Govt relief package, HDFC Bank results, tax refunds and more

The government plans a Rs 1 trillion relief package for small businesses, after announcing a Rs 1.7-trillion economic stimulus plan tailored for the poor. HDFC Bank said in its quarterly update that its advances grew 21 per cent in the quarter ending March while its deposit base grew 24 per cent. The government will issue pending refunds for income tax, goods and services tax (GST) and customs worth Rs 18,000 crore immediately. Zoom, the videoconferencing app that has grown rapidly in the coronavirus epidemic, promised to fix security flaws that helped trolls to hijack meetings or interject porn.

Business Standard
12th April

  • A second stimulus package the government is poised to announce in coming days will be worth around Rs 1 trillion and focus on help for small and medium businesses weathering the coronavirus outbreak, sources told Business Standard. Last month, the government outlined a Rs 1.7-trillion economic stimulus plan providing direct cash transfers and food security measures to the poor.
  • The government will issuepending refunds for income tax, goods and services tax (GST) and customs worth Rs 18,000 crore immediately to benefit scores of taxpayers amid the coronavirus lockdown in the country. The move is aimed at helping many overcome cash crunch due to temporary closure of shops and business operations as well as delayed salaries and job losses.
  • The Supreme Court suggested that the government devise a mechanism which prevents private laboratories (labs) conducting coronavirus (Covid-19) tests to not charge an exorbitant amount from the public. It also asked the government to reimburse the fee charged by labs. A Velumani, founder and chairman of Thryocare, a lab that is roughly handling 250 samples per day in Mumbai, feels two-three separate agencies need to be appointed to make the testing process simpler and faster.
  • The country’s largest private sector lender HDFC Bank said in its quarterly update that its advances grew 21 per cent in the quarter ending March (Q4FY20) while its deposit base grew 24 per cent in the same period. In absolute numbers, the bank’s advances aggregated to Rs 9.93 trillion in Q4FY20 compared to Rs 8.94 trillion in Q4FY19. This comes at a time when the overall bank credit growth has remained weak.
  • Oyo Hotels & Homes is placing thousands of its employees globally on indefinite furlough as it tries to survive through the coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter. Oyo said in a statement it’s furloughing employees in countries excluding India without specifying numbers, adding that it’s not considering job cuts at this time.
  • Zoom’s boss Eric Yuan has assured users that he’s working to improve security and privacy on the videoconferencing app that has emerged as the virtual town square of the coronavirus epidemic. The service made a 20-fold surge to 200 million daily members since the end of last year, but has been hit by trolls interjecting porn or hijacking meetings and drawn regulators’ scrutiny about privacy.
  • Bajaj Finance reported on Monday it had lost 350,000 customers in 10 days, impacting its assets under management (AUM) by Rs 4,750 crore. The number forms 3.22 per cent of total AUM as of March 31 and it explains why the 27 per cent AUM growth in the March 2020 quarter compared weakly against its 7-quarter average growth of 37 per cent.

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A few links for further reading

Hard path to growth

The signals for the economy are not positive: overall demand is yet to pick up; the share of total exports in India’s GDP is declining, and industrial output pattern remains worrying.

Small savings scheme

Investors breathed a sigh of relief when the government announced that interest rates on these instruments would not be revised for the fourth quarter of the calendar year.

Invest and emigrate

The great Indian dream of settling abroad is achievable if one has a few crores to invest. Rich nations offer a variety of investment options in a quid pro quo arrangement: immigrants get a better quality of life and revenue from them helps these countries’ finances. Wealthy Indians, troubled by polluted cities and the red tape holding up entrepreneurship, may want a quick ticket out of the country. Sanjay Kumar Singh lists a range of options: from a Canadian province’s investor programme to America’s US EB-5 plan.

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