The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has extended the refund fortnight for fast track clearance of pending dues to exporters by two days till June 16.
The central and state tax officials have already cleared refunds worth over Rs 7,500 crore since May 31, when the special drive to clear exporters refund was launched.
“In view of overwhelming response from exporters and pending claims, the period of refund fortnight is being extended by two more days i.e up to June 16, 2018,” a finance ministry statement said.
With about Rs 14,000 crore of exporters refunds stuck due to various mismatches, the CBIC had organised the second phase of the special fortnight to fast track clearances.During the first phase, between March 15 and 29, an amount of Rs 5,350 crore was sanctioned.
The ministry further said, in case of short payment of integrated GST (IGST), small exporters whose aggregate IGST refund amount for the period July 2017 to March 2018 is up to Rs 10 lakhs are required to submit self-certified copies of proof of payment of IGST to the concerned customs office at the port of export.
Others are required to submit a certificate from a Chartered Accountant including the proof of payment.
All GST refund claimants, whose claims are still pending, are being encouraged to approach their jurisdictional tax authority for disposal of their refund claims submitted on or before April 30, the statement said.
“In case of any problem, exporters are advised to approach the Commissioner of Customs /Jurisdictional Tax Authorities. The government is committed to clear all the remaining refund claims filed up to 30.04.2018 are still pending,” it added.
The Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council may cancel the membership of Nirav Modi, Gitanjali Gems and related companies after Punjab National Bank named them in a complaint of alleged fraud.
“Their companies are registered with us. Nothing is known as of now but if something comes out, we will take disciplinary action against them,” said Praveenshankar Pandya, immediate past Chairman of the council. Firestar Diamond, owned by Nirav Modi, and Gitanjali Gems, which belongs to his uncle Mehul Choksi, are members of the council, the apex body of the gems and jewellery industry that represents almost 6,000 exporters.
According to a council official, cancellation of membership can cause problems for exporters as banks and suppliers often ask for certificates and membership details. “Our cancellation will reflect poorly on them in the global market,” the official said. The council hasn’t cancelled a membership in at least a decade, he said.
The Mumbai-based council said earlier that the Nirav Modi/Gitanjali Gems incident is of concern to the industry and had condemned any sort of unlawful action. “The council strongly believes that this incident will not have any contagion effect on the gems and jewellery export industry,” it said in a statement on February 17. Pandya sought an investigation into alleged irregularities by the two companies in their bank dealings. He said small exporters were now facing difficulty in securing loans worth Rs 20-30 crore from banks.
“There is a shortage of finance for small and medium diamond exporters. They are made to run from pillar to post, asked for collateral and other details like credit ratings by the banks,” Pandya said. India’s diamond exports stand at $23 billion with value addition in excess of $7 billion.
Even as the government grapples with incomplete details and mismatch errors in refund claims by exporters, it has refunded Rs 4,000 crore out of verified claims of Rs 5,000-6,000 crore on account of payment of Integrated GST (IGST) on exports under the goods and services tax (GST) regime. Incomplete details in refund claims and mismatch errors by exporters are creating a hurdle in processing the remaining refund amount, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Chairman Vanaja N Sarna said, adding that the exporters should come forward to rectify the errors as officials are working overtime to ensure a smooth payout of the refunds. “There are mismatch issues for which exporters should come forward and sort out. They are being requested to come forward through SMS/emails to sort out issues which are remaining. We are working 24×7 to allow refunds to exporters. They have to come and rectify their mistakes to get the refund,” Sarna told The Indian Express.
Government officials said that the total refund claims received by GST Network (GSTN) are approximately of Rs 13,000 crore, out of which claims worth only Rs 5,000-6,000 crore have been verified so far and forwarded to CBEC for facilitating disbursement of refunds. Separately, the government has also refunded Rs 2,000 crore as input tax credit to exporters, Sarna said.
Under GST, exporters are required to pay IGST on exports and then claim refunds. The second type of refunds to exporters under GST involve refund of GST paid on purchase of inputs.
