Tag Archives: Black money

Investigations have led to detection of more than Rs. 11000 crore of credits in undisclosed foreign accounts: CBDT

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi: In the offshore accounts linked to around 700 Indian persons, as revealed by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) from April 2013 onwards, sustained investigations conducted in these cases have led to detection of more than Rs. 11,010 crore of credits in the undisclosed foreign accounts so far. Moreover, in the Panama Paper Leaks cases, as an outcome of investigations conducted by the Income Tax Department, undisclosed investments valued at Rs. 1559 crores (approx.) have been detected.

This is revealed in an order passed by the Central Information Commission on 13 May 2019. The order goes on to reveal that the Commission has got a written submission from Central Board of Direct Taxes, Department of Revenue, Government of India in the last week of April in respect of the information on the black money that has returned to the country from foreign countries,

CBDT has submitted that there is no exact estimate of black money in circulation both inside and outside the Country. However, based upon the information received from France, under the Indo-French Double Taxation Avoidance Convention, assessment proceedings have been completed in all 417 actionable HSBC bank account tax on account of deposits made in the unreported foreign bank accounts. Out of the above mentioned 417 cases in which assessments have been completed, concealment penalty of about Rs. 1291 crore has been levied in 162 cases.

Click here for CIC order

Foreign Investment, Mauritius route and black money

Lalit Shastri

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised during the 2014 election campaign that he would bring back the black money stashed abroad by Indian citzens after coming to power. The Modi led Government’s report card on this count draws a blank and people have started asking questions.

Date from RBI Annual Report 2017-2018

A lot has already been analysed and written by experts on Foreign Investment in India and the Mauritius connection. A particular piece of information available through the latest Annual Report released by Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday (29 August 2018) underscores that Foreign investment into India by companies that took the Mauritius route has surpassed all other channels during 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Taking the record smashing investment from Mauritius at face value, nothing appears to be amiss since money was invested in India by companies legally registered in Mauritius that took the benefit of the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement between India and Mauritius. This agreement provided for tax exemption to the foreign investors who were exempted from paying Capital Gains Tax arising on sale of shares of an Indan company till March 31 2017.

India’s treaty with Mauritius has been revised from April 1, 2017. Under the reformatted agreement, companies routing funds into India through Mauritius will have to pay short-term capital gains tax at half the rate as applicable during the 24-month transition period. The full rate of 15%, now applicable will apply from April 1, 2019.

The legal position notwithstanding, the enforcement authorities in India are aware of the benefit drawn by corrupt elements, smugglers and big time mafia within the country, who started following the Mauritius route to convert black money into white after India entered into the Double Tax Avoidance agreement with Mauritius.

Fly-by-night companies shown as running small time enterprises got registered in Mauritius. All kinds of unscrupulous elements, even politicians, it is said, invested in these companies. According to knowledgeable sources, cash or black money was physically transferred to these companies and shown as profit and the money invested in this way became white on payment of 1% tax on it in Mauritius. After this the Mauritius based companies invested in the Indian stock market by giving funds to Indian companies. A year later, this money was withdrawn and there was no tax liability on it since the Long Term Capital Gains Tax was 0% under the Indian law till recently. This money was then routed back to Mauritious and the tax avoidance business on the basis of the bilateral Double Tax Avoidance Agreement continued to flourish. In the process people stopped stashing black money abroad when they had the freedom to follow the Mauritius route.

With the revised treaty between India and Mauritius now in force, the round tripping should stop.

This analysis is based on data provided by Reserve Bank of India. It focuses on the modus operandi of those who could use the Mauritius route to convert black money into white. Newsroom24x7 has taken up this issue in public interest and it is for the enforcement authorities to go to the root of the problem and address the issue in its entirety.

Modi has failed to meet any of his big promises, bringing back black money stashed abroad is a case in point: Ram Jethmalani

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Ram Jethmalani
Ram Jethmalani

Bhopal: Member of Parliament and senior Supreme Court advocate Ram Jathmalani today said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to fulfill any of the big promises he made to the people of India.

One of the great promises was ending corruption, Jethmalani pointed out. He was speaking to media-persons in the State capital.

Jathmalani also said that both the previous UPA Government led by Manmohan Singh and the present government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi are not interested in bringing back black money stashed abroad.
He chastised Manmohan Singh, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on this count alleging that all are hand-in-glove when it comes to protecting the corrupt and doing nothing to bring back black money illegally stashed in foreign banks. It is estimated that huge amount of black money, according to estimates about Rs. 90 lakh crore, has been deposited in foreign banks, he said.

Jethmalani pointed out that the United Nations was busy finding methods to end corruption between 2000 and 2004, the UN worked on the Convention against Corruption, he said adding India became a signatory to it in 2005 but did not lodge the document of ratification. This is the greatest scandal since the the convention is not binding. he emphasised.

Throwing more light on this issue, Jethmalani said that Manmohan Singh signed a secret protocol with the Swiss and underscoring two points said India ensured that it would not seek information about the past but only relating to the future and, secondly, information would be sought only under the dual taxation avoidance treaty.

Continuing his attack on the issue of black money, Jethmalani projected Finance Minister Jaitley in poor light and said for two years he was not given copies of communication linked with Government of India efforts to bring back black money by the Finance ministry as ordered by the Supreme Court. A day before the Modi Government was sworn-in in 2014, he was delivered a set of letters with a covering note but with the names of the senders and addressess scratched with black ink. From an email address that was some how left intact, he could decipher that it was addressed to a lady, who was a popular friend of Chiidambaram, Jaitley pointed out.

