Bank Deposit Scheme

Bank Deposit Scheme 
Lending/deposit in the banks is a commercial decision which is regulated by the banks as per their Board driven policies in line with various guidelines of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Government has recently notified a deposit scheme viz, Sukanya Samriddhi Account Yojana 2014 through banks. 

RBI has advised banks to achieve a credit deposit ratio of 60% in respect of their rural and semi-urban branches separately on an all-India basis. The Banks should also ensure that wide disparity in the ratios between different States/Regions is avoided in order to minimize regional imbalance in credit deployment.

RBI has advised Banks to set up a Special Sub-committee (SSC) of District Level Consultative Committee (DLCC) for those districts having Credit Deposit Ratio (CDR) less than 40% to draw up Monitorable Action Plans (MAPs), monitor such action plan on a regular basis and initiate necessary action for improving CDR.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance holds a Review Meeting today with all the Public and Private Sector Banks about the banking services in Chennai and other flood affected districts in Tamil Nadu;

All the Banks asked to restore banking services in affected areas as early as possible and provide ATM and other services to the people round the clock 
Department of Financial Services conducted a Review Meeting today with all the Public and Private Sector Banks and reviewed the banking services in Chennai and other flood affected districts in State of Tamil Nadu. All the Banks have been asked to restore banking services in affected areas as early as possible and provide ATM and other services to the people round the clock. They have been requested to provide mobile ATMs/PoS Machine services through Bank Mitras mounted on boat or other means. Banks have been asked to replenish cash in all the ATMs. All the Banks in flood affected areas will remain open on Sunday and will also offer extended business hours. 
Committee headed by the Chief Economic Adviser Dr. Arvind Subramanian on Possible Tax rates under GST submits its Report to the Finance Minister; On the Revenue Neutral Rate (RNR), the Committee recommends the same in the range between 15 percent and 15.5 percent (Centre and states combined) with a preference for the lower end of that range based on the analysis made in the Report 
Committee headed by the Chief Economic Adviser Dr. Arvind Subramanian on Possible Tax rates under GST submitted its Report to the Finance Minister here today. The Committee in its concluding observations has stated that this is a historic opportunity for India to implement a game-changing tax reform. Domestically, it will help improve governance, strengthen tax institutions, facilitate “Make in India by Making One India,” and impart buoyancy to the tax base. It will also set the global standard for a value-added tax (VAT) in large federal systems in the years to come.

Following are the highlights of the Executive Summary of the Report submitted today:

The GST has been an initiative that has commanded broad consensus across the political spectrum. It has also been a model of cooperative federalism in practice with the Centre and states coming together as partners in embracing growth and employment-enhancing reforms. It is a reform that is long awaited and its implementation will validate expectations of important government actions and effective political will that have, to some extent, already been “priced in.”

Getting the design of the GST right is, therefore, critical. Specifically, the GST should aim at tax rates that protect revenue, simplify administration, encourage compliance, avoid adding to inflationary pressures, and keep India in the range of countries with reasonable levels of indirect taxes.

There is first a need to clarify terminology. The term revenue neutral rate (RNR) will refer to that single rate, which preserves revenue at desired (current) levels. In practice, there will be a structure of rates, but for the sake of analytical clarity and precision it is appropriate to think of the RNR as a single rate. It is a given single rate that gets converted into a whole rate structure, depending on policy choices about exemptions, what commodities to charge at a lower rate (if at all), and what to charge at a very high rate. The RNR should be distinguished from the “standard” rate defined as that rate in a GST regime which is applied to all goods and services whose taxation is not explicitly specified. Typically, the majority of the base (i.e., majority of goods and services) will be taxed at the standard rate, although this is not always true, and indeed it is not true for the states under the current regime.

Against this background, the Committee drew a few important conclusions.

·         Because identifying the exact RNR depends on a number of assumptions and imponderables; because, therefore, this task is as much soft judgement as hard science; and finally also because the prerogative of deciding the precise numbers will be that of the future GST Council, this Committee has chosen to recommend a range for the RNR rather than a specific rate. For the same reason, the Committee has decided to recommend not one but a few conditional rate structures that depend on policy choices made on exemptions, and the taxation of certain commodities such as precious metals.

The summary of recommended options is provided in the table below.

