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Budget in due time: FM
New Delhi, May 23
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today expressed the hope that the government would be able to present the budget in due time to avoid uncertainties. However, he parried questions whether the government would go for a vote-on-account now.

SBI attracts 548 kg gold deposits in 2 months
Ahmedabad, May 23
The country's largest bank SBI, under its Gold Deposit Scheme, has collected 548 kg of the precious metal in two months. The scheme which started on March 16 aims at bringing the gold into mainstream from the houses of people of the country.


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TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS


Sanyo vice-president and regional chief officer for West Asia and Africa Takashi Hirao at the launch of Xacti Dual cameras in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Sanyo vice-president and regional chief officer for West Asia and Africa Takashi Hirao at the launch of Xacti Dual cameras in Hyderabad on Saturday. The cameras are in the range of Rs 20,000-32,000. — AFP 

Mexico to lay off 7 lakh workers in 2009
Mexico, May 23
Mexico will lay off around 700,000 of its total workforce in the current year because of the sharpening of the economic crisis in the country, official sources said.

Airtel launches ‘Airtel PC’
Chandigarh, May 23
Leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel, which has about 2.7 million Internet subscribers, on Friday launched its Net PC initiative that provides Internet connectivity to users without the need to invest in personal computers (PC).

Aviation Notes
Dragon ready to spread its wings
Buoyed by the knowledge of being among world’s best in aviation infrastructure and designs, China has now set its eyes on ever-expanding aircraft manufacturing field. Its entry into this vex area is on the expected lines.

Investor Guidance
No need for IT clearance certificate for leaving India
Q: I am considering applying for OCI card. However, I am having second thought because someone told me that a US citizen and OCI card holder may be required to provide IT clearance certificate before leaving India even if he/she never earned a rupee there. Is this true? — D Panigrahi






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Budget in due time: FM

New Delhi, May 23
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today expressed the hope that the government would be able to present the budget in due time to avoid uncertainties. However, he parried questions whether the government would go for a vote-on-account now.

“Indian economy is resilient, strong and we shall have to build up and come back to the growth track as early as possible. We will be able to, I hope, present the budget in due time so that uncertainties can be avoided and time of spending can be renewed,” he told reporters shortly after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh retained him in the Finance Ministry.

After being given the charge of the ministry earlier this year, Mukherjee had presented the vote-on-account in view of the elections.

To a question whether the government would present a vote-on-account now, he said he would not answer these questions now.

Mukherjee, who was the first one to take oath of office after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said he would be assuming office on Monday.

“We will address all major issues. Various efforts will be made to insulate the economy from the adverse impact of financial meltdown,” he said.

Earlier in the day briefing reporters about the first meeting of the Cabinet, Home Minister P Chidambaram said the new government would strive to get the budget approved by Parliament by July 31, the day when the vote-on-account approved by the interim budget expires.

“We hope we will be able to pass the full Budget by July 31,” Chidambaram said, adding that in case the government was not able to get the Budget passed by then it would go in for another vote-on-account for a short period.

Outlining the priorities of the new government yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said, “(The) first task is to restore the economy and its growth momentum ... There is global recession, we have to protect our growth.” — PTI 

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SBI attracts 548 kg gold deposits in 2 months

Ahmedabad, May 23
The country's largest bank SBI, under its Gold Deposit Scheme, has collected 548 kg of the precious metal in two months. The scheme which started on March 16 aims at bringing the gold into mainstream from the houses of people of the country.

“Our branches in four centres of Gujarat - Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara - have attracted 548 kg of gold in the last two months,” a senior SBI official said.

The gold deposit scheme was launched by the SBI in March this year as part of government initiatives to put the country's idle lying gold reserves into circulation.

According to government estimates, nearly 15,000 tonnes of gold reserves are lying idle in the country and can be put to productive usage by the banks, a senior SBI official said. 

Under the scheme customers avail tax exemptions under income tax, wealth tax and from capital gains, besides interest on the quantum of gold deposited in the bank vault, the official added. — PTI 

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Mexico to lay off 7 lakh workers in 2009

Mexico, May 23
Mexico will lay off around 700,000 of its total workforce in the current year because of the sharpening of the economic crisis in the country, official sources said.

