Indian FM inaugurates non-tax revenue e-portal
With the Indian Prime Minister's Office setting a target to switch at least 90 per cent of all official transactions to paperless mode by the end of 2016, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a new e-platform for non-tax receipts.
NTPC made the maiden payment on the portal developed by the Controller General of Accounts, by remitting Rs.989 crore as an interim dividend to the government. "This has a lot of advantages and will reduce a lot of the manual work now and almost instantly enable the payment at the different categories,"Mr. Jaitley said at the inauguration. The major sources of non-tax revenue for the government are from dividends paid by public sector companies, the Reserve Bank of India, etc. During his previous year's Budget speech, Mr.Jaitley had said that one major way to curb black money is to discourage cash transactions in favour of electronic transactions. Meanwhile, Merchandise exports fell for the 14th consecutive month with shipments in January, 2016 contracting 13.6 per cent year-on-year to $21 billion due to weak overseas demand as well as fall in major export items such as engineering goods and petroleum products.
Imports also fell during the month by 11 per cent to $28.7 billion, resulting in the trade deficit narrowing to an 11-month low of $7.6 billion. The trade deficit would have been lower had the gold imports not recorded an 85.16 per cent increase in January to $2.91 billion.
Releasing the data, the commerce ministry said: "The trend of falling exports is in tandem with other major world economies. The growth in exports have fallen for U.S.A. (-10.51%), European Union (9.48%) and China (-7.01%) for November 2015 over the corresponding period previous year as per WTO statistics."
Seventeen of the 30 export sectors recorded a negative growth in January. These included major sectors such as engineering goods (-27.6 per cent to $4.98 billion), ready-made garments (-6.1 per cent to $1.4 billion) and petroleum products (35.1 per cent to $1.9 billion). Non-petroleum exports in January 2016 fell 10.55 per cent to $19.1 billion.
Merchandise exports during April 2015-January 2016 this fiscal registered a negative growth of 17.65 per cent over the same period in the previous fiscal to $217.7 billion. President of the exporters' apex body, FIEO, S. C. Ralhan, said the country may end up with merchandise exports of around $260 billion in 2015-16.
Engineering exporters body, EEPC India, Chairman T. S. Bhasin said, "Overvaluation of rupee, after adjusting against the domestic retail inflation, is also eating into the competitiveness of the Indian exports.