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Congress leader P Chidambaram criticises Modi govt for petrol price hike; claims rate can be cut by Rs 25 per litre

Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday criticised the Centre for the fuel price hike and claimed that the rate can be reduced by Rs 25 per litre but the government is not doing it.

“It is possible to cut upto Rs 25 per litre, but the government will not. They will cheat the people by cutting price by Re 1 or Rs 2 per litre of petrol,” he said.

Across the four metropolitan cities, prices rose around 30 paise on Tuesday. In Delhi and Mumbai, the fuel was sold at Rs 76.87 and Rs 84.70 per litre, up from Rs Rs 76.57 and Rs 84.40 respectively on Monday.

“Bonanza to central government is Rs 25 on every litre of petrol. This money rightfully belongs to the average consumer.

“Central government saves Rs 15 on every litre of petrol due to fall in crude oil prices. It also puts additional tax of Rs 10 on every litre of petrol,” he added.

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana: finance ministry ties up with e-commerce firms to give loans

The finance ministry has joined hands with over two dozen e-commerce firms, including major players like Amazon, Flipkart, Ola and Uber, to provide easy finance to small entrepreneurs under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), a top government official said. The three way partnership between lenders, industry and the government aims to facilitate small business loans.

PMMY is a flagship scheme of the government to provide loans of up to Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs. The loans are being given by banks, small finance banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and micro finance institutions. The scheme aims to strengthen forward and backward linkages for robust value chains anchored by industries, aggregators, franchisors and associations.

“There are companies like Ola, Flipkart, Uber, dabbawalas, cable operators, Zomato, which have several small entrepreneurs as partners who require loans. We want to extend support to them under the Mudra scheme,” financial services secretary Rajiv Kumar told reporters here.

“The bank looks for good entrepreneurs, the companies look for supporting their partners and we are just trying to connect these dots,” he added. Other companies participating in the scheme include MakeMyTrip, Oyo, Meru Cab, Big Basket, Carz on Rent, Habib Salon, among others.

Last financial year, the government had extended Rs 2.53 lakh crore credit under the Mudra scheme, taking the total credit extended in the last three years to Rs 5.73 lakh crore.

Over 39 lakh new jobs created in 7 months till March, reveals EPFO payroll data

As many as 39.36 lakh new jobs were created during 7-month period ending March this year, as per the latest retirement fund body EPFO’s payroll data. According to the latest data, as many as 6.13 lakh new jobs were created in the month of March this year, which is higher than 5.89 lakh payrolls with the Employment Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in February this year. The data shows that the half of the payrolls were created in the expert service segment across all age buckets or groups. The segments where job creation was substantial were electric, mechanical or general engineering products followed by building and construction industry, trading & commercial establishments and textiles.

The data clearly indicates that over half of the jobs created in organised sector in the country were in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat during the seven-month period till March this year. The first set of payroll data was released by the EPFO last month. Some of the experts had raised doubts over construing job creation from the statistics. They had said that this data does not reflect true job creation in the country as it includes job changes also by employees.

The EPFO has uploaded the data with disclaimers that the data for most recent months are provisional as updation of employees records is a continuous process and are likely to be updated in subsequent months. The body also said that this is age-band wise data of all non-zero contributors that are registered under the EPFO during particular month.

The estimates may include temporary employees whose contributions may not be continuous for the entire year, it added. The EPFO manages social security funds of workers in the organised/semi organised sector in India. It has more than 6 crore active members (with at least one month contribution during the year).

E-way bill alert: country-wide system to be mandatory from this date

The e-way bill for moving goods within a state will become mandatory from June 3, with the country-wide roll out of the mechanism. The government had launched the electronic-way or e-way bill system from April 1 for moving goods worth over Rs 50,000 from one state to another.

The same for intra or within the state movement has been rolled out from April 15. So far, 20 states/Union Territories have made e-way bill mandatory for intra-state movement of goods. These states include — Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.

In a letter to officers in the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), Chairperson Vanaja Sarna said intra-state movement of goods would be implemented throughout the country by June 3, 2018. “Hence, I would reiterate that the Chief Commissioners of the remaining zones should co-ordinate with the state authority and get the requisite notification issued as early as possible. Also, steps may be taken to publicise the date of its roll out along with exemptions provided,” Sarna wrote.

Sarna said the e-way bill system is functioning as envisaged and since the implementation of the same from April 1, 2018, more than 4.5 crore e-way bills have been generated. This includes more than 1.30 crore e-way bills for intra-state movement of goods.

While intra-state e-way bill requirement will become mandatory in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep and Chandigarh on May 25, it will be rolled out in Punjab and Goa from June 1. Maharashtra will roll out the bill from May 31.

Touted as an anti-evasion measure, transporters of goods worth over Rs 50,000 would be required to present e-way bill to a GST inspector, if asked. The measure is expected to help boost tax collections by clamping down on trade that currently happens on cash basis.

 

Manmohan Singh borrowed economic reforms strategies from Pakistan and successfully implemented, says top minister

Pakistan has squandered the economic growth opportunity in the past because of political instability, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said, asserting that “tanks and missiles” alone cannot save a country. Iqbal, who is also the Minister for Planning and Development, claimed that during the 90s then Indian finance minister Manmohan Singh borrowed economic reforms strategies from his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz and successfully implemented them in India. He said Bangladesh also successfully used the same strategies but Pakistan could not put its own plans to use as the decade was lost to political instability.

