Bonds, Currencies & Commodities
Indian govt hikes gold import tariff value to $411 per 10gms
Over the past two weeks, gold prices across the globe have increased due to rising violence in Iraq that spurred demand for the yellow metal
 
The Indian government on Monday hiked the import tariff value on gold and silver to $411 per 10 grams and $632 per kg, respectively. Global prices have increased in the wake of escalating violence in Iraq.
 
In the first fortnight of this month, the tariff value on imported gold stood at $408 per 10grams and silver at $617 per kg.
 
The import tariff value — base price at which customs duty is determined to prevent under-invoicing — is revised on a fortnightly basis, taking into account the volatility in global prices.
 
The hike in tariff value on imported gold and silver has been notified by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), an official statement said.
 
In the last two weeks, global gold prices have increased due to rising violence in Iraq that has spurred the demand for the precious metal.
 
In Singapore, gold prices were ruling firm at $1,283.90 per ounce, while silver stood at $19.79 per ounce at 12.20 p.m. today.
 
Taking global cues, domestic gold and silver prices remained firm at Rs27,790 per 10 grams and Rs42,500 per kg, respectively.
 
India’s gold imports have declined over 74% to $1.75 billion in April this year due to restrictions imposed by the government on inbound shipments of the precious metal to narrow the current account deficit.
 
Gold is the second largest import item for India after petroleum. Due to several curbs, the country’s total gold and silver imports dropped 40% to $33.46 billion in 2013-14 against $55.79 billion in the previous year.
 
These curbs include raising the import duty on the metal to 10% and also making it mandatory for traders to export 20% of the imported gold. 

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Building a Better India – Part 6: Fast track clearances
While the environment is a priority for the nation, it cannot be used as a ruse to stall projects that become politically inconvenient
 
The high GDP growth from 2004 to 2010 was led by the service sector and not by agriculture and manufacturing. Such high GDP was unsustainable in the long term and that is what happened. Historically all developed nations have first witnessed long periods of high agriculture and manufacturing growth which consequently led to growth in their service sector. 
 
Hence the future restoration of GDP growth back to above 8% rate must and has to be led by increased farming, agro- related and  manufacturing activities, and exports. Hundreds of stalled and pending projects, both industrial and infrastructure related, worth crores of Rupees and in which PSU banks have high exposure, should be cleared and approved on a war footing by:-
  1. Dismantling/ removing the red tape and unnecessary formalities. Hire experienced, talented, middle-aged, highly educated experts of related fields in sufficient numbers on 5 year contract basis. Policy and implementation paralysis need urgent cure through steroid.
  2. Directing inter-ministerial cooperation and coordination with no room for ego or complacency. Restructure /consolidate/reorganise the various existing ministries.
  3. Swift executive and administrative actions/ orders. Pointless to only form committees after committees with no real follow up action.
  4. Reframing/renegotiating the stranded public-private projects to unlock the bank loans blocked in these projects and speed up infrastructure development.
  5. Increase planned expenditure which was drastically cut in the last 2 years to meet fiscal deficit target to avoid junk status threats by international rating agencies and reduce wasteful revenue expenses.
  6. Faster approval to pending economic reforms so that ruling govt cannot take refuge for its failures under this pretext. 
  7. Disband the central Ministry of environment and let the environmental clearances and permissions be decentralised to state pollution control Boards.
These quick steps have no legislative or bureaucratic impediments, and can be taken in the interest of the nation without much adieu. While the environment is a priority for the nation, it cannot be used as a ruse to stall projects that become politically inconvenient. In the context of stalling growth and what that entails for a developing economy, some environmental concerns may need to be put on the back-burner and any environmental side effects may need to be ameliorated in alternative ways.
 
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(Kolkata-based Dalbir Chhibbar practised as a CA till 1990 and later started his own buinsess) 

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Michael Schumacher out of coma, leaves French hospital

Schumacher, the seven time F1 champion, is out of coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident in December 2013

Michael Schumacher, the seven time F1 champion, is out of coma and has been discharged from hospital after six months.

 

In a statement, Sabine Kehm, manager for Schumacher, said the Formula One great is no longer in a coma and has left a French hospital where he had been receiving treatment since a skiing accident on 27 December 2013.

 

Kehm said in a statement that Schumacher has left the hospital in Grenoble "to continue his long phase of rehabilitation."

 

The statement did not say where the seven-time F1 champion was taken, nor does it give any details of his condition.

 

"For the future we ask for understanding that his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye," Kehm added.

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