IndUS Business Journal

Fitch downgrades PNB’s viability ratings

Jun 4, 2018 0

Mumbai– Fitch Ratings has downgraded the viability rating (VR) of state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) to ‘b’ from ‘bb-‘ and maintained it on rating “watch negative” (RWN).

“The two-notch downgrade to PNB’s VR is a reflection of the significant deterioration in its standalone credit profile, mainly due to a drop in its core capital ratio that was bigger than Fitch’s expectation,” the agency said in a statement on Monday.

“The deterioration in its core capitalisation was caused by a sharp increase in its non-performing loans (NPLs), including the $2.2 billion in fraudulent transactions reported in February 2018, and the related increase in credit costs, which resulted in large losses in the financial year ended March 2018 (FY18).”

“The decline also highlights management’s weaker execution and previous underwriting and oversight gaps, which the bank has already started taking steps to address.”

According ot the agency, the RWN reflects its expectations that the “pressures, mainly relating to asset quality, earnings and profitability, will persist at least over the next few quarters”.

“This could weaken its already low core capitalisation further unless the bank is able to save or generate capital through intrinsic sources such as non-core asset sales and cost reductions although there is the prospect of the government injecting further capital into the state banks,” the statement said.

As per the statement, PNB’s ability to sustain, if not improve, its buffers through sources such as retained earnings, fresh equity raising and stake sales is important for its VR.

However, PNB’s “Long-Term Issuer Default Rating” (IDR) has been affirmed at ‘BBB-‘ and its “Support Rating Floor and Support Rating” at ‘BBB-‘and ‘2’, respectively.

“The Outlook on the IDR is Stable… PNB’s IDR is at its Support Rating Floor of ‘BBB-‘ and reflects our view of the state’s high propensity to provide extraordinary support to PNB,” the statement added. (IANS)

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PNB fraud: ED charge-sheet names Nirav, 23 others

May 24, 2018 0

Mumbai– The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed a charge-sheet against fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi and 23 others, including his father, sister and brother-in-law, in the over Rs 13,400 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

The fraud was committed during 2011-2017 by illegally issuing Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs).

The charge-sheet or the prosecution complaint — running in about 12,000 pages — was submitted in a special court in Mumbai naming Nirav Modi, his sister Purvi Mehta, brother-in-law Maiank Mehta, brother Neeshal Modi, relative Nehal Modi, father Deepak Modi and 18 others.

Nirav Modi’s three firms — Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds and Diamonds R US — which had fraudulently obtained Rs 6,498 crore through LoUs issued by the Mumbai’s Brady House Branch of PNB were also named in the charge-sheet.

The charge-sheet said the funds so obtained by these firms were partly utilised for payment to various overseas companies and also for offsetting earlier LoUs.

The diamantaire left India with his family around a month before PNB filed its first complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the fraud on February 29.

“It was revealed during investigation that the payments were made to 17 dummy overseas entities in Hong Kong, Dubai and the US since 2011 in the guise of export and import.

“The directors and shareholders in these companies were also dummy and were employed in Nirav’s Firestar group of companies. They were working as per the directions of Nirav and his other trusted officials Shyamsunder Wadhwa, Aditya Nanavati, Mihir Bhansali and Saju Poulose,” the charge-sheet said.

It said the dummy directors were just “mechanically transferring the goods and monies without any economic rationale and logic”.

“Documents, obtained from overseas jurisdictions, prove the diversion and layering of the proceeds of crime.”

“The modus operandi was fraudulent import and export wherein there were no manufacturing activities in any of the dummy overseas companies. The invoices were over valued to a huge extent so as to inflate the balance sheets and procure high credit facilities from the banks.

“The export and import was also not genuine and was just rotational transactions. The jewellery exported from India was dismantled, and diamonds and pearls taken out of it while gold and silver were sent for melting. The melted metal was re-exported to Dubai or India.

“The whole process was carried out without any substantial value addition and was only for inflating the turnover of Indian companies, so as to acquire maximum credit facilities from the banks,” said the chargesheet.

