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Monday, February 8, 2016

Top Carmakers Join Forces For Electric Vehicles

Joint crack team of Maruti, Tata Motors, M&M to develop hybrid cars in India

India's electric vehicle development programme got a shot in the arm last month, with three of the country's biggest carmakers signing a pact to jointly develop critical parts for an all-electric hybrid car.

The research & development teams of home-grown Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra are seeking one another's expertise in areas like motor, transmission and other components to develop solutions for captive use later.

The tripartite alliance, which is open-ended and technical in nature, entails an investment of Rs 22-25 crore, and the government will invest an equal amount under the 'faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles' (FAME) programme it announced last year.

Mahindra Reva Chief Executive Arvind Mathew said: "It will take at least one-and-a-half years before we see something. The software and integration part will remain exclusive to the three companies while motor and transmission knowhow will be shared."

Motor, transmission and batteries are the hardware part of an electric vehicle but the software controls the vehicle's critical systems like engine and battery to name a few.

Hybrid or electric vehicles make use of on-board computers to distribute the right amount of power to the vehicle.

But now software for cars - these get updates similar to mobile phones or computers - will determine a lot more. US-based Tesla, for instance, released Version 7.1 software that expands the autopilot functionality. The update allows a car to open the garage door, enter the garage, park itself, and shut down. In the morning, the car can be summoned to the doorstep.

Developing an all-electric or hybrid car that is both practical and affordable at the same time, though, is an expensive affair. Costs of batteries, which have to be imported from China, make up for 50 per cent of the vehicle cost. Mahindra Reva e2o, for instance, costs Rs 6,76,667 (ex-showroom, Mumbai) - that is the cost of a petrol-fired mid-sized sedan.

Issues regarding range (distance of travel) of the vehicle and top speed will have to be closer to a conventional internal combustion engine while keeping prices affordable. A compact hatchback which typically has a 35-litre fuel tank can cover a distance of 420-525 km (mileage of 12-15 kmpl) before refuelling. But the four-seater e2o, the only electric car on sale in India at present, can travel a maximum of only 120 km.

"But a full charge of 10 units will power the car for 120 km but will cost you only Rs 60 - a fraction of the cost that you pay for petrol or diesel cars," added Mathew.

Coming together will help the three companies keep pace with foreign competitors like Renault, Nissan, Ford and General Motors, which have already made substantial investments in this area. Ford Motor Company, for example, is investing $4.5 billion (Rs 30,000 crore) in an electric car programme and plans to have 13 vehicles on the road by 2020.

"Foreign companies need not participate in our local programme since they are already developing their own," added Mathew, who is currently overseeing the launch of the electric version of the Mahindra Verito and Maxximo, to start in April.

Following a ban in Delhi on diesel vehicles with engines greater than 2000 cc, and amid a growing activism against the cheaper fuel, there has been a three-fold rise in electric vehicle demand in Delhi, according to Mahindra Reva. "Compared to average monthly sales during the rest of the year, Delhi saw a three-fold increase in December. January, too, has been a very good month. Next year, it will double again," added Mathew, without disclosing absolute sales figures.

While most vehicle manufacturers believe electric cars are the future, lack of infrastructure to support such initiatives remains a concern area. "I do believe full electric cars need infrastructure development. Hybrids have a role to play here in India. Demand for petrol and diesel vehicles in the country will stay in the near term, as the battery packs for electric vehicles are very expensive", said Jurge Stackman, member of the board (head sales & marketing), Volkswagen Passenger Cars.

POWERFUL PARTNERSHIP
  • The tripartite alliance, which is open-ended and technical in nature, entails an investment of Rs 22-25 crore
  • The govt will invest an equal amount under the 'faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles' programme it announced last year
  • Developing an all-electric or hybrid car that is both practical and affordable at the same time, though, is an expensive affair
  • The cost of batteries, which have to be imported from China, makes up for 50 per cent of the vehicle cost
  • A full charge of 10 units will power electric cars for 120 km but cost only Rs 60 - a fraction of the cost paid for petrol or diesel cars.

Reference - http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/top-carmakers-join-forces-for-electric-vehicles-116020800035_1.html

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Govt Raises the Wall For Steel Imports

Minimum prices imposed for 173 grades of steel imports for 6 months initially

The government on Friday imposed minimum import prices (MIPs) on specific steel products to protect domestic players from cheap imports from China and other countries. Integrated domestic primary steel producers such as Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel, Jindal Steel & Power, state-owned Steel Authority of India and Tata Steel would be among the largest beneficiaries.