For refund of IGST paid on exports, the exporters are required to file GSTR 3 B and table 6A of GSTR 1 on the GSTN portal and shipping bills on the customs EDI (electronic data interchange) system. For refund of the unutilised input tax credit on inputs used in making exports, the exporters are required to file Form GST RFD- 01A on the GST portal. In instructions issued to Customs authorities by CBEC on October 9, the CBEC had said that filing of correct EGM is a must for treating shipping bill or bill of export as a refund claim.
Explaining the errors filed in the refund claims, Sarna said that in some instances, exporters have filled metric tonne (weight) of exported goods instead of the refund amount. Or, in some cases, the shipping bill has a number in place of an alphabet. “Some things are missing, there are some blank spaces, the system won’t accept until that gets corrected. That rectification has to be done by the exporters,” she said.
Similarly, there are EGM (Export General Manifest) mismatches or invoice mismatches in the refund claims by exporters. “I have been asking CBEC officials to reach out to exporters. I recently visited Hyderabad, there we have started sending e-mails to exporters that this is the flaw, please come forward and repair it, so that we can give the refund. CBEC officials are calling people and asking them to come and rectify their mistake,” Sarna said.
As per a CBEC release dated November 29, the quantum of IGST refund claims as filed through shipping bills during July to October 2017, was approximately Rs 6,500 crore and the quantum of refund of unutilised credit on inputs or input services filed on GSTN portal, was about Rs 30 crore. The refund claims have subsequently been revised upwards to around Rs 13,000 crore, but only about half of them have complete details to facilitate complete verification, officials said.
A study as part of RBI’s Mint Street Memos series had earlier this month had stated that the implementation and refund delays under the new indirect tax regime of GST seem to have led to working capital constraints for firms, which in turn might have hurt their exports in October 2017. However, the subsequent initiatives taken by the government since then appear to have significantly alleviated exporters’ concerns which got reflected in the exports growth pick up in November and December 2017, it had said.
The study had indicated that a short-term liquidity shock impacted firms in the export sector, with the firms with high working capital/sales ratio such as such as, petroleum and gems and jewellery sectors hit the most due to the liquidity constraints.
Exporters can soon start claiming refunds for GST paid in August and September as GSTN will this week launch an online application for processing of refund, its Chief Executive Officer Prakash Kumar said today.
GST Network (GSTN), the company handling IT infrastructure for the indirect tax regime, has from October 10 started issuing refunds to exporters for Integrated GST (IGST) they paid for the month of July, after matching GSTR-3B and GSTR-1.
For August and September, while the initial return GSTR- 3B has already been filed, the final return GSTR-1 has not yet been filed.
“A separate online app for claiming Integrated GST (IGST) refunds for August and September would be made available on GSTN portal this week,” Kumar told .
GSTN has developed the app wherein exporters can save and upload their sales data which are part of GSTR-1 after filling up export details in Table 6A.
The table will be then extracted separately and after exporters digitally sign it, it would automatically go to the customs department.
The customs department will then validate the information provided in the table with the shipping bill data and also the taxes paid in GSTR-3B. The refund amount would be either credited to exporter’s bank account through ECS or a cheque would be issued.
As per data, 55.87 lakh GSTR-3B returns were filed for July, 51.37 lakh for August and over 42 lakh for September. Preliminary returns GSTR-3B for a month is filed on the 20th day of the next month after paying due taxes.
Thereafter, final returns in form GSTR-1, 2, 3 are filed by businesses giving invoice wise details of sales. The final return filing for August and September has not started yet.
Over July-August, an estimated Rs 67,000 crore has accumulated as the Integrated GST (IGST), of which only about Rs 5,000-10,000 crore will be due as refunds to exporters.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST), the amalgamation of over a dozen indirect taxes like excise duty and VAT, does not provide for any exemption, and so exporters are required to first pay Integrated-GST (IGST) on manufactured goods and claim refunds after exporting them. This had put severe liquidity crunch, particularly on aggregators or merchant exporters.
To ease their problems, the GST Council earlier this month decided a package for them that includes extending the Advance Authorisation / Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) / 100 per cent EOU (Export Oriented Unit) schemes to sourcing inputs from abroad as well as domestic suppliers till March 31, thus not requiring to pay IGST.
