Decontrol urea prices; raise excise duty: PMEAC

Expressing concern over high fiscal deficit which is expected to overshoot the target of 4.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) this fiscal, chairman of Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council C Rangarajan said the government "must try" to contain and improve efficacy of subsidies

New Delhi: Amid widening fiscal deficit, the prime minister's economic advisory panel today suggested aligning diesel prices to global market in a phased manner and also raising excise and service taxes to pre-crisis level of 12%.

Releasing the 'Review of the Economy: 2011-12', chairman of Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) C Rangarajan also pitched for deregulation of urea prices.

Expressing concern over high fiscal deficit which is expected to overshoot the target of 4.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) this fiscal, he said the government "must try" to contain and improve efficacy of subsidies.

"It will be necessary during 2012-13 to make some adjustments on the diesel prices in a phased manner. We have not done this for quite some time and international crude prices have gone up ... It is not possible for us to subsidise this sector beyond a level," Mr Rangarajan said.

Diesel price was last hiked in June 2011. However, the government had cut excise and customs duties to cushion the impact of the price rise, thus sacrificing annual revenue of Rs38,000 crore.

Mr Rangarajan further said that "partial reforms in the fertiliser subsidy regime of introducing nutrient-based subsidisation will not be effective unless the price of urea is decontrolled or at least raised substantially".

The government expects that its subsidy bill would increase by Rs1 lakh crore to Rs2.34 lakh crore, mainly on account of higher outlay towards fertiliser, food and oil.

On improving the tax to GDP ratio, Mr Rangarajan said the excise duty and service tax should be increased to pre-crisis level, a move which will bring in additional Rs35,000 crore.

Before the economic crisis, service tax and excise duty rates were at 12%, but as a stimulus the government had brought them down to 10% in 2008-09.

"If you go back to 12%...  as a back of envelope calculation, you can get a additional revenue of Rs35,000 crore," Mr Rangarajan added.

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Bathinda-Srinagar Gas Pipeline Project Awarded to GSPL

The total investment for the Bathinda-Srinagar gas pipeline project will be Rs855 crore in the state within 36 months.

The central government has awarded the Rs 855-crore Bathinda-Jammu-Srinagar gas pipeline project to Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL). This was revealed at a high-level meeting of officers chaired by Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, who reviewed the 750-km long Bathinda (in Punjab) to Srinagar (via Jammu) gas pipeline project. The contract of the prestigious project has been awarded by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) of India to Gujarat State Petronet Ltd-led consortium.

Lal emphasised the significance of inter-state gas pipeline project for the people of the state saying that its early completion will ensure unabated gas supply throughout the year to the state especially winters when energy needs rise. He called for close coordination between agencies and directed for fast tracking the project.

The Chief Secretary was given a presentation about the current status of the project and its different phases, surveys and route plans for laying pipelines. Assistance of the state government was also sought for future development of city gas distribution networks and clearance issues and other related matters.

The total investment for this project will be Rs855 crore in the state within 36 months. It was further informed that the a State Act for acquiring the "Right of Use (RoU)" for laying cross country pipelines needs to be enacted by the government.

In the late afternoon, Gujarat State Petronet was trading at around Rs75.65 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 6.14% down from the previous close.

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BSE launches first-ever live carbon index BSE-Greenex

The BSE-Greenex, the 25th dynamic index hosted on the exchange, is also a first of its kind benchmark index, which assess the carbon performance of stocks based on purely quantitative performance based criteria

Mumbai: The country’s premier stock exchange Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) today launched ‘BSE-Greenex’, the first environmental friendly equity index, which will enable investors take more informed decisions in the green theme of India, reports PTI.

Corporate affairs minister Veerappa Moily inaugurated the new initiative by striking the gong at the BSE here today.

BSE, in association with gTrade (supported by GIZ promoted by Germany, Observer Research Foundation and IIM Ahmedabad), has constructed BSE-Greenex—designed specifically to promote green investing with an emphasis on financial performance and long-term viability of companies.

It is based upon purely quantitative and objective performance signals to assess carbon performance.

BSE-Greenex includes top 20 companies based on Green House Gas Numbers, free float market capitalisation and turnover. These companies include Tata Steel, SBI, L&T, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, Sun Pharmaceuticals, NTPC, Dr Reddy's Labs, HDFC, Bharat Heavy Electricals, GAIL, Hindustan Unilever, Cipla, Sterlite Industries, Tata Power, Ambuja Cements, Lupin, DLF, GlaxoSmithKline and Reliance Infrastructure.

“The companies and investors in developing countries like India need to recognise the value created by corporations through the efficient and sensible use of energy.

“The ministry of corporate affairs has been very active in this regard. I hope the BSE-Greenex lists companies that are able to marry financial performance and carbon efficiency.

I feel that this index’s objectivity will be its strength and the differentiator,” Mr Moily said.

It will also help the government to gauge policy implementation and acceptance with regard to energy usage and efficiency measures, he said.

“India is in a unique position to create a low-carbon green economy. So far India has focused on the fiscal aspect of economic growth. Now, its time we think about the environmental aspects of growth also. I am delighted that BSE in keeping with its tradition of innovation is today launching a carbon index. BSE will continue to contribute in full measure towards the ministry of corporate affairs’ efforts of green and sustainable development in India Inc,” BSE managing director and CEO Madhu Kannan said.

The BSE-Greenex, the 25th dynamic index hosted on the exchange, is also a first of its kind benchmark index, which assess the carbon performance of stocks based on purely quantitative performance based criteria.

Over the years sizeable funds and finances will increasingly find their way into green businesses. The creation of this index will enable such investment flows, BSE deputy chief executive director, Ashishkumar Chauhan said.

It is the first environmental friendly equity index to be publicly disseminated on a real-time basis, providing a new tool for use by ‘green’ retail and institutional investors to track the performance of India's largest and most liquid, efficient stocks. The index can be licensed for the development of green financial products including mutual funds, ETFs and structured products, the BSE said.

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COMMENTS

Roshni

6 years ago

Launching of BSE Greenex a step ahead towards CSR initiatives by the Indian companies. I believe that this will definitely lead the future of Indian economy considering the ever growing concerns with regards to environmental pollution and carbon emissions etc.

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