The move, however, would not apply to the stainless steel sector. Also, import for American Petroleum Institute (API)-grade steel used in the petroleum and natural gas industries are exempted from the MIP.

MIPs are valid for six months only, which could trigger uncertainty in the market. But a government official said these may be extended further.

For ingots, billets, blooms and slabs, MIP now stands at $362, $352 and $341 per tonne, respectively. Similarly, various flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloyed steel (of a width of 600millimetres or more) will now attract different MIPs - in the range of $445 to $752 per tonne. Hot-rolled bars and rods, of iron, non-alloyed steel as well as alloyed steel, will also face MIP of around $450 per tonne.
Govt raises the wall for steel imports
"We certainly welcome the move and hope that they (government) extend it beyond six months," Ravi Uppal, chief executive officer, Jindal Steel told Business Standard. Indian steel companies also hinted at price revision post the MIP imposition. "We will need to check the gap between the MIP level and the distressed local steel price and then perhaps a correction will happen in the local prices," Uppal added. The MIP notification - issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) - is valid for six months.

"We may extend the timeline of six months, if needed. It was clear that our domestic industry was not getting the benefit of safeguard duty and anti-dumping duty," said a senior steel ministry official.

On September 14 last year, the government imposed a 20 per cent provisional safeguard duty for 200 days on the import of hot-rolled flat products in coils of a width of 600 mm or more.

Moreover, on December 11 last year, the government imposed anti-dumping duty ranging from 5 to 57 per cent on cold-rolled flat products of stainless steel for a period of five years. The duty was imposed on imports from China, South Korea, European Union, the US, South Africa, Thailand and Taiwan.

Steel companies had witnessed poor earnings in the December quarter as realisations took a hard hit because of increased imports despite a five per cent increase in domestic demand. "With this measure now, domestic steel producers should be able to grab some share in the increasing domestic demand, from which we were completely off due to cheap imports," Uppal said.

N C Mathur, president, Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA), said the government's move may "slightly" help the ailing steel sector. However, he was disappointed that the stainless steel sector was left out. "We are again disappointed that stainless steel products have been left out of the ambit of MIP mechanism. It is noteworthy that stainless steel industry faces exactly similar danger of what the carbon steel sector does… As a result of excessive imports, almost all stainless steel players are under severe financial stress," Mathur said.

Meanwhile, Sanak Mishra, secretary general at Indian Steel Association said, the government has covered quite a few important products such as hot-rolled coil, sheets and strips along with cold-rolled products. He said it was the right move for the domestic steel industry.

The consumer segment, however, is not happy with as it fears a price hike in steel products in the range of Rs 3,000-5,000 per tonne in the next 3-5 months. Moreover, the consumer segment, whose input cost will shoot up significantly, also faces the threat of close down, leading to rise in non-performing assets for the banks.

"MIP imposition is going to show its impact in the next 4-5 months when manufacturing sector shrinks and NPAs rise for banks in a much bigger way," said Nikunj Turakhia, head of the Bombay Iron Merchants' Association board.

Reference - http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/govt-raises-the-wall-for-steel-imports-116020600040_1.html


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Baltic Index Sinks as Trade Dries up

Sparks fears of vessels being docked for want of business

The Baltic Dry Index, the benchmark for dry bulk shipping freight, has fallen to as low as 300 points, sparking fears of vessels being laid off, if trade deteriorates further.

In 2008, the index had crossed the 11,000-mark. It started falling because of China’s significantly reduced presence in the international dry bulk segment. For the last few months, it fell week after week.

While agents claim that ships could soon be docked as there was hardly any freight to carry, most shipping companies did not comment on the matter.

“The laying-up of ships has already started in the Far East. As shipping is an international business, India will obviously be affected,” said Captain Anoop Sharma, managing director, Essar Shipping. He added his company was doing better than its peers as its other business segments were doing well.

Shipping Corporation of India, Great Eastern Shipping and Essar Shipping are the leaders of the domestic market.

“If this trade climate prevails, ship owners will have no option but to shut down vessel operations. I don’t see that situation too far away. Maybe in the next three to six months, owners may have to take such a call. Currently, however, vessel owners continue to look for business,” said shipping agent Daniel Chopra, also the managing director of Mumbai-based Elektrans.