Talking about the illicit money in LGT Bank of Liechtenstein, a known tax haven near Munich in Germany and the list of 1400 clients, that had been stolen from the LGT database and given to the German authorities, Jethmalani said that he had visited Germany after this and met the authorities there to ask them to hand over the list of 1400 clients in his capacity as an MP and a representative of the people of India. The German authorities had appreciated this initiative and told him that they would be ready to pass the information if a few more Indian MPs made a similar request. Upon returning to India, He asked three leaders, including veteran BJP leader K Advani to sign a two line letter which he had already drafted but none of these leaders (two of whom he did not name) have paid any heed and more than two years have passed.

On the issue of Reservation in Promotion

A delegation of SAPAKS met Ram Jethmalani in Bhopal on February 17, 2017 to discuss the issue of reservation in Promotion and how the Madhya Pradesh government employees and officers belonging to the unreserved category were suffering due to this discriminatory policy
A delegation of SAPAKS met Ram Jethmalani in Bhopal on February 17, 2017 to discuss the issue of reservation in Promotion and how the Madhya Pradesh government employees and officers belonging to the unreserved category were suffering due to this discriminatory policy

When asked what is his message to the Madhya Pradesh chief Minister on the vexed issue of “reservation in promotion” and on being told how lakhs of Madhya Pradesh Government employees from the unreserved category were suffering due to this arrangement, Jethmalani said: “I have had a meeting with people interested in this question and I believe that the present arrangement has someday to come to an end. That’s for sure. It cannot possibly be an eternal feature of Indian politics.”

Regarding Reservation in Promotion, he said, that is where the injustice seems to be a little more awful. Ultimately this will also come to an end, he said and urged that no one should create any animosity.

Jethmalani said that when a delegation met him this morning, he had said: Let us evolve some particular solution to this problem that some justice should be done to those who are suffering because of that policy (reservation in promotion).

Coming back to the larger issue of reservation, he said: “I don’t believe that those who are the beneficiaries of reservation have completely resolved their problems for which this reservation was created. I think an intelligent dialogue and some adjustment is very essential. I hope now that I have heard about this from the people here this morning, be sure that I will do my best to find a solution to this problem.”

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Dispelling the ‘chalta hai’ myth on Political Funding in India

Exclusive Column: Thinking Beyond

Anoop Swarup

All political parties in India shout from roof tops against black money but they become one and use every pretext to thwart or delay reforms when it comes to ensuring transparency in electoral funding.

political-parties-black-moneyThe headline roars into the collective and conscious will of the people of India. Almost 7,833 crores paid to the political parties in India during 2004-05 to 2014-15 is from unknown sources which corresponds to almost 70% per cent of their total income, tax free of course.

Anoop Swarup
Anoop Swarup

I am in no mood to talk of individuals and parties who benefited from this largesse that sadly enough, tantamount not only to hoodwinking and keeping in dark but also robbing the people of India. It is a paradox – all political parties in India shout from roof tops against black money but they become one and use every pretext to thwart or delay reforms when it comes to ensuring transparency in electoral funding. Well this comes as no surprise that the Election Commission of India despite many of its findings, committees and recommendations, as yet remains clueless on the way forward in the absence of any political will to build a consensus on this vexed issue.

Let us briefly understand that political finance, for most of us, simply refers to funds or resources for election campaigns and includes the expenses for political activity as defined by the Electionl Commission. Let us consider that the resources raised by the parties or the candidates on their own are influenced invariably by the high-cost of election as corruption does go hand-in-hand. Apart from disturbing the level playing field as is apparent in Indian polity Big Money, used in non-transparent manner, is of course black money or tainted money and it undermines the rule of Law, as the elected representatives become not only captives but also the country becomes hostage to foreign influence.

Though there is no direct state funding of parties in India but parties do enjoy certain benefits indirectly, such as providing free electoral rolls, providing free air time on state owned media, providing free space in state capitals for the office of the recognised political parties, tax exemption on the income of the political parties, tax exemption for the donors on donations to the political parties and electoral trusts except for donation from foreign source, government companies and other companies as per sec 293 A of Companies Act, 1956.

The only statutory limit on the amount that could be spent on election campaigns of a candidate is 28 lakh for elections to State Assembly and Rupees 70 lakh for elections to Lok Sabha, however there is no ceiling on election expenditure by political parties and the expenditure made by political parties in favour of their candidates do not count in election expenses incurred by a candidate for the purpose of ceiling. This effectively makes the limit on poll expenditure largely irrelevant and a joke. Also the political parties are required to disclose before the date of filing of Income Tax return, the details of persons, donating at a time more than Rs 20,000/- as required under Section 29C of RP Act, 1951. Perhaps unfortunately and deliberately enough, the parties are neither required to maintain the details, nor required to disclose total contributions received and therefore anonymous donations are neither restricted nor prohibited.

Let us briefly examine the International practices in USA, Europe and in Asia which shows that there is preference for partial state funding in direct way. In countries such as Germany, Austria, France, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Israel, Norway, Netherlands, Italy, Canada, US (for Presidential elections), Japan, Spain, Australia, South Korea and UK they have not only ensured stringent measures on private funding and disclosure norms but have also introduced direct State funding for ensuring transparency, clean politics and a level playing field. Simultaneously, they have also enacted laws to regulate the political parties and put severe restrictions and norms for disclosure of financial information to public as also penal measures for violation.

Let us dispel the ‘chalta hai’ (everything is OK) myth on long pending electoral reforms! It will do well for the political parties in India to follow suit and lay the foundation for clean politics for the cause of our Republic. It is better late than never and in the best interest of India i.e. Bharat. Let this be the resolve on this Republic Day.

