The stock exchanges had asked the finance ministry to abolish STT, arguing that such a step would help boost investments in the stock market and promote an equity culture in the country
New Delhi: The government today said it has no plans to lower the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) levied on equity trades, even as collections dipped by about 18% drop during the April-October period this fiscal, reports PTI.
“No, Sir,” minister of state for finance SS Palanimanickam said in a reply to a query on whether the government proposes to lower STT in the country.
He, however, acknowledged that STT collections dropped during the April-October 2011-12, period.
Collections from STT declined by 17.9% to Rs2,958 crore in the April-October period of the current fiscal from Rs3,602 crore in the corresponding year-ago period, the minister said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
The stock exchanges had asked the finance ministry to abolish STT, arguing that such a step would help boost investments in the stock market and promote an equity culture in the country.
The bourses also sought simpler compliance procedures and the imposition of lower costs on brokers to facilitate greater retail participation in the market.
The government had introduced STT in 2004 on transactions related to different types of securities. At present, the rate varies from 0.025% to 0.25%, depending upon the type of security traded and transaction—whether sale or purchase.
The automated collection of toll promises to eliminate waiting time and ease congestion at highway toll plazas
The National Highways Authority of India proposes to replace manual toll collection at highway toll plazas with electronic toll collection (ETC) system. CRISIL Research said it expects this changeover to eliminate waiting time for vehicles and save fuel worth Rs1,000 crore per year. The savings in fuel will far outweigh the initial cost of Rs100 per vehicle that the system requires from vehicle owners.
“Currently, there are close to 525 toll plazas, operating on national and state highways in India. Over 20,000 vehicles cross these plazas daily, each queuing up for approximately 5-10 minutes awaiting their turn to pay the toll fare. Each vehicle consumes almost 0.5-1.0 litre of fuel in an hour. Collectively, these vehicles spend around 1,800-3,600 hours at toll plazas, which accounts for a daily wastage of Rs3-6 crore and annually, Rs1,000 crore,” says Ajay D’souza, Head, CRISIL Research.
The system is also equipped to detect defaults in toll collection which occur either due to insufficient funds in a toll account or a faulty OBU by activating an alarm to inform authorities, without stopping the flow in traffic.
“Apart from reducing fuel wastage, the ETC system can plug leakages in toll collection. Toll leakages occur when a vehicle does not pay the requisite toll or when booth operators under-report collections. Based on the current industry estimate of about 10% leakage, annual losses for road developers are estimated to be approximately Rs1,200 crore. An automated tolling system can effectively address this area of grave concern for road developers and lenders with exposure to road projects,” said Prasad Koparkar, Head, CRISIL Research.
The system will require the government to invest in two major system components to enable collections to flow to toll operators – a central database where the clearing-house will store account information, and networks that will connect toll plazas to the database. Revenues from tolled stretches will flow directly to the involved operators via the central clearing-house. The system is likely to come up in a phased manner, with pilot projects on dense highway stretches.
The ETC system, based on radio frequency identification (RFID), comprises a wireless on-board unit (OBU) fitted into a vehicle and a stationary roadside unit (RSU) placed at the toll plaza. The OBU is, by design, compatible at toll stations across the country. The RSU can sense an OBU even as a vehicle moves at 50 km per hour, and automatically deduct toll from the owner’s pre-paid toll account with a central clearing-house. The automated collection promises to eliminate waiting time and ease congestion at toll plazas.
Till the end of first fortnight of September, Air India has a total due of Rs2,310.65 crore, of which the cash-strapped national carrier owes Rs1,563.67 crore to IOC, Rs409.82 crore to BPCL and Rs337.16 to HPCL, civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi informed the Lok Sabha
New Delhi: State-owned air carrier Air India and its subsidiaries owe Rs2,310 crore to the oil marketing companies, reports PTI quoting civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi.
“Till the end of first fortnight of September, Air India has a total due of Rs2,310.65 crore, of which the cash-strapped national carrier owes Rs1,563.67 crore to Indian oil Corporation, Rs409.82 crore to Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Rs337.16 to Hindustan Petroleum Corporation,” he said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
He said that in order to help the national carrier, a Group of Ministers (GoM) last month agreed to grant a credit period of three months as sought by airline’s management.
“The credit period, however, was agreed without exempting Air India from payment of interest,” the minister said.
Facing liquidity crunch, the national carrier has a debt of Rs22,000 crore as working capital loan and around Rs21,000 as aircraft acquisition loans.
In reply to a separate question, the minister said Air India has withdrawn its services from 14 routes, which were not profitable.
The routes are Mumbai-Sharjah, Calicut-Doha-Bahrain, Mumbai-Vadodara, Kolkata-Ahmedabad/Jaipur-Kolkata, Hyderabad- Mumbai, Chennai-Calicut, Chennai-Mumbai-Kuwait, Hyderabad- Cochin-Coimbatore-Hyderabad, Kolkata-Hyderabad-Kolkata, Bangalore-Singapore, Chennai-Coimbatore, Mumbai-Nairobi, Chennai-Dammam and Kochi-Agatti (which was later reinstated).
The minister also informed the House that due to the pilots’ strike from 27th April to 7th May, Air India has suffered a revenue loss of Rs200 crore.