The funds acquired by fraudulent means were siphoned off within the country as well as to the overseas dummy companies owned by Nirav Modi, the charge-sheet said, adding the agency traced diversion of the proceeds of crime to the extent of $629.21 million relating to several group companies.

The charge sheet has detailed the attachments made by the ED against Nirav Modi and his associates in the last few months after it first registered a money laundering case on February 14 based on the CBI’s January 31 FIR. The ED’s move comes days after the CBI filed two separate charge-sheets in the case.

It is expected that the ED would file a second charge-sheet against Nirav Modi’s uncle and jeweller Choksi. (IANS)

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HC crticises Delhi government for free water scheme

May 24, 2018 0

New Delhi– The Delhi High Court on Thursday criticised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government policy of providing 20 kilo litres of free water across the board for domestic use and said “nothing should be given free” unless the poor need it.

“Nothing should be given free to anybody. Charge 10 paise or one paisa. Nothing should be given free, except where people really need it like the poor,” said a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar.

The bench observed that providing free water to people living in the slum clusters could be accepted but not for those who could afford it.

Meanwhile, the state of Haryana government told the court that it had floated tenders for repairing the Delhi Sub Branch Canal (DSBC), which also carries water to the national capital, besides the Munak canal.

The tenders would be opened in June and the work was expected to be completed in four months, the Haryana government said.

The court asked the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to inform on the next date of hearing whether there was any policy to regulate ground water usage, as private companies had been draining the water table of the national capital.

The court has listed the matter for further hearing on July 23.

The court was hearing a plea, filed by advocate S.B. Tripathi, who has sought direction for the DJB to provide 100 per cent sewage facility in the entire city and the Central government to provide financial assistance to the DJB for the work.

The plea said that in 2016, the DJB had told the court that only 55 per cent of the Delhi population was covered with sewage facility and there was no sewage facility available to the remaining 45 per cent.

Tripathi has said as 330 cusecs of water was supplied by Haryana through a “kutcha” canal, 50 per cent of water was being lost due to seepage and Delhi got only about 170-180 cusec water per day. (IANS)

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US auto tariffs would breach WTO rules: EU

May 24, 2018 0

Brussels– The EU said any unilateral US auto tariffs based on national security would be against World Trade Organization rules after President Donald Trump launched a probe into American vehicle imports, raising the stakes for the bloc as it bids for waivers from White House levies on steel and aluminum.

Donald Trump

Trump has demanded a reduction in the EU’s 10 per cent tariff on American car exports and repeatedly threatened to impose levies on European auto imports if the bloc retaliates against US steel and aluminium tariffs, Efe news reported.

“It is very difficult to asses what does it mean or what is behind this,” European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said in Brussels on Thursday.

The commission — the EU’s executive arm — has been negotiating with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to secure an exemption from US tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium since Trump’s decision in early March.

The bloc received temporary waivers, expiring June 1, but has struggled to convince the White House not to punish its longstanding European allies.

Brussels has engaged Washington and promised to enter into duty-slashing trade talks in exchange for unlimited waivers.

Meanwhile, the bloc also prepared a list of American products that could swiftly face 2.8 billion euros of levies unless Trump exempts the EU, and asked to join China’s WTO challenge against US tariffs, which were also based on national security and deemed illegal by Beijing and Brussels alike.

“Whether the new announcement further complicates the trade negotiations or not, we don’t know,” Katainen said, adding that the EU doesn’t expect additional hardships in the wake of Trump’s autos announcement.

“We have indicated very clearly to our US friends that we are always ready to discuss improving the trading environment, as we have been trying to do for many years.” (IANS)

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After 1,460 days of Modi rule, ‘achhe din’ yet to come, feel experts

May 24, 2018 0

By Aparajita Gupta

New Delhi– There’s only one year more to go for the BJP-led regime before another test at the hustings. But is the country any nearer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promised ‘acche din’ (good days)?

Four years ago, the country had voted the present regime to power on hopes of better days in all socio-economic-political spheres. But despite some strong structural reforms like GST, and gut-wrenching changes like demonetisation, the jury may still be out on how good it has been, according to economists and others experts.