Government of India opens another window for disclosing black money

Newsroom24x7 Staff

currency notesNew Delhi: Under the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016, which came into force on yesterday (15 December, 2016) and the linked rules notified today and placed in public domain, the Taxation and Investment Regime (disclosure scheme) for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 will become operational from Frday (17 December 2016) and will remain open for declarations up to 31 March 2017.
The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 has come into force on 15th December, 2016.

The Prime Minister in the morning stated that all political parties are sore because their cash reserves have been hit and in the afternoon the government said parties can deposit their old notes, no questions will be asked and no IT charged. Everyone knows that political parties are the biggest generators and users of black money.The common man feels betrayed and taken for a ride.

 

Declaration under the new Scheme can be made by any person in respect of undisclosed income in the form of cash or deposits in an account with bank or post office or a specified entity.

Tax at the rate of 30% of the undisclosed income, surcharge at the rate of 33% of tax and penalty at the rate of 10% of such income is payable besides mandatory deposit of 25% of the undisclosed income in Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016. The deposits are interest free and have a lock-in period of four years.

The income declared under the Scheme shall not be included in the total income of the declarant under the Income-tax Act for any assessment year.

The declarations made under the Scheme shall not be admissible as evidence under any Act (eg. Central Excise Act, Wealth-tax Act, Companies Act etc.). However, no immunity will be available under Criminal Acts mentioned in section 199-O of the Scheme.

Non-declaration of undisclosed cash or deposit in accounts under the Scheme will render such undisclosed income liable to tax, surcharge and cess totaling to 77.25% of such income, if declared in the return of income. In case the same is not shown in the return of income a further penalty @at the rate of 10% of tax shall also be levied followed by prosecution. It may be noted that the provisions for levy of penalty for misreporting of income at the rate of 200% of tax payable under section 270A of the Income-tax Act have not been amended and shall continue to apply with respect to cases falling under the said section.

The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 has also amended the penalty provisions in respect of search and seizure cases. The existing slab for penalty of 10%, 20% & 60% of income levied under section 271AAB has been rationalised to 30% of income, if the income is admitted and taxes are paid. Otherwise a penalty at the rate of 60% of income shall be levied.

The Scheme, Rules and Notifications are available on the official website of the Income Tax Department @ http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in

Any queries/clarifications relating to the Scheme may be emailed at ts.mapwal@nic.in .

Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

Newsroom24x7 Staff

A scheme ‘Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016’ (PMGKY) proposed in the Bill

 

currency notesNew Delhi:  After the high denomination bank notes of existing series of denomination of the value of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 [Specified Bank Notes(SBN)] have been withdrawn by the Reserve Bank of India, concerns have been raised that some of the existing provisions of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (the Act) can possibly be used for concealing black money.

To address this issue, Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 (‘the Bill’) has been introduced in the Parliament today to amend the provisions of the Act to ensure that defaulting assessees are subjected to tax at a higher rate and stringent penalty provision.

Further, in the wake of declaring specified bank notes “as not legal tender”, there have been suggestions from experts that instead of allowing people to find illegal ways of converting their black money into black again, the Government should give them an opportunity to pay taxes with heavy penalty and allow them to come clean so that not only the Government gets additional revenue for undertaking activities for the welfare of the poor but also the remaining part of the declared income legitimately comes into the formal economy.

In this backdrop, an alternative Scheme namely, ‘Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016’ (PMGKY) has been proposed in the Bill. The declarant under this regime shall be required to pay tax @ 30% of the undisclosed income, and penalty @10% of the undisclosed income. Further, a surcharge to be called ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Cess’ @33% of tax is also proposed to be levied. In addition to tax, surcharge and penalty (totaling to approximately 50%), the declarant shall have to deposit 25% of undisclosed income in a Deposit Scheme to be notified by the RBI under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016’. This amount is proposed to be utilised for the schemes of irrigation, housing, toilets, infrastructure, primary education, primary health, livelihood, etc., so that there is justice and equality.

Evasion of taxes deprives the nation of critical resources which could enable the Government to undertake anti-poverty and development programmes. It also puts a disproportionate burden on the honest taxpayers who have to bear the brunt of higher taxes to make up for the revenue leakage.

An overview of the amendments proposed in the Bill are placed below:

Overview of Amendments Proposed                                                       

PARTICULARS EXISTING PROVISIONS PROPOSED PROVISIONS
     
General provision for penalty PENALTY (Section 270A)

Under-reporting – @50% of tax

Misreporting – @200% of tax

(Under-reporting/ Misreporting income is normally difference between returned income and assessed income)

No changes proposed
Provisions for taxation & penalty of unexplained credit, investment, cash and other assets TAX  (Section 115BBE)

Flat rate of tax @30% + surcharge + cess

(No expense, deductions, set-off is allowed)

 

TAX  (Section 115BBE)

Flat rate of tax @60% +surcharge @25% of tax (i.e. 15% of such income). So total incidence of tax is 75% approx.

(No expense, deductions, set-off is allowed)

PENALTY (Section 271AAC)

If Assessing Officer determines income referred to in section 115BBE, penalty @10% of tax payable in addition to tax (including surcharge) of 75%.

Penalty for search  seizure cases Penalty (271AAB)

(i) 10% of income, if admitted, returned and taxes are paid

(ii) 20% of income, if not admitted but returned and taxes are paid

(iii) 60% of income in any other case

Penalty (271AAB)

(i) 30% of income, if admitted, returned and taxes are paid

(ii) 60% of income in any other case

Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016’ (PMGKY) New Taxation and InvestmentRegime Undisclosed income in the form of cash & bank deposit can be declared:

(A) Tax, Surcharge, Penalty payable

Tax                   @30% of income declared

Surcharge          @33% of tax

Penalty              @10% of income declared

Total                  @50% of income (approx.)

