Calcutta Chamber of Commerce: the oldest chamber of commerce in IndiaCalcutta Chamber of Commerce: the oldest chamber of commerce in India

Major Events 2019-20
May 25, 2020
Webinar on MSMEs: Key to A Self Reliant India

The Session was addressed by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon'ble Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways & Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

The minister said that we are passing through a very critical situation due to Pandemic Covid 19. If we have positivity and self confidence in our mind, we will win the situation. He also said that for restructuring of MSME, the government has allotted Rs.20,000 crore. They have already restructured 6 lacs MSMEs and within December 2020 they are planning to restructure 25 lacs MSMEs. The department has allotted a fund of Rs.10,000 crore for MSMEs. The Minister hinted on further consideration in the revision of definition & sought suggestions from the Industry. He assured that Rs. 5 lac crore which is lying idle in PSUs and other large undertakings will be released within 45 days.

MSME Department is going to take many wonderful steps to upgrade the MSME sector. He said we should use new technology, new innovation and new research for MSME and the upgradation of technology is very important. He mentioned that the NBFCs are playing a great role. We are trying to bring more foreign investment in MSME sector. We should increase export and reduce import. The most important thing is that the contribution of MSMEs in our country's growth is 29%, we want to increase it up to 50%. Presently the export rate of MSME is 48% and we want it to 60%. The Minister said that 11 crore jobs has been created in the MSME sector so far and we want to create 5 crore more jobs in the coming five years.

The Minister also spoke about linking MSME liquidity to equity market. He said, the government will support those MSME units which have good rating by sharing 7.5 per cent in their stock market strength.

May 14, 2020
Webinar on to Fight the Economic Impact of the Pandemic

he Session was addressed by Shri Suresh Prabhu, Hon'ble Member of Parliament & India's Sherpa to the G20 & G7.

Shri Prabhu remarked that in the Covid 19 situation the most affected section in Indian industry were manufacturing, trade, services, mining, construction, which are hit in multiple ways. The revenues have stopped and at the same time the expenses has been stopped. But the industry has to incur expenses. In any business there are fixed cost and the variable cost and at least one can pause button on variable cost but fixed costs have to be incurred and have to be paid for. Therefore it is not just a cash flow problem; if it is not addressed properly it could also become a solvency problem and good businesses can turn into a bad one if the solvency of businesses is not ensured. But solvency in a way is a little bit medium term issue. The immediate issue is cash flow, that is a liquidity issue and therefore liquidity and solvency have to be addressed at the same time, which is a big challenge. For which different kinds of intervention are called for - one is monetary policy wherein most liquidity has to be created in the market, which normally is the role of Reserve Bank of India. The Central Bank has the ability and responsibility to regulate the liquidity in the market. They are not only the regulator for banking system but also responsible for currency management and therefore performing both these functions they can certainly ensure a proper liquidity in the market place.

The second part of both liquidity and solvency will come from the fiscal policy. The fiscal policy has to add this issue in terms of providing taxation relieves, providing incentives to run the business properly, ensure statutory obligations on the part of an industry can be discharged in a manner that is not going to put additional burden on the industry. So overall the economy needs lot of supports from various quarters for industry to survive. Hon'ble Prime Minister has announced "AtmaNirvar Bharat" which depends largely on the people. The people of India have to play a major role to implement the initiative.

He remarked that the share of industry in GDP is only 16% and we have to take it from 20%-25%, but unless we reach 20% how we can reach 25%. So first we have to achieve 20% target. In 5 Trillion Dollar economy 20% target means one trillion dollars. The industry leaders like Tata, Birla, Mahindra and Mahindra, Godrej who are actually manufacturing have prepared the sector-wise target. 3 Trillion Dollars will come from services, 60% for which 5000 crores was approved by the Cabinet given to the different stake holders in the sector; so that service sector will boosted because service sector will create more jobs than industry. Agriculture will contribute towards trillion to the 5 Trillion Dollar economy. For which the Government of India has prepared the first ever India's Agriculture Export Policy which will give India an advantage of taking agricultural export over 100 billion dollars. If that happens the farmers income will increase to that extent. So the farmers will get money and they can spend on acquiring either industrial products or services, so the entire industry will get a boost.

At last he also mentioned that the aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors are suffering most. They need a big support, so we want to create maximum number of jobs into the service sector. We want to develop new economy in tomorrow's Post Covid time. We have to bring more investment in infrastructure, small and medium enterprises, being the backbone of India's economy.

