23, November 2016

1.Declaration of undisclosed Black Money

Source: PIB

A total number of 64,275 declarants have made declaration of undisclosed income of Rs.65,250 crore under the Income Declaration Scheme, 2016.

  • Under the Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 the amount of tax, surcharge and penalty is payable in three instalments.
  • The notified date for payment of first instalment is 30th November, 2016.
  • Hence, the quantum of tax collected as part of the Scheme cannot be quantified at this stage.

Government has taken several measures, by way of policy initiatives and enforcement action, to curb black money:

  1. Constitution of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money under Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship of two former Judges of Hon’ble Supreme Cour.
  2. Enactment of ‘The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015’ to specifically deal with the issue of black money stashed away abroad.
  3. Constitution of Multi-Agency Group (MAG) consisting of officers of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for investigation of recent revelations in Panama paper leaks.
  4. Proactively engaging with foreign governments with a view to facilitate and enhance the exchange of information under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs)/Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs)/ Multilateral Conventions
  5. Joining the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement in respect of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) and having information sharing arrangement with USA under its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
  6. Enactment of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 to amend the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 with a view to, inter alia, enable confiscation of Benami property and provide for prosecution have come into effect from 01.11.2016.
  7. Initiation of the information technology based ‘Project Insight’ by the Income Tax Department for strengthening the non-intrusive information driven approach for improving tax compliance and effective utilization of available information.
  8. Withdrawal of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denominations of Bank Notes of the existing series issued by Reserve Bank of India
  9. Amendment of Rule 114B of the Income-tax Rules to mandate quoting of PAN, for transactions of sale or purchase of goods or services of any nature above Rs.2 Lakh.

 

2.Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras – Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers

Source: PIB

  • With a view to achieving the objective of making available quality medicines at affordable prices, the Government has been taking several regulatory and fiscal measures from time to time.
  • In order to provide further relief to the common man in the area of healthcare, a countrywide campaign for ensuring availability of quality generic medicines at affordable prices to all, in the name of “Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana” (PMJAY) has been started.
  • As on date, there are 534 Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras (PMJAK) functioning over 26 States/UTs.
  • The PMJAY is being implemented by the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI).

3.India and Switzerland Sign ‘Joint Declaration’ for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) between the two countries

Source: PIB

India and Switzerland have signed a Joint Declaration for implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) in respect of accounts of Indians held abroad.

  • As a result, it will now be possible for India to receive from September, 2019 onwards, the financial information of accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years, on an automatic basis.
  • The pact is based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA) also known as Common Reporting Standards (CRS) on AEOI.

Switzerland always had been at the centre of the debate on black money allegedly stashed by Indians abroad.

  • It used to be known for very strong secrecy walls around its banking practices till a few years ago. However, after huge global pressure had forced Switzerland to sign MCAA on AEOI and do away with its tough secrecy clauses in its local laws given to the banks.

MCAA

  • MCAA is multilateral convention on administrative assistance in taxation matters developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
  • It was signed by 53 jurisdictions in July 2015 based on Article 6 of the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. India had joined it in June 2015.
  • It sets up a system wherein bulk taxpayer information will be periodically be sent by source country of income to the country of residence of the taxpayer.
  • This agreement obliges signatories to exchange a wide range of financial information among themselves periodically and automatically.
  • Its main aim is to prevent international tax evasion and avoidance and help member countries to curb tax evasion and deal with the problem of black money.

4.India’s wealth rises, as does disparity

Source: The Hindu

The total quantum of wealth is rising in India but so is the disparity between those who have wealth and those deprived of it.

As per a report on global wealth published by Credit Suisse, the total quantum of wealth in India is rising but disparity between rich and poor is also rising.

Uneven growth

  • The report says that the uneven growth has left 96% of the adult population in India at the base of the wealth pyramid with wealth below $10,000. However, a small fraction of the adult population (0.3%) has net worth of more than $100,000.

Highlights:

Indian Scenario: The wealth in India is mostly dominated by property and other real estate. It makes up 86% of its estimated household assets.

The wealth in India in local currency terms increased 5.1% in 2016 but due to adverse currency exchange movements.

India’s  household wealth fell by 0.8 per cent to $3 trillion in dollar terms. The annual growth of wealth per adult in rupees has averaged 6 per cent between 2000 and 2016.

Globally, the overall growth in wealth remained limited in 2016, continuing the trend that emerged in 2013 and contrasting sharply with the double-digit growth rates witnessed before the global financial crisis of 2008.

Radhika Menon becomes first woman to receive IMO’s Exceptional Bravery award at Sea

Source: The Hindu

  • Captain Radhika Menon was awarded with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea.
  • With this, she became the first woman in the world to receive the Award. She was presented with this award for saving lives of seven fishermen from sinking fishing boat in Bay of Bengal.
  • Besides, B M Das operator and diver of a rescue helicopter at Indian Coast Guard air station Daman was also presented with this award. He was bestowed with this award for rescuing all 14 crew members of the merchant ship Coastal Pride, which capsized and eventually sank.

  1. Nuclear capable Agni-I ballistic missile successfully test-fired

Source: The Hindu

The indigenously built nuclear capable Agni-I ballistic missile was successfully test-fired from a test range off Odisha coast, as part of a user trial by India Army.

 It was test-fired from a mobile launcher from the launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island).

The last trial of Agni-I was conducted successfully in March 2016 from the same base.

Agni-I missile:

  • Agni-I is intermediate range nuclear capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile. It is first missile of the Agni series launched in 1983.
  • It was developed by a premier missile development laboratory of DRDO in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.
  • It weighs 12 tonnes and is 15-metre-long.
  • It is designed to carry a payload of more than one tonne.
  • It is single stage missile powered by solid propellants. It can hit a target 700 km away. Its strike range can be extended by reducing the payload. It can be fired from road and rail mobile launchers.
  • It is equipped with sophisticated navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision.
  • The missile already has been inducted into armed forces. Since its induction it has proved its excellent performance in terms of range, accuracy and lethality.
  • It is also claimed to be a part of the India’s minimum credible deterrence under No first to use policy.

Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa to be Chief Guest of 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

António Costa (54), the Indian origin Prime Minister of Portugal will be the chief guest at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention.

 The PBD Convention is scheduled to be held from January 7 to 9, 2017 in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Mr. Costa will participate in the inaugural session of the PBD Convention on January 8 and address the delegates.

Besides, Surinam Vice president Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin will be the Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held in Bengaluru on January 7, 2017.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)

  • The PBD is celebrated every year on January 9 to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. It is celebrated every year since 2003.
  • It provides a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities.
  • January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa.
  • Thus, this event marks the importance of arrival of India’s greatest Pravasi who led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.


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