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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Attributing ‘political colour’ to verdicts amounts to sheer contempt, says SC

Attributing ‘political colour’ to verdicts amounts to sheer contempt, says SC
The Supreme Court held that attributing “political colours” to judgments amounts to sheer contempt of court.In a 78-page judgment, a Bench of Justice

Source: TH

‘Odisha tribals being harassed over murders’

‘Odisha tribals being harassed over murders’
OPDR demands high-level inquiry

Source: TH

Bengal Congress on the back foot with Noor’s exit

Bengal Congress on the back foot with Noor’s exit
Party leaders, workers worried about remaining MPs, MLAs

Source: TH

Shankaracharya says Ram temple construction to begin Feb 21, ready to `face bullets’

Shankaracharya says Ram temple construction to begin Feb 21, ready to `face bullets’
Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati on Wednesday said a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya will take place on February 21,

Source: TH

Court lifts liquor sale ‘ban’ in Mizoram

Court lifts liquor sale ‘ban’ in Mizoram
The Aizawl Bench of the Gauhati High Court on Wednesday set aside the Mizoram government’s notification extending dry days and allowed liquor vendors

Source: TH

Assam employees join anti-Citizenship Bill stir

Assam employees join anti-Citizenship Bill stir
Members of the Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad, the largest union of State government employees in Assam, joined the protests against the Citizenship (

Source: TH

Pvt. schools uncertain over filling 25% of seats

Pvt. schools uncertain over filling 25% of seats
No clarity yet on status of RTE seats

Source: TH

State to roll out quota in promotions for SC/ST staff

State to roll out quota in promotions for SC/ST staff
Implementation is subject to SC verdict

Source: TH

‘Centre delaying release of job scheme funds’

‘Centre delaying release of job scheme funds’
The State government on Wednesday said that the Centre has been delaying the release of nearly ₹850 crore of funds to the State under the Mahatma Gand

Source: TH

HC lifts gag order imposed against Minister for Milk & Dairy Development

HC lifts gag order imposed against Minister for Milk & Dairy Development
The Madras High Court on Wednesday lifted a gag order imposed by a single judge of the court in October 2017 restraining Minister for Milk and Dairy D

Source: TH

Order justifying nominating only Muslims as head of minorities’ panel withdrawn

Order justifying nominating only Muslims as head of minorities’ panel withdrawn
HC disposes PIL as govt. to consider afresh issue of not appointing members of other minorities as chairperson

Source: TH

Cabinet move on reservation in promotion gets mixed reaction

Cabinet move on reservation in promotion gets mixed reaction
The decision of the Cabinet on Wednesday to implement the legislation on consequential seniority to provide reservation in promotion to Scheduled Cast

Source: TH

IRCTC premium tatkal ticket booking: Is it different from Tatkal quota? Know all details here

IRCTC premium tatkal ticket booking: Is it different from Tatkal quota? Know all details here
Under this Premium Tatkal ticket booking scheme, a few seats can be reserved with a dynamic fare pricing. For those who wish to Book train tickets under Premium Tatkal quota, they can do so through IRCTC's website or Rail Connect app.

Source: TFE

ICICI Bank loan case: How investigative ‘adventurism’ hurts ease of doing business

ICICI Bank loan case: How investigative ‘adventurism’ hurts ease of doing business
The Minister’s damnation makes it loud and clear, not only to the CBI but also to the other agencies of the government, that such an ‘intent’ is ruinous for the ease of doing business; something that the Modi government underlines among its successes.

Source: TFE

Stock Market Budget 2019 Expectations: DDT relief, mutual fund benefits, tax slab changes on anvil

Stock Market Budget 2019 Expectations: DDT relief, mutual fund benefits, tax slab changes on anvil
Share Market Expectations from Budget 2019: With interim Budget 2019 just a day away, expectations from stock market experts include STT relief, income tax slabs adjustment and benefits for mutual fund investors under Section 54EE.

Source: TFE

Centre asks ousted CBI chief Alok Verma to join office a day before retirement

Centre asks ousted CBI chief Alok Verma to join office a day before retirement
Two weeks after deposed CBI Director Alok Verma told the Department of Personnel and Training to consider him retired, the Ministry of Home Affairs replied to him a day before his superannuation as Director, asking him to join office as DG, Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards immediately.

Source: TFE

Pakistan on India’s objections Qureshi-Mirwaiz talks: Nothing new, have always been communicating with Kashmiri separatists

Pakistan on India’s objections Qureshi-Mirwaiz talks: Nothing new, have always been communicating with Kashmiri separatists
The Pakistani and Kashmiri leadership has always been communicating and there is nothing new in Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's telephonic conversation with separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar, the Foreign Office has said as it rejected India's objections.

Source: TFE

Budget Session: Key takeaways from President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to joint session of Parliament

Budget Session: Key takeaways from President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to joint session of Parliament
President Ram Nath Kovind today addressed a joint session of the Parliament today.

Source: TFE

Budget 2019: Fitch warns of fiscal slippage if Modi govt goes for populist interim budget

Budget 2019: Fitch warns of fiscal slippage if Modi govt goes for populist interim budget
Budget 2019: Ahead of BJP-led NDA government presenting the final budget of its tenure, Fitch Ratings Thursday warned of a second consecutive year of fiscal slippage in the event of Finance Minister Piyush Goyal resorting to populist spending to win over lost vote base.

Source: TFE

Railway Budget 2019: With Rs 1.6 lakh crore expenditure, Indian Railways may see 148% hike in capex from 2014!

Railway Budget 2019: With Rs 1.6 lakh crore expenditure, Indian Railways may see 148% hike in capex from 2014!
Under the UPA government, the last Railway Budget vote had projected capital expenditure of Rs 64,305 crore while the national transporter had managed to spend nearly Rs 59,359 crore in the fiscal year 2013-2014.

Source: TFE

‘Love Commandos’ head Sanjoy Sachdev arrested for confining, extorting money from couples

‘Love Commandos’ head Sanjoy Sachdev arrested for confining, extorting money from couples
The NGO helps in uniting couples whose parents are opposed to their relationship.

Source: TFE

Budget 2019: Has there been higher allocation for higher education in Modi-era? Let’s find out

Budget 2019: Has there been higher allocation for higher education in Modi-era? Let’s find out
Budget 2019: PM Modi has reiterated that science and technology will facilitate his ‘New India-2022’ vision. But has his budget allocation been as forthcoming for science and technology as his words?

Source: TFE

Major relief for Rakesh Asthana: SC dismisses PIL challenging appointment as DG civil aviation security

Major relief for Rakesh Asthana: SC dismisses PIL challenging appointment as DG civil aviation security
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to entertain the plea filed by lawyer M L Sharma challenging Asthana's appointment in BCAS.

Source: TFE

Soon, pay utility bills, income tax using your feature phone, thanks to govt’s voice bot assistant

Soon, pay utility bills, income tax using your feature phone, thanks to govt’s voice bot assistant
The government is looking to extend the reach of its planned artificial intelligence-backed voice bot from smartphone users to feature phone users for access to various government services.

Source: TFE

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s appeal to lawmakers ahead of Budget Session: Political considerations should not derail House proceedings

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s appeal to lawmakers ahead of Budget Session: Political considerations should not derail House proceedings
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu Thursday appealed to leaders of various parties that their political considerations should not derail the proceedings of the House in the Budget Session.

Source: TFE

Union Budget 2019 Expert Opinion: Five key expectations of India Inc from Budget 2019

Union Budget 2019 Expert Opinion: Five key expectations of India Inc from Budget 2019
Expert Opinion on Union Budget 2019 Expectations: Given the high expectations and limited fiscal space, meeting the plethora of expectations would be a really daunting task. However, there remained certain issues that India Inc wishes the government would address in its interim budget.

Source: TFE

Budget 2019: Will the FM clean air around some ambiguous tax provisions?

Budget 2019: Will the FM clean air around some ambiguous tax provisions?
Typically a budget in an election year is presented as a vote on account budget without announcement of gutsy policies and schemes. This time around, however, it may be different.

