Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm Mall gear up for upcoming festive sales

This year’s Diwali sale is expected to offer big discounts across e-commerce platforms such as Paytm, Flipkart and Amazon.

Online shopping platforms are gearing up for a windfall this festive season by rolling out their flagship sales.

This year’s Diwali sale is expected to offer bigger discounts across e-commerce platforms such as Paytm, Flipkart and Amazon. Many other e-retailers are also planning major sales ahead of the festive season.

Most e-commerce firms have tied-up with major brands and sellers to give shoppers major discounts.

Here’s what the e-commerce giants are up to:

Flipkart

The Bengaluru-based online retailer’s  annual festive season sale  ‘Big Billion Days’ will happen between September 20 and September 24.

The sale will offer up to 90 percent off on products across all categories. This year, the Big Billion Days sale will also host consumer financing programs such as ‘no cost EMI’, product exchange, will include buy back guarantee and ‘buy now, pay later’ option along with special offers for State Bank of India (SBI) debit and credit card holders.

Flipkart for the first time will also offer consumers the option to choose EMIs on debit cards across top banks in the country.

The sale will collide with ShopClues’ “Maha Bharat Diwali Sale” that is slated to happen between September 21 and September 28.

Amazon

While the dates of Amazon India’s festive sale are not confirmed yet, a report in The Economic Times suggests that the ‘Great Indian Festival Sale’ is expected to start and end a day prior to or after Flipkart’s sale.

Amazon India has almost doubled its warehouse capacity at 13 million cubic feet after taking the number of warehouses to 41, across the country. The company expects the 41 fulfillment centres to help in quicker storage and distribution during the Diwali sale.

Paytm

Paytm Mall, the e-commerce arm of mobile wallet firm Paytm on Wednesday announced that it will spend Rs 100 crore specifically on media campaigns ahead of the Diwali sale.

Earlier this week, Paytm had announced a budget of Rs 1,000 crore for marketing, cash backs and promotions during the festive season.

Finance Minister considering auto makers concern on hike in GST cess: Minister

Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW were unanimous that increase in cess on large, luxury cars and SUVs that had become cheaper after GST rollout would dampen the spirits of the industry across the entire value chain.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is “seriously” considering the demand of automobile manufacturers which have raised concerns over rise in cess on luxury vehicles, Union Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete said today.

“We have requested the finance minister (on the cess issue). Industry has given its memorandum and we have forwarded that to the finance minister and he is seriously considering that,” Geete told reporters here.

He was speaking on the sidelines of SIAM’s 57th annual convention. Luxury vehicle manufacturers have hit out at the move to hike cess on large cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) to 25 per cent, saying it was against the spirit of liberal market dynamics and would affect future plans of expansion under Make in India initiative.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW were unanimous that increase in cess on large, luxury cars and SUVs that had become cheaper after GST rollout would dampen the spirits of the industry across the entire value chain.

The companies also stated that a constant shift in policy makes long-term planning for the market highly risky, and it would only have an adverse impact on India’s financial ratings.

The government has notified hike in GST cess on a range of cars from mid-size to hybrid variant to luxury ones to a maximum of 25 per cent, from earlier 15 per cent. The Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister also said that the ministry has given six months extension to FAME India Scheme [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles in India].

“We are promoting hybrid and electric cars … The main cost of electric car is lithium battery, so we trying to see how we can cut the battery price,” he told reporters.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the event, the minister said that the government is committed to supporting the sector in all possible way. He said that the sector is moving from BS-IV to BS-VI emission norms. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that the auto sector, which provides 13 million jobs and accounts for 49 per cent of manufacturing, plays a critical role in the country’s growth and development.

“Therefore I am great believer that the policy regime has to be predictable, it must be consistent and there must be a clarity … and government and courts must keep them at arms length,” he said.

Kant said that there will be huge disruptions in this sector in the coming 15 years. “We must be able to bring the electric vehicle (EV) mobility to India much quicker and faster. We must be able to make EV component manufacturing infrastructure, we must be able to leverage India’s renewable energy mission and we must make India a centre for EV export,” he added.

Kant said that India has a low per capita car ownership at 20 vehicles per 1,000 citizens as compared to 800 per 1,000 in the US and 85 per 1,000 in China. This gives India an unique opportunity to pursue a very different model of growth in this sector, he added. Kant said that there are several challenges to the sector which includes indigenous battery production and pushing India towards zero emission.

