India

New Delhi: The Indian economy grew at 7.1 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal, despite subdued growth in the global economy, Parliament was informed on Monday.

"Despite subdued growth in the world economy, India has maintained a GDP growth rate of 7.2 per cent in 2014-15, 7.6 per cent in 2015-16, and 7.1 per cent during April to September of 2016-17," Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

She said the government has taken various steps to boost industrial production and growth, including initiatives like Make in India and Startup India, liberalisation of foreign direct investment (FDI) rules and development of industrial corridors.

"During April-September, 2016-17, IIP (Index of Industrial Production) declined by 0.1 per cent over April-September 2015-16," Sitharaman said.

"The annual growth of IIP increased from minus 0.1 per cent in 2013-14 to 2.8 per cent in 2014-15, and slightly decreased to 2.4 per cent in 2015-16," she added.

The Minister also said the primary responsibility of industrial development of backward areas rested with the state governments, while the central government supplements their efforts through various schemes.

India`s last pre-demonetisation GDP figures, pertaining to the second quarter ending September, are likely to be released on Wednesday. Data for the third quarter ending December will factor in demonetisation-induced slowdown.

In an effort to curb the menace of black money, counterfeit currency and terror financing, the Centre demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from November 8 midnight. 

In the first quarter ended June, the Indian economy`s growth rate slowed to a six-quarter low of 7.1 per cent, caused mainly by a drop in construction, mining and agriculture sectors.

New Delhi: Providing a window to black money holders, the government on Monday proposed to levy a total tax, penalty and surcharge of 50 per cent on the amount deposited post demonetisation while higher taxes and stiffer penalty of up to 85 per cent await those who don't disclose but are caught.

Nearly three weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced junking high denomination 500 and 1000 rupee notes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced a bill to amend the Income Tax law which also provides for black money declarants a mandatorily depositing of 25 per cent of the amount disclosed in anti-poverty scheme without interest and a four-year lock-in period.

Those who choose to declare their ill-gotten wealth stashed till now in banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana 2016, will have to pay a tax at the rate of 30 per cent of the undisclosed income.  

Additionally, a 10 per cent penalty will be levied on the undisclosed income as well as a surcharge called PMGK Cess at the rate of 33 per cent of tax (33 per cent of 30 per cent).

Further, the declarants have to deposit 25 per cent of the undisclosed income in a scheme to be notified by the government in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The money from the scheme would be used for projects in irrigation, housing, toilets, infrastructure, primary education, primary health and livelihood so that there is justice and equality, said the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill.

For those who continue to hold onto undisclosed cash and are caught, existing provisions of the Income Tax law will be amended to provide for a flat 60 per cent tax plus a surcharge of 25 per cent of tax (15 per cent), which will amount a levy of 75 per cent.

Besides, if the assessing officer decides he can charge a 10 per cent penalty in addition to the 75 per cent tax.

The current provisions of penalty on under-reporting of income at 50 per cent of the tax, and misreporting (200 per cent of tax) will remain and no changes are being made to them.

Under-reporting/misreporting income is normally difference between returned income and assessed income.

The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 proposes to amend Section 115BBE of the Income Tax Act to provide for a punitive tax, surcharge and penalty on unexplained credit, investment, cash and other assets.

Against current provision of 30 per cent flat tax rate plus surcharge and cesss, a steep 60 per cent tax will be levied on such income together with 25 per cent surcharge of tax (15 per cent of such income). So total incidence of tax will be 75 per cent with no expense, deductions or set-off allowed.

Also, the assessing officer can levy an additional 10 per cent penalty, taking the total tax incidence to 85 per cent.

The current provisions for penalty in cases of search and seizure are proposed to be amended to provide for a penalty of 30 per cent of income if it is admitted, returns filed and taxes paid. In all other cases, 60 per cent will be the penalty.

Currently, the penalty is 10 per cent of the income, if the income is admitted, returned and taxes are paid. Penalty is at 60 per cent in all other cases.

Under the new Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, besides 50 per cent tax, surcharge and penalty, a quarter of the declared income will be to be deposited in interest free deposit scheme for four years.

Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the deterrent provisions were necessary so that people have the fear of hoarding black money.

