No e-ITR filing without Aadhaar from July 1; PAN to be valid

Taxpayers without Aadhaar number or its enrolment ID will not be able to e-file their Income Tax returns (ITRs) from July 1 even as the tax department has said that in no case any PAN will be invalidated.

Taxpayers without Aadhaar number or its enrolment ID will not be able to e-file their Income Tax returns (ITRs) from July 1 even as the tax department has said that in no case any PAN will be invalidated.

A senior Income Tax Department official clarified that people who are not able to link their Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN) by July 1, will have the option to mention the UIDAI-provided number in the e-ITR and this will be considered a valid linking of the two unique numbers.

A number of queries and doubts has risen on the issue of Aadhaar-PAN linking in the wake of the government making it clear that Aadhaar will be a “must” for filing ITRs and obtaining a new PAN from July 1.

The senior tax official addressed the two major concerns of taxpayers in this context:

“It has been made abundantly clear that no PAN, which is not linked to Aadhaar, will be cancelled from July 1. However, any person who wants to e-file their ITRs will either have to have an Aadhaar number or the enrolment id to be mentioned in their ITR or prior link it over the e-filing portal of the department.

“If Aadhaar credentials are not linked with PAN or mentioned in the ITR, then such a person will not be able to e-file,” the official said.

E-filing of ITR is mandatory for all individuals except whose income is less than Rs 5 lakh per annum and those who are above 80 years of age.

The Supreme Court had earlier this month upheld the validity of an Income Tax Act provision making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN cards and ITR filing, but had put a partial stay on its implementation till a Constitution bench addressed the issue of right to privacy.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the policy- making body for the I-T department, had said on June 10 that the apex court’s order had only given a “partial relief” to those who do not have an Aadhaar or an Aadhaar enrolment ID, and the taxman, hence, “will not cancel” the PAN of such individuals.

Aadhaar has also been made mandatory for applying for PAN with effect from July 1. The department, till now, has linked over 2.16 crore Aadhaar numbers with its PAN database.

While Aadhaar is issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to a resident of India, PAN is a ten-digit alphanumeric number allotted in the by the I-T Department to a person, firm or entity.

There are over 25 crore PAN numbers allotted, Aadhaar has been allotted to about 115 crore people.

Bumper Listing: CDSL debuts at Rs 250; zooms 80% over issue price

The bumper listing was on expected lines as the issue has overwhelming response, oversubscribing 170 times. The grey market premium also indicated the strong listing.

Central Depository Services (CDSL) shares debuted with 68 percent gains on the National Stock Exchange Friday. The share price opened at Rs 250 against the issue price of Rs 149.

The bumper listing was on expected lines as the issue has overwhelming response, oversubscribing 170 times. The grey market premium also indicated the strong listing.

At 10:04 am, the stock price was trading at Rs 264.80, up 77.7 percent, with volume of 1.5 crore shares after hitting a high of Rs 268 in morning trade.

It is the second blockbuster listing in 2017. Avenue Supermarts, the owner of retail chain D-Mart, shot up more than 100 percent on listing day while BSE Limited (the promoter of CDSL), Music Broadcast and HUDCO debuted with 22-35 percent gains.

CDSL shares are listed only on the National Stock Exchange but not on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) as it is the promoter of CDSL with 24 percent stake.

The BSE Limited reduced its stake in the securities depository by 26 percent from 50 percent, which is in line with SEBI’s ownership rules.

The Rs 524-crore initial public offering of CDSL, the first by a securities depository firm in India, was opened for subscription during June 19-21.

It was an offer for sale issue of 3.51 crore shares (representing 33.65 percent of fully diluted post-offer paid-up equity) by selling shareholders BSE Limited, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Calcutta Stock Exchange. Hence, the company did not receive any proceeds of the offer.

Incorporated in December 1997, CDSL is a leading securities depository in India by incremental growth of beneficial owner accounts over the last three fiscals and by the total number of registered depository participants, as at the end of fiscal 2016.

 

‘Indian Railways earns Rs 14 bn via reserved ticket cancellation in FY17′

This information was revealed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Railways, in response to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) by activist Chandrashekhar Gaud.

The Indian Railways collected Rs 14.07 billion through cancellation of reserved tickets on the request of the commuters in FY 2016-17, registering a 25.29 per cent rise over previous year’s earning under this head.

