GST To Lower Overall Tax Burden Over Time, Says RBI Governor

Mumbai: Reserve Bank governor Urjit Patel today said the soon-to-be implemented goods and services tax (GST) will not only create a national market but will also broaden the tax base which in turn will lower the overall taxes in the long-term.

“The prudent point is that GST itself is part of the digitisation revolution, which along with the reforms on the information tax side in terms of the processes and operations, have the potential to broaden the tax base considerably,” Patel told an event organised by industry lobby IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today.

The governor also said GST is a precursor to a low tax regime in the country at a later stage.

Urjit Patel said GST will also reduce many inefficiencies within the states while moving goods.

With a four-rate structure, GST will come into force from the midnight of June 30. Except J&K, all the states have passed enabling laws for its implementation.

He said the broadening of tax base is an important outcome of the new uniform taxation regime and other initiatives on e-payments and digitisation.

Besides creation of a national market, GST will also reduce many inefficiencies within the states while moving goods from within a state and also across the country, the governor said.

Talking about fintech, he said with the emergence of technology-enabled innovation in financial services there will both opportunities and risks to financial sector stability which need to be addressed by policy makers, regulators and supervisors, as many innovations have not been tested through a full financial cycle.

“You really come to know what works and what doesn’t when you go through a full cycle. The decision taken at an early stage can set important precedence on what is the right time and the wrong time. Therefore, caution in this respect is not unwarranted especially when you consider that the world is yet to recover even from the 2008 global financial crisis,” he said.

Patel said even the country’s fintech industry has almost tripled its size since 2013 and the value of transactions has touched USD 30 billion already.

Patel said the central bank has taken several steps such as the licencing payment banks, Bharat Bill Payment System and launch of UPI, IMPS, among others to facilitate innovations, payment systems and digital banking.

The RBI has also issued a discussion paper on peer-to-peer lending and will be soon issuing guidelines on it.

“We had to wait for one or two clearances in this area before we move forward and we have those clearances now,” Patel said.

He also said enough focus or publicity has not been given to IndiaStack, which is a set of APIs that allows governments, businesses, start-ups and developers to utilise a unique digital infrastructure to resolve problems towards presence-less, paperless, and cashless services delivery.

The APIs which are part of IndiaStack are the UPI, the Aadhaar authentication, Aadhaar e-kyc, digital locker, digital user.

“IndiaStack is a game-changer in our macro fundamentals as financialisation of our savings continues. The most important and durable implication of this is going to be an
increase in financial savings compared to where we are now,” he said.

Patel said IndiaStack can also help improve growth rates in the future and its full implication will come in short to medium-term.

 

Indian IT Export To Grow 7-8% In Current Fiscal, Says Nasscom

Hyderabad: Indian IT export is projected to grow by 7-8 per cent in 2017-18, industry body Nasscom said in its guidance today.

The domestic market is expected to grow 10-11 per cent, it said.

The IT-BPM industry is expected to add 1.3-1.5 lakh new jobs during 2017-18, Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar told reporters here. In the previous fiscal, the industry’s net hiring stood at 1.7 lakh.

Keeping in view the political and economic uncertainties in key overseas markets that impacted decision-making and discretionary spend, and also the performance of IT companies last year, Nasscom expects the future outlook to be positive, he said.

The domestic IT market is expected to grow 10-11 per cent in FY17, says Nasscom.

“India’s share in the global IT sector is not only steady, but also growing,” Chandrashekhar said.

The size of the Indian IT industry is pegged at $154 billion, including $11 billion incremental revenues added in the previous fiscal, according to Nasscom.

 

OnePlus 5 Is the ‘Fastest Selling’ OnePlus Device Ever, Says Carl Pei

OnePlus 5, the Chinese company’s new flagship smartphone, was launched on Tuesday, and it has hit a milestone within a day of launch.

Carl Pei, OnePlus Co-Founder, has revealed that the new OnePlus 5 smartphone has become the fastest selling OnePlus device ever. Unfortunately, Pei hasn’t shared any numbers to support his claim but is likely that it’s based on the response OnePlus 5 has received in pre-orders. Soon after the launch, OnePlus 5 was up for pre-orders in select regions with an Early Drop system which will see shipments begin on Wednesday itself. “The first numbers are in, the OnePlus 5 is our fastest selling device ever,” Pei wrote in a tweet.

