Legal backing for MSPs
- Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar: ‘cognizant of” the apparent dichotomy between the unfettered freedom for farmers to access markets, as envisaged in the two farm Bills cleared by Parliament recently, and the ban on onion exports.
- Prices of agriculture commodities must be market-determined to the extent possible was unexceptionable and indicated that artificial market interventions would require to be minimised.
- Tomar ruled out the possibility of bringing the MSP system for farm goods under the Bills
- The Bills had little to do with the MSP system or government procurement of agriculture commodities.
- MSPs were administrative measures and these had never been part of any law.
Piyush Goyal to G-20
- Piyush Goyal on tuesday took part in the virtual meeting of the G-20 Trade and Investment Ministers.
- Goyal called upon G-20 to play a leadership role in crafting a pathway to recover from COVID-19.
- One of the key lessons for all countries is the need to strike the right balance between their external and internal economic policies, with a view to ensuring balanced and sustainable development.
- He said that India stands ready to engage constructively with all G-20 Members to push an agenda that is inclusive and development oriented.
- Mr Goyal announced that India is not in a position to accept the concept of Data Free Flow with Trust, DFFT.
- Mr Goyal said, India, like many other developing countries, is still in the phase of preparing a framework for its data protection and e-commerce laws.
- Global economic growth “is fueled no longer by gasoline, but more and more by digital data,” Shinzo Abe
- World-wide data governance
- 17 of the G20 members signed onto the Osaka Declaration on Digital Economy
- Data gathering is an unavoidable part of modern life.
- Individuals generate data with their activities, which companies and governments then use to provide users and citizens services.
- The Osaka Track aims to address a global issue with a global solution to avoid a patchwork of regimes, which would inhibit economic activity and create different privacy standards.
- Prime Minister Abe identified two key pillars that formed his Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) initiative. First, he said that personal data, intellectual property, and data related to national security must be kept “under careful protection.”
- Then he identified “medical, industrial, traffic” data among the types of information that should be freely transmitted across borders to enable economic growth.
- The government will likely extend the suspension of insolvency cases against fresh Covid-related default by another six months from September 25 in one go, once the current six-month deadline is over.
- This move is to soften the blow to thousands of Covid-19 ravaged firms.
- The government has already secured Parliamentary clearance to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020, which provides for up to one-year suspension of the initiatition of insolvency proceedings for fresh defaults from March 25.
- A final call on the extension, however, will be taken by finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
- The government had sought to suspend invocation of three sections –7, 9 and 10—of the IBC for Covid-related defaults.
- These sections deal with the initiation of the insolvency proceedings by financial and operational creditors and corporate debtors.
- Already, the government has raised the default threshold for initiating insolvency proceedings to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh earlier, which will prevent many MSMEs from being dragged to the NCLT.
CAG on cess receipts
- CAG told Parliament on Wednesday that the Centre has only transferred Rs 1.64 lakh crore or 60% of the proceeds from cess/levies in FY19 to the relevant reserve funds and retained the balance in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI).
- The Centre had collected Rs 2.75 lakh crore from 35 cesses/levies in FY19.
- Under the scheme, such cesses and levies are required to be first transferred to designated Reserve Funds and utilised for the specific purposes intended by Parliament.
- “Social Welfare Surcharge” on Customs amounting to Rs 8,871 crore was levied but not dedicated fund for the same was envisaged.
- Non-creation/non operation of Reserve Funds makes it difficult to ensure that cesses and levies have been utilised for the specific purposes intended by the Parliament,” CAG said in its analysis the Union Government Finance Accounts for FY19.
- It may be noted that in recent years, the Centre’s cess receipts have surged due to hike in rates and new imposts and this has helped it to cushion the blow from the higher transfers to the states from the divisible pool of taxes under the 14th Finance Commission recommendations.
- “During the year, GST Compensation Cess of Rs 40,806 crore was short credited to the related Reserve Fund; Rs 10,157crore of the Road and Infrastructure Cess collected during the year was neither transferred to the related Reserve Fund nor utilised for the purpose for which the cess was collected.”
- In addition, Rs 1,24,399 crore, representing the Cess on crude oil collected in the last decade, had not been transferred to the designated Reserve Fund (Oil Industry Development Board) and was retained in CFI, it said.