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GST e-way bill implementation deferred due to glitches

NEW DELHI, Feb 1: The government on Thursday deferred implementation of requirement to carry e-permits for inter-state transportation of goods following technical glitches.

GST provision requiring transporters to carry an electronic waybill or e-way bill when moving goods between states was to be implemented from Thursday to check rampant tax evasion.

“In view of difficulties faced by the trade in generating e-way bill due to initial technological glitches, it has been decided to extend the trial phase for generation of e-way bill, both for inter and intra-state movement of goods. It will be applicable from a date to be notified,” the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) tweeted.

After implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1, the requirement of carrying e-way bill was postponed pending IT network readiness.

GST Network, the company developing the I-T backbone for the new indirect tax regime, had been conducting trial runs for the e-way bill system since January 17, during which a whopping 2.84 lakh such permits were issued on the portal.

However, with the formal launch of the e-way bill Thursday, the system witnessed technical glitches.

Sources said the along with inter-state e-way bill generation by all states, 17 states also started generating such permits for intra-state movement of goods, which created pressure on the portal.

Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) chairperson Vanaja Sarna held a review meeting to discuss on streamlining the system.

The all-powerful GST Council had on December 16 decided to implement the e-way bill mechanism for intra-state movement of goods from June 1 and from February 1 for inter-state movement.

E-way bill is an electronic way bill for movement of goods which can be generated on the GSTN (common portal). Movement of goods of more than Rs 50,000 in value cannot be made by a registered person without an e-way bill.

The e-way bill can also be generated or cancelled through SMS. When an e-way bill is generated, a unique e-way bill number (EBN) is allocated and is available to the supplier, recipient, and the transporter.

Transporters, who want to generate e-way bill, can visit the ‘ewaybill.nic.in’ portal and register themselves by giving the GSTIN. Transporters, who are not registered under GST, can enrol themselves under e-way bill system by providing their PAN or Aadhaar to generate the e-way bill.

E-way bill will bring uniformity across the states for seamless inter-state movement of goods.

GAIL commences construction work for West Bengal stretch of PM Urja Ganga Pipeline Project

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Jan 29: GAIL (India) Limited has started pipeline construction work in the state of West Bengal for providing gas supply to Matix Fertilizers, Durgapur. This project is being executed as a part of ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’ pipeline project i.e. Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL) project and is being executed on a fast track basis.

A total of 555 Km long pipeline with an approved cost of approximately Rs. 2700 crore in West Bengal will pass through eight districts like Puruliya, Bankura, Burdwan, Nadia, Hooghly, Howrah, East Medinapur and 24 North Paragana. Further project activities for execution of pipeline in the state of West Bengal upto Haldia and City Gas Distribution in Kolkata are also expected to commence shortly.

The prestigious 2655 Km long JHBDPL project was inaugurated by Prime Minister of India in July 2015. The project is progressing in full swing. The pipeline will pass through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.

The project is being executed in a phased manner. Phase I consists of pipeline network from Phulpur – Dobhi with spurlines to Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Patna and Barauni (755 Km) and is scheduled to be completed by Dec ‘18. Phase II of the project beyond Dobhi (Gaya) towards Durgapur Haldia & Bokaro – Ranchi and Angul – Dhamra (1900 Km) is scheduled to be completed progressively by December 2020.

The project will usher Industrial development in Eastern part of India by supplying environmentally clean Natural Gas to Fertilizer and Power plant, Refineries, Steel plants and other Industries. Further, the arrival of the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga will provide direct and indirect employment to thousands of people.

The project will also provide clean energy to households and transportation in the cities en-route the pipeline. The City gas Network laying activity in Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Ranchi and Cuttack has already commenced and activities in other cities namely Patna and Jamshedpur will start by next month. The pilot project in Bhubaneshwar for providing PNG and CNG has already been inaugurated in October 2017 & December 2017 respectively, by Hon’ble Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Rahul Gandhi slams govt over GDP, job creation numbers

NEW DELHI, Jan 29: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday took a swipe at the Modi government after the Economic Survey was released, saying 'Acche Din' are here, except for "minor hiccups" such as a decrease in the growth of GDP, agriculture and job creation.

Reacting to the survey, former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram hit out at the government over the "depressing" report and predicted a growth rate of 6-6.5 percent for 2017-18.

In a jibe at the government, Gandhi tweeted, "The Economic Survey 2018 says, 'Acche Din' are here, except for these minor hiccups: Industrial Growth is (down). Agricultural Growth is (down). GDP Growth is (down) and Job Growth is (down). Don't worry Be Happy!"

