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Last GST council meeting ahead of budget 2018: what to expect

NEW DELHI: On Thursday, the GST Council -governing body on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will meet for the last time ahead of Union Budget, to be presented on February 1. This is the 24th meeting of the council. The decisions that are to be made in the meeting will bear significance since the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley cannot tweak indirect tax rates in the upcoming budget. Hence, the government will look to provide relief in various . The declining revenue collection from GST has been a matter of concern since the November collection came at Rs 80,808 crore, an all-time low since the roll out of the new tax regime on July 1. The council is expected to deliberate on the collections so far ahead of the Union Budget and respective state budgets. At the last meeting of the GST council on December 16, it had fixed February 1 as the compliance date for inter-state movement of goods. An e-way bill is required for movement of goods worth more than Rs 50,000. When goods are transported for less than 10 km within a state, the supplier or the transporter need not furnish details on the GST portal. The e-way bill mechanism has been introduced in the GST regime to plug tax evasion loopholes. Ironing out the implementation of e-way bill will be on agenda in the meeting. The GST council is expected to do away with multiple return forms under GST by combining some forms. The council may combine the GSTR-1 ,2 and 3 forms under one single form for small traders and taxpayers eligible under the composition scheme. Some media reports suggest that a handful of items may see rate cut. The government’s push towards clean energy may translate to trimming of rates on e-vehicles. Irrigation equipment may also see a rate cut, with the finance minister repeatedly stressing on providing relief to the agriculture sector in the upcoming budget. Bringing real estate under the ambit of GST has been a long-standing matter of discussion. The GST council is expected to take up a presentation to look into the modalities of the matter.

TOI budget 2018 special: is a cyber security cess on the cards?

NEW DELHI: Everyone dreads a budget announcement regarding a new tax or cess, and this one, if it goes through will get your goat. A suggestion made by the department of financial services to the government last year may lead to the introduction of a new fee or cess on digital payments. The idea behind this is to create a fund to battle the growing number of cases of online fraud in digital payments.

Newgen software ipo fully subscribed on final day of bidding

NEW DELHI: The initial public offer (IPO) of IT company Newgen Software Technologies got fully subscribed on the final day of its listing.

The IPO, which aims to raise Rs 425 crore, received bids for 1,34,13,717 shares against 1,22,12,821 shares offered by the company, data available with the National Stock Exchange (NSE) showed.

The portion reserved for retail investors was subscribed 1.33 times, while qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) subscribed 10 per cent till Second Day of bidding.

The company had raised over Rs 127 crore from anchor investors on Monday. The initial share-sale of Newgen Software’s will close for public subscription.

Newgen Software’s initial public offer (IPO) comprises fresh issue of shares worth up to Rs 95 crore by the company and an offer for sale of 13,453,932 equity shares by the existing shareholders.

The price band has been fixed at Rs 240-245 per share. At the upper end, the public issue would fetch Rs 425 crore.

Proceeds from the fresh issue will be utilised towards purchase and furnishing of office premises near Noida-Greater Noida Expressway in Uttar Pradesh and for other general corporate purposes.

Newgen is a software products company offering a platform that enables organisations to develop applications addressing their strategic business needs.

Benjamin Netanyahu meets business leaders over power breakfast

MUMBAI: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday met top leadership of India Inc for a power breakfast, the first of his numerous assignments for the day as he wraps up his four-day India visit.

Netanyahu interacted with business leaders at the iconic Taj hotel overlooking the Arabia Sea. This will be followed by his address to the India-Israel Business Summit, also at the same venue.

Business leaders who were present at the breakfast included Ajay Piramal, Rahul Bajaj, Adi Godrej, Harsh Goenka, Anand Mahindra, Dilip Shanghvi, Ashok Hinduja, Atul Punj and Chanda Kochhar.

In the first visit by an Israeli Prime Minister to the financial capital of India, Netanyahu will lay a wreath at the memorial for the victims of the 26/11 terror attacks.

Netanyahu will then proceed to the nearby Nariman House, where he will meet 11-year-old Moshe Holtzberg. Moshe’s father Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and mother Rivka were killed at the Nariman House during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

The Jewish couple ran a cultural and outreach centre for the Chabad-Lubavitch movement at the Nariman House in south Mumbai’s Colaba area.

Netanyahu will later meet around 25 to 30 members of the Jewish community at the Taj hotel.

There are about 5,000 members of the Jewish community living in India, but most of them call Mumbai their home. The city earlier had a sizable Jewish population, but around 33,000 Jews migrated when Israel was created.

Mumbai has three distinct Jewish communities — Bene Israel Jews, Baghdadi Jews and the Malabar Jews. For them, the visit by the Israeli prime minister is about reconnecting with old friends and strengthening old bonds.

Netanyahu will cap his hectic schedule by attending the ‘Shalom Bollywood’ event, in which he will invite leading actors, directors, and producers in the Indian cinema industry to come to Israel to shoot movies and collaborate with the Israeli film and television industry.

Netanyahu is accompanied by a 130-member business delegation representing 102 companies, with a focus on the agriculture, defence and cyber security sectors.

Till now, the visit has seen agreements and comments on innovation, strengthening the start-up innovation system, information technology, defence, electric vehicles and agriculture sectors.

The bilateral trade between the countries increased to $5 billion in 2016-17 from $4.91 billion in the previous fiscal.

In the first leg of the visit in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited Israeli companies to invest in the country, saying India presents vast opportunities

India has received total FDI of $130 million from Israel during April 2000 to September 2017 period.

