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The BSE Sensex finished 382 points higher at 52,232, while the Nifty closed above 15,600.

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Despite a mostly negative trend in global markets, the Sensex rallied 383 points to set a new high on Thursday, led by gains in HDFC Bank, L&T, and Titan.

The 30-share BSE index closed at52,232.43, up 382.95 points, or 0.70 percent. Similarly, the wider NSE Nifty rose 114.15 points, or 0.73 percent, to15,690.35, its all-time high. Titan, ONGC, L&T, Kotak Bank, Axis Bank, Bajaj Finance, and HDFC Bank were the top gainers in the Sensex pack, rising nearly 7%.

IndusInd Bank, PowerGrid, Bajaj Auto, M&M, and Dr Reddy’s, on the other hand, were among the laggards. Domestic equities remained positive, with benchmark indices hitting new highs, according to Binod Modi, Reliance Securities’ Head of Strategy. He added that a rebound in heavyweight financial services, followed by real estate, FMCG, and metals, had bolstered the market once more.

Pressure was felt in the IT, pharmaceutical, and automotive industries. “Notably, midcap and small cap stocks continued to outperform broader indices as improved expectations for long-term earnings recovery continue to attract investors,” he said.

In other Asian markets, Shanghai and Hong Kong bourses ended the day in the red, while Tokyo and Seoul ended the day in the green. In mid-session trades, European equities were also trading with losses. Brent crude, the international oil standard, was down 0.18 percent at USD 71.22 per barrel.

The trade deficit shrank to $6.3 billion in May as imports fell.

In May, India’s trade deficit shrank to $6.3 billion, a new low, as increasing foreign demand boosted exports and the pandemic lowered imports.

According to preliminary trade data released by the commerce ministry, merchandise exports remained above $30 billion for the third month in a row at $32.2 billion, while merchandise imports plunged to their lowest level in six months at $38.5 billion. Pharmaceuticals, engineering products, auto parts, fisheries, and agricultural goods are among the main focus areas identified by Trade Minister Piyush Goyal, who has set an ambitious goal of $400 billion in exports for FY22, up from $290 billion in FY21.

The merchandise trade deficit shrank to an eight-month low, according to Aditi Nayar, chief economist at ICRA Ltd, as Covid-induced regional lockdowns reduced domestic demand for gold and oil.

“Imports of non-oil, non-gold items were largely unchanged in May compared to the previous month. Rising global commodity prices would have partially obscured a drop in domestic demand. Nonetheless, non-oil and non-gold imports seem to have been less affected by the state restrictions than oil and gold imports, she said.

Petroleum (200 percent), engineering products (53 percent), and gems and jewellery all saw significant increases in exports in May relative to the same month a year earlier (179 percent ). Drugs and pharmaceuticals(-5.4%), fruits and vegetables(-10.6%), and oil seeds(-5.4%) all saw significant drops (-7 percent ).

Petroleum products (164 percent), precious stones (490 percent), and electronic goods (48 percent) were the top import rises, while silver (-95 percent), transportation equipment (-15 percent), and iron and steel were the top declines (-3 percent ).

The Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FEIO) president, Sharad Kumar Saraf, said the continued growth in exports shows order books keeping pace with the gradual opening up of global markets. Though the government has announced a slew of steps to boost exports, the urgent need is for the RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products) rates to be announced as soon as possible to eliminate uncertainty from the minds of trade and industry, allowing them to forge new contracts with foreign buyers.

The government must resolve a number of key issues, including giving the export sector priority status; extending the Interest Equalization Scheme beyond June until at least March31,2024; releasing the required funds for MEIS (Merchandise Export Incentive Scheme) and clarification on SEIS (Service Exports from India Scheme) benefits; addressing risky exporter issues; and continuing to refund IGS in a seamless manner.

The chances of a swift recovery in world trade have increased, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO), as merchandise trade grew more than anticipated in the second half of last year. According to new WTO forecasts, the amount of global merchandise trade is projected to rise by 8% in 2021 after dropping 5.3 percent in2020, continuing its recovery from the collapse caused by the coronavirus outbreak, which peaked in the second quarter of last year. The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on India’s healthcare system, prompting most states to enact lockdowns that are likely to stall the country’s economic recovery.

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Open Network for digital commerce

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How ONDC aims to change the Indian e-commerce industry.

Khushi Shah – Mumbai Uncensored, 3rd June 2022

The lockdown brought about a dramatic growth of e-commerce in the past few years, which has hampered the business of physical retailers.With super high class companies who have invested billions of dollars in research and development in India we have been going through the abuse of ‘aggregator superpower’ a monopolising model of e-commerce. Allegations by CAIT and others have ranged from predatory pricing and prioritising certain sellers to the foreign ownership of Amazon and Flipkart. 

An attempt by the Indian government is being made to break down giant monopolies like amazon, flip kart, swiggy and so on with the introduction of ONDC which is supposed to be as revolutionary as UPI itself. It will not just be limited to products but also to services such as mobility, grocery, food order and delivery, hotel booking and travel, and many others. 

ONDC is an open technology network based on open protocol which is expected to digitise the entire value chain, standardise operations, promote inclusion of suppliers, derive efficiencies in logistics and enhance value for consumers.