Source: TFE

Budget 2019 is near; stock market expected to be volatile, here’s when you should buy

Budget 2019 is near; stock market expected to be volatile, here’s when you should buy
The pressure, built up since last August, with Nifty 50 struggling to sustain above the 11,000-mark, is expected to expand further due to the budget season.

Source: TFE

Budget 2019 Live Streaming: When and where to watch Piyush Goyal Union Budget 2019 speech

Budget 2019 Live Streaming: When and where to watch Piyush Goyal Union Budget 2019 speech
When and Where to Watch Union Budget 2019 Live Streaming:

Source: TFE

Budget 2019: Not just literacy, education and skilling should be priority, suggest experts

Budget 2019: Not just literacy, education and skilling should be priority, suggest experts
Expectation of Education Sector from Union Budget 2019: While those belonging to the education sector assert that budget should have a larger grant for education, some of them maintain, with foresight, that revamping the current education system to encourage practical skills is direly needed.

Source: TFE

Budget Session: PM Modi hopes for constructive debate, says people watching MPs who do not participate

Budget Session: PM Modi hopes for constructive debate, says people watching MPs who do not participate
Ahead of the onset of the Budget Session of Parliament today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the media and urged all members to utilise the session for a constructive debate.

Source: TFE

Exercise may boost cognition even in young adults, says study

Exercise may boost cognition even in young adults, says study
Aerobic exercise training improves cognition -- acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses -- even in young and middle-aged adults, according to a study.

Source: TFE

NHRC issues notice to UP government over death of three labourers in Bareilly

NHRC issues notice to UP government over death of three labourers in Bareilly
In a notice to UP's Chief Secretary, the National Human Rights Commission has also sought the details regarding the relief and rehabilitation that has been provided to the families of the deceased.

Source: TFE

New DTH, Cable TV pricing: Here’s how much it will cost to subscribe all channels

New DTH, Cable TV pricing: Here’s how much it will cost to subscribe all channels
According to TRAI’s channel selector application, you would end up paying Rs 6,137 if you were to subscribe to each and every channel offered by DTH and cable operators.

Source: TFE

Kerala budget 2019: From tourism to Sabarimala; key allocations in first budget post flood

Kerala budget 2019: From tourism to Sabarimala; key allocations in first budget post flood
Kerala budget 2019: In the first budget post devastating floods, Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac on Thursday is presenting the state budget for FY20 in the state assembly.

Source: TFE

Programme launched to connect Indian descent high school students to homeland

Programme launched to connect Indian descent high school students to homeland
Aiming to connect high school American students of Indian descent to their homeland, a top Indian-American organisation has announced a three-week fully funded scholarship programme for them to travel to India.

Source: TFE

Donald Trump to make significant announcement on ISIS next week, says Mike Pompeo

Donald Trump to make significant announcement on ISIS next week, says Mike Pompeo
The US President Donald Trump will make a significant announcement on the status of the fight against the ISIS in Syria during his State of the Union Address next week, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

Source: TFE

CBI row in Supreme Court: Justice NV Ramana recuses from hearing plea challenging Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim chief

CBI row in Supreme Court: Justice NV Ramana recuses from hearing plea challenging Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim chief
Supreme Court judge Justice NV Ramana on Thursday recused himself from hearing a plea challenging the Centre's decision to appoint senior IAS officer M Nageswara Rao as interim CBI director.

Source: TFE

Engineering aspirants take note: IIT-Delhi to implement 10% upper caste quota from 2019-20, increase seats by 12.5%

Engineering aspirants take note: IIT-Delhi to implement 10% upper caste quota from 2019-20, increase seats by 12.5%
An order by the Ministry of Human Resource Development has directed all central educational institutions to introduce the 10 per cent quota from the new academic session starting in July.

Source: TFE

ICICI Bank shares zoom 2.5% after former boss Chanda Kochhar’s indictment

ICICI Bank shares zoom 2.5% after former boss Chanda Kochhar’s indictment
Shares of India's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank rallied in trade on Thursday, after the indictment of former boss Chanda Kochhar in Videocon loan case.

Source: TFE

DHFL share price falls 17% after government launches probe in Rs 31,000 crore fraud allegations

DHFL share price falls 17% after government launches probe in Rs 31,000 crore fraud allegations
DHFL shares fell 17 per cent to Rs 134 in early trade Thursday after government launched probe into Rs 31,000 crore fund diversion allegations.

Source: TFE

Index mutual funds in demand: Here’s why and should you invest in them?

Index mutual funds in demand: Here’s why and should you invest in them?
Two important developments in the mutual fund's industry have turned the tables in favour of the index mutual funds.

Source: TFE

SC refuses to interfere in 63 Moons case, asks HC to conclude hearing in Feb - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

SC refuses to interfere in 63 Moons case, asks HC to conclude hearing in Feb
City: 

The Supreme Court has declined to interfere with the Bombay High Court order of releasing the assets of 63 Moons Technologies (formerly Financial Technologies, or FTIL) attached under the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act in the Rs 5,600-crore NSEL default case.

The apex court while hearing the matter also urged the Bombay High Court to conclude the final hearing of the matter within February itself.

The attachments of 63 Moons’ assets were done through notifications issued by the Maharashtra Government in April 2018 under the provisions of the MPID Act.

The attachment of its ODIN Software and the amounts accruing out of it was challenged by 63 Moons in the Bombay High Court.

As the Bombay High Court had ruled out the need for additional attachment of properties in the case and now the Supreme Court has declined to interfere in the matter, 63 Moons could now get access to ODIN Software and its receivables, which were put in a separate escrow account since September 2018.

The stock of 63 Moons Technologies gained 12.02 per cent on Wednesday on the BSE, closing at Rs 91.35.

The Supreme Court dismissed the special leave petitions (SLP) of the NSEL Investor Action Group (NIAG) and the Government of Maharashtra, declining to interfere with the Bombay HC order of releasing assets of 63 Moons.

The Bombay High Court had, on October 24, 2018, passed an interim order staying the attachment of 63 Moons’ assets, which included bank accounts and properties, under the MPID Act.

This order was challenged by the Maharashtra Government and the NIAG in the Supreme Court and the matter was heard on January 28. After hearing the arguments of both sides, the Supreme Court held that it wasn't inclined to interfere with the order of the Bombay High Court. The Supreme Court stated that since this is a matter of importance, it also requesting the Bombay High Court to conclude final hearing of the matter within the month of February itself.

SC refuses to interfere in 63 Moons case, asks HC to conclude hearing in Feb

Source: EP

Positive signals for bulls - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

Positive signals for bulls

The market ended flat with the Sensex closing 1.25 points lower at 35,591.25, while the Nifty-50 fell 0.40 points to settle at 10,651.80. The broader market outperformed the frontline indices with the BSE Mid-Cap and Small-Cap indices ending in positive territory.

Tata Steel (up 5.14 per cent), Bajaj Finance (3.36 per cent), Axis Bank (4.56 per cent,) ICICI Bank (5.29 per cent), Coal India ( 1.21 per cent), SBI (2.40 per cent), L&T (1.35 per cent) and M&M (1.15 per cent), were the major Sensex gainers.

Kotak Mahindra Bank (down 2.35 per cent), HDFC (-1.74 per cent), ITC (-1.35 per cent), RIL (-1.33 per cent) and HDFC Bank (-1.24 per cent), Yes Bank (-1.58 per cent) and Bajaj Auto (-2.65 per cent) were the major Sensex losers.

Among the sectoral indices on the BSE, Metal (up 1.89 per  cent), Bankex (1.36 per cent) and Capital Goods (up 1.18 per cent), outperformed the Sensex.

Technical view

Jay Thakkar, head-technical & derivatives research & AVP-equity research, Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers, said: “The Nifty closed in the negative territory, however, on the hourly charts it seems to have formed a double bottom pattern, which is a positive sign for the bulls. Now, on the lower side, it has a support at 10,580 levels and till those levels are held there can be a retracement till 10,758. If 1,0580 breaks then it will fall till 10,530 levels.

“The Sensex too closed in the negative territory. The index has a support near 35,450 levels and till those levels are held there can be some bounce till 35,700 levels.”