India tried to get the ‘black money’ out of its banking system – it ended up doing the opposite

The Reserve Bank of India said in its annual report on Aug. 30 that 99 percent, or around 15.28 trillion rupees ($238.7 billion), of the demonetized 500- and 1,000-rupee notes were deposited or exchanged for new currency. That figure suggests that most people — including corrupt officials, businessmen and criminals said to have hoarded their illicit wealth in cash — have managed to preserve their fortunes.

India’s surprise move to ban several bank notes last November — aimed at rooting out illicit cash — appeared to have achieved the opposite of its intended goal, according to a report from the country’s central bank.

The Reserve Bank of India said in its annual report on Aug. 30 that 99 percent, or around 15.28 trillion rupees ($238.7 billion), of the demonetized 500- and 1,000-rupee notes were deposited or exchanged for new currency. That figure suggests that most people — including corrupt officials, businessmen and criminals said to have hoarded their illicit wealth in cash — have managed to preserve their fortunes.

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reportedly told a conference in New Delhi that illegal money had indeed found its way into the banking system, but said authorities are investigating 1.8 million bank accounts and 200 individuals to identify and tax that “black money.”

Opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi were quick to jump on the RBI’s findings as proof that demonetization had failed. For one, former Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram asked on Twitter if the whole effort had been a laundering scheme.

“Critics have presented this as overwhelming evidence that demonetisation failed in its stated aim of clamping down on illicit wealth, known colloquially as ‘black money,’” Shilan Shah, India economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a Wednesday note.

“After all, the rationale was that demonetisation would penalise those storing illicit cash as they would be unable to declare it,” he added.

A report by the Financial Times said complex money-laundering networks sprang up in Asia’s third-largest economy after the demonetization scheme was announced. Wealthy individuals, attempting to evade tax authorities, sold the banned notes at a discount to brokers who dispatched low-income Indians to deposit or exchange them at banks.

Others turned to friends and relatives to help channel their undeclared cash into the banking system.

Has demonetization done more harm than good?

More than allowing illicit money to be laundered, India’s demonetization exercise did not result in any direct fiscal benefit to the government, Nomura analysts wrote in a note last week.

The RBI’s annual report showed its dividend paid to the government fell 53 percent to 307 billion rupees ($4.8 billion) in the last fiscal year, partly due to a sharp rise in expenditure as the central bank spent more on printing new notes to replace the banned ones.

“To recoup this will require additional belt tightening by the central government as it has already front-loaded some of its spending,” the Nomura analysts said.

The economy was also affected by the shortage of cash. Growth slowed to 6.1 percent in the first quarter and moderated further to 5.7 percent in the subsequent three months, official statistics showed. Before demonetization, India registered a 7.5 percent expansion in the third quarter of 2016.

But not all is lost, analysts said. The move has had “secondary benefits” of encouraging higher due diligence, widening the tax base and boosting digital transactions, DBS economist Radhika Rao said.

Capital Economics’ Shah added that the scheme appeared to be a political success for the Modi government.

“After all, the measures enabled PM Modi to demonstrate in a very visible way his commitment to fighting corruption and black money (even though they proved to be a failure). This helped the ruling BJP to secure major victories in state elections earlier this year,” he wrote. “In turn, this has eased the passage of economic reforms.”

Yogi Adityanath govt cracks down on builders and real estate majors: 13 cases registered

The action was taken after flat buyers had put forward their grievances at a function attended by ministers on Thursday

The Yogi Adityanath-led UP government has started to take action against builders and real estate majors against whom cases had been registered.

The Noida Police have registered cases against 13 project directors for allegedly cheating flat buyers, an official said.

The action was taken after flat buyers had put forward their grievances at a function attended by ministers on Thursday. The buyers had alleged that the builders had cheated them after which ministers launched a probe into the matter.

Nine cases have been registered against Amrapali Builders, one against Supertech Builders and three against others, the PRO of the Senior Superintendent of Police, Prabhat Dikshit said.

“Flat buyers had put their grievances at a function attended by some ministers on Thursday. They had alleged that they had been cheated by the builders,” the officer said.

This is not the first time that builders in Noida and Greater Noida have gone in the news for the wrong reasons.

Earlier, IDBI Bank had filed an insolvency plea in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) after Jaypee Infratech defaulted on a loan of around Rs 526 crore.

Although the company had claimed it had enough assets to pay the loan back, IDBI went ahead and filed the plea.