He also tagged a video of the song "Don't worry be happy" with the tweet.

Chidambaram said though the survey says growth rate for 2017-18 will be 6.75 percent, implying a second-half growth rate of 7.5 percent, it offers little evidence in support of this claim.

"The growth rate in the first half was 6 percent, and the year is likely to end with a growth rate of between 6 and 6.5 percent....Altogether, it is a depressing report of the fiscal year that will come to an end in two months," he said.

Agriculture is India's lifeline and the Economic Survey recognises that, but "causing 'agrarian distress' has become the designed objective of the Modi government", he said.

"With another year to go for the general elections, even if the agriculture-GDP growth jumps to 4 percent in 2018-19, the five-year average will still be 2.3 percent, the lowest since the economic reforms began," the former finance minister said.

He also said the agriculture-GDP growth under the Modi government has plunged to just 1.9 percent, half of what was achieved in the first four years of the UPA.

"Reason is deliberate betrayal of India's farmers by PM on the promise of cost plus 50 percent of MSP," he said.

Congress's communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said, "All in all it has turned out to be 'much ado without direction, cohesion and vision'!"

"With one year to go for next general elections, prime minister Modi has plunged the 'state of India's economy' towards despondency, dejection and dire straits," he alleged.

He said that 'Modinomics' had 'decoupled' India's robust economy by "myopic vision and the double whammy of demonetisation and ill-conceived GST".

Surjewala alleged that the Economic Survey establishes that Modi government has become synonymous with "distorting" macroeconomic indices and "slowing down economic progress".

"Economic Survey 2017-18 has affirmed the utter mismanagement of India's economy by Modi government in the last four years. No amount of new announcements in the presidential address and the forthcoming budget can undo the damage the BJP government has done to a robust economy like India," Surjewala said.

He claimed the GDP growth is down, agriculture is in "utter disarray", rural wages were declining, industrial growth was plunging, job creation figures were invisible, fresh investment was low, education and health spending is in crises.

He also claimed that that the 'Make in India' was "floundering", price rise was raising its ugly head, and due to demonetisation and a 'flawed' GST, the informal sector, which by the Economic Survey's own admission, has been severely impacted.

Surjewala said though the Budget 2017-18 predicted a GDP growth of 7.5 percent for 2017-18, the finance minister has turned out to be more than a full percentage point off the mark.

"This year again, the Economic Survey predicts GDP Growth at 7-7.5 percent for 2018-19, we sincerely hope that this prediction does not become another lame duck prediction, considering the constantly diminishing past track record of GDP growth in the years 2015-16 (8 percent), 2016-17 (7.1 percent) and 2017-18 (6.5 percent)," he said.

Chidambaram said the future course of the economy is conditional "on many ifs" and the survey seems to prepare grounds for "failure" and the "outlook is therefore uncertain, if not bleak".

"The survey has thrown the burden on private investments and exports. It is obvious that the government has thrown in the towel and hopes that the private sector will come to the rescue of the economy! There is not much gas left in the government," he said.

Samsung Electronics to close one of two assembly plants in Slovakia

BRATISLAVA/SEOUL, Jan 27: South Korea's Samsung Electronics said on Saturday that it would consolidate its TV production plants in Slovakia, closing one of the two facilities in the European country.

Samsung has two assembly plants in Slovakia - at Galanta and Voderady - primarily making LCD TVs.

Samsung said combining the two plants was to improve efficiency. All workers at the Voderady plant would be offered the chance to move to Galanta on a voluntary basis with equal working condition, the company said.

"Samsung Electronics is consolidating its production facilities in Voderady and Galanta in order to enhance its synergy and efficiency, " it said in an emailed statement.
The announcement followed a local media report in Slovakia that the South Korean electronic giant would close one of the plants and all 568 core employees would be offered a transfer to another facility.

Canara Bank celebrates Republic Day

By Deepak Arora

Canara Bank Managing Director & CEO honouring noted writer Naa SomeshwaraBANGALORE, Jan 26: Republic day was celebrated at the Canara Bank Head Office here on Friday. Canara Bank's Managing Director and CEO Rakesh Sharma received the guard of honour from security personnel and unfurled the national flag. The function was attended by a large number of staff and their family members along with the invited guests.

