Union Government

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.

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.

New Delhi: In a move to boost mobile wallet transactions amid the ban on high value cash, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday increased the per month limit for closed prepaid wallets to Rs.20,000 from Rs.10,000.

 “The limit of semi-closed Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) has now been enhanced from Rs.10,000 to Rs. 20,000. The total value of reloads during any given month shall also not exceed Rs.20,000,” the RBI said.

The central bank also said that prepaid payment instruments can be issued to merchants if they provide a self-declaration in respect of their status and bank account, to be kept on record by the issuer.

Other measures announced by the RBI are as follows: 

(i) NABARD has made available Rs.21,000 crores limit to the District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) through State Cooperative Banks for Rabi agricultural operations. This will enable the DCCBs to sanction and disburse crop loans to the farmers through the network of Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS). This will benefit more than 40% of the small and marginal farmers who avail institutional credit/crop loans. Further, additional limits will be provided by NABARD as per requirement. 

(ii) RBI and the Banks have been advised to make the required cash available to the DCCBs. This will ensure quick and unhindered flow of credit and required cash to the farmers, especially for sowing and other agricultural operations during the current Rabi season. 

(iii) As a relief to small borrowers (i.e., loans upto Rs. 1 crore), RBI has already decided to provide additional 60 days time for repayment of dues. This will be applicable to personal and crop loans including housing and agricultural loans, taken from banks, NBFCs, DCCBs, PACS or NBFC- MFIs. 

(iv)There are 30 crore RuPay Debit Cards which have been issued, including those issued to Jan Dhan Account holders. There is a growth of nearly 300% in use of RuPay cards in the last 12 days. To facilitate the use of this debit card, the Banks have decided to waive transaction charges (MDR) up to 31st December, 2016. National Payments Council of India (NPCI) has already waived switching charges for RuPay Cards. Together, these steps will improve the acceptance of debit cards at different establishments.  (v) To promote greater use of Debit Cards, Public Sector Banks and some of the private sector Banks have decided to waive the MDR charges till 31.12.2016. Other private sector Banks are expected to do likewise. Consequently, the transaction charges – including the charges for switching services – stand waived till 31.12.2016. 

(vi) To promote greater usage of payments through e-wallets, RBI has decided to increase the monthly transaction limit for individuals from Rs.10,000 to Rs.20,000. Similar enhancements have also been announced by RBI for merchants. 

(vii) For convenience of passengers, Indian Railways have decided not to levy service charges of Rs.20 for second class and Rs.40 for upper classes on purchase of reserved E-tickets upto 31st December, 2016. This would facilitate and encourage the passengers to buy E-tickets instead of across the counter purchase through cash. 

Daily average number of passengers buying E-tickets online is 58% and across the counter in cash is 42% of the total purchase of tickets. The effort now is to increase the purchase of E-tickets. It is expected that the above measure will encourage people to migrate to cashless transactions. 

(viii) TRAI has decided to reduce the USSD charges from the current Rs.1.50 per session to Rs.0.50 per session for transactions relating to Banking and payments. They have also increased the stages from current five to eight. The Telecom Companies have also agreed to waive the above 50 paisa USSD charge per session for the period upto 31.12.2016. Consequently, USSD charges up to 31.12.2016 will be NIL. This will provide a very cost effective method of digital financial transaction, especially to the poor people with feature phones (which are currently 65% of the total phones in the country). 

(ix) A lot of time is spent by vehicles at the check posts and toll plazas. While GST will address the problem at the check posts, certain measures are necessary for ease of payment at the toll plazas on the National Highways. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is therefore advising the automobile manufacturers to provide ETC compliant RFID in all new vehicles. 

(x) All Government organizations, public sector undertakings and other Government authorities have been advised to use only digital payment methods such as internet banking, unified payment interface, cards, Aadhar enabled payment system etc. to make payments to all stakeholders and employees. At the point of disbursing the payments, it will be necessary for the authorities to provide the option of payments through cards, internet banking, unified payment interface, cards, Aadhar enabled payment system etc.

 

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: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited views from the people, on the recent decision taken by the Union Government regarding currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000. 

People can submit their views through a survey consisting of 10 questions, which is available through the Narendra Modi App. Sharing the link to this survey, the Prime Minister tweeted today that he wants a first-hand view from the people, regarding this decision. 

The ten questions in the Survey are as follows: 

1. Do you think that black money exists in India? a. Yes b. No 

2. Do you think the evil of corruption and black money needs to be fought and eliminated? a. Yes b. No 

3. Overall, what do you think about the Government's moves to tackle black money? 

4. What do you think of the Modi Government's efforts against corruption so far? Scale of 1 to 5 - outstanding, very good, good, ok, useless 

5. What do you think of the Modi Government's move of banning old Rs 500 & Rs 1000 notes? a. Great move in the right direction b. Good move c. Will make no difference 

6. Do you think demonetisation will help in curbing black money, corruption & terrorism? a. It will have an immediate impact b. There will be impact in medium to long term c. Minimal impact d. Don't know 

7. Demonetisation will bring real estate, higher education, healthcare in the common man's reach a. Completely Agree b. Partially Agree c. Can’t say 

8. Did you mind the inconvenience faced in our fight to curb corruption, black money, terrorism and counterfeiting of currency? a. Not at all b. Somewhat, but it was worth it c. Yes 

9. Do you believe some anti-corruption activists are now actually fighting in support of black money, corruption & terrorism? a. Yes b. No 

10. Do you have any suggestions, ideas or insights you would like to share with PM Narendra Modi? 

This survey is in sync with the Prime Minister's vision of participative governance and directly seeking the views of the people of India on key policy and execution matters. 

The Prime Minister has sought answers on very pointed and direct aspects of the decision of 500 and 1000 rupee notes ceasing to be legal tender. He has also sought feedback from the people on how to make the implementation stronger. 

The Prime Minister's core beliefs of direct engagement with people are yet again on full display in the survey.