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the insolvency proceedings against Jaypee Infratech filed by homebuyers.

According to the PRO of the Senior Superintendent of Police, the ministers had told the police to probe the matter.

On the complaint of the buyers, the cases were lodged against the companies, he said.

The police have started investigating the matter.

SC stays insolvency proceedings against Jaypee Infratech before NCLT

Around 32,000 homebuyers, who have not yet been given their flats as promised by Jaypee especially in the Delhi NCR region, face uncertainty over their investment in housing projects by the insolvency order

The Supreme Court Monday stayed the insolvency proceedings against Jaypee Infratech, ruling in favour of a petition filed by homebuyers.

It has also issued notice to the Finance Ministry, Jaypee Infratech, Reserve Bank of India and the Uttar Pradesh Government. In addition, a notice has also been sent to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and IDBI Bank.

IDBI Bank had moved National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for insolvency proceedings against Jaypee Infratech for default of a loan of about Rs 526 crore.

A public interest litigation was filed by homebuyers seeking a stay order on  (NCLT) insolvency proceedings against the defaulting company.

The petitioners claimed that around 32,000 homebuyers, who have not yet been given their flats as promised by Jaypee especially in the Delhi NCR region, face uncertainty over their investment in housing projects by the insolvency order.

The apex court will now hear the homebuyers’ plea in the case on October 10.

Homebuyers who had invested in Jaypee’s residential projects have been put through the grind of late with a number of changes that have been at best confusing. At the heart of their confusion lies the forms which are available for homebuyers to file their claims.  In addition to an earlier form, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India has introduced another form.

Last month, the Allahabad bench of the NCLT passed an order starting insolvency proceedings against Jaypee Infratech, a subsidiary of Jaiprakash Associates.

As per reports, the lawyer on behalf of the petitioners argued that the NCLT order has put the homebuyers in a disadvantaged position as the order required them to fill up certain forms which will stop them from moving consumer courts. The lawyer also said the homebuyers are worried about their investments in the company’s projects.

The buyers have also asked for a forensic audit of Jaypee Infra and its holding company Jaiprakash Associates to evaluate the magnitude of their bankruptcy.

Buyers of Jaypee’s flats were thrown off guard by recent developments. To make matters worse, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) introduced a new form to file claims.

PM Narendra Modi’s Rs 5.5 lakh crore river-linking project set to take off

The mammoth plan entails linking nearly 60 rivers, including the mighty Ganges, which the government hopes will cut farmers’ dependence on fickle monsoon rains by bringing millions of hectares of cultivatable land under irrigation.

After years of foot-dragging the Centre will begin work in around a month on a Rs 5.5 lakh crore scheme to connect some of the country’s biggest rivers, government sources say, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi bets on the ambitious project to end deadly floods and droughts.

The mammoth plan entails linking nearly 60 rivers, including the mighty Ganges, which the government hopes will cut farmers’ dependence on fickle monsoon rains by bringing millions of hectares of cultivatable land under irrigation.

In recent weeks, parts of India and neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal have been hit by the worst monsoon floods in years, following two years of poor rainfall.

Modi has personally pushed through clearances for the first phase of the project – which would also generate thousands of megawatts of electricity – the sources say, despite opposition from environmentalists, tiger lovers and a former royal family.

That will involve construction of a dam on the Ken river, also known as the Karnavati, in north-central India and a 22-km (14-mile) canal connecting it to the shallow Betwa.

Both rivers flow through vast swathes of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh states, ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the prime minister hopes the Ken-Betwa scheme will set a template for other proposed river interlinking projects, one of the sources said.

“We have got clearances in record time, with the last round of clearances coming in only this year,” Sanjeev Balyan, the junior water resources minister, told Reuters. “The Ken-Betwa interlinking tops the priority list of the government.”

Government officials say diverting water from bounteous rivers such as the Ganges, Godavari and Mahanadi to sparse waterways by building a clutch of dams and a network of canals is the only solution to floods and droughts.

But some experts say India would be better off investing in water conservation and better farm practices. Environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts have also warned of ecological damage.

BJP STATES FIRST

The 425-km (265-mile) Ken flows through a tiger reserve nestled in a verdant valley. The government plans to clear out 6.5 percent of the forest reserve to build the dam, relocating nearly 2,000 families from 10 remote villages.

Around half a dozen clearances, including on environmental and forest protection, have been obtained for the scheme to link the Ken and Betwa, according to two sources and documents seen by Reuters.