This information was revealed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Railways, in response to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) by activist Chandrashekhar Gaud.

“In its reply, the CRIS informed that earnings through ticket cancellation has gone up to Rs 14.07 billion during fiscal 2016-17, from Rs 11.23 billion in 2015-16. The earnings under this head amount were Rs 9.08 billion in fiscal 2014-15 and Rs 9.38 billion in FY 9.38 billion. This information is provided under the Passenger Reservation System (PRS),” Gaud told PTI today.

The Railways is also earning revenue through the cancellation of unreserved tickets.

As per the RTI reply, the Railways earned Rs 17.87 crore in FY 2016-17 through Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS). This amount was Rs 17.23 crore in FY 2015-16 and Rs 14.72 crore in FY 2014-15.

Gaud said the rules related to the refund on cancelled tickets were changed in November 2015 under Railway Passengers (cancellation of tickets and refund of fare) Rules 2015, under which cancellation fee was increased up to two times.

The RTI activist claimed that although he had sought the files related to the amendments to rules, the transporter refused to provide this information terming it as part of the ‘commercial confidence.’

Gaud said the Railways should change the rules for the refund in the interest of passengers.

NITI Aayog proposes break-up of Coal India into seven firms

About 70 percent of India’s power generation is fired by coal. The country is the world’s third-largest producer and third-biggest importer of coal, which the government wants to change by boosting local coal production.

India should split the seven units of state-controlled Coal India Ltd into independent companies to make it more competitive, the government’s policy think-tank said on Tuesday in a draft of a new energy policy.

About 70 percent of India’s power generation is fired by coal. The country is the world’s third-largest producer and third-biggest importer of coal, which the government wants to change by boosting local coal production.

Fresh coal production should come from private sector mines, the government think-tank NITI Aayog said, adding that the move called for reforms in allocating coal blocks to independent companies specialised in coal mining.

Coal India was not available for comment after its regular business hours.

Reuters reported in December that senior Indian government officials, tasked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with reviewing energy security, were recommending the break up of the world’s largest coal miner within a year.

Attempts to break up the world’s biggest coal miner could expect resistance from powerful unions representing the firm’s more than 350,000 employees. The government backed down from a similar proposal in the face of union protests in 2014.

One of the unions, which is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, is against the move and says it has the support of about half of Coal India’s workers.

“We are opposing the recommendations made by NITI Aayog,” Baij Nath Rai, president of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, told Reuters by telephone.

Coal India, the country’s second-biggest employer, is often criticized for being bloated and inefficient. Its output-per-man shift is estimated at one-eighth of Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal producer.

Aadhaar-PAN linking must from July 1, govt notifies rules

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley through an amendment to tax proposals in the Finance Bill for 2017-18 had made Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and provided for linking of PAN with Aadhaar to check tax evasion through use of multiple PAN cards.

The government has made it mandatory to link existing Aadhaar numbers with PAN of taxpayers with effect from July 1. Amending income tax rules and notifying the same, the government has made quoting of the 12-digit biometric Aadhaar or the enrolment ID a must at the time of application of permanent account number (PAN).

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley through an amendment to tax proposals in the Finance Bill for 2017-18 had made Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and provided for linking of PAN with Aadhaar to check tax evasion through use of multiple PAN cards.

The revenue department said “every person who has been allotted PAN as on July 1, 2017, and who in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 139AA is required to intimate his Aadhaar number, shall intimate his Aadhaar number to the principal director general of income tax (systems) or DGIT (systems)”.

Besides, it entrusted principal DGIT (systems) or DGIT (systems) with specifying the formats and standards along with procedure for verification of documents filed with PAN application or intimation of Aadhaar number. The rules will come into force from July 1, 2017, the revenue department said while amending Rule 114 of the I-T Act, which deals in application for allotment of PAN.

As many as 2.07 crore taxpayers have already linked their Aadhaar with PAN. There are over 25 crore PAN card holders in the country while Aadhaar has been issued to 111 crore people. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had upheld the validity of an I-T Act provision making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN cards and ITR filing, but had put a partial stay on its implementation till a Constitution bench addressed the issue of right to privacy.

Pursuant to this, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had said the linking of Aadhaar and PAN will be a “must” for filing of income tax returns (ITR) and obtaining PAN from July 1.

While Aadhaar is a biometric authentication issued by the UIDAI, PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number alloted by the I-T department to individuals and entities.

