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OMCs launches cleaner BS-VI grade petrol and diesel across the country at same price

State-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) have launched cleaner BS-VI grade petrol and diesel across the country from Wednesday with an investment of Rs 35,000 crore without raising their pump prices, thanks to the slump in international oil rates.

As per the commitment, the three public sector companies – Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) have fully transitioned to BS-VI compliant petrol and diesel across the country, an IOC spokesperson said.

Executives of the three oil companies said on condition of anonymity that consumer prices of petrol and diesel have not been raised to recover the investments in upgrading refineries as prices of auto fuels had been freezed since March 16 despite a steep fall in their international rates.

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Covid-19 likely to have negative effect on implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

 The Covid-19 crisis is likely to have a profound and negative effect on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change because of which a post-crisis coordination mechanism is vital to ensure that all countries have adequate fiscal space to recover, the March 2020 report of the United Nations stated.

Titled ‘Socio-Economic Impact of Covid-19: Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity’, the report offers suggestions on global responses to tackle the pandemic, which included creating a corpus fund of at least 10% of the global GDP, debt restructuring to help fragile economies, and dismantling sanctions and other trade barriers, especially to allow medicinal and related products.

4

GST collections for March sees 8% decline over the same month last year to lowest in five months

 Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections for March saw an 8% decline over the same month a year ago to the lowest in five months, and auto sales in the month for India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki were down almost by half as the lockdown imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) took a toll on the economy.

The numbers are significant because they are among the first available so-called high-frequency indicators of the economic impact of the pandemic and the hard lockdown that India has imposed for three weeks till April 14 to slow its progress. Over the next few days, more indicators, including Purchasing Managers Index, a measure of economic health, will become available.

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Government slashes interest rates on small savings schemes from 0.7% to 1.4%

The central government slashed interest rates on small savings schemes such as Senior Citizen Savings, Public Provident Fund (PPF), National Savings Certificate (NSC), Kisan Vikas Parta, Sukanya Samriddhi Accounts and Recurring Deposits in the range of 0.7% to 1.4% for the first quarter of 2020-21.

The government has reduced interest rate on Senior Citizen Savings scheme from 8.6% to 7.4%, which will be effective from April 1, 2020 till the end of the first quarter on June 30, a finance ministry notification said.

The interest rate of PPF has been reduced from 7.9% in the last quarter of previous financial year to 7.1% from for three months, it said. However, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which is governed by a board of trustees, had on March 6, declared 8.5% interest rate for financial year 2019-20.

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BSNL decides to extend the validity of its subscribers till April 20 at no extra cost

Amid a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is some good news for state-run BSNL subscribers. For those people whose validity expired during the last week, BSNL has decided to extend the validity of all such subscribers till April 20 at no extra cost.

The service provider has decided to offer an extension of validity to help mobile subscribers to receive incoming calls, BSNL said in a statement.

In addition to this, BSNL will also provide free talk time of Rs.10 to all such subscribers who reach zero balance during the duration of the lockdown. These facilities will be extended to help BSNL mobile subscribers communicate in an emergency.