|Sunday, March 12, 2000,
Chandigarh to have IT
Single regulator for
Not a tough, but tax Budget
BSE sensex revamped
Allahabad Bank branch
Chandigarh to have IT college
CHANDIGARH, March 11 An information technology (IT) college will be set up in Chandigarh for which 10 to 15 acres will be made available in one of the phase III sectors (48 to 56 ).
This was announced here today at the CIIs interaction with the Chandigarh Administration represented by Lieut-Gen (retd) J.F.R.Jacob, Ms Vineeta Rai and Finance Secretary Rakesh Singh.
Whether the proposed IT college would be run by the Administration alone or in collaboration with the corporate sector is yet to be decided. Computer education is already being introduced in Chandigarh schools.
The CII team comprising Sunil Kant Munjal, I.S.Paul and Vinayak Chatterjee made three suggestions to the UT Administration :
(a) Chandigarh needs to make an immediate foray into IT education since trained manpower is essential for the growth of IT industry.
(b) Develop infrastructure to make Chandigarh a destination for trade fairs, exhibitions and conventions which will boost leisure tourism, hotel and transport businesses.
(c) To reduce pressure on Chandigarhs infrastructure from Mohali , Panchkula , Baddi and soon from Anandgarh, there is need to look at a Greater Chandigarh Area (GCA) on the lines of the National Capital Region. Stagger office timings to ease pressure on roads.
Responding to the CII suggestions, General Jacob said pressure on land is enormous. He said 600 to 700 persons come to the city daily for employment. A city built for half a million people now has a population of almost a million. The Administration is building 60,000 units to rehabilitate slum dwellers. What to do beyond is the major problem. He suggested : make Chandigarh a destination and not a stopover, for tourists.
Ms Vineeta Rai explained how the administrations efforts to set up a convention centre for which a model has already been finalised has got stuck in litigation. The Administration is involved in a land encroachment dispute with a temple and the case is pending in the High Court.
Mr Rakesh Singh said the administration proposes to locate low-density, eco-friendly projects relating to health, education, sports etc in the phase III sectors.
The Administration did not buy . Mr Munjals suggestion to set up citizens kiosks. The Administrator said it is better to have a single window system. The DC said while IT initiatives like kiosks would serve the privileged sections, the administration structure is being simplified for the underprivileged.
Responding to a question, Ms Rai said archaic building by-laws were posing problems. The Administration had invited public suggestions to amend them. A committee is looking into the suggestions.
The chaotic traffic on the road to Panchkula also figured at the question-answer session. Mr Rakesh Singh said three alternative routes are being credited: (a) a link road to the Mansa Devi Complex (b) a road through Sector 26 to the Modern Housing Complex at Manimajra and (c) another road through the Industrial Area. But the preferred road would still be the Madhya Marg.
regulator for infrastructure disfavoured
NEW DELHI, March 11 A single regulator might lack expertise to tackle all the infrastructure sector, the Union Power Minister, Mr P. R. Kumaramangalam, said today while reasoning out why he does not favour the idea of a single infrastructure regulatory authority.
Mr Kumaramangalam said at a workshop on regulatory bodies organised by PHDCCI that it was not easy to have a common regulator.
Earlier, Justice B N Kirpal of Supreme Court and PHDCCI president K. S. Mehta had suggested a single regulatory authority with different divisions to look after various sectors.
They said convergence of technologies is making different segments of the economy dependent on one another. Setting up of a single regulator would also avoid overlapping of works among these bodies, they added.
The power minister said it was a general perception that judicial system was above public opinion, but a regulatory authority which decided on issues concerning masses should be subject to scrutiny adding that monitoring could be done by Parliament.
If we are to have a single appellate authority the courts can do that and we need not create another institution for that purpose, he said adding quick disposal of issues require separate entities.
He said experience with the earlier version of telecom regulatory authority had shown that there was a greater need for accountability of the regulator.
regulator was crucial and should begin with selection of
competent persons, he said adding that the purview
of regulatory authority was a debatable subject and could
range from mere fixing tariffs to planning and developing
tough, but tax Budget
CHANDIGARH, March 11 After promising a tough Budget which people would have accepted, the Finance Minister has come out with an out and out tax Budget. It is not tough for us, it is tough for the Finance Minister.
So observed Bibek Debroy, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, at a session with the CII here today.
Coming down heavily on uncontrolled government expenditure, Debroy said there is no need for a Fiscal Responsibility Act or the Expenditure Commission, what needs to be done on government expenditure is known.