The index has been on a continuous fall since August last year following China’s economic slowdown that led to the devaluation of their currency, which actually set the strong bearish tone for the bulk trade market, not just in the Asia-Pacific region, but across the globe. Since early this year, the index has touched new lows and was at 310 on February 2 from a high of 1,222 on August 5, 2015.

China, the world’s largest importer and exporter of several commodities, is now only importing sugar in a big way. A slowdown in its economy indicates grim trade climate across world.

“If owners lay-up vessels, it would be the first time since the second half of 1980,” Chopra said.
Baltic index sinks as trade dries up
According to the 2014 annual report of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the world fleet reached a total of 1.69 billion dwt in January 2014, of which bulk carriers accounted for 42.9 per cent, followed by oil tankers at 28.5 per cent and container ships at 12.8 per cent.

BDI had hit an all-time high of 11,793 on May 20, 2008. Since then, the index has been volatile, stuck in a trough for a longer-than-stipulated period and never reaching the peak number again.

Docking vessels because of the falling BDI and drying up of business maybe a last resort for the shipping companies, feel some agents. “Shutting down of vessel operations is not a solution to the problem; it is just a stop-loss measure for shipping companies. Such decisions may not be taken in haste,” said another shipping agent, who did not want to be named.

Keeping vessels idle also involve a significant cost, said the agent, so the shipping companies will consider that option only when all others had been exhausted.

State-owned Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), the country’s largest shipping company with significant exposure in the bulk segment, would be in a difficult position as most of its 17 bulk vessels have signed spot contracts. “With falling freights, we will have to look at other options to keep vessels deployed and employed on water,” said an official of the company.

Essar Shipping has a 50:50 break-up between the two segments, with long-term contracts varying between two and five years.

“Compared to our peers, we are slightly in a better position as we have internal cargo handled and we are also in long-term contracts. This insulates us from the current sharp fall in Baltic,” said Captain Anoop Sharma, managing director, Essar Shipping.

The tanker segment, which has been a saving grace for companies dealing in bulk, continues to lend support to the business for companies having exposure in both segments. Shipping agents are of the view that SCI’s tanker business would, to some extent, offset the losses made in bulk.

The outlook for the Baltic Dirty Tanker index (for crude oil) and the Baltic Clean Tanker index (for petroleum products) is bullish, as these indices record the peak demand season from October. “The tanker segment is doing reasonably well, as a fall in crude oil prices has encouraged countries to stock the commodity, leading to higher engagement of VLCCs (very large crude carriers),”  said Sharma.

Reference - http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/baltic-index-sinks-as-trade-dries-up-116020300577_1.html

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Panel Suggests More Freedom for India Inc

Leeway to fix managerial salary, more sweat equity, stock options for start-ups


To make it easier for companies to do business, a panel constituted to suggest amendments in the Companies Act, 2013 has recommended, among other things, doing away with any kind of government intervention in managerial remuneration and allowing start-ups to issue more sweat equity and employee stock options (ESOPs).

The panel, headed by corporate affairs secretary Tapan Ray, has said that for managerial remuneration shareholders' approval should suffice and no government nod should be needed. Further, only ordinary resolution, nod from 50 per cent of shareholders, would be enough. At present, approval from 75 per cent shareholders is required. The committee also suggested relaxing norms for start-ups to issue sweat equity. Now, 50 per cent of the paid up capital could be issued as sweat equity, against the existing norm of 25 per cent.

The panel said employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) norms be relaxed for start-ups. Currently, ESOPs cannot be issued to promoters or promoter directors even if they are employees of the company. The committee felt this rule should be relaxed to enable issuance of ESOPs to promoters who are working as employees or employee directors or whole-time directors. This would help the promoters gain from increase in future valuation of the company without in impacting finances of the company during its initial years. On norms for associate companies, the panel suggested a company would only be considered an 'associate company' if the parent company controls at least twenty per cent of total voting power, instead of the current norm based on the share capital.

The ten-member panel recommended the removal of provision under Section 2(87), which prohibited the companies to not have more than two levels of subsidiaries. "The panel has tried to address various transitional challenges for companies as well as lots of inconsistencies because of different provisions in the Companies Act, accounting standards and Sebi regulations," said Yogesh Sharma, Partner, Grant Thornton India.