The government is aiming to clear pending GST refunds of exporters by November-end. The first cheque after processing of July refunds was issued on October 10.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting India nearly two months after operationalisation of the historic Indo-Japan civil nuclear deal, which has added a new dimension to bilateral ties that could scarcely be imagined in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima tragedy.
The journey traversed by the two nations over the past six years reflects growing confidence in each other and depth of the strategic partnership.
Japan and India signed a memorandum of understanding for civil nuclear cooperation in December 2015, when Abe was in Delhi for the annual bilateral summit, overcoming reservations over India’s status as a nation which has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
This was transformed into a deal in November last year when PM Narendra Modi was in Tokyo for the summit.
Subsequently the Japanese government got approval from the Diet (parliament) for the nuclear deal with India.The landmark deal came into force in July this year with the completion of necessary formalities in both countries. This will enable Japan to export nuclear power plant technology as well as provide finance for nuclear power plants in India.
Besides, Japan will assist India in nuclear waste management and may undertake joint manufacture of nuclear power plant components under Make in India initiative, people familiar with the development told ET. Growing civil nuclear ties will be highlighted during Abe’s trip as one of the key elements of Indo-Japan strategic partnership, they said.
Japanese conglomerate Toshiba, which owns US-based Westinghouse, will have a major role when the US nuclear firm supplies technology for the set of six reactors in Andhra Pradesh following its bankruptcy.
Westinghouse, which was to set up six nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh, will supply technology while construction will be undertaken by an Indian partner. This was discussed as a way out during Modi’s visit to Washington, D.C. for ensuring the presence of Westinghouse in India following the troubles the company faced over bankruptcy.
The finance for the project from the US Exim Bank remains intact and the initiative may kick-start only in 2018. Westinghouse, which was acquired by Japanese conglomerate Toshiba in 2006 for $5.4 billion, had filed for bankruptcy in March this year. HitachiBSE 2.80 %, another Japanese firm, has a stake in GE, which is also proposed to set up reactors in India.
ET View: Enhance areas of partnership
The partnership in space, like that on the African continent, will give a new dimension to the longstanding India-Japan ties. It makes sense for India to partner with Japan to focus such opportunities in areas where the two countries have complementary strengths. The space partnership will serve as another plank in the effort to present a counter to Beijing. For New Delhi, it is also a spring board for a bigger role in the global arena. India must seize this opportunity with a clear plan.
Foreign exchange reserves touched a record high of $381.96 billion as on June 16, compared $381.16 billion in the previous week, the Reserve Bank of India said in its weekly statistical supplement on Friday. Foreign currency assets (FCAs), the largest component of the foreign exchange reserves, increased to $358.08 billion from $357.28 billion in the previous week, central bank data showed. Expressed in US dollar terms, FCAs include the effects of appreciation/depreciation of non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and the yen, held in the reserves. So far in 2017, foreign exchange reserves have grown 6% and have touched record levels five times since April, as the RBI has aggressively been buying dollars to prevent a sudden jump in the rupee.
The central bank has been buying dollars on a daily basis, both in the spot market as well as in the forward market, to limit the appreciation of the local currency, which has been gaining steadily, traders said. The rupee has gained about 5% since the beginning of the year. Among other factors, strong demand for the local currency from foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) looking to invest in Indian assets has caused the rupee to appreciate. FPIs have bought Indian shares and bonds worth around $22 billion so far in 2017. Given India’s low current account and fiscal deficits, and the advantage it offers in terms of interest rate differential, traders expect the inflows to continue in the near-term.
The central bank has always maintained that it does not want to influence the exchange rate for the rupee, but would take steps, including intervention in the spot market, to curb extreme volatility. According to the latest available data, the RBI’s outstanding net forward purchases in April stood at $13.55 billion, up from $10.84 billion in the previous month. On the other hand, net purchase in the spot market dropped to $0.57 billion in April from $3.54 billion in March. The RBI publishes data on the sale and purchase of dollar with a lag of two months.
Foreign precision engineering firms are investing more in Singapore, drawn by strong semiconductor demand and government incentives aimed at re-tooling an economy short of skilled labor.
The city-state is running programs worth billions of dollars to support productivity, automation and research, attracting global chipmakers including U.S.-based Micron Technology Inc and Germany’s Infineon Technologies.