Market view

Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services, said: "The market fluctuated between gains and losses and ended with a marginal loss while the global market was positive. Risk for further downside in FY19 earnings due to mixed third quarter results and upcoming interim budget refrained investors from going long. At the same time, a dichotomy was seen in 10-year yield, which is softening currently in expectation of ease in monetary policy and is giving a ray of light to the market."

Columnist: 
Ashwin J Punnen
Positive signals for bulls

Source: EP

Market trading cautiously ahead of budget, Fed meet - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

Market trading cautiously ahead of budget, Fed meet
City: 

The equity market seems to be treading cautiously ahead of the budget as investors are unwilling to take huge positions fearing volatility before key events.

Benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty on Wednesday ended flat as cautious investors refrained from taking any positions in view of upcoming key events like futures & options expiry, US Fed policy outcome and the Union interim budget, analysts said.

There is no major build up in the derivative market before the budget as sentiments are now driven more on political grounds rather than earnings or budget proposals.

Even though third quarter results of more than 70 per cent of the Indian companies are relatively better or above expectations, the Nifty-50 and the Nifty Bank indices have corrected during the last 10-12 trading sessions by between 3.25 per cent and 3.60 per cent, as political worries outweighs the good corporate numbers.

"This is a crucial period for the government before it completely gets into an election mode. Ahead of the elections, we may see the budget announcing some sort of farm loan waiver, rural stimulus and a rise in minimum support prices (MSP). The budget will continue to be an important tool for the government to communicate its economic as well as social agenda and some excitement around it is still warranted. Consumption and rural plays should see an increase in allocation from the budget perspective. We do not believe that investment is likely to see any renewed push in this budget. Consumption is likely to be the focus area," says Naveen Kulkarni, head of research, Reliance Securities.

"We expect budget to be positive for the market,” he said.

The market is worried about the prospects of a populist budget, with farm loan subsidies, lower income tax slabs and reduced corporate tax for small and medium-scale enterprises, putting an additional burden on the fisc.

Sectors like construction, infrastructure, real estate and housing are likely to get special attention in the 2019 interim budget, going by the trend of the last few years.

“The budget has always been an event when we expect volatility to expand with the perception to safeguard the portfolio and hedge the overall risk in the market,” said Mustafa Nadeem, CEO, Epic Research.

 “The market is likely to be in a range of 11,200 to 10,700 on the downside. So given the days left to budget, we expect the market to test 11,100-11,200 while only a decisive break beyond that we may see a next move since that would call in for a much aggressive rally that may be supported by short covering as well. On the downside, support is established at 10,700-10,650. These are important for this move and a breach of these levels will see a downward move to take the Index to lower levels of 10,200–10,250,” Nadeem added.

“Markets are likely to see an expanded move though study suggests we may see a move higher that can take the market to higher levels of 11,100-11,150.  We expect a halt at levels of 11,100-11,200 since it’s a very strong resistance placed there. Historically the market has reacted to budget in a positive.“

Post-Budget, some profit booking can be expected, as the rebalancing of the portfolio will be there,” analysts said.

“Markets are expected to remain highly volatile in the near-term on account of the Union Budget 2019. In the recent past, Nifty50 tried to cross the 11,000 mark two times but has failed to sustain above the same. This has resulted in some selling pressure. The broader range is seen at 10,400-11,000,” said Sahaj Agrawal, Kotak Securities.

Market trading cautiously ahead of budget, Fed meet

Source: EP

Govt transferred Rs 5.6 L cr to beneficiaries via Aadhaar enabled payment system - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

Govt transferred Rs 5.6 L cr to beneficiaries via Aadhaar enabled payment system
City: 

The government has transferred Rs 5.6 lakh crore to beneficiaries of NREGA, LPG subsidies and other benefits using Aadhaar-enabled payment system. It is also facilitating 9.1 crore electronic transactions such as passport services and land records through the e-governance portal.

“Good governance through the Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS) has been an area of focus for the government in the last four years. We have transferred a total of around Rs 5.6 lakh crore across to beneficiaries of NREGA, LPG subsidies, etc. using AePS. In addition, we are currently facilitating 9.1 crore electronic transactions such as passport services, land records, etc. through the e-governance portal,’ said Vinay Thakur, director-project development, National eGovernance Division, Ministry of Electronics and IT, while speaking at the 27th Convergence India 2019 expo and conference.

He also said that the government is also focusing extensively on developing BharatNet to bridge the digital divide between the urban and rural areas of the country.

“Out of around 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country, we have reached about 1.22 lakh, and our aim is to reach each and every household across all the regions. Moreover, the government has deployed more than 7,000 websites and 960 key applications on the cloud for faster delivery of services and improvements in the tech infrastructure,” he added.

The conference discussed topics and trends pertaining to digitization, fintech, telecom, IoT, cloud and big data, mobile technologies, and digital transformation in India.

“India is set to reach approximately USD 450 billion worth of transactions by 2022. The retail lending sector has the biggest untapped opportunity and fintech will play a very important role in developing the market for digitally driven lending services. However, it will be imperative to improve digital and financial literacy to tap into the rural sector, where the scale of opportunity is comparatively much greater than the urban markets where the presence of fintech is more widespread at present,” said Probir Roy, Co-founder, PayMate India.

Govt transferred Rs 5.6 L cr to beneficiaries via Aadhaar enabled payment system

Source: EP

Paytm launches domestic hotel booking service - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

Paytm launches domestic hotel booking service
City: 

Paytm has launched domestic hotel booking service and will be investing upwards of Rs 500 crore for scaling its operations and expanding the portfolio. The company has also acquired Nightstay, a luxury hotel-booking platform for an undisclosed amount.

In the first phase of the launch, the company has partnered with over 5000 hotels across the budget, luxury and business segments. These include the Zuri, Sarovar, Treebo, Vresorts, Sterling, Ginger and Bloomrooms across top cities.

With the acquisition, Paytm will leverage Nightstay’s acumen to further expand its portfolio in this vertical.  Nasr Khan, founder of Nightstay will be leading this category at Paytm and will be responsible for the overall growth and development as well.

Paytm Travel, which had started in 2014, sells over 60 million tickets a year, and has become the leading player for IRCTC tickets, bus tickets, and flight bookings. Earlier this year, Paytm Travel also started offering foreign exchange bookings for international travelers.

“The momentum we’re building in our travel vertical is remarkable, with leading positions in rail, bus and flight bookings. The launch of domestic hotel bookings is an important step forward as it will help travelers around the country conveniently plan and book their perfect trip on Paytm. We want to offer the broadest travel selection on our platform, and look forward to continuing our expansion with the help of our trusted travel partners,” Madhur Deora, Chief Financial Officer, Paytm said.

Paytm aims at having two million hotels and alternate accommodations globally, with the availability of 50 million rooms within the first 18 months.

Paytm launches domestic hotel booking service

Source: EP

Six months after floods, Kerala’s farm sector makes a come back - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

Six months after floods, Kerala’s farm sector makes a come back
City: 

Six months after a devastating deluge washed away thousands of hectares of land parcels---under cultivation of all kinds of agriculture crops including paddy and banana, vegetables and plantations crops like coffee, cocoa, coconut, tea, rubber, cardamom, pepper and other spices---that ruined the life and livelihood of thousands of farmers, Kerala’s agriculture sector is now on a road to remarkable  recovery.

The deadly deluge that left a trail of destruction had almost crippled the state’s agriculture production. As per official figures (conservative), 3.14 lakh farmers suffered huge losses of over Rs 2,000 crore as close to 60,000 hectares of cropped area was fully destroyed in the floods during July-August last year.

“The floods brought damage to the agriculture sector was unfathomable. Yet, a speedy recovery was possible only because of our increased focus on organic farming and commitment towards the conservation of indigenous seeds,’’ said Chandu, an organic farmer from Mananthawady of Wynad district.

Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK), a farmer-led moment played an extremely critical role in boosting the fallen morale of the farming community, especially during these tough times.

FTAK was formed a decade ago to give farmers access to global markets, improve their income from farm produce, to fight against falling prices of food grains, spices and agricultural commodities including coconuts and also to save them from growing indebtedness which led to a spate of farmer suicides.