The panel found that Section 447 - which lays down the punishment for any person found guilty of fraud to minimum six months imprisonment - has a potential of being misused and may also have a negative impact on attracting professionals in the post of directors etc. It has recommended that only those frauds which involve Rs 10 lakh or above, or one per cent of the company's turnover, whichever is lower, may be punishable under Section 447.

In order to bring the Companies Act in harmony with the Sebi regulations, the panel said that independent director should not have any kind of pecuniary relationship with the company. It has recommended there should be a test of materiality so that a 'pecuniary relationship' can be established and, subsequently, prohibited if it is affecting the director's independence.

Sections 194 and 195 of the Companies Act - which restrict forward dealing and insider trading by directors and key managerial professionals (KMPs) of any company - have also been recommended to be removed. These issues are already covered under Sebi regulations. "The Committee deliberated on the issues involved and noted that Sebi regulations are comprehensive in the matter (and also apply to companies intending to get listed), and in view of the practical difficulties expressed by stakeholders, sections 194 and 195 may be omitted from the Act," said the panel report. This means the norms governing insider trading and forward dealing would not apply to unlisted entities.

In a major jolt to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the panel has recommended formation of National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) under Section 132 of the Act. The Committee said, "in view of the critical nature of responsibilities wherein lapses have been seen to cause serious repercussions, the need for an independent body to oversee the profession is a requirement of the day."


MAJOR CHANGES SUGGESTED IN COMPANIES ACT
  • A firm to be called associate company only when the parent firm owns 20 per cent of voting power in it
     
  • Insider trading and forward dealing provisions to be removed from the Act as Sebi regulations already exist
     
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India's regulatory powers to be taken away; National Financial Reporting Authority would be formed
     
  • Independent directors should not have any pecuniary relationship - where it is getting material benefits - with the company
     
  • Small frauds of less than Rs 10 lakh not to be considered under harsh provisions
     
  • Private placement process to be simplified, doing away with separate offer letter, making valuation details public
     
  • Incorporation process to be made easier, allowing greater flexibility to companies
     
  • Self-declarations to replace affidavits from subscribers to memorandum and first directors
     
  • Managerial remuneration to need only shareholders' approval. No need for government approval.
Reference - http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/panel-suggests-more-freedom-for-india-inc-116020200052_1.html

Monday, February 1, 2016

Unsponsored ADRs, GDRs Likely to Get Tax Relief

Budget may bring exemption for those backed by Indian securities other than shares

 

The Union Budget for 2016-17 is likely to exempt unsponsored American depository receipts (ADRs) and global depository receipts (GDRs) based on underlying Indian securities from capital gains tax. The move could be aimed at encouraging such listings. Besides, such exemptions might also come for ADRs and GDRs based on Indian unlisted stocks and securities other than equities.

At present, the law exempts ADRs and GDRs from capital gains tax if they are backed by listed Indian shares; there is no such clarity if these depository receipts are issued against unlisted shares or securities other than shares. Also, the relief is currently given only to sponsored ADRs and GDRs, not the unsponsored ones.
Read our full coverage on Union Budget 2016

Issued by an American bank, an ADR is a certificate representing a specified number of shares in a foreign company's stock traded on a US exchange, while a GDR is ADR's equivalent for other global markets.

Unsponsored ADRs are created by foreign depository banks without the participation or consent of issuer companies. Because of the present ambiguous position, some investment banks have deferred their plans to bring out unsponsored ADRs and GDRs.

ALSO READ: FM likely to announce 4 major ports in Budget

"The Budget may provide capital gains tax relief on a host of ADRs, and GDRs where there is ambiguity at present," a government source told Business Standard.

It has not been long since the government last tried reviewing and reforming the ADR-GDR market for underlying Indian securities. In 2013, it had set up a committee under M S Sahoo, former board member of the Securities and Exchange board of India (Sebi), to review regulations governing ADRs and GDRs. The committee had in November of that year given its report to P Chidambaram, the then finance minister.

Among its many recommendations, the committee had suggested that any security of an Indian company - and not just equity shares - be used as underlying for ADRs and GDRs. It had also recommended that tax treatment and other rules for these depository receipts, as applicable to investors, should be the same as those for the underlying securities.