Summary of Recommended Rate Options (in percent)
Rate on precious metals
"Low" rate (goods)
"Standard" rate
(goods and services)
"High/Demerit" rateor Non-GST excise (goods)






All rates are the sum of rates at center and states

·         On the RNR, the Committee’s view is that the range should between 15 percent and 15.5 percent (Centre and states combined) but with a preference for the lower end of that range based on the analysis in this report.
·         On structure, in line with growing international practice and with a view to facilitating compliance and administration, India should strive toward a one-rate structure as the medium-term goal.
·         Meanwhile, the Committee recommends a two-rate structure. In order to ensure that the standard rate is kept close to the RNR, the maximum possible tax base should be taxed at the standard rate. The Committee would recommend that lower rates be kept around 12 per cent (Centre plus states) with standard rates varying between 17 and 18 per cent.
·         It is now growing international practice to levy sin/demerit rates—in the form of excises outside the scope of the GST--on goods and services that create negative externalities for the economy. As currently envisaged, such demerit rates—other than for alcohol and petroleum (for the states) and tobacco and petroleum (for the Centre)—will have to be provided for within the structure of the GST. The foregone flexibility for the center and the states is balanced by the greater scrutiny that will be required because such taxes have to be done within the GST context and hence subject to discussions in the GST Council. Accordingly, the Committee recommends that this sin/demerit rate be fixed at about 40 percent (Centre plus states) and apply to luxury cars, aerated beverages, paan masala, and tobacco and tobacco products (for the states).
·         This historic opportunity of cleaning up the tax system is necessary in itself but also to support GST rates that facilitate rather than burden compliance. Choices that the GST Council makes regarding exemptions/low taxation (for example, on gold and precious metals, and area-based exemptions) will be critical. The more the exemptions that are retained the higher will be the standard rate. There is no getting away from a simple and powerful reality: the broader the scope of exemptions, the less effective the GST will be. For example, if precious metals continues to enjoy highly concessional rates, the rest of the economy will have to pay in the form of higher rates on other goods, including essential ones. As the table shows, very low rates on precious metals would lead to a high standard rate closer to 20 percent, distorting the economy and adding to inflationary pressures. On the other hand, moderately higher taxes on precious metals, which would be consistent with the government’s efforts to wean consumers away from gold, could lead to a standard rate closer to 17 percent. This example illustrates that the design of the GST cannot afford to cherry pick—for example, keeping a low RNR while not limiting exemptions--because that will risk undermining the objectives of the GST.
·         The GST also represents a historic opportunity to rationalize the tax system that is complicated in terms of rates and structures and has become an “Exemptions Raj,” rife with opportunities for selectivity and discretion. Tax policy cannot be overly burdened with achieving industrial, regional, and social policy goals; more targeted instruments should be found to meet such goals, for example, easing the costs of doing business, public investment, and direct benefit transfers, respectively; cesses should be reduced and sparingly used. Another problem with exemptions is that, by breaking up the value-added chain, they lead in practice to a multiplicity of rates that is unpredictable, obscured, and distortionary. A rationalization of exemptions under the GST will complement a similar effort already announced for corporate taxes, making for a much cleaner overall tax system.
·         The rationalization of exemptions is especially salient for the center, where exemptions have proliferated. Indeed, revenue neutrality for the center can only be achieved if the base for the center is similar to that of the states (which have fewer exemptions—90 products versus 300 for the center). If policy objectives have to be met, instruments other than tax exemptions such as direct transfers could be deployed.
·         The Committee’s recommendations on rates summarized in the table above are all national rates, comprising the sum of central and state GST rates. How these combined rates are allocated between the center and states will be determined by the GST Council. This allocation must reflect the revenue requirements of the Centre and states so that revenues are protected. For example, a standard rate of 17% would lead to rates at the Centre and states of say 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively. The Committee considers that there are sound reasons not to provide for an administration-complicating “band” of rates, especially given the considerable flexibility and autonomy that states will preserve under the GST (including the ability to tax petroleum, alcohol, and other goods and services).
·         Implementing the GST will lead to some uncharted waters, especially in relation to services taxation by the states. Preliminary analysis in this report indicates that there should not be large shifts in the tax base in moving to the GST, implying that overall compensation may not be large. Nevertheless, fair, transparent, and credible compensation will create the conditions for effective implementation by the states and for engendering trust between the Centre and states; The GST also represents a historic opportunity to Make in India by Making One India. Eliminating all taxes on inter-state trade (including the 1 percent additional duty) and replacing them by one GST will be critical to achieving this objective;
·         Analysis in the report suggests that the proposed structure of tax rates will have minimal inflationary consequences. But careful monitoring and review will be necessary to ensure that implementing the GST does not create the conditions for anti-competitive behavior;
·         Complexity and lags in GST implementation require that any evaluation of the GST—and any consequential decisions—should not be undertaken over short horizons (say months) but over longer periods say 1–2 years. For example, if six months into implementation, revenues are seen to be falling a little short, there should not be a hasty decision to raise rates until such time as it becomes clear that the shortfall is not due to implementation issues. Facilitating easy implementation and taxpayer compliance at an early stage—via low rates and without adding to inflationary pressures--will be critical. In the early stages, if that requires raising other taxes or countenancing a slightly higher deficit--that would be worth considering.
·         Finally, the report has presented detailed evidence on effective tax burdens on different commodities which highlights that in some cases they are inconsistent with policy objectives. It would be advisable at an early stage in the future, and taking account of the experience of the GST, to consider bringing fully into the scope of the GST commodities that are proposed to be kept outside, either constitutionally or otherwise. Bringing alcohol and real estate within the scope of the GST would further the government’s objectives of improving governance and reducing black money generation without compromising on states’ fiscal autonomy. Bringing electricity and petroleum within the scope of the GST could make Indian manufacturing more competitive; and eliminating the exemptions on health and education would make tax policy more consistent with social policy objectives.
There is a legitimate concern that policy should not be changed easily to suit short term ends. But there are enough checks and balances in the parliamentary system and enough pressures of democratic accountability to ensure that. Moreover, since tax design is profoundly political and contingent, it would be unwise to encumber the Constitution with the minutiae of policy that limits the freedom of the political process in the future: the process must retain the choice on what to include in/exclude from the GST (for example, alcohol) and what rates to levy. The credibility of the macroeconomic system as a whole is undermined by constitutionalising a tax rate or a tax exemption. Setting a tax rate or an exemptions policy in stone for all time, regardless of the circumstances that will arise in future, of the macroeconomic conditions, and of national priorities may not be credible or effective in the medium term. This is the reason India—and most credible polities around the world--do not constitutionalise the specifics of tax policy. The GST should be no different.

