly a decade. Read More

6. India’s air connectivity to small towns and villages struggles to take off

Only about a third of the 232 routes to connect 137 cities that have been awarded to airlines under the RCS program are currently operational, even as the government has launched a fourth round of bidding this week. But there is likely to be limited appetite for the airport offerings, not only because of poor infrastructure, including landing systems, but also challenging geography like hilly areas, airline officials told Mint on condition of anonymity. As things stand, the focus of the fourth round of RCS bidding will be to connect to priority areas like North East India, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, as well as hilly states in other parts of the country, and islands, reported Mint.

7. RBI's monetary policy spells more trouble for India Inc's earnings

Odds were in favour of a 25-basis-point reduction in repo rate. But when the Reserve Bank of India decided against it on Thursday, the stock market seemed to have taken it in its stride: Without losing much ground, the BSE Sensex closed almost flat at 40,779. According to Pankaj Pandey, head of ICICI Securities, an increase in inflation as spelt out in the RBI policy had somewhat been priced in. What gives some hope, explains Prabhudas Lilladher Chief Portfolio Manager Ajay Bodke, is “the monetary policy committee’s willingness to reduce rates in future if conditions warrant a reduction”. Read More

8. leads $60 million round in logistics startup Shadowfax

Walmart-owned has led a $60 million (about Rs 429 crore) investment round in logistics startup Shadowfax, as India’s largest online retailer looks to enable faster 2-hour delivery using a hyperlocal network and launch newer on-demand categories. The etailer has infused $35-$37 million in Shadowfax, sources said. Eight Roads Ventures, the venture capital arm of Fidelity, NGP Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Mirae Asset Naver Fund, and World Bank-backed International Finance Corporation (IFC) also participated in the Series D round, according to Economic Times.

9. Cash cows sold, cash guzzlers remain: Rocky ride ahead for Chandra's Essel

Essel Group, led by media mogul Subhash Chandra, is in for a rocky ride after losing control over two of its biggest cash cows — Zee Entertainment and Essel Propack. Both companies accounted for the bulk of the group companies combined post-tax profits last financial year and were debt-free on a net basis, unlike the rest, shows an analysis of its financials. Analysts say the group is now largely left with cash-guzzlers like Dish TV, Zee Media, Siti Networks, Shirpur Gold, and Essel Infraprojects. Read More

10. Saudi Aramco raises $25.6 billion in largest-ever IPO; surpasses Alibaba

Saudi Arabia's state oil company Aramco launched its initial stock offering on Thursday, pricing at the high end of the target range and raising $25.6 billion, two sources told AFP. The sum raised by the oil giant surpasses the $25 billion garnered by the Chinese online trading group Alibaba in 2014 when it entered Wall Street. The market debut also puts the Saudi oil behemoth's value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other corporate giants in the trillion-dollar club: Apple ($1.2 trillion), Microsoft and Alibaba ($1.1 trillion). Read More

First Published: Fri, December 06 2019. 08:28 IST
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