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Petrol, diesel prices rise for ninth consecutive day, Meghalaya cuts prices by Rs. 7

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Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the state will cut down the fuel prices by approximately Rs. 7 per litre.

Representative image (Source: Reuters)

Retail fuel prices climbed again for the ninth consecutive day reaching new highs on February 17 in cities across the country.

The petrol price in Delhi was hiked by 25 paise reaching Rs. 89.54 per litre as compared to Rs 89.29 per litre on February 16, according to state-owned fuel retailers. Diesel price in the national capital also touched a new high at Rs 79.95, increasing 25 paise from the previous day.

In Mumbai, the prices rose to Rs 96 per litre and Rs 86.98 per litre for petrol and diesel respectively.Meanwhile, automobile owners in Chennai shell out Rs 91.68 per litre and Rs 85.01 per litre of petrol and diesel. The prices in Kolkata reach Rs 90.78 per litre for petrol and Rs 83.54 per litre for diesel.

The difference in prices in states stems from local and VAT taxes imposed in states. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had ruled out the possibility of a reduction in taxes on petrol and diesel in order to reduce prices.Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the state will cut down the fuel prices by approximately Rs. 7 per l "There is no such proposal at present," he said in Rajya Sabha. He added that taxes are increasedor decreased depending on several factors like the requirement of the government and market situation.

"Both prices of petrol and diesel will be reduced by approximately ₹7. It is being done primarily to ensure that the consumers are not affected by the high prices in order to give some relief to them," said the Chief Minister while speaking to media persons.

The Chief Minister added that the step was taken as the consumers are affected. He further noted that despite the fact that the state is facing financial issues and the VAT collected "from petrol and diesel has helped the state in difficult times of COVID-19, the government has decided that we will be reducing the VAT for petrol and diesel."

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RBI permits residents to make remittances to IFSCs under LRS

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The RBI, in a notification, said it has reviewed the extant guidelines on LRS and decided to permit resident individuals to make remittances under LRS to IFSCs set up in India under the Special Economic Zone Act, 2005

The Reserve Bank on Tuesday permitted resident individuals to make remittances under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) to International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in the country.

The decision of the RBI is aimed at deepening the financial markets in the IFSCs and providing an opportunity to resident individuals to diversify their portfolios.

The RBI, in a notification, said it has reviewed the extant guidelines on LRS and decided to permit resident individuals to make remittances under LRS to IFSCs set up in India under the Special Economic Zone Act, 2005. "The remittance shall be made only for making investments in IFSCs in securities, other than those issued by entities/companies resident (outside IFSC) in India," the central bank said.

Further, resident individuals may also open a non-interest bearing Foreign Currency Account (FCA) in IFSCs, for making the above permissible investments under LRS. "Any funds lying idle in the account for a period upto 15 days from the date of its receipt into the account shall be immediately repatriated to domestic INR account of the investor in India," RBI said.

However, resident individuals cannot settle any domestic transactions with other residents through these FCAs held in IFSCs. The RBI further said that banks, while allowing the remittances, should ensure compliance with all other terms and conditions, including reporting requirements prescribed under the scheme.

RBI permits residents to make remittances to IFSCs under LRS

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The RBI, in a notification, said it has reviewed the extant guidelines on LRS and decided to permit resident individuals to make remittances under LRS to IFSCs set up in India under the Special Economic Zone Act, 2005

The Reserve Bank on Tuesday permitted resident individuals to make remittances under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) to International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in the country.

The decision of the RBI is aimed at deepening the financial markets in the IFSCs and providing an opportunity to resident individuals to diversify their portfolios.

The RBI, in a notification, said it has reviewed the extant guidelines on LRS and decided to permit resident individuals to make remittances under LRS to IFSCs set up in India under the Special Economic Zone Act, 2005. "The remittance shall be made only for making investments in IFSCs in securities, other than those issued by entities/companies resident (outside IFSC) in India," the central bank said.

Further, resident individuals may also open a non-interest bearing Foreign Currency Account (FCA) in IFSCs, for making the above permissible investments under LRS. "Any funds lying idle in the account for a period upto 15 days from the date of its receipt into the account shall be immediately repatriated to domestic INR account of the investor in India," RBI said.

However, resident individuals cannot settle any domestic transactions with other residents through these FCAs held in IFSCs. The RBI further said that banks, while allowing the remittances, should ensure compliance with all other terms and conditions, including reporting requirements prescribed under the scheme.