May 12, 2020
Webinar on Impact of Covid 19 on Indian Economy & way forward

The Session was addressed by Shri. A. Balasubramanian, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC Limited

Shri A. Subramanian said that the world is facing extraordinary time. The lockdown has created huge impact on economic growth. This has not only happened in India but across the world. In general all the assumptions that were being made on various businesses are going to be changed. Industries should be given support & it is expected that in next few weeks, the government will extend fiscal stimulus to Industry.

He said that the financial market will remain stable. He added that the rural economy will be good in the coming monsoon. Most of the consumption will come from rural economy. Equity market have been set volatile, he remarked that the announcement of RBI has given a moratorium. The Pharma industry will do big in the Covid-19 situation. The telecom demand will go up and the employment will become critical.

May 02, 2020
Webinar on "Health and Wellness in Lockdown"

The Session was addressed by Dr. Ajay Agarwal Neurosurgeon, CMRI (The Calcutta Medical Research Institute), Dr Shabnam Agarwal, PhD, Chief Physiotherapist, Belle Vue Clinic, Director-Education, Nopany Group of Institutions, Dr Pritee Ganatra, Leading Specialist in Alternative Medicine (Acupuncture & Sujok)

Dr. Ajay Agarwal said that in prevention is better than cure. Hydroxychloroquine may help us a little from Covid-19. Mask and social distancing may be the essential part in our life. We should build up our physical and mental health strongly. To increase immunity power, we should walk, do yoga and meditation regularly.

Dr. Shabnam Agarwal said that Covid is one type of flu. To prevent Covid, Ministry of Ayush has given some guidelines to the people. They stressed on saline gargle, steam inhalation, having the antifungal property. Dr. Agarwal advised to take turmeric milk, Ram Tulsi leaves, black peeper to improve the lung immunity system. She also advised yoga to strongly build up cardiovascular system and respiratory system. Apart from these, Pranayam and general breathing exercise are best method to keep us healthy.

Dr Ganatra said that in current scenario, we need to strengthen our emotional health & calm our body & mind. Yoga, exercise & walking will reinforce immune level. She also indicated that the therapy like Acupuncture & Sujok can cure diseases like thyroid, hypertension, arthiritis, asthma, cough and cold, diabetes, liver-related troubles, and more.

April 28, 2020
Webinar on "Outlook & Developments in Fixed Income Market"

The Session was addressed by Shri Amit Joshi, CIO-Bajaj Allianz General Insurance & Shri T.A. Ramalingam, CIO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

Shri Joshi said that this type of economic shock the world has never seen & it is not known how long the situation will stay. The impact of the pandemic is multifold. The Government & the Banks have announced financial & fiscal measures and the medical fraternity is striving for solutions. Travel, tourism and industry will be paralyzed. Consumer income are getting reduced, wealth impact will be huge. To overcome the situation, more financial & fiscal support from the government and banks are necessary. According to him, still one can invest in government bonds, life insurance portfolios etc, which are more regulated.

Shri Ramalingam emphasized on Insurance portfolios, especially on long term policy. A term plan is must. He said that every insurance has paramount importance. Property insurance is very important and the Group Health Policy is good. He requested all the entrepreneurs to have it in this kind of Covid-19 crisis. We should do cyber insurance also so that we can stop lot of cyber attacks across the globe. Fire insurance has a great importance to care all our assets.

April 24, 2020
Webinar on "Business Strategy Post Covid"

The Session was addressed by Mr. Hemant Kanoria, Chairman, Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited.

Shri Hemant Kanoria was of view the Government attention would be essentially on healthcare and food supply right away. Hence investment will go to the health sector, food supply and then economy & infrastructure.

He said that businesses will face difficult times in next 3/4 years. Their focus at the moment should be on "survival and stability” and then they could look for expansion. During the current crisis, they need congenial atmosphere and constant support from the government like regulatory relaxations, liquidity support, so that they may continue to contribute towards employment generation, revenue and creation of national assets.

The current state of our economy might be termed as dismal as due to coronavirus there was instability, uncertainty, complexity everywhere. The growth could fall below Hindu rate of growth to 2.5 percent.

Moreover, since the work has stopped due to lockdown, there would be lot of disruption in the infrastructure projects, in construction and mining segments. As the migrant workers were going back or already went back, the resumption of full-fledged work would not be possible before September.