Despite India’s GDP growth of 7.2 per cent in the third quarter (October-December) of 2017-18, some economists feel that the demonetisation drive, avowedly taken to “cleanse the system” of black money, had ended up damaging the country’s economy instead.

“Demonetisation was a terrible mistake by the government, for which the common people paid the price. It has reduced people’s trust in the banking system, as they were denied their own money during the period of cash crunch. It takes so much time and work to build institutions and policies — it is so much easier and faster to break things,” Jayati Ghosh, Economics Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), told IANS.

The government decided to ban 1,000 rupee and 500-rupee notes on November 8, 2016, taking away 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation. “May be this move had served the government’s purpose politically, but economically it was a bad one,” Ghosh added.

Echoing similar views, Arun Kumar, former professor of economics at the JNU, told IANS that when the NDA government came in, the Indian economy was already on an upward trajectory. The quarter, in which the government took over, the growth climbed to eight per cent. In October 2016, India was the fastest growing economy in the world when China slowed down a bit.

“But then the government administered a shock to the system with demonetisation. It had a negative impact on the unorganised sector that comprise 45 per cent of production and 93 per cent of employment in the country. According to some estimation, 50-80 per cent of that got damaged,” he said.

Kumar, who is now Chair-Professor with the Institute of Social Sciences, added: “Government did no survey at that time and hence no data is available. Even data from International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which rely on government data, do not show any estimates (on impact).”

After demonetisation, credit off-take in the country declined sharply. “Between November-December 2016, it was at historic low of 60 years. Investment into the country also took a big hit,” he said.

However, Ranen Banerjee, Partner & Leader, Public Finance and Economics, at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has a different take on some of the benefits flowing from the action.

“Demonetisation had positive impact as far as digital payments were concerned. It shot up sharply during that period but came down subsequently. The level is still higher earlier. But demonetisation as a measure did not deliver all the results that it was supposed to deliver,” Banerjee said.

The government’s other major thrust, though, on Goods and Services Tax (GST) — rolled out on July 1 last year, got better billing. Economists are hopeful that it will bring in beneficial changes once the hiccups are over. Banerjee says GST would change the entire landscape of tax compliance in the country by creating a multiplier effect. “GST was a bold move which is showing positive results,” he added.

Ghosh, though, thinks GST goes against the grain of federalism. “A unified system is not so necessary in a federal structure — for example, the US does not have it and still has a very modern economy. In a federal structure you have to allow states to have some money raising power. Further, GST implementation has been really bad.”

Kumar said: “Introduction of GST has hit the unorganised sector badly. Even in Malaysia where GST was introduced in 2015-16 at 26 per cent, government decided to scrap it. The organised sector is rising at the expense of unorganised sector. Disparity is rising.”

Industry chambers have by and large welcomed government initiatives, especially the decision on GST. “The overall economy is strong with GST having settled down and reforms firmly on the right path,” Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), told IANS.

Over the last four years, according to him, the government had systematically addressed major “pain points” for the economy such as ease of doing business, non-performing assets of banks, foreign direct investment rules, infrastructure construction and exit of failing enterprises.

“The government’s mission-mode development campaigns have delivered notable results, adding to overall growth multipliers. The firm level and sectoral level numbers look promising for the next year in terms of orders booked and capacity utilisation,” said CII’s Banerjee.

Former economics professor at Indian Statistical Institute, Dipankar Dasgupta, who holds that the economy was yet to recover from the hit it took because of demonetisation, says that on GST he was hopeful that with time it will stabilise. “In the other countries where it was introduced there were teething problems too,” he said.

The government also took up the job to cleanse bad loans of banks. It is pumping in Rs 2.11 lakh crore as capitalisation, spread over two years. But a number of banking scandals and rising non-performing assets (NPA) may have reduced the faith of people in the bank system, after the shock of demonetisation. “We have declining deposits in the banking system due to people’s rising mistrust,” says Ghosh. Dasgupta says recapitalisation should be followed with caution so that it does not widen the fiscal deficit.

