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Kamal Nath dismisses Finance Ministry fears on SEZs
Kolkata, November 25
Seeking to allay the Finance Ministry’s apprehension about loss of revenue due to setting up of special economic zones, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath today that the fears did not have any basis and it would not lead to loss of revenue.
Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (right) at the 33rd annual awards ceremony of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council in Kolkata Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (right) at the 33rd annual awards ceremony of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council in Kolkata on Saturday.
— PTI photo

M&M picks up 66 pc in Hinoday
Mumbai, November 25
Utility vehicles major Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) has signed an agreement to acquire 66 per cent equity stake in the Pune-based DGP Hinoday Industries Ltd (Hinoday) for an undisclosed sum.



EARLIER STORIES

 
A Sony employee displays a nail-sized flash memory card "Pocket-bit mini", in Tokyo
A Sony employee displays a nail-sized flash memory card "Pocket-bit mini", in Tokyo on Friday. It measures 32 x 14.5 x 2.7 mm and weighs only 1.5 gm, which enables it to connect to a USB port and is compatible with high-speed USB 2.0 data transfer. Sony will put it on the market on December 1 with an estimated price of 9,000 yen ($77) for 2GB model. — AFP

IT returns via post offices to be centrally processed
New Delhi, November 25
There is a good news for over four lakh persons, who have filed their income tax returns through various post offices. They can expect quick refunds.

Pantaloon sourcing unit in
Hong Kong
Mumbai, November 25
Pantaloon Retail India Ltd. said yesterday its board had approved investing $1million in setting up a unit in Hong Kong to source products from China. The firm will also have two smaller units in mainland China to source consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and appliances worth more than $500 million over the next 12 months, Pantaloon's Chief Executive Kishore Biyani told Reuters.

Aviation Notes

Philippines woos Indian tourists, airlines
There is no direct air link between Philippines and India. And there is a little possibility of its coming up because both national carriers, Air-India and Indian, are facing paucity of aircraft. Although some private operators, looking for lucrative routes and avenues, may undertake flights to Manila and back.

Investor guidance

Dividend on equity-based MF schemes tax-free
Q. Kindly advise income tax applicability on following investments:
1) In case I invest in Reliance Liquidity fund — monthly dividend option and maintain my account for a period of either more than a year or less than a year. Will there be tax on the dividends received?





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Kamal Nath dismisses Finance Ministry fears on SEZs

Kolkata, November 25
Seeking to allay the Finance Ministry’s apprehension about loss of revenue due to setting up of special economic zones (SEZs), Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath today that the fears did not have any basis and it would not lead to loss of revenue.

SEZs would generate additional revenue and generate employment to a large extent, Mr Nath told reporters.

Yesterday the Finance Ministry said granting of tax sops to SEZs would lead to a revenue loss of Rs 1 lakh crore for the government.

“The Finance Ministry should have said this earlier. The SEZ Act is now in place,” the minister said.

Asked whether there was a dispute between the Commerce and Finance Ministries, Mr Nath said there was no such case.

Mr Nath said his ministry was in full support of the proposals forwarded by the West Bengal Government on the composition of land structure of SEZs.

“West Bengal’s model is a good one and will also lead to employment generation,” he said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an annual awards function of The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council here.

Instead of revenue loss, the SEZs would rather increase exports and generate Rs 40,000 crore of revenues to the government, Mr Nath said.

The views that SEZs would lead to revenue loss was based on “notional calculation” since exports were not taxed now, the Union Minister said.

He said the government had made it clear that single crop land would be preferred for SEZs.

The government would ensure that there was no loss agricultural production front in case of SEZs, he said.

He said there would be no displacement of people unless gainful employment was guaranteed.

In West Bengal Government’s model for SEZs, the SEZ developers are required to utilise 50 per cent of the total area for manufacturing activities and the remaining for non-processing activities such as houses, roads, parks and restaurants.

However, as per the SEZ Rules framed by the Centre, only 35 per cent of the area must be used for processing activities. The remaining 65 per cent area can be used for non-processing functions.

The ruling Left party in the state maintained the stand that the increase in processing area was meant to ensure that SEZs did not become ‘pure realty projects’ but keep their focus on creating manufacturing facilities and providing world-class services. — Agencies

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M&M picks up 66 pc in Hinoday

Mumbai, November 25
Utility vehicles major Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) has signed an agreement to acquire 66 per cent equity stake in the Pune-based DGP Hinoday Industries Ltd (Hinoday) for an undisclosed sum.

Announcing this, a M&M press release said it shall acquire the shares from the existing shareholders, DG Piramal Group and India Private Equity Fund Mauritius, while Hitachi Metals holds the balance 34 per cent equity stake.

Hinoday, which commenced its operations in 1963, is a market leader in its two business segments such as Casting and Ferrites.

As far as Ferrites goes, Hinoday is the largest and technologically the most advanced manufacturer of hard and soft ferrites in India.

Commenting on the stake sale, DGP Hinoday Chairman Dilip Piramal said, '”Our team has grown the company from Rs 5 crore to Rs 250 crore in the last 25 years. As I focus on the growth of our flagship company, VIP Industries, it gives me a sense of satisfaction to hand over the reigns to the trusted Mahindra Group.”

