Archive for ‘Government’

07/12/2018

Japan government to shun Huawei, ZTE equipment

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan plans to ban government purchases of equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] and ZTE Corp (0763.HK) (000063.SZ) to beef up its defences against intelligence leaks and cyber attacks, sources told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: A security guard walks past a building of ZTE Beijing research and development center in Beijing, China June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Chinese tech companies are under intense scrutiny from Washington and some prominent allies over ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns they could be used by Beijing for spying.

A government ban in Japan will come after Huawei has already been locked out of the U.S. market and after Australia and New Zealand have blocked it from building 5G networks. Huawei has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it.

The Yomiuri newspaper, which first reported the news of Japan’s planned ban earlier on Friday, said the government was expected to revise its internal rules on procurement as early as Monday.

The government does not plan to specifically name Huawei and ZTE in the revision, but will put in place measures aimed at strengthening security that apply to the companies, a person with direct knowledge and a person briefed on the matter said.

Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, declined to comment. But he noted that the country has been in close communication with the United States on a wide range of areas, including cybersecurity.

“Cybersecurity is becoming an important issue in Japan,” he told a regular news conference. “We’ll take firm measures looking at it from a variety of perspectives.”

ZTE declined to comment. Huawei did not immediately comment.

Huawei supplies some network equipment to private Japanese telcos NTT Docomo (9437.T) and KDDI Corp (9433.T).

And SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) has a long relationship with Huawei – which in 2011 became the first Chinese firm to join Japan’s conservative Keidanren business lobby – and has partnered with it on 5G trials.

“The government will not buy where there are security concerns but it is difficult to restrict procurement by private companies,” one of the sources said.

Docomo and SoftBank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“While closely observing changes we will consider appropriate steps,” a KDDI spokeswoman said.

Some private companies elsewhere, though, have distanced themselves from the Chinese firms.

In the United States, SoftBank’s wireless subsidiary Sprint Corp (S.N) said it no longer sources equipment from Huawei or ZTE. SoftBank is trying to complete the unit’s sale to T-Mobile US Inc TMUS.N.

And Britain’s BT Group (BT.L) said on Wednesday it was removing Huawei’s equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile operations and would not use the company in central parts of the next network.

ZTE’s Shenzhen-listed shares rose 1.4 percent on Friday after sliding 5.7 percent the previous day amid a global stocks sell-off sparked by the arrest in Canada of Huawei’s top executive at the behest of the United States. Huawei is unlisted.

Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida and Yoshifumi Takemoto; Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Sijia Jiang; Writing by Sam Nussey and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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03/12/2018

Air pollution: NGT slaps 25 crore fine on Delhi government

The green panel said that even after more than four-and-a-half years, the complaint of the aggrieved parties is that the pollution caused by the unregulated handling of plastic continues to remain unabated.

It had asked the chief secretary to hold a joint meeting with the persons considered responsible for compliance. (File photo: PTI)

The National Green Tribunal Monday asked the Delhi government to deposit Rs 25 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for their failure to curb the problem of pollution in the city.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also asked the AAP government to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs 25 crore with the apex pollution monitoring body to ensure that there is no further lapse in this regard.

It said despite its clear directions, there is hardly any action for compliance of orders of the tribunal and pollution continues unabated in blatant violation of law and under the nose of the authorities “who have hardly done anything concrete except furnishing excuses and helplessness”.

The green panel said that even after more than four-and-a-half years, the complaint of the aggrieved parties is that the pollution caused by the unregulated handling of plastic continues to remain unabated.

The tribunal was hearing pleas filed by Mundka village resident Satish Kumar and Tikri-Kalan native Mahavir Singh alleging pollution caused by burning of plastic, leather, rubber, motor engine oil and other waste materials and continuous operation of illegal industrial units dealing with such articles on agricultural lands in Mundka and Neelwal villages.

The tribunal had earlier directed the Delhi chief secretary to co-ordinate with the concerned municipal authorities, police authorities and other officers responsible for compliance of orders of this tribunal already passed referred to ensure compliance at the ground-level forthwith.

It had asked the chief secretary to hold a joint meeting with the persons considered responsible for compliance and till the orders remain un-complied, continue to hold such meetings at least once a month.

“It will be open to the chief secretary to seek feedback from concerned inhabitants about the ground situation,” the NGT had said.

