New Delhi:Retailers will soon have to report purchases above Rs 6 lakh to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), said a government official working on the proposal targeted at preventing money laundering.
This limit will mainly be applicable on jewellery and luxury goods.
“Globally, in most countries, the limit for reporting such transactions is set at $10,000,” added the government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Discussions are on to decide the limit, with consensus veering around Rs6 lakh.”
Apart from helping government agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate detect money laundering (when this information is used along with other information), these reports could also help the income-tax department identify individuals whose purchases are disproportionate to their known sources of income.
The National Democratic Alliance has announced several measures to crack down on black money and money laundering, including deregistering shell companies that exist solely to facilitate such transactions, and strengthening the Benami Transactions Act.
The government has barred cash transactions above Rs2 lakh, and any transaction of Rs50,000 or above has to be supported with the PAN number of the buyer, although many sellers get around this.
The government, in a notification issued on August 23, 2017, mandated gems and jewellery dealers to report their transactions, but the notification was withdrawn in October because no threshold was set and jewellery dealers complained of inconvenience.
Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, banks and financial institutions are required to maintain records of all transactions over Rs10 lakh, all cross-border wire transfers of more than Rs5 lakh.
The law also requires all purchase and sale of immovable property of Rs50 lakh or more to be flagged.
Post-demonetisation banks are also required to report cash deposits over Rs50,000.
“Though cash transactions are banned above Rs2 lakh, recent data shows that accountants are being used to creatively flow black money through the legal banking channels. A threshold for reporting purchases will help us track cases of disproportionate assets, corruption money , and frauds,” an official in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said on condition of anonymity.
A recent study by ED showed that 48% black money is laundered through legitimate financial channels using shell companies. “So because the transaction is not in cash does not mean it does not require tracking,” added the ED official.
“There are already reporting mandates for transactions; this new threshold will only be an irritant to merchants as their filing requirements will increase. As long as political funding is in cash and there is a systemic problem of bribes, black money cannot be rooted out through these cosmetic measures,” said MM Joshi, former chairman of the central board of direct taxes.
RBI needs to ensure stability: Shaktikanta Das
New Delhi: The head of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said he would take the steps necessary to maintain financial stability in the country and help create favourable conditions for growth.
India’s economy has grown because of measures such as the nationwide goods and services tax and the insolvency and bankruptcy code that prevents wilful defaulters from bidding for stressed assets, Shaktikanta Das said in his address to an investor roundtable.
The country’s growth story is backed by its strong domestic fundamentals, he said, citing lower inflation.
Annual retail inflation rate dropped to an 18-month low of 2.19 per cent in December, strengthening the views of some economists that the central bank could ease monetary policy next month.
India’s top business groups on Thursday urged the central bank to cut its benchmark interest rate by at least half a percentage point and lower the cash reserve ratio it imposes on banks.
The country also needs to watch out for any sudden turbulence in the gloal financial market, Das said.
Centre removes two PNB executive directors for lapses in Rs 13,500-cr fraud
Chennai:The Central government has removed two Punjab National Bank (PNB) Executive Directors — Sanjiv Sharan and K.Veera Brahmaji Rao — for the lapses in the Rs 13,500 crore fraud allegedly perpetrated by absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi.
The PNB has intimated the action to the stock exchanges.
“We welcome the Central government’s action to dismiss the two Executive Directors. The scam of such proportions could not have happened without the knowledge of the top management,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), told IANS.
“Perhaps for the first time, the Centra has removed the Executive Directors of a nationalised bank under the Nationalised Banks (Management and Miscellaneous Provision) Scheme, 1970. All these days it was said the top management of government-owned banks — Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Directors — are governed only by the contract of appointment.
“It is also good that the central government has followed the due process of giving the two PNB Executive Directors opportunity to put forth their views before dismissing them,” Venkatachalam added.
According to the Central government’s notification, on July 3, 2018, Sharan and Rao were issued a show cause notice as to why they could not be removed from office for having failed to exercise proper control over the functioning of PNB, thus enabling the fraud through the misuse of SWIFT at the bank’s Brady House branch in Mumbai.
After considering Sharan and Rao’s replies and the comments of the bank’s Board, the Centre removed them from office as it found it was expedient in the interests of PNB.
According to the notification, the dismissal of Rao is subject to the outcome of a plea in the Delhi High Court.
“We are happy to see some action being taken. Whether it is only the two Executive Directors and other officials are also involved in the scam has to be probed in full,” Venkatachalam said.
According to him, in the past, low-level officers would have been the scapegoats for such massive scams.
“With the action taken on the top management, people will be satisfied that public sector bank officials are answerable for their lapses,” Venkatachalam added.
In this new world, data is the new wealth: Ambani
Mumbai: Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps against ‘data colonisation’, specially by global corporations, stating that Indian data must be owned by Indians.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s movement against political colonisation, Ambani said India now needs a new movement against data colonisation.
“Gandhiji led India’s movement against political colonisation. Today, we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonisation,” he said Gandhinagar at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.
Stressing that, in this new world, data is the new wealth, Ambani said, “India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people and not by corporate, especially global corporations.”
He further said, “For India to succeed in this data driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India. In other words, give Indian wealth back to every Indian.”
Stating that the “entire world has come to recognise” Modi “as a man of action”, Ambani said, “Honorable Prime Minister, am sure you will make this one of the principal goals of your digital India mission.”
Later in the day, countering Ambani’s call, Governor – Commonwealth of Kentucky, Matthew Griswold, asked Modi “to think in the opposite” in order to realise the tremendous opportunity that lies in Indo-US partnership.
“Honorable prime minister you have been asked from this stage to think about limiting the amount of competition, limiting the exchange of ideas, information and goods. I would encourage you to think in the opposite,” he said.
While stating that it is important to put the people of India first, Griswold said, “It is also important to put their opportunity and our opportunity as citizens of the world to trade with one another and exchange ideas because iron sharpens iron.”
The greatest possibility comes from the exchange of these idea, he added.
“If we can cut the regulations, cut the bureaucracy, cut the red tape, the opportunity is enormous between our nations,” he added that India is now the 10th largest trading partner for the US and “climbing quickly”.
“The opportunity before us between India and the United States is incredible, but responsibility falls on each of one us, those of us in elected positions, those of you in the industry, those of you who represent various constituencies, we have much work to do…we must do this, ” Griswold said.