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GST: Employers may be able to claim input tax credit on food, transport

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New Delhi: The government has proposed 46 broad categories of amendments in laws related to the goods and services tax (GST) that include allowing taxpayers to make changes in returns to rectify inadvertent mistakes along with doing away with reverse charge mechanism.
As per the proposed amendments, employers will be able claim input tax credit on facilities like food, transport and insurance provided to employees under any law.
The amendments to the GST laws — Central GST, State GST, Integrated GST and Compensation of States Act — have been placed in public domain for comments from stakeholders by July 15, following which they will be presented in the GST Council for final approval. After that, the amendments would need approval from the Union Cabinet before being tabled in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament and corresponding state legislatures.
The amendments also provide for modification of reverse charge mechanism, separate registration for companies having different business verticals, cancellation of registration, new return filing norms and issuance of consolidated debit/credit notes covering multiple invoices.
However, the amendments disallow transitional credit for pre-GST cesses.
As per the draft amendments, employers will be allowed to claim input tax credit (ITC) for supply of food, beverages, health services, life insurance, travel benefits renting or hiring of motor vehicles, given to employees, provided it is obligatory for them under any law. It, however, would not be available on membership of a club, health and fitness centre, and travel benefits extended to employees on vacation such as leave or home travel concession.
The amendments will increase the threshold for the composition scheme as was approved earlier by the GST council to Rs 1.5 crore from RS 1 crore. Also, manufacturers and traders supplying services will be eligible for the scheme if they supply services of value not exceeding 10 per cent of the turnover or Rs 5 lakh, whichever is higher in the preceding financial year. “This is a taxpayer-friendly measure and it is believed that small taxpayers would immensely benefit from this amendment,” the draft said.
Abhishek Jain, partner, EY, said, “Amendments like deletion of general reverse charge provisions on procurements from unregistered dealers, enabling provisions for new GST return filing process, allowing single debit/ credit note for multiple invoices, etc would aid in bringing quite an ease to businesses from a GST perspective. However, transactions like denial of credit on repair and maintenance, general insurance, etc for motor vehicles, transition of cess credits, and some more may need a revisiting of tax position adopted by some businesses.”
The amendments are being viewed as being beneficial for all businesses, especially small ones. “The expansion of the input tax credit provisions and the beneficial changes in compliance provisions such as issue of consolidated Debit/ Credit Notes, the proposed new return filing process, extension of the bill to ship to concept for goods to cover cases where the recipient of service is different from the payer etc would benefit all businesses,” M S Mani, partner, Deloitte said.


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RBI needs to ensure stability: Shaktikanta Das

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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.

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Centre removes two PNB executive directors for lapses in Rs 13,500-cr fraud

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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.

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In this new world, data is the new wealth: Ambani

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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.

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