Addressing the gathering, Rakesh Sharma reminded the need for remembering the
contribution of great leaders who sacrificed their life to free the country from the
clutches of British rulers. He also remembered the contribution of the leaders in writing the constitution of the country.

He narrated that it is the responsibility of every citizen to serve the country and keep it safe and healthy for future generation. He also declared the adoption of BBMP high school and junior college, Chamrajpet , Bangalore for overall development for a period of one year.

He distributed scholarship to the toppers in the school in the previous year examinations.

On this occasion, Miss Kruthika N S, a topper at National Law School with three Gold Medals, Miss Geetha N, a M Sc Agriculture graduate with 17 gold medals, a noted Kannada writer, Dr Naa Someshwara, and Security personal Sri Premraj were honoured. The function was well attended by staff and their family members.

MoU signed to promote trade with Philippines

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Jan 26: PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (Phil) Inc. on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as per which the two organizations have agreed to promote development of bilateral economic relations with specific focus on MSMEs among others by providing a platform for business meet, discussions and exploration of business opportunities in trade, investments, technology transfer, services and other sectors.

The MoU also provides for aggressively working with Governments of India and that of Philippines to also enhance people to people interaction which would develop into a mutually beneficial friendship between the two countries

The MoU has been signed here today respectively by Presidents of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (Phil) Inc. (FICCI) Anil Khaitan and Rex Daryanani. The Principal Director of the PHD Chamber, Dr. Ranjeet Mehta, was also present on the occasion among others.

As per other stipulations of the MoU, the two Chambers have also agreed to develop strong institutional, trade and business relations in order to establish a sustainable mechanism of dialogue and platform for discussions as also concurred to exchange information on general economic status, taxation investment opportunities, trade policies and legislative changes of their respective countries in a bid to strengthen trade technological and industrial collaboration between India and Philippines.

It also provides for to regularly exchange information publications and material concerning economic development, foreign trade and investment policies of their respective countries. In addition, it has also been agreed to establish effective and systematic consultation and cooperation particularly on the trade and investment policies of India and Philippines including specific policy developments in Members Countries.

Besides, it was also agreed between the two Chambers to co-operate on all program of trade promotion and commercialization between India, Philippines and other ASEAN Countries and assist each other in development of Pilot Projects in MSME sector in designated area in India, Philippines and ASEAN coordinated by both PHD Chamber and FICCI.

Richest 1% in India got 73% of wealth generated last year, shows survey

DAVOS, Jan 22: The richest 1% in India cornered 73% of the wealth generated in the country last year, a new survey showed on Monday, presenting a worrying picture of rising income inequality.

Besides, 67 crore Indians comprising the population’s poorest half saw their wealth rise by just 1%, as per the survey released by the international rights group Oxfam hours before the start of the annual congregation of the rich and powerful from across the world in Davos.

The situation appears even more grim globally, where 82% of the wealth generated last year worldwide went to the 1%, while 3.7 billion people that account for the poorest half of population saw no increase in their wealth.

The annual Oxfam survey is keenly watched and is discussed in detail at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting where rising income and gender inequality is among the key talking points for the world leaders.

Last year’s survey had showed that India’s richest 1% held a huge 58% of the country’s total wealth -- higher than the global figure of about 50%.

This year’s survey also showed that the wealth of India’s richest 1% increased by over Rs 20.9 lakh crore during 2017 -- an amount equivalent to total budget of the central government in 2017-18, Oxfam India said.

The report titled ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’, Oxfam said, reveals how the global economy enables wealthy elite to accumulate vast wealth even as hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive on poverty pay.

“2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days. Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13% a year since 2010 -- six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2%,” it said.

In India, it will take 941 years for a minimum wage worker in rural India to earn what the top paid executive at a leading Indian garment firm earns in a year, the study found.

In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year, it added.

Citing results of the global survey of 120,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, Oxfam said it demonstrates a groundswell of support for action on inequality and nearly two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the WEF meeting in Davos, Oxfam India urged the Indian government to ensure that the country’s economy works for everyone and not just the fortunate few.

It asked the government to promote inclusive growth by encouraging labour-intensive sectors that will create more jobs; investing in agriculture; and effectively implementing the social protection schemes that exist.

Oxfam also sought sealing of the “leaking wealth bucket” by taking stringent measures against tax evasion and avoidance, imposing higher tax on super-rich and removing corporate tax breaks.

The survey respondents in countries like the US, UK and India also favoured 60% pay cut for CEOs.

