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SC verdict may stall Aadhaar linkage to stock trading

SC verdict may stall Aadhaar linkage to stock trading Last week, exchanges issued a circular, asking brokers to furnish Aadhaar details of all clients

 The Supreme Court (SC) ruling the right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution has triggered uncertainty over the mandatory linking of Aadhaar for stock trading. Brokers said they will now wait for the SC judgment that will test the validity of Aadhaar. 

“We will wait for the judgment on use of Aadhaar. Any relief would be welcome for stock market participants. We don’t have any issue with Aadhaar, however, linking all accounts is a difficult and costly task for brokers,” said Alok Churiwala, managing director (MD), Churiwala Securities.

Last week, stock exchanges issued a circular, asking brokers to furnish Aadhaar details of all existing clients by December 31. In the circular, exchanges said the failure to submit documents within the time limit could result in a ceasure of accounts.

The move had sparked panic among the…

Aadhaar seeding in bank accounts in peril

Aadhaar seeding in bank accounts in peril SC ruling on privacy could lead to individuals refusing to share details for linking bank accounts

The Supreme Court’s (SC’s) ruling on privacy being a fundamental right could hit banks’ efforts to link accounts with Aadhaar numbers, say bankers and lawyers.

It is mandatory now to link Aadhaar with bank accounts by the end of this calendar year, but bankers say Thursday’s ruling could mean an individual may flat out refuse to share his or her Aadhaar number.

A five-Bench will now rule if Aadhaar would be mandatory, but bankers are already seeing red flags in forcing someone to give up their identification (ID) number.“A person can challenge it since biometric identification is an extreme privacy issue,” said an official with a public sector bank.

“It seems the only way the government can force people to link Aadhaar with their account number is to enable passing on the welfare schemes and subsidies. If a person chooses not to share his/her number,…

Government may nudge state-run banks to present M&A options

Government may nudge state-run banks to present M&A options The government will now nudge state-run lenders to present potential targets for merger and acquisitions after putting in place a procedure for quick decisions consolidation proposals and banks have been told to identify synergies across platforms including business operations and geographical spread, a senior finance ministry official said.

“They will present such options and those banks which have also shared similar inclinations, we will bring them together to pursue it further,” the official said. The union cabinet on Wednesday approved an alternative mechanism of a panel of ministers to decide on consolidation proposals for state-run banks.

“It is not necessary that a larger PSB should overtake a small or mid-size lender. If there is a synergy, two or three banks can merge to create a bigger and stronger entity,” said another finance ministry official, adding that the idea was to create stronger banks that can raise re…

GST could help banks enhance credit monitoring

GST could help banks enhance credit monitoring The new goods and services tax regime is bringing some unintended benefits for banks.

Many lenders, including DCB Bank, ICICI BankBSE -0.15 % and Axis BankBSE 0.52 %, are now offering companies the option of filing their monthly GST returns through their website.

This will help banks enhance their credit appraisal systems, keep track of corporate invoices and cash flows, and also get access to new clients by tapping their suppliers.

This service offered by banks is particularly useful for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are intimidated by the new GST regime but are comfortable with internet banking.

“Our site helps customers create an invoice and reconcile their accounts,” said Praveen Kutty, president for retail and SME banking at DCB Bank. “Our expectation is that customers using our site to fill their monthly returns will eventually make ours their primary bank account. It also enhances our ability to give loans, monitor cash flow…

Over 1.9 mn file GST returns

Over 1.9 mn file GST returns As many as 19,42,354 taxpayers have till Wednesday filed returns for July under the new goods and services tax (GST) regime. Officers of the GST Network (GSTN), responsible for the information technology (IT) backbone of the GST, said they hoped 2.8 million more would do so by the deadline in the next two days.

Those who have filed returns constitute over 22 per cent of total assessees (8.7 million) under the GST regime. However, of the 8.7 million assessees, 2.2 million are yet to complete the migration process to the new indirect tax regime.

The GSTN, also managing the tax filing apparatus, has geared up the IT network to handle the rush, its Chairman Navin Kumar said. A last minute rush caused the GSTN portal to crash last week, forcing the government to extend the deadline by five days to August 25.

Those who wish to claim transitional input tax credit can file returns by August 28. Sudhir Singh, MD of Marg ERP,a solution provider for GST returns, said ov…

Cabinet fast tracks merger of public sector banks

Cabinet fast tracks merger of public sector banks New framework approved; mergers by share swaps

The Cabinet on Wednesday approvedaframework to speed up mergers of public sector banks, the first of which could take place by March. The mergers will not involve any cash but only share swaps.

The government also said there would be no job losses after any of the mergers.PSU bank unions had gone onastrike on Tuesday. The decision lifted banking stocks, but bankers said the decision should not be forced on them.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made it clear the process would be initiated by the boards of the banks. An official said a number of banks were discussing merger possibilities among themselves.“The government is saying it will not force (mergers). They will leave it to the banks.

If the players find it reasonable and profitable, they will work on it," said State Bank of India Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya. Business Standard had reported in June that Bank of Baroda and Canara B…

CBDT Gives Offshoring Cos a Boost, Withdraws Controversial Guideline

CBDT Gives Offshoring Cos a Boost, Withdraws Controversial Guideline The Central Board of Direct Taxes is open to lowering the withholding tax rate for foreign companies which have income in India, but said that companies should pay their due taxes.

“I would like to be informed in which areas the TDS (tax deducted at source) is high, so that we can think of reducing that also,” CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra said at an international tax conference organised by Assocham on Wednesday. “We are absolutely open to any suggestions which can make the life of a genuine taxpayer easy."

Chandra urged firms and multinational companies operating in India to pay their due share of taxes and said adequate safeguards had been put in place to ensure that anti-abuse provisions like General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) are not misused. Rahul Garg, chairman at Assocham’s National Council on Direct Taxes, said the tax department issues refunds to the tune of Rs 40,000-60,000 crore every year and, hence, …