Rude Shock for Covishield
European Union has declined to issue visas to travellers vaccinated with Covishield produced in India. The EU is launching this pass from July 1 which will be mandatory to travel across Europe. It will restrict Indian travellers from entering Europe despite being vaccinated.
The development has come as a rude shock for Covishield. European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria vaccine. SII's Covishield is produced using the same technology. Yet, it has got a snub from the European agency.
The EMA in its defence has said that vaccines are biological products. And, even a tiny difference in manufacturing conditions can cause differences in the final product. Hence, despite its similarity with Vaxzevria, Covishield has not received automatic approval. It will require going through the EMA's set authorization process for approval.
Import Tax Relief for Palm Oil
The government has reduced basic customs duty on crude palm oil to 10% and refined palm oil to 37.5% with immediate effect.
Currently, crude palm oil attracts a 15% basic customs duty on imports. And it is 45% for all other categories. A reduction in import duty will help in increasing India's import of palm oils.
India is the world's leading vegetable oil buyer, its imports rose by 48% to 7,69,602 tonnes in May 2021.
Edible oil prices have more than doubled in the last one year where palm oil is the key raw material. By reducing the import duty on palm oil, the government is encouraging higher import of the commodity. It, in turn, is expected to reduce the cost of edible oils.
FM Stress on Increased Capital Expenditure
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has directed the ministries to aim for higher capital expenditure (capex). She even encouraged them to surpass the official targets set for this fiscal.
The FM highlighted this during the recent review meeting about the implementation of Budget announcements. The government has provided a capital outlay of Rs 5.54 lakh crore in the budget of FY22. It is 34.5% above the Budget Estimate of 2020-21.
Capital expenditure is the money that the government spends on building infrastructure and creating growth. It includes developing industries, improving health facilities, education, etc.
Capital expenditure assumes even higher significance in these times for the quick recovery of the economy. However, that alone may not be sufficient. Private capex also needs to revive for quick recovery in the economy. It has been stagnant in the country due to the slowdown in the economy even before the pandemic.