GST collections at 19-month low, auto sales and more news this week

Collections from the nationwide goods and services tax (GST) fell to a 19-month low in September; the latest sales numbers showed that the festival hasn’t helped the automobile sector, and more skeletons tumbled out in the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank scandal. Here is what made news this week

Business Standard
5th October

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared rural India open-defecation free on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday, reportedly meeting the deadline he had set for the flagship government scheme when he first swept to power in 2014.
  • GST collection fell to a 19-month low of Rs 91,916 crore in September, pointing to a deepening economic slowdown. The GST mop-up in September was 2.67 per cent lower than the collection in the corresponding month last year at Rs 94,442 crore and 6.4 per cent below the last month’s figure of Rs 98,202 crore, finance ministry data showed.
  • The latest automobile sales numbers for September show that the decline continued when compared with the corresponding period last year. In fact, the country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki witnessed a 32.7 per cent fall in sales — the worst in the firm’s history. It could sell 1,22,640 units in September against 162,290 units last year same time.
  • A first information report was registered against Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank Chairman S Waryam Singh, office-bearers, suspended managing director Joy Thomas, Housing Development & Infrastructure (HDIL), its associate firms and promoters Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan, among others, by the economic offences wing (EoW) of the Mumbai Police. The cooperative bank used more than 21,000 fictitious accounts to hide loans it made, according to the police complaint, in the latest banking fraud case to spook the country’s depositors and investors.
  • Dispelling the fear that a slowing economy may affect consumer behaviour, e-commerce majors Flipkart and Amazon India have said they witnessed record transactions on their platforms on the first day of their annual festive sale, which started early on Sunday. Home-grown Flipkart, which is now owned by American retail major Walmart, said it registered two times more sales on Day One of its flagship sale event Big Billion Days (BBD) over last year. Flipkart’s rival Amazon claimed it witnessed the biggest opening day sale ever with a huge surge in participation in smaller towns.

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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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