This investment rush into electronics helped the technology sector log 57 percent output growth on average in October-February from a year ago, and kept Singapore from recession late last year.
“I’ve lived in Europe, I’ve lived in Japan, I’ve spent a lot of time in Taiwan and other countries. From a proactive standpoint, Singapore is about as good as it gets,” said Wayne Allan, vice president of global manufacturing at Micron, adding the Singapore government’s long-term vision was key to Micron expanding its investment.
Taking advantage of government grants, Micron is investing $4 billion to make more flash-memory chips in Singapore. It increased output by a third in the second half of last year and expects similar growth in the first half of this year.
Linear Technology Corp, a maker of analog integrated circuits, has opened a third chip testing facility in Singapore, and will produce 90 percent of its global test equipment in the city-state.
All this has created something of a virtuous circle in the semiconductor supply chain, with chip testing equipment supplier Applied Materials reporting record shipments to Singapore last year, said its regional chief, Russell Tham.
It’s unclear how much of this revival in Singapore’s $40 billion chip industry is due to a so-called ultra-super-cycle in the global memory chip sector, and Singapore remains a smaller player than South Korea and Taiwan.
“It is vulnerable to a pull-back,” said Nomura economist Brian Tan. “If there’s a turnaround in the semiconductor industry … it becomes a lot more apparent that the underlying growth momentum is not great.”
However, there are real signs that the targeted government incentives are helping firms move up the value chain.
One of the larger programs is the Productivity and Innovation Credit, where Singapore has budgeted S$3.6 billion ($2.6 billion) for 2016-18. Another S$400 million automation support package is aimed at small firms, and a S$500 million Future of Manufacturing plan encourages testing new technologies.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry says it encourages manufacturers to “embrace disruptive technologies” such as robotics. “These measures will help ensure the manufacturing sector in Singapore remains globally competitive,” it said, attributing the strong semiconductors performance partly to demand from China’s smartphone market and improved global semiconductor demand.
For Feinmetall Singapore, whose products are used for testing semiconductor wafers, grants covered about two thirds of the $100,000 cost of a needle-bending machine it needed to help overcome an island-wide labor shortage.
“If we use the same methods as before … I don’t think we can expect any growth,” said Sam Chee Wah, the company’s general manager, noting Feinmetall Singapore struggled to retain some workers for much longer than a year, even after nine months of training.
GlobalFoundries Singapore, a wafer maker, has spent $50 million on 77 robots, each able to perform the tasks of 3-4 workers. This has helped the company move up the value chain into parts for self-driving cars and security-related chips for credit cards and mobile payments, says general manager KC Ang.
Singapore now has about 400 robots per 10,000 workers, the world’s second-highest density after South Korea. Most robots are used in electronics, according to the International Federation of Robots.
And further developments are in the pipeline.
At its Singapore manufacturing hub, Infineon is developing productivity tools such as robotics and automated guided vehicles which it hopes to deploy to other production sites. Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors is also developing vehicle-to-everything technology, enabling vehicles to communicate with each other and roadside infrastructure.
Instead of trying to compete with high-volume producers such as China or Malaysia, Singapore has shifted to higher-end products, said Jagadish C.V., head of Systems on Silicon Manufacturing, another firm making semiconductor wafers.
“So you do the products which others can’t do so easily,” he said, adding his firm had shifted most of its output to specialized products, such as chips used in smartphones.
CK Tan, President of the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association, noted the global chip industry is automating faster than other sectors because of cost pressure, a need to eliminate or reduce error, and have a consistent process control.
“In Singapore, it’s even more important for us to … look at how to speed up or increase the level of automation because of the lack of skilled resources,” he said. “The industry has recognized it has to move upscale. The government incentives play a part to allow the manufacturing side to be relevant, to be at least cost competitive.”
The Ministry of Trade and Industry said first-quarter growth in manufacturing – up 6.6 percent year-on-year, while overall GDP was up 2.5 percent – was due mainly to output expansion in electronics and precision engineering.
Integrated circuits were Singapore’s biggest export product among non-oil domestic exports in January-March, topping S$6 billion ($4.29 billion), according to trade agency IE Singapore.