The nation is on the cusp of executing one of the most ambitious and remarkable tax reforms in its independent history. Implementing a new tax, encompassing both goods and services, to be implemented by the Centre, 29 States And 2 Union Territories, in a large and complex federal system, via a constitutional amendment requiring broad political consensus, affecting potentially 2-2.5 million tax entities, and marshalling the latest technology to use and improve tax implementation capability, is perhaps unprecedented in modern global tax history. The time is ripe to collectively seize this historic opportunity.

Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) in Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) 
Justice A.P. Shah Committee has recommended that section 115JB of the Income-tax Act, 1961 may be amended to clarify the inapplicability of MAT provisions to Foreign Institutions Investors (FIIs)/Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs). Alternatively, a circular may be issued clarifying the inapplicability of MAT provisions to FIIs/FPIs.

The Government has accepted the recommendation of the Committee and decided to carry out appropriate amendment so as to provide that MAT provisions will not be applicable to FIIs/FPIs not having a place of business/permanent establishment in India, for a period prior to 01.04.2015. An appropriate legislative amendment to the income-tax Act is proposed to be carried out.

Currently 489 applications are pending before the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) for more than six months. Some of them may involve MAT issue besides other issues.

Government has created two new benches of AAR, one at Mumbai and the other at National Capital Region vide Notification No. 1/2-015 dated 20.3.2015. Further, vide Sanction Order No. 1/2015 dated 18.6.2015, necessary number of posts have been created for the newly created benches.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
Government Launches Three Gold Schemes; India Surpasses China as the World’s Largest Gold Consumer 
As per the (Gold Fields Minerals Survey) GFMS Gold Survey in the third quarter of 2015 Review and Outlook Report, published by Thompson Reuters, India has surpassed China as the world’s largest gold consumer. According to the report, the consumption of gold in the first nine months of the year 2015 in India has been 642 tonnes whereas that in China has been 579 tonnes. A fall in the prices of gold in the recent months has been one of the reasons for the increased demand for gold in India.