(B)  Deposit

25% of declared income to be deposited in interest

free Deposit Scheme for four years.

 

 

 

 

Shahdol by-election: Demonetisation and voters’ dilemma

Lalit Shastri

Katni-Anuppur Highway (Madhya Pradesh): These are villagers in a crowded queue outside a bank on Katni – Anuppur highway in Madhya Pradesh. This area falls in the Shahdol Parliamentary constituency where polling for by-election will be held on 19 November. Most of those one talked to said they were waiting endlessly to withdraw money to buy fertiliser. Some said they were also here yesterday but drew a blank. Most were heard cursing the Government of India decision to discontinue the use of ₹1000 and ₹500 notes as a futile attempt to curb black money. A local leader, who knew more than what most politicians think the villagers know said the poor are suffering but the “Seth log” (capitalists) and politicians, who invest their slush money in bullion, real estate, stock market, off-shore tax havens or havala are just not affected.

 

And now Demonetisation: Modiji, Please don’t let the bankers down

Newsroom24x7 Desk

currency notesNew Delhi: After the Modi Government’s hard hitting decision to discontinue the use of ₹500 and ₹1000 notes to address the issue of black money, a letter written on behalf of the bankers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gone viral on social media.

We reproduce the letter:

Dear Modi ji we The Bankers  are with you in your drive for black money.
But we have some questions :
No extra remuneration
No extra staff
No reward or appreciation

Every month or so you introduce one yojana and bankers make it a success with their diligence and hard work. For example , PMJDY, PMJJBY, PMSBY, APY, MUDRA Loans, PMSBY, SSY …. now Withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs1000 currency.

And in return they only get long working hours, extra work pressure, more risk, frustration and health problems.

Banking job has become the most hectic, thankless risky and stressful job.
Bankers ignore their families just to serve people and to support country.

Our whole economy majorly depends on Banking sector.  Bankers demand respectable wages and 5 day Banking and a little appreciation and acknowledgement for sincere work.

You expect so much from Bankers so as they also expect from you to consider their reasonable demands.
We are always with you to support & perform.

Therefore please don’t let down the Bankers.

A connected post on social media talks of Reserve Bank of India and how it has gained.

rbi gateThe post says: RBI will make a profit of minimum 2 lakh crores.

The current currency notes as per RBI is 17.5 lakh crore. 86% is 500, 1000 notes that is 15.05 lakh crores.

If 20% does not come back profit of RBI is 3 lakh crore.

If 30% does not come back profit is 4.5 lakh crores.

The notes in circulation are a liability in RBI’s balance sheet; so what notes don’t come back is deducted from their liability and will be a profit. If as per normal practice this is declared as divided to the Government, our fiscal deficit of 3.5% of GDP at about 5.33 lakh crores can be reduced dramatically and even wiped out.
False notes issued by our enemies gets knocked out. Reducing terror funding.

Yes there have and will be difficulties, is it not worth it!!!

Combating the menace of black money is a shared priority of India and Switzerland: Narendra Modi

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of the Swiss Confederation  Johann Schneider-Ammann
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of the Swiss Confederation Johann Schneider-Ammann

Geneva: Combating the menace of “black money” and tax evasion is our shared priority, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said here today in the presence of Swiss President Schneider-Ammann.

Jointly addressing the media with the Swiss President, Modi said: “We discussed the need for an early and expeditious exchange of information to bring to justice the tax offenders Modi said adding an early start to negotiations on the Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Information would be important in this respect.”

India and Switzerland, the Prime Minister went on to state, share a commitment to reform international institutions in line with current global realities. We have both agreed to support each other for our respective bids for the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council. I am also thankful to the President for Switzerland’s understanding and support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Modi further said that India and Switzerland have both been the voices of peace, understanding and humanitarian values in the world. In last seven decades, our friendship has consistently seen an upward trajectory. Today, President and I reviewed our multifaceted bilateral ties. We also held detailed discussions with Swiss CEOs.

The economic links between India and Switzerland are strong and vibrant, Modi pointed out adding many Swiss companies are household names in India. Ties of collaboration in trade, investment, science and technology and skill development benefit both our societies. India has affirmed it’s readiness to resume FTA talks with EFTA. We are all aware of the strengths of the Swiss economy. But, India too is undergoing profound transformations. We are today the fastest growing economy in the world. But, that alone is not enough. I want the Indian economy to be driven by smart and sustainable cities, robust farm sector, vibrant manufacturing and dynamic service sector. And, its engines to run on world class network of rail, roads, airports and digital connectivity. Where a home for everyone, and electricity in every home is a reality. And, its 500 million plus youth is skilled and ready to meet the global needs of manpower. President and I agreed to build on the Swiss Vocational and Educational Training system suited to India’s needsYesterday we observed World Environment Day. In tune with its objectives and India’s civilizational ethos an economically prosperous India will also be friendly to the planet and our environment. Reliance on renewable energy, rather than on fossil fuels would be our guiding motto.
Modi said that India sees a perfect connect between its development needs and Swiss strengths. Emphasising this, he invited the Swiss companies to avail of this great opportunity to be a key partner in India’s economic growth. Ultimately, the economic prosperity of 1.25 billion plus would also benefit the entire world.
Modi drew attention to the Indian film industry and spoke of the enchanting beauty of the Swiss landscapes. At the same time, he aid that India is keen to welcome larger number of Swiss visitors to India.For this, India has opened the facility of e-Tourist Visa for Swiss nationals earlier this year.