Shri Kanoria remarked that if the Government undertakes concrete measures the sectors can revive in about 6-9 months, otherwise it may take 2-3 years time. He also suggested steps to inject liquidity into the Indian economy and asked for a general moratorium on the repayment of the industry's debt for one year. This will provide businesses liberty to re-create their plan and re-discover themselves.

April 23, 2020
Webinar on Impact of Covid-19 on the economy - Outlook on equities - Investment opportunities

The Session was addressed by Shri Mahendra Jajoo, Head - Fixed Income, Mirae Asset Management.

Shri Mahendra Jajoo was of opinion that to tide over the Covid-19 crisis, the government has to offer fiscal stimulus to industries and financial support to the public, especially the weaker sections of the society. Going by the numbers of developed economies, the fiscal stimulus may be at 8 to 10 per cent of the gross domestic product. The priority now is to focus on supporting the economy and not to focus on fiscal deficit. He thinks that the pandemic leads to job losses and closure of small business units. It means less demand after we re-open our economy. Hence, the fear of hyper-inflation is unfounded.

He recommended that small investors can invest in small saving schemes and bank fixed deposits, while market-linked returns investors should opt for bond funds. Also, short-term debt funds investing in high-quality bonds maturing in one to three years look attractive. One can also consider long-term debt funds investing high-quality bonds, ii he could sustain volatility.

April 22, 2020
Webinar on "Right to Information."

The Session was addressed by Shri A. N. Tiwari, IAS (Retd), Ex Chief Information Commissioner of India, Ex Secretary of Personal and Training.

While elaborating on the Right to Information (RTI) Shri A. N. Tiwari stated that RTI Act is predominantly about the demand side of information dissemination, i.e, demand for information disclosure by the citizen. But, there is also a supply-side to this Act, which relates to voluntary disclosure of information held by Public Authorities. Through RTI, massive information comes to the Public. He said, RTI must be given the credit for bringing revolutionary changes in the minds of Civil Services. The Act promotes transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government to promote participatory governance. Right to information cannot be made operational in letter and spirit without the government's initiative to proactively disclose maximum information. If we want good governance, we cannot escape transparency. Sweden is the classical example where the first transparency law was passed.

April 20, 2020
Webinar on "Impact of Covid-19 on the economy - Outlook on equities - Investment opportunities."

The Session was addressed by Shri Nilesh Shah, Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Co Ltd.

Shri Nilesh Shah remarked that Covid 19 is the most unprecedented crisis faced by the global and Indian economy. Globally, the economies are facing a medical crisis, economic crisis and financial crisis collectively. The extent of medical solution and the extent of monetary stimulus will determine what economic cost we have to bear. Government will also have to provide fiscal package to overcome the situation. These along with medical solutions will determine what will be the contour of our recovery. He however believed that India will gain significantly from low oil prices. If oil prices persist at current level India will benefit significantly. In the import of 1.5 billion barrel of oil every year, 1 dollar dropping of oil price benefits India by 1.5 billion dollar. In today's world ships and cargoes are not moving freely hence India's trade deficit with rest of world will come down because of oil price.

He is of view that today world is doubtful of China & they are considering India positively. Now, we must encash this goodwill & opportunity by setting up a manufacturing base. There is a possibility that Made in China, made in rest of world goods will be replaced by Made in India as China wouldn't be able to move their goods as easily as before. In that scenario we can save 10-12 billion dollar from trade deficit, that would gain the Indian economy. His advice to the common man was cost cutting. Everything should be done on zero-based budgeting and we should cut cost by 25-30% minimum in order to survive the downturn.

According to him, the savings pool will increase in India in the days to come which, in turn, will benefit businesses like banks, insurance companies and mutual fund houses will benefit. In addition, both the individual & the state would enhance spending in healthcare & healthcare infrastructure. This would definitely give advantage to companies engaged in wellness, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, healthcare infrastructure and medical insurance. He also recommended that "the best way to benefit out of the current situation is to be a long-term investor, and to have a disciplined asset allocation".