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03/12/2018

Slowing Growth, Below Par GST Collections, Fiscal Deficit New Headache for Govt

Slowing Growth, Below Par GST Collections, Fiscal Deficit New Headache for Govt

(Image for representational purpose)
New Delhi: Three separate economic data points released last week could create a new headache for the government, which is still putting out the fires it ignited by releasing the GDP back series data in the same week.

Economic growth is a major worry particularly now, since there has already been intense politics over the rate of growth during the two terms of the UPA government (through the back series data) versus the present regime, very close to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. And with the fate of the ruling BJP hanging in balance as crucial state polls are at various stages of completion, the narrative of robust economic growth during the current government’s last few months in office becomes even more crucial.

But this, a benign narrative about having ushered in robust economic growth, is not easy to craft. First, the November gross GST collections came in, showing that the anecdotal Rs 1 lakh crore monthly collection mark has been missed again. The Finance Ministry put out a statement which showed that collections totalled Rs 97,637 crore last month.

The second pain point emerged when it became known that GDP growth slowed down in the second quarter versus the April-June period and after galloping for four consecutive quarters. India remains among the fastest growing economies in the world and several external factors were to blame for this state of affairs but the data on Q2 growth has been used by analysts to predict that economic growth in the second half of the fiscal year – October to March – will be even slower than the first half.

And finally, the fiscal deficit number released by the government for April-October also proved worrisome, as the country has already breached the target set out for the entire fiscal in these seven months.

Of course, not every chance of things improving in the coming months can be ruled out. The Centre could dip into the states’ share in GST collections, it could postpone certain expenditure items, overall tax collections could surprise or there could be a last minute burst of activity on disinvestment.

Any or all of these actions could make the government remain within its fiscal deficit target. As ratings agency Care Ratings pointed out, the government meeting the fiscal deficit target of 3.3% for the year would be contingent on:

—Realisation of disinvestment target of Rs 80,000 crore (less than a sixth has been achieved till now)

—Higher GST collections. The collections so far have been lower than the target for 5 out of the total 7 months.

—The government has lowered gross borrowings by Rs 70,000 crore which will enable it to maintain the fiscal deficit target of 3.3%

But till all of the above happen, the narrative of robust growth under the present regime remains weak. The September quarter GDP growth stood at 7.1% versus 8.6% in the June quarter. The government described the numbers as “reasonable”, saying GDP growth in the first six months was at 7.6% and GVA (Gross value Added) at 7.4%.

“Growth in the second quarter is on higher base compared to the growth of the first quarter. Manufacturing growth on a base of 7.1% in Q2 2017-18 has been 7.4% in Q2 2018-19. Construction sector has grown by 7.8%. The Gross Fixed Capital Formation as a ratio of GDP has increased by almost 1.3 percentage points over Q2 of last year. Exports for Q2 have grown by 13.4%. The government consumption for the quarter has also significantly increased by 12.7%…. The Indian economy is on track to maintain a high growth rate in the current global environment.”

Ratings agency India Ratings noted that the Q2 GDP and GVA growth numbers were marginally lower than its expectations but “on the whole, second quarter GDP numbers do not ring in any alarm or indicate any serious deviation from the expected growth numbers. No doubt the sudden spurt in crude oil prices and depreciation in rupee had somewhat destabilising impact on the economy lately but over the past month they have corrected equally fast. India Ratings therefore believes that the FY19 may still end up with a GDP growth of 7.3%.”

And Care Ratings lowered growth forecast for the fiscal to 7.4% from 7.5% earlier due to “subdued pickup in economic activity in the second quarter and given the constraints in the financial system that would have a bearing on overall economic growth in the remainder of the financial year”.

As for GST collections, they tot up to Rs 7.76 lakh crore between April and November or a shortfall of about Rs 24,000 crore, averaging at about Rs 97,000 crore each month against Rs 1 lakh crore target. Achieving the revenue collection target is crucial as it has a direct bearing on the fiscal deficit. In the last eight months, tax mop-up has crossed Rs 1 lakh crore only twice — in April and October.

So with GDP growth cooling off, GST collections remaining below par and fiscal deficit remaining a worry, all eyes will be on the rabbits the Finance Minister produces from his hat in the interim Budget. If the ruling dispensation does not fare well in the state polls, perhaps a slew of fiscal sops cannot be ruled out. ​

(Author is a senior journalist. All views expressed are personal)

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