The Government has recently launched a Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS), Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) Scheme and Indian Gold Coin under gold monetization programme to reduce reliance n gold imports by encouraging households to monetize their gold. These three gold schemes were announced in the Union Budget 2015-16 and were accordingly launched on 5th November, 2015. The detailed guidelines of the Gold Monetization Scheme are available vide RBI’s Master Direction No. DBR.IBD.No.45/23.67.003/2015-16 dated October 22, 2015 which is available on RBI’s website. The detailed guidelines of the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme is available vide Government of India’s Gazette Notification F.No. 4(19)-W&M/2014 dated October 30, 2015. The Indian Gold Coin is the country’s first national gold coin of 24 karat purity with 999 fineness which is minted indigenously. It has the Ashok Chakra engraved on one side and the face of Mahatma Gandhi on the other.

The Government receives representations from various organization and individuals with suggestions to improve the existing schemes. These are taken note of and necessary changes made from time to time based on the review of the schemes.

The Gold Monetization Scheme does not provide tax amnesty. As per the guidelines issued by the Government of Gold Monetization Scheme which are available on the website of the Ministry of Finance, tax exemptions, same as those available under the earlier Gold Deposit Scheme (GDS) would be made available to the customers, as applicable.

The objective of the Gold Monetization Scheme is to mobilize the gold held by households and institutions in the country to put this gold into productive use and in the long-run to reduce the current account deficit by reducing the country’s reliance on the imports of gold to meet the domestic demand.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
Tax Relief Expenditure on Serious Diseases 
A deduction upto Rs. 40,000/- on account of expenditure on medical treatment of specified diseases is allowed from the total income of the assessee under the provisions of section 80DDB of the Income-tax Act, 1961. The limit is increased to Rs. 60,000/- and Rs. 80,000/- if the amount is paid on the treatment of a senior citizen (an individual of the age of 60 years and above) and very senior citizen (an individual of the age of 80 years and above) respectively. The diseases are specified in the Rule 11DD of the Income-tax Rules, 1962 which inter-alia, include cancer, AIDS, hemophilia etc. In addition to the above, a deduction upto Rs. 25,000 (30,000 in case of a senior citizen) is allowed under section 80D of Income Tax Act, 1961 on account of health insurance premium. In case of a very senior citizen, the deduction of Rs. 30,000 on account of medical expenditure is allowed under said section 80D if he does not have a health insurance policy.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
Credit Campaign to give Push to Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (Mudra) Loan Under PMMY 

            The Public Sector Banks (PSBs), Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) have started mega credit campaign across the country to give a push to the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana for the benefit of weaker sections to become self-sufficient.

            A credit campaign was organized from September 25 to October 2, 2015. Target fixed by the Government of India for the current year for Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) loan under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana is Rs. 1,22,188 crore (Rs. 70,000 crore was allotted to Public Sector Banks, Rs. 30,000 crore to Private Section Banks/Foreign Banks and Rs. 22,188 crore to Regional Rural Banks).

Details of number of accounts and disbursement made from April 8 to November 27, 2015 are as follows:

No. of Accounts
Disbursement (Rs. in crore)
New entrepreneurs

            As per Centralized Public Grievance Redressal and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) Database, 282 public grievances have been received concerning PMMY. Out of the total, 17 grievances have been redressed and 265 are being taken up for redressal with the concerned banks.

            Mudra Bank has received 237 grievances/queries. Out of these 27 pertain to security and 8 are with respect to restriction of loans within Rs. 50,000.

            The information regarding rejection of loan applications, bank wise and state wise, is not centrally maintained.

            The Government has taken several steps to extend credit to aspiring entrepreneurs in addition to PMMY which inter-alia include:

·         Setting up India Aspiration Fund with a corpus of Rs. 2000 crore as a fund-of-funds to pick-up equity start-ups.
·         Setting up SIDBI Make in India Loan for Enterprises (SMILE) with a corpus of Rs. 10,000 crore to provide soft term loans and loans in the nature of quasi-equity to MSMEs to meet debt-to-equity norms and pursue growth opportunities in existing MSMEs.
·         Establishing Small B Innovation branches to ‘assist/venture funded’ early stage enterprises by way of venture debt/working capital.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Goods and Service Tax on Alcohol and Products, Tobacco Etc. 
The Government proposes to impose Goods and Service Tax (GST) on alcohol products except alcoholic liquor for human consumption. It is proposed in Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 that tobacco will be subjected to GST along with the Central Excise Duty. However, the rate of duty to be charged on this product will be decided by the GST Council as proposed in the Article 279A of the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014.

