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SNB says its data include total deposits of Indian customers

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New Delhi/Zurich: Amid a controversy over its official data showing 50 per cent surge in Indians’ money in Swiss banks last year to CHF 1.01 billion (about Rs 7,000 crore), Switzerland’s central banking authority SNB today said these figures are for total deposits of Indian customers, including from banks and enterprises.
The Swiss National Bank (SNB) further said its figures include the “data from branches of Swiss banks in India” and therefore the locational banking statistics (LBS) compiled by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), a global central banking body, would be more reliable.
Only only one Swiss bank — Credit Suisse — has a branch in India, while two others — UBS and Zurcher Kantonal Bank — are present in the country through one representative office each, as per the RBI data updated till January 31, 2018.
Weeks after SNB’s annual publication, ‘Banks in Switzerland’, showed a rise in Indians’ money in Swiss banks in 2017 after falling for three consecutive years, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal today said the Indian deposits in Swiss banks actually fell by 34.5 per cent last year as per the data from the BIS.
Goyal told the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour that he discussed the issue with Swiss authorities, who told him in a written reply that media reports “have not taken account of the way the (SNB) figures have to be interpreted”.
The minister said that according to Swiss authorities, more reliable data source is the locational banking statistics of the BIS, which measures international banking activity from a residence perspective, focusing on the location of banking office and captures around 95 per cent of all cross-border banking activity.
The BIS data show that non-bank loans and deposits — which constitute the individual and corporate deposits and exclude inter bank transactions — have fallen by 34.5 per cent in 2017 to USD 524 million compared to USD 800 million in 2016, Goyal said and vowed to continue the crackdown on black money.
Replying to e-mailed queries in this regard, the SNB said the figures that showed an increase of 50 per cent in Indians’ money in Swiss banks “are for total deposits of Indian customers at Swiss banks (ie. Total liabilities of Swiss banks towards India), including deposits from banks and enterprises”.
On whether the BIS data was more reliable, the SNB said, “That is correct. The data of Swiss National Bank include also data from branches of Swiss Banks in India”.
As per the BIS website, the ‘amount outstanding’ towards non-bank loans and deposits of Indians in Swtizerland-based banks stood at USD 94.84 million (Rs 653 crore) at the end of 2017, down nearly 44 per cent from USD 168.13 million (Rs 1,158 crore) at 2016-end.
Further, the latest BIS data shows this figure to have risen again to USD 100.88 million (Rs 695 crore) at the end of March 2018.
In its emailed reply to PTI queries, the SNB also shared details from its annual statistics about the total liabilities of ‘Banks in Switzerland’ towards clients in India at CHF 999.094 million at the end of 2017, including CHF 151.894 million as amount due to other banks, CHF 464.164 million in form of customer deposits; and CHF 383.036 million as ‘other liabilities’.
Separately, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) issued a statement on the issue saying the SNB’s annual banking statistics are based on surveys of banks and provide for a comprehensive picture of the Swiss banking sector.
“The figures published by the SNB are regularly mentioned in the public domain as a reliable indicator of the amount of assets held with Swiss financial institutions in respect of Indian residents,” it said.


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Income Tax return processing time to reduce from 63 days to just 1 day

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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.

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Lenders considering resolution plan for Jet Airways: SBI

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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.

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NGT slams Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore as per its 2018 order

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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).

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