India to cut tax rates on some goods, services from Jan. 25

India's Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley can be seen in this file photo.(Reuters)
Updated 18 January 2018
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India to cut tax rates on some goods, services from Jan. 25

NEW DELHI: India will cut rates on some products and services under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST), the finance minister said on Thursday, in a bid to encourage greater compliance as revenues have dipped since the landmark reform was announced in July.
The Goods and Service Tax Council comprising federal and state finance ministers, agreed to lower tax rates on 29 goods and 53 services from Jan. 25, Arun Jaitley said after the meeting.
Businesses have raised concerns about high rates of taxation and cumbersome processes in GST, billed as India’s biggest tax reform in 70 years.
Asia’s third-largest economy faces the risk of missing its fiscal deficit target in the current fiscal year as lower revenue collection from slowing economic growth and teething troubles with value-added tax launched in July hit the economy.
The goods on which GST will be lowered include biofuel- run buses, used motor vehicles and diamonds and precious stones.
Tax on sales of liquefied petroleum gas by private firms for domestic use has been reduced to 5 percent from 18 percent.
In the services segment, India will cut taxes on transportation of crude, gasoil, gasoline, jet fuel and services relating to mining, exploration and drilling of oil and natural gas, among other things.
Jaitley also said the council would consider including petroleum products under GST in the next meeting, but did not give details.
The South Asian nation’s tax collection plunged after GST was implemented in July, which hit the economy and complicated tax filings for business.
The country’s tax indirect tax collections have been falling since the launch of GST, reducing to 808.08 billion rupees ($12.66 billion) in November from 940.63 billion in July.
To curb tax evasion, the government plans to roll out online monitoring of inter-state transport of goods beyond 50,000 rupees from next month.


Mongolia invites North Korea’s Kim to visit

Updated 4 min 10 sec ago
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Mongolia invites North Korea’s Kim to visit

  • The invitation was sent to Kim Jong Un on October 10, though no specific date was proposed
  • The two countries celebrated 70 years of diplomatic ties this year
ULAANBAATAR: Mongolia has invited Kim Jong Un to visit the nation’s capital, which once hoped to host the historic summit between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump, an official said Tuesday.
The invitation comes amid expectations that Kim and Trump, who met in Singapore in June, will hold a second summit — a time and location for which have yet to be determined.
According to Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga’s office, the invitation was sent to Kim on October 10, though no specific date was proposed.
The North Korean leader can visit “whenever he feels convenient,” an official from the president’s office said, confirming a report published Monday by North Korea’s KCNA state news service.
Mongolia had offered to host Trump and Kim for their landmark summit in June, but they ended up picking Singapore, where they agreed to a vaguely-worded statement on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Trump said last week that three or four unspecified locations have been short-listed for their next meeting, but it would “probably” not be in Singapore again, and he did not give a date.
Kim’s only other known foreign trips since taking power in 2011 was three visits to China this year.
He has also met South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Demilitarized Zone separating their countries, where he momentarily crossed into Pyongyang’s southern neighbor.
Mongolia, a democratic nation wedged between China and Russia, is one of the few countries that has normal relations with the authoritarian regime in North Korea.
The two countries celebrated 70 years of diplomatic ties this year.
Kim’s grandfather, North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung, visited Mongolia when it was still a Soviet state in 1988.
In October 2013, Mongolia’s then-president Tsakhia Elbegdorj visited Pyongyang and was the first head of state to meet with Kim since the North Korean leader succeed his late father, Kim Jong Il, two years prior.
Almost 1,200 North Koreans were living and working in Mongolia at the end of last year, before UN sanctions against Pyongyang required them to leave.