Foodgrain production scales up :
The country is likely to achieve an all-time high foodgrains production of over 297 mn tn in 2020-21. This is the fifth consecutive year of record production, as per the government’s second advance estimate.
Estimated numbers are short of the target of 301 million ton production for 2020-21. However, there will be three more estimates left. And, the agriculture ministry is hopeful to meet the target before that.
India has recently achieved self-sufficiency in pulses. Its current agricultural policy is focused on raising oilseed's output. That will be a key parameter that the officials will be tracking once the final figures are out.
Current estimate suggests that India is likely to cross 34 mn tn of oilseed production this year. It will be higher than last year’s estimate of 33.4 million tonnes of production.
New directions for Housing Finance Companies:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced a slew of directions for housing finance companies (HFCs). These new measures are related to maintaining the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR), risk management, asset classification, and loan-to-value ratio.
As per the new rules, all HFCs with an asset size of Rs 10,000 crore will have to achieve a minimum liquidity coverage ratio of 50% by December 1, 2021. It will have to be 100% by December 1, 2025.
Non-deposit-taking HFCs with an asset size of more than Rs 5,000 crore and above, but less than Rs 10,000 crore will have to reach a minimum LCR of 30% by December 1, 2021, and 100% by December 1, 2025.
HFCs are also directed to maintain a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 50%
RBI has already announced its intention to create norms for NBFCs in line with banking regulations. This is surely a step in that direction.
New regulations will gradually shift NBFCs towards following banking-like norms. It will make NBFCs operationally strong and efficient to handle crisis-like situations.
A commitment from Prime Minister :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed the commitment to bring natural gas under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
When GST was implemented in July 2017, only five petro-products were kept out of its purview. They are petrol, diesel, crude oil, natural gas, and aviation turbine fuel (ATF). Since then, various industries have requested the government to include natural gas under the GST.
The Prime Minister also announced the plans to spend Rs 7.5 lakh crore in creating oil and gas infrastructure over five years. Further, city gas distribution network will be expanded to 407 districts.
It is vital to bring natural gas under GST to realize the Prime Minister's vision of creating a gas-based economy. It is crucial to increase the share of environment-friendly fuel in India's energy basket.
With natural gas being outside the ambit of GST, it attracts a host of legacy taxes - central excise duty, state VAT and central sales tax. It increases the cost of fuel in the hands of end-users. Bringing it under GST will help in reducing its prices and expand its reach to more consumers.
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