The key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions, Oxfam said, include erosion of workers’ rights; excessive influence of big business over government policy- making; and the relentless corporate drive to minimise costs in order to maximise returns to shareholders.

About India, it said the country added 17 new billionaires last year, taking the total number to 101. The Indian billionaires’ wealth increased to over Rs 20.7 lakh crore -- increasing during last year by Rs 4.89 lakh crore, an amount sufficient to finance 85 per cent of the all states’ budget on health and education.

It also said India’s top 10 per cent of population holds 73% of the wealth and 37% of India’s billionaires have inherited family wealth. They control 51 per cent of the total wealth of billionaires in the country.

Oxfam India CEO Nisha Agrawal said it is alarming that the benefits of economic growth in India continue to concentrate in fewer hands.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. Those working hard, growing food for the country, building infrastructure, working in factories are struggling to fund their child’s education, buy medicines for family members and manage two meals a day. The growing divide undermines democracy and promotes corruption and cronyism,” she said.

The survey also showed that women workers often find themselves at the bottom of the heap and nine out of 10 billionaires are men.

In India, there are only four women billionaires and three of them inherited family wealth.

“It would take around 17.5 days for the best paid executive at a top Indian garment company to earn what a minimum wage worker in rural India will earn in their lifetime (presuming 50 years at work),” Oxfam said.

Buffett says cryptocurrencies will come to bad ending

NEW YORK, Jan 11: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC on Wednesday the recent craze over bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies won't end well.

"In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending," the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said.

"When it happens or how or anything else, I don't know," he added in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" from Omaha, Nebraska. "If I could buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies, I'd be glad to do it but I would never short a dime's worth."

Also on the show, Buffett's right-hand man, Charlie Munger, also blasted frothiness in bitcoin — and in venture capital funding.

Earlier Wednesday, the Omaha-based conglomerate announced the appointment of two new vice chairs. Gregory Abel, 55, will be vice chair of non-insurance businesses. Ajit Jain, 66, will be vice chair of insurance operations.

Buffett said he would not take a short position on bitcoin futures.

"We don't own any, we're not short any, we'll never have a position in them," he said.

"I get into enough trouble with things I think I know something about," he added. "Why in the world should I take a long or short position in something I don't know anything about."

Exchange operators such as CME Group and Cboe Global Markets have opened their platforms to allow bitcoin futures trading.

The price of bitcoin declined 3.69 percent to $13,907 Wednesday, according to data from industry website CoinDesk. The digital currency is up more than 1,500 percent in the past 12 months.

Buffett's comments came a day after J.P. Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon backpedaled his earlier criticisms of cryptocurrencies. In September, Dimon called bitcoin a fraud.

GST collection falls further to 80,808 cr in November

NEW DELHI, Dec 26: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection in November fell further down to 80,808 crore from 83,346 crore in October, according to official data released on Tuesday.

“The total collection under the GST for November has been ?80,808 crore till December 25, 2017,” the government said. “99.01 lakh taxpayers have been registered under the GST till December 25, of which 16.60 lakh are composition dealers who are required to file returns every quarter. 53.06 lakh returns have been filed for November till December 25.”

The government collected 92,283 crore in July, 90,669 crore in August, and 92,150 crore in September.

Of the 80,808 crore collected in November, 13,089 crore is under the Central GST (CGST), 18,650 crore under the State GST (SGST), 41,270 crore under the Integrated GST (IGST) and 7,798 crore from the compensation cess.

Tax experts say the fall in the collection is along expected lines, due in part to the large number of rate reductions that came into effect on November 15. They reckon that the collection will improve from January.

“The dip in collection for November is on expected lines, as the rates of over 175 items were reduced from November 15 and refunds to exporters started recently,” Pratik Jain, leader, Indirect Tax, at PwC India, said in a press note. “Even for December, there could be an impact of the opening credit claim for which the last date is December 27. From January, the collection should stabilise.”

“There are reasons. First, the reduction of rate and the second, utilisation of credits,” Abhishek A. Rastogi, Partner, Khaitan & Co., said. “The right number will be reflected in the last quarter of 2017-18, or maybe the first quarter of the next financial year. The reduction was expected, and the government had done these calculations. It is hoped that the level of compliance improves further so that the revenue is back on track.”