 

India third most sought after destination for r&d in world, says science minister

Hyderabad: Contrary to the popular perception that R&D in science is being neglected and government is not spending enough, the union minister of science & technology Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that in the past couple of years, the investment has trebled and the country has become the third most sought after destination for R&D.

As per the study of the National Science and Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS), the country’s gross expenditure on R&D has tripled in a decade – from Rs 24,117.24 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 85,326.10 crore in 2014-15 – with the government chipping in with more money as compared to private sector industries. “Science in India is at its best under the leadership of the Prime Minister. We have become the third most sought after destination for R&D in the world. In the area of science, we have top quality collaborations with 44 countries in the world… Our investment in R&D has trebled in the recent years and our expenditure in R&D is better than UK, France, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Australia, Israel and Canada,” he said while addressing the members of the Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) in Hyderabad.

He pointed out that the country has made rapid strides in the felid of science and the prestigious science body — Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) — stands ninth among the 1,200 government-funded science institutions globally. He also added that India is third when it comes to nanotechnology.

The minister in his speech mentioned that every problem of this planet can be solved with the help of science and urged the industry to generously contribute towards the R&D area. Meanwhile, he also credited the ex-prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for bringing science to the centre stage of politics in the country by modifying the popular slogan of Jai Jawaan Jai Kisan and making it ‘Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisan aur Jai Vigyan’.

Hyderabad: Contrary to the popular perception that R&D is being neglected India and the government is not spending enough, Union minister of science & technology, Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that in the past couple of years, investment in R&D has trebled and the country has become the third most sought after destination for R&D.

As per a study of the National Science and Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS), the country’s gross expenditure on R&D has tripled in a decade — from Rs 24,117.24 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 85,326.10 crore in 2014-15 — with the government chipping in with more money as compared to private sector industries.

“Science in India is at its best under the leadership of the Prime Minister. We have become the third most sought after destination for R&D in the world. In the area of science, we have top quality collaborations with 44 countries in the world… Our investment in R&D has trebled in the recent years and our expenditure in R&D is better than UK, France, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Australia, Israel and Canada,” he said while addressing the members of the Hyderabad chapter of the Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) in Hyderabad.

He pointed out that the country has made rapid strides in the field of science and the prestigious science body — Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) — stands ninth among the 1,200 government-funded science institutions globally. He also said India ranks third when it comes to nanotechnology.

The minister, in his speech, mentioned that every problem of this planet can be solved with the help of science and urged industry to generously spend on R&D.

He also credited former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee for bringing science to the centrestage of politics in the country by modifying the popular slogan of `Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisan’ to ‘Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisan aur Jai Vigyan’.

Mistry removal was purely a commercial decision, not personal: Tata sons counsel

MUMBAI: The Tata Sons counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Wednesday submitted before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that the board had lost confidence in Cyrus Mistry as their chairperson and was hence removed.

Making his arguments at a hearing on a complaint of mismanagement and oppression against the Tata group holding company, filed by two Mistry family firms who are its minority shareholders, Singhvi asserted that there was nothing “personal” about the removal. It was “purely a commercial decision.”

Mistry’s case that his removal was not even originally on the day’s agenda. But Singhvi pointed that the Companies Act allows for addition to a day’s agenda following the permission of majority shareholders, and one independent director. “In our case, the majority shareholders and one independent director, Ronen Sen, approved the amendment to the agenda,” he said.

“This is not a family-run company. There can’t be any vested claims to continue as a director or a chairperson only by virtue of the fact that one is a shareholder,” he said when the NCLT judicial members said that the claim is of oppression of minority shareholders’ rights and a plea to have a position on the board of Tata Sons by virtue of being an 18 per cent shareholder.

“There were nine such directors, including Mistry himself. Of these one abstained from voting while seven approved the removal with affirmative voting,” Singhvi said.

Singhvi said a “lackadaisical performance” over four years as company’s chairperson left the Board concerned about falling revenue in that period.

Mistry has alleged frequent interference from his predecessor Ratan Tata and other nominee trustees in the holding company.

Singhvi, on Tuesday, had contended that the conversion of Tata Sons from a Limited company to a Private Limited company cannot be deemed as an act of oppression. He had also refuted allegations raised by ousted Tata Sons chairperson Cyrus Mistry that Ratan Tata had ‘interfered’ in the affairs of Tata Sons while Mistry was at its helm. He pointed out how Mistry had sought guidance from RN Tata on a range of issues concerning Tata Motors, Welspun Deal, JLR, Strategy on Tata International and Tata Sons board management. Singhvi sought to establish the irrationality of Mistry now claiming that the emails and letters which was shared by him in the year 2016 were acts of ‘interference’.

The 2013 Company Act has given the right to Tata Sons to declare itself as a private limited company. He started his argument by saying that Tata Sons since 1917 has contained in its Articles, features of a private company and it was only in 1975 due to a change of law, that Tata Sons became a “deemed public company”.

He relied on Supreme Court rulings which have upheld the validity of such transfer restrictions in such deemed public companies. He pointed out that the Article 75 which deals with the compulsory acquisition of shares was contained in the Articles since 1917 and existed when SP Group purchased the shares of Tata Sons. Singhvi said that when for 100 years the Article, now sought to be removed by Mistry, has survived without any challenge, there can be no question of it suddenly being oppressive.

Singhvi argued, “if the power under Article 75 stays and he has left. How can the company be prevented from purchasing his shares in 2018”.

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