April 19, 2020
Webinar on the Key to Building Immunity

The Session was addressed by Mr.Karan Kakkad, Disease Reversal Expert

Shri Karan Kakkad was of opinion that there are five things that can weaken our immune system- stress, sedentary lifestyle, food and nutrition, lack of quality sleep and smoking and we should try to avoid all these things. He advised to perform Pranayam and Meditation on a regular basis. Shri Kakkad clarified that immune system helps us to fight from infection. Immune system is self defense mechanism and our body has the intelligence that identifies. Immunity can be influenced every single day. If we want to keep our body fit and fine up to the age of 80-90 years, we should build our immunity level. He said that for maintaining the immunity level we should have plant based food which is full of fiber and avoid any processed food. Processed food weakens our immune system that can cause disease.

March 13 2020
WEBINAR ON World Class Infrastructure & Modern Housing

The meeting was addressed by Shri Debashish Sen, IAS, Hon’ble Chairman, West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation, Shri Onkar Singh Meena, IAS, Designated Authority and Secretary, West Bengal Housing Industry Regulatory Authority (HIRA), Shri Harsh Vardhan Patodia, President-Elect, CREDAI, Shri M.C. Agrawal, Executive Director (Sales & ITD), SAIL, Shri Harvinder Singh, President, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, Shri Nandu Belani, President, CREDAI Bengal, Dr. Partha Pratim Biswas, Professor, Dept. of Construction Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, Shri Sankar Dutta, Superintendent Engineer, Public Works Department, Govt. of West Bengal.

Shri Debashish Sen remarked that if you don’t realize that the world is changing whether in the field of commerce, industry and economy you are not recognizing that the things are changing. He was on the opinion that the theory of globalization has gone; it is the era of localization. Where the maximum Coronavirus has come in from Wuhan Province in China, it is completely clamp down and it produces 86% of the world’s computer components. Then who is going to make this, this is not a question of being ethical, it is the question of being realistic. This is an era of localization; this is an opportunity for India. Now we must really excel in what we have to do. This is an opportunity that we can prove to the world that we can rule the world in all fronts. He also said that everybody is building walls around their country, this is the new reality and we have to survive this.

Shri Onkar Singh Meena said that the biggest challenge is how to provide quality construction within the assured time limit and the second challenge is the quality of construction and services which you are following, it should be convincing to the home buyers and finally to the end-users. It is now mandatory to get registered under the new Housing Act for all kinds of housing whether it is residential, commercial or mix. The Act is applicable throughout the state. The purpose is mainly to ensure that all your transactions, disclosures and product are transparently disclosed and the home buyers and end-users rely upon it. This is a balancing act. Any new construction which is opened for sale, registration is mandatory in Sec. 3 under this Act. Any project that is going to be launched, the developers are required to disclose the details of the company, company profile, company’s audited account, DIN No., photograph etc. You are also required to disclose the names and registration No. of architect, engineers and Chartered Accountant engaged for the specific project and update the project in the HIRA Website.

Shri Harsh Vardhan Patodia, President-Elect, CREDAI commented that infrastructure development is the key driver to any economy and basically for welfare of people and the major requirements are connectivity, transportation, logistics and now for telecommunications. Infrastructure is the only thing which can bring rural and urban economy closer. He also added that huge investments are coming up in renewable sector for sustainable infrastructure.

Shri M.C. Agrawal explained that how SAIL is contributing towards infrastructure in the country. Any form of infrastructure whether it is railway bridges, railway lines, ports, highways, any monument, SAIL is there. SAIL is moving towards villages for the upliftment of rural areas in the form of building housing and roads. So SAIL has contributed a lot for development of infrastructure of the country. It is the need of the hour for developing smart housing, smart city away from urban areas using the best technology, best materials.

Talking about world class infrastructure Shri Harvinder Singh, President, Jindal Steel and Power Limited said that, the four things comes in our mind i.e. world class highways, railway network, ports and airports. Current roads are 59 lac km and out of this only 132 thousand km of roads are national highways which are going to be 200 thousand km by 2022. So, there is long way to go to match the world class infrastructure. The Government is planning to set up 7 new high speed corridors in the railway system and it is expected to be completed by 2030. There is a massive growth in infrastructure. Currently we have 100 airports and in next 4 years the number will be 200. It indicates huge investment, construction and unbelievable growth. We need to develop our infrastructure and it needs consumption of steel, this is the decade for steel industry and steel is the future of India. Infrastructure is going to be a largest receiver of FDI. India plans to invest 1.4 trillion dollar in next five years in the infrastructure sector. It will need basic raw materials of cement, steel and some other components. Steel has very high employment multiplier of 6.8% and is anticipating growth at 9-10% and this is going to be an important sector in the near future.

