OPINION, P2 MIND & GAMES India at 70: The economy IDEA EXCHANGE WE NEED TO TALK SOME MORE ABOUT YOUR DIRTY SPONGES Shyam Saran A past study of the bacteria that proliferate in kitchen sponges alarmed many. But do not despair, there are some simple solutions Page 10 ACROSS THE AISLE , P CHIDAMBARAM Vol X No. 51 Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. App available on App Store & Play Store WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM ‘People say in Doklam, India is better placed. Why do we think Chinese could only act here?’ Page 4 LEISURE CELEBRATING THE LAST SHANGRI-LA LUCKNOW SUNDAY, AUGUST 13, 2017 24 Pages, `10 SPOTLIGHT VIRTUAL LIFE, BLURRED REALITY FINANCIAL EXPRESS ON SUNDAY PUBLISHED FROM:AHMEDABAD, BENGALURU, CHANDIGARH, CHENNAI, HYDERABAD, KOCHI, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, PUNE PRADHAN MANTRI AWAS YOJANA – URBAN Sick PSUs to inject life into low-cost housing scheme ● Vast tracts of land belonging to 8 PSUs to be made available for housing SURBHI PRASAD & PRASANTA SAHU New Delhi, August 12 The seemingly innocuous electronic device is now a bone of contention between parents and children. The latest blow is a social media challenge game that allegedly drove a teenager to suicide in Mumbai. Are we ready yet to tackle online addiction among children? Page 7 WORDS WORTH BLOOD LINES WITH THE UNAVAILABILITY of land becoming a stumbling block for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “housing for all by 2022 mission”, the government has zeroed in on vast tracts of surplus land belonging to eight sick PSUs forlow-cost housing in urban areas. The ministry of housing and urban affairs (MHUA) has finalised a public-private partnership model to provide affordable housing.Underthe proposal,the PSUs will either sell or lease out land to a private player,who will build low-cost houses, a senior government official said. Launched on June 25, 2015, the aim of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U) is to address the gap in housing demand and supply in urban areaswith respect to economically weaker sections, low and middle-income groups. The government has set an ambitious target to construct as many as 12 lakh houses under the PMAY-U in 2017-18. In ODD & EVEN Lords of land Surplus land (acres) HMT Bearings, Hyderabad 30 Hindustan Antibiotics, Pune Heavy Engineering Corporation, Ranchi Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, Gurugram HMT Watches, Nainital 2016-17, only 1.49 lakh houses were built under the scheme, against a target of 32.6 lakh units. The Centre has targeted construction of 26 lakh houses in 2018-19, 26 lakh in 2019-20, 30 lakh in 2020-21 and 29.80 lakh in 2021-22. Under extant guidelines for monetisation of land of sick PSUs, proposals from government organisations are invited to purchase land. The unsold land, if any, could be auctioned bythe government orbe used for ROHNIT PHORE APPREHENSION OVER GST rates has resulted in some benefits for shoppers, who have not only enjoyed an unseasonal sale period before the tax regime rollout,which happened forliquidation of stocks by manufacturers, but lower prices on apparel and footwear post GST as well. Before the rollout, several manufacturers offered discounts in June to liquidate their stocks, apprehensive of pricerise due to higher GST rates. But 1,200 90 45 affordable housing and other government programmes.“This policy is being changed to give priorityto Pradhan MantriAwas Yojana –Urban, which has not made much progress so far,” another official said. The proceeds from the land sale will be used to meet the outstanding liabilities of the PSUs, as well as implement voluntary retirement scheme for the staff before their closure or privatisation. The selected eight sick PSUs have around 2,500 acres,includ- RCom posts `1,210-cr loss in Q1 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, August 12 Fashion shopping fun continues even after GST ANUSHREE BHATTACHARYYA & JHARNA MAZUMDAR New Delhi/Mumbai, August 12 85 *in addition, there is around 1,100 acres of extra land with Nainital and Burdwan Selected excerpts from Partition—The Story of Indian Independence and the Creation of Pakistan in 1947 recount the irreverent process of defining the boundary lines of India and Pakistan Page 5 Shoppers enjoyed sale period before rollout, and lower prices post-GST READ TO LEAD The Mountain Echoes Literary Festival highlights culture, spirituality of Bhutan Page 9 a month after the rollout of GST, several apparel and footwear manufacturers have reduced prices by 12-19% because of lower tax rates. Prior to GST, the excise duty on apparel was 7%, which went up to 12% in GST on products priced above `1,000. On footwear, earlier the duty was 14.41%, while under GST, the rate is 5% for products below `500 and 18% for products priced higher.Analysts said that due to the benefit of input tax credit, the overall burden of taxes has come down for manufacturers,leading to price reduction of products. Retailers like Max Fashion, part of the Landmark