Modi’s cabinet is likely to give its final go-ahead for the project within a couple of weeks, sources say, after which he will flag off construction at the site about 805 km (500 miles) from New Delhi, currently marked only by rows of red concrete slabs placed on the ground.

The government is also finishing up paperwork on projects in western India linking the Par-Tapi with the Narmada and the Daman Ganga with the Pinjal. The projects involve Modi’s home state of Gujarat and neighbouring Maharashtra, which includes Mumbai, both also ruled by the BJP.

The river-linking projects was first proposed in 2002 by the last BJP-led government. Work stalled because state governments sparred over water sharing contracts and clearances got stuck in India’s notoriously ponderous bureaucracy.

This time, officials hope starting with projects that are all in BJP-ruled states will smooth negotiations.

Modi’s government is touting the linking of rivers as a panacea to the floods and droughts that plague the country every year, killing hundreds of poor people and withering crops.

Large areas of eastern and north-eastern states are reeling under floods in which hundreds have died, while torrential rain also brought the commercial capital Mumbai to a standstill this week. Tamil Nadu, in contrast, recently rationed drinking water due to drought.

Not everyone is convinced the projects should be the priority, however.

“Theoretically we can’t find fault with the plan,” said Ashok Gulati, a farm economist who has advised governments. “But spending billions of dollars in a country which wastes more water than it produces, it makes more sense to first focus on water conservation.”

India, which has 18 percent of the world’s population but only 4 percent of the usable water resources, perversely gives incentives to produce and export thirsty crops such as rice and sugar cane.

TIGERS, VULTURES AND CANYONS

The proposed 77-metre high (250-ft), 2-km long dam on the Ken River will submerge 9,000 hectares of mostly forest land. A big portion will come from the Panna Tiger Reserve, near the UNESCO world heritage site of Khajuraho Temple in Madhya Pradesh.

The forest reserve, a major tourist attraction, is home to 30-35 tigers and nearly 500 vultures.

“Building a dam in a reserve forest is an invitation to a grave environmental disaster,” said Shyamendra Singh, the scion of the Maharajas who ruled a princely state near Panna during the British colonial era. “It will lead to floods in the forest and drought in the downstream.”

Authorities say they have planned for the safety of tigers and vultures.

People in Daudhan village, not very far from the Gangau dam built by the British in 1915, are ambivalent. With no access to electricity and other basic services, they want more information on what they will get in return for being displaced.

“We never got to see electricity in our village,” said village elder Munna Yadav, gesticulating towards the Ken flowing a few metres from his thatched cottage. “If our children get to move out of this area and if the dam benefits everyone, we’ll not oppose it.”

Deadline for declaring Aadhaar for welfare schemes extended to December 31

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would hear a batch of petitions on Aadhaar-related matters in November.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would hear a batch of petitions on Aadhaar-related matters in November after the Centre informed that it will extend till December 31 the deadline to furnish Aaadhar to avail benefits of social welfare schemes.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said there was no urgency to hear the matter after Attorney General KK Venugopal told the bench that the Centre will extend the September 30 deadline.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing various petitioners, mentioned the matter before the bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar and sought early hearing on the batch of petitions which have also challenged the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes.

When Divan referred to the deadline of September 30, Venugopal said, “We (Centre) will extend it to December 31″.

“The urgency is not there. It will be listed in the first week of November,” the bench said.

A three-judge bench had on July 7 said that all issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by a larger bench.

Later on July 12, the apex court said that its five-judge Constitution Bench will hear matters relating to Aadhaar, including the aspect of right to privacy.

The five-judge bench on July 18 had constituted a nine- judge bench to decide on right to privacy.

A nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court had on August 24, declared the Right to privacy as a Fundamental right saying it is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.

The apex court was heraing three separate petitions challeing government’s notification making Adhaar mandatory for availing benifits of various social schemes.

Founders may sell some stake through Rs 13,000 cr Infosys buyback

The promoters’ keenness to participate in the buyback comes within days of a silent coup by founders led by N R Narayana Murthy to seize control of India’s second-biggest software services firm.

Infosys founders are likely to sell some of their stake in the company’s Rs 13,000-crore share buyback programme, the company said today.

The promoters’ keenness to participate in the buyback comes within days of a silent coup by founders led by N R Narayana Murthy to seize control of India’s second-biggest software services firm.