The government, though, has got support in its effort to tackle the issue of NPAs. The bankruptcy law has put everyone on notice. “People are taking the issue of NPAs seriously trying to resolve it. Companies are opting for out of court settlement. Propensity to comply has increased as borrowers know that there will be consequences on not servicing a loan,” Banerjee of PriceWaterhouseCoopers said.

Yet, overall the promise of the golden pot at the end of the five-year rainbow, as promised by Modi in his of speeches — where he had painted the BJP rule in attractive hues — has not materialised in four years. BJP’s best salesman may have oversold the hope.

“I do not blame this government for not being able to deliver ‘achhe din’. Which government since Independence has?” asks Dasgupta rhetorically.(IANS)

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India, Netherlands agree to boost trade, cooperate across multiple sectors

May 24, 2018 0

New Delhi– India and The Netherlands on Thursday agreed to boost bilateral trade and investment and strengthen cooperation across multiple sectors, including agriculture and food processing, water management and science and technology, following a bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte.

Jointly addressing the media with Rutte after attending an India-Netherlands CEOs Round Table that followed the bilateral summit, Modi said that hundreds of Dutch companies have been operating in India for many years now.

“The Netherlands is the fifth largest source of the total foreign direct investment made in India till now,” he said.

“And in recent times, it has even risen to become the third largest source.”

Modi said that in the same way The Netherlands is a very attractive investment destination for Indian companies.

According to figures released by the External Affairs Ministry, India and The Netherlands have a bilateral trade of $7.621 billion (April 2017-Feb 2018).

Stating that the interaction with the CEOs of the two countries was very productive, the Indian Prime Minister said: “I am happy that the business community of The Netherlands is enthusiastic about the new opportunities arising in India. I have assured them of my strong commitment to the economic reforms.”

On his part, Rutte said that ties between India and The Netherlands have become very close both on the economic and the political sides.

“Many Indian companies, which are active in The Netherlands, are helping us to build a more successful and more resilient society,” he stated.

According to a joint statement issued following the summit, Modi and Rutte acknowledged the role of the private sector in boosting trade and investment relations and underlined the opportunities for intensive Indo-Dutch collaborations under India’s flagship initiatives such as Make in India and StartUp India.

“Highlighting the role of youth in enhancing future collaboration in innovation and startups, the leaders welcomed the launch of the StartUpLink initiative by Invest India and the Netherlands Embassy in Delhi,” the statement said.

In his address, Modi said that agriculture and food processing hold special significance for India as these are related to the country’s food security.

“At the same, the target of doubling the income of Indian farmers is also of great significance,” he said.

Stating that The Netherlands have great experience in these areas, he expressed happiness that the Indo-Dutch Centre of Excellence on vegetables has started functioning in Baramati, Maharashtra.

“We are working on setting up more such centres,” Modi stated.

Highlighting The Netherlands’ role in urban development in India, he said water management projects in Delhi and Vadodara were progressing well.

The joint statement said that innovation, technology and governance being key-ingredients in Indo-Dutch water cooperation, the respective institutions of the two countries have joined hands in several projects including a waste2wealth approach to solid waste and waste water in the Hindon Basin, in assisting leather industries in Kanpur and Unnao to adopt eco-friendly technologies, and in conservation of water through efficient agriculture practices in the sugarcane industry of Uttar Pradesh.

“Both sides agreed to intensify their resolve to enhance cooperation under the aegis of the MoU (memorandum of understanding) in the field of water management signed in June 2017 with focus on the Clean Ganga campaign,” it stated.

Modi also said that Indo-Dutch cooperation in science and technology has completed 10 years and expressed confidence that this will be further strengthened when The Netherlands will participate as the partner country in the Tech Summit to be held in India in 2019.

Following Thursday’s summit, the Dutch Prime Minister also signed the framework agreement of the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA) in the presence of Modi.

Launched by Modi and then French President Francois Hollande at the Paris climate summit in 2015, the ISA was conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs and provide a platform to collaborate on dealing with the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.