 The official government note was circumspect. “ONDC is a globally first-of-its-kind initiative that aims to democratise digital commerce, moving it from a platform-centric model to an open network,” it said. “[It] will enable buyers and sellers to be digitally visible and transact through an open network. No matter what platform or application they use.”

E-commerce is a complex business where every business has its unique supply chain and processes and standardisation is a challenge. It would require reconfiguration, including a complete revamp of their systems and losing advantages like control over the user interface and consumer behaviour insights. For the government however it will provide better control over what is sold and bought. In UPI, a recent government stipulation set a market share limit of 40 per cent for any service provider, which immediately dampens the growth of a market leader PhonePe which is owned by Walmart outside India.

In a marketplace-centric model, a buyer first selects a platform and then searches for a product there where then platform acts as an intermediary for the buyer and seller. In the new model, the buyer will search for the product first and then pick the right seller offering that item. The platform the seller is on becomes secondary. It aims at promoting open networks developed on open-sourced methodology, using open specifications and open network protocols independent of any specific platform. This provides all the small and medium fishes in the ocean with an opportunity to grow big, and simultaneously give a boost to Make in India.

“It’s (Open Network for Digital Commerce) an idea whose time has come. We owe it to the millions of small sellers to show an easy way to participate in the new high-growth area of digital commerce,” Nilekani, the co-founder and non-executive chairman of Infosys, himself supported this platform. 

This makes it the most potent weapon the ruling dispensation has yet unleashed on India’s e-commerce duopoly.

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Pet breeders stand to lose license if unregistered

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Khushi Shah – Mumbai Uncensored, 24th May 2022

More than three years after the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, making it mandatory for pet shops to be registered with the respective State Animal Welfare Board (SAWB) companies still go one to flout laws.

On June 13, 2021 Corporation officials said they are now keeping a close eye on the pet trade and are ready to seize the shops if the owners do not get valid registration and trade licences.

As per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, no person should sell or trade in pet animals, whether retail or wholesale, or establish operate a pet shop, or any other establishment engaged in sale, purchase or exchange of pets without obtaining a certificate of registration from the State Animal Welfare Board (AWB).

On 26th august 2021 the petitioner’s counsel Sanjukta Dey told the bench that she had visited shops in Crawford Market and Kurla as recently as three days ago and found violations of the earlier high court order, which had directed immediate closure of such illegal shops. The shops require permission from the State Animal Welfare Board and they had seen puppies being drugged and animals kept out in the sun or out in the rain with no food or water. Due to the continued lack of regulation, illegal pet shops have mushroomed all over the city. It is alleged that such establishments are keeping animals domesticated as well as wildlife from India and abroad in “utterly unhygienic conditions” and the life and liberty of thousands of animals are at stake as they languish and die in miserable conditions in unlicensed and unregulated pet shops. They are also often taken away from mothers a a young age.

May 23 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the Delhi government’s stand on a public interest litigation seeking directions on dealing with unregulated, unlicensed and illegal pet shops operating in the city.

“The non-implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018 is a complete dereliction of duty by the respondents (authorities), and by doing so, the respondents’ actions are affecting animal welfare negatively and preventing the compliance of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972,” the petition filed through lawyers Supriya Juneja and Aditya Singla said.

Many pet shops and breeders operating in Mumbai are not licensed and the state urges pet owners to bring home pets only from licensed breeders.

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Govt. Plans to Cut Cooking Oil Tax

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The Indian market after seeing an unprecedented rise in the prices of edible oils plans to cut taxes on edible oil to keep the prices in check.

Khushi shah – Mumbai Uncensored, 5th May 2022

The war, combined with weather disruptions that limited harvests in other vegetable oil-producing regions, led to a supply shortage of sunflower oil. The ban by the world’s biggest palm oil producer and exporter on 28th April 2022, on the export on the widely used edible oil and all the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine that already upended the global agricultural trade in the world, sent oil prices skyrocketing in the market.

India is particularly sensitive to rising vegetable oil prices as it is dependent on imports for 60% of its needs. Inorder to keep the prices in check ,India, the world’s top importer of vegetable oils is planning to cut taxes on some edible oils to cool the domestic market after the war in Ukraine. 

India has tried to reduce prices in the past, including reducing import duties on palm, soybean oil and sunflower oil, and limiting inventory to prevent stocking the oil.[ In September 2021] The import taxes on palm oil had been slashed to 2.5% from 10 %, while soy oil and sunflower oil had been reduced to 2.5 per cent from 7.5 per cent. 

The reduction in these taxes were aimed at bringing down prices of the edible oils in India and boost consumption, effectively increasing overseas buying by the south Asian country.It would also bring down edible oil prices ahead of key festivals, when edible oil demand rises in the country

However, The moves so far have not been effective enough to cut down the rates of oil in the market 

India, the world’s top importer of vegetable oils, wants to reduce the agricultural infrastructure and development cess on imports of crude palm oil to below 5% . According to reports, it is said that the government is now considering reducing import duties on crude varieties of canola oil, olive oil, rice bran oil and palm kernel oil from 35% to 5% to help boost domestic supplies. The new tax amount is still being deliberated The cess is levied over and above basic tax rates on certain items, and is used to finance agriculture infrastructure projects. The base import duty on crude palm oil has already been scrapped.

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