Pointing to success stories of the relationship between the two countries, the Prime Minister said that one of these making waves in the Grand Slams of the tennis world is the partnership of famous Swiss player Martina Hingis with Sania Mirza and Leander Paes of India. He said that he is confident that the common commitments and values, people to people links and a strong and growing economic partnership will take the relations between the two countries to new heights.

Indian PM Narendra Modi leaves for Washington DC concluding his Geneva visit on June 6
Indian PM Narendra Modi leaves for Washington DC concluding his Geneva visit on June 6

Later during the day, on concluding his Geneva visit, the Prime Minister left for Washington DCon June 6, 2016

 

What ails India’s Income Tax Department

Lalit Shastri

income taxThere is a general perception among the masses that the Income Tax department, has largely failed, along with other enforcement agencies, to curb the menace of black money and come down heavily against those involved in money laundering -an activity that poses a serious threat to national and international security.

Besides the general perception, what is adversely affecting the working of the Income Tax department across the country is much dithering and neglect of important matters, especially issues relating to management of junior and mid-level cadres, by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

The Income Tax Gazetted Officers’ Association and Employees Federation has been agitating for the immediate regularisation of the ad‐hoc promotion for the revenue year 2014‐15 and promotion for the revenue years 2015‐16 and 2016‐17 as sanctioned by the Union Finance Minister.

The Joint Council of Action representing the Income Tax gazetted officers and employees is also demanding the settlement of pay‐anomalies in various cadres, as acknowledged by the Seventh Central Pay Commision.

Another issue pending relates to the Recruitment Rules that are to be approved by the concerned authorities and notified.

There is considerable heartburn among the junior and mid-level cadres of the Income Tax Department with regard to the new format of the APAR (Performance Appraisal Report) for the Assessing Officers. They are seeking immediate withdrawal of this format by asserting that it is discriminatory and tilts heavily in favour of PrCCITs and CCITs.

Representatives of Income Tax officers and employees are meeting in the first week of June to take up all these matters. They would also discuss the issue of promotion from ITO to ACIT and also take up the issue of promotions in other cadres. They will even thrash out the issues of Annual General Transfer in the JCIT/ACIT cadres and the officers whose case has not been considered in the latest transfer orders of the CBDT for Annual General Transfer 2016 which is being described as a deviation from the existing transfer policy.

What is also bothering the Income Tax officers across regions is the anomaly in sanctioned and working strength of ACsIT/DCsIT and scrutiny of their workload.

Imran khan praising Narendra Modi: Video goes viral

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Imran Khan
Imran Khan

New Delhi: A video of Pakistani politician and ex-cricketer Imran Khan praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an upright and honest lesser has gone viral on social media.

Imran Khan’s video posted on youtube in 2014, a few months after Mr. Modi began his innings as Prime Minister is being discussed with interest in political and bureaucratic circles in India.

Click here to watch the video

One year of Modi Rule: People’s confidence has been restored by facing the challenges confronting the nation

Lalit Shastri

Union Minister for Mines and Steel Narendra Singh Tomar addressing a press conference to mark the completion of one year of the NDA government, in Bhopal on June 08, 2015. Minister of State for Mines and Steel Vishnu Deo Sai is also seen.
Union Minister for Mines and Steel Narendra Singh Tomar addressing a press conference to mark the completion of one year of the NDA government, in Bhopal on 8 June 2015. Minister of State for Mines and Steel Vishnu Deo Sai is also seen.

Bhopal: Union Minister for Mines and Steel Narendra Singh Tomar today said when the new Government came to power in New Delhi on 26 May 2014, the country was confronted with diverse problems, including a tottering economy and a series of scams, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepted these challenges and within a year he has succeeded in restoring people’s confidence in the Government by ensuring speedy and transparent decisions and firm steps to combat the scourge of corruption.

Tomar was addressing a press conference here to mark the completion of one year of the NDA government on Monday. Giving a panoramic view of the overall scenario, he said that under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the Centre-State relations have improved and the states are now enjoying more power. Our relations with neighburing countries and also with other countries have improved, he said adding India’s, GDP from 5% last year, has now gone up to 7.4%. Similarly the inflation rate has also come down from 10% last year to 5 % this year.

At the Prime Minister’s initiative, Tomar said, the Black Money Bill was introduced and passed by both Houses of Parliament and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is in place to combat black money. The Minister brought under spotlight the CAG conclusion that the exchequer suffered a loss of Rs. 1,76000 crore in coal allocation and emphasised the the fact that this amount is much less than the loss in real terms. To explain the point, Tomar said that with the auction of just 34 of the 204 coal allocations cancelled, Rs. 2,00,000 crore have been raised. Even in the spectrum acution a revenue of Rs. 1,10,000 crore has been generated.

Tomar underscored the amendments to the Mining and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act and said that illegal mining now has higher penalties up to 5 lakh rupees and imprisonment up to 5 years. Regarding the Farm sector, he said that adequate relief is now guaranteed to farmers suffering damage to their standing crops due to natural calamities. Now the compensation for crop damage due to natural calamity will be assessed on the basis of crop damage of 33% and not 50%, he pointed out.

The Minister said that the Prime Minister’s Rural Road project will be carried forward and 50,000 kilomters of new tar roads are planned to be constructed to connect villages. The priority is also to expand the irrgation capacity to cover every piece of agriculture land in the country.

Tomar drew attention to the Jan Dhan scheme launched by Prime Minister Modi to provide bank accounts to the poor and how 15 million bank accounts with a deposit of Rs. 15000 crore, have been opened under this scheme.

