By Shreya Maskara
“Landmark” collection of Rs 1 lakh crore GST collection for April
According to official data released last week, revenue from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) finally crossed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark. “GST collections in April exceeding ₹1 lakh crore is a landmark achievement and a confirmation of increased economic activity as brought out by other reports,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted. Jaitley is optimistic of the a further increase in GST revenue stating the improvement in economic climate, and the introduction of the e-way bill will all promote GST compliance.
However, the government said to be cautious in using April figures as a prediction of the GST revenue for upcoming months. “It is usually noticed that in the last month of the financial year, people also try to pay arrears of some of the previous months also and, therefore, this month’s revenue cannot be taken as trend for the future,” read the press release.
Modi’s Rs. 33,000 crore boost to agriculture
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally approved the continuation of the ‘Green Revolution — Krishonnati Yojana’ which is the agriculture umbrella program for two more years, with an outlay of over Rs 33,000 crore. Launched last year, the mission includes programs such as the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture with a central outlay of Rs 7,533 crore, National Food Security Mission Rs 6,893 crore and National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture Rs 3,981 crore amongst several others.
Earlier this year, Modi shared this strategy to improve incomes of farmers around the country, including decreasing their production costs, increasing minimum support prices, provide additional income to farmers and also reduce wastage of crops.
Proposition to lower GST on ethanol
Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said the government has proposed to lower the GST on ethanol from 18% to 5% citing the problems in the sugar industry due to the crash in prices. Earlier this week, the Cabinet had also approved a financial assistance package of Rs 5.50 per quintal of cane crushed during the 2017-18 sugar season to help the sugar mills clear their dues which currently totals to over Rs 20,000 crore.
China reduces import duties on medicines, India to benefit
China has removed import duties on over 28 medicines, including all cancer drugs, effective from May. “Good news for India’s pharmaceutical industry and medicine export to China. I believe this will help reduce trade imbalance between China and India in the future,” Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui said in a tweet. During the period April-October 2017-18, trade deficit with China was a whopping $ 36.73 billion.
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