Financial year likely to be changed from 2018; Budget in November?

The Centre may present next Budget in November this year, top govt sources told PTI.

Come 2018 and the financial year in India could commence from January instead of April as the Centre appears set to make the historic transition to end the 150-year-old tradition.

Accordingly, the next Budget could be presented by the Centre in November this year, high level government sources told PTI here today.

The sources said the government is working on aligning the financial year with the calendar year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for a change.

This would be another historic change after advancement of the Budget presentation to February 1 this year, ending the decades-old practice of presenting the annual exercise in the last week of February.

According to the proposal under discussion, the Budget session of Parliament would have to be held well before December so that the budgetary exercise can be concluded by the year-end.

Since it takes nearly two months for the conclusion of the budgetary exercise, the possible dates for holding the Budget session could be the first week of November, the sources said.

The financial year from April 1 to March 31, currently in vogue nationally, was adopted in 1867 principally to align the Indian financial year with that of the British government.

Till then, the financial year in India used to commence on May 1 and end on April 30 of the following calendar year.

After Modi expressed his desire to align the financial year with the calendar year, the government had last year appointed a high-level committee to study the feasibility of shifting the financial year to January 1. The panel submitted its report to the Finance Minister in December.

Among the various factors, a NITI Aayog note had said that a change in the financial year was required as the current system leads to sub-optimal utilisation of working season.

It had also noted that the current financial year cycle was chosen without any reference to national culture and traditions or convenience of legislators.

Also, the financial year is not aligned with international practices and it impacted data collection and dissemination from the perspective of national accounts, according to the note prepared by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy and OSD Kishore Desai, citing experts.

A few months back, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance also recommended shifting the financial year to the January-December. Modi while advocating a change in the financial year had said that there is a need to develop robust arrangements that could function amidst diversity.

“Because of poor time management, many good initiatives and schemes had failed to deliver the anticipated results,” the prime minister had said. Madhya Pradesh became the first state to announce shifting of its financial year format to January-December from 2018.

EU to slap Google with record-breaking fine of EUR 1.1-2 billion this week: Report

The fine is expected to be greater than the EUR 1.06 billion that was imposed on US chip maker Intel in 2009.

The European Union’s antitrust regulator is likely to impose a record fine on Google as early as Tuesday. Google’s fine would be in range of EUR 1.1-2.0 billion, approximately 10 percent of Google’s total revenue of EUR 8 billion last year.

The fine is expected to be greater than the EUR 1.06 billion that was imposed on US chip maker Intel in 2009.

Brussels has accused Google of giving its own shipping services top priority in search results causing damage to other price comparison services.

In the other Google cases, the EU is examining Google’s AdSense advertising service and its Android mobile phone software.

“We continue to engage constructively with the European Commission and we believe strongly that our innovations in online shopping have been good for shoppers, retailers and competition,” said Mark Jansen, a spokesman for Google.

The European Commission refused to comment on the matter.

The Commission – which polices EU competition policy – had launched an initial investigation into Google in 2010 following complaints from rivals such as Microsoft and Trip Advisor that it favoured its own shopping services when customers ran searches.

Last year, the Google general counsel Kent Walker had told EU in a letter that the claims of Google Shopping harming competition “are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics.”

The fine will be imposed by the European Commission competition chief  Margrethe Vestager. His predecessor, Joaquin Almunia, made three attempts to resolve the dispute but in each case, intense pressure by national governments, rivals and privacy advocates scuppered the effort.

The decision, expected on Tuesday or Wednesday, comes a year after Vestager shocked the world and angered the Obama administration with an order that Apple pay EUR 13 billion in back taxes to Ireland.

Similar cases have been filed against other US companies like Starbucks, Apple, Amazon and McDonalds.

New Smart City list released: Naya Raipur, Rajkot selected

Announcing the new list of smart cities at an event here, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that 45 cities contested for the 40 available smart city slots but only 30 were selected to ensure their feasibility and workable plans.

Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Rajkot in Gujarat figure in the new list of 30 cities announced today for development as smart cities under the Centre’ Smart City Mission.

The latest announcement takes to 90 the number of cities selected for part financing by the Centre under the scheme.

Announcing the new list of smart cities at an event here, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that 45 cities contested for the 40 available smart city slots but only 30 were selected to ensure their feasibility and workable plans.