There are four components of government expenditure: (a) interest payments (b) defence expenditure (c) salaries of government employees and (d) subsidies.
On interest payments, he said the Government should privatise PSUs to retire Public debt. If properly done, disinvestment can yield Rs 50,000 crore.
Defence expenditure, he said, is a holy cow, but 70 per cent of the defence spending is done to pay salaries and pensions. Is this the most efficient way to spend defence Budget? he asked.
While talking of downsizing, the Government actually added 81,000 employees to the Central Governments work force during 1999-2000. On the one hand, the Budget says, IT sector grew because of lack of government control, why have an IT Ministry then ?
The Budget itself created a Ministry for Tribal Affairs, besides two departments one for drinking water and another for elementary education.
Both are State subjects.
At least five Ministries have doubled their expenditure, including the ministries for Home Affairs, Law and Justice and Finance.
Turning to subsidies,
Bibek Debroy said for the first time a Union Budget has
talked of reduction of subsidies. On small savings, he
said: If the Government offers a guaranteed returns
of 11 per cent , how can banks lend you below 14-15 per
education and careers launched
NEW DELHI, March 11 A comprehensive website on careers and education has been launched with an objective to provide focussed guidance and counselling to the students facing dilemma on the career to choose and the students who aspire to take up professional courses.
The website www.careerlauncher.com would provide information on the issues such as career options, personal diagnostics, educational institutions, latest updates and results among other things, a company release said today.
The site will provide inputs in the field of specialised subjects by area experts and personal career planning and concerns by noted academicians and career counsellor, the release added.
Car loans on Internet: The public sector Allahabad Bank has launched a website www.allbankcarloans.com dedicated for sanction of car loans on internet.
The customers can log on to this site, fill up the user friendly application form available on the site and submit it, which would be immediately received by the banks head office, a release said.
While submitting the application the customer can indicate the name of the branch from where he would like to have the disbursement of the loan. On receipt of the application over the internet, the decision will be conveyed to the customer through e-mail.
Web for textile industry: A website for the textile industry www.e-texportal.com has been launched by Terrygold. The site provides comprehensive data about the global textile activity, trade leads, buyers and sellers profile and B2B links.
Software: The German company Impress Software AG
has entered into a strategic alliance with a Delhi based
Ampersand Info-Tech to jointly develop projects to
further SAF R/3 and other ERP Internet solutions.
JALANDHAR, March 11 Entire range of Maruti and Suzuki vehicles is on display at the two-day Maruti carnival which took off here today.
Mr Shashi Kapoor, the Regional Manager of the MUL, said the concept behind the carnival was to have people of the region a glimpse of entire range of the Maruti-Suzuki vehicles including M-800, Omni, Gypsy, Zen, Esteem, Baleno, and Wagon-R at one place.
He said the MUL still dominated the auto scene with a 70 per cent market share in the mid and small car segments.
ROHTAK, (FOC):- Maruti
Udyog will be able to sell about four lakh vehicles in
the current financial year which ends on March 31 next.
It would be about 65000 more vehicles that would be sold
by MUL in comparison to last financial year. Mr Jagdish
Khatter, MD of MUL said while talking to newsmen here.
MUMBAI, March 11 (UNI) The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) revamped its benchmark index 30-share sensitive index, popularly known as sensex by bringing four new scrips including Dr Reddys Lab. Ltd, Reliance Petroleum Ltd, Satyam Computer SVCs Ltd and Zee Telefilm in the sensex group.
According to Dr Manoj
Vaish, Director Corporate Development, the index
committee of the BSE, met here today and also announced
removal of existing four scrips from the sensex group
including Indian Hotels, IDBI Ltd, Tata Chemicals and
Tata Power Ltd against the inclusion of four new scrips.
The revamped sensex would be effective from April 10,
2000, Dr Vaish said.
Allahabad Bank branch
CHANDIGARH, March 11Mr B. Samuel, Executive Director of the Allahabad Bank today inaugurated a computerised and air-conditioned branch of the bank at Hisar.
Mr Samal said that the bank proposes to market its various innovative products to cater to the needs of customers. Mr A.K. Singh, Deputy Commissioner Hisar, was the Chief Guest.
by A.N. Shanbhag
Q: I have got shares of different companies either in my name or my wifes name or in joint names in both orders. Through demat facility I wish to consolidate the total holdings in one joint name only i.e. mine and my wifes name. At present I have yet not opened the demat account . To minimise the expenditure in possessing these accounts, I wish to have only one demat joint account. Please tell me how to demat all different holdings into one joint demat account. Mr Prem Gupta, Green Park, New Delhi
A: You have some shares in single name! This is bad, indeed very bad. You should thank the authorities for introducing demat and making it compulsory. Otherwise, you would never have looked at mess you have created inadvertently. Before submitting the shares for demat, you will have to do some home work. The most important exercise you have to undertake is to determine what really belongs to you and what belongs to your wife. This depends upon whose funds were applied for acquisition of the shares and not upon the name and order of holding.