The Minister said that 50 crore people in India are working in the unorganised sector. For them the smart card scheme has been introduced. He also threw light on the ambitious Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna.

On the mining front, Tomar said that the Centre has not been discriminatory towards any state and pointed out that all the states are going to benefit from the hike in mining royalty. To eliminate corruption and bring accountability, the only route for mineral allocation now will be e-auction. In India, there is mining potential in 8,00,000 square kilometers but miningis being done only on 1% of this area. hence a Mineral Exploration Fund is is being set up for exploration purpose.

The Steel Ministry plays the role of coordination. Spelling out the target, he said Steel Authority of India (SAIL) now produces 13 million tonnes of Steel and by September this year the capacity will increase to 23 million tonnes. The target is to touch 50 million tonnes by 2025.

Modi reiterates commitment to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi: On the first anniversary of his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said our objective is to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services. He also gave the assurance to the people that the goal is to “build the India of your dreams and that of our freedom fighters.”

In a letter to the people to mark his one year in office, the PM has said: “We assumed office at a time when confidence in the India story was waning. Un-abated corruption and indecisiveness had paralyzed the government. People had been left helpless against ever climbing inflation and economic insecurity.”

Stressing that urgent and decisive action was needed, the Prime Minister said runaway prices were immediately brought under control. The languishing economy was rejuvenated, building on stable, policy-driven proactive governance. Discretionary allotment of our precious natural resources to a chosen few was replaced with transparent auctions. Firm steps were taken against Black Money, from setting up an SIT and passing a stringent black money law, to generating international consensus against the same.

Uncompromising adherence to the principle of purity, in action as well as intent, has ensured a corruption-free government Modi has stated in his letter adding significant changes have been brought about in work culture, nurturing a combination of empathy as well as professionalism, systems as well breaking of silos. State governments have been made equal partners in the quest for national development, building the spirit of Team India. Most importantly, we have been able to restore Trust in the government, he has pointed out.

The PM has underscored the achievements of his government by stating that guided by the principle of Antyodaya, his Government is dedicated to the poor, marginalized and those left behind. He has further said in his letter: ‘We are working towards empowering them to become our soldiers in the war against poverty. Numerous measures and schemes have been initiated – from making school toilets to setting up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS; from providing a vaccination cover to our children to initiating a people-driven Swachh Bharat mission; from ensuring a minimum pension to our labourers to providing social security to the common man; from enhancing support to our farmers hit by natural calamities to defending their interests at WTO; from empowering one and all with self attestation to delivering subsidies directly to people’s banks; from universalizing the banking system to funding the unfunded small businesses; from irrigating fields to rejuvenating the Ganga River; from moving towards 24×7 power to connecting the nation through road and rail; from building homes for the homeless to setting up smart cities, and from connecting the North-East to prioritizing development of Eastern India.
In another letter to the people on economic issues, the PM said:

One year ago, you had entrusted me with the task of building a new India and putting a derailed economy back on track. We have achieved a lot. Economic growth has been revived, and is among the fastest in the world. Inflation is substantially down. Fiscal prudence has been restored. Confidence is up. Foreign investments have increased. This positive outlook is endorsed by major rating agencies and international institutions across the world.

Bold reforms pending for decades have been implemented. Diesel prices have been decontrolled. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is slated to be introduced next year. By facilitating companies to Make in India through a focus on Ease of Doing Business, new jobs are being created. Cooking gas subsidies are being paid directly to beneficiary bank accounts under PAHAL – ensuring the right amount of subsidy, reaches the right people, at the right time. FDI limits in insurance, railways and defence production have been raised. Moreover, we have embraced the states as equal partners in national development, working as Team India in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism.

Political interference in public sector banking decisions is a thing of the past. Transparent coal auctions and allotments have mobilized potential revenues of Rs. 3.35 lakh crores to coal-bearing states over the lifespan of mines. And reform in the Mines Act has replaced a discretionary mechanism with a transparent auction process. To combat black money, a Special Investigation Team has been appointed and a new stringent law passed.

Nearly Rs. 1 lakh crores of public investment have been allocated in this year’s budget to improve physical as well as digital connectivity. A comprehensive transformation of the railways into a locomotive of growth has begun. Stalled highway projects are being restructured and revived. Power generation is at an all-time high. A new National Infrastructure Investment Fund has been set up with an annual government funding of Rs. 20,000 crores.

Economic growth benefits all Indians. Growth however, has meaning only if it empowers the poor, farmers, women, as well as middle and neo-middle classes of all communities. To enable us to continue paying remunerative prices to our farmers, we secured a permanent ‘peace clause’ at the WTO. The world’s largest financial inclusion project has brought banking to the doorsteps of the poor, opening a record 15 crore plus bank accounts with deposits of over Rs. 15,800 crores. An affordable social security system including pension, life insurance and accident insurance, has already witnessed 6.75 crore enrolments in its first week. MUDRA has been set up with a corpus of Rs. 20,000 crores to help our small businessmen, who despite being our biggest job creators have historically been starved of credit.

A lot has been achieved. However, this is just the beginning. There is much more to be done and I know your expectations are high. A year ago I gave you my word that while I might perhaps commit errors, I would always act with pure intentions and spend every available moment working for a better India. I have kept my word. I seek your continued support, suggestions and blessings in building the India of our dreams.

India to go for separate taxation to root out black money

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Under the proposed law: Willful attempt to evade tax in relation to a foreign income or an asset located outside India will be rigorous imprisonment from three years to ten years.

black moneyNew Delhi: India will have stringent provisions and there will be separate taxation of any undisclosed income in relation to foreign income and assets and this would not be taxed under the Income Tax Act but but under a proposed new legislation..

