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Showing posts from May 20, 2017

GST Council’s role may widen to non-tax issues

While implementing goods and services tax (GST) from 1 July will ease inflation pressures, it has also set in motion the idea of a new “horizontal” federal system where states engage with one another closely, state finance ministers said here.

In a panel discussion hosted by Mint here, members of the powerful GST Council disclosed that the federal indirect tax body has discussed reworking the basket of goods in the consumer price index (CPI) , the gauge that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tracks for its monetary policy, in order for it to reflect the new consumption and cost of living reality. An updated CPI will be useful in making adjustments in indirect tax, which affects the poor as much as the rich. The base year for CPI is 2012 at present.

“What the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) needs to do is to evolve a new consumption basket to assess the real consumption,” said Jammu & Kashmir finance minister Haseeb Drabu. The two-day meeting of the 14th Council before the July…

Supreme Court defers hearing on plea challenging mandatory use of Aadhaar

The Supreme Court on Friday deferred hearing a plea challenging the Aadhaar Act and the mandatory use of the unique identification number in at least 17 government schemes.

A bench comprising justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha also directed the court registry to list all cases seeking a stay on mandatory use of Aadhaar together for 27 June.

Child rights activist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha has moved the apex court arguing that some of the schemes for which Aadhaar is mandatory fall outside
the purview of the law governing it.

The government raised objections to the cases being heard urgently. The government’s top law officer, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, said the case needs to be heard by a bench of at least five judges.

In August 2015, a three-judge bench referred the issue of whether an Indian citizen enjoys a fundamental right to privacy, which critics argue will be violated by Aadhaar, to a larger constitution bench which is yet to be constituted.

Last week, chief…

FDI equity inflows rose 9% to record $43.5 billion in fiscal year 2016-17

Foreign direct investment (FDI) equity inflows into India rose 9% to a record $43.5 billion during fiscal year 2016-17, at a time when global FDI inflows are falling.

In the January-March quarter, however, FDI equity inflows fell 28% to $7.6 billion, data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on Friday showed.

Mauritius remained India’s top source of FDI equity inflows at $15.7 billion, followed by Singapore at $8.7 billion during 2016-17. The services sector continued to attract the highest investment at $8.9 billion, followed by telecommunications which attracted $5.6 billion.

FDI inflows including equity capital of unincorporated bodies, reinvested earnings and other capital grew 8% to $60.1 billion in 2016-17.

Increased FDI inflows are largely attributed to “intense and bold” policy reforms the government undertook to bring pragmatism in the FDI regime, DIPP said in a note.

“The government in past three years has undertaken a number of reforms in differe…

GST Council fits services under 4 slabs

The two day summit to finalise the goods and services tax (GST) concluded in Srinagar on Friday with most of the job done, but leaving a lot unfinished.

The rates of six categories of products, including bidis, gold, agriculture implements, textile, footwear and biodiesel, will now be taken up at another round of meeting on June 3 in New Delhi.

While the GST Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, brain stormed on thousands of items ranging from consumer goods to luxury cars, steel and coal to betting and gambling, inaplush hotel against the backdrop of Dal Lake, the action shifted to historical ´Chashme Shahi´,aroyal spring at one of the Mughal Gardens, for announcing the outcome of the summit on Friday.

The choice of venue becameatalking point as former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi are believed to have often got water to Delhi from the Chashme Shahi spring.But the summit was all about business, even as some government officials were planning to s…