I would like you to own two demat accounts, one where you are the first holder and the other where your wife is the first holder. I also suggest you add a third name to both these accounts to save the hassles and cost arising out of death of one of you.
However, I like the idea of having just one account, for ease of operations and the holding cost. Towards this end, your wife will have to gift her holding to you. The tax implication of such a gift is nil since there is no gift tax. Yes, the income arising out of the gifted corpus suffers clubbing but this has become inconsequential ever since the dividend on equities has become tax-free. Go ahead. It is a good idea and accept my thanks for bringing this feasibility to my notice.
Now, I come to the specifics. You will have to open 4 demat accounts, covering all the permutations and combinations you have created. One of this is of permanent nature and the other are purely temporary. After exercising the demat, transfer the holdings from the temporary accounts to the permanent one. Thereafter, close all the temporary accounts.
I have one more suggestion if you have the time and energy to accept it. You can change the order in physical format before demat but this attracts stamp duty. If the cost of the stamps is less than the cost of opening a temporary account and transfers therefrom, opt for the transfer in physical format and demat otherwise.
I have one more suggestion which is better than the best. Have a good look at the GICMF Demat Scheme that offers the same facility at a much lower cost.
Q: As I had incurred long term capital gains on the sale of an asset, I had invested the full sale value of Rs 1,50,000 in Sun F&C Value scheme u/s 54EA and had opted for the dividend reinvestment plan to save on taxes. I find now that the dividend of Rs 2.50 which was declared recently has been reinvested and the dividend amount is also subjected to the 3 years lock in. I fail to understand why the dividend is subjected to the 3 years lock in. I had given the mandate to reinvest the dividend. But not to block it for 3 years.
I could have opted for the dividend payout option. But since I did not need the money immediately and as I was happy with the funds performance, I opted for dividend reinvestment, thinking that I can withdraw it at the time I need. But unfortunately the dividend is also subjected to a lock-in of 3 years which is not right as I have not instructed the company to do so. My only instruction was to reinvest and not to subject it to 3 years lock-in.
Ms Anupama Goel,
A: I was a little surprised when I received your complaint. Though attending to personal difficulties of the readers is not the objective of this forum, I decided to make an exception in your case since I have a great respect for the managerial capabilities and investor friendliness of Sun F&C MF. When approached, Sun F&C clarified that dividends declared and reinvested under a 54EA/EB account can be redeemed. No lock-in period is applicable. Only the original investment will be locked-in. We had issued clear instructions to Karvy to permit redemption. Effective 22nd November 1999, CAMS has been appointed as the new R&T for Sun F&C Mutual Fund.
Q: I am working in UK (Indian company) and will be coming back to India may be after 168 days. I am getting my salary in India. Also getting allowance here in UK.
1. Is saving here in UK is taxable? or not?
2. How much cash/traveller cheques can I carry to India?
3. Which is better, to open an NRE account (Say ICICI) and submit the cash or open an account after going to India?
4. I think my salary in India is taxable, but I am interested in the amount which I saved (out of my allowance in UK) and will be carrying to India.
5. Can you please also inform me about opening NRE account and what mode should I use to submit my savings?
G.R. Muzumdar, 28, Bessemer Grove, Corby, NN188ER, UK
A: Since your stay abroad is for less than 182 days, you are not an NRI for ITA. Since you have gone abroad on deputation by an Indian company, you are not an NRI from FERA point of view. There are some exceptions to this rule. Yes, your salary paid in India is taxable in India.
As regards the savings out of your allowances-
Allowances granted to cover expenses incurred wholly, necessarily and exclusively in performance of office duties are not taxable. It would be illogical to impose any tax or such allowances. Some unscrupulous employers may take undue advantage of this fact and dole out an allowance far in excess of what is needed. Therefore, it would be logical to tax any saving effected out of this allowance. Such savings obtains the colour and character of salary income.
Nevertheless, in a far-reaching judgement, the Delhi High Court has held that savings made by the wife out of pin money given by her husband for running the household would be separate property of the wife. Any income arising therefrom, cannot be aggregated with the income of the husband.