Group, and Shoppers Stop, among others, have reduced prices of apparel from the earlier starting points of `1,199 and `1,299 to `999 and `1,049,respectively. “Earlier the maximum retail price (MRP) of affordable range of apparel was priced between `1,199 and `1,299, which has now been reduced by 12.5%19.2% in case of new stock. The MRP of affordable range of apparel is now priced at `1,049, while the MRP on the premium range starts from `1,399,” said Vasanth Kumar,executive director,Max Fashions. However, consumers said most items available at Max cost `999,and in certain caseswhere the price was `1,049, the company gave a discount of `50.The scenario is similar in case of footwear, with what was earlier priced as `800 now costs `500. At Shoppers Stop,the price of affordable range has been reduced to `999 compared to the earlier `1,099 and `1,199. Continued on Page 11 RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS on Saturday posted a consolidated loss of `1,210 crore in the three-month period ended June 30,2017.Thisisthethirdstraight quarter loss for the debt-laden firm.Thecompanyhadregistered a profit of `90 crore in the same period a year ago. “The telecom sector in India continuestobeveryadverselyimpacted during the financial year 2017-18 by competitive intensityonascaleneverwitnessedbefore in the country,”RCom said in a statement. Its consolidated revenue dipped 33% to `3,591 crore in April-June 2017 from `5,361 crore recorded in the same quarter of 2016.“For the first time in over 20 years, the telecom sector registeredde-growthinrevenues, leading to a reduction in the government’s share in revenues, sharp drop in operating margins, accompanied by increased interestcostsarisingfromastaggering industrydebt burden,and higher depreciation and amortisation charges as a result of higherspectrum purchase costs,” the statement said. The debt status of the company at the end of the reported quarter could not be ascertained. IthasbeengiventimetillDecemberbythe lenders to service dues. RCom had earlier reported debt ofabout`45,000crore.Thecompanyexpects to complete merger ofSistemaShyamTelecombyend of this month,which will add 30 megahertzofpremium850band spectrumineighttelecomcircles. The validity of spectrum in these circles will remain till 2033. RCom reiterated that merger of its mobile business with Aircel is on track,which will reduce its debt to the tune of around `14,000 crore.The company expects to further reduce debt of `11,000 crore bysale of its tower business to Brookfield Asset Management,which, it said, is in final stages. The board of RCom approved holding of an annual general meeting,where the companywill seek shareholders’permission to convertoutstandingdebtintoequity shares whenever required. ing HMTBearings in Hyderabad, Hindustan Antibiotics in Pune, Heavy Engineering Corporation in Ranchi, Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals in Gurugram and HMTWatches in Nainital. MHUA has set up a fourmember committee to put in place theworking model.Private players would bid for the project and would be required to design the product mix and construct all dwelling units. “The entire project cost would be borne by the developer,”an official said. The National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) has been entrusted with the task of framing the memorandum of understanding and otherlegal contracts.The Central assistance approved for 23.5 lakh dwelling units is around `32,800 crore, of which around `10,000 crore has been released so far,officials said. Currently, of the total dwelling units approved, about eight lakh dwelling units are in various stages of completion/ construction with an estimated investment of `42,160 crore. Continued on Page 11 Getting ready for I-Day India Gate in the national capital gets a wash ahead of August 15, on Saturday AMIT MEHRA ‘GST slabs rationalisation to depend on revenue buoyancy’ FE BUREAU Kolkata, August 12 RATIONALISATION OF TAX slabs under the newly-introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) would depend on the rise in revenue collection in the days to come, MoS for finance and corporate affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said on Saturday. Presently, there are five tax slabs, including exempted category, at 0, 5, 12, 18 and 28%. He said the Centre has deployed 30 Union ministers and 180 IAS officers to study the impact of GST across the country. Meghwal said while in preGST time, only 80 lakh dealers were registered, another 13.2 lakh had been added post its introduction, of which 56,000 are fromWestBengalalone,thehighestamongthecountry.Regarding GSTNetwork(GSTN),hesaidthat it would be further improved. “Registereddealersmaybefacing some teething problems.But the system is perfect,”he said. The dealers would also have to maintain computerised recordswith regards to input tax credit and reverse charge mechanism, Meghwal said at a seminar. He said all these were required to eliminate the shadow economy.
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