After introduction of GST, the VAT imposed by the states, Central Sales Tax, Excise Duty, Service Tax along with other indirect taxes would be subsumed into Goods and Service Tax. GST will simplify and harmonize the indirect tax regime in the country. It is also expected that introduction of GST will foster a common seamless Indian market and contribute significantly to the growth of the economy. Further, GST will broaden the tax base, and result in better tax compliance due to a robust IT infrastructure. Due to the seamless transfer of input tax credit from one stage to another in the chain of value addition, there is an in-built mechanism in the design of GST that would incentivize tax compliance by traders.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
Amendment in CBEC Prosecution System 
The Government has noted that the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has reviewed the monetary limits for assets and its guidelines for prosecution in matters relating to offences punishable under CBEC.

Revised guidelines for arrest and bail and for launching prosecution, in relation to offences punishable under the Customs Act, 1962, the Central Excise Act, 1944 and the Finance Act, 1994 (Service Tax cases) have been issued vide Circular No. 27/2015-Cus., and 28/2015-Cus., both dated 23.10.2015, for Custom’s related cases, and Circular No. 1009/16/2015-CX and 1010/17/2015-CX, both dated 23.10.2015 for Central Excise and Service Tax related cases.

The limits in offences relating to evasion of tax or wrongful utilization of input tax credit in case of Central Excise and Service Tax have been revised to Rs.1 crore from Rs. 25 lakh and Rs. 10 lakh, respectively. For evasion of tax under the Customs Act, 1962:

i) In cases related to importation of trade goods (i.e., appraising cases) involving willful mis-declaration in description of goods/concealment of goods, the value of goods is revised to Rs. 1 crore from Rs. 50 lakh.

ii) In cases of fraudulent availment of drawback or attempt to avail of drawback or any exemption from duty, such amount or drawback or exemption is raised to Rs. 1 crore from Rs. 50 lakh.

iii) In cases involving un-authorized importation in baggage/cases under Transfer of residence rules and outright smuggling of high value goods, such as, precious metal, restricted item or prohibited items or offence involving foreign currency, the value of such offending goods has been retained as Rs. 20 lakh. However, there shall be no lower limit for arrest and prosecution in cases of smuggling of Fake Indian Currency Notes, arms, ammunition and explosives, antiques, art treasures, wild life items and endangered species. The objective is to utilize the available manpower items and resources efficiently and to focus n larger cases f evasion and smuggling.

It is too early to assess any impact of the said revision in excise offences and smuggling.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
Clarification on Media Reports on Gold Monetization Scheme 
Some sections of the media have reported that Government will directly intervene to monetize the gold held by charitable, religious and other institutions. It is clarified that this is complete misinformation. The Gold Monetization Scheme is entirely voluntary and it is for individuals, institutions and others to take their own decision to monetize the gold held by them under the Scheme. The objective of the Scheme is to monetize the idle gold held within the country and promote financial savings. A good part of the monetized gold will also be made available to meet the domestic requirement of gold. This will help in reducing our gold imports and save foreign exchange and deal with the problem of Current Account Deficit.

It is once again reiterated that the Gold Monetization Scheme is purely voluntary. It is expected that individuals and institutions will consider the merits and advantages of the Scheme and participate in it. 

Finance Minster and Governor (RBI) Attend the First Meeting of the Governing Council of the BRICS Contigent Reserve Arrangement; Governing Council Approved the Governing Council Procedural Rules and Standing Committee Procedural Rules 
The first meeting of the Governing Council of the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement was held on September 4, 2015 at Ankara, Turkey. India is represented by Hon’ble Minister of Finance Shri Arun Jaitley as the Governor and Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan, Governor, RBI as the Alternate Governor in the Governing Council. During the meeting, Governing Council approved the Governing Council Procedural Rules and Standing Committee Procedural Rules. The decisions at the above meeting were taken by consensus.

With the approval of the Procedural Rules, most of the foundation work relating to setting up the Contingent Reserve Arrangement is over. The establishment of the Contingent Reserve Arrangement will help India and other signatory countries to forestall short-term liquidity pressures in case of exigencies, provide mutual support and further strengthen financial stability. It will also ensure equity and inclusiveness by providing a backup safety net arrangement in place that will allow Government of India to go ahead with necessary policy decisions without being much worried about international economic developments.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
E-Sahyog Project; Aims at Reducing Compliance Cost, Especially for Small Taxpayers 
The Government has launched ‘e-Sahyog’ project on a pilot basis. It is aimed at reducing compliance cost, especially for small taxpayers. The objective of ‘e-Sahyog’ is to provide an online mechanism to resolve any mismatch or discrepancy in information as per Income-tax return of the tax payer viz-a-vis information received through AIR, CIB, TDS Statements etc., without visiting the Income Tax Office. Under this initiative the Department will provide an end to end e-service using SMS, e-mails to inform the taxpayers of the mismatch. The taxpayer has to login to the e-filing portal with his user-ID and Password to view mismatch related information and submit online response on the issue. The responses submitted online by the taxpayers will be processed and if the response is found satisfactory, the issue will be treated as closed. The taxpayer can check the updated status by logging into the e-filing portal. The tax payers shall also be informed of closure of cases through SMS and e-mail.

