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alcohol: Any import duty cut on alcoholic beverages must be gradual: Industry body



New Delhi: Apex body of the Indian alcoholic beverage industry, CIABC, on Thursday urged the government that any reduction in import duty in the sector should be gradual and in a controlled manner with a view to provide reasonable protection to domestic firms.

Proposing a bilateral free-trade agreement, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal last month stated that India is open to discussing import of scotch whiskey from the UK in a larger measure.

In a letter to the minister, the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) has urged the government not to “go ahead” with any proposal to reduce basic customs duty (BCD) on alcoholic beverages imported from the UK.

“India is considering reduction in the BCD on alcoholic beverages as part of its negotiation with the UK.

Any reduction in BCD must be gradual in a controlled manner in order to provide reasonable protection to Indian companies against predatory imports, give level-playing field against western firms, and help Indian products achieve global scale and success,” it said.

The Confederation added that not doing so will have a disastrous impact on the Indian industry and would lead to great loss to Indian farmers and cause massive unemployment.

Stressing that the Indian alcoholic industry was not against reduction in BCD, CIABC Director General Vinod Giri said that the industry is urging the government to ensure a level-playing field.

“Any reduction in BCD should be done in a phased manner to allow Indian companies time to prepare and build their own competitiveness,” he said.

He demanded that the duty should only be reduced to a level in line with average prevailing duties in ASEAN countries.

“To prevent dumping and predatory pricing against mainstream Indian products, products below a certain import price (threshold import price) should be taxed at the threshold import price rate only irrespective of actual import price,” the confederation said.

It said the European Union and the UK should be persuaded to cut non-tariff barriers imposed on Indian products.

“They should accept alcoholic products made in India… They should not insist on a minimum maturity period on Indian liquor products,” it added.

Giri said that when the industry is already going through a tough phase in view of COVID-19 pandemic, the government should avoid taking such decisions to cut duties which are detrimental to the growth of the industry.

“Indian industry needs support from the Government to help grow into a globally competitive force. We need protection against dumping and time to prepare itself against the unfair competitive structural advantages that large Western firms enjoy,” he said.

He also said the Indian industry’s attempts to create a global market for its brands are resisted by the same countries that seek easy access to the domestic market.

He alleged that many countries apply various non-tariff barriers to Indian made products.

“Like, the definition of whisky under EU regulations has been tailored to clearly exclude Indian products. Even suggestions to introduce a separate class called ‘Indian Whisky’ have not been accepted by them,” he said.

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Karnataka govt okays Rs 4,636 cr upgradation of 150 ITIs in tie- up with Tata Technologies




Bengaluru: The Karnataka cabinet on Thursday gave its approval for upgradation of 150 government-run industrial training institutes (ITIs) in the state at a cost of Rs 4,636.50 crore in partnership with Tata Technologies Limited, official sources said. The upgradation was being done to bridge the skill gap between ITIs and the industries as per current standards and keeping in mind the future demands, they said. In collaboration with Tata Technologies training will be revamped with the state-of-the-art infrastructure in order to bridge the skill gap and provide employment opportunities.

According to the sources, Tata Technologies Limited will invest Rs 4,080 crore on 150 ITIs, which is about Rs 27.20 crore on each institute, along with five years of free annual maintenance contract (AMC), making 300 trainers in two years and providing free online platform.

The government would contribute the remaining amount, they said. In addition, the Karnataka Skill Development Corporation will spend Rs 105 crore from its own funds to take up the building expansion, repair, furniture, additional electricity requirements and other related works.

Officials said the partnership was aimed at providing advanced training, new technology and equipment, and industrial linkage to create technology hubs to train people in line with the industrial requirements in the state and in other states.

Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) has been roped in as the knowledge partner for this for a period of 24 months at the expense of about Rs 5.18 crore.

There are a total of 1,713 ITIs in the state, out of them 270 are government, 196 aided and 1,247 private, with a total enrolment of about 1.8 lakh students.

Other decisions taken by the cabinet included extending the concession agreement with the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) for 30 more years, officials said. a clause that allows BIAL to operate the HAL airport in the city has also been added.

