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Business Brief


  • The Income-Tax Department, the agency charged with the responsibility of enforcing the anti-benami law in the country has just made a statement that it has confiscated assets worth Rs 6,900 crore under the amended “Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act 2016” that was implemented by the Modi Government as one of the measures to eradicate black money and illegal property. A benami transaction is one in which property is owned by one person, but is held in the name of another person. The tax department started initiating action under this law from 1st November 2016 and has come down hard on individuals suspected to be in possession of black money and benami assets. Persons who “abet and induce” benami transactions may face rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years and may be liable to pay fine up to 25% of the fair market value of the benami property, and those persons who furnish false information to authorities under the law, may face imprisonment of up to 5 years, besides being liable to pay fine of up to 10% of fair market value of the benami property.


  • When US President Donald Trump came to power in 2016, one of his main promises was to build a wall around the US-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration. He demanded 5.7 billion $ for construction of this infrastructural shield. His demands were finally not accepted by the opposition and led to the longest partial shutdown in US history spanning 5 weeks. Recently, estimates of the government shutdown have pegged the cost at a staggering 11 billion $ to the US economy, about twice the amount the President was seeking to fund his wall. However, out of the 11 billion $, 3 billion $ in forgone activity won’t be recovered, the remaining 8 billion $ is expected to be offset by a boost in GDP for the remainder of the year – The Congressional Office has said. In addition, the partial shutdown is said to have affected about 8,00,000 government workers.


  • London based consultancy firm, Brand Finance has compiled its annual list of 500 most valuable brands in the world and released its report at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In a proud moment for our country, the Tata brand has entered the list of the top 100 most valuable global brands this year. Climbing from the 104th to the 86th spot on the list this year, it is the only Indian brand in the top 100. The total value of “Brand Tata” has increased by 37% to 19.5 billion $ in 2019, up from 14.2 billion $ a year ago. The increase in valuation of the salt to software conglomerate is largely on account of its improved performance of the group’s cash cow – Tata Consultancy Services. Also, Tata Motors and Tata Steel have contributed. Italian sports car maker Ferrari accelerated to claim the title of the world’s strongest brand this year.


  • Subhash Chandra – the Indian billionaire and chairman of the Zee and Essel group of companies is having a hard time of late. The shares of 2 of his companies – Zee Entertainment and subsidiary Dish TV nosedived nearly 27% and 33 % respectively on Friday after news website “The Wire” published a report stating that there was a link between Subhash Chandra’s group and a company being investigated by the Serious Fraud Investigations Office (SFIO) for deposits made of over 3000 crore Rs just after demonetisation in November 2016. The company, however, denied it had any connection with the alleged transaction and has filed a legal case against The Wire for publishing the report. Essel Group has been grappling with high debt and suspicions of default in repayment were suspected. However, after negotiating with lenders, an understanding was reached on Sunday about the repayment. This clarification and negotiation allayed the fears of investors and the shares of Zee Entertainment recovered some ground and rallied nearly 17% on Monday. Shares of the entertainment bellwether were up in today’s trade as well.



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