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Excise duty on gold jewellery rolled back

Gold jewellers and traders were on 22 days strike from 17th March, demanding roll back in the excise duty.

After much deliberation the finance ministry has rolled back excise duty imposed branded and unbranded gold jewellery announced in the union budget. The decision has gone down well with the jewellers association who were on indefinite strike post the announcement.

In a statement, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and The Delhi Bullion & Jewellers Association have welcomed the move. "The step taken by the finance minister is a step forward to mitigate genuine problems of the lakhs of traders of jewellery in the country and also crores of other people who are dependent upon jewellery trade for their livelihood," says Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT secretary general and Vimal Goel, president, DBJA.

Pranab Mukherjee in his budget proposals on 16 March 2012 announced 1% levy on unbranded jewellery and doubling of import duty to 4% on gold. Today, while discussing Finance Bill 2012 in the Parliament, he announced that, "the Government has decided to withdraw the levy on all precious metal jewellery, branded or unbranded, with effect from 17th March, 2012."

Gold jewellers and traders were on 22 days strike from 17th March, demanding roll back in the excise duty. Traders estimated to have lost Rs20,000 crore due to the strike which began on 17th March after presentation of the Budget on the previous day. According to the traders, such announcement would subject to the harassment of excise department. Further, they said that already trade number taxes such Custom Duty, VAT, and few other indirect taxes.

The strike was called backed on April 06 after bullion traders and jewellers after they met united Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who assured them that their demand for rollback of excise duty on unbranded jewellery would be considered.

"With Goods and Service Tax (GST) round the corner, the Government is under obligation to simplify and rationalise the taxation system to best possible extent in order to ensure smooth transformation from VAT, Excise, and Service Tax to GST regime," CAIT said in a statement.

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Regional offices to clear IPO proposals of Rs500 crore: SEBI

Regional offices can clear proposals for IPO of up to Rs500 crore and would also be delegated powers with respect to mutual funds, inspection

Chennai : Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Monday said its regional offices would be delegated powers to clear public offer proposals of companies planning to raise up to Rs500 crore, reports PTI.

"Regional offices can clear proposals of initial public offering (IPO) of up to Rs500 crore. Regional offices will be delegated powers with respect to mutual funds, inspection..", Securities and Exchange Board of India Chairman UK Sinha told reporters after inaugurating the southern regional office.

In a statement issued recently, SEBI said it was decided that the draft offer documents in respect of issues of size up to Rs500 crore shall be filed with the concerned regional office of the Board under the jurisdiction of which the registered office of the issuer company falls.

Noting that SEBI has planned to open 10 new regional offices, Mr Sinha said, "one should look at markets on a long term basis. There will be periods when markets will do well, sometimes, they may not. People should not get carried away by short term developments".

Former SEBI Chairman GV Ramakrishna, SEBI whole-time member Rajeev Agarwal were also present.

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Top five Indian IT services companies grow 23.8%: Gartner

On average, Tier 1 providers dramatically outperformed the growth rates of Tier II and Tier III providers, despite the consolidation and acquisitions among some of the smaller firms

New Delhi: Top five India-based IT services providers grew 23.8% last year compared to 7.7% growth logged by the overall global IT services market, research firm Gartner said on Monday, reports PTI.

Nasdaq-listed Cognizant, which displaced Wipro to become the third-largest Indian IT services provider recently, experienced the highest growth rate of 33.3% amongst the top five IT service providers in 2011, Gartner said in a statement. Though Cognizant is not listed in India, 75% of its over 1.3 lakh employees are based in India.

"2011 signalled a change in the mind-set of European buyers, particularly Continental Europe for offshore services," Gartner Principal Research Analyst Arup Roy said.

Indian providers have historically found it more difficult to gain market share in the Western Europe IT services market than in the US market but, as a group, the top five increased market share in the region from 2.3% in 2010 to 2.8% in 2011, he added.

Top player Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) saw 29.4% growth in revenues in 2011, over 2010, while Infosys registered 17.8% increase in revenues, Gartner said. Wipro and HCL Technologies registered growth of 12.3% and 26.2%, respectively, it added.

On average, Tier 1 providers dramatically outperformed the growth rates of Tier II and Tier III providers, despite the consolidation and acquisitions among some of the smaller firms, Gartner said.

There were some standouts, however, with Genpact up 27% and Syntel up 21%. Smaller providers were charged with creating a more compelling marketing message that went beyond labour arbitrage, the research firm added.

"The top five Indian service providers have continuously chipped away market share from the large multinational corporation providers. In the past five years, they have been increasingly winning large outsourcing deals with a total contract value of more than $100 million," Mr Roy said.

However, in recent years, these top five providers have greatly expanded their service portfolios and have been cross- selling and up-selling their application services client base with offerings like infrastructure services, BPO services, cloud and analytics services, he added.

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