The Mint report for 16 September 2009

The Mint report for 16 September 2009

New Delhi: The government’s proposed goods and services tax or GST was supposed to transform India’s economy by levying a uniform and transparent indirect tax code across the country. But the original promise may have been compromised. After meeting with finance ministers from other states, West Bengal finance minister Asim Dasgupta said that states had agreed to fix three different rates on different kinds of goods. The three proposed rates do not cover services.

The deadline for rolling out GST is April of next year.

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The Supreme Court gave TVS Motor a reprieve on Wednesday. It allowed the company to sell its ‘Flame’ motorcycle, which Bajaj Auto had claimed used technology that it had patented. The court has also referred the case back to the Madras High Court and ordered that the case be decided before 30 November.

Anil Ambani’s RNRL is continuing its legal battle over gas supplies with RIL. RNRL has now asked the Supreme Court to add the NTPC as a party to the case it is fighting against RIL in the court. The company claims Mukesh Ambani’s RIL has adopted similar and unfair tactics in its gas supply agreements both with itself and NTPC. On Monday RNRL had gone to the Supreme Court asking to be added as a party to the separate legal dispute that it’s hearing between NTPC and RIL.

Good news for Air India. Civil aviation minister Praful Patel says the government is committed to infusing equity in to the troubled airline. Patel said his ministry would move the union cabinet on the issue very shortly and added that the government was also committed to converting Air India’s high cost debt to low cost debt. Government-owned Air India currently has a debt of Rs16,000 crore.

Godrej is counting on the affordable housing market to fuel its real estate business. The conglomerate is planning an IPO in the next three months for a 10% stake in Godrej Properties. Kotak Mahindra and ICICI Securities are slated to underwrite the initial public offering. Godrej Properties has vast landholdings in Mumbai and expects its real estate business to grow faster than any of its other undertakings.

The Congress isn’t the only political party that has discovered the virtues of austerity. After its electoral route earlier this year, the CPM is also trimming down the trappings. The party’s politburo is preparing guidelines that will encourage its leaders to lead simpler lifestyles and will also make it compulsory for them to declare their assets. After the guidelines are finalized, they will have to be approved by the party’s central committee next month.

And the controversy over the Congress Party’s austerity measures has now reached Twitter. The government may want its ministers to fly economy class but minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor has poked fun at the directive. On Tuesday Tharoor remarked on the micro-blogging site Twitter that he would now travel, “in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows." The Congress Party has reacted strongly to the remark.