After trading in the northern territory during the previous two hours of trade, Indian stock market indices have held on to the early gains and are consolidating right now. All the sectoral indices are trading in the green with consumer durables and realty leading the pack of gainers.
Currently, the BSE-Sensex is up by 198 points while NSE-Nifty is trading 57 points above the dotted line. BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices are both up by 1.29% and 2.04% respectively. The rupee is trading at 44.84 to the US dollar.
Infrastructure stocks are trading firm with IVRCL Assets & Holdings and Supreme Infrastructure leading the gains. The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) is likely to amend the environment protection act by increasing the penalty on companies that basically violate environmental norms for pecuniary benefits. This move is likely to increase the penalty amount of Lavasa, a subsidiary of HCC. It may be noted that both MoEF and HCC are engaged in a court battle over the environmental issue pertaining to HCC’s most coveted hill city project, Lavasa. The environment ministry feels that the present penalty of Rs 1 lakh or a five year jail term is not deterrent enough for the corporates. Hence, it proposes to increase the penalty amount. As far as the Lavasa situation goes, the ministry has proposed that the company set up a restoration fund linked to the overall scale of damage. However, the entire matter is still in the court now and the final verdict is yet to be announced.
Food inflation has been a major cause of worry for the government right now. In a bid to cool ease inflation, which has been seeing a rising trend, the government has decided to give partial tax relief on 130 odd items that were brought under the tax net during the Union Budget. Tea, coffee, soup and flavored milk are some of the items (amongst many) that are likely to get 35% abatement on the excise levy. It may be noted that in the recently concluded budget, the government had proposed an excise levy of 1% on 130 selected items. The decision to provide tax abatement was taken in the light of increasing food inflation. It may be noted that the food inflation for the week ended March 12 entered double digits (against expectations) due to increase in the prices of fruits and vegetables. Apart from food items the government has also provided some tax relief in medical and stationary areas for the benefit of the consumers.