Nifty Opening Note

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indian Stock Market Trading View For 16 Feb,2021:


Stock specific action is expected in the market. Nifty to turn volatile as the day progresses.

Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 15340 level then expect some upmove and if it breaks and trade below 15280 level then some decline can be seen in the market. Please note this is just opening view and should not be considered as the view for the whole day.



India to see $500-billion investment in renewables by 2030: IEEFA report

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A report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) says that a huge global capital pool is mobilising to invest in renewable energy and grid projects in India

Source: Reuters

India is set to see investments to the tune of around $500 billion in the renewables sector if the country has to achieve the target of 450 gigawatts (GW) of capacity by 2030, said a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

The report highlighted that a huge global capital pool is mobilising to invest in renewable energy and grid projects in India, with pull factors including solar power tariffs hitting record lows, plunging solar module costs, record low-interest rates, and the security of government-backed, 25-year power purchase agreements (PPAs). The renewable energy sector in India has received more than $42 billion in investment since 2014.

“We estimate that striving for 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 would require deploying $500 billion of investment over the coming decade – $300 billion for wind and solar infrastructure, $50 billion on grid firming investments such as gas-peakers, hydro and batteries, and $150 billion on expanding and modernising transmission and distribution,” said Tim Buckley, Director Energy Finance Studies, South Asia, at the IEEFA.The country’s untapped renewable potential at 900 gigawatt (GW) is the most in the world. It is estimated that India’s peak power demand will rise to 295GW by 2021-22 and 690GW by 2035.

“Domestic and global institutions across the financial, corporate, energy, utility and government sectors are primed to deploy a wall of capital that India needs to fund its ambitious renewable energy targets,” he added.This includes the capital cost of adding more than 300GW of new renewables infrastructure, firming low-cost but intermittent renewable power generation, and expanding and modernising grid transmission and distribution.

The sources of capital range from private equity, global pensions funds and sovereign wealth funds, to oil and gas majors, multinational development banks and Indian state-owned enterprises and power billionaires, the report added.The report stated that the Indian renewables sector is increasingly dominated by the major independent power producers (IPPs):ReNew Power, Greenko, Adani Green, Tata Power, ACME, SB Energy, Azure Power, Sembcorp Green Infra and Hero Future Energies, and that each has invested strongly in building capacity in international debt and equity markets.

But, these renewable energy giants face growing competition from the likes of Vena Energy/Vector Green, O2 Power, Ayana Renewable Power, Torrent Power and Sprng Energy, as well as Government of India fossil fuel majors starting to rise to the decarbonisation challenge such as NTPC and NLC, with Coal India Limited and Indian Railways increasingly looking to pivot aggressively as well, it said.

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States' fiscal deficit to narrow to 4.3% of GDP in FY22: Report

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The aggregate fiscal deficit of states is likely to be at 4.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021-22 compared to 4.6 percent in 2020-21, says a report by India Ratings and Research.The rating agency has revised the outlook on state finances to stable for FY22 from stable-to-negative.

"We expect the aggregate fiscal deficit of states for FY22 to come in at 4.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) compared to 4.6 percent (revised) in FY21,” the agency said in a report.It had earlier forecast FY21 fiscal deficit of states to be at 4.5 percent but revised it later due to a sharper-than-expected contraction of 6.1 percent y-o-y in the nominal GDP.

The agency estimates the nominal GDP to grow 14.5 percent in FY22, and believes a gradual pick-up in revenue collections could lead to an improvement in the capital expenditure from FY22.

The report said due to the economic downturn, even the union government finances are under pressure, leading to a lower-than-budgeted devolution of Rs 5.50 lakh crore to states in FY21 (revised estimate: RE) as against the budget estimate (BE) of Rs 8.03 lakh crore.

This is Rs 2.53 lakh crore lower-than-budgeted states’ share in central taxes and accounts for nearly 92 percent increase in fiscal deficit in FY21(forecast) over FY21 (BE).

The agency now estimates the aggregate revenue deficit to come in at 3.2 percent, higher than the earlier forecast of 2.8 percent of GDP in FY21.

The union government in its FY22 budget has committed to retaining the vertical share of states in central taxes at 41 percent, as per the recommendations of 15th Finance Commission (FC).