Tomy Mathew Vadakancheril promoter of FTAK said: ``Frade trade means security and predictability in the lives of farmers. They are assured a minimum price irrespective of market fluctuations, so that they know what is coming and they can plan their future. If there is no stable price for commodities, the farmers will end up destroying all other crops and start focusing on one crop that fetches them the best price. However, maintaining biodiversity in farms is so critical for the climate challenge times we live in. FTAK guarantees an organic premium for all their produce and therefore several thousands of farmers are able to sustain themselves in organic and integrated farming.’’

A five-day agro seed fest organised by Fair Trade Alliance Kerala brought together farmers and friends from all over the country and abroad to Wayanad. To celebrate the post floods recovery of the state’s agro sector, this edition of the fest was called: The Seeds of Survival.

Addressing a large audience of farming community, Thomas Kalappura, a farmer also secretary of FTAK said, farmers are often advised by politicians and policy makers to produce at the lowest cost and also sell at the lowest cost. In the process majority of farmers don’t even recover the cost of production. FTAK came as a huge respite to farmers and through its network farmers in the state have access to domestic and global markets.

Cheruvayal Raman,  who is internationally known for protecting and preserving as many as 60 different indigenous and organic agri seeds in Kerala, said, ``In  most developed countries, farmers are a special community and they are respected differently as they are the food creators for the rest. Farmers are also acknowledged for directly contributing to the environment, ecological balance and biodiversity. They are given subsidies, allowances and technical know-how etc. In India, farmers are considered as someone who is the lowest in the value chain. This has to change.’’

Interestingly, in a goodwill gesture global customers---to whom farmers in Kerala sell their produce through FTAK---from Switzerland, UK, Germany, France and USA have contributed close a Rs 1 crore to the farming community to rebuild farms that were destroyed in floods and to revive farming activities.

``It is unfortunate that farming has reduced to a topic of mere profit and loss in India. Farming is critical for the survival of man, animals, birds and the entire ecosystem. I had the privilege to represent India in a recently concluded farmer conference in Brazil which brought together a large number agriculturists from 60 countries,’’ added Raman.

Celin Manuel, a successful organic farmer said, home farming segment has been growing very rapidly in Kerala with each household showing interest in growing their own vegetables and at least some variety of fruits. ``This wave is primarily spearheaded by women and in the recent years a large number of women have entered into mainstream farming in the state,’’ she added.

mini.tejasvi@mydigitalfc.com

Six months after floods, Kerala’s farm sector makes a come back

Source: EP

Inside the FM’s Briefcase! - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

Inside the FM’s Briefcase!

The ruli\ng government will be presenting the interim union budget on 1 February 2019. An interim budget is the one presented by a ruling government prior to the end of their term. The government is expected to decide the amendments cautiously; they have to ensure that the changes proposed to match the expectations of the voters while at the same time are not so radical as to invite the criticism from the other parties.

Section 80C limit due for a raise

The limit of Rs.1.5 lacs was last revised in Budget 2014-15. We can expect the government to consider revising this limit, with the due passage of time, this limit no longer holds good. The Industry chamber CII has also urged the government to increase the 80C limit to Rs 2.50 Lacs. An increase in section 80C limit will help provide more room for tax saving.

Increase in the income tax slabs

It is expected that the government will agree to the ask of the industry chamber CII on increasing the income tax basic exemption limit. CII has urged to double the basic income tax exemption limit to 5 lacs from the current 2.5 lacs.

Currently, income up to 2.5 lacs is exempt from income tax for individuals. Income between 2.5 – 5 lacs attracts 5 per cent tax, while that between 5-10 lacs is levied with 20 per cent tax. Income above 10 lakh is taxed at 30 per cent. This is the income tax slab for individual tax payers for FY 2018-19.

The industry body has suggested that income below 5 lacs should be exempt while between `5-10 lacs should be taxed at a lower rate of 10 per cent. For those individuals having income between `10-20 lacs, the tax rate should be 20 per cent, and those earning over `20 lakh should be taxed at 25 per cent.

We can also expect a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent from 30 per cent irrespective of the turnover.

New NPS rules to be effective after the Budget 2019

Finance Bill 2019 will have a new set of rules for National Pension Scheme (NPS) for FY 2019-20 and onwards. The government has recently approved the increment in the share of NPS contribution from 10 per cent to 14 per cent for the central government employees. In addition, the withdrawal of NPS will be 60  per cent tax-free from the present 40 per cent. The remaining 40 per cent though must be mandatorily put into an annuity.

We can anticipate that these provisions will include all taxpayers; central government employees, private sector employees and the self-employed as well.  The fine print of the Finance Bill 2019 will help clarify the conditions for eligibility under section 80C for investments made to the TIER 2 account. These reforms will give a lift to NPS making it an effective tool for retirement planning for individual taxpayers.

Clarity on the Long-Term Capital Gains (LTCG) on equity investment

In the present scenario, any switch within the same scheme from debt to equity in ULIPs and NPS or any fund reallocation between them is not liable to taxation. But shifts between the schemes like in the case of a shift from a dividend option to a growth option or vice -versa, is liable to capital gains tax. We are expecting the government to bring parity between the schemes and make these tax savings avenues more attractive for individuals.

Extending HRA benefits

Salaried individuals, especially those working in Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, and Gurgaon location, are hopeful of the Union budget 2019. They expect their cities to be re-categorised as Metro cities for HRA purposes. Currently, the individuals are allowed 40 per cent of their basic salary for calculation of exempt HRA, which they expect to rise to 50 per cent of the basic salary.

(Attributed to cleartax.in)

Inside the FM’s Briefcase!

Source: EP

Focus on skill development - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

Focus on skill development

The government has numerous reasons to focus on skill development of the populace. In addition to the obvious economic benefits of having a skilled population, skilling helps address multifarious challenges. A citizenry, especially the youth, involved in productive employment ensures a progressive society and nation. Holistic and targeted skilling, including knowledge of forward and backward linkages, would produce entrepreneurs, who are job creators. Finally, a skilled population would help maximise the demographic dividend and even provide the much-needed manpower to a global economy facing an ageing workforce.

A Boston Consultancy Group study, in 2007, indicated that by 2020, while India will have surplus of 56 million working people, the rest of the world will encounter a shortage of 47 million working people

The ecosystem for job linked skill development programmes has been evolving, gradually, into a holistic one with the participation of relevant stakeholders, courtesy the initiatives of the Government through the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). Significant progress has been made in terms of: establishment of model skills centres in each district (PMKK), robust accreditation systems for training centres, technology enabled skills data management, industry relevant standards and assessment protocols, training of trainers, and greater emphasis on outcomes and engagement of the industry. Having established such a robust framework and foundation, the Government now needs to pay attention to the following aspects that will enable the skills systems to be sustainable and demand driven:

*Allocation of adequate funds to sustain and scale up the current initiatives

*Establishment of live labour market information systems that will match the availability of jobs with the people

*Greater focus on skill development needs of local economies, informal sector and MSMEs including self-employment, and evolving a framework for measuring the outcomes of such programmes

*Greater integration of vocational skills programmes with the formal education system, right from school to the university level, that would address aspirations and career mobility challenges, for which concerned Ministries of GoI (MHRD, MSDE), the state governments and the regulators like UGC, AICTE etc to work together

*Devising mechanisms that will enable and encourage the industry to pay ‘skills premium‘ while recruiting the workforce

*Development and execution of a clear road map for leveraging the opportunity of skilled manpower shortage in other countries so that India truly becomes the global skills factory

(The author is MD & CEO of IL&FS Education)

Focus on skill development

Source: EP

Land Rover Discovery Sport Landmark Edition launched at Rs 53.77 lakh - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

Land Rover Discovery Sport Landmark Edition launched at Rs 53.77 lakh
City: 

Tata Motors-owned British luxury sports car maker Jaguar Land Rover on Monday introduced a special edition for its 2019 Discovery Sport, christened  Landmark Edition priced at Rs 53.77 lakh to take on German rivals such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi in Asia’s third biggest car mart.

This special edition marks Land Rover's first launch of the 2019 and commands a premium of Rs 1.30 lakh over its Discovery Sport SE variant on which it is based on.

This special-edition Discovery Sport gets three exclusive colours and minor cosmetic changes. It is also available only with diesel engine and it is slotted between the Discovery Sport SE and Discovery Sport HSE variants.

