Sebi issues norms on gold
Making hay while gold shines
Indian economy can do better: Montek
Hot-water springs to power region
Qatar to boost oil output with $5 b
Merck told to pay $32 m
Sebi issues norms on gold exchange funds
New Delhi, April 22
In a circular issued to the mutual funds, it has clarified that since physical gold and other permitted instruments linked to gold are presently denominated in gold tonnage, it will be valued based on the market price of gold in the domestic market and marked to market on a daily basis.
The market price of gold in the domestic market on any business day would based on domestic price of gold equivalent to London Bullion Market Association quoted price in ounce terms and adding custom duty for import of gold, applicable sales tax, octroi and other levies.
The guidelines have been issued, after investors and mutual fund players demanded clarification. Sebi circular said for the determination of Net Asset Value (NAV), the units under the scheme would be calculated on the basis of market or fair value of scheme’s investments and taking into account the number of units outstanding under scheme on the valuation date.
As there are no indices catering to the gold sector, securities linked to gold, it said, currently GETF (gold exchange traded funds) shall be benchmarked against the price of gold.
Inaugurating 6th National Summit on ‘Multiply your wealth with mutual funds and investors’ protection’, organised by Assocham, here today, Mr A P Kurian, Chairman, Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), said: “Mutual funds entry into gold and real estate trading is being initiated to give a further push to bullion trade and real-estate business in their booming market conditions.”
The gold exchange traded funds, he said, would ensure that investors could put their value of gold and properties into these funds and trade them through mutual funds for higher returns.
Mutual funds, he opined, have been bringing in much higher returns to investors ranging from 68 per cent to 100 per cent in the last one year. Particularly, 55 out of 100 diversified mutual fund schemes throughout the country, their returns have been exceptionally high by and large and exceeded over 68 per cent against the traditional saving schemes of banks and post offices, which currently bring between 6 and 10 per cent return to common investors.
Making hay while gold shines
Jalandhar, April 22
Gold prices have witnessed a whopping hike by 20 per cent during the past two months.
Today, 10 grams of precious metal was available for Rs 8,600 (22 carat) and for Rs 9,500 for 24 carat.
Ten grams of gold, according to an estimate, was priced at Rs 7,200 (22 carat) and at Rs 8,400 (24 carat) just about three months ago when the prices started staging a steep upward rise.
Interestingly, and contrary to common belief, more and more persons were coming out to sell gold, particularly, jewellery in order to earn whatever profit they could lay their hands on. Though most people were observing the gold price fluctuation very carefully, yet youngsters, who intend to earn some profit and who treat gold as a commodity were selling it at a fast pace, resulting in flooding of the markets with old jewellery.
“Younger generation doesn’t attach any antique value to gold. Rather, they prefer cash to gold as their entire economy normally depends, either on credit cards or bank loans.
So, they want to sell gold as soon as possible,” a Jalandhar-based dealer said.
A survey of different major markets of Doaba region revealed that there was an estimated 50 per cent hike in the number of gold sellers during the past two months.
Washington, April 22
"There is upsurge in investments, inflation below 4 per cent and a surfeit of foreign exchange reserves, in the neighbourhood of $150 billion," Mr Ahluwalia said at an United States India Business Council-CII event here sponsored by The Tata Group.
He, however, added that the government was not satisfied with the present growth rate and seen in the context of China, there had been a rise in public expectations. "The bar has been raised," the economist said yesterday.
Mr Ahluwalia maintained that there could be a gradual acceleration to a 10 per cent growth rate over the next five years with the average growth being between 8 and 9 per cent.
"India can get to a 10 per cent growth rate but the questions that are to be posed are over what period and the kind of policies that are needed to be put in place to achieve this objective. We are quite clear that this acceleration will not come from simply business as usual," he said.
During the interactive session, Mr Ahluwalia made a point that while there had been "good" growth of the economy, the feeling in the country was that it had not been "sufficiently inclusive", like that for people involved in agriculture.
"The perception has been of a failure to put in place a set of policies that will generate good agricultural growth. That in turn is very much linked to modernising Indian agriculture," he said.
He said if economic growth was to be inclusive, it had to factor in agriculture, including the critical issue of how to get the Indian farmer to diversify.
The Deputy Chairman also raised the issue of regional disparities, saying the reason for it was the lack of infrastructure. — PTI
Hot-water springs to power region
New Delhi, April 22
The National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) is contemplating to set up a unique power project that may enable it to generate electricity from the hot spring.
“The Ministry of Power has given us a go-ahead to set up that power project in Ladakh, and we are going to soon launch a detailed project investigation to have estimation about the reserves of hot water, its temperature at the ground level and necessary technology and final cost of power,” Mr S.P. Sen, Director, Technical, NHPC , told The Tribune today.
He claimed such power projects, technically known as geo-thermal power projects, are successfully running in the US, New Zealand, Australia and other countries. In India, if succeeded, it would be first of its kind.