The Narendra Modi Government has chosen to go for focused action on black money front and an unprecedented and multi-pronged attack has been launched to root out the menace of black money by moving a Bill in parliament to enact a new law for separate taxation that will act as a strong deterrent and curb the menace of black money stashed abroad by Indians.

To meet the objective of separate taxation, the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015 has been introduced in the Parliament on March 20, 2015. The Government is confident that this new law will act as a strong deterrent and curb the menace of black money stashed abroad by Indians.

The salient features of the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015 are as follows:

The Act will apply to all persons resident in India. Provisions of the Act will apply to both undisclosed foreign income and assets (including financial interest in
any entity).

Rate of tax

Undisclosed foreign income or assets shall be taxed at the flat rate of 30 percent. No exemption or deduction or set off of any carried forward losses which
may be admissible under the existing Income-tax Act, 1961, shall be allowed.
Penalties

Violation of the provisions of the proposed new legislation will entail stringent penalties.

The penalty for non-disclosure of income or an asset located outside India will be equal to three times the amount of tax payable thereon, i.e., 90 percent of the undisclosed income or the value of the undisclosed asset. This is in addition to tax payable at 30%.

Failure to furnish return in respect of foreign income or assets shall attract a penalty of Rs.10 lakh. The same amount of penalty is prescribed for cases where
although the assessee has filed a return of income, but he has not disclosed the foreign income and asset or has furnished inaccurate particulars of the same.

Prosecution

The Bill proposes enhanced punishment for various types of violations.

The punishment for willful attempt to evade tax in relation to a foreign income or an asset located outside India will be rigorous imprisonment from three years to ten years. In addition, it will also entail a fine.

Failure to furnish a return in respect of foreign assets and bank accounts or income will be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of six months to seven years. The same term of punishment is prescribed for cases where although the assessee has filed a return of income, but has not disclosed the foreign asset or has furnished inaccurate particulars of the same.

These provisions will also apply to beneficial owners or beneficiaries of such illegal foreign assets.

Abetment or inducement of another person to make a false return or a false account or statement or declaration under the Act will be punishable with rigorous
imprisonment from six months to seven years. This provision will also apply to banks and financial institutions aiding in concealment of foreign income or assets of resident Indians or falsification of documents.

Safeguards

The principles of natural justice and due process of law have been embedded in the Act by laying down the requirement of mandatory issue of notices
to the person against whom proceedings are being initiated, grant of opportunity of being heard, necessity of taking the evidence produced by him into account, recording of reasons, passing of orders in writing, limitation of time for various actions of the tax authority, etc. Further, the right of appeal has been protected by providing for appeals to the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, and to the jurisdictional High Court and the Supreme Court on substantial questions of law.

To protect persons holding foreign accounts with minor balances which may not have been reported out of oversight or ignorance, it has been provided that failure to report bank accounts with a maximum balance of upto Rs.5 lakh at any time during the year will not entail penalty or prosecution.

Other safeguards and internal control mechanisms will be prescribed in the Rules. One time compliance opportunity – The Bill also provides a one time compliance opportunity for a limited period to persons who have any undisclosed foreign assets which have hitherto not been disclosed for the purposes of Income-tax. Such persons may file a declaration before the specified tax authority within a specified period,followed by payment of tax at the rate of 30 percent and an equal amount by way of penalty. Such persons will not be prosecuted under the stringent provisions of the new Act. It is to be noted that this is not an amnesty scheme as no immunity from penalty is being offered. It is merely an opportunity for persons to come clean and become compliant before the stringent provisions of the new Act come into force.Amendment of PMLA – The Bill also proposes to amend Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 to include offence of tax evasion under the proposed legislation as a scheduled offence under PMLA.

 

Indian economy is moving in the right direction: Arun Jaitley

newsroom24x7 Desk

arun jaitleyNew Delhi, Feb. 9: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said that overall economic situation in the country is looking better and basic parameters of Indian economy are moving in the right direction.

The Finance Minster was making the Opening Remarks at the first meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry here today. The meeting as called to discuss ‘Suggestions for the Budget’.

Jaitley said that current account deficit will be under control and steps will be taken to keep the fiscal deficit also within the prescribed limit. The Finance Minister said that the growth rate would be better than the last year. He further said that the global situation is favourable to the country as more and more investors are showing curiosity and interest in India. The Finance Minister said that our major challenges will be to boost investment especially in infrastructure sector and give further boost to both manufacturing and agriculture sector among others. Regarding bringing back the black money stashed abroad, the Finance Minister said that India will soon become part of international consortium where the focus would be on automatic transfer of information which would in turn help the Government in getting easy access to such foreign accounts of Indian residents.

Global situation is favourable to the country as more and more inverstors are showing curiosity and interest in India; our major challenges will ne to boost investment especially in infrastructure sector and give further boost to both manufacturing and agriculture sector among other things.

Most members present congratulated the Government for the gradual turn-around of the Indian Economy. they also welcomed the increased inflows of FDIs and FIIs during the current year. Various suggestions were given with regard to the forthcoming Union Budget by the participating members which include significant increase in allocation for judicial sector for setting- up fast track courts in order to clear the heavy back log of pending court cases in various courts; abolition of differential import tax levied on end use basis as this leads to misuse and corruption, steps be taken to broaden the tax base and impose small tax at flat rate on everyone including small businessmen so that everyone is a stakeholder in the country’s development. It was also suggested to make big ticket announcements by the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech including policy reforms to keep the optimism going on.