If I am allowed to extrapolate this principal to your case, the amount saved by you out of the allowances is not taxable, as long as such savings are small and reasonable. However, what is reasonable or otherwise, is a matter of opinion and the ITO has the full powers to use his discretion.
In a few cases, the individual is paid a salary directly by the foreign company, over and above the salary paid in India by the Indian employer. This is subjected to tax in the host country and the amount is dependent upon the tax provisions of the country. In that case, you can be treated as an NRI even from FERA point of view.
This foreign salary is also taxable in India depending upon your status from the ITA point of view. If it is taxable in both the countries, you will certainly get the benefit of DTAA between the two countries. The same tenet would be applicable if you earn any side income by accepting private assignments.
It is my considered opinion that as per the provisions of FERA, you cannot open an NRE (or FCNR or NRNR) account, unless you earn an income abroad from a totally foreign source. The logic is If you do not earn any foreign exchange, what will you do with the NRI-related accounts? Remit money to India by indulging in hawala?? This is the reason why students are not allowed to open an NRE/FCNR/NRNR accounts (See FAQ01).
I am aware that some of the banks allow the deputees to open and operate the NRI-related accounts to the deputees, but I feel that they are too keen to have such accounts and are not too careful. I know of some of the students who have been allowed to open such accounts!
As far as you are concerned, you need not worry much for having breached the law. The bank (AD) is more responsible than you.
You can remit the FE directly into your normal bank accounts in India or bring it along with you in whatever form.
There is no limit on the
amount of FE that you can import into India. However, if
the amount is far in excess of your earnings, the
authorities have a right to inquire to find out whether
you are indulging into a hawala transaction.
by K.R. Wadhwaney
Lax security and no accountability
THE security bandobast at Indian airports continues to be lax. Officials getting fat salaries to guard airports, continue to be more lethargic than ever before. This is because there is no accountability at the airports to coordinate the activities of the officials working under different units.
At Bangalore for example, recently some persons were able to carry arms into the waiting Jet Airways aircraft. Luckily, these passengers happened to be members of the Bureau of Civil Aviation security which was engaged in undertaking a mock hijacking exercise. But the ease with which they were able to smuggle arms into aircraft showed that there was no security at the Bangalore airport.
Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is the second busiest airport of the country. But the IGIA is a hub of touts, and, unscrupulous agents. While a bona fide passenger or a genuine official has to display his ticket or pass, the hoodlums stroll about freely in areas which are usually forbidden to even senior officials.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is too unwieldy to coordinate the activities of several agencies working at the airports. The Government has to streamline the functioning of the airports to check the entrance of unwanted elements.
Jet Airways: A ticket on any Jet Airways flight on any day until March 31 can earn a passenger all-expenses-paid holiday to the millenniums first Olympic Games in Sydney.
Announcing as part of Jet Airways joint promotion with Gillette for its Mach 3 razor, passengers are entitled to take part in the contest to win tickets for two. Apart from free tickets, the winner will also be provided with complimentary lodging and board if in Sydney.
Jain Commission: Following successful mock hijacking exercise at Bangalore, where many loopholes in security were noticed, the Government has asked the R.C. Jain Commission to look into the security aspect at all airports in the country.
The panel will recommend measures for improving security aspect at airports. It will also recommend improvement in airport maintenance, and coordination among agencies working at the airports.
Resumption of flights: India is under pressure from the Nepal Government to resume flights to Kathmandu. Indian Airlines is also keen to resume operations because it has been losing chunk of revenue for non-operation of flights on this lucrative rout.
The analysts, however, emphasise that security arrangements at Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu) need to retightened. There are many weak zones at the terminal building and around.
Regardless of security
arrangements made by Nepal, Indian Airlines will have to
depend upon its own security. It has to organise
fool-proof frisking of passengers and also effective
checks on hand-baggage of passengers. Staff may have gone
unpunished, but there should not be any repetition of
by Pushpa Girimaji
Skeletons in garment industrys cupboard
THE dress code of the urban Indian middle class is slowly undergoing a change. Consumers both men and women are becoming increasingly conscious of new trends in fashion and are far more particular about what they wear. Thanks to the electronic media, western clothes too are no more taboo for women. The ready-to-wear garment industry has been quick to cash in on these changing dress modes and as a result, you see a growing market for readymade clothes.