OnePlus 5 Is the 'Fastest Selling' OnePlus Device Ever, Says Carl Pei

The OnePlus 5 smartphone will be available for wider sales on June 27. The Chinese company will be launching the new OnePlus 5 in India on Thursday, and the smartphone is set to go on sale soon after the unveiling.

OnePlus 5 price in the US and select European regions starts at $479 (roughly Rs. 31,000) and EUR 499 (roughly Rs. 35,900) respectively for the 6GB RAM and 64GB storage variant. The 8GB RAM and 128GB storage variant comes at $539 (approximately Rs. 35,000), and EUR 559 (about Rs. 40,000) in the US and the select European markets, respectively.

To refresh on the specifications, the OnePlus 5 features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) Optic AMOLED display with 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 and runs OxygenOS based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. It supports dual-SIM with dual-standby and is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. It will be available in 6GB with 64GB storage and 8GB RAM with 128GB storage options.

One of the biggest marketed features of the OnePlus 5 is its dual rear cameras. The OnePlus 5 sports a 16-megapixel main camera (Sony IMX398 sensor, 1.12-micron pixels) with an f/1.7 aperture coupled with a 20-megapixel telephoto camera (Sony IMX350 sensor, 1-micron pixels) with an f/2.6 aperture. It also sports a 16-megapixel front camera.

 

Moto C Plus ‘Entire Stock’ Was Sold Out Within 7 Minutes in First Sale, Says Flipkart

The Moto C Plus budget smartphone on Tuesday was sold out within seven minutes of the start of its first sale, according to Flipkart. The e-commerce retailer also announced that the Moto C Plus will be available via open sale on Flipkart from Thursday.

In a press statement, Flipkart said, “The entire stock on Flipkart was sold out within 7 minutes of the sale opening, selling at a bristling [sic] rate of 100 units per second.” Based on Flipkart’s statement, the first sale of the Moto C Plus had roughly 42,000 units on sale.

Moto C Plus 'Entire Stock' Was Sold Out Within 7 Minutes in First Sale, Says Flipkart

The Moto C Plus was launched in India on Monday, and was priced at Rs. 6,999. It runs on Android Nougat and sports a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display. It is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6737 quad-core Cortex-A53 SoC paired with 2GB of RAM. You also get 16GB of inbuilt storage, which is expandable via a microSD slot (up to 128GB). The smartphone will be available in Black, White and Gold colour options on Flipkart.

The Moto C Plus comes with an 8-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.2 aperture, 1.12-micron pixels, autofocus, 71-degree field of view, and an LED flash. It also gets a 2-megapixel front-facing camera similar to the Moto C. The smartphone houses a 4000mAh battery that is much larger than the 2350mAh battery inside the Moto C. The Moto C Plus measures 144×72.3x10mm and weighs 162 grams.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, 3.5mm headphone jack, FM and 3G connectivity. Much like the case with the Moto C, the Moto C Plus also gets 4G VoLTE support and dual-SIM card slots.

 

Telecom Sector Woes Do Not Pose Systemic Threat To Banks, Says Fitch

Mumbai: In the wake of recent liquidity crisis at Reliance Communications, global rating agency Fitch Ratings today said though the country’s banks do not have large exposure to the telecom sector, but defaults could affect lenders with weak financials.

“Indian banks’ exposure to troubled telecom companies is not large enough to pose a systemic threat, but defaults could add to problems at banks with weak balance sheets,” the rating agency said in a note here today.

According to Reserve Bank, total debt owed by telcos to banks is only Rs. 91,300 crore, accounting for just 1.4 per cent of all bank loans.

Telecom Sector Woes Do Not Pose Systemic Threat To Banks, Says Fitch

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications is struggling to repay Rs. 45,000 crore of debt to its lenders.

Due to weak operating performance and liquidity condition the company and its various debt instruments were downgraded by multiple rating agency including Fitch Ratings.

Last week, the lenders to Reliance Communications agreed to restructure its debt under strategic debt restructuring of Reserve Bank of India. The lenders have given the company a seven month breather to repay a part of the debt.