In the fiercely competitive luxury car market in the country dominated by German brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, the Landmark Edition model rivals other luxury SUVs like the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. But the Discovery Sport Landmark Edition gets minor cosmetic changes on the outside and inside, and three exclusive exterior colour options – Narvik Black, Yulong White and Corris Grey. “The introduction of the Landmark Edition for Model Year 2019 Discovery Sport further enhances the Discovery Sport portfolio,” Rohit Suri, president and managing director at Jaguar Land Rover India, said.

This special edition variant introduces remarkable features to the vehicle that fortify its exceptional capability, versatility and spirit of adventure, he boasted.

Powered by the 180hp, 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine, the special-edition SUV sports a new grey contrast roof, with all the exterior finishes, a new design front bumper and new 18-inch grey alloy wheels.

The cabin of the Landmark Edition gets new ebony-grained leather seats, a black headliner and a dark grey aluminium finish on the centre console.

Apart from these minor changes, the Discovery Sport Landmark Edition is identical to its standard seven-seat sibling. At Rs 53.77 lakh, the Landmark Edition slots between the Discovery Sport SE prieced at Rs 52.47 lakh and the Discovery Sport HSE at Rs 55.81 lakh.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport range now starts at Rs 44.68 lakh and goes up to Rs 61.27 lakh for the diesels, while the petrol line-up, powered by a 240hp, 2.0-litre engine, consists of the SE at Rs 50.36 lakh and the HSE at Rs 53.75 lakh at pan Indian showroom.

At the end of last year, Land Rover brand had launched the 2019 update for the Discovery Sport, adding the 180hp diesel across a larger section of its line-up and more equipment.

michaelgonsalves@mydigitalfc.com

Columnist: 
Michael Gonsalves
Land Rover Discovery Sport Landmark Edition launched at Rs 53.77 lakh

Source: EP

Reduced litigation on transfer pricing - e paper - english news paper today - news headlines today

Reduced litigation on transfer pricing

Though it is conventionally an interim budget, some tax sops may be expected to facilitate ease of doing business in India.

Many of the suggestions below can no doubt be attended to by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), but an intent to do that can be enunciated by the Finance Minister. Focus of the suggestions here is on improving the business climate, by bringing in tax certainty.

Expand the scope of Safe Harbour Rules CBDT issued the safe harbour rules in September, 2013 to curb the ever mounting litigation in India. However, these rules met with limited success due to perceived high margins for covered transactions. Taking cue from the above, the CBDT vide notification dated 7 June 2017 rationalised the margins for some transactions but no change was made to the safe harbour margin for contract manufacturers of core and non-core auto components, which is very high.

In a much needed impetus to “Make in India” initiative of the government, one can expect the government to revisit the safe harbour rate for auto components manufacturers and at the same time extend the scope of safe harbour rules to other contract manufacturing arrangements in the pharmaceutical sector, electronic goods etc.

Specific guidance on business restructuring Post Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) era has witnessed a spurt in the number of business restructuring cases as multinational companies seek to streamline their operations in line with economic reality. Despite such flourish in restructuring and reorganization cases, there is no common approach that exists amongst international tax authorities with respect to tax treatment of these transactions.

Although Section 92B of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (Act) considers a transaction of business restructuring or reorganisation as an international transaction, yet there exists ambiguity as to what transactions may be construed as business restructuring or business reorganization. A specific guidance or definition on business restructuring in line with guidance provided in chapter IX of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for transfer pricing, 2017 will remove the cobweb.

Standardize master file regulations

The current master file regulations in India are applicable to the multinational group with consolidated group turnover of Rs 500 Cr accompanied with aggregate inter-company transaction(s) of Rs 50 Cr or intangible related transactions of Rs 10 Cr, which is significantly lower than the global threshold. This has brought a number of medium-sized taxpayers under the ambit of master file regulations which was not the intent of OECD BEPS Action Plan 13.

Easing on those regulations and harmonising with global standards would provide respite to this segment of MNEs, and improve ease of doing business in India.

Rationalize the rules relating to range concept

Government has taken certain steps to align transfer pricing in India with the global standards.

It brought in the ‘range’ concept and allowed use of ‘multiple year’ data to benchmark the international transactions. However, while the global standards were inter-quartile range (i.e., 25th to 75th percentile), India opted for 35th to 65th percentile, making in narrower than what is generally there in many countries. Since there is overall harmonisation of law taking place in the tax laws, particularly those relating to multinational enterprises (MNEs), there is a good case to bring alignment even on the ‘range’.

Documentation requirement for intra-group services

Intra-group services transactions are often subject of litigation in India; primary questions being on need of the service or the benefit out of the service received. The CBDT can come out with certain guidance to define the evidences or documents which shall be maintained by the taxpayer to substantiate the need-benefit analysis. In any case, during APA process the CBDT does specify, what documents should be maintained to bring out the need-benefit equations.

Exemption of interest limitations

Large capital intensive companies with long gestation periods such companies in the real estate sector and infrastructure companies are negatively impacted by the interest restriction imposed under section 94B of the Act. Therefore, the exclusions granted to banking and insurance companies under section 94B (3) of the Act may be extended to these sectors as well or a higher threshold (in excess of 30% of EBITDA) may be prescribed for such companies.

Certainty and reduced litigation on transfer pricing issues will be the cornerstone for creating a non-adversarial tax regime in India. An early remedy of afore-mentioned issues could go a long way in fostering positive sentiments in the minds of investors and curbing frivolous and vexatious litigation.

(The authors are from Deloitte Haskins and Sells LLP)

Reduced litigation on transfer pricing

Source: EP

Paytm launches domestic hotel booking service

Paytm launches domestic hotel booking service
City: 

Paytm has launched domestic hotel booking service and will be investing upwards of Rs 500 crore for scaling its operations and expanding the portfolio. The company has also acquired Nightstay, a luxury hotel-booking platform for an undisclosed amount.

In the first phase of the launch, the company has partnered with over 5000 hotels across the budget, luxury and business segments. These include the Zuri, Sarovar, Treebo, Vresorts, Sterling, Ginger and Bloomrooms across top cities.

With the acquisition, Paytm will leverage Nightstay’s acumen to further expand its portfolio in this vertical.  Nasr Khan, founder of Nightstay will be leading this category at Paytm and will be responsible for the overall growth and development as well.

Paytm Travel, which had started in 2014, sells over 60 million tickets a year, and has become the leading player for IRCTC tickets, bus tickets, and flight bookings. Earlier this year, Paytm Travel also started offering foreign exchange bookings for international travelers.

“The momentum we’re building in our travel vertical is remarkable, with leading positions in rail, bus and flight bookings. The launch of domestic hotel bookings is an important step forward as it will help travelers around the country conveniently plan and book their perfect trip on Paytm. We want to offer the broadest travel selection on our platform, and look forward to continuing our expansion with the help of our trusted travel partners,” Madhur Deora, Chief Financial Officer, Paytm said.

Paytm aims at having two million hotels and alternate accommodations globally, with the availability of 50 million rooms within the first 18 months.

Paytm launches domestic hotel booking service


Source: MDFC

Six months after floods, Kerala’s farm sector makes a come back

Six months after floods, Kerala’s farm sector makes a come back
City: 

Six months after a devastating deluge washed away thousands of hectares of land parcels---under cultivation of all kinds of agriculture crops including paddy and banana, vegetables and plantations crops like coffee, cocoa, coconut, tea, rubber, cardamom, pepper and other spices---that ruined the life and livelihood of thousands of farmers, Kerala’s agriculture sector is now on a road to remarkable  recovery.

The deadly deluge that left a trail of destruction had almost crippled the state’s agriculture production. As per official figures (conservative), 3.14 lakh farmers suffered huge losses of over Rs 2,000 crore as close to 60,000 hectares of cropped area was fully destroyed in the floods during July-August last year.

“The floods brought damage to the agriculture sector was unfathomable. Yet, a speedy recovery was possible only because of our increased focus on organic farming and commitment towards the conservation of indigenous seeds,’’ said Chandu, an organic farmer from Mananthawady of Wynad district.

Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK), a farmer-led moment played an extremely critical role in boosting the fallen morale of the farming community, especially during these tough times.