Shri Nandu Belani said that in West Bengal HIRA regulates the real estate industry and one of the major aspects of HIRA is timely delivery and quality of construction. So quality has become a very important aspect of business. There are many standards that we need to follow in the construction industry. Another major component of modern housing is echo-friendly building. In order to build customer confidence, the quality of work should be done adhering to the developed quality assurance programme. He said that they have bifurcated quality checks in two parts- one is pre construction and the other is during construction. Pre construction ensures effective design and proper planning. During construction the normal practice is to set up quality control lab within the site to check the reinforcement RCC cube test to tie up with external laboratories to carry out random checks and balances, conduct weekly review meetings, review of drawings issued for construction, coordinate quality audit to check the works, strict monitoring of the projects and so on.

Dr. Partha Pratim Biswas remarked that urbanization is the major trend of world today and India is no exception. The basic focus of urbanization is the better quality of life and the important notion of quality from different angles are the quality of education, healthcare, quality of transportation, quality of better living, quality of housing, quality of telecommunication and so on. But unfortunately the concept of quality in this old transformation process specially in the area of construction, it is neglected largely. It should have been an integrated issue in the process of development. He mentioned that now we are thinking of more investment in the construction sector and there in my opinion two items should be primarily focused, one is steel and other is cement. When we think about the durability and sustainability of the construction, we are talking about speed of the construction it should be faster, it should be safer, it should be cost effective, it should be cleaner, so all these things are integrated together. When you are selecting any material, any kind of method for construction, all these five components should be there. When we talk about the durability of urban construction, in that case the housing, the roads and bridges, the tunnels, industrial construction, railways everything will come. So far as the quality in the construction is concerned, the notion has to be changed and it is changing. The selection of appropriate material and appropriate methodology is important. He said that the most important issue is after the construction is made the post monitoring and supervision of the structure which are to be taken into cognizance, if you are thinking about the durability and sustainability of the structure.

Shri Sankar Dutta mentioned that the concept of quality control is very essential in today’s world and another part is quality assurance. The quality awareness is very much lacking in our country. Quality control can be achieved by testing the material but for quality assurance you have to develop good culture for betterment of the finished product.

March 7 2020

The meeting was addressed by Smt. Nabanita Pal, Addl. Commissioner of Revenue & PRO and Smt. Lovely Mukherjee, Senior Joint Commissioner of Revenue, Directorate of Commercial Taxes, West Bengal.

Smt. Nabanita Pal said that the Settlement of Dispute Scheme (SOD), 2020 is more dealer-friendly and the Scheme is open till 31st March 2020. She mentioned as per definition of the SOD Act 2A introduced last year, it was case pending, which means the cases are at the provisional or the review stage, but now all sorts of demand have been incorporated and are eligible for the SOD scheme. Any demand related to assessment, audit, special audit will come under the SOD scheme.

Smt. Lovely Mukherjee explained that many of the dealers who did not have filed any entry tax return and even if they filed their returns but did not declare any turnover of specified import, in that case there is an annexure in the application form, that ought to be filled up declaring turnover and then they can apply for the SOD scheme. This is very flexible by nature. The payment has been slashed to 25% of the disputed tax. Whatever forms and certificates in hand till the date of application will be considered for SOD and they would have to pay only 25% of disputed tax and get it settled.

February 20, 2020
Panel Discussion and Interactive Session on UNION BUDGET 2020-21 and it's Impact on Economy

The Meeting was addressed by CA Rajesh Jain, International Speaker and Corporate Trainer.

The Session was addressed by Shri Sumit Dutt Majumder, Former Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs, Shri Gaurav Swarup, Managing Director, Paharpur Cooling Towers Ltd., CA Dipankar Chatterji, Senior Partner, L.B. Jha & Co. & Shri Saurabh Kedia, Partner, Tax & Regulatory Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd, India.

Shri Sumit Dutt Majumder, said that the FM highlighted three themes in this budget- Aspirational India, Economic Development and Caring Society. But there is a big gap between projected expenditure (Rs.30.42 lac crore) and the estimated receipts (Rs.22.46 lac crore) in the budget. He expressed concern that where from the huge amount of money will come.

Shri Gaurav Swarup was of opinion that from industry perspective the cement and steel industry are going on smoothly. But there is slowdown in both housing and auto sectors.