ALSO READ: Tweaking TDS norms will be counterproductive

The Centre had accepted some of these suggestions and in November 2014 notified new regulations for ADRs and GDRs. However, officials say that even since then the market for ADRs and GDRs on underlying Indian securities has not picked up. This is because of an ambiguity over the taxation of unsponsored ADRs and GDRs, as well as of those based on unlisted Indian stocks and instruments other than equity.

Meanwhile, Bank of New York Mellon had earlier filed for more than 50 unsponsored ADRs - based on Indian securities like Tata Consultancy Services, Bajaj Finance and Apollo Tyres. But these are yet to come up.

Rajesh H Gandhi, partner (tax), Deloitte Haskins & Sells, says: "While the government has made the necessary regulatory announcements permitting unsponsored ADRs, industry is awaiting clarity over tax treatment on conversion of shares into ADRs, and reconversion of such ADRs back into shares." Business Standard has learnt that Finance Minister is likely to make these announcements as part of the capital market section of his Union Budget for 2016-17, on February 29.


WIDENING THE AMBIT
  • Currently, the law exempts American depository receipts (ADRs) and global depository receipts (GDRs) from capital gains tax if they are backed by listed Indian shares
     
  • The relief is given only to sponsored ADRs, GDRs
     
  • Coming Budget is likely to exempt unsponsored ADRs and GDRs based on underlying Indian securities from capital gains tax
     
  • Such exemptions might also come for ADRs and GDRs based on Indian unlisted stocks and securities other than equities
     
  • The move is likely to give a boost to investment banks seeking to go for unsponsored ADRs and GDRs
Reference -  http://www.business-standard.com/budget/article/unsponsored-adrs-gdrs-likely-to-get-tax-relief-116020100027_1.html

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Govt's Cash Balance With RBI High, Puts Stress on Liquidity

Cash pile-up indicates Centre may be reluctant to spend in order to meet fiscal deficit target of 3.9% of GDP for 2015-16

The government's cash balance with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was Rs 1.4 lakh crore on January 28, an amount unusually high for this time of the financial year and is causing acute liquidity pressure in the banking system.

The cash pile-up indicates the Centre may be reluctant to spend in order to meet the fiscal deficit target of 3.9 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for 2015-16.

With government action plus RBI intervention in the foreign exchange (forex) market, liquidity shortage in the banking system has assumed mammoth proportion - prompting RBI to offer assistance of Rs 1.6 lakh crore through its overnight and dated liquidity windows so that call money rates remain near the repo rate of 6.75 per cent.

On a technical basis though, the liquidity shortage is 1.73 per cent of the net demand and time liabilities of the banking system, higher than RBI's own target of one per cent. However, the overarching aim of the regulator now is to keep call money rates anchored to the repo rate.
TRIGGERS FOR ACUTE LIQUIDITY PRESSURES
  • Government seen conserving money to meet fiscal targets
  • RBI intervening in foreign exchange market, sucking out rupee resources
  • Foreign investors selling bonds, adding to liquidity crunch
  • Banks have obligation to meet enhanced Liquidity Coverage Ratio
  • Rising credit demand from industry and corporate in final quarter

"We are looking at all measures to ensure there is sufficient liquidity and we are able to support what is required as far as the Budget is concerned," Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said in response to a question on the government sitting on cash. "RBI is fully supportive of all requirements of liquidity and is standing by to provide whatever liquidity is necessary," Sinha said, in Mumbai on the sidelines of a banking conclave organised by industry body Assocham.

Govt's cash balance with RBI high, puts stress on liquidity
Analysts said government cash balance with RBI was usually around Rs 70,000 crore at this time of year. Finance ministry officials said while the Centre was not holding back on capital expenditure, there was a tightening over schemes where spending was weak in the first three quarters of 2015-16. "Other departments have been told that pending disbursement on revised estimates may occur after February. So that may have contributed to the additional cash," an official said.

The finance ministry has told the departments concerned that it might not support schemes in January-March that have not utilised funds in the first three quarters of the year. Schemes for the social sector and of national importance are, however, unlikely to be affected.