FTAK was formed a decade ago to give farmers access to global markets, improve their income from farm produce, to fight against falling prices of food grains, spices and agricultural commodities including coconuts and also to save them from growing indebtedness which led to a spate of farmer suicides.

Tomy Mathew Vadakancheril promoter of FTAK said: ``Frade trade means security and predictability in the lives of farmers. They are assured a minimum price irrespective of market fluctuations, so that they know what is coming and they can plan their future. If there is no stable price for commodities, the farmers will end up destroying all other crops and start focusing on one crop that fetches them the best price. However, maintaining biodiversity in farms is so critical for the climate challenge times we live in. FTAK guarantees an organic premium for all their produce and therefore several thousands of farmers are able to sustain themselves in organic and integrated farming.’’

A five-day agro seed fest organised by Fair Trade Alliance Kerala brought together farmers and friends from all over the country and abroad to Wayanad. To celebrate the post floods recovery of the state’s agro sector, this edition of the fest was called: The Seeds of Survival.

Addressing a large audience of farming community, Thomas Kalappura, a farmer also secretary of FTAK said, farmers are often advised by politicians and policy makers to produce at the lowest cost and also sell at the lowest cost. In the process majority of farmers don’t even recover the cost of production. FTAK came as a huge respite to farmers and through its network farmers in the state have access to domestic and global markets.

Cheruvayal Raman,  who is internationally known for protecting and preserving as many as 60 different indigenous and organic agri seeds in Kerala, said, ``In  most developed countries, farmers are a special community and they are respected differently as they are the food creators for the rest. Farmers are also acknowledged for directly contributing to the environment, ecological balance and biodiversity. They are given subsidies, allowances and technical know-how etc. In India, farmers are considered as someone who is the lowest in the value chain. This has to change.’’

Interestingly, in a goodwill gesture global customers---to whom farmers in Kerala sell their produce through FTAK---from Switzerland, UK, Germany, France and USA have contributed close a Rs 1 crore to the farming community to rebuild farms that were destroyed in floods and to revive farming activities.

``It is unfortunate that farming has reduced to a topic of mere profit and loss in India. Farming is critical for the survival of man, animals, birds and the entire ecosystem. I had the privilege to represent India in a recently concluded farmer conference in Brazil which brought together a large number agriculturists from 60 countries,’’ added Raman.

Celin Manuel, a successful organic farmer said, home farming segment has been growing very rapidly in Kerala with each household showing interest in growing their own vegetables and at least some variety of fruits. ``This wave is primarily spearheaded by women and in the recent years a large number of women have entered into mainstream farming in the state,’’ she added.

mini.tejasvi@mydigitalfc.com

Six months after floods, Kerala’s farm sector makes a come back


Source: MDFC

Inside the FM’s Briefcase!

Inside the FM’s Briefcase!

The ruli\ng government will be presenting the interim union budget on 1 February 2019. An interim budget is the one presented by a ruling government prior to the end of their term. The government is expected to decide the amendments cautiously; they have to ensure that the changes proposed to match the expectations of the voters while at the same time are not so radical as to invite the criticism from the other parties.

Section 80C limit due for a raise

The limit of Rs.1.5 lacs was last revised in Budget 2014-15. We can expect the government to consider revising this limit, with the due passage of time, this limit no longer holds good. The Industry chamber CII has also urged the government to increase the 80C limit to Rs 2.50 Lacs. An increase in section 80C limit will help provide more room for tax saving.

Increase in the income tax slabs

It is expected that the government will agree to the ask of the industry chamber CII on increasing the income tax basic exemption limit. CII has urged to double the basic income tax exemption limit to 5 lacs from the current 2.5 lacs.

Currently, income up to 2.5 lacs is exempt from income tax for individuals. Income between 2.5 – 5 lacs attracts 5 per cent tax, while that between 5-10 lacs is levied with 20 per cent tax. Income above 10 lakh is taxed at 30 per cent. This is the income tax slab for individual tax payers for FY 2018-19.

The industry body has suggested that income below 5 lacs should be exempt while between `5-10 lacs should be taxed at a lower rate of 10 per cent. For those individuals having income between `10-20 lacs, the tax rate should be 20 per cent, and those earning over `20 lakh should be taxed at 25 per cent.

We can also expect a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent from 30 per cent irrespective of the turnover.

New NPS rules to be effective after the Budget 2019

Finance Bill 2019 will have a new set of rules for National Pension Scheme (NPS) for FY 2019-20 and onwards. The government has recently approved the increment in the share of NPS contribution from 10 per cent to 14 per cent for the central government employees. In addition, the withdrawal of NPS will be 60  per cent tax-free from the present 40 per cent. The remaining 40 per cent though must be mandatorily put into an annuity.

We can anticipate that these provisions will include all taxpayers; central government employees, private sector employees and the self-employed as well.  The fine print of the Finance Bill 2019 will help clarify the conditions for eligibility under section 80C for investments made to the TIER 2 account. These reforms will give a lift to NPS making it an effective tool for retirement planning for individual taxpayers.

Clarity on the Long-Term Capital Gains (LTCG) on equity investment

In the present scenario, any switch within the same scheme from debt to equity in ULIPs and NPS or any fund reallocation between them is not liable to taxation. But shifts between the schemes like in the case of a shift from a dividend option to a growth option or vice -versa, is liable to capital gains tax. We are expecting the government to bring parity between the schemes and make these tax savings avenues more attractive for individuals.

Extending HRA benefits

Salaried individuals, especially those working in Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, and Gurgaon location, are hopeful of the Union budget 2019. They expect their cities to be re-categorised as Metro cities for HRA purposes. Currently, the individuals are allowed 40 per cent of their basic salary for calculation of exempt HRA, which they expect to rise to 50 per cent of the basic salary.

(Attributed to cleartax.in)

Inside the FM’s Briefcase!


Source: MDFC

Focus on skill development

Focus on skill development

The government has numerous reasons to focus on skill development of the populace. In addition to the obvious economic benefits of having a skilled population, skilling helps address multifarious challenges. A citizenry, especially the youth, involved in productive employment ensures a progressive society and nation. Holistic and targeted skilling, including knowledge of forward and backward linkages, would produce entrepreneurs, who are job creators. Finally, a skilled population would help maximise the demographic dividend and even provide the much-needed manpower to a global economy facing an ageing workforce.

A Boston Consultancy Group study, in 2007, indicated that by 2020, while India will have surplus of 56 million working people, the rest of the world will encounter a shortage of 47 million working people

The ecosystem for job linked skill development programmes has been evolving, gradually, into a holistic one with the participation of relevant stakeholders, courtesy the initiatives of the Government through the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). Significant progress has been made in terms of: establishment of model skills centres in each district (PMKK), robust accreditation systems for training centres, technology enabled skills data management, industry relevant standards and assessment protocols, training of trainers, and greater emphasis on outcomes and engagement of the industry. Having established such a robust framework and foundation, the Government now needs to pay attention to the following aspects that will enable the skills systems to be sustainable and demand driven:

*Allocation of adequate funds to sustain and scale up the current initiatives

*Establishment of live labour market information systems that will match the availability of jobs with the people

*Greater focus on skill development needs of local economies, informal sector and MSMEs including self-employment, and evolving a framework for measuring the outcomes of such programmes

*Greater integration of vocational skills programmes with the formal education system, right from school to the university level, that would address aspirations and career mobility challenges, for which concerned Ministries of GoI (MHRD, MSDE), the state governments and the regulators like UGC, AICTE etc to work together

*Devising mechanisms that will enable and encourage the industry to pay ‘skills premium‘ while recruiting the workforce

*Development and execution of a clear road map for leveraging the opportunity of skilled manpower shortage in other countries so that India truly becomes the global skills factory

(The author is MD & CEO of IL&FS Education)

Focus on skill development


Source: MDFC

Land Rover Discovery Sport Landmark Edition launched at Rs 53.77 lakh

Land Rover Discovery Sport Landmark Edition launched at Rs 53.77 lakh
City: 

Tata Motors-owned British luxury sports car maker Jaguar Land Rover on Monday introduced a special edition for its 2019 Discovery Sport, christened  Landmark Edition priced at Rs 53.77 lakh to take on German rivals such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi in Asia’s third biggest car mart.

