Morning News Bulletin: Track latest stories

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October 8, 2017 7:11 AM

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GST Council meeting outcomes: Tax rate at 28 percent too high, says CBEC chief Mahendra Singh

The highest slab of 28% under the goods and services tax (GST) could be restricted to luxury and sin goods, a top tax official said on Saturday, a day after the GST Council reduced the rates on 27 items amid concerns over the new tax proving to be inflationary at the start. While a month ago the council had reduced the tax rates on 30 items and few others earlier, finance minister Arun Jaitley subsequently hinted at a shift to fewer tax slabs once GST’s revenue-neutrality is clearly established. The GST Council has come to view the 28% rate to be “unnecessarily high” on various daily-use items, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) chairman Mahender Singh said at an event in the capital. Stating that many items came under higher tax rates, as the council went by the criterion of equivalence with the pre-GST rates, Singh said it was perhaps wrong to adopt that norm (pre-GST rates on several items were higher than warranted because many states taxed certain items heavily).

Rajnish Kumar takes charge as SBI chief

Rajnish Kumar on Saturday took charge as the new chairman of State Bank of India (SBI) for three years, following the retirement of Arundhati Bhattacharya. Kumar, who had joined the SBI board on May 26, 2015, looked after retail banking and latest initiatives in payments and digital banking. Prior to that, he headed SBI Capital Markets — the merchant banking arm of SBI — as MD & CEO. Having joined the bank as a probationary officer in 1980, Kumar has spent close to four decades at SBI. Following his appointment on Wednesday, Kumar said it was an honour to be entrusted with the leadership of SBI at a time when India is best poised for growth. “I look forward to serving the bank to the best of my abilities, along with the support of all my colleagues spread across the globe,” he had said.

Growing use of smartphones and cheap data plans boosting music streaming apps

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s Spanglish summer single Despacito featuring Justin Bieber has broken all streaming records on Wynk Music. We all know that international music is growing in India, and this indicates how it is being consumed on music streaming apps as well. The music industry is expected to grow to Rs 2,540 crore by 2021 from an estimated Rs 1,220 crore in 2016 at a CAGR of 15.8%, as per the FICCI-KPMG Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2017. The report goes on to highlight that digital music now generates an estimated revenue of 70% of the overall size of the music industry, while synchronisation, performance rights and physical channels contribute the remaining share. As per a 2014 report by Nielsen, 27% of the population around the globe discovers new music from music streaming apps, a trend that is growing by 7% annually, thanks to the ease of tuning into the music from around the world on the go.

All of Hardik Patel’s tweets are against the BJP, is everything all right with Congress, says Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani

This edition of the Express Adda held at the Hyatt Hotel, Ahmedabad, hosted Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. In a discussion moderated by National Opinion Editor Vandita Mishra and Resident Editor (Gujarat) Leena Misra, Rupani spoke on a range of issues — preparing for the state assembly elections, dealing with the Patidar and Dalit agitations and the impact of demonetisation and GST.
On managing Narendra Modi’s first election
Narendrabhai came in 2001 and within six months he had to fight an election. He had left everything to the party and it was decided that he would fight elections from Rajkot, which has been a BJP bastion since the Jan Sangh days.The Congress had put in its full force in that election but he (Modi) won. That election was important for us.

Idea Exchange: Was Yashwant Sinha right in personally attacking Arun Jaitley, questions Ravi Shankar Prasad

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s article criticising the government on the poor state of the economy caused a stir in the NDA government, and prompted the Prime Minister and several senior ministers, including Ravi Shankar Prasad, to defend the growth numbers. The landmark Supreme Court judgment, declaring privacy as a fundamental right, with questions being raised about its impact on Aadhaar, has also made Prasad’s role as Law Minister crucial. As the Minister for Information Technology, the Rajya Sabha MP has been working on creating a model framework for regulating the online marketplace
RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD: The fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong, whether it is inflation, current account deficit or FDI. The Prime Minister has made an extraordinary initiative, that is to make the Indian economy from informal to formal, from black to white, from tax avoiding to tax complying. Some momentary disruptions can take place but we have a very good record of growth. This quarter if it has dipped, it will pick up again because our fundamentals are strong.

Will Anirban Lahiri win on the PGA Tour in 2018?

Incheon, South Korea, 2015. Anirban Lahiri came to the 18th hole of his singles match against Chris Kirk desperately seeking redemption for his inability to win a single point in the bi-annual America versus International President’s Cup. Lahiri, the first Indian ever to play in the Ryder Cup-style team event, had lost his previous two matches at the event and, finally, had a three-and-a-half-footer on the final green to halve the match. Kirk had already knocked in a tricky 15-foot downhill putt to put the pressure back on the Indian. Lahiri, a good putter, was confident and struck a firm putt, but the ball hit the right edge of the cup and lipped out, handing Kirk victory and the American squad a pivotal point. The Internationals, until that moment, were tantalisingly close to a rare victory in an event that’s been dominated by the Americans who’ve won it on all but one occasion since 1998. That missed putt sealed the fate of Lahiri’s squad, which demoralisingly went on to lose the Cup yet again.

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