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Showing posts from September 7, 2015

Govt speeds up business visa approval

Visa applications from foreign businessmen, trade delegations will be approved or rejected within a week’s time Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, aiming to boost trade ties with countries such as China and Iran, has decided that visa applications from foreign businessmen and trade delegations will be approved or rejected within a week’s time. The commerce ministry has been complaining that delays by the home ministry—sometimes extensive—in clearing business visa applications were holding back attempts to improve ties with important trading partners. The home ministry has already taken Iran off a list of countries that draw special scrutiny from security agencies for providing visas after the Gulf nation reached a deal with Western countries in July, agreeing to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for removal of economic sanctions. “Both the home ministry and the Prime Minister’s office are on the same page that no visa application will be delayed for more than one week primar…

Service tax scanner on 5 sectors

Faced with lower-tha-expected growth in service tax collection, the revenue department has decided to focus on five key sectors, including telecom and renting of property, where the possibility of tax evasion is high. The identified sectors also include aviation operations, manpower recruitment and construction. Business Standard, New Delhi, 7th Sept. 2015

MFs may Have to Cut Single Co Exposure

Sebi feels current limit is quite high after it found a few funds are holding lower-rated papers in a big way; seeks information from some fund houses on their exposure to certain specific sectors and papers which got downgraded The Securities and Exchange Board of India is planning to tighten rules on mutual funds' investments in corporate debt paper in the wake of concern over excessive credit risk in certain fixed income portfolios. The market regulator is looking to lower mutual funds' investment limit for an individual company's debt security.
At present, a mutual fund scheme is not allowed to invest more than 15% of its net asset value in debt instruments issued by a single issuer which are rated not below investment grade by a credit rating agency. This limit however can be raised to 20% with prior approval of the trustees. Now, the regulator feels this limit is quite high after it found that a few mutual funds were holding lowly-rated papers in a big way. “Sebi rules o…

Patent Law has IT in a Tizzy

The patent office for the first time made a clear interpretation of the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2002 to mean that if a software has novelty, is inventive or tangible, and has proper technical effect or industrial application, it can be patented. The guidelines serve as a reference for officers in granting patents. Software product industry experts are against modifying the law to make computer programs easily patentable, arguing that innovation in the area is often incremental and programs are built on top of other programs. They cautioned that if the guidelines are made into law, programmers will be barred from using a particular method to solve a problem without the permission of the idea's owner, like in the US. The new guidelines will make it easier for companies to file for software patents in India, but for startups, for whom innovation is critical, the upside is almost none. “We want Indian entrepreneurs to be focused on innovation and not litigation,“ said Venkatesh Hariha…

High Frequency Trades may Hit Speed breaker

Bumpy Ride Ahead? Sebi taking feedbacks on slowing down HFT; curbs may hit volumes, shift trading activity abroad Will India be among the first markets to put speed-breakers in the way of high-frequency trading (HFT) -a system accused of giving some traders undue advantage because of its capability to execute transactions at lightening speed? With markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) taking feedback from exchanges and select institutions on possible steps that could slow down the world of black-box trading, there is a growing feeling among sections in the market that some curbs on HFT may come before the year ends. Many foreign institutions and large proprietary desks use sophisticated software programmes and place servers on the premises of stock exchange to enjoy an advantage over smaller brokers and traders. Even though HFT comprises a big slice of trading volumes and restricting them could be an unprecedented measure, Sebi is internally considering steps to…

CIC warns Sebi on RTI disclosure

Order after complainant establishes false information given by it on Saran's appointment The equity markets regulator was left red-faced before the central information watchdog after a complainant produced a letter whose existence had been denied by the former. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has warned the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for giving false and misleading information to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) law. Thane-based Ramsagar Yadav had filed an RTI application with Sebi in July 2014. Yadav requested information on three points. "(a) name of the official of Sdbi who had requested R K Padmanabhan, then chief vigilance officer, Sebi, to issue a vigilance clearance for Prashant Saran for his subsequent appointment as wholetime member in 2012; (b) designation…(of this official); and (c) copy of the forwarding letter of chairman, Sebi or of any officer of Sebi forwarding the application ofi Prashant Saran for appointment as wholetime…

Filling a lacuna in export dues write off

Every now and then, the commerce ministry notifies aminimum export price (MEP) for certain commodities, to discourage their exports and improve availability in the domestic markets. These are mostly farm products but some steel goods, too, had suffered MEP for a while. MEP is set at a level where few abroad will buy at that price. Some clever exporters, however, find a way to get around stipulation. The method is to invoice at MEP, realise export proceeds at a lower price and then seek write off the shortfall. For example, the MEP for onions is $ 700/ tonne now. Let us say an exporter finds it difficult to sell at the MEP but gets a buyer willing to pay $650/ tonne. It makes commercial sense to him to take up this order. What the exporter does is to accept this order with a specific understanding that he will raise an invoice for $700/ tonne but accepts payment of only $ 650/ tonne. The next step is to ship the goods with all paperwork, including the shipping bill showing a price of $700/…

CBEC to expedite adjudication of high value cases

Involves tax demand of Rs.38k crore, aimed for completion by end- Oct; scrutiny also of smaller service taxpayers The finance ministry has decided to expedite adjudication of 532 high- value cases, involving atotal service tax demand of Rs.38,000 crore. These are in the insurance, civil aviation and consumer durables sectors, among others, in Delhi and Mumbai. The aim is to bring these to closure by the end of next month. It has also started a manual scrutiny of small service taxpayers. In the former exercise, only those high- value service tax cases would be considered where the tax demand raised is at least Rs.10 crore, officials said. Closure of these cases could give the government a revenue gain of more than Rs.20,000 crore, it is estimated. The Central Board of Excise and Customs ( CBEC) believes the exercise would ease the business environment. “It is important to bring closure to cases. You can’t keep them hanging,” said a senior official. Most of these cases are pending for the …