The Union Budget for FY22 has budgeted Rs 6.66 lakh crore for distribution out of the net proceeds of central taxes (FY21RE: Rs 5.50 lakh crore).

The agency said although it estimates the aggregate revenue receipt of the states to grow 8.4 percent y-o-y in FY22 from a decline of 0.6 percent in FY21 (f), the revenue deficit would persist in FY22.

It expects the aggregate revenue deficit of states to come in at 1.5 percent of GDP in FY22 as against FY21 (f) of 3.2 percent.

The pressure on the debt burden is likely to persist in FY22 due to a combination of revenue deficit, some pick-up in capex and repayment of past market borrowings, the agency said.

It estimates the states’ aggregate debt/GDP to rise to 33.9 percent in FY22 from 32.8 percent in FY21 (f).States’ fiscal deficit is now financed mainly through market borrowings and the report estimates the gross market borrowings of states will increase to Rs 8.38 lakh crore in FY22 from Rs 8.2 lakh crore in FY21 (f).

The net market borrowings would be Rs 6.4 lakh crore in FY22

Senior citizens' special fixed deposit scheme: Latest FD interest rates of SBI, ICICI, BoB, HDFC Bank

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This special FD scheme was launched in May to safeguard the interests of senior citizens as the interest rates were falling rapidly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Representative image Top banks, such as State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC BankICICI Bank, and Bank of Baroda (BoB), offer senior citizens special fixed deposit (FD) schemes. Under this scheme, extra interest rates are provided over the existing rates applicable for them on term deposits.

This special FD scheme was launched in May to safeguard the interests of senior citizens as the interest rates were falling rapidly amid the coronavirus pandemic. This special FD scheme is available for senior citizens till March 31.

Bank of Baroda special FD scheme for senior citizens

BoB offers 100 bps higher on deposits by senior citizens. If a senior citizen puts a fixed deposit, the interest rate applicable to the FD will be 6.25 percent under the special FD scheme.

ICICI Bank offers 80 bps higher interest rates on deposits. Senior citizens get an interest rate of 6.30 percent per annum under ICICI Bank Golden Years FD scheme.

HDFC Bank special FD scheme for senior citizens

HDFC Bank offers 75 bps higher interest rates on these deposits. The interest rate applicable to the FD will be 6.25 percent.

SBI special FD scheme for senior citizens

SBI special FD scheme for senior citizens will fetch 80 basis points (bps) interest rate above the rate applicable to the general public. Currently, SBI gives 5.4 percent interest rate on five years FD for the general public. If a senior citizen puts a fixed deposit under the special FD scheme, then the interest rate applicable to the FD will be 6.20 percent.

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Nifty Opening Note

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Indian Stock Market Trading View For 15 Feb,2021:

Global cues will play critical role. Nifty is likely to turn volatile as the day progresses. 

Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 15220 level then expect some further up move and if it breaks and trade below 15140 level then some decline can follow in the market. Please note this is just opening view and should not be considered as the view for the whole day.


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Govt collects Rs 1,492 crore equalisation levy between April 2020 - January 2021

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In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri said the equalisation levy collection stood at Rs 338.6 crore in 2016-17, Rs 589.4 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 938.9 crore in 2018-19.Representative image

The government collected Rs 1,492 crore worth equalisation levy between April 1, 2020 and January 30, 2021, Parliament was informed on Friday.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri said the equalisation levy collection stood at Rs 338.6 crore in 2016-17, Rs 589.4 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 938.9 crore in 2018-19.

The collection was Rs 1,136.5 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 1,492.7 crore in 2020-21 (up to January 30).Equalisation levy was first introduced by Finance Act, 2016, at the rate of 6 per cent on payments for digital advertisement services received by non-resident companies without a permanent establishment in India, if these exceeded Rs 1 lakh a year.

He also said the US has put out investigation reports on Digital Services Tax (DST) against three countries -- India, Italy and Turkey -- on January 6. The findings are that the DST in these countries discriminates against US companies and burdens or restricts US commerce.

To a query on whether the government is taking steps to remedy the concerns raised, Puri said "such issues are a part of an economic relationship, and feature in the regular bilateral engagements between India and the US".

Replying to another question, he said India is presently "not" negotiating any FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with the US but was engaged with America to arrive at a 'shared understanding' on some of the market access issues faced by exporters on both sides.Separately, the minister said that to support Indian rice bran oil processors to improve technology and equipment for optimum extraction of rice bran oil in the country, the Department of Food and Public Distribution is working with other ministries concerned.

