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No change in personal Income Tax Rates in near Term: Revenue Secretary

Personal income tax rates will not be changed in the near term even as peak corporate tax rate will be cut by 5 per cent over a four year period beginning 2016-17, Revenue Secretary said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in his Budget for 2015-16 proposed last week to cut peak corporate tax rate from 30 to 25 per cent in four years beginning next fiscal. He however left personal income tax rates unchanged even though some exemptions limits have been raised.

“Personal income tax at 30 per cent is very much comparable to the international rates and you can not reduce 30 per cent alone, without reducing 20 per cent and 10 per cent rate,” Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das told PTI in an interview. “The peak rate of 30 per cent is very reasonable rate even in international standard. This we would like to continue over medium term,” he added.

At present, the peak rate of 30 per cent applies on annual income of individuals above Rs 10 lakhs; 20 per cent on income between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh; and 10 per cent on income less than Rs 5 lakh. On whether the government intends to keep these rates unchanged over the next 3-4 years, he said. “Yes that is the intent.” Asked why the government chose to announce cut in corporate tax rates, Das said: “In order to attract investment our corporate tax rate should be competitive to Asean countries (Association of South East Asian Nations).”

He added, “On the taxation side, it was found that our corporate tax rates were higher than the rates which were prevalent in major Asean countries. Our rates have to be competitive. “Therefore Finance Minister had announced that over a period of 5 years we will reduce corporate tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent and in doing so, exemptions will also be eliminated in the phased manner.” The reduction will happen “evenly” every year beginning 2016-17, Das said, adding that the exact rates and other details will be announced in the next Budget.

 

PTI

Side effects of harmful radiation from mobile phones and towers

In a reply to the Question raised by Shri Bhupinder Singh  (QUESTION NO  915) in Rajya sabha regarding ‘Side effects of harmful radiation from mobile phones and towers’, The Minister of State in The Ministry Of Health And family welfare Shri .Shripad Yesso Naik answered the following on 03-3-2015 in Rajyasabha.

“The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has informed that in number of studies it has been reported that exposure to radiation from mobile phones causes adverse health effects. But there is no conclusive data available so far on this issue, however the growing body of scientific evidences indicates some bio-effects and possible adverse health effects of Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR) which merit further investigations. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) (2011) after reviewing the studies published from year 2000 to 31st May 2011 classified the radio frequency electromagnetic radiations/field emitted from wireless phone under group 2 B-carcinogen category. Due to this fact number of countries have developed health based precautionary guidelines for exposure of EMF from cell phone towers including India.

ICMR has further informed that there is no scientific confirmed evidence that use of mobile phones causes mental and physical diseases. There is no proven scientific evidence yet to suggest that electromagnetic radiations emitted from mobile phone may lead to cancer, tumour, mental imbalance, dementia, headache and even it can damage DNA of a person.

ICMR is conducting a multi-disciplinary cohort study in Delhi & National Capital Region (NCR) to find out adverse effects of Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR), if any, emitted from cell phone on adult Indian population. Under this study specific absorption rate, power density, wave length and frequency of RFR emitted from various types of cell phones used by the enrolled subjects as well as from cell phone towers installed at various places in Delhi are measured. The physical characteristics of RFR emitted from various cell phones will be correlated with the clinical & laboratory findings to examine whether use of cell phone is associated with reproductive dysfunctions, male infertility, neurological disorders (cognitive behavior, sleep related disorders, depression etc.), cardiovascular disorders, Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) disorders and promote cancer if any, in Human Volunteers.

In addition to the above, the ICMR has also funded few studies on limited basis in India to address this issue.

Source: Rajyasabha

Status of implementation of the biometric attendance system for CG employees

The Government has decided to use an AADHAR Enabled Bio-metric Attendance System (AEBAS) in all offices of the Central Government, including attached / sub-ordinate Offices, in India. There is no change in the instructions relating to office hours, late attendance etc. Biometric attendance system is only an enabling platform.

As per the available information, there is a difference between the number of registered employees and number of employees marking their attendance. This Department has issued fresh instructions to all Ministries that necessary directions may be issued to all employees to mark their attendance in the Biometric Attendance Portal on regular basis.