M&M managing director and vice-chairman Anand Mahindra stated, “The DGP Hinoday acquisition is integral to systech’s strategy of providing a one-stop-shop for sophisticated, high-end engineered products like forgings and castings, leveraging India’s intellectual capital and low-cost, high-quality manufacturing strengths.” ICICI Securities was the Sole Adviser to M&M for the equity sale transaction. — UNI

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IT returns via post offices to be centrally processed
S Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
There is a good news for over four lakh persons, who have filed their income tax returns through various post offices. They can expect quick refunds.

Their tax returns will be processed by the Income Tax Department centrally, which would facilitate issue of refunds quickly.

A decision to this effect has been taken by the Finance Ministry in the wake of representations received from the Income Tax Employees Federation and Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association with regard to their opposition to outsourcing of work of the Income Tax Department.

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Pantaloon sourcing unit in Hong Kong

Mumbai, November 25
Pantaloon Retail India Ltd. said yesterday its board had approved investing $1million in setting up a unit in Hong Kong to source products from China.

The firm will also have two smaller units in mainland China to source consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and appliances worth more than $500 million over the next 12 months, Pantaloon's Chief Executive Kishore Biyani told Reuters.

The board of India’s largest retailer also approved investing Rs 175 million ($3.9 million) in a subsidiary company to sell office supplies.

Meanwhile, Future Group, which also owns Pantaloon Retail India Ltd., will soon diversify in health care, insurance, beauty care and communication sectors, CEO of the group Kishore Biyani said yesterday. — Agencies

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AVIATION NOTES

by K.R. Wadhwaney

Philippines woos Indian tourists, airlines

There is no direct air link between Philippines and India. And there is a little possibility of its coming up because both national carriers, Air-India and Indian, are facing paucity of aircraft. Although some private operators, looking for lucrative routes and avenues, may undertake flights to Manila and back.

Whatever the existing scenario, a team of the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) led by Eduardo Jarque (junior), is optimistic that two-way traffic flow between two countries is not only possible but it will bring rewarding results as well.

“We have done the ground-work and research before launching this roadshow to sell Philippines and buy India through exchange of ideas with various tour operators”, said Jarque, adding: “We have already chartered our route, through Buzz travel marketing, to bring tourists and take travellers from India to our several beautiful islands”.

Providing details, Jarque said: “The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (WTO) has reported that India is a fast-growing outbound market which stands to reach 50 million by 2020”. Highlighting about islands and other scenic spots, the PDOT officials said: “On this mission, we are analysing the Indian market, planning and execution of specific events, monitoring and reviewing aviation and tourism activities in the region”.

When asked, Jarque said: “We are in contact with some airlines and we will soon provide concrete proposals and packages for tour operators to bring middle-class travellers. Maybe, it will be worthwhile promoting tourism through two famous women athletes, P.T. Usha and Lydia de Vega (Philippines), Asia’s best sprinters.

Passengers’ woes

Unlike the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Delhi International Airport (P) Limited has initiated some measures to reduce passengers’ woes during foggy months of December and January. The measures, speltout by the chief operating officer Ioannis Papastefanou, are laudable but passenger discomforts will continue as majority of flights on national and international routes will be considerably delayed.

The aviation analysts, who are aware of availability of gadgets at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) are of firm view that the only way to prevent dislocation of flights and reduce passengers’ woes would be to reduce night landings and taking-offs. It is judicious to carry passengers to fog-free airports instead of encountering last-minute diversions and disruptions.

Statistics of last 10 years show that most of the flights, scheduled for night operations, are unable to land or take-off because, apart from indifferent functioning of ILS (Instruments Landing System), many commanders are not trained to function on intricate category-III system. The analysts are of firm belief that a lot of problems will be sorted out if the flights, particularly long-distance flights, are rescheduled in such a way that they land or take-off during day-time. This will reduce passengers’ woes and also losses to airlines.

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INVESTOR GUIDANCE

by A.N. Shanbhag

Dividend on equity-based MF schemes tax-free

Q. Kindly advise income tax applicability on following investments:

1) In case I invest in Reliance Liquidity fund — monthly dividend option and maintain my account for a period of either more than a year or less than a year. Will there be tax on the dividends received?

2) In case I invest in MIP’s of any mutual fund company and opt for regular monthly dividends.

— Parashar

A. The dividend is tax-free in the hands of the investor both in the case of debt-based as well as equity-based MF schemes. However, there is a dividend distribution tax @14.025 pc payable by the MF directly to the exchequer only in the case of debt-based. Both the schemes mentioned by you are debt-based.

The period of holding has no bearing on the taxability of the dividends.

Rebate under Section 80 C

Q. I am a software professional. I have some doubt regarding income tax. I need to claim Rs 1 lakh deduction. But if I invest the full amount I will have very little money in hand. My father has a housing loan (in father’s name). I send money to him and he pays Rs 2,500 to bank. I had requested the bank to transfer the loan to my account. But the bank is not agreeable. I myself pay house rent of Rs 3,800; but the owner of house does not give any receipt. Can I claim HRA deduction or can I claim any deduction for paying the EMI on behalf of my father?