He was speaking at the inauguration of Pakistan National Centre for Cyber Security here yesterday. “The first opportunity for Pakistan’s economy to take off came in the 60s, the second in the 90s, and the third opportunity is knocking at the doors now, which must not be lost to instability like in the past. Enough is enough,” he was quoted as saying by the daily.

He described peace, stability and continuity as critical for economic progress. “We will have to think why many countries which were behind us are now far ahead. China’s per capita income was far below Pakistan’s but is now much higher. Similarly, Bangladesh’s foreign reserves have reached USD 33 billion while we are at USD 18 billion. For how long, we will watch other countries overtake us,” the minister said.

He said “tanks and missiles” alone could not save a country if it’s not strong economically. He said while the Pakistani armed forces had “rendered great sacrifices, the successful fight against terrorism was possible also because of the availability of funds from the national budget.”

“There was a time when terrorists had surrounded us but the state has cornered them. If we squander this opportunity, the history and future generations will not forgive us,” Ahsan added. He said in 2013 Pakistan was using 2G wireless technology but the country would now be among the first users of the 5G technology in the world.

Rs 450-crore input tax credit: intelligence unit unearths fake gst bills business

The intelligence unit for the goods and services tax (GST) has unearthed a nexus among businesses that use fake bills to claim input tax credit (ITC). Given the value of the fictitious purchases is estimated to be around `2,500 crore, the undeserved ITCs pocketed by these firms are seen to be `450 crore at an average GST rate of 18%.

Sources said that the fake bill provider is absconding but the government has started issuing summons to businesses that produced these counterfeit bills to claim tax credits.

One such notice issued by the Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence (DGGSTI) unit in Meerut has been reviewed by FE. It has invoked the erstwhile excise, service tax as well as the new GST Acts and has asked the taxpayer to “give evidence truthfully on such matters concerning the enquiry as you may be asked and produce the documents and record mentioned in the schedule for the examination”.

The invocation of service tax law ensures that the department can look into documents for the last five years as well.

The modus operandi involves businesses buying invalid bills, which enables them to claim input tax credit on the fictitious supply. A portion of this amount is paid to the providers of such bills as commission.

“Based on a fake invoices of supplies worth Rs 118, say, of goods attracting 18% GST, a taxpayer can claim Rs 18 as ITC. It pays Rs 3-5 to the fake bill seller and pockets the rest,” a source explained. He said such invoices usually show supplies of white goods or other commodities attracting higher rates.

“The racket has hampered the tax collections, as many suppliers have converted their B2C (business-to-consumer) sales into B2B (business-to-business) sales, thereby passing on the input tax credit to the recipient. The tax so paid under B2C supplies is an accrued revenue for the government, whereas taxes paid under B2B supplies is a liability which would be adjusted till a final B2C supply occurs,” said Rajat Mohan, partner, AMRG & Associates.

The government has long suspected large-scale evasion in credit claims including transitional credit, which was claimed on tax-paid goods brought to GST regime after July 1. taxpayers have claimed over Rs 1.6 lakh crore as transitional credit till December last year when the window for such claims closed.

Thereafter, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) culled out the top 50,000 such claimants, who are responsible for nearly 90% of the claims, for detailed verification. This exercise is stipulated to run through out this year.

Similarly, in the absence of an invoice-matching system of return-filing, taxpayers have been allowed to file a monthly summary return (GSTR-3B) with self-declared tax liability and ITC availability. Although they are required to file sales invoices also under GSTR-1 return, the matching of inward and outward supplies have been hampered leading to evasion.

Tax officials say that enforcement action is not in full swing yet as the government believes assessees need more time to adjust to the new system, matching of large amount of taxpayer data is resulting in exposing anomalies.

India’s billionaire count to rise 3 times by 2027, says report

India has the third largest number of billionaires in the world, and in the next decade, as many as 238 additional ultra high net worth individuals will join this elite club, says a report. According to AfrAsia Bank Global Wealth Migration Review, India currently has 119 billionaires, and this number is expected to swell to 357 by 2027. Over the next 10 years, while India is expected to create 238 additional billionaires, its neighbour China is likely to add as 448 such individuals.

By 2027, the United States is likely to have the maximum number of billionaires at 884, followed by China (697), and India (357) in the second and third positions, respectively. Billionaires refer to individuals with net assets of USD 1 billion or more.

Other countries that are expected to create significant number of billionaires over the next decade include Russian Federation (142), United Kingdom (113), Germany (90) and Hong Kong (78). Globally, there are 2,252 billionaires at present, and this number is expected to increase to 3,444 by 2027.

In terms of “total wealth” — the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country — India is the sixth wealthiest country in the world with a total wealth of USD 8,230 billion. The US is the wealthiest country in the world with a total wealth of USD 62,584 billion, followed by China (USD 24,803 billion) and Japan (USD 19,522 billion).

Factors that will help in wealth creation in India include, large number of entrepreneurs, good educational system, robust outlook for IT, business process outsourcing, real estate, healthcare and media sectors which will result in a 200 per cent rise 10-year wealth growth forecast, according to the report.

Meanwhile, global wealth is expected to rise by 50 per cent over the next decade, reaching USD 321 trillion by 2027. The fastest growing wealth markets are expected to be Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, China, Mauritius, the report said.

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