Govt to consider import duty on white sugar next week

The EGoM will also discuss a proposal to increase the price of sugar sold through ration shops, as the government has increased the levy price — the price it pays to mills to buy sugar

An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on food is scheduled to meet on 26th July to consider imposing import duty on refined sugar and the sale of an additional 30 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice through ration shops, reports PTI.

The EGoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, will consider the food ministry's proposal to impose 15%-20% import duty on refined (white) sugar, sources said.

In the last meeting, the ministerial panel had deferred a decision on imposition of duty due to soaring food inflation, which is still high at 12.81%.

The sugar industry had been demanding an import duty on white sugar to protect local mills from sliding prices. Sugar prices have declined sharply to Rs30 a kg in the retail market of the national capital from Rs48 a kg in mid-January.

Sources said the EGoM will also discuss a proposal to increase the price of sugar sold through ration shops, as the government has increased the levy price (the price it pays to mills to buy sugar) by around Rs4 a kg.

While the issue price is Rs13.5 per kg, the levy price has been fixed at an average of Rs17.57 a kg. The gap between the levy price and the issue price will result in a subsidy of over Rs1,000 crore.

The panel is also likely to consider increasing the CIP (central issue price) of wheat and rice supplied to families above the poverty line (APL) through the public distribution system.

APL families get wheat at Rs6.10 per kg and rice at Rs8.30 a kg.

Food and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said yesterday that the Centre plans to sell an additional 25-30 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice through ration shops at cheaper rates.

"I am going to the EGoM to discuss about offering 25-30 lakh tonnes of rice and wheat to the state government for supply under PDS. This will be over and above the existing allocation," Mr Pawar had said, adding that states have been demanding an increase in foodgrains allocation.

Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, has nearly 60 million tonnes of wheat and rice in its buffer stock and the agency is facing a space crunch.

In May this year, the Centre had announced the sale of an additional 30 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice through ration shops during the June-November period at Rs8.42 and Rs11.85 per kg, respectively.

Although the rates for the additional foodgrains were far below the acquisition cost, they were slightly more than what BPL and APL families pay for their regular quota. BPL families get wheat at Rs4.15 per kg and rice at Rs5.65 per kg under the regular quota. At present, BPL families get 35 kg of rice and wheat every month, while APL households can avail 10 kg on an average.

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Govt proposes 20% GST on goods, 16% on services

All central and state taxes like excise, value-added tax (VAT) and service tax will be rolled into GST, once the new regime comes into effect

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today proposed a three-rate structure for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) — which will simplify the indirect tax regime — under which goods will attract 20% levy, services 16% and essential items a concessional 12%.

Mr Mukherjee proposed these rates to the state finance ministers at a meeting in New Delhi today to evolve consensus over GST that is planned to be implemented from 1st April, next year.

All central and state taxes like excise, value-added tax (VAT) and service tax will be rolled into GST, once the new regime comes into effect.

The revenue from GST will be shared equally between the Centre and states, implying that out of 20% tax proposed for goods, 10% each would go to the Centre and the state concerned.

Similarly, in case of services, the revenues would be equally shared between the Centre and the state.

Besides the maximum rate of 20%, Mr Mukherjee has also proposed a lower rate of 12% for essential items.

This, too, will be shared equally between the Centre and states at 6% each.

While elaborating on the dual rate structure for goods, Mr Mukherjee said, "The peak effective rate will be about 15% which will be quite acceptable to the trade and industry."

The 15% could be the effective average rate as a result of the dual rates for goods.

The minister assured the states that the Centre would "step up the amount of compensation recommended by 13th Finance Commission should the need arise, based on a mutually agreed formula."

The Commission, which advises on revenue sharing between the Centre and states, had asked the union government to set aside Rs50,000 crore to compensate states for the possible revenue loss incurred on account of implementation of GST.

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CRISIL says it expects securitisation volumes in India to grow in FY11

The ratings agency said as economic recovery and retail lending gather momentum, it expect securitisation volumes in India to increase

Ratings agency CRISIL said it expects securitisation volumes in India will increase and new asset class like gold loans, microfinance loans and toll-road receivables would add to the growth momentum in FY11.

In a release, Pawan Agrawal, director, CRISIL Rating said, "As economic recovery and retail lending gather momentum, we expect securitisation volumes in India to increase. Moreover, new asset classes such as gold loans, microfinance loans and toll-road receivables should add to the growth momentum seen in existing asset classes such as auto loans and home loans."

In a review on the performance of India's structured finance market in 2009-10, the ratings agency said while most asset segments reported strong growth in FY10, with volumes in asset-backed securities increasing two-fold and the introduction of new asset classes such as microfinance loans and gold loans, the single loan sell-down segment of the market declined sharply during the year.
CRISIL, the unit of S&P, has released the first edition of its publication 'Performance of ABS and MBS Pools: CRISIL's Annual Pool Publication', which is part of the ratings agency's initiative to enhance the utility value of its rating services to investors. 

The publication has enhanced disclosures on CRISIL's outstanding portfolio of 217 transactions by 24 originators, and a comprehensive coverage of the performance of rated pools, it said in a release.

"The latest enhancement builds on the improvement in disclosures that we introduced in our credit rating reports in early 2009. We believe these steps will increase investor confidence in CRISIL-rated structured finance transactions, thereby, helping to maintain stability in the structured finance market in India," said Raman Uberoi, senior director, CRISIL Ratings.

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