Economy
Diesel, petrol cabs go off roads, owners warn of suicides
New Delhi : The Supreme Court's ban on plying of diesel and petrol driven taxis in Delhi took effect on Sunday, with three taxi owners warning this might lead to suicides in frustration.
 
Cab operators termed the apex court's decision tyrannical, saying if the decision was not changed then it will lead many of them to commit suicide. Over 27,000 taxis run on diesel alone in Delhi.
 
The cab operators told IANS that they had decided to launch a protest after mutual consultations. They claimed that almost half the taxis were run on diesel in the national capital.
 
"I have cancelled 17 bookings since morning as most of my taxis are run on diesel. I have only five taxis run by CNG. We do not understand why the court and Government come up with such decisions?" S. Kumar, owner of Kumar Taxi Services in central Delhi, told IANS. 
 
He said the apex court decision of Saturday will lead many taxi operators to commit suicide as they won't be able to pay their car instalments now.
 
"How do we pay our monthly instalments to banks for the loans taken to buy taxis? Does not the government realize that diesel cars can't be converted into CNG?"
 
The Supreme Court on Saturday refused to give more time to taxi operators to switch to the cleaner compressed natural gas (CNG). The deadline for the change, which had been extended twice, was Saturday.
 
Another transporter, who did not wished to be named, told IANS: "The order would have at least made sense if it was applicable to diesel taxis after their ongoing permit got over. That would have at least given some time to the operators to arrange for alternate taxis. But now we are all ruined."
 
According to the Delhi transport department, about 60,000 taxis are registered in the city. Of them, 27,000 run on diesel.
 
Some taxi operators believe the court ruling will mainly affect cab aggregators Ola and Uber.
 
"The decision is not applicable to taxis with All India Tourist Permit. This is going to be a setback for Ola and Uber who have a large number of taxis run on diesel," Raman of Kamal Taxi Service told IANS.
 
"The authorities should not be surprised if taxi owners and drivers commit suicide in sheer frustration," Raman added.
 
Pritpal Singh, a taxi owner in south Delhi, that even taxis with all-India permits often plied within the capital when there was no business for journeys outside. "So even they will be hit. We don't know what to do."
 
On Sunday, with taxis plying on petrol and diesel staying off the roads, commuters switched over to the limited number of CNG-driven yellow-top taxis and auto-rickshaws. The problem is expected to peak on Monday.
 
"I called two taxi companies but declined to take my booking citing lack of CNG cabs. Finally I took an auto-rickshaw to reach Noida Sector 15," Sangeeta Johari, a stock broker, told IANS.
 
Piyush, working with a NGO, told IANS that he waited for two hours to get his taxi booked.
 
"I was initially told there are no cabs. Later, they said a taxi will be available but in two hours. I had no option and to wait," he said.
 
This is the second blow to Uber and Ola in Delhi. The Delhi government has declared that it will not let them charge "surge pricing".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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India can save $50 bn in logistics costs: Report
New Delhi : India can save up to $50 billion by bringing down logistics costs to 9 percent from the current 14 percent of the country's GDP, according to a joint study by industry chamber Assocham and Resurgent India released on Sunday.
 
"India can save up to $50 billion if logistics costs are brought down from 14 percent to nine percent of country's gross domestic product (GDP) thereby making domestic goods more competitive in global markets," the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said in a release here.
 
"With expected inflow of new investments owing to government's thrust on promoting domestic manufacturing sector, India's cargo and logistics industry is likely to clock a compounded annual growth rate of about 16 percent during the course of next few years," the study - Cargo and Logistics Industry in India - said.
 
Growth in logistics sector would imply improved service delivery and customer satisfaction, leading to growth in exports of Indian goods and potential to create job opportunities, it added.
 
"Appropriate policy changes and opening up capacity together with increase in speed for transportation of goods and services through various modes, namely rail, road, water and others is imperative for the growth of cargo and logistics industry in India," Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said in the statement.
 
"Transportation of bulk commodities through waterways can free up capacity for fast moving goods, besides, setting benchmarks and standards for industry will drive uniformity of warehouses, storage and transport equipment," he added.
 
The report said the Make in India campaign will see investments connect the country to global production networks that would generate new business for logistics thereby making it an attractive location to do business as compared to other regions in the world.
 
The government should create a uniform tax structure and do away with multiple checkpoints and documentation requirements which would lead to speedier delivery of cargo, it added.
 
In this connection, the study emphasised that passage of the constitutional amendment bill on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in parliament will further improve the logistics sectors performance by bringing down distribution costs by up to 15 percent.
 
This landmark bill to reform India's indirect tax regime has been passed by the Lok Sabha, but is stalled in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling National democratic Alliance currently lacks a majority.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Parliament panel for enquiry into abuses in export units scheme
New Delhi : Parliament's Public Accounts Committee has voiced serious concern over irregularities and widespread misuse of the 100 percent export oriented units (EOUs) scheme and has called for a detailed inquiry into the "rampant abuses".
 
"They (PAC) accordingly recommend that a high-powered independent inquiry should be ordered in the light of the facts contained in this report with a view to find out the unscrupulous elements responsible for the rampant abuse of the scheme and also to fix responsibility of the officers for the various acts of omissions and commissions," Public Accounts Committee said its report presented in parliament earlier this week.
 
Keeping in view the "grave nature of the irregularities, the large scale misuse" and also taking into account the "enormous amount of revenue foregone", the committee said it is convinced that there is a need for undertaking a detailed inquiry into the manner of operation of this scheme.
 
Noting that the total number of EOUs have come down to 2,608 in 2013-14 from 3,109 in 2009-10, the PAC also suggested that the departments of commerce and revenue should conduct a comparative study of the benefits accrued to special economic zone (SEZ) units vis-a-vis EOUs to find out the reasons for shifting of EOUs to the SEZ sector.
 
Though duty foregone on the scheme remained static in 2012-13 and 2013-14 at Rs.5,800 crore, exports from these units dropped by 11 percent in 2013-14 from the previous financial year.
 
"Development commissioner, Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ) Mumbai said the major factors responsible for poor growth of exports from EOUs were withdrawal of income tax benefit under section 10B of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (with effect from April 1, 2011) decreasing profit margins on export products, more attractive schemes like SEZ, where similar export benefits are available to the domestic unit without any domestic sales limitation," the report said.
 
It called for a suitable strategy to attract EOUs into the scheme and "all necessary steps should be taken to remove the impediments in their successful operations".
 
The committee also that government had foregone significant customs and central excise duties at Rs.32,932 crore during 2009-10 to 2013-14 on EOUs, the Electronics Hardware Technology Park and Software Technology Park schemes.
 
"No serious attempt has been ever made by the ministry concerned to evaluate the impact of concessions, incentives extended to EOUs from time to time," it said.
 
It also noted irregular domestic tariff area sales in 48 cases by EOUs under the development commissioners of Mumbai, Cochin, Noida, Kandla and Falta.
 
Further, its scrutiny of records revealed that 10 EOUs were allowed to exit from the scheme by allowing "incorrect rate of duty" on finished goods and "incorrect depreciation allowed on capital goods".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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