Officials said the finance ministry was not keen to release Rs 12,000 crore of the Rs 40,000 crore gross budgetary support for the railways citing poor pace of work. Sources from other ministries confirmed similar instructions from the finance ministry, which has not reacted positively to the foreign ministry's proposal for higher than its budgeted allocation. Banks usually face a liquidity shortage at the time of tax outflow but money starts coming back into the system when the government begins spending. This has not happened so far, indicating the government could be hunkering down to meet its deficit target. Banks are finding it difficult to meet higher demand for year-end credit from companies and enhanced liquidity reserve requirements. An executive with the State Bank of India (SBI) said most banks were struggling to meet the enhanced liquidity coverage ratio under Basel III norms. The obligation ruled out selling gilts, an SBI executive said. Foreign institutional investors were liquidating part of their holdings in Indian debt and taking out money, putting additional strain on liquidity, bank treasury executives said.

Govt's cash balance with RBI high, puts stress on liquidity















An executive with Andhra Bank said the RBI's intervention in the forex market was sucking out rupees. The RBI sold $5 billion in the past month to stabilise a falling rupee and removed an equivalent amount of money from the system.

Reference - http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/govt-s-cash-balance-with-rbi-high-puts-stress-on-liquidity-116013000031_1.html

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Budget May Offer TDS Relief to Taxpayers

Changes in threshold not to have a significant revenue impact, say officials

The government is considering rationalising tax deducted at source, according to recommendations made by the R V Easwar Committee.

Officials said the changes in tax deducted at source (TDS) rates and thresholds would not have a significant revenue impact. Revision of the tiny annual limits, which were long overdue, would, however, benefit small depositors and pensioners, they added. "For the Budget, we will be looking at recommendations that do not have large revenue implications. For the rest, we will have to do the math on the tax revenue foregone," said a government official.
Read our full coverage on Union Budget 2016


The panel has suggested reducing the short-term capital gains tax on annual earning of less than Rs 5 lakh from trading of shares and not treating it as business income. This will have a significant revenue implication when the government is trying to lower the fiscal deficit to 3.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016-17 from the projected 3.9 per cent in 2015-16.
ALSO READ: India and US settle 100 tax disputes

Budget may offer TDS relief to taxpayers
The committee has recommended reduction of the TDS rate for individuals and Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) to five per cent from 10 per cent. For interest on securities, it has proposed raising the threshold for TDS to Rs 15,000 from Rs 2,500 annually and halving the tax rate to five per cent. For other interest earnings, the limit recommended is Rs 15,000, up from Rs 10,000 for bank deposits and Rs 5,000 for others.

"The thresholds are unfair to pensioners and widows, who have all their savings in fixed deposits. The average rate of tax has fallen, but these thresholds have not gone up. Why should they suffer tax at 10 per cent when the average rate of tax is somewhere at five per cent," Easwar told Business Standard.

The 10-member panel has recommended a hike in the TDS threshold for payments in respect of NSS (National Service Scheme) deposits to Rs 15,000 from Rs 2,500, and reducing rates from 20 per cent to five per cent. The panel has also suggested raising the TDS limit for payments to contractors from the current Rs 30,000 for a single transaction and Rs 75,000 annually to Rs 1 lakh annually. The TDS limit on rent income is proposed to be raised from Rs 1.8 lakh annually to Rs 2.4 lakh.

The committee has submitted only a draft report to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and is likely to present the final one in a few days. Sources said the final report would not be drastically different from the draft. Jaitley said on Monday at an Income Tax Appellate Tribunal event the government was looking at the recommendations to come up with a neater tax regime to reduce litigation. The committee has said nearly 65 per cent of personal income tax collection in India was through TDS and the government should consider making its provisions less tedious.

The panel was set up by Jaitley in October to identify provisions and phrases in the Income Tax Act that led to litigation over interpretation. It was asked to suggest alternatives to ensure predictability in tax laws without substantially impacting the tax base or revenue collections.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS
Easwar panel on tax simplification
  • Treat stock trading gains of up to Rs 5 lakh as capital gains and not business income
     
  • Reduce TDS rates for individuals to 5% from current 10%
     
  • I-T dept should not delay tax refund due beyond six months. A higher interest rate should be applicable in case of delay in refunds beyond six months
     
  • Exempt NRIs not having a Permanent Account Number, but seeking to provide their Tax Identification Number for applicability of TDS at a higher rate
     
  • Defer contentious Income Computation and Disclosure Standards provisions

Reference - http://www.business-standard.com/budget/article/budget-may-offer-tds-relief-to-taxpayers-116012900045_1.html


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