The country's import of rice bran oil stood at 71,580 tonnes during April-November 2020-21.

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Interview | Solar power can overtake coal in India within 10 years, says IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol

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India is set for explosive growth when it comes to solar, Fatih Birol told Moneycontrol in an exclusive interview.

At a time when the global energy market is facing a drop in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic, turning immune to the situation, the renewable sector has seen a growth. An India Energy Outlook report for 2021 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights that going by the current momentum, the electricity sector in India is on the cusp of a solar revolution. 

In an exclusive interview with Moneycontrol, Fatih Birol, IEA’s Executive Director expressed hope that solar energy will overtake coal within the next ten years. He also batted for the usage of hydrogen, carbon capture storage and clean natural gas to reduce the dependency on coal.

Edited excerpts: 

Q. India is talking about introducing a hydrogen mission. A lot of focus is there on solar too. How are you seeing this scenario? 

Hydrogen can make the decarbonised system much more cleaner. When it comes to solar, India is set for explosive growth. Today, less than 5 percent of India’s electricity generation is coming from solar and 70 percent from coal. Our numbers show that due to extra-ordinary cost-competitiveness of solar and right policies, renewables, mainly solar can overtake coal within the next ten years. 

It is a huge change and wonderful news for India in terms of its economy and air pollution in the cities. 

Q. What is your take on India’s steps towards making energy accessible to the common man? 

When people ask me whether or not India will be able to steer its economy and energy sector in a successful way, I say absolutely yes. I have two reasons to say this. First, when I released our first India Energy Outlook in 2015, I said India is moving to the Centre stage of world energy. Today, without hesitation I can say that India has arrived at the centre stage of the world energy. The second reason is that India added 900 million electricity connections since 2000, it has never been the case in the history of any country. In my view, it is a history written in the world energy sector. 

Implementation of LED is a big step towards energy efficiency improvement and an example for many countries and the Ujjwala program that brought clean fuel for millions of people are the reasons why I believe that India can have a much brighter, affordable and cleaner energy future. 

Q. India is targeting to become a gas-based economy. Is it a strategy in the right direction? 

Today, the share of gas in India’s energy mix is 6 percent. It is one of the lowest in the world. There are ambitions of the government to increase this. We expect growth, mainly in industry and city gas distribution, for cooking and transport sector. This can definitely improve the air quality and displace coal, which is good news. 

It is very important that this gas comes from the countries where we have control over methane emissions. I believe the share of gas in India will increase significantly. When we talk about coal, we talk about the electricity sector. But a lot of coal is used in iron and steel, cement and others, we have to decarbonise them and make them environment friendly. Gas can play an important role here. 

Q. How can India bring down the share of coal in its energy basket? 

Coal has a huge share of 70 per cent of electricity generation in India. For electricity generation, continuous support for renewables, especially solar, coupled with battery storage is needed to decarbonise the power sector. We use a lot of coal in India also for iron and steel and cement, here we can use, hydrogen, carbon capture storage and clean natural gas to reduce the dependency on coal. 

If India goes in this direction, it will not only be god for the Indian economy and energy sector, but the country can be a pioneer by setting a new model of clean growth. 

Q. With vaccines in place, do you see the global energy demand recovering?  

If we can bring the pandemic under control, we can see recovery in the global energy sector. I believe coal is very difficult to recover because of lesser emphasis on coal. The oil will recover in a few years, but renewables proved to be Covid immune in 2020. Although global energy declined by 5 per cent in 2020, renewable energy saw an increase. In 2021, it will increase significantly. 

Q. How do you rate India’s steps towards ensuring energy security? 

India is making good steps in the right direction. For example, I can remember that during the low oil prices, India was one of the countries that put a lot of oil in their stocks. Our numbers show that the reliance on imported oil in India will go up substantially as a result of road transport, especially trucks, which is a major contributor to oil imports in India. Trucks in many countries, we use for freight. I think it may be a very good idea to transfer a big chunk of it to railways, which can run by electricity. It will be good for energy security, reducing pollution and will be good for the Indian economy. 

I am following the developments in the Indian Railways sector, I can say it is an outstanding success in terms of logistical transformation to what kind of energy it is using and the way it is modernised. It can be a model for many countries. 

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