But unfortunately, the readymade garment industry has failed to respect the consumers right to information. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the labels of apparels. Today, the markets offer wide variety of readymade clothes for men and women. However, very few tags actually tell you the nature of the fabric used or its composition. And these days there are so many new varieties of synthetic fabrics and blends that it is very difficult for a consumer to even hazard a guess on the fabric. Is it meant for winter or summer? How does it respond to washing? Is the material durable? Does it shrink? Will the colour run? Does it require dry cleaning? How should it be ironed? Most of the time, the labels, particularly on womens clothes, lack this kind of relevant information. If a dress is expensive, the retailer attributes it to the imported fabric used. But what is this fabric? No answer. Many of these clothes carry a fancy name and thats just about it.
In winter, absence of label information on the composition of the fibre makes it difficult to determine the quality of sweaters sold. And in summer, barring those garments that carry the 100 per cent cotton tag, it is very difficult to decide whether or not to believe the claim of the retailer that the apparel is created from a fabric made specially for summer. Surely, the fabric should have a generic name or a brand name? Is it a blend of natural and man-made fibres? If so, what is the percentage of natural fibres? You will not get any answer either from the label or from the retailer. Even those that carry the 100 per cent cotton tag do not tell you whether they are pre-shrunk and if not, the percentage of shrinkage that one should expect.
Recently, a reader brought to my notice her experience with a readymade garment. She had bought an expensive shirt and after several months of use she found a tiny label on the inside edge saying no guarantee for colour. She says she would not have bought the shirt had she known this, but the tag had been fixed in such a place that it was meant to escape notice. Well, the manufacturer may have succeeded in selling the product by concealing the fact that he was not guaranteeing the colour of the fabric, but having resorted to such an unfair practice, he cannot escape liability if the colour runs.
Then there is no standardisation with regard to sizes. While with some garments, the sizes are expressed in numbers, with others, the words small, medium or large indicate the size. And most often, a small size of one manufacturer might be medium in another. Or the actual size may not even be what is indicated on the label. And barring well-known and large manufacturers, most of these dresses do not carry the name and address of the manufacturer.
Another problem with readymade garments pertains to seconds or factory rejects. Now, why cant they carry a simple label saying factory reject or seconds? The other day a consumer showed me a pair of jeans that carried the tag irregular. She was told by the shopkeeper that irregular denoted a particular style. It was only later that she came to know that she had been sold a factory reject.
Its time the
government made it mandatory for all readymade garments
to carry the following label information: the composition
of the fabric used, whether it is meant for summer or
winter, and in case of cotton, whether it is pre-shrunk
and if not, the percentage of shrinkage. The alphabet L
or B can be used to denote whether one should expect
shrinkage length-wise or breadth-wise. They should also
carry washing and ironing instructions. If the product is
a factory reject, then the garment should clearly state
seconds or reject? Besides the
price of the garment, the label should carry the name and
address of the manufacturer and the date of manufacture.
Similarly, the sizes should be standardised. While part
of the information such as the composition of the fabric
and the size should be displayed on the label, the
address of the manufacturer could be on a tag
accompanying the fabric. The important thing is that a
consumer should be able to read this information at the
time of purchase.
No real interest
Q: When the employee was, in fact, not interested in the job whether the decision of the Government not to refer, valid?
Ans: In Mukesh Khanna v Chandigarh Administration, Chandigarh (1999-II-LLJ -1433) P&H, High Court expressed the view thus:
On perusal of the record and after hearing the arguments, the H.C. observed that they are satisfied that the petitioner is really not interested in the job and that he is actually wanting to grab the arrears of salary on one pretext or the other.
As far back as September 6, 95 the second respondent had filed a detailed reply to the petitioners demand notice before the Assistant Labour Commissioner. In his reply it had been inter-alia, pointed out that the petitioner had raised the demand after more than one and quarter years, as he was really not interested in the job. In fact, he is gainfully employed in his exchange business.
Even otherwise, a qualified person, holding Masters Degree in Commerce, cannot remain unemployed at a place like Chandigarh. Thus, it was claimed that the petitioners demand should be rejected. It has not been shown that any of these averements, as made on behalf of the respondents is wrong. In any event, even when the petitioner was given an opportunity to join duty in March 1999, he submitted the joining report for a single day.
This single act puts the matter beyond any shadow of doubt about the real intention of the petitioner. It is clear that the petitioner is himself not attending to his duties. He is not interested in the job. He wants to make money out of the case.
In these circumstances, the H.C. held that it did not find any infirmity in the impugned order. The H.C. was satisfied that the petitioner wants to make money out of the management, without doing any work.The H.C. clearly pointed out that the Act is meant to help the needy, not the greedy. Therefore, the decision of the Government not to refer the matter was upheld.
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