There were suggestions focussing attention on inland waterways, rationalization of subsidies especially in case of urea as it excessive use was having an adverse impact on the quality of land and productivity, more concession for migrant workers and agricultural labourers, incentives for modernization of agriculture to make it viable, focus on creating strong rural infrastructure, incentives for agri-exports, moré tax benefits to cooperative sector, incentivize use of ethanol in petrol, more allocation for animal husbandry and veterinary research, boost to micro-irrigation, 50% subsidy by the Central Government for drip irrigation and financing of remaining 50% by banks through soft loans to farmers. Labour reforms, settlement of wages of staff of public sector banks and insurance companies and skill development were other issues discussed on priority

suggestions were also made regarding structural reforms in manufacturing sector, incentives in income tax for exporters, incentives for import of cutting edge technology rather than finished products, and online scrutiny of tax returns to bring high level of transparency and probity. Other suggestions included incentivizing tourism by creating tourism infrastructure as tourism has a great potential both for generating revenue as well as creating employment opportunities. More allocation to Archaeological Survey of India for preserving cultural heritage, incentives to local bodies and private sector for solid waste management, tax relief to women especially those working in informal sector and more allocation for education and health sectors among others.

At the meeting emphasis was also laid on the need to fill-up the vacant posts in CBDT and CBEC for better revenue collection and amend the law to ensure the registered offices of the companies andcorporate houses are located where substantial part of their business takes place to avoid tax evasion.

Members of Parliament who attended the meeting included Anirudhan Sampath, Baijayanta Jai Panda, Kailkesh Narayan Singh Deo, P.P. Chaudhary, Prabhatsinh Pratapsinh Chauhan, Ram Charitra Nishad, S.P.Y. Reddy, Sharadkumar Maruti Bansode, Subhash Chandra Baheria, Suresh Chanabassappa Angadi and Dr. Udit Raj ( all Members of Lok Sabha); Anil Desai, Dr. K.P. Ramalingam, Ranvijay Singh Judev and Kumari Salja (all Members of Rajya Sabha). Among the officers, present were Rajiv Mehrishi, Finance Secretary, Shaktikanta Dass, Revenue Secretary, Ratan P. Watal, Secretary (Expenditure), Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, Secretary (DFS), Aradhna Johri, Secretary (Disinvestment), Dr Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser, Kaushal Srivastava, Chairman, CBEC, and Anita Kapur, Chairperson, CBDT.

Black money stashed abroad, first list of 627 and now more names

Lalit Shastri

dollarsThe Indian Express today has published a list of names and amount deposited in their accounts in HSBC bank in Switzerland with the heading “The List: Who’s Who & How Much.”

In October 2013, the central government had disclosed to Supreme Court names of three people, including a prominent industrialist, who were holding bank accounts in foreign countries and were under the lens of Income Tax authorities.

Earlier in May 2014, the government had disclosed 18 names associated with 12 trusts holding account in LGT Bank in Liechtenstein that were received by it March 2009 from the German tax authorities.

These accounts are now being investigated by a Special Investigation team (SIT) on directions of the Apex Court. The Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by Justice M.B. Shah, with Justice Arijit Pasayat as vice chair, was officially notified by the government end-May2014. The details of these accounts were secured from the French government. India’s Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, last year submitted a sealed envelope containing the list of overseas bank account holders to a bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, and Justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Madan B. Lokur. He had told the court that the data was actually stolen by a bank employee, as a result of which the Swiss authorities had refused to extend any help.

The Income Tax Act has been amended to extend the limitation period for recovering taxes up to March 31, 2015. This one amendment provides a blanket shield and insulates from punitive action the “tax evaders” or those who have indulged in money laundering by opening overseas bank accounts.

Under the earlier provision, the limitation period of six years came to an end in 2012 for recovery of taxes in the case of the 627 Indians holding accounts at HSBC Bank in Geneva, whose names were given in a sealed envelope to Supreme Court last year by the Union Government.

With the latest disclosure now, the HSBC Indian list has doubled to 1195 names, including those of some prominent businessmen and politcians.

When a senior Income Tax department officer was contacted, he said: “under the Income Tax Act, all assessments (for the current financial year) are to completed by March 31, 2015. Even in the case of those whose names have been provided to the Supreme Court by the Government, there is no such thing as a fast track as the deadline for assessing their income under the Income Tax Act is March 31, 2015.” The amendment in the Act for extending the limit for recovery of taxes would come to their rescue and even if anyone admits at this stage and props up evidence to establish legal income to justify the foreign bank accounts, he or she would be able to go scot free by paying the tax arrears.

It is also being pointed out that what has been shared with the Supreme Court is not even the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to the problem of black money since the list of 627, nearly half of them non-resident Indians, relates to accounts in just one Swiss bank. what about bank accounts in other offshore tax havens and financial centres, many of which are located in tax havens recognized for extending highly favourable advantages. Mauritius is a typical case in point. The Indo-Mauritius DTAA, which was first signed in 1983, provides that no resident of Mauritius would be taxed in India on capital gains arising out of sale of securities in India. The India-Singapore Double Tax Avoidance Treaty has got virtually similar provisions, but tax exemption is only for few selected businesses

The U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research has suggested that roughly 15% of the countries in the world are tax havens, that these countries tend to be small and affluent, and that better governed and regulated countries are more likely to become tax havens. Switzerland for one has long remained a tax haven. Luxembourg is primarily a conduit tax haven and there are also other sovereign countries that have such low tax rates and lax regulation that they can be considered semi-tax havens. Then there are also non-sovereign jurisdictions commonly labelled as tax havens. They include Isle of Man, British Overseas Territory, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, and Cayman Islands.