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ATF price up 2%, kerosene rate cut by Rs 2.19/litre




NEW DELHI: Jet fuel (ATF) price was hiked by almost 2 per cent on Thursday, while rate of kerosene sold through PDS was cut by Rs 2.19 per litre as oil firms synced rates in line with international cost.

The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) was raised by Rs 719.25 per kilolitre (kl), or 1.82 per cent, to Rs 40,211.78 per kl in the national capital, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

Besides, the oil firms reduced the rate of kerosene sold through public distribution system (PDS) for cooking at poor households.

The price was cut from Rs 25.84 per litre in September to Rs 23.65 per litre in Mumbai, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) said in a statement.

No PDS kerosene is sold in Delhi since July 2016 after LPG and piped natural gas covered all of its residents.

A fall in international oil prices had led to elimination of subsidy on kerosene and domestic cooking gas (LPG) a few months back.

“Cumulative reduction in retail selling price (of kerosene) at Mumbai since February 16, 2020, has been Rs 12.73 per litre,” IOC said. “There was a corresponding reduction in other markets during this period.”

There has been no change in the selling price of domestic LPG in Delhi and other markets across India for the month of October 2020. A 14.2-kg cylinder comes for Rs 594.

IOC said retail selling price of diesel has been reduced by Rs 2.93 per litre and petrol by Rs 0.97 per litre in Delhi during September, in line with international rates.

There was a corresponding reduction in other markets during this period.

While petrol and diesel prices are revised on a daily basis in line with rates of benchmark fuel in the international market, PDS kerosene, LPG and ATF prices are revised on first of every month.

There has been no change in rate of petrol since September 22 and it costs Rs 81.06 per litre in Delhi. Diesel price has remained unchanged at Rs 70.63 per litre since September 29.

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Coal India Ltd posts 10.6% rise in coal output in July-September period




Coal India Ltd (CIL) on Thursday said it registered a 10.6% increase in coal output at 115 million tonnes for the July-September period, on the back of record growth in production and off-take in the month of September.

The company’s coal production grew at 31.6% and off-take at 31.7%, highest ever in any September, an official statement said.

Coal India had produced 104 million tonnes coal in Q2 last year and supplied 134.4 million tonnes of coal in the period, compared to 122.4 million tonnes in the corresponding period last year, registering a growth close to 10%, it said.

Supplies to coal-fired power utilities during Q2 at 103.2 million tonnes logged a growth of around 3%. CIL supplied 100.67 million tonnes during the same quarter last fiscal.

Average rake loading during the quarter at 224.6 rakes per day registered a growth of 23.6% compared to 182 rakes loaded in the same quarter last year. Loading to the power sector at 189.7 rakes per day in Q2 clocked a growth of 16% over last year’s Q2.

“Despite Covid related challenges and inclement monsoon our production increased by 11 MTs and off-take by 12 MTs during the second quarter of the present fiscal” said a senior official of the company.

Coal production at 40.51 million tonnes in September was 9.73 million tonnes more when compared to 30.78 million in the same period last year, the company’s official statement said adding its subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) registered 68.5% growth y-o-y, followed by Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) 47.4% and Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) 43.7%, the statement said.

“We expect to better our performance in the ensuing months. We aim to reclaim as much of the lost ground as possible during the rest of the fiscal” the official said adding generally performance is higher in terms of production and supplies in the October – March period in any year.

Coal India’s coal off-take increased by 11.2 million tonnes during September to 46.46 million tonnes against 35.28 million tonnes in the same month a year ago. MCL registered the highest growth in off-take among the subsidiaries with 63% followed by WCL 60.2% and CCL 31.5%.

Supplies to the non-power sector logged a growth of 65% during September at 10.04 million tonnes compared to 6.08 million tonnes in corresponding month previous year. Coal despatch of 36.42 million tonnes to the power sector during the month witnessed a growth of 24.7% compared to 29.20 million tonnes as of September 2019, it added.

The company on an average loaded 241.2 rakes per day in September against 162.2 rakes in the same month last year recording an increase of 79 rakes per day with a growth of around 49%.

Loading to the non-power sector doubled to 31 rakes per day during the month compared to 15.4 rakes of last year’s September. Loading to the power sector bagged a growth of nearly 43% at 210 rakes per day against 147 rakes for the comparable period.

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