Others point to more systemic problems in the GST implementation, highlighting that the GST Council had deferred the filing of the GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 forms, and taxfilers were wary of the GST Network portal, which had been hit by glitches initially. “The government has suspended GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 owing to the difficulties in invoice-matching and the date for GSTR-1 has been extended several times,” said Ansh Bhargava, head, Growth & Strategy, Taxmann. “These extensions granted by the government have caused a negative message in the minds of taxpayers that due to the technical glitches, the GST Network is not ready to keep a check of faulty taxpayers.”

Mr. Bhargava said that since the simplified GSTR-3B form was on the basis of self-assessment, businesses might not report accurate figures, and this could have contributed to the lower collection.

Mere 1.7% Indians paid income tax in AY 2015-16

NEW DELHI, Dec 24: Just over 2 crore Indians, or 1.7 per cent of the total population, paid income tax in the assessment year (AY) 2015-16, according to data released by the I-T department.

The number of income-tax return filers increased to 4.07 crore in the assessment year 2015-16 (FY 2014-2015) from 3.65 crores in the previous year but only 2.06 crore actually paid tax as the others claimed income below taxable limits.

In the previous AY 2014-15, 1.91 crores, out of 3.65 crores who filed returns, had paid income tax.

But the total income tax paid by individuals declined to Rs 1.88 lakh crore in AY 2015-16 from Rs 1.91 lakh crore in AY 2014-15.

The data, released last week, indicates just over 3 per cent of the 120 crore population filed returns. Of these, 2.01 crore paid nil income tax, 9,690 paid tax of over Rs 1 crore.

Only one individual paid over Rs 100 crore in taxes (Rs 238 crore to be precise).
Maximum among of 19,931 crore was collected from 2.80 crore tax filers who paid between Rs 5.5 lakh to Rs 9.5 lakh in taxes.

As many as 1.84 crore returns were filed for payment of income tax of less than Rs 1.5 lakh or an average of Rs 24,000.

Of the 4.07 crore tax returns field in AY 2015-16, close to 82 lakh showed zero or income less than Rs 2.5 lakh.

Currently, no income tax is for income up to Rs 2.5 lakh.

In AY 2014-15, 3.65 crore filed tax returns with 1.37 crore showing zero or less than Rs 2.5 lakh income.

The combined income of all individual tax filers rose to Rs 21.27 lakh crore in AY 2015-16 from Rs 18.41 lakh crore in the previous year.

A maximum number of 1.33 crore individuals were in Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh income group in AY 2015-16.

In all, 4.35 crore income tax returns, including those by individuals, were filed in AY 2015-16. Total income declared was Rs 33.62 lakh crore.

In the previous year, 3.91 crore returns were filed with Rs 26.93 crore declared income.

Companies filed 7.19 lakh returns with gross income of Rs 10.71 lakh crore.

PSBs' NPA hits Rs 7.34 lakh crore at September-end

NEW DELHI, Dec 24: Bad loans of Public sector banks (PSBs) stood at Rs 7.34 lakh crore by the end of second quarter this fiscal, a bulk of which came from corporate defaulters, according to Reserve Bank data.

However, on the other hand private sector banks' non- performing assets (NPAs) were considerably low at Rs 1.03 lakh crore by September 30.

"The gross non-performing assets of public sector and private sector banks as on September 30, 2017 were Rs 7,33,974 crore, Rs 1,02,808 crore, respectively," the finance ministry said citing RBI data.

The government said leading corporate houses and companies accounted for approximately 77 percent of the total gross NPAs from domestic operations for the banks.

Among the major public sector banks, State Bank of India (SBI) had the highest amount of NPAs at over Rs 1.86 lakh crore followed by Punjab National Bank (Rs 57,630 crore), Bank of India (Rs 49,307 crore), Bank of Baroda (Rs 46,307 crore), Canara Bank (Rs 39,164 crore) and Union Bank of India (Rs 38,286 crore).

Among private sector lenders, ICICI Bank had the highest amount of NPAs on its books at Rs 44,237 crore by the end of September, followed by Axis Bank (Rs 22,136 crore), HDFC Bank (Rs 7,644 crore) and Jammu and Kashmir Bank (Rs 5,983 crore).

Host of provisions have been restored for the recovery of the bad loans, the ministry said, adding that the network of Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) have been expanded. There are 39 DRTs now as compared to 33 in 2016-17 that will help reduce the pending cases as well as expedite disposal of cases.

Mere 1.7% Indians paid income tax in AY 2015-16

NEW DELHI, Dec 24: Just over 2 crore Indians, or 1.7 per cent of the total population, paid income tax in the assessment year (AY) 2015-16, according to data released by the I-T department.