This special edition marks Land Rover's first launch of the 2019 and commands a premium of Rs 1.30 lakh over its Discovery Sport SE variant on which it is based on.

This special-edition Discovery Sport gets three exclusive colours and minor cosmetic changes. It is also available only with diesel engine and it is slotted between the Discovery Sport SE and Discovery Sport HSE variants.

In the fiercely competitive luxury car market in the country dominated by German brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, the Landmark Edition model rivals other luxury SUVs like the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. But the Discovery Sport Landmark Edition gets minor cosmetic changes on the outside and inside, and three exclusive exterior colour options – Narvik Black, Yulong White and Corris Grey. “The introduction of the Landmark Edition for Model Year 2019 Discovery Sport further enhances the Discovery Sport portfolio,” Rohit Suri, president and managing director at Jaguar Land Rover India, said.

This special edition variant introduces remarkable features to the vehicle that fortify its exceptional capability, versatility and spirit of adventure, he boasted.

Powered by the 180hp, 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine, the special-edition SUV sports a new grey contrast roof, with all the exterior finishes, a new design front bumper and new 18-inch grey alloy wheels.

The cabin of the Landmark Edition gets new ebony-grained leather seats, a black headliner and a dark grey aluminium finish on the centre console.

Apart from these minor changes, the Discovery Sport Landmark Edition is identical to its standard seven-seat sibling. At Rs 53.77 lakh, the Landmark Edition slots between the Discovery Sport SE prieced at Rs 52.47 lakh and the Discovery Sport HSE at Rs 55.81 lakh.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport range now starts at Rs 44.68 lakh and goes up to Rs 61.27 lakh for the diesels, while the petrol line-up, powered by a 240hp, 2.0-litre engine, consists of the SE at Rs 50.36 lakh and the HSE at Rs 53.75 lakh at pan Indian showroom.

At the end of last year, Land Rover brand had launched the 2019 update for the Discovery Sport, adding the 180hp diesel across a larger section of its line-up and more equipment.

michaelgonsalves@mydigitalfc.com

Columnist: 
Michael Gonsalves
Land Rover Discovery Sport Landmark Edition launched at Rs 53.77 lakh


Source: MDFC

Reduced litigation on transfer pricing

Reduced litigation on transfer pricing

Though it is conventionally an interim budget, some tax sops may be expected to facilitate ease of doing business in India.

Many of the suggestions below can no doubt be attended to by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), but an intent to do that can be enunciated by the Finance Minister. Focus of the suggestions here is on improving the business climate, by bringing in tax certainty.

Expand the scope of Safe Harbour Rules CBDT issued the safe harbour rules in September, 2013 to curb the ever mounting litigation in India. However, these rules met with limited success due to perceived high margins for covered transactions. Taking cue from the above, the CBDT vide notification dated 7 June 2017 rationalised the margins for some transactions but no change was made to the safe harbour margin for contract manufacturers of core and non-core auto components, which is very high.

In a much needed impetus to “Make in India” initiative of the government, one can expect the government to revisit the safe harbour rate for auto components manufacturers and at the same time extend the scope of safe harbour rules to other contract manufacturing arrangements in the pharmaceutical sector, electronic goods etc.

Specific guidance on business restructuring Post Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) era has witnessed a spurt in the number of business restructuring cases as multinational companies seek to streamline their operations in line with economic reality. Despite such flourish in restructuring and reorganization cases, there is no common approach that exists amongst international tax authorities with respect to tax treatment of these transactions.

Although Section 92B of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (Act) considers a transaction of business restructuring or reorganisation as an international transaction, yet there exists ambiguity as to what transactions may be construed as business restructuring or business reorganization. A specific guidance or definition on business restructuring in line with guidance provided in chapter IX of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for transfer pricing, 2017 will remove the cobweb.

Standardize master file regulations

The current master file regulations in India are applicable to the multinational group with consolidated group turnover of Rs 500 Cr accompanied with aggregate inter-company transaction(s) of Rs 50 Cr or intangible related transactions of Rs 10 Cr, which is significantly lower than the global threshold. This has brought a number of medium-sized taxpayers under the ambit of master file regulations which was not the intent of OECD BEPS Action Plan 13.

Easing on those regulations and harmonising with global standards would provide respite to this segment of MNEs, and improve ease of doing business in India.

Rationalize the rules relating to range concept

Government has taken certain steps to align transfer pricing in India with the global standards.

It brought in the ‘range’ concept and allowed use of ‘multiple year’ data to benchmark the international transactions. However, while the global standards were inter-quartile range (i.e., 25th to 75th percentile), India opted for 35th to 65th percentile, making in narrower than what is generally there in many countries. Since there is overall harmonisation of law taking place in the tax laws, particularly those relating to multinational enterprises (MNEs), there is a good case to bring alignment even on the ‘range’.

Documentation requirement for intra-group services

Intra-group services transactions are often subject of litigation in India; primary questions being on need of the service or the benefit out of the service received. The CBDT can come out with certain guidance to define the evidences or documents which shall be maintained by the taxpayer to substantiate the need-benefit analysis. In any case, during APA process the CBDT does specify, what documents should be maintained to bring out the need-benefit equations.

Exemption of interest limitations

Large capital intensive companies with long gestation periods such companies in the real estate sector and infrastructure companies are negatively impacted by the interest restriction imposed under section 94B of the Act. Therefore, the exclusions granted to banking and insurance companies under section 94B (3) of the Act may be extended to these sectors as well or a higher threshold (in excess of 30% of EBITDA) may be prescribed for such companies.

Certainty and reduced litigation on transfer pricing issues will be the cornerstone for creating a non-adversarial tax regime in India. An early remedy of afore-mentioned issues could go a long way in fostering positive sentiments in the minds of investors and curbing frivolous and vexatious litigation.

(The authors are from Deloitte Haskins and Sells LLP)

Reduced litigation on transfer pricing


Source: MDFC

40 is the new sexy! Vidya Balan oozes glamour on this magazine cover

India vs New Zealand: Fans slam poor Indian batting after miserable loss in 4th ODI, call to bring back Kohli, Dhoni

The 4th ODI between India and New Zealand came as a shock for many Indian fans after Indian batsmen totally failed in the match, scoring their second lowest total of 92 against New Zealand in latter’s home soil. With the absence of Virat and Dhoni, the Indian batting miserably failed with only four batsmen scoring double digits. Trent Boult starred with his five-wicket haul and dismissed some crucial Indian batsmen like Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya.

The ODI became an infamous match to remember and Indian fans were not far behind to troll the Indian batting line-up, which failed totally in the absence of Indian skipper Virat Kohli and wicket-keeper MS Dhoni. Fans took to Twitter to slam the Indian team’s batting on Twitter and called out to bring back Kohli and Dhoni in the series. Here are some of the hilarious tweets and memes that fans shared on social media.



Source: FPJ

AgustaWestland: ED questions extradited co-accused Rajiv Saxena, lobbyist Deepak Talwar

New Delhi: Hours after the extradition of Rajiv Saxena the co-accused in Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland case, and corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar to India from UAE, an Enforcement Directorate (ED) team started their questioning.

The interrogation started around 4 a.m. soon after they were brought to its office here, a senior ED official said. Both would be produced before a court around 2 p.m. and the agency would seek their custody for questioning in two separate cases, he added.

The extradition comes as a major boost to the Indian agencies investigating corruption angles in two separate cases involving the two.

According to sources, a two-member ED team headed by an Inspector General rank officer and officials of Ministry of External Affairs and Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) accompanied both the accused to Delhi from Dubai in the aircraft which landed at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport here around 2.30 a.m.

Soon after the aircraft landed, Talwar and Saxena was taken into ED custody. After completing the immigration process and medical examination, they were moved to the ED’s Jamnagar House office here. While Talwar was later taken to ED headquarters in Khan Market area, Saxena was taken to MTNL building on Janpath, here.

On Wednesday, Saxena was reportedly picked up by the UAE security authorities from his residence and extradited to India in the evening for his pivotal role in laundering the money received to pay kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal scam.