As per the available information, the present status of implementation of the biometric attendance system is as under:

Sr. No Type of Organizations No of organizations where employees are marking their attendance No of organizations where employees are registered but not started marking their attendance No of organizations on boarded but yet to complete formalities for employees registration Total
1 Central Government Organizations in Delhi 293 67 129 489
2 Central Government Organizations outside Delhi 76 211 661 948
Total   369 278 790 1437

This was stated by the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Minister of State in Prime Minister’s office Dr. Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question by Shri Muthamsetti Srinivasa Rao (Avanthi) in the Lok Sabha yesterday.

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7th CPC to submit its report in October,2015?

After the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) forced the government to reduce its plan expenditure in the 2015-16 budget, the Union finance ministry fears its revenues will remain constrained in 2016-17 as well since it has to absorb the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission (SPC) in that year.

The SPC will submit its report by October 2015.

“The 7th Pay Commission impact may have to be absorbed in 2016-17. The phase of consolidation, extended by one year, will also be spanning out in this period. Thus, in the medium-term framework, the fiscal position will continue to be stressed,” the finance ministry said in the macroeconomic framework statement laid before Parliament along with the budget on Saturday.

The Union Budget reduced the plan expenditure for the first time in many years by Rs.2,657 crore to Rs.4.7 trillion in 2015-16 from the revised estimate of 2014-15, as the centre shared an additional Rs.1.86 trillion with states. The Finance Commission has raised the untied share of states in net central taxes to 42% from 32%.

The tight fiscal situation forced the government to revise its fiscal consolidation road map and set a less ambitious fiscal deficit target of 3.9% of the gross domestic product (GDP) for 2015-16 against the earlier target of 3.6% set in last year’s budget.

The fiscal deficit of 4.1% for 2014-15 was also achieved through a sharp reduction in plan expenditure up to Rs.1.1 trillion. Finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech said he had deferred the 3% fiscal deficit target to fiscal 2017-18 from 2016-17.

The government appointed the Seventh Pay Commission on 28 February 2014 under chairman justice Ashok Kumar Mathur with a timeline of 18 months to make its recommendations. Though the deadline for submitting the report ends in August this year, the SPC is likely to seek extension till October.

The Sixth Pay Commission which was constituted in October 2006 had submitted its report in March 2008.

As a result of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, pay and allowances of the Union government employees more than doubled between 2007-08 and 2011-12—from Rs.74,647 crore to Rs.166,792 crore, according to the Fourteenth Finance Commission estimates.

“As a ratio of GDP, it jumped from a little over 0.9% in 2007-08 to 1.2% in 2008-09 and about 1.4% in 2009-10 on account of both pay revision and payment of arrears. However, it moderated to little over 1% in 2012-13,” the Finance Commission said.

The recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission were implemented by states with a delay mainly between 2009-10 and 2011-12, with “significant expenditure outgo” in arrears on both pay and pension counts, the FFC said.

The FFC said that while the finance ministry projects an increase in pension payments by 8.7% in 2015-16, a 30% increase is expected in 2016-17 on account of the impact of the Seventh Pay Commission, followed by an annual growth rate of 8% in subsequent years.

However, it maintained that given the variations across states and the lack of knowledge about the probable design and quantum of award of the Seventh Pay Commission, it is neither feasible, nor practicable, to arrive at any reasonable forecast of the impact of the pay revision on the Union government or the states. “Further, any attempt to fix a number in this regard, within the ambit of our recommendations, carries the unavoidable risk of raising undue expectations,” added the Finance Commission.

A senior Pay Commission official, speaking under condition of anonymity, said its recommendations will surely have significant impact on the revenues of the central government. “The 14th Finance Commission was at a disadvantage since it did not have the benefit of the recommendations of the Pay Commission unlike its predecessors,” he added.

N.R. Bhanumurthy, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, said the FFC has tried to factor in the impact of the recommendations of the SPC on the central government expenses. “The FFC report shows the capital outlay of the central government will dip in 2016-17 to 1.4% of GDP from 1.64% a year ago due to the implementation of the Pay Commission recommendation before it starts rising to 2.9% of GDP by 2019-20,” he added.