The number of income-tax return filers increased to 4.07 crore in the assessment year 2015-16 (FY 2014-2015) from 3.65 crores in the previous year but only 2.06 crore actually paid tax as the others claimed income below taxable limits.

In the previous AY 2014-15, 1.91 crores, out of 3.65 crores who filed returns, had paid income tax.

But the total income tax paid by individuals declined to Rs 1.88 lakh crore in AY 2015-16 from Rs 1.91 lakh crore in AY 2014-15.

The data, released last week, indicates just over 3 per cent of the 120 crore population filed returns. Of these, 2.01 crore paid nil income tax, 9,690 paid tax of over Rs 1 crore.

Only one individual paid over Rs 100 crore in taxes (Rs 238 crore to be precise).
Maximum among of 19,931 crore was collected from 2.80 crore tax filers who paid between Rs 5.5 lakh to Rs 9.5 lakh in taxes.

As many as 1.84 crore returns were filed for payment of income tax of less than Rs 1.5 lakh or an average of Rs 24,000.

Of the 4.07 crore tax returns field in AY 2015-16, close to 82 lakh showed zero or income less than Rs 2.5 lakh.

Currently, no income tax is for income up to Rs 2.5 lakh.

In AY 2014-15, 3.65 crore filed tax returns with 1.37 crore showing zero or less than Rs 2.5 lakh income.

The combined income of all individual tax filers rose to Rs 21.27 lakh crore in AY 2015-16 from Rs 18.41 lakh crore in the previous year.

A maximum number of 1.33 crore individuals were in Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh income group in AY 2015-16.

In all, 4.35 crore income tax returns, including those by individuals, were filed in AY 2015-16. Total income declared was Rs 33.62 lakh crore.

In the previous year, 3.91 crore returns were filed with Rs 26.93 crore declared income.

Companies filed 7.19 lakh returns with gross income of Rs 10.71 lakh crore.

Taiwan, India sign MoU on Promotion of Industry Collaboration

By Deepak Arora

TECC Representative Ambassador Chung-Kwang Tien (center), ITA Director Sridharan Madhusudhanan (2nd from right). Deputy Director General of Bureau of Foreign Trade Dr. Guann-Jyh Lee (2nd from left) and Joint Secretary of Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India Ms. Vandana Kumar (1st from right).NEW DELHI, Dec 15: The Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (TECC) and the India-Taipei Association (ITA) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Promotion of Industry Collaboration here on Thursday as part of efforts to elevate Taiwan-India industrail cooperation to an even higher level.

The MOU was signed by TECC Representative Ambassador Chung-Kwang Tien and ITA Director Sridharan Madhusudhanan. Deputy Director General of Bureau of Foreign Trade of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Dr. Guann-Jyh Lee, and Joint Secretary of Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India, Ms. Vandana Kumar, were also present at the ceremony to witness the signing of the MOU.

Under the MOU, Taiwan and India will expand the scope of cooperation in not only trade and investment but industrial collaboration as well. The MOU involves cooperation in research and development (R&D), design and engineering, product manufacturing and after sales services.

Taiwan and India will adopt various models for cooperation in order to create synergies and industrial value chains, as well as develop products/services and enhance their added value.

In addition, both countries will explore possibility of setting up industrial parks so as to provide platforms for cluster formation and development. The two countries further aim to conduct exchanges on investment regulations and policies, as well as provide one-stop commercial services.

The MOU shows the strong determination of the two governments to strengthen bilateral industrial exchanges, as it was signed in the aftermath of 21 MOUs that were inked at the Taiwan-India Industrial Collaboration Summit on October 12, 2017 in Taipei. These MOUs were signed by major industrial associations of Taiwan and India, including Taiwan's Chinese National Federation of Industries and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

India is experiencing rapid economic growth and enjoys an annual growth rate of 7 per cent plus. With policies such as “Make in India,” “Startup India” and “Smart Cities” as well as its demographic dividend of 1.3 billion population and abundant excellent software talents, India has become an important investment destination for enterprises around the world.

Taiwan has a leading role in the world in electronic manufacturing. It possesses formidable industrial value chain, strong product design and R&D, capacities to manufacture key components, and efficient managerial skill for assembly lines. This industrial strength is complementary to India, making Taiwan an ideal partner for India.

Existing Taiwanese investors in India include Foxconn Technology Group, Wistron Corp, Delta Electronics, D-Link Corp, and Fair Friend Enterprise Group.

