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Govt Mulls New Category to Tax Hi-tech Items

Govt Mulls New Category to Tax Hi-tech Items Move to allow Centre to impose import duties without violating global pact

The government is exploring the possibility of creating new categories in its tariff structure that will allow it to impose import duties on hi-tech products without violating a global agreement that mandates nil duties.The government has already imposed customs duties on mobile phones to encourage manufacturing in India.The finance and commerce ministries and the department of electronics are in discussions on the issue to give a ‘Make in India’ push to hi-tech products.

Officials say some countries have already used the flexibility available in the Harmonised System of Nomenclature of goods to raise duties without running afoul of the Information Technology Agreement 1, or ITA1.Violations of the agreement are challenged at the World Trade Organization (WTO).The government has also sounded out the industry on the idea, said a person privy to the move.

New Delhi had impo…
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NSE, MCX in merger talks, could submit proposal to Sebi this month

NSE, MCX in merger talks, could submit proposal to Sebi this month
The merger will help NSE and MCX cement their leadership position both in the equities and commodity derivatives space

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) entered into merger talks ahead of the implementation of the universal exchange framework in October, said a top official. The two entities are planning to approach market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) as early as this month, according to the official.Both the exchanges have readied a blueprint for the merger proposal which will be discussed with Sebi. Sources say NSE entered talks with the commodity bourse soon after the market regulator allowed exchanges to dabble both in the equities and commodities space. The decision was taken by the Sebi board at its December 2017 meet.

NSE spokesperson said, “We will not comment on market speculations.” An query sent to MCX did not elicit immediate response.Sources sa…

Taxman Disallows AMP Deductions Sought by MNCs

Taxman Disallows AMP Deductions Sought by MNCs Says ad money spent not for India business uses hitherto unused provision of I-T Act

The income-tax department has started issuing notices to several multinational consumer firms, disallowing deductions on expenses of advertising, marketing and sales promotion under a hitherto unused provision of the Income Tax Act.
Notices have been issued to consumer companies such as Hindustan Unilever, P&G, L’Oreal, LG and Maruti Suzuki. Industry experts peg the total demand raised by the tax department on this count at about Rs.10,000 crore.

As AMP (advertising, marketing and promotional) expenses is a cost head, disallowing the deduction would inflate pre-tax accounting profits, translating into increased tax outgo for a company if tax claims are upheld.
The government claims that these expenses are not relevant for the India business and are mostly related to overseas brand building. Hence, they are sought to be disallowed under Section 37 of the In…

Tower Cos Brought Under Regulatory Net

Tower Cos Brought Under Regulatory Net
Tower providers will be considered licensees under right-of-way rules The telecom department has clarified that tower providers will be considered as licensees under rightof-way rules, addressing a major demand of the industry that had been kept out of the purview of these rules so far. The industry welcomed the move, which it said would help infrastructure providers to set up the base for future technologies including 5G. The right-of-way rules allow online filing of applications in a bid to ease the pain that the sector faces in building infrastructure. They are expected to help companies get land from state governments and local bodies within a stipulated timeframe, with standard procedures set for telecom companies and government authorities to follow. The Department of Telecommunications had issued rules on setting up of telecom towers and laying of cables in November 2016, providing a framework for granting approvals and settling disputes in a …

Govt Proposes Rates for Treatment Under Health Protection Scheme

Govt Proposes Rates for Treatment Under Health Protection Scheme
Scheme likely to be rolled out by Aug, registration for hospitals expected to begin by June 15 The government has proposed rates for over 1,350 treatment packages ranging from Rs 1,000 to over Rs 1.50 lakh, for the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission.The government issued a 205-page model tender document on Wednesday, taking the Prime Minister’s ambitious health protection scheme a step closer to implementation. The rates proposed depend on the type of therapy and procedure. The document is expected to help states select insurance companies for the scheme, which promises up to Rs 5 lakh cover for 100 million poor families in the country.Over 20 specialties like cardiology, cancer care, neurosurgery and neo-natal care have been covered in the draft.For instance, the rate for an orthopaedic procedure like application of skin traction has been set at Rs 1,000, while aortic arch replacement under cardio thoracic …

PMO Advances Completion Dates for Rural Schemes

PMO Advances Completion Dates for Rural Schemes
The Prime Minister’s Office is aiming for completion of key rural schemes ahead of the next general election, bringing forward their deadlines in keeping with a campaign pitch of ‘Har ghareeb ko ghar, usmein toilet, bijli aur gas’ (House for every poor person, with toilet, electricity and cooking gas), senior government officials told ET. The latest such scheme is the Swachh Bharat (Grameen), aimed at turning rural India open defecation-free (ODF), which had a deadline of October 2, 2019 but may now be completed six months ahead of schedule. “We are trying to complete this mission by March 2019. We will either be there by that date or almost there,” said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. So far, 84% ODF coverage has been achieved under the scheme. The Centre is also aiming to give out five crore cooking gas or LPG connections under the PM Ujjwala Yojana by December 2018 – this was the original scope of the scheme ti…

Cabinet approves ordinance to give homebuyers creditor status under IBC

Cabinet approves ordinance to give homebuyers creditor status under IBC
Special provisions planned for MSMEs, panel wants CoC to have power to withdraw application for insolvency resolution.The Union Cabinet approved, via an Ordinance, amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), giving homebuyers the status of creditors in the insolvency process. Also in the Ordinance, it appears (Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad would not give details) are provisions for micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), easing some conditions for the segment.Assent of the President is required for the Ordinance to take effect. These changes were part of the recommendations of a committee to review and suggest changes in the IBC . Earlier, on the panel’s suggestion, the government got amended Section 29A clause of the IBC - it lists entities barred from bidding for companies under insolvency. The changes were to ensure wilful defaulters and those whose accounts had been classified as non-per…