CA Dipankar Chatterjee remarked that that the lack of demand is spread across India. There is crisis in infrastructure where the amount of stalled infrastructure projects is valued at Rs.8-10 lac crores and the number of stalled housing projects is 1600. And for that reason the job is not done, the connectivity is not achieved, the NPA is rising, the banks get into troubles and the infrastructure comes to a halt.

Shri Saurabh Kedia, applauded the decision of reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. With the Ordinance coming into new manufacturing entities that are having their set up post 2019 September and start their operation before 2023, they will get a concessional tax rate of 15% and that was a great move by the government. This will increase investment in the corporate sector which will help in boosting the economy.

February 07, 2020
Special Session on "Enhancing Trade and Business between India and Philippines"

The Session was addressed by H.E. Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr., Ambassador of Philippines to India and Mr. Deepak Kumar Khemka, Hony. Consul General of The Philippines, Kolkata.

H.E. Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr., said, "Many India companies have established their bases in Vietnam and other countries, now it is time to take a second look at the Philippines. We have over a hundred thousand Indians living there for years; this is also an opportunity for those with the third or fourth generation Indians to connect with their distant relatives here."

The Honorary Consul General of the Philippines in Kolkata, Mr. Deepak Khemka, said "tourism is growing by the year in both India and the Philippines but eastern India's contribution has unfortunately been small." He said "Philippines is a beautiful country with many of the most beautiful beaches. Tourism is growing by the year in both India and the Philippines. However, Eastern India's contribution has unfortunately been small."

Mr. Eugenio C. Elevado, Jr., Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of Philippines in India said that the Philippine economy is growing very rapidly and emphasized on the synergy between two countries. He requested Indian companies to come to Philippine and expand their business.

January 27, 2020
Corporate Social Responsibility - CSR~Strategic Link between People, Planet and Profit

Calcutta Chamber of Commerce in association with Seva Sutra Private Limited organized a seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility on 27th January 2020 and the theme of the seminar was - "CSR~Strategic Link Between People, Planet and Profit". Dr. H P Kanoria, Chairman, Srei Foundation was the Chief Guest on the occasion. CS Nagendra D Rao, Vice President, The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) & Mr. Nixon Joseph, President & Chief Operating Officer, SBI Foundation were Guests of Honour. The other dignitaries included Shri Sunil Kumar Mehta, GM (Finance), Coal India Limited & CS Priyadarshi Nayak, Chairman, EIRC, The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) in the Inaugural Session.

The day-long Seminar was divided into five sessions for deliberations, four panel discussions and the fifth being Special Session with Shri Vinayak Lohani, Founder, Secretary and Chief, Parivaar. The first session was titled "Implementation of CSR Policy: Mantras for Corporate - NGO partnerships"; Session-II "Legal and Taxation Issues encompassing CSR"; Session III - "Use of Disruptive Technologies to create Social Impact" & Session IV - "Impact measurement and CSR Reporting".

Shri Madhav Sureka, President, Calcutta Chamber of Commerce gave the welcome address and Shri Ranjeet Kumar Agarwal, Central Council Member; The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) introduced the theme of the Seminar.

The Chief Guest Dr. H.P. Kanoria, Chairman, SREI Foundation remarked that it is history that CSR is incorporated in the Companies Act. It covers Companies with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or more, or a turnover of over Rs 1,000 crore or a net profit exceeding Rs 5 crore in any financial year. But other companies could have been covered under the CSR voluntary scheme. Dr. Kanoria said that more than Rs.50,000 crores have been spent by the companies over the last 5 years towards CSR. Shri Sunil Kumar Mehta, GM (Finance), Coal India Limited, the largest coal producing company in the world and which has its own CSR Policy, discussed the efforts of Coal India to promote social activities. Elaborating SBI's contribution to the CSR sector, Mr. Nixon Joseph, President & Chief Operating Officer, SBI Foundation remarked that the Bank is also focusing more on people, planet & profit and sustainability is one of the key goals.

Oil India Limited carries out different CSR programmes and projects in areas such as Education, Healthcare and Sanitation, Skill Development, expansion of Rural Infrastructure, for improving the quality of life of the people and communities residing in its operational areas, said Shri Tridiv Hazarika, Deputy General Manager (CSR & CC), Oil India Ltd while speaking in the Seminar. He stated OIL has been doing a lot for the North East community despite turmoil owing to political, social and separatist movement. Ms. Divya Tandon, Executive Director & Company Secretary, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited said that Power Grid spends Rs 200 crores on CSR in a year and they won an award in 2019 by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for the watershed programme in the Coornool district. According to Ms. Yangzom Lama, Dy. General Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd., their focus is on selecting the right implementing partner with credentials, capable of fulfilling the company's policy objectives. Their pioneer project is with ALIMCO, the Artificial Limb Manufacturing Co. of India, followed by Ramakrishna Mission 'Gadadhar Abhyudaya Prakalpa' (GAP) for health and education apart from their contribution in numerous schemes like building dams, reservoirs, water harvesting and Swachh Bharat.