The signing of this MOU enables the two countries to institutionalize the industrial collaboration mechanism and platform, which, in turn, helps to enhance closer ties in the fields of industry, investment and technical cooperation on an equal and mutually-beneficial basis.

This will be instrumental in assisting Taiwanese companies to tap the ever-growing Indian market and create business opportunities.

Modi urges FICCI to help MSMEs boost business

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Dec 13: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has exhorted corporate India to pledge itself to the creation of a New India - an India that fulfils the aspirations of the poor and needy, gives fillip to domestic industry, big and small, where Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are hand-held by large corporates to serve the requirements of the people in every nook and corner of the country.

Addressing captains of trade and industry while inaugurating the 90th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at Vigyan Bhavan today, the Prime Minister said it now devolves on industry leaders to turn their attention to minimising imports to fuel domestic production, which has a direct bearing on creation of jobs and domestic wealth creation.

Narendra Modi said that a lot has been achieved since independence, but several challenges have arisen as well. He said the poor seemed to be struggling against the existing system for things such as bank accounts, gas connections, scholarships, pensions etc. He said the Union Government is working to end this struggle, and to create a system that is transparent and sensitive. He said Jan Dhan Yojana is one example of this, and increasing "ease of living" has been the focus of the Union Government. He also mentioned the Ujjwala Yojana, construction of toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

The Prime Minister said that his Government was working to strengthen the banking system, while pointing out that, “the issue of NPAs is a legacy received by the current Government from the last government. It was open loot of people’s hard earned money”, he added.

He said, rumours are now being spread about the Financial Regulation and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill. He said the Government is working to protect the interests of the account holders, but rumours that are being spread are the exact opposite. He said organizations such as FICCI have a responsibility to generate awareness about such issues. He said, that industry has a big role also now in making GST more effective so that its benefits are passed on to the consumers.

Narendra Modi said the Government's effort is to ensure that maximum businesses register for GST. He said the more formal the system becomes, the more it will benefit the poor. It will enable easier availability of credit from the banks and reduce cost of logistics, thereby enhancing competitiveness of businesses. “I hope FICCI has some plan to generate large-scale awareness among small traders”.

The Prime Minister mentioned policy decisions taken in sectors such as urea, textile, civil aviation, and health and the benefits achieved from them. He also spoke of reforms in sectors such as defence, construction, food-processing etc. He said due to these measures, India's rank has risen from 142 to 100, in the World Bank "Ease of Doing Business" rankings. He also mentioned other indicators which point to the robust health of the economy while outlining the steps taken by the Government are also playing a key role in job creation.

The Prime Minister said orgainsations like FICCI have a key role to play in sectors such as food processing, start-ups, artificial intelligence, solar power, healthcare etc.

In his welcome address, Pankaj Patel, President, FICCI, said that the year 2017 has been a historic one with GST finally coming into force. Not just this, the steps taken to help business adjust to the new system, the user-feedback system, helping resolve bottlenecks, relaxing deadlines for filing returns and cut in tax rate are all indicative of the Government’s commitment to involve all stakeholders in its development agenda. ‘Sab ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’ is not just a slogan, but is now a reality.

The FICCI President said, “We expect the growth to cross 7% soon but the need of the hour is to grow 9-10% per year for the next 30 years. This is the imperative if we have to engage the poor in development, reduce inequality and most importantly to generate direct and indirect employment at the speed of 20 million jobs per year. To go from 7% to 9% plus growth, we need a booming export growth of over 25% per year.”
Mr. Patel added, “We need to develop and execute our own alternative long term strategy to ensure export growth of 25% per annum and a 10% GDP growth per annum, over the next 30 years. FICCI has submitted an analysis on Export Development to the Ministry of Commerce earlier on developing our exports.”

Rashesh Shah, President-elect, FICCI, said that the bold reforms undertaken by the Government of India with speed, scale and decisiveness have enthused FICCI. He added that Prime Minister’s vision of ‘New India’ energized, galvanized and inspired the industry. He assured that FICCI would steadfastly work towards making Prime Minister’s vision of ‘New India’ a reality and would redouble to promote its efforts in sectors such as MSME, start-ups and women entrepreneurship.

Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI at the outset welcomed the Prime Minister and the huge gathering of business leaders, Ambassadors and business delegates.

