New Delhi: Amid the ongoing tussle between the government and the RBI, former Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya has suggested that the two sides must eventually ‘compromise’ and ‘come together in national interest’.
While the RBI is legally less independent in India than the Federal Reserve in the United States, effectively it has enjoyed the same independence as the US regulator, the noted economist said in an interview.
Observing that RBI and the government ought to work in close cooperation, he said, “Even when there are differences between the two sides, they must eventually compromise and come together in national interest”.
Panagariya, who is currently a professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University, pointed out that even in the US, the government and the Federal Reserve sometimes work in close cooperation as had happened in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.
He, however, noted that it was a pity that the media steadfastly magnified the differences rather than highlighting the common ground the two sides share.
The Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank on several occasions in the past have witnessed divergence of views on key issues concerning interest rate, liquidity and management of the banking sector, but truce largely prevailed in the end.
This time around the conflict seems to have reached a flash point, with reports of government initiating consultations with the RBI under Section 7 of the RBI Act, which has never been invoked in the past.
The conflict between the Finance Ministry and RBI headed by Urjit Patel is on several issues, including relief to the power sector reeling under financial stress, handling of weak public sectors banks, addressing liquidity problems faced by the NBFC sector, and a proposal to set up a payment regulatory authority independent of the Reserve Bank.
The government has reportedly sent at least three letters on different issues under Section 7 of the RBI Act that gives it powers to issue any direction to the central bank governor on matters of public interest.
Income Tax return processing time to reduce from 63 days to just 1 day
Mumbai:The Union Cabinet approved an integrated income-tax e-filing and centralised processing centre (CPC) portal, which will reduce the return processing time from 63 days to just one day. The new portal is also expected to process the refunds within one day of filing of tax returns, in huge relief for taxpayers. However, one will have to wait for 18 months to see its launch.
“Earlier, taxpayers would face troubles because of delay in refund processing and the CBDT used to spend a lot of money every year as interest on pending refunds, which will be history now,” Union minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after the Cabinet meeting here.
Last month, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra had said a simplified return form and process would be put in place soon in which the department would process the self-declaration made by the taxpayer. The new Rs 4,241-crore project will incorporate these changes.
“This is a laudable initiative and will go a long way to ease tax compliance, and enhanced experience for taxpayers. However, the real success of this will be measured when it brings ease to a common man and is accompanied by changes in the culture of the tax authorities at the operational level,” said Neeru Ahuja, partner, Deloitte India.
Currently, the e-filing portal and the CPC work separately. While e-filing is being managed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the CPC is run by Infosys.
In the bids invited by the government, Infosys emerged as the lowest bidder and it would develop the ITR-CPC 2.0 project in 18 months from now, Goyal said.
Under the new system, Infosys will handle end-to-end solution — from e-filing to return assessment to refund processing. The CBDT and Infosys would work in a revenue-sharing model, sources in the know said.
Goyal said ramping up scrutiny was not the mandate of the new portal. Currently, about 0.3 per cent of the I-T returns are scrutinised, he said. The system intends to resolve taxpayer grievances as well as tax demands from the CBDT faster and equitably, he said.
“The decision will ensure horizontal equity by processing returns filed by all categories of taxpayers across the country in a consistent, uniform, rule driven, identity blind manner. This will assure fairness in tax treatment to every taxpayer irrespective of their status,” a government release said.
But even under the new ecosystem, only those applications which are clean would have the chance of getting processed in a day, sources said.
About 23 crore I-T returns have been processed, along with Rs 2.62 trillion worth of refunds, till September 2018 cumulatively. Of this, refunds worth Rs 1.83 trillion have been processed in 2018-19, said Goyal.
Lenders considering resolution plan for Jet Airways: SBI
Mumbai: State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday said lenders are considering a resolution plan for Jet Airways to ensure long-term viability of the debt-laden company.
The SBI statement comes a day after the crisis-hit airline said discussions were “progressing well” with stakeholders on a comprehensive resolution plan that also contemplates equity infusion and consequent changes in its board of directors.
There are rising concerns over financial health of Jet Airways, whose shares have also taken a beating at stock exchanges.
“We would like to state that lenders are considering a restructuring plan under the RBI framework for resolution of stressed assets that would ensure a long-term viability of the company,” SBI said in a statement.
It said the restructuring plan for the cash-strapped airline would need approval from boards of lenders.
“Any such plan would be subject to approval of boards of the lenders and subject to adherence and clearance, if required, from the RBI and/or Sebi (takeover code, ICDR regulations.) and Ministry of Civil Aviation and in compliance with all regulatory prescriptions,” the statement said.
Shares of the airline are trading 4.24 per cent lower at Rs 259.50 apiece on BSE.
NGT slams Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore as per its 2018 order
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) slammed German auto major Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore in accordance with its November 16, 2018 order and directed it to submit the amount within 24 hours.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel took strong exception to the non-compliance of its order by the automobile giant and asked it to give an undertaking that it will submit the amount by 5 PM Friday.
“Why have you not complied with our order when there is no stay. We will not give you any further time,” the bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi, said while asking Volkswagen to submit an affidavit of compliance after deposit.
The tribunal deferred the matter for hearing after it was informed that the Supreme Court is also seized of the issue.
On November 16 last year, the tribunal had said that the use of ”cheat device” by Volkswagen in diesel cars in India leads to inference of environmental damage and had asked the German auto major to deposit an interim amount of Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).