The corporation had identified two such projects — one at Tatapani in Chhattisgarh and second at Puga in J&K, but we plan to start the work first on the latter project as the government has shown keen interest.
Initially, NHPC had hired an international consultant M/s Geothermaxin from the US for preparing detailed project report (DPR) for setting up this project, but it worked out cost of power generation at much higher rate of over Rs 10 per unit.
Later, said Mr Sen, a team from the IIT Mumbai studied the project and claimed that the electricity could be generated at much lower rate. Subsequently, a team of experts from corporation and IIT Mumbai led by Prof Chandershekhar went to New Zealand to study such projects.
It has now submitted its report claiming that a 50 MW power project can be set up at Puga to supply power to the neighbouring areas, though at a marginally higher rate than the hydel or thermal projects, but substantially lower than the initial estimate. But unlike other hydel projects in the power-starved state, said Mr Sen, this project is expected to supply regular electricity throughout the year.
Mr Sen, who has been associated with various projects of the corporation, said, after the government gave assurance to support the project saying that some small hydel projects in the state are already generating power at Rs 5 to Rs 7 per unit, NHPC has decided to work on it.
The government has asked the NHPC, already operating various hydel projects in the state to work on it considering its potential in future, and energy shortage in a strategically important state. In the US, about 3,000 MW of power is generated from such projects.
NHPC will soon prepare a DPR after having geological tests to have final estimates about the reserves of hot water in the earth there. “It may require an investment of Rs 5 crore to Rs 7 crore, and we hope that the ministry would provide funds for this purpose,” he said.
Doha, April 22
“In Qatar, the smallest oil producer in Opec, we are putting a lot of effort and investment into increasing our output,” Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiya told reporters on the sidelines of the 10th International Energy Forum.
The forum kicked off ahead of tomorrow’s official opening with a meeting between oil ministers and heads of the world’s largest oil companies.
“Now Qatar’s production is about 850,000 barrels (per day), we will go to 1.1 million barrels (per day) by 2009.” Qatar, which boasts the world’s third largest gas reserves, had previously announced in November that it would boost its oil production to 1 million bpd by 2010.
Mr Attiya reiterated his view that record high oil prices of more than $75 a barrel were more a result of “horrible” speculation and “geopolitics” than any objective shortage of supplies, given major investments in production planned by the Opec cartel’s 11 members.
“This frenzy is fabricated by speculators who are taking advantage of it in the most horrible way,” he said.
“If you can stop the politicians from making negative statements, I am sure you will see almost $15 disappear from the price.” Asked if he was referring to the market’s concern over recent hardline statements about Iran’s nuclear programme by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mr Attiya said: “It is not just Iran, everybody is making statements.” — AFP
Oil spills over $75
New York: Crude oil futures closed above $75 a barrel in New York for the first time today, amid increasing concerns about the Iranian nuclear crisis and a US gasoline supply crunch. The June contract for light sweet crude closed up $1.48 at $75.17 a barrel — the highest-ever close for a front-month contract after rising as high as $75.35. In London, the June contract for Brent North Sea crude also hit a historic high of $74.79 a barrel before settling back to close at $74.57, up 1.39. The market is fraught with fears that the United States might launch strikes at uranium facilities in Iran.
New York: Crude oil futures closed above $75 a barrel in New York for the first time today, amid increasing concerns about the Iranian nuclear crisis and a US gasoline supply crunch.
The June contract for light sweet crude closed up $1.48 at $75.17 a barrel — the highest-ever close for a front-month contract after rising as high as $75.35.
In London, the June contract for Brent North Sea crude also hit a historic high of $74.79 a barrel before settling back to close at $74.57, up 1.39. The market is fraught with fears that the United States might launch strikes at uranium facilities in Iran.
Rio Grande City (US), April 22
The jury of 10 men and two women deliberated for about seven hours over two days before returning the verdict in favour of the family of Leonel Garza yesterday.
The company was ordered to pay $7 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.
"Merck will appeal," spokesman Kent Jarrel said.
The case was the sixth of 11,500 lawsuits to reach a verdict and brings Merck's scorecard in the trials to three wins and three losses.
Attorneys for Garza said while Garza had a history of heart problems, his veins had been cleared and a stress test showed less than a 2 per cent risk of heart attack within a year. They said he had taken the drug for almost a month before he died in April 2001.
Merck lawyers argued there was no proven link between heart problems and use of the drug for less than 18 months and said there was doubt whether Garza had taken the drug for more than a week. — AP
Q: What will happen to my PPF account if I haven’t deposited any money in the last four years? Does it lapse? In which case, can I get my money back? —Sethi
A: If the investor fails to subscribe even the minimum Rs 500, the account is considered as discontinued. Loans and withdrawals are not available from a discontinued account. At the end of the term, the investor will be paid the balance with accrued interest for the full term.