CBEC join hands with FICCI for the smooth implementation of TIR system in India

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Dec 5: Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Commissioner (Customs & EP), Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) and Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI interacted with the participants of a press meet organized by FICCI in association with CBEC and IRU to discuss the benefits and smooth implementation of TIR System in India.

Making his welcome address, Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI talked about the benefits of TIR system and said, “TIR plays an important role in trade facilitation and has been a successful model for reducing trade transaction costs and facilitating higher growth of intra-regional and inter-regional trade.

He further stated that based on FICCI’s vast experience on ATA Carnet management, CBEC has chosen FICCI as National Guaranteeing Association for the operation of TIR System in India.

It’s a proud moment for FICCI and willbe committed to work towards smooth and successful implementation of the system in India. He also mentioned that given the significance of TIR in boosting regional connectivity, and India’s accession to the convention, it is recommended for other BBIN countries to opt for TIR to improve the effective transit procedures among the four countries and by connecting the BBIN region to other world markets.

FICCI will extend its maximum support to CBEC to help other BBIN countries to accede to the convention and reap the benefits.

In his special address, Mr Sandeep Kumar said that “The Government is looking at very active participation by the business sector to be able to use this particular convention that India has acceded to. Further he stated that the accession processwill be completed on 16th December 2017 and planning to ship out first containers from Nhava Sheva to Russia via Iran under TIR by early January 2018”

Mr Nirankar Saxena, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI said “TIR is one of the successful examples of a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model in international trade facilitation and will be a win-win collaboration for customs, FICCI and the business community”

Mr Umberto de Pretto, Secretary General, IRU, said, “The critical role of road transport in transforming economies and the necessary impetus that international trade facilitation conventions, like TIR, can offer in this endeavour, is in clear focus. We look forward to working with CBEC and FICCI on establishing seamless TIR operations for India – to the benefit of trade across the region.”

TIR is the only global customs transit system for moving goods across international borders. Supporting trade and development for more than 60 years, it is governed by the United Nations TIR Convention, overseen by the United Nations Economic Commission (UNECE), and managed by IRU, Geneva.

TIR stands for “Transports InternationauxRoutiers”. One of the most successful international transport conventions, TIR makes border crossings faster, more secure and more efficient, reducing transport costs, and boosting trade and development.

India acceded to the United Nations TIR Convention on 15th June 2017 - the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets. FICCI has been appointed by CBEC as National Guaranteeing Association for the operation of TIR System in India similar to ATA Carnet.

TIR will help Indian traders to have access to fast, easy, reliable and hassle free international system for movement of goods by road or multi-modal means across the territories of other contracting parties. It will be a boon to India’s trade and aims to integrate the economy with global and regional production networks through better connectivity. It can be an instrument for movement of goods along the International “North-South” Transport (INSTC) Corridor, which India is developing along with Russia.

PHD Chamber hails the mid-term review of the Foreign Trade Policy

NEW DELHI, Dec 5: While appreciating the vital reforms undertaken under the revised Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20, Mr. Anil Khaitan, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the policy revisions will facilitate the trade and boost India’s exports.

The expansion of assistance under the Merchandize Export from India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Export from India Scheme (SEIS) will certainly improve the competitiveness of various Indian products, especially readymade garments, agricultural products and labour intensive and MSME products to a remarkable extent, said Mr. Anil Khaitan.

With 45% of our GDP accounts for trade, covering 8000 of total 12000 lines of items under the various incentives will accentuate our trade and thereby, our GDP in the coming times, he added.

Relaxation in norms and delegation to regional authorities for export obligation period extension, installation of machinery and block wise extension under Export Promotion of Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme would enhance the competitiveness of capital intensive products, said Mr. Anil Khaitan.

The new duty exemption scheme with Self Declaration and Self Ratification is a tremendous move forward. The regime will enhance India’s footprint in various international markets, especially in Africa and Latin America, said Mr. Anil Khaitan.

Re-export of the goods which are freely importable except SCOMET/Prohibited items will propel the performance of Indian products through expansion in competitiveness, said Mr. Anil Khaitan.

Creation of a new trade data analytics under DGFT to analyze the real time data will assist in keeping our trade performance in consonance with various countries across the world, said Mr. Anil Khaitan.

Going ahead, the fascinating feature of our Foreign Trade policy is continuity wherein remarkable alterations are pursued in a series of timely micro changes, he said.

The revisions will enhance the ease of doing business, improve the trade ecosystem and put India at a higher level in global competitiveness in the coming times, said Mr. Anil Khaitan.

 

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