It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Modi said that the benefits of technology, experience and mastery The Netherlands has acquired on solar energy should be shared with the whole world.

According to the joint statement, the two leaders also reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

“They deplored the violence caused by Al Qaeda, Daesh/ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammed, HizbulMujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayabba, and their affiliates as well as terrorist groups threatening peace and security in South Asia and Europe,” it stated.

Apart from Rutte signing the ISA framework, India and The Netherlands also signed a wide range of agreements and initiatives across different sectors like knowledge institutions, water, agrifood and horticulture, hi-tech, IT and space, life sciences and health, smart cities, business, and sustainability. (IANS)

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Value buying, global cues lift equity indices; banking, IT stocks surge

May 24, 2018 0

Mumbai– Broadly positive global markets, along with attractive stock valuations and a strengthened rupee, lifted the key equity indices on Thursday.

According to market observers, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, IT and Teck (technology, entertainment and media) stocks.

Index-wise, the broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at 10,513.85 points — up 83.50 points or 0.80 per cent from its previous close.

Similarly, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) also jumped nearly one per cent. It had opened at 34,404.14 points and closed higher by 318.20 points or 0.93 per cent at 34,663.11 points.

On an intra-day basis, the Sensex touched a high of 34,741.46 points and a low of 34,367.83. The BSE market breadth was, however, slightly tilted towards the bears with 1,391 declines and 1,255 advances.

“Markets rebounded sharply on Thursday after the selloff seen on Wednesday. Sustained buying in the afternoon session by domestic institutions seemed to push the markets higher,” said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities.

Jasani said: “Major Asian markets have closed on a mixed note. European indices like CAC 40 and DAX are trading in the green.”

Geojit Financial Services Head of Research Vinod Nair said: “Market reversed from day’s low despite global trade worries as weak INR gave room for export oriented sectors to surge.

“Further US Fed’s softened comment on interest rate trajectory upheld investor’s sentiment.”

On the currency front, the Indian rupee strengthened by eight paise against the US dollar to 68.35, from its previous close at 68.43 per greenback.

Besides, provisional data with exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 701.93 crore, while the domestic institutional investors bought stocks worth Rs 1,480.51 crore.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE banking index surged by 406.92 points, the IT index rose by 324.16 points and the Teck (technology, entertainment and media) ended higher by 161.95 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE auto index fell by 377.80 points, followed by the oil and gas index, which declined by 236.82 points and the consumer durables index that ended lower by 67.88 points.

The major gainers on the Sensex were Bharti Airtel, up 4.11 per cent at Rs 371.45; Infosys, up 3.09 per cent at Rs 1,221.85; Tata Consultancy Services, up 3.08 per cent at Rs 3,604.80; Axis Bank, up 2.65 per cent at Rs 534.15; and Sun Pharma, up 2.23 per cent at Rs 462.05 per share.

The top losers were Tata Motors, down 6.56 per cent at Rs 288.95; ONGC, down 4.50 per cent at Rs 167.65; Tata Motors (DVR), down 4.40 per cent at Rs 168.30; Bajaj Auto, down 1.41 per cent at Rs 2,736.70; and Maruti Suzuki, down 1.07 per cent at Rs 8,409.80 per share.

In an unrelated development, trade on NSE was temporarily disrupted due to a technical glitch in its web-based tool “NOW”.

A spokesperson from the bourse said: “NSE confirms there was no disruption to its trading system today.‘NOW’ is a shared ‘CTCL’ (Computer-to-Computer Link) system which had a disruption which has been rectified and the system is now up and running.

“The members had alternate mode connectivity during the disruption and hence trading was not disrupted. The reasons for disruption are being assessed.” (IANS)

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Indian firm develops email service in Korean script

May 23, 2018 0

New Delhi– An Indian IT firm has developed an e-mail service that would enable Korean people to get email IDs in their own linguistic script.

This has been done using Make in India ‘DataMail’ app that bridges the gap between English and non-English writing or reading population. It enables an email address in the language of the users choice and allows communication in preferred languages.

