My beloved Members,
I. Parliament session not prorogued, Government hopeful of Gst
The Govt. has said that it was still hopeful of rolling out the new Goods & Services Tax (GST) law from April 1, 2016. It has decided not to prorogue Parliament but to retain the option of ‘continuing’ the session to pass the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Second) Amendment Bill. “I will not expose the Government strategy. But we are determined to meet the deadline (of April, 2016)”, FM Jaitley said.
2. Meantime, 30,000 signatures have been put on online petition by the trade and industry organisations including eminent industrialists. It is the general serious concern of trade and industry that the ruling NDA and Opposition should co-operate to herald the key tax reform of goods and services tax. Both sides have been guilty – the NDA, when the UPA had been in office, and now – of stalling the reform for reasons unrelated to the reform itself. Right now, the Congress’ objection is not to GST but to three elements of the Bill: the wholly undesirable, cascading, 1% tax on inter-State sales, absence of a cap on the combined Central plus State GST rate, and leaving parties to the dispute to resolve the GST disputes. What is the problem in addressing these objections ?
3. And, are our political parties serious about GST? The tax creates multiple audit trails to income generation that goes totally undetected at present and finances much of politics. There is no sign of any effort to change how politics is funded. Can we, then, have GST? This is the million dollar question which the lawmakers are required to answer to the experts in this field of taxation.
II. Nationalised Banks get infusion of capital
India has unveiled a seven-step revamp plan to shake up its struggling State-run banks including a Rs. 20,000 crore capital infusion within a months time besides hiring private sector executives for the first time to run public sector banks. A new umbrella structure under the ‘Bank Board Bureau’ will guide policy, functioning and appointments. The lender banks have been assured by the Government that it would not interfere in their functioning.
Who gets how much Rs.
|Name of Bank
|Amount Rs. (in crores)
|State Bank of India
|Bank of India
|Bank of Baroda
|Punjab National Bank
|Indian Overseas Bank
|Union Bank of India
|Bank of Maharashtra
2. In the above context of infusion of capital, Mr. Jaitley said:
“Government was reviewing PSBs’ health from time to time and believes there is no cause for panic since issues are capable of being fixed.”
3. In contrast, there is news from CAG report that about Rs. 5.75 lakh crores revenue is not recoverable which is about 95% of the outstanding dues. CAG also criticised Income Tax Dept. as well as Income Tax Settlement Commission for this sordid affairs. In 2013-14, the arrears went by 18% and the outstandings rose upto Rs. 5.75 lakh crores. Out of the above arrears Rs. 2.18 lakh crores are pending in various cases with the Settlement Commission. And 1.80 lac crores are pending in various courts in appeals, etc. As per TOI news dated 17-8-2015, the IT Dept. has discovered unaccounted income of over Rs. 300 crores, including large seizure of cash and jewellery, during the raids conducted on the Chettinad Group two months ago. The Tax Dept. alleges that the money is linked to businessman MAMR Muthiah. This backdrop scenario clearly indicates that the taxes collected are not really spent for welfare projects meant for the society in general. The banks capital infusion as mentioned above is to clear the backlog towards large amounts of NPAs accumulated over number of years during which periods no sustained action was taken by the nationalised banks themselves. Regrettably, even the Government did not think it wise to order fixing responsibility of the banks for the NPAs. This policy decision is a specimen of how treasury money is spent by each successive Government without any accountability.
With best wishes and regards,