The prediction was made on the basis of the data compiled by the National Confederation of Industrial Chambers of Mexico (CONCAMIN).

According to the data by CONCAMIN, deepening of the financial crisis coupled with the recent slowdown in the tourism sector because of the H1N1 influenza epidemics will further cause a setback to the Mexican GDP, which is expected to be around 6 per cent.

The industrial sector will see a fall of 13 per cent, while the maquilas will see a fall of 16 per cent, CONCAMIN president Salomon Presburguer said.

They can revert the impact by fostering into the domestic market, Presburguer added.

The Mexican GDP has already dropped to 9.8 per cent with a loss of 626,000 jobs with the industry laying off around 3,23,000 workers. — Prensa Latina

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Airtel launches ‘Airtel PC’
Shelly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel, which has about 2.7 million Internet subscribers, on Friday launched its Net PC initiative that provides Internet connectivity to users without the need to invest in personal computers (PC).

Airtel has partnered with Indian hardware manufacturer Nivio and global software giant Microsoft for the service.

Available for Rs 7,999, the no-frills PC will offer customers the choice of three Internet plans in a monthly price band of Rs.699-Rs 1,199.

“Net PC is part of our strategic intent to remain focused on enhancing the broadband experience for our customers by offering innovative and collaborative products,” said Bharti Airtel's telemedia services joint president K Srinivas.

The Airtel Net PC is a ready-to-use computer - inclusive of a 15-inch LCD monitor, keyboard, mouse and Nivio companion. It is available exclusively for Airtel broadband customers in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida.

According to Srinivas, Airtel will provide 10 GB space to store documents, images, and presentations at a central location at its own data centres along with regular original software upgrades. However, net PCs come with their own limitations, like not being able to support games or software downloads.

Srinivas said it cost only around Rs 9,000 as a one-time investment. There are not recurring costs on maintenance / upgrades, etc. Additionally, no upgrades are required, since the computing power is provided by the globally distributed NivioGrid.

Airtel broadband customers can purchase the Airtel Net PC by choosing from three entry packs — Home Pack at Rs 699 per month, professional Pack at Rs 899 per month and business Pack at Rs 1,199 a month

The launch has gone down well with the masses with people saying it is “an excellent opportunity for middle-class literates who cannot afford to spend Rs 25,000-30,000 for a PC.”

Giving thumbs up to the offer, a student, Dipika Gujral, said: “The decision will be enable to educate the villagers also to get into the broadband facility with just Rs 7,999 worth of PC.” But, she added, it was not clear whether it would be available to the existing broad-band users of Airtel.

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Aviation Notes
Dragon ready to spread its wings
by K.R. Wadhwaney

Buoyed by the knowledge of being among world’s best in aviation infrastructure and designs, China has now set its eyes on ever-expanding aircraft manufacturing field. Its entry into this vex area is on the expected lines.

China endeavours to make a noiseless presence through collaboration, then starts independent functioning and finally give a razor-sharp competition to its opponents before stealing a decisive march over them.

On May 18, 2009, at Tianjin, China’s assembled A-320 performed a test operation without undergoing or facing any hazzle whatsoever. Its take-off was as serene as its landing was smooth.

Immensely satisfied, the aircraft will be delivered to the dragan aviation leasing on schedule in June. The assembly in collaboration with the airbus industries delivery centre in Tianjin was done meticulously adhering to all the required technical and other parameters. The first assembled aircraft will be on commercial operations by Sichuan Airlines.

The renowned engineers and experienced commanders were unanimous in observing that its performance was inferior to none of the other A-320 aircraft in service worldover.

Airbus is much junior to boeing in manufacturing. But, it is now no-as sturdy and reliable as Boeing. The term airbus like jumbo jets has come into widespread recognition since mid 1970s.

It enjoys high reputation in operation of transport aircraft. Its progress has been virtually meteoric. With China now entering into the manufacturing trade, the competition will be more lively and sharper.