An investment of Rs 57,393 crore has been proposed under smart city plans.

Other cities that made to the third round of the competition included Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Patna (Bihar), Karimnagar (Telangana) and Muzaffarpur (Bihar).

Under the Smart City Mission, the Centre provides Rs 500 crore to each city over a period of 5 years for implementing various projects.

EPFO, HUDCO to ink pact for housing subsidy under PMAY

Under the housing scheme, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) allows its subscribers from societies for withdrawing up to 90 per cent of their EPF accumulations to buy homes.

Retirement fund body EPFO will sign today a pact with the Housing and Urban Development Corp (HUDCO) to enable members of its housing scheme to avail subsidy and interest subvention under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

Under the housing scheme, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) allows its subscribers from societies for withdrawing up to 90 per cent of their EPF accumulations to buy homes.

“As part of the government commitment for ‘housing for all by 2022′, the EPFO is signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with HUDCO on June 22, 2017,” an official statement said.

According to statement the MoU will be signed in the presence of Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

Talking about the pact, EPFO’s Central Provident Fund Commissioner V P Joy told PTI that the agreement is regarding coverage of EPFO subscribers under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana by providing them various benefits like cheaper loans for buying homes.

Last month Dattatreya had made it clear that the EPFO will not construct houses for its subscribers but would act as a facilitator so that the members can buy homes.

The labour ministry intends to facilitate at least 10 lakh subscribers in the next two years by allowing them to use 90 per cent of EPF accumulations to make down payments to buy houses and use their accounts for paying EMIs of home loans.

In April this year, the EPFO had amended the EPF Scheme to enable the subscribers to make down payment to buy homes and pay EMIs through the EPF account.

The minister had said, “The scheme (withdrawal of 90 per cent of EPF) will be aligned with the Urban Development Ministry (programmes) and other organisations because the Centre is also giving subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh to weaker sections (to buy houses).”

He was of the view that since the government is also providing interest subsidy for certain sections of people for buying houses and all benefits can be clubbed together.

The HUDCO is a nodal agency for implementation of credit linked subsidy scheme for middle and lower-income groups and economically weaker section under the PMAY.

 

US announces $7.5 mn to advance India’s power grid

The Ministry of Science and Technology and industry will match the commitment of US’ Department of Energy, bringing the total commitment to USD 30 million, officials here said.

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, the Trump administration said today it will spend USD 7.5 million to help advance India’s power grid, as part of the two countries’ commitments to ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy.

The Ministry of Science and Technology and industry will match the commitment of US’ Department of Energy, bringing the total commitment to USD 30 million, officials here said.

“This new consortium demonstrates the US and Indian commitments to ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy in both countries,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said.

“We know that continued grid innovation will promote economic growth and energy security in the United States and India,” he said.

The initiative, part of America’s commitment to fostering the reliable, resilient and secure delivery of electricity, was needed for the strong US national security, economic growth and global leadership, as well as furthering Department of Energy (DOE)’s collaboration with India under the US-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE), officials said.

The US-India collaboration for smart distribution system with storage (UI-ASSIST) was selected as the new consortia for Smart Grid and Energy Storage under the US-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC), the DOE said in a statement.

To help pave the way to a more advanced distribution grid that will allow greater use of distributed energy resources such as microgrids and energy storage, the new consortia will bring together experts from academia, DOE’s national laboratories and industry, it said.

Together with their counterparts in India, the center will conduct research and deploy new smart grid and energy storage technologies that will modernise the grids of both the nations to make them “smarter”, while increasing resilience and reliability, the DOE said.

Through JCERDC, the US’ world class installations and national laboratories will contribute their expertise and capabilities as India expands energy access to its remote areas, improves its grid reliability and resilience, and strengthens its energy security.

The US participants will gain insight from India’s grid modernisation efforts – a potential export market for US equipment worth billions of dollars – and promote researcher access to India’s grid operational experience, it said.

UI-ASSIST’s US team, led by Washington State University, is comprised of MIT, Texas A&M University, University of Hawaii, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Snohomish County (WA) Public Utility District, Avista, Burns and McDonnell, ETAP Operation Technology, ALSTOM Grid/GE Grid Solutions, Clean Energy Storage, ABB, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

The Indian team, led by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, includes partners from IIIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IIT Roorkee, IIT Bhubaneshwar and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) New Delhi.