Fitch further said the credit profiles of the country’s telcos are under pressure from fierce competition stemming from the entry into the market of Reliance Jio last year and rising capex required for the roll-out of 4G services.

“Some companies could find it difficult to service their debt and we have the sector on a negative outlook,” it said.

The banks already have significant asset quality issues that could be made worse by stress in the telco sector.

It, however, said exposure to other troubled sectors is much larger. Lending to iron and steel companies, for example, accounts for 4.7 per cent of total lending. The power sector accounts for 8.7 per cent and the road sector for 2.7 per cent.

The agency said loans to telcos are also generally backed by spectrum assets, which should provide a better chance of recovery than, for example, a steel factory operating below capacity or a power plant that lacks a power purchase agreement.

“That said, the sale of spectrum assets might take longer than banks expect and not fetch full value, given that the top-three telcos now have sufficient spectrum to run their operations for the medium term,” the report said.

 

Sex Offenders Cannot Be Barred From Social Media, Top US Court Says

The US Supreme Court unanimously struck down Monday a North Carolina law that barred registered sex offenders from using social media.

The suit in the nation’s highest court goes back to a seemingly harmless event in April 2010, when a man named Lester Packingham learned that authorities had dropped court proceedings stemming from a traffic ticket he had been given.

Packingham went to his Facebook page and wrote how relieved he was. “No fine. No court cost, no nothing spent… Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks, JESUS!” he wrote.

A police officer in Durham, North Carolina who was working to hunt down sex offenders online read the post.

Eight years earlier, at the age of 21, Packingham had been convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Sex Offenders Cannot Be Barred From Social Media, Top US Court Says
He got a suspended sentence of 10-12 months and his name was placed on a registry of sex offenders. And under a much disputed law enacted in North Carolina in 2008, Packingham was barred for 30 years from using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all other social media.

So Packingham was convicted again, this time for using Facebook before the 30-year deadline was over. Police who searched his home after the post was read found no evidence of any new sexual misbehavior toward minors.

He appealed, saying the North Carolina law violated his right to freedom of expression.

In his legal battle over the past six years, Packingham has won the support of libertarians and groups opposing internet restrictions.

In the other corner, Louisiana and 12 other states backed North Carolina, saying it was important to block sexual predators from collecting information on potential victims.

 

Data breaches could cost Indian firms Rs 11 crore this year, says IBM report

Indian companies could lose Rs 11 crore to data breaches this year, up 12.3% from last year, a report by tech giant IBM said on Tuesday.

A breach is described as an event where an individual’s name and a medical/financial record is potentially put at risk – either in electronic or paper format.

Interestingly, the average cost of a data breach globally is expected to decline by 10% this year to $3.62 million (Rs 23.35 crore) compared to last year.

The study, conducted by Ponemon Institute, found that the average per capita cost of data breach increased from Rs 3,704 in 2016 to Rs 4,210 in 2017.

41% of the Indian companies said they experienced a data breach as a result of malicious or criminal attacks.

IBM report

Another 33% experienced a data breach as a result of system glitches, while 26% of data breaches involved employee or contractor negligence (ie human factor).

“Services, financial, industrial and technology companies had a per capita cost well above the mean of Rs 4,210, while public sector, research and transportation companies had a per capita cost well below the mean,” the study added.

The study, in its sixth edition this year, examined the costs incurred by 39 Indian companies in 13 industry sectors.

“The study clearly outlines the rapidly changing threat scenario through a significant rise in both number and sophistication of breaches,” IBM India/South Asia Integrated Security Leader Kartik Shahani said.

He added that securing data on cloud is of top priority as cloud services have become the key for digital enterprise transformation.

“Enterprises need to ensure that robust security practices are adopted, incident response plans are in place and regular security training given to all stakeholders of the company,” he said.

The study found the average number of breached records was around 33,167. Both indirect and direct costs related to data breaches have surged over the past year.

Indirect costs, which refer to the amount of time, effort and other organisational resources spent to resolve a breach, increased from Rs 1,923 to Rs 2,212 per capita.

Direct costs — expenses like purchasing a technology or hiring a consultant — rose from Rs 1,781 to Rs 1,998 per capita.