Government To Launch National Data Repository On June 28

New Delhi: The government will next week launch India’s maiden National Data Repository (NDR) that will assimilate, preserve and upkeep country’s vast sedimentary data for future use in oil and gas exploration and production.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will on June 28 launch the NDR, which will aid India to switch over to an open acreage licensing regime where companies can choose areas they want to explore.

At present, the government selects and demarcates areas it feels can be offered for bidding in an exploration licensing round.

It will aid India to switch over to an open acreage licensing regime.

Under the open acreage licensing (OAL), companies can visit NDR and look at vast seismic data of currently producing fields and explored areas as also those of unexplored areas, official sources said.

From the areas that are not under any licensee, they can then carve out an area suitable to them and evince interest in doing exploration and production.

Once an area is selected, the government will put it up for bidding and any firm offering the maximum share of oil or gas produced from the area would be awarded the block.

Sources said already a vast amount of data has been populated – over 9.3 lakh line kilometres of 2D seismic, 2.8 lakh square km of 3D seismic and 1,717 well data.

The NDR will be wholly funded by the government of India and housed with the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).

It will have the ability to store data online, near line and offline, and provide independent web-based access.

The DGH, they said, has already begun sale of geophysical data of speculative surveys in east and west coast of India in 2005 and 2008.

The mammoth volume of data collected by E&P companies and other agencies over more than six decades of activities was hitherto lying scattered at different work centres of ONGC, Oil India and DGH or held by the operating companies.

This necessitated an establishment of a system at national level that could assimilate, preserve and upkeep the vast amount of data which could be organised and regulated for use in future exploration and development, besides use by R&D and other educational Institutes.

With this objective, the government initiated the establishment of the NDR.

The NDR is a government sponsored project with state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure to create E&P data bank for preservation, upkeep and dissemination of data so as to enable its systematic use for future exploration and development.

The DGH being the agency of the central government will be responsible for creation, setting up and operation of the NDR.

Sources said the OAL will be beginning of a new era in oil and gas exploration and production.

Till now, the government has awarded 254 exploration blocks under nine rounds of bidding between 2000 and 2012.

Prior to that, 29 discovered fields were awarded to private and foreign companies.

Of the 254 blocks awarded under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) between 2000 and 2012, 156 have already been relinquished due to poor prospectivity.

 

Government Working On New Industrial Policy

New Delhi: The government is working on a new industrial policy with a view to promoting and developing frontier technologies, innovation and enhancing competitiveness of domestic products.

“With the changing manufacturing scenario, introduction of new technologies, innovation, R&D, artificial intelligence and automation, there is a need to completely revamp the industrial policy of 1991. We are working on that,” a senior official said.

The official said the new policy would focus on several areas like ways to encourage innovation, further simplification of taxation system and address new challenges of the manufacturing sector.

The DIPP, under the commerce and industry ministry, is working on this proposal.

It would also be aligned with the government’s flagship programmes such as Make in India, Skill India, Startup India and the foreign direct investment policy.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under the commerce and industry ministry, is working on this proposal.

“The draft of the new policy should be ready by September this year,” the ministry official said.

As per the DIPP website, industrial policy since 1991 has been more for facilitating the industrial development rather than anchoring it through permits and controls.

Industrial licensing was abolished for most of the industries and there are only four industries, including defence and explosives, where licence is currently required.

It said that a number of initiatives have been taken for ease of doing business for industrial licensing, increasing initial validity period of those licences and simplification of application forms.

 

Government Sells Rs. 4,000 Crore Stake In Larsen & Toubro

Mumbai: India sold a 2.5 percent stake in engineering and construction group Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) on Wednesday, raising more than Rs. 4,000 crore ($619.27 million) that will help the government meet its annual fiscal deficit target.

The stake, held by the state-owned Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India (SUUTI), was sold through block deals in stock markets, said Neeraj Gupta, the top bureaucrat looking after government stake sales, confirming earlier media reports.