The Government has taken steps to address the genuine problems being faced by the tax payers and to reduce the unnecessary harassment meted out to them by the tax authorities.

The Government has set up PAN camps at some selective remote areas in the country. These PAN Camps have been organized through PAN services providers NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited (NDDL e-Gov) and UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited (UTIITSL).

NSDL e-Gov has organized PAN Camps at 23 locations across India in the months of October and November 2015. In these PAN camps, blank PAN forms have been made available alongwith instructions and guidelines for filling these forms. Duly filled-in forms along with prescribed documents are also collected in these camps.

UTIITSL has organized PAN camps at 30 locations across India in the months of October and November 2015. Organizing such camps is an ongoing process. The service providers will continue to hold more camps during the year to facilitate obtaining of PAN by persons residing in remote and semi urban areas.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
Instructions/Guidelines on Credit Card/Debit Card/Pre-Paid Card 
            Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through its Master Circular dated 1.12.2015 (available on its website has issued consolidated instructions/guidelines on credit card, debit cards/pre-paid card operations of banks. The said instructions contain detailed terms under which a debit card may be issued, inter-alia, advising banks as under:

·         The terms shall put the cardholder under an obligation to take all appropriate steps to keep safe the card and the means (such as PIN or code) which enable it to be used.
·         The terms shall put the cardholder under an obligation not to record the PIN or code, in any form that would be intelligible or otherwise accessible to any third party if access is gained to such a record, either honestly or dishonestly.
·         The terms shall specify that the bank shall be responsible for direct losses incurred by a cardholder due to a system malfunction directly within the bank’s control.  However, the bank shall not be held liable for any loss caused by a technical breakdown of the payment system if the breakdown of the system was recognizable for the cardholder by a message on the display of the device or otherwise known.  The responsibility of the bank for the non-execution or defective execution of the transaction is limited to the principal sum and the loss of interest subject to the provisions of the law governing the terms.

Further, with a view to reducing the instances of misuse of lost/stolen cards, banks may consider issuing cards with photographs of the cardholder or any other advances methods that may evolve from time to time.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Tax Revenue Loss due to Avoidance and Tax Planning by Companies 
The Government of India is aware of the potential loss of revenue from tax avoidance, and has been taking all necessary measures for preventing it.

As a part of these measures, India has actively participated n the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project undertaken by the OECD and G-20 countries, which is aimed at aligning taxation of income with the place where economic activity is performed and value is created, including by ensuring that Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) are not used for tax avoidance. These measures also include the implementation of General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR), which have already been provided in the Income-tax Act, 1961 in Chapter X-A. The GAAR provisions shall apply for the Assessment Year 2018-19 and subsequent years.

Some of the DTAAs entered into by India with other countries provide for taxation of capital gains on equity shares only in the country of which the taxpayer is a resident. The government is aware that some of the investments coming from such countries may be influenced by this provision. The Government has already initiated the process of negotiation with such countries for amending the provisions on capital gains taxation in DTAAs with such countries.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
World Rankings of Indian Economy Improved to 55th in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 
India’s ranking has improved to 55th in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI). The improvement in India’s ranking in the GCI can be attributed to recent improvements in macroeconomic fundamentals, continuation of ongoing reforms process and improvement in business sentiments with innovative steps taken by the Government to facilitate ‘ease of doing business’. With sustained efforts of the Government, there has been improvement in budget and current account deficits.

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana 
The number of accounts opened upto 31.10.2015 under Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana across the country is 76, 19,668. The amount collected under these accounts is Rs. 2838.73 crore. The scheme was notified on 2.12.2014 and the maturity period of accounts opened under the scheme is 21 years. The scheme has completed one year. In this short time, the impact is that 76, 19, 668 girl children got Rs. 2838.73 crore deposited in their name

This was stated by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 

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