According to available statistics, China has become the world’s second largest aviation market after the US. The analysts predict that China will play a bigger role in the world’s aviation industry with the Tianjin line in operation.

In sharp contrast, India - much senior to China in aviation operations - has been languishing at the bottom. This situation has arisen because complex aviation and airline operations do not enjoy the freedom they need.

The foreign aviation, experts are unanimous in saying India can rub shoulders with the best in the world, if the industry is run professionally and commercially.

Despite cut in prices of oil, fares on international and domestic routes have not settled down. All main players are sustaining heavy losses. The private operators are unable to bear the burden of accumulated losses and continue to indulge in retrenching the officials belonging to different areas.

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Investor Guidance
No need for IT clearance certificate for leaving India
by A.N. Shanbhag

Q: I am considering applying for OCI card. However, I am having second thought because someone told me that a US citizen and OCI card holder may be required to provide IT clearance certificate before leaving India even if he/she never earned a rupee there. Is this true? — D Panigrahi

A: You have been wrongly informed. OCI card facility is in fact meant to facilitate Indians with foreign citizenship. With OCI one doesn’t have to obtain a visa every time they travel to India. Similarly with OCI you do not have to register with the FRO if the stay exceeds six months.

It is not true that an IT clearance certificate is required for leaving India. Such a certificate was earlier required only in case any funds were required to be remitted abroad. Even this requirement is done away with now and instead a certificate from an Indian chartered accountant suffices for the purpose.

In any case, note that certification comes into the picture only for the express purpose of remittance of funds. Your physical movements have nothing to do with tax certificates.

Share transfer

Q: My grandfather wants to transfer his shares in my name. Will I have to pay capital gains tax on it? — Vinay Kumar Agarwal

A: The gift of shares by your grandfather will not attract either income tax or capital gains tax. However, when you subsequently sell the shares, capital gains tax will be exigible. The cost of the shares would be the cost incurred by your father when he originally acquired it.

If these were acquired prior to April 1, 1981, their market value as on April 1, 1981, has to be taken as your cost of acquisition. Explanation ‘iii’ to Section 48 defines ‘indexed cost of acquisition to mean an amount which bears to the cost of acquisition the same proportion as cost inflation index for the year in which the asset is transferred bears to the cost inflation index for the first year in which the asset was held by the assessee or for the year beginning on the 1st day of April, 1981, whichever is later’.

This means that in the case of an inherited or gifted property, the cost of acquisition is the cost to the original holder (or FMV as on April 1, 1981, if the date of purchase is earlier) but the date of acquisition for indexing should be taken as the date of the inheritance or the gift.

However, the character of long or short-term depends upon the date of acquisition of the original holder. In case this original holder has also acquired the property by way of gift or inheritance, then it will be the date of very first holder who purchased or constructed the property.

This may end up in some strange results. For instance, if and when you sell the property, it will be treated, as sale of a long-term capital asset, irrespective of your holding period but the ratio for computation of indexed cost will be the CII of FY in which you have sold the property and the FY in which you became its owner.

Long-term capital loss

Q: Can I report long-term capital loss in stock market while filing the return and carry the same forward for set-off? For, in case the government introduces long-term gain tax, this loss can be adjusted. — Raghunath

A: As currently long-term capital gain from the stock market is tax-free, long-term capital loss from the same source cannot be set-off. Nor can the same be carried forward for set-off in the future.

IT refund

Q: I am an NRI working in the US. I want to enquire about IT refund. I regularly file my return in India and expect a refund of around Rs 20,000 for last year. But so far I haven’t received it. I have submitted a letter to the IT Department but haven’t received any reply so far. Could you tell me whether it normally takes so long for the refund to come through and what are the other steps that I can take to expedite the matter? — Ramakant

A: The IT Department is notorious for being tardy over owed refunds to taxpayers. Lately, they have been computerising the network on national level in order to smoothen and expedite all processes, including processing refunds due. You will do well by employing a consultant in the field of filing returns working in the area of your home town to pursue the matter.

The authors may be contacted at wonderlandconsultants@yahoo.com

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