It is possible to revive the old account by contributing Rs 500 with a penalty of Rs 50 (raised from Rs. 10 by Notification GSR768(E), dated November 15, 2002) per year. This fact is not known to many. They feel that very old discontinued accounts cannot be regularised. The fee does not attract any rebate (or interest).
Capital gains bond
Q: I am an employee of a semi-government organisation. I was investing Rs 6,000 since last 10 year in the UTI ULIP scheme and the same matured on March 14, 2006. I had received Rs 1,25,000 whereas I invested Rs 60,000. Being balance mutual fund using indexation, I earned long-term capital gain (LTCG) of Rs 36,633.29 and Rs 3,091.69 as short-term capital gain (STCG). Without indexation, LTCG was Rs 62,600.07 and STCG Rs 3,091.69. My questions are:
Which tax should I pay (with or without indexation)? On March 26, I paid advance tax of Rs. 6,500 as my account year closing in March 2006.
Can I save above capital gain tax by purchasing capital gains bond (as I had profit in mutual fund) within six month? — Arjun Singh
A: 1. LTCG is taken as a separate block and charged to tax at a flat rate of 20 per cent. In the case of securities including equities and units of MFs, the option of paying tax @10 per cent on the difference between the sale proceeds and the cost of acquisition, loosely called gains without indexation, is available to the assessee. No deductions are allowed under Chapter-VIA like u/s 80C, 80D etc., for LTCG.
STCG is included in the other income of the assessee and taxed at the normal rate applicable to him.
. Yes, tax on all long-term capital gains which are chargeable to tax, can be saved by investing within six months the amount of capital gains in infrastructure-related bonds of NHAI, or REC u/s 54 EC. The lock-in period is three years. The current interest rate is around 5.5 per cent and this is fully taxable.
Q: What is the implication of gift of a vacant residential plot (immoveable property) to husband’s sister’s son.
Facts: My mother-in-law applied for a residential plot in my name in 1986. Entire money for application and for subsequent instalments were paid by her from her bank account. Her daughter’s son was born in 1985, now 20 years. It is now intended to gift the said plot to him. Stamp duty shall be borne by the donee. Amended provisions state relatives, inter-alia, include brothers-and sisters-in-law, maternal uncles and aunts, lineal ascendants and descendants and their spouses. Is the above case covered? Should there be a joint gift-deed by me and my mother-in-law (all are income tax payees). Any advise or is there a better alternative? Is it better to do it in this financial year or next due to any changes in Budget? Can you kindly guide.? — Kapur
A: You are a relative of your nephew but he is not your relative. He can receive a gift from you but you cannot from him.
As per the Act, mother’s brother’s wife is a relative. But husband’s sister’s son is not a relative.
Now, any sum of money exceeding Rs. 50,000 (for last year, the limit was Rs. 25,000) received by any person without any adequate consideration will be charged to income tax. Such an amount received from a relative is beyond the scope of this provision.
Note that the words ‘any sum of money’ gives rise to some confusion. Some experts feel that gifts in kind will not be covered. I personally do not agree with this view.
Switching of options
Q: I understand that long-term (more than 12 months of holding) capital gains tax is zero in case of mutual fund units.
1. But do I have to pay capital gains tax if I switch from growth option to the dividend option before completing 12 months of holding?
If ‘yes’ is the answer to the above question, I have the following question also:
Once I switch from growth option to dividend option, do I have to hold on to the units for another 12 months (from the switch date) before redemption in order to avoid paying capital gains? Or the 12-month period is considered from entering into the fund as growth option and redeeming as dividend option?
For instance, I have purchased units (Growth) on January 1, 2005 and switched to dividend option on June 1, 2005 (6 months from purchase).
If I redeem the units on February 1, 2006 (7 months from switch but 13 months from original purchase), will I have to pay capital gains?
A: Each switch is taken as a separate transaction and will be subject to capital gains tax rules.
The long-term capital gains are tax-free only for equity-based schemes of MF. The switch from growth option to dividend option of the same scheme (and vice versa) held for not more than 12 months will give rise to short-term capital gains.
The period of holding for each scheme and/or option will have to be more than 12 months.
In the example you will be liable to pay tax on short-term capital gains on both switch and the sale.
Salary from abroad
A: There are two problems:
On becoming an NRI, legally you are required to inform all your banks and also all companies where you have investments about the change in your status within a reasonable time. What is reasonable has not been defined by the legislature. The banks will redesignate your accounts as NRO. You can use this account the same way as you used it before becoming an NRI.
In practice, most of the NRIs do not follow these rules and do not face any problems because the regulatory mechanism of the income tax department is not yet in place. Obviously, a few are apprehended and I hope you are not one of them. Realise that you do not gain anything by not following the rules.
Salary received directly in India from abroad is taxable in India as income received in India. However, in the case of an NRI or RNOR, if the salary is received by or on behalf of the employee in a foreign country and later on remitted to India, it will be exempt from tax in India since it is not treated as income received in India.