— Pranav

A. 1. You will get the deduction up to Rs 1 lakh only if you contribute to the avenues covered by Section 80C; not otherwise. You may invest only so much that you can afford to.

2. Bank is very much justified in not transferring the loan in your name. Even if it did, you are not eligible for the benefit since the house is in the name of your father.

3. If you do not have any proof of paying house rent, it would be difficult for you to claim any concession either u/s 10(13) against HRA or u/s 80GG if you do not get HRA.

Medical reimbursement

Q. Kindly advise me on a crucial issue of medical reimbursement.
As you know that medical reimbursement for indoor treatment from govt or approved hospitals is admissible to government employees. All was going well till last year when FBT were imposed. Now, all reimbursement above Rs 15,000 in a FY is taxed as salary if treatment is taken from a private hospital. In Punjab, there is no list of approved hospitals. The government has standing instructions that treatment can be taken from any hospital but reimbursement will be made at government rates (of PGI or AIIMS etc). When a person goes to Escorts or Fortis or Apollo, first his bill is reduced to government rates and then tax is deducted on it. As a result, reimbursement reduces to just 40 pc of spent amount. This causes great hardship.
For example, Rs 3.3 lakh were spent by an employee on bypass surgery from Fortis. The bill got reduced to Rs 2.10 lakh at government rates. This was added to his pension and 1.95 lakh of it got taxed at 30 pc. Net amount he received as reimbursement was Rs 1.50 lakh only.
This amounts to double deduction. If tax is to be recovered, then at least, the amount should not be reduced to government rates as this is actual expenditure. Secondly, if a hospital produces a certificate issued by Director Health Services that that hospital is approved for treatment, then no tax should be deducted. But DDOs are deducting the tax as no clear guidelines are available and they are personally responsible for tax deduction. Please advise.

— D.P. Singh

A. In the case of medical domiciliary treatment, the exemption is available in respect of :

* Medical facility provided to the employee or any family member in hospitals, clinics etc., maintained by the employer.

* Reimbursement of expenditure incurred by an employee or any member of his family in hospitals, dispensaries etc., maintained by the government, a local authority or in other approved hospitals.

* Payments for prescribed ailments by the employer directly to any non-government hospital approved by a CIT. Where the treatment is taken in private hospitals, the employee should attach with his returns a certificate from the hospital specifying the ailment and also the receipt for the amount paid.

* Group medical insurance for employees and their families or reimbursement of insurance premium to the employees who take such medical insurance.

* Reimbursement, not exceeding Rs 15,000 in a year, for medical treatment for himself and his family members from any doctor.

You will find that there is no special benefit available to government employees. Moreover, the treatment has to be taken in hospitals, dispensaries etc., maintained by either the employer or the government, a local authority. If it is a private hospital, it has to be a hospital approved by the chief commissioner having regard to the prescribed guidelines.

The rules have been framed in this manner to thwart the possibility of the assessee, in connivance with a private hospital, obtaining a high bill, without getting any treatment.

FBT is not related with this concession.

Payment by credit cards

Q. My query is related with payment/investment exceeding Rs 20,000 made by direct credit / e-payment by a firm. As per current provision of I.T Act Sec. 40A (3) & 269SS payment should be made by account payee cheque. or DD.

If such payment made by direct credit/e-payment is allowed under the Income Tax Act? If yes, then kindly give me the authority.

— Mahendar

A. The payment is required to be made by an account payee cheque or account payee demand draft. Since the Act does not specify any other types of payments, even a payment made by credit card is likely to be disallowed.

Yes, this is strange but true! Some time ago, I had received a complaint from one of my readers, whose payment of mediclaim premium through a credit card was disallowed for benefit of Section 80D since it was not ‘paid by him by cheque’ as required by the Section. I wonder what would have happened if he had paid it by an account payee demand draft or banker’s cheque.

Our legislation, particularly the one related with taxation requires a big overhaul.

The authors may be contacted at wonderlandconsultants@yahoo.com

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BRIEFLY

Indian inks pact with Snecma
New Delhi, November 25
State-owned carrier Indian has signed an MoU with French aerospace major Snecma to set up a joint-venture for maintenance, repair and overhauling of aircraft engines at a cost of about $30 million. While the French partner will have 51 per cent stake in the JV, Indian will have the remaining 49 per cent stake. — PTI

HDFC stake
Mumbai, November 25
Foreign fund UBS Securities Asia Ltd has picked up 2.44 per cent stake in Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) for Rs 1,008.60 crore in open market transactions. UBS acquired 61.12 lakh shares of HDFC at a Rs 1,650 each from Crown Capital in a block deal. As on September 30, Crown Capital Ltd held 4.9 per cent stake in HDFC, while UBS Securities had 1.5 per cent of the company. — PTI

Forex reserves
Mumbai, November 25
India's forex reserves went up by $2.071 billion to $170.355 billion during the week ended November 17 compared to the previous week. The reserves had increased by $1.168 billion during the week ended November 10 and stood at $168.284 billion. — PTI

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