The FFC said that all states had asked it to provide a cushion for the pay revision likely during the award period. The FFC advocated for a consultative mechanism between the centre and states, through a forum such as the Inter-State Council, to evolve a national policy for salaries and emoluments.

The FFC also recommended that pay commissions be designated as Pay and Productivity Commissions, with a clear mandate to recommend measures to improve productivity of employees, in conjunction with pay revisions. “We recommend the linking of pay with productivity, with a simultaneous focus on technology, skills and incentives. We urge that, in future, additional remuneration be linked to increase in productivity,” it said.

The Pay Commission official quoted earlier said it has been mandated to recommend incentive schemes to reward excellence in productivity, performance and integrity, which it will do. “Though previous Pay Commissions have talked about linking pay with productivity, the earlier governments have not accepted such recommendations. Since this government has shown strong political will, we hope they will accept our recommendations,” he added.

 

Source: Livemint

Shri S.Rajeevan, Superintendent retired on superannuation on 28-2-2015

Shri Sreedhar Nair Rajeevan (S.Rajeevan) , Superintendent, Adjudication, HQRS, Hyderabad-I Commissionerate, has retired on superannuation on 28-2-2015. 

Shri S.Rajeevan born on 15-2-1955 in Ernakulam Dist, Kerlala joined in the Department as LDC in 1978 in Nellore Division of erstwhile Hyderabad Collectorate. After his promotion  as Stenographer in 1981, Shri Rajeevan was promoted as Inspector in 1988.He was promoted as Superintendent in 2002. 

Shri A.Venkatesh, Gen.Secretary, AIACEGEO, Hyderabad Zone  has felicitated him on superannuation and wished him all the best in his retired life.  We also wish him all the best. 

Don’t Harass Pensioners, Central Govt. tells Banks

 Against the backdrop of complaints of pensioners’ harassment, the central government has directed banks not to insist that retired government employees be physically present for giving life certificates for continuation of pension. The move comes after pensioners’ associations raised the issue of non-adherence of rules regarding submission of life certificates by authorised banks. It was charged that some bank branches were insisting on the personal appearance of pensioners for submission of life certificates along with pension payment orders (PPOs), a Ministry of Personnel official said.

“All banks have been instructed to strictly adhere to existing norms and not harass pensioners or their kin by insisting upon physical presence if their life certificate is duly signed by the authority concerned and is submitted along with Aadhar-based authentication of life certificate,” the official said. The government has also informed banks about the scheme for pensioners to prove their existence through Aadhaar-based authentication of life certificate, which has been started as part of the Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India’ mission. All pensioners are required to provide proof of their existence annually to the pension disbursing bank.

 

According to rules, a pensioner is exempted from physical appearance if he gives a life certificate duly verified by a MP, state legislature, person exercising the power of a magistrate, a gazetted government servant, a police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector in charge of a police station, a block development officer, tehsildar or naib tehsildar and treasury officer, among others. In case of a pensioner drawing pension through a public sector bank, the life certificate may be signed by an officer of the public sector bank.According to the rules, “A pensioner not residing in India in respect of whom his duly authorised agent produces a life certificate signed by a magistrate, notary, a banker or a diplomatic representative of India, is exempted from special appearance."

PTI

Meeting with Chief Commissioner, Hyderabad on framing of new IZT Policy for Superintendents of Hyderabad CCA

Chief Commissioner, Hyderabad Zone has conducted a meeting with the  Superintendents Associations  (AIACEGEO) on 26-2-2015 for framing of new Inter Zonal Transfer Policy for Superintendents of Hyderabad CCA,. Our Hyderabad Zone Association and Guntur Association have attended the meeting. Tirupati Association have submitted written submissions. 

Commissioner, Hyderabad-I Commissionerate also participated in it. 

It has been agreed by the Chief Commissioner  that:

1. Tenure on promotion from Hyderabad Zone to Vizag Zone will be 990 days.

2. Tenure on rotation from Hyderabad Zone to Vizag Zone will be 330 days

3.  For lady officers it will be one time  tenure of  330 days. 

4. Officers transferred on rotation during AGT,2014 and completing one year on or before 31-7-2014 will be repatriated in this AGT to Hyderabad Zone. 