SUUTI owned a 6.68 percent stake in L&T as of the end of March.

SUUTI owned a 6.68 percent stake in L&T as of the end of March.

India is aiming to raise Rs. 72,500 crore through the sale of partial government stakes in state-run and private firms during the year to March 2018, which will contribute to meeting the government’s fiscal deficit target of 3.2 percent of gross domestic product.

L&T shares were up 0.6 percent at 0800 GMT, outperforming a 0.4 percent fall in the broader NSE index.

($1 = Rs. 64.5925)

 

Government Notifies 18 Sections, 2 Rules For GST

New Delhi: Days ahead of the rollout of Goods and Service Tax), the government today notified sections in the GST Act dealing with mandatory registration of current indirect tax payers in the new regime.

As many as 18 sections relating to registration of current central excise, service tax and VAT payers with the GST-Network (GSTN) as well as transitional provisions were notified today.

As a precursor to GST, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has also notified two rules — registration and composition levy.

GST is to be rolled out from July 1.

All the notifications would be effective from June 22.

GST, which is to be rolled out from July 1, will unify over a dozen central and state levies into one and all those currently paying such taxes need to migrate to the new system.

Every business carrying out a taxable supply of goods or services with turnover exceeding the threshold limit of Rs. 20 lakh will be required to register.

GST registration would allow for seamless input tax credit.

The CBEC has also notified ‘www.gst.gov.in’ as the common ‘Goods and Services Tax Electronic Portal’.

As many as 65 lakh out of the 80 lakh taxpayers have already migrated from various platforms to GST.

All of these businesses will be assigned a unique Goods and Services Tax Identification Number.

The Sections in the Central GST (CGST) Act notified provide for all suppliers, anyone making any inter-sate taxable supply and every existing licence holder and business entity, to register for GST.

Input service distributor, e-commerce operator and person supplying online information and data base access or retrieval service are also required to register.

The provision exempts agriculturist from registration to “the extent of supply of produce out of cultivation of land”.

It also exempts “any person engaged exclusively in the business of supplying goods or services or both that are not liable to tax or wholly exempt from tax”.

The notified sections provide that a person who occasionally supplies goods and/or services in a territory where GST is applicable but he does not have a fixed place of business, would be treated as a casual taxable person.

A person with multiple business verticals in a state may obtain a separate registration for each business vertical.

PAN is mandatory for GST registration except for a non-resident person who can get GST registration on the basis of certain other documents.

 

Government Allows Co-Operative Banks To Deposit Old Notes With RBI

The Finance Ministry on Tuesday allowed banks, post offices and district central cooperative banks to deposit the scrapped Rs. 500 and 1,000 rupee notes with the Reserve Bank of India within 30 days and exchange the value of notes deposit with the new notes.

In an official notification the Finance Ministry said, “Specified bank notes may be deposited by such Bank, Post Office or District Central Cooperative Bank, as the case may be, in any office of the Reserve Bank, within a period of 30 days from the commencement of these rules, and get the exchange value thereof by credit to the account of such Bank, Post Office or District Central Cooperative Bank, as the case may be, subject to the satisfaction of the Reserve Bank of the conditions specified in the said notification and the reasons for non-deposit of the specified bank notes within the period under that notification.”

Banks can deposit old notes with RBI within 30 days.

The relaxation comes against the backdrop of reports that many district co-operative banks did not have enough cash to disburse to farmers, particularly in Maharashtra. The reason, the banks say, is that nearly six months after demonetisation, they still have crores of cash in old currency, which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is refusing to accept.

Nashik’s District Central Cooperative Bank told NDTV they still have a stockpile of Rs. 340 crore in old 500 and 1,000 notes. Unless this money is converted to new, payments will be hard to make, said Narendra Darade, Chairman of Nashik’s DCCB.

The demonetisation of high value currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 announced on November 8, 2016 led to scrapping of over Rs. 15 lakh crore from the system.