The agencies also brought corporate lobbyist Talwar to India as he fled to Dubai after the Indian agencies started probing his role for concealing income of more than Rs 1,000 crore as well as facilitating aviation contracts during the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) regime.

He is accused of brokering aviation sector deals, getting government approval for foreign companies, securing favours for clients and having ties with UPA functionaries. In Saxena’s case, the ED in its supplementary charge sheet had elaborated on how the bribe money paid to clinch the AgustaWestland chopper deal was “layered” and projected as ‘untainted money’ by creating ‘fictitious invoices’.

It has also mentioned how fictitious engineering contracts were created to hide the kickbacks allegedly paid by AgustaWestland to companies directly controlled by lawyer Gautam Khaitan — now in ED custody — and his associate Saxena. A Delhi court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Saxena, the Dubai businessman, after it came to know that he had not joined investigation despite repeated summons against him.

Saxena’s name was mentioned in a charge sheet filed against his wife, Shivani, who has been out on bail after being arrested by the ED. Saxena was named only in the third supplementary complaint filed in July 2018. The same is also under challenge before the Delhi High Court by another accused in the case, Khaitan.

The ED had earlier arrested Saxena, the Director of Matrix Holdings Dubai, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the case. The Indian government had on December 4, 2018, extradited one of the key middleman Christian James Michel, a British national from Dubai.

On January 1, 2014, India cancelled the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force (IAF) over alleged breach of contractual obligations and on charges of paying kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.



Source: FPJ

Sanjay Leela Bhansali compares Deepika Padukone to three veteran actresses

Ever since she got a hero’s welcome in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Deepika Padukone has been striving towards positioning herself as the first among equals in the heroines’ hierarchy of Bollywood. For those who are not aware of this, Deepika was paid more than Ranveer Singh in Bhansali’s Padmaavat. Ever since then Deepika has climbed from strength to strength. She refused to take on any new project as a leading lady until she was given creative space in the screenplay and overall project to have a say.

Now Deepika has been appointed the chairperson of MAMI (the Mumbai Academy Of The Moving Image), a post previously held by Kiran Rao (Mrs Aamir Khan) that Deepika intends to take most seriously.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali whose Deepika-Ranveer trilogy Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat went a long way into establishing Deepika’s supremacy says the honour is richly deserved. “There is a lot more to her. Lots! Deepika is one of the finest artistes I’ve worked with. Such thehrao and such grace! She never surrenders to melodrama even when there is ample temptation to do so. Look at her speech in front of the women before they commit jauhar. Such control, restraint and so much emotive power without tripping over. I was so overwhelmed by how she handled that scene; I gave her a 500-rupee note after she finished the scene. I am sure that token of my appreciation is more valuable and precious to her than the entire remuneration she got for the film.”

SLB sees glimpses of three legendary actresses in Deepika Padukone. “From some angles she reminds me of Vyjanthimalaji. Sometimes she reminds me of Hemaji. And the grace with which she has performed the ‘Ghoomar’ dance reminds me of Waheedaji. I strongly believe Deepika has the potential to join the ranks of our legendary actresses.”



Source: FPJ

Fitch warns of fiscal slippage if govt goes for populist interim budget

New Delhi: Ahead of BJP-led NDA government presenting the final budget of its tenure, Fitch Ratings today warned of a second consecutive year of fiscal slippage in the event of Finance Minister Piyush Goyal resorting to populist spending to win over lost vote base.

The interim budget to be presented tomorrow could give some indication of the government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation, which is one of the main sensitivities in the sovereign ratings, Fitch said.

“Pressure for new expenditure to attract votes, particularly among rural and small-business owner voters, has increased as polls have shown the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is becoming less assured of victory in the general elections.

“The BJP has reportedly lost votes in some recent state elections due to rural distress and public concerns over job creation. Targeted cash programmes appear the most likely form of support, as they would avoid downside risks of alternatives, such as the farm loan waivers that undermined the loan repayment culture in the past,” it said.

Populist spending, it said, would aggravate fiscal pressures, which are already building due to revenue shortfalls. “Higher pre-election spending could risk a second consecutive year of fiscal slippage relative to the government’s targets and would further delay plans to reduce the high general government fiscal deficit and debt burden,” it said.

Fitch said longer-term trends are more important to the sovereign rating profile. “We believe the central government may still be able to meet its fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP for FY19, which would help support its fiscal credibility, although this may be achieved by deferring capital expenditure and postponing bill payments until after March,” it said.

The final budget for the fiscal year ending in March 2020 (FY20) will be presented soon after the next government takes office following general elections, which are due by May 2019.

Revenue from the new GST is well below target, Fitch said citing it as an reason for revenue falling short of the target so far in the current fiscal year that ends on March 31, 2019.

“Officially, the government still aims to adhere to a debt ceiling of 60 per cent of GDP by March 2025, as adopted under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. However, this would require significant and politically difficult fiscal consolidation. The newly elected government’s final budget, likely to be presented around July, should provide more meaningful guidance on the medium-term fiscal outlook,” it said.

Fitch’s base-case scenario is that general government debt will remain close to 70 per cent of GDP in the next few years, and will constrain India’s sovereign rating (BBB-/Stable). Indian budgets normally offers guidance on plans for structural reforms and tax changes.

“The current government could choose in its interim budget to signal the reform direction it would adopt in a possible second term, but we believe it is more likely to include such plans in the final budget…,” it said.

The government’s reform efforts have led to a strong improvement in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking in recent years, but FDI inflows have remained roughly stable as a percentage of GDP over the past five years, as there are lingering difficulties, such as in enforcing contracts and the functioning of the labour market.



Source: FPJ

Thursday Throwback! When India’s U-19 World Cup star Shubhman Gill hit India’s first century on New Zealand soil

India’s NextGen star Shubhman Gill made his ODI debut for India today against New Zealand. Although he failed to make an impact on his debut, the young gun shone when he last visited the Kiwi soil. Gill last visited New Zealand during the U-19 Cricket World Cup and faced arch-rival Pakistan in the crucial semi-final. Gill was the hero of the semi-final and managed to score India’s first century on the Kiwi soil.

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Gill scored unbeaten 102 runs off 92 balls to help his side post a healthy total of 272/9 against Pakistan. Shubhman was the first Indian to hit century on Kiwi soil in history of the U19 World Cup. ICC also didn’t miss this chance and post a video of Shubhman’s innings from the ICC U-19 World Cup semi-final.

Talking about today’s match, Team India scored their third lowest total on New Zealand soil, 92 all out. For India, the highest run was scored by spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, 18.



Source: FPJ

Fresh snowfall, landslides shut Jammu-Srinagar national highway       

Jammu: The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the only all-weather surface link between Kashmir and rest of the country, was closed for traffic on Thursday due to fresh snowfall and landslides, officials said. Due to fresh snowfall and slippery road conditions in Banihal-Ramban sector and a fresh landslide in Ramban stretch, the highway has been closed for traffic, they said.

This has been done to ensure that no vehicle gets struck on the highway. “No vehicle has been allowed to move to Kashmir Valley from Jammu from Nagrota traffic check post”, a traffic police officer said. The men and machines of BRO are working on the highway to clear the highway of the snowfall accumulation and landslides, they said.

Traffic authorities Thursday morning assessed the weather and road conditions and subsequently suspended traffic on the highway, they said. Mughal road, a road connecting Kashmir’s Shopian district with Poonch district of Jammu region, has remained closed continuously for the past fortnight due to snowfall, they said.



Source: FPJ

Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp integration confirmed, but it is not arriving anytime soon

California [USA]: During the company’s quarterly earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the company is indeed planning to blur out the lines between its three messaging services including Instagram and WhatsApp. It was recently reported that the company is planning to integrate Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

While many find it overwhelming to have all three services integrated, Zuckerberg’s idea behind the move is to make it easier to send messages across its apps, Mashable reports. According to the co-founder of Facebook, there are millions of users who have Facebook Messenger as their default SMS app and it would be practical to allow people to send messages between apps with strong encryption that runs across all services. Before you jump the gun, the intended integration is unlikely to come true anytime soon. Zuckerberg cautioned that the said measure will be made available in 2020 or beyond as there is a lot of planning which will go into it.



Source: FPJ