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) performs many CSR activities although the institute is not entitled to Section 135 of Companies Act 2013, said CS Nagendra D Rao, Vice President. In the technical sessions, eminent panelists from Industries, NGOs & professionals spoke on different aspects of CSR. Over 250 delegates, invitees and guests from governments, industries, academia and NGOs attended the Seminar. Shri Rajeev Maheshwari, Sr. Vice President, Calcutta Chamber of Commerce proposed vote of thanks.

January 16, 2020
Special Interaction with Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Hon'ble Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Government of India.

The Session was organized jointly by Merchants' Chamber of Commerce, Bharat Chamber of Commerce, Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, Direct Taxes Professionals' Association and Association of Corporate Advisers & Executives.

Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, the Minister of State for Finance, said the Centre is looking to carry out more judicial reforms to improve the ease of doing business in India - "The country has done so well in ease of doing business ranking that has gone up from 142 to 63. But as far as the arbitration and judicial system is concerned, our ranking is very poor. It is an area of concern." The Centre is taking several measures to boost consumption in a bid to put the country's economy on the growth path. India is said to be facing the dual problem of a growth slowdown and high inflation, driven primarily by higher food prices.

Industry is hoping Budget 2020 to announce measures to revive consumption and spur growth, particularly in manufacturing. The government is taking various steps to increase the demand and the growth of consumption. "With an aim to revive industrial growth and boost consumption, the Centre has taken various measures including reduction in the corporate tax rate, lowering of GST rates on select items and removing 'angel tax' for entities registered with DPIIT among others. However, all these measures have not yet translated into a higher demand."

The Union Budget 2020-21 slated to be presentation February 1 is likely to resolve several issues being faced by traders in the country and give thrust on agriculture, job creation and boosting investment on infrastructure development, said Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of State, Finance and Corporate Affairs.

November 24, 2019 Special Session on Agricultural and Rural Development with Shri Parshottam Rupala, Hon'ble Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare held at the Park Hotel Kolkata jointly organized by Calcutta Chamber of Commerce & ACAE.

While addressing the members of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce and ACAE the Minister stated that the contribution of agriculture in India is around 60-70% of GDP. Now the farmers of our country are able to feed 130 crore people of India and not only that, our country also emerged as a major agricultural exporter of several key commodities, currently being the largest exporter of rice globally. The sector also diversified from grains towards pulses, fruit, vegetables and livestock products. He added that one major constrain is the declining size of land holding, which not only brings the farm size to unviable levels but also makes difficult to take advantage of mechanization. 85% are small and marginal farmers. Still, the level of food grain production is encouraging and we are now self-sufficient in food grains.

The Minister remarked that the Government is now making endeavour to double the farm income by 2022. The initiative has been made to bring in a large section of farming community under Crop Insurance Scheme to ensure them a sustained income. In order to provide remunerative prices to the farmers through marketing reforms, the government has also launched e-NAM, an electronic platform by unifying more than 400 Mandis across the country, whereby a buyer located anywhere in India would be able to place an order in any Mandis in India.

The Minister said that the Government has also made Crop Insurance Scheme under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. Micro Irrigation Scheme, setting up new soil testing laboratories for Soil Health Card Scheme and promotion of organic farming are the other new schemes launched to boost agricultural productivity. The Minister said that the Soil Health Card has been introduced in the whole country and this benefit has reached to 11 crores of farmers as of now. The soil health card would help the farmers in a bigger way. He also said that the demand for organic food is growing very rapidly all over the world. People are very conscious about their health nowadays. Our farmers are doing well in the organic farming.

The government was focusing on cow milk and the idea was to bring in cow hostel throughout the country. The younger generation already started their Start ups business on milk products. The Government of India has very recently introduced Farmers' Pension Scheme and 7 crores of farmers were identified for the scheme and pension fund was released to them. Gradually, this benefit will reach to all the farmers in the country.


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