Data XGen Technologies, a known innovator in providing linguistic email service, announced the launch at World IT Show in Seoul on Wednesday.

The firm has already launched email services in Arabic, Russian, Thai and Chinese languages and has become the first Indian IT firm to provide linguistic email services globally.

“Korea is a large linguistic market which makes it an obvious choice for ‘DataMail’ services,” said Ajay Data, founder and CEO, Data XGen.

The company also provides email addresses in 15 Indian languages. (IANS)


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Petrol almost Rs 85 a litre in Mumbai, crosses Rs 80 in Chennai

May 23, 2018 0

New Delhi– The petrol price in India’s financial capital Mumbai touched Rs 84.99 a litre on Wednesday.

Petrol prices in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai have already reached unprecendent levels, and are now setting a new benchmark every other day.

In Chennai, price of the fuel breached the Rs 80 a litre mark on Wednesday and was priced at Rs 80.11 per litre, according to data on the website of Indian Oil Corp.

Similarly, in Delhi the fuel’s price inched higher to a new record of Rs 77.17, and in Kolkata, it cost Rs 79.83, almost a five-year high.

Since the dynamic pricing system was resumed on May 14, prices have increased over Rs 2.50 per litre across all metropolitan cities, leading to demands from various quarters for urgent action by the government to curb the price rise.

Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday criticised the Centre for the fuel price hike and claimed that the rate can be reduced by Rs 25 per litre but the government is not doing it.

“Bonanza to central government is Rs 25 on every litre of petrol. This money rightfully belongs to the average consumer,” he tweeted.

“Central government saves Rs 15 on every litre of petrol due to fall in crude oil prices. It also puts additional tax of Rs 10 on every litre of petrol,” Chidambaram added.

Diesel prices, which have already reached unprecedented levels, set new records across the country. In Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, diesel was sold at Rs 68.34, Rs 70.89, Rs 72.76 and Rs 72.14 per litre, respectively. (IANS)

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Need long-term view to resolve fuel price rise issue: Prasad

May 23, 2018 0

New Delhi– Transport fuel prices going north is a matter of both increasing concern and discussion and the government trying to find a long-term solution to the problems issuing from global price volatility, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad with John Kern, SVP, Supply Chain Operations, Cisco, in Delhi. (Photo: Coutresy, Cisco India)

Briefing reporters here following a Cabinet meeting, Prasad was responding to queries on petrol prices in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai having already reached unprecedented levels, and setting new benchmarks every other day.

Under the dynamic pricing regime, petrol in Mumbai touched Rs 84.99 a litre on Wednesday. In Chennai, price of the fuel breached the Rs 80 a litre mark on Wednesday and was priced at Rs 80.11 per litre.

In Delhi, petrol inched higher to a new record of Rs 77.17, and in Kolkata, it cost Rs 79.83, almost a five-year high.

“The issue of the frequent hike in fuel prices has become a matter of discussion and concern and the government is involved in the whole process of concern and uncertainty,” Prasad said.

Diesel prices, which have already reached unprecedented levels, set new records across the country. In Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, diesel was sold at Rs 68.34, Rs 70.89, Rs 72.76 and Rs 72.14 per litre, respectively.

Responding to a query on the comments of former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday that the government can reduce excise on petrol by Rs 25 per litre but is unwilling to do so, Prasad said the Centre is considering a long-term view on the matter in “view of the frequent fluctuation in fuel prices”.

He pointed out that petrol has been deregulated since a few years and that at times of fall in global prices in the past, the government passed on the benefit to consumers.

“In view of the global uncertainty on oil prices, the government is looking at the desirability of taking a long-term view to deal with the issue of volatility and the frequent ambiguity arising out of the fluctuation in prices,” he said.

“There is a compelling need for a long-term structured solution to the problem in which the government is actively engaged.”

The Minister also said the taxes on petrol and diesel go to fund development work that benefits both the Centre and the states, citing the example expenditure on works such as highways, digital infrastructure, education and creating medical institutes. (IANS)

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