5. Other officers completing prescribed  tenure of two/three years will be repatriated in this AGT to Hyderabad.

6. Vizag Zone Officers completing minimum tenure of four years in Vizag Zone will be eligible for applying for transfer to Hyderabad Zone without any cap. 

7. Officers promoted during CR-2014 and later on will be sent to Vizag Zone in this AGT as per the requirement. Left over officers  will be sent next year as per the requirement. 

8. Only after completion of the CR batch and subsequent batches, senior officers will be  sent on rotation as per requirement in future. 

9. Since all the CR-2014 and subsequent batch officers need not be sent to Vizag in this AGT, which set of officers should go to Vizag Zone in this AGT  i.e. from bottom of the list or vice-versa  will be decided later. 

10. IZT Policy will be issued by next week.

11. Alert list will be published by 15th March,2015.

12. IZT Order will be issued by 15th April,2015. 

13. The new IZT Policy,2015 will be effective for all the officers promoted from CR-2014 onwards. 

      We thank the Hon'ble Chief Commisisoner, Hyderabad Zone and Commissioner, Hyderabad-I Commissionerate for being receptive and considerate towards Associations submissions and for giving a well-thought out, forward looking and humane IZT Policy. 

Hyderabad Zone celebrates Central Excise Day,2015

Hyderabad Zone celebrated Central Excise Day,2015 on 24-2-2015  with pomp, show and gaiety. Officers were awarded with Meritorious Certificates for their  distinguished service. Several sports persons were also felicitated for their achievements. 

Departmental Officers participated in several cultural performances. 

Pictures below show Shri Subhash Chandra Bose, Superintendent, CCO and Shri M.V.S.N.Vamshidhar, Superintendent, Audit Commissionerate being awarded with Merit Certificates. 

Wish You all a Happy Central Excise Day,2015

Budget 2015 expectations on Income Tax Front – Assocham Survey report

A survey carried out by industry body Assocham has found that a majority of salaried employees want Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to increase the income tax exemption in the forthcoming Budget.

A hike in income tax exemption from Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh will lead to savings of up to Rs. 5,000 for those who fall in the Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh tax bracket. Those in the Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh tax bracket will save up to Rs. 10,000, while those in the highest tax bracket can save up to Rs. 15,000.

Any increase in exemption in income tax would leave more money in the hands of people and will increase their purchasing power, Assocham said. If Mr Jaitley hikes income tax exemption limit, it will be for the second time in two years that salaried employees will get a relief on taxes.

The other big expectation is about exemption on housing loans. 78 per cent of those surveyed want interest exemption on home loans to go up to Rs. 5 lakh from Rs. 2 lakh. Property prices in the country have gone up sharply over the years and many individuals have to pay large amounts as interest for home loans. Exemption on interest on home loan was hiked by Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2 lakh in the previous Budget.

A large number of respondents in the survey also voted for hiking exemption limit under section 80C of the Income Tax Act; the section makes investments worth Rs. 1.5 lakh on saving instruments such as fixed deposits, national saving certificates and public provident funds exempt from taxes. “Hike in exemption limits will boost the savings rate in the Indian economy to 35 per cent of GDP from below 30 per cent currently,” said Assocham secretary general D S Rawat.

88 per cent of respondents want the government to reduce the record-high duty on gold import. Import duty on gold was hiked to 10 per cent in 2013 when the economy was struggling with a high current account deficit and volatile rupee. Nearly 82 per cent of the salaried class expects a separate deduction of Rs. 50,000 for the payment towards annuity or pension plans. Deduction of the amount paid towards annuity plans u/s 80CCC and NPS u/s 80CCD come under the threshold limit of section 80C currently.

Around 55 per cent of the survey respondents were between 25 and 29 year-old; 26 per cent fell between 30 and 39 years; 16 per cent were between 40 and 49 years. The survey was carried out among employees from 18 broad sectors, with maximum share contributed by employees from IT/ITes sector (17 per cent). It was conducted across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh, Dehradun, etc. About 500 salaried employees from the different sectors were covered by the survey from each city on an average.

Source: NDTV