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Showing posts from April 26, 2016

Govt to make patent clearance process faster

n a bid to clear the backlog of applications for patents, designs and trademarks, the central government has added 458 examiners to the existing 130. Besides, 263 examiners would be hired on contract basis, said Ramesh Abhishek, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). According to him, the government would bring down the time taken to examine applications from the current five-to-seven years to 18 months by March 2018. Speaking at an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) on the occasion of International Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) day, Abhishek said applications for trademarks would be cleared within a month by March 2017. Such applications currently take 13 months to clear. “We’ve appointed a panel of about 80 lawyers, who will provide free consultation and legal advise to start-ups. The rules will be notified soon.”   Applications were now being reviewed on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, he said. Acco…

Buybacks draw firms as taxes squeeze dividends

Companies to pay shareholders via buybacks, which attract zero tax
In order to reward shareholders, especially promoters, companies are opting for share buybacks over dividend payouts. This is because buybacks attract zero tax whereas dividends are taxable and now attract additional levy. Bharti Airtel and Bharti Infratel on Saturday said their boards would decide whether to go for dividends or buyback — or both. Technology firm Wipro has announced a Rs 2,500-crore buyback (to start in May) and a final dividend of Rs 1 per share as against Rs 7 per share for the previous financial year (2015-16). Wipro joined nearly half a dozen listed companies, including pharma firm Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, that have announced buybacks since the start of the new financial year (2016-17) on April 1. The trigger for buybacks over dividends is the additional 10 per cent tax announced in this year’s Budget on individuals receiving dividend income in excess of Rs 10 lakh in a financial year. This tax is an …

Govt Likely to Completely Ban FDI in Tobacco Sector

After making larger pictorial warnings on cigarette packets mandatory, the govern ment is now working on a proposal to completely ban foreign direct investment (FDI) in the tobacco sector. At present, FDI is allowed in technology collaboration in any form, including licensing for franchise, trademark and brand name in the sector. However, t is prohibited in manufacturing of cigars, cigarettes of tobacco and tobacco substitutes.According to sources, the commerce ministry is proposing to ban FDI in licensing for franchise, trademark, brand name and management contract in the sector. The Economic Times New Delhi,26th April 2016

Workers' Mimimum Wage Raised to Rs 10,000 per Month

The minimum wage for contract workers has been in . 10,000 per month, creased to ` Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya said on Monday. The minister of state for abour and employment informed Lok Sabha that the wage hike has been done based on a Supreme Court verdict. “Recently, we have ncreased minimum wage to ` . 10,000 at the national level taking into consideration the Consumer Price Index and dearness allowance.This was based on the verdict of the Supreme Court,“ he said during Question Hour. The Economic Times New Delhi,26th April 2016

EPFO Set for Brand Makeover to Widen Reach among Subscribers

FACELIFT Retirement fund body's initiative seen as effort to rebuild image dented by protests against government move to tax withdrawal of PF money Retirement fund body Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is getting a brand makeover, a move seen as an exercise to rebuild its image in the wake of some controversial decisions related to the organisation including some that triggered violent protests. To begin with, EPFO will soon get a tagline to brand itself and this is likely to be followed by a brand ambassador who would be the face of the organisation. A senior labour mini stry official said the idea is to ensure EPFO becomes a household name and people sho uld make use of it in a big way. “Many of our subscribers who are poor workers are not aware of the benefits like the pension, provident fund and even the deposit-linked insurance scheme under EPFO besides several new initiatives undertaken in the last two years.Hence we aim to reach out to the last mile subscriber…

Govt cuts EPF interest rates

Finance ministry overrules trustees, settles for 8.7% interest The finance minister has overruled a decision of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation and cut the interest rate to 8.7 per cent for the financial year 2015-16. The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had approved an 8.8 per cent interest rate. For financial years 2013-14 and 2014-15, the interest rate was 8.75 per cent. However, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Monday, said: "The CBT, at its meeting held in February, had proposed an interim rate of interest at 8.8 per cent to be credited to the accounts of Employees' Provident Fund subscribers for 2015-16. The ministry of finance has, however, ratified an interest rate of 8.7 per cent." Trade unions were, naturally, unhappy with the decision, and accused the finance ministry of disrespecting the CBT - the supreme decision-making body of the EPFO. ALSO REA…