New inflation index from August: Industry secretary

As the WPI gets broadbased, the inflation based on it might even go up further from the annual 10.55% for June

The government will, from August, introduce a new system of inflation measurement that would cover price changes of about 250 extra items, reports PTI quoting industry secretary R P Singh.

"We are ready with the new index now. Most probably, from next month we will start," Mr Singh said, adding that it would be approved by the Committee of Secretaries, headed by the cabinet secretary.

The present monthly inflation measurement system, based on the wholesale price index (WPI), reflects the price variations of 435 items.

"The number of commodities has gone up to something like 670... Weights are accordingly arranged. This will become more reflective of inflation," Mr Singh said. He said the new index has been vetted by experts, and the results were found to be "quite consistent".  

As the WPI gets broadbased, the inflation based on it might even go up further from the annual 10.55% for June.   

The new index is likely to include a host of new products, including consumer goods such as mobile phones and liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions. 

Outdated items such as typewriters and video cassette recorders (VCRs) would not find a place in the new inflation measurement mechanism.  

The base year of the new index would also be changed from 1993-94 to 2004-05.   

The new index is expected to give a more realistic picture of the price rise and its impact on the people.

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DTC, GST Bills likely in monsoon session: Revenue secretary

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget speech in February had said the Centre would endeavour to introduce both GST and DTC from 1st April next

The government today said the direct taxes code (DTC) Bill and a constitutional amendment bill to implement the goods and services tax (GST ) are likely to be introduced in the monsoon session beginning next week, reports PTI.

"It is our expectation that both the constitutional amendment bill and DTC Bill would be introduced in the monsoon session," revenue secretary Sunil Mitra told reporters on the sidelines of a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) seminar in New Delhi today.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget speech in February had said the Centre would endeavour to introduce both GST and DTC from 1st April next.

Mr Mukherjee is scheduled to meet state finance ministers on Wednesday (21st July) to discuss the constitutional amendments needed for rolling out GST, which will replace excise duty and service tax at the central level and value-added tax (VAT) at the state level, besides surcharges and other local levies.   

"On GST, we are having the meeting of empowered committee tomorrow. The basic thrust is the IT system. Nandan Nilekani (the UIDAI chairman) will make a presentation tomorrow. And we need key decision on a common portal on PAN-based registration," Mr Mitra said.   

Answering a query on the rates to be levied under GST, he merely said, "GST rates should be revenue-neutral."  

He said changes in the DTC Bill from what was proposed in the first draft is possible until it goes to Parliament. "Until the DTC goes in the form of legislation in Parliament there is always scope to consider issues," Mr Mitra said.

The finance ministry has come out with revised draft of DTC and addressed the issues related to minimum alternate tax, taxing of long-term savings like provident funds in it.

The DTC is expected to replace the five decades-old Income Tax Act to make the direct taxes simpler to understand and have less exemptions and a taxpayer-friendly regime.

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Geodesic partners with Zee to launch entertainment applications on mobile

Mumbai-based Internet software and services provider, Geodesic Ltd said it partnered with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), to launch real time and on-delivery entertainment applications for mobile and Internet enabled devices. No financial details were provided.

ZEEL and Geodesic have formed a new company called ITM Digital (P), based in Mumbai, to address the hugely growing market for content convergence and mobile value added services.

On Tuesday, Geodesic shares fell 2.4% to Rs82 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the Sensex ended at 0.3% down at 17,878 points.

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