Winning Bizness Economic Desk
France has allowed the Unified Payments Interface or UPI to work in the country, thereby enabling Indian tourists to book their tickets on-line using the UPI payment mechanism for visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Now France has become the first European country to accept UPI.
NPCI International Payments Limited (NPIL) and Lyra, a French leader in securing e-commerce ad proximity payments, have announced the acceptance of the UPI payment mechanism in France.
The official announcement was made in Paris at an event organised by the Indian Embassy in France to celebrate India’s Republic Day.
The Eiffel tower is the first merchant to offer UPI payments in France. Going forward, it will extend to other merchants in the tourism and retail spaces as well, NPCI International Payments Limited said.
India’s Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, during his visit to France had said that the UPI payment mechanism would commence from the world-famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Last year, the Indian government had said that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) from ten countries could use UPI to send and receive money if their domestic bank accounts were linked to their phone numbers abroad.
The ten countries are Singapore, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK).
GST Monthly Revenue Collection to Average Around Rs 1.85-lakh-cr in FY 25
The Indian central government expects the average monthly Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue collections to average around the Rs 1.85-lakh-crore mark in the next fiscal (FY 25).
This was stated by the country’s Revenue Secretary Mr Sanjay Malhotra. The expected average figure in FY 25 will be much higher than the Rs 1.66-lakh-crore of this year.
“GST collections are expected to grow about 11 per cent in 2024-25. If the monthly collection is Rs 1.67-lakh-crore this fiscal, a growth of 11 per cent would be Rs 1.80-1.85-lakh-crore monthly collection. This should be the new normal for GST collection in the next fiscal,” Mr Malhotra told a leading news agency recently.
In the interim budget 2024 presented by the country’s Finance Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, she said that the GST tax-payer base as well as monthly revenues have doubled since its launch.
The budget estimated GST collections of Rs 10.68-lakh-crore in the next fiscal (FY 25) which is a growth of 11.6 per cent over the Rs 9.57-lakh-crore in 2023-24.
Mr Malhotra said that the government expects to collect Rs 2.31-lakh-crore in customs duty in the next fiscal year, higher than the Rs 2.19-lakh-crore this fiscal (FY 24).
He further said that customs revenue was a minor part of the total gross revenue and the revenue implication was less than Rs 500-crore.
January Witnesses Second Highest GST Revenue Collection at Rs 1.72-lakh-cr
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue collection stood at over Rs 1.72-lakh-crore in January of this year.
A significant highlight here is that this is the second-highest collection as well as the third over the Rs 1.70-lakh-crore threshold.
This high collection can be attributed to the Indian economy’s resilience and better tax compliance.
Here, it must be pointed out that the government expects the final figure for January to marginally increase as the data was announced one day in advance.
“The gross GST revenue collected in the month of January 2024 (till 5 pm of January 31, 2024) is Rs 1,72,129-crore, which is a 10.4 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY) growth over the Rs 1,55,922-crore collected in January 2023 (till 5 pm on January 31, 2023),” India’s Union Finance Ministry said in a statement.
The final collection for the month (January) would be higher, it said.
An important point here is that monthly GST revenues registered a huge northward movement in the current financial year (FY 24) with collections breaching the Rs 1.70-lakh-crore mark thrice.
April of 2023 had the highest-ever mop-up at Rs 1,87,035-crore while the second highest was in October of last year when Rs 1,72,003-crore was collected.
On an average this financial year, the monthly GST collection has been northward of Rs 1.66-lakh-crore, primarily driven by a buoyant economy and stricter compliance.
Robust GST collections reflect the Indian economy’s resilience despite the global problems arising from the wars in Europe and the Middle-East coupled with the disruptions in the Red Sea trade route.
The Finance Ministry’s statement said that the cumulative gross GST collection witnessed a 11.6 per cent YoY growth in the first 10-months of FY 24 (April 2023-to-January 2024 till 5 pm of January 31, 2024), reaching Rs 16.69-lakh-crore as against the Rs 14.96-lakh-crore collected in the same period of the previous year.
The government settled Rs 43,552-crore to Central GST (CGST) and Rs 37,257-crore to State GST (SGST) from the Integrated GST (IGST) collection, the Ministry’s statement said.
Govt Seeks to Increase Oilseeds Output in a Bid to Reduce Heavy Import Costs
As a part of plans to reduce expensive imports of vegetable oils, India will step-up its efforts to boost oilseeds production, its Union Finance Minister, Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Stagnant oilseeds production has forced India to import more than two-thirds of its annual vegetable oil consumption from the world’s top vegetable oil producers of Asia, the Black Sea region and South America.
India’s consumption annually is around 23-million metric tonnes (MMT). Here, a point to be highlighted is that oilseeds production has almost stagnated in India unlike other crops such as wheat and rice.
Palm oil constitutes close to 60 per cent of India’s total vegetable oil imports.
A strategy to achieve self-reliance in oilseeds such as rapeseed, peanut, sesame, soyabean and sunflower will be formulated, the country’s Finance Minister said during the interim budget presentation for the fiscal year commencing from April 1 of this year.
Mrs Sitharaman said that renewed research to develop high-yielding varieties, widespread adoption of modern farming techniques, market linkages, assured purchases, value additions and crop insurance would help boost oilseeds production.
The Minister, however, did not mention the investment required for acquiring self-reliance in oilseeds production.
A point to be noted here is that oilseeds production grew at an annual rate of just 2.4 per cent in the last two decades, even as demand vaulted due to increasing population as well as prosperity.
The country’s vegetable oil industry body, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEAI) requested the Union Finance Minister to earmark adequate financial support for the new programme to up oilseeds production.
“Our goal is to reduce the current dependency on edible oil imports from 60 per cent to 30 per cent over the next five-years,” SEAI’s President, Mr Ajay Jhunjhunwala, said.
Presently, India purchases palm oil mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, while it imports soyoil and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.
IMF Ups India’s GDP Growth Outlook for This Fiscal to 6.7 Per Cent
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has upped the country’s GDP growth outlook for both this fiscal (FY 24) and the next (FY 25). In its latest World Economic Outlook for January, the renowned global organisation stated that it has done this because of the better-than-expected resilience in domestic demand.
The IMF expects India’s GDP to expand by 0.4 per cent or 40 basis points (bps) to 6.7 per cent in FY 24. It previous forecast was 6.3 per cent given in its October 2023 update of its report.
Here, it is important to point out that one basis point is one-hundredth of a per cent.
For the next fiscal (FY 25) and FY 26, India’s GDP growth is seen steady at 6.5 per cent, a 20 bps increase from its October 2023 forecast, the globally-renowned organisation said in its report released on January 30, 2024.
“Growth in India is projected to remain strong at 6.5 per cent in both FY 25 and FY 26, with an upgrade from October of 0.2 percentage points for both years, reflecting resilience in domestic demand,” the IMF said in its report.
At 6.7 per cent, GDP growth forecast for India this fiscal is lower than both the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s seven per cent estimate and the National Statistical Organisation (NSO)’s first advance forecast of 7.3 per cent for the financial year ending March 2024.
In FY 23, India’s GDP has expanded by 7.2 per cent over the previous year (FY 22).