Daily News Wrap | Passenger train services to resume in North East; Revised GST now active
India reports 18,517 new COVID cases
As per today's 8 AM report, India reported 18,517 new COVID cases in the last 24 hours, which is a hike from the previous day's count of 15,528.
In the same period, the country has reported 40 more COVID deaths, taking the nationwide toll to 5,25,825.
The active caseload in India has seen a marginal increase to 1,45,654 cases. The recovery of 16,113 patients on the previous day took the cumulative tally to 4,31,13,623.
As of July 19 data, 2,61,470 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. Over 200 crore total vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.
Passenger train services to resume in NE states on July 22
After around 70 days, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), will resume passenger train services in the Lumding-Badarpur section in Assam. These trains connect Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and the southern part of Assam with the rest of the country.
Freight train services were started on July 12 in the Lumding-Badarpur section via Dima Hasao. This is the only rail route to connect Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam with the other parts of the country.
In the hill section under Lumding Division, both passenger and freight train services were cancelled due to the heavy rains and unprecedented landslides on May 14.
Due to unprecedented landslides triggered by heavy rain since May 13, massive damage has been caused to stations and railway tracks at over 61 locations in NFR's Lumding-Badarpur single-line railway route.
Revised GST kicks in: Here's what you need to know
With the revised Goods and Services Tax coming into effect, consumers will have to shell out more for rice, wheat and flour, among other items. Pre-packaged and labelled pulses and cereals will now attract GST at the rate of 5% when branded. Other items such as curd, lassi, and puffed rice too would attract GST at the rate of 5% when pre-packaged and labelled.
An FAQ document put out by the Ministry of Finance defines "pre-packaged" as a commodity which is placed in a package of whatever nature, whether sealed or not, giving the product a predetermined quantity.
Other items that will be dearer are printing, writing or drawing ink, paper knives, pencil sharpeners and blades, spoons, forks, ladles, skimmers, and cake-servers.
Prior to July 18, 2022, GST applied on specified goods when they were put up in a unit container, and bore a registered brand name. Now, GST has been made applicable to the supply of such "pre-packaged and labelled" commodities.
Incidentally, LED lamps and solar water heaters too will attract tax. Tetra Pak will now attract 18% GST. Cut and Polished diamonds will be taxed at 1.5%. Also, hotel accommodation rates up to ₹1,000 per day will now be now taxed at 12%.
Sensex rallies for 4th straight day; opens 718.5 points higher
The Indian stock market's key indices rallied for the fourth consecutive day on Wednesday with the benchmark Sensex gaining 718.5 points led by good buying support in banking, infra, and energy stocks.
The 30 stock S&P BSE Sensex jumped 246.47 points to close at 54,767.62 points the previous day. Earlier, the Sensex started the day in the negative at 54,251.88 points and slumped to a low of 54,232.82 points in the early morning trade.
The broader Nifty 50 of the National Stock Exchange rose 222.25 points to 16,562.80 points against its previous day's close at 16,340.55 points. The Nifty started the day in the negative at 16,187.05 points and fell to a low of 16,187.05 points in the morning trade on July 19.
Amazon sees $12 billion worth sales on Prime Day globally
Amazon saw sales worth at least $12 billion during its 8th annual Prime Day event in 16 countries from July 12-13.
That's up 8.1%(year over year) from last year's Prime Day. In 2021, Prime Day sales reached $11.19 billion.
Amazon claimed that it sold more than 300 million items during these sales but didn't disclose any sale figures. The company also sold "more devices than any other Prime Day".
Companies can now provide product details through QR code
In a bid to further boost the country's ranking in ease of doing business, the government has amended laws that allow the industry to declare product information in digital form through a QR Code.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has allowed electronic products to declare certain mandatory declarations through the QR Code for a period of one year, if not declared in the package itself. This amendment will allow the industry to declare the elaborated information in digital form through the QR Code.
It will allow important declarations to be declared effective on the label in the package while the other descriptive information can be conveyed to the Consumer through the QR Code.
Sri Lanka reduces fuel prices amid a shortage
Sri Lanka's state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) have reduced the retail price of fuel.
The two state-owned oil companies reduced the retail price of fuel from Sunday evening. The price of a litre of Octane 92 petrol will be reduced by ₹20, and the new retail price will be ₹450 ($1.25). Octane 95 petrol will sell for ₹540 per litre, down by ₹10.
The diesel price will be slashed by ₹20 per litre, thus the new price will be ₹440, and the price for super diesel will be ₹510 a litre following a reduction of ₹10.
Sri Lanka has been facing a crippling fuel shortage since February.
Tesla getting closer to integrating Steam for in-car gaming
Elon Musk has said that the electric vehicle company is getting closer to integrating Valve's Steam to take its in-car gaming platform to a whole new level.
According to the auto-tech website Electrek, Tesla has been investing heavily into integrating video games into its in-car entertainment system. It was surprising when Tesla said that it planned to integrate Valve's Steam, an online video game store and distribution platform, into its vehicles. It would result in a massive increase in games playable inside Tesla vehicles.
This week, Musk said that Tesla is getting closer to achieving the Steam integration and the automaker is aiming for a demonstration next month.
Robert Lewandowski joins Barcelona
Ex Bayern Munchen center striker Robert Lewandowski has joined FC Barcelona. His move to Barcelona comes at a cost of €45 Million. His transfer announcement was revealed on Sunday.
"It's good for both sides that we have clarity. Robert has earned our appreciation, he has won everything with us. We are incredibly grateful to him," club president Herbert Hainer affirmed in quotes published on Bayern's official website.