The founders and their families between them hold some 12.75 per cent (29.28 crore shares) of Infosys. Murthy declined to comment on if he would participate in the buyback.

The buyback price of Rs 1,150 is higher than the current stock trading price of Rs 941.15 and is considered “reasonably good” by the firm’s former CFO V Balakrishnan.

Founded in 1981 by seven engineers – all former employees of Patni Computer Systems – with an initial capital of USD 250, Infosys today has grown into over USD 10 billion company.

“In terms of buyback regulations, under the tender offer route, the promoters have the option to participate in the buyback. We would like to inform… that some of the members of the promoter and promoters group of the company have communicated their intention to participate in the proposed buyback,” Infosys said in a BSE filing.

The company, however, did not give details.

The announcement comes days after an upheaval at the Infosys board, which first saw the company’s first non-founder CEO Vishal Sikka quit citing slander by founders. Over the next few days, Murthy-and-Co installed fellow founder Nandan Nilekani as the Chairman.

Infosys has said the buyback is subject to approval of shareholders through a special resolution and the announcement on the modalities such as process and timeline will be “released in due course”.

On August 19, a day after Sikka’s resignation, the then Infosys board approved the share buyback plan of up to Rs 13,000 crore to reward shareholders.

The company plans to buy back 11.3 crore shares at Rs 1,150 apiece. Infosys’ first-ever buyback is second only in terms of size to the Rs 16,000 crore share repurchase by its bigger rival Tata Consultancy Services(TCS) announced in April this year.

NITI Aayog proposes removal of agriculture commodities from Essential Commodities Act

This will lead to shifting towards organized trading by removing stock restrictions.

NITI Aayog has proposed to remove all agricultural commodities from the Essential Commodities Act, reports the Economic Times.

This will lead to shifting towards organised trading by removing stock restrictions. With this, a smaller number of traders with sufficient capital will be able to have an upper-hand in the market. This will help in reduction of costs and prices, bring economies of scale and increase returns for farmers.

Sources told ET that this proposal has already been discussed with the Centre and it is likely for the Centre to reach out to the states for enabling this provision after consulting with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

An official told ET  that the think tank is of the view that by organised trading, the removal of agriculture commodities from the Act will “improve scale and logistics benefit and bring about more capital into trade with a handful of big traders competing with each other.”

With rules and stock limits frequently changing, traders are not incentivised to invest in a better storage infrastructure.

Also, stock limits cut functioning of food processing industries. These need to maintain underlying commodities in large quantities in order to operate smoothly. In such a case, the official said that it is unlikely for private entities to invest in such units.

Ministry of Consumer Affairs says that if there are a fewer traders, it will indefinitely lead to price manipulation because then many would be tempted to choose the illegal business method.

According to experts, the two policies – the existing one Minimum Support Price (MSP) for agricultural products – cannot co-exist.

“The idea is good but two policies cannot co-exist, meaning there cannot be simultaneous MSP for agri products if we want to remove them from the Essential Commodities Act,” DK Pant of India Ratings said.

Beware: Earn more than Rs 5 lakh interest from FDs but don’t pay tax? Taxman is watching

The surveillance will be on individuals, including senior citizens, having an interest income of Rs 5 lakh and above who do not pay tax on the interest income.

The Income Tax Department is preparing to track thousands of individuals who earn high-interest incomes from fixed deposits (FDs) but do not include the amount in their taxable income, according to report in the Times of India.

Surveillance will be on individuals, including senior citizens, having interest income of Rs 5 lakh and above who do not pay tax on the interest income. It will be based on data collected from various agencies (such as banks) on taxpayers as well as tax deductions on FDs, senior officers in the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) told the paper.

There has been a rise in the earnings based on income from interests received on large fixed deposits as it is considered to be a more durable source of income.

Sources told the ToI that most of the individuals who fall in the 10 percent bracket pay their taxes. However, individuals falling in the 30 percent bracket often fail to pay their taxes.

“Our focus is on the large evaders. There is no point chasing the smaller persons who do not yield much returns,” a top-ranking officer told the paper.

According to the report, the department will also track professionals who receive their payments in cash and do not disclose the actual income amount in their annual statements.

Earlier, the I-T Department initiated steps to weed out individuals who bought property with suspected benami money for never having filed their income taxes.

Apart from helping the government crack down on black money, the move will help I-T department achieve its set goal to raise Rs 9.8 lakh crore from direct taxes in the current fiscal year as well as expanding its tax base.