12 August | The Mint report

12 August | The Mint report

New Delhi: A revolution in India’s tax system began on Wednesday. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee unveiled a new draft direct tax regime, which he says will be simpler and easier to understand. The code is now open to debate and discussion and could replace the existing Income Tax Act, formed 48 years ago.

India’s industrial output rose by 7.8% in June from last year. This is the highest growth in 16 months. Manufacturing output was also up on a year on year basis by 7.3%. Economists say higher government salaries and stimulus spending boosted consumer demand.

Software firm Mphasis is going to buy an Indian unit of AIG. The unit provides IT services within AIG and employs about 800 people. AIG has been trying to sell some of its units after it plunged into a liquidity crisis last year.

India’s full-fare airlines may be losing money and pleading for government help, but at least three of them are making profits. The low-cost carrier SpiceJet made a modest profit of about Rs26 crore in the first quarter, while its rival IndiGo made Rs60 crore. One niche carrier is also in the black. Paramount Airways made a small profit in the first quarter but did not divulge details.

Dalmia Cements has rolled out a plan to corner 10% of India’s total cement capacity by 2020. Its current share is just over 6%. India is the second largest cement producer in the world after China.

Markets fell on Wednesday. The Sensex fell 54 points to close at 15,020, while the Nifty went down 14 points ending the day at 4,458.

India may be losing more ground water than it previously thought. A team of scientists from NASA in the United States says that in four states, people are using 30% more of their groundwater than government estimates.

The four states are Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Delhi. The findings are set to appear in the latest edition of Nature magazine.