"The disclosures in PMGKY scheme will ensure that no questions will be asked about the source of fund. It would ensure immunity from wealth tax, civil laws and other taxation laws. But there is no immunity from FEMA, PMLA, Narcotics, and black money act," he said.

Deposits which have been already made from November 10 will be covered under PMGKY. "Last date we will notify after the bill is passed but it is likely to be December 30. PMGKY will come in as a new Chapter 9 in Finance Act 2016," he said.

Hyderabad: Emphasising on development of soft skills among the police force, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said human and behavioural psychology should be vital parts of police training, even as he called for a qualitative change in the force. Addressing the annual DGsP/IGsP conference at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy here, he said the development of soft skills was now essential and should become a part of the training drill.

“Aspects such as human and behavioural psychology should be vital parts of police training,” he stressed. The Prime Minister recalled that it was on this day in 2008 that a deadly terror attack had struck Mumbai, and police had bravely fought against terrorists.

He recalled the over 33,000 police personnel, who have laid down their lives in line of duty. On law and order, the Prime Minister emphasised the importance of foot patrolling and constabulary intelligence. Modi further called for a qualitative change in the police force through a collective training effort.

“Technology and human interface are both important for the police force to keep progressing,” he said. Noting that the annual conference has “undergone a transformation in the way it is conducted”, Modi said it had become a platform for sharing experiences which leads to good inputs for policy planning.

This is for the third time since Independence that the conference is being held outside Delhi. It was held in Guwahati in 2014 and Kutch in Gujarat last year. The idea of holding the meeting of DGPs and IGPs outside Delhi was mooted by Modi after he assumed power in 2014.

The Prime Minister also laid emphasis on concrete outcomes out of the actionable points that have been finalised. He said leadership skills were important, and the onus lay on senior officers to inculcate these skills among the police personnel.

On the occasion, the Prime Minister launched a mobile app ‘Indian Police at Your Call’. He presented the President’s Police Medals for distinguished service to officers of the Intelligence Bureau.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister laid a wreath at the Martyrs Column at the Academy. He also offered floral tributes at the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and planted a sapling before taking part in a Yoga session with top police officers attending the conference.

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways and IRCTC have included "transgender as third gender" in the option alongside male and female in ticket reservation and cancellation forms.

The decision, which was taken on a representation made by a lawyer will include the facility for reservations and cancellations, both online as well offline.

The Delhi-based lawyer had made the representation after the Delhi high court in February had asked him to approach the Railway Ministry while disposing of his petition.

The ministry in its circular referred to the direction of the apex court of April 2014, which had said that hijras, eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender for protecting their rights.

"Supreme Court (in the judgement) has directed that Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender+ for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of our Constitution and the laws made by the parliament and the State Legislature.

"It has, therefore, been decided to include the third gender/transgender option alongside male/female in reservation /cancellation requisition form. This information will be captured by the system and tickets to transgender will be issued on full fare," the circular stated.

Advocate Jamshed Ansari in his PIL before the high court had alleged violation of Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), by non-inclusion of "transgender/third gender" as a gender option in its forms.

He had also sought compliance of the apex court judgment in which it directed the Centre and the state governments to recognise transgender as the third sex, and to provide them with the benefits accorded to socially and economically backward classes.

He had further demanded special coaches and reserved seats for the transgender community in all trains, for their "care and protection".

On which the bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini had asked the ministry to look into the averments made in the writ petition.

Srinagar: One Indian soldier and two militants were killed today morning in a gunfight between security forces and militants in Kashmir's Bandipora district.

The encounter began today morning in the Manzpora area of Nahidkhai village in Bandipora when the forces launched a search operation in the area.

The security forces have made several recoveries from the killed militants which suggest that they might be Pakistanis, and belong to the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Another encounter in North Kashmir's Sopore town is underway.

The encounter in Tujar village of Sopore, Baramulla district started when the security forces cordoned the area late Thursday evening.

After the tip-off about the presence of militants in the area, the security forces from Army, police and CRPF reached the spot, triggering a gunfight.

One newly recruited militant has surrendered in Tujar village in Sopore. The newly-recruited militant, Abdul Majeed, surrendered when the security forces cordoned the house in the village in which he was hiding.