The week in review for 18 December

The week in review for 18 December

New Delhi: All of India’s state governments, excepting two, have refused to sign on to the government’s plan for rolling out the goods and services tax or GST in April. Barring Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir, other states want GST be rolled out in 2011 and have said the Constitutional Amendment Bill necessary for implementing GST will not be tabled in the ongoing winter session of parliament. State finance ministers now want to hold a fresh meeting in the first week of January to finalise GST rates.

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New data on Monday showed India’s wholesale price index had shot up 4.78% in November compared to a year earlier. Finance secretary Ashok Chawla ruled out taking emergency action to contain the rise in prices, while finance minister Pranab Mukherjee blamed rising food prices for the high inflation and later in week reiterated that containing inflation was high on the government’s agenda.

On Wednesday the opposition BJP attacked the UPA government over rising food prices. BJP MPs walked out of Parliament calling for the government to be changed. The house was then adjourned for the day.

Inflation data released the next day showed food prices continue to rise. The wholesale food price index shot up 19.95% for the week ending the 5 December, the highest rise in 11 years.

Advance tax payments for the third quarter came in on Tuesday. All Indian direct tax collection for both companies and individuals increased 8.1% to Rs227,000 crore so far this year. Among companies, State Bank of India was Mumbai’s biggest taxpayer, coughing up Rs1,795 crore for the quarter. And India’s biggest company, RIL paid Rs834 crore for the same period.

Tata’s Nano may be manufactured in Egypt. The Egyptian government says it has asked Tata Motors to set up a factory to make left-hand drive Nanos in its country. Tata Motors already has a presence in Egypt, where it distributes trucks and buses.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories has won a ruling at a US appeals court upholding its right to sell a generic drug. The drug is a generic copy of AstraZeneca’s anti-heartburn medicine Prilosec.

Bharti Airtel may buy Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom. The Dhabi Group, which controls Warid Telecom, has sought approval for the sale from Bangladeshi regulators for a possible deal.

NTPC plans to launch its follow on public offer for 5% of it its stake soon. But before it does that, it’s demanding it be paid dues owed to it from more than a decade ago. NTPC wants Rs1,311 crore in dues for electricity supplied to Delhi until 1997, which is the period when Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking was in charge. The private distribution companies that have since taken over say the responsibility for paying the dues lies entirely with the holding company Delhi Power Company Ltd.

Mahindra & Mahindra has bought a majority stake in two Australian aerospace companies for a total of Rs175 crore. The firms are Aerostaff Australia and Gippsland Aeronautics.

Reliance Power’s 4,000MW power project at Sasan could be delayed. The company now expects to have just 660MW of installed capacity by 2012 instead of the original target of 1,320MW.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee says the government is investigating possible violations by some of Anil Ambani’s companies. Earlier this month, the finance ministry had said three Ambani companies had broken overseas borrowing rules.

Figures released by the commerce ministry show India got $17.65 billion in foreign investment in the period from April to October of 2009. The country received $18.71 billion of foreign investment in the same period last year.