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Finance Ministry to present paperless Budget 2021- a first since Independence

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In a historic move, the Finance Ministry has that it has decided not to print the upcoming budget’s documents and go paperless. The ministry took the decision after taking the coronavirus pandemic situation into consideration.

The budget is scheduled to be presented by the Finance Minister Nirmal Sitaraman on February 1.

This will be for the first time in the history of independent India that the budget papers will not be printed.

Reports suggested the government has received permission for the same from both the Houses of Parliament.

The decision has been taken as the printing process would require several people to stay at the press for around a fortnight amid the coronavirus fears.

The budget documents are generally printed at the Finance Ministry’s in-house printing press in the North Block.

This budget for the financial year 2021-22 may see several conventions being broken as the sources said that the traditional ‘Halwa’ ceremony may also not take place this year or a subdued function may be held with limited gathering. This ceremony, which normally starts around January 20, is attended by all the people involved in budget-making, and marks the beginning of printing.

Once printing starts, printing staffers stay inside the press till the presentation of budget. Only a few high-ranked officials are allowed access and that too on the basis of a special identity card. The entire facility, loading-unloading and transportation are manned by the special security forces.

This is not the first time that there would be a change in tradition in the presentation of the budget under the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Last year, she did away with a colonial-era tradition of carrying Budget papers in a briefcase, and introduced the Budget ‘Bahi Khata’ or a ledger, enclosed in a red cloth folder and tied with a string.

source: The Statesman

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LIC of India introduces online proposal deposit collection in ANANDA

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Following the overwhelming response received for Atma Nirbhar Agent New Business Digital Application, (ANANDA), LIC of India has introduced the feature of Online proposal Deposit collection in ANANDA, where the customer can pay the Online proposal deposit through Payment Gateway using various options like Credit Card / Debit Card/ Netbanking / Wallets / UPI etc at his own convenience.

This feature was launched at the hands of LIC Chairman MR Kumar in the presence of Managing Directors TC Suseel Kumar, Vipin Anand, Mukesh Gupta and Raj Kumar on 05.01.2021.

All the Zonal Managers and Executive Directors of LIC attended the programme through video conferencing. With Online BOC, the LIC customers are now enabled to invest ULIP plans through the Agent Digital Application. This Digital Initiative empowers the LIC agents to complete the proposals round the clock.

Life Insurance Corporation of India launched its first Digital Application, “ANANDA”, an acronym for Atma Nirbhar Agents New Business Digital Application, on 19th of November 2020. The Digital application is a tool for the onboarding process to get the Life Insurance policy through a Paperless module with the help of the Agent / Intermediary.

ANANDA is a first of its kind in the Indian Life Insurance industry with LIC of India pioneering the process through its in-house IT-enabled systems. The launch had generated tremendous enthusiasm among the Marketing Officials and Intermediaries of LIC of India.

source: The statesman

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No relation with the three farm laws, in no way benefits from them: Reliance

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Facing the brunt of farmer’s ire over perception of it being a beneficiary of new farm laws, Reliance Industries on Monday filed a petition in Punjab and Haryana High Court saying that it has no relation with the three farm laws and in no way benefits from them. It further said that any of its subsidiary has never been engaged in any corporate” or “contract” farming in the past nor to plans to do so in the future.

In a statement, billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s firm said its subsidiary “Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), in a petition mentioned to be filed in Honourable Punjab and Haryana High Court today, has sought the urgent intervention of Government authorities to bring a complete stop to the illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants.”

Reliance said it “has nothing whatsoever to do with the three farm laws currently debated in the country, and in no way benefits from them.”

“As such, the sole nefarious purpose of linking the name of Reliance to these laws is to harm our businesses and damage our reputation,” it said.

The company said it does not do “corporate or contract farming” and has not bought “any agricultural land, directly or indirectly, in Punjab/Haryana or anywhere else in India, for the purpose of corporate or contract farming.”

Its retail unit which sells food grains and staples, fruits and vegetables and items of daily use through its stores, “does not purchase any food grains directly from farmers,” the statement said.

“It has never entered into long-term procurement contracts to gain unfair advantage over farmers or sought that its suppliers buy from farmers at less than remunerative prices, nor will it ever do so,” it added.

It further said that Reliance and its affiliates fully share and support the aspiration of Indian farmers to get a fair and profitable price on a predictable basis for what they produce with exemplary hard work, innovation and dedication.

“Indeed, we shall insist on our suppliers to strictly abide by the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism, and/or any other mechanism for remunerative price for farm produce, as may be determined and implemented by the government.”

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India’s exports slip 0.8% in December 2020

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India’s merchandise exports receded by 0.8 per cent to $26.89 billion in December 2020, due to contraction in sectors like petroleum, leather and marine products, data released from Ministry of Commerce and Industry stated on Saturday.

The fall in exports was the result of the lockdown measures imposed in some of the key export markets.

The country’s merchandise imports during the month under review were $42.60 billion, as compared to $39.59 billion in December 2019, an increase of 7.6 per cent.

The trade deficit in December widened to $15.71 billion, as compared to trade deficit of USD 12.49 billion, widened by 25.78 per cent, the data showed.

Exports in December 2019 was $27.11 billion, while imports stood at $39.5 billion. In November 2020, the exports were down by 8.74 per cent.

In April-December 2020-21, the country’s merchandise exports contracted by 15.8 per cent to $200.55 billion, as compared to $238.27 billion in the same period of 2019-20.

Imports during the nine months of the current fiscal declined by 29.08 per cent to $258.29 billion, as against $364.18 billion in April-December 2019-20.

“India is thus a net importer in December 2020, with a trade deficit of $15.71 billion, as compared to a trade deficit of $12.49 billion, widened by 25.78 per cent,” the ministry said in a statement.

In December 2020, oil imports declined by 10.37 per cent to $9.61 billion. During April-December this fiscal, the imports dipped by 44.46 per cent to $53.71 billion.

Major commodities of export which have recorded positive growth during the month under review include Oil meals (192.60 per cent), Iron ore (69.26 per cent), Carpet (21.12 per cent), pharmaceuticals (17.44 per cent), spices (17.06 per cent), electronic goods (16.44 per cent), fruits and vegetables (12.82 per cent), and chemicals (10.73 per cent).

The other commodities in the positive terrain include cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products (10.09 per cent), rice (8.60 per cent), meat, dairy and poultry products (6.79 per cent), gems and jewellery (6.75 per cent), tea (4.47 per cent), and engineering goods (0.12 per cent).

Sectors that registered negative growth include petroleum products (-40.47 per cent), oil Seeds (-31.80 per cent), leather and leather manufactures (-17.74 per cent), coffee (-16.39 per cent), ready-made garments of all textiles (-15.07 per cent) and others.

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