Appropriate action by the Income-tax Department (ITD) and other Law Enforcement Agencies has been taken against those involved in the misuse of the Scheme of Demonetization. Such actions by the Income-tax Department included among others, conducting search and survey actions in relevant cases. During the period November 2016 to March, 2017, ITD conducted searches in 900 groups, involved in various activities and business, leading to seizure of Rs. 900 crores, including cash seizure of Rs. 636 crores. During the same period, 8239 surveys were conducted leading to detection of undisclosed income of Rs. 6745 crores. Further, a dedicated campaign was launched to take focused action against non-filers who had deposited large value of cash during demonetisation period. Notices u/s 142(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 were issued to 3.04 lakh persons who had deposited cash of more than Rs.10 Lakh but had not filed their return of income till the due date of filing. As a result, returns were filed by 2.09 lakh of such identified non-filers who have paid self-assessment tax of Rs. 6,416 Crore. Because of sustained non-intrusive campaign during F.Y. 2017-18, the net collection of direct taxes increased by 18% at 10.03 lakh crore. There has also been exceptional growth in Personal Advance Tax of 23.4% and Personal Self-Assessment Tax of 29.9% in comparison to previous year. Further, the Enforcement Directorate has registered 37 cases under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 in connection with the irregularities relating to the demonetization. Investigations in these cases resulted in attachment of properties worth Rs. 144.71 crores and seizure of gold weighing 7.538 kg. Moreover, 18 persons were arrested under the provisions of PMLA, 2002 in connection with irregularities relating to demonetization. Moreover, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered 35 cases relating to demonetization during the period w.e.f. 8.11.2016 to 31.12.2016.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed progress of key infrastructure sectors of power, renewable energy, petroleum and natural gas, coal, and mining. The review meeting, which lasted for over two hours, was attended by top officials from infrastructure-related Ministries, NITI Aayog, and PMO. In course of the presentation made by CEO NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant, it was noted that the installed power generation capacity in India has risen to 344 GigaWatts. India's energy deficit, which stood at over 4 per cent in 2014, has shrunk to less than 1 per cent in 2018. Significant capacity additions have been made in transmission lines, transformer capacity, and inter-regional transmission. India now ranks 26th in the World Bank's "Ease of Getting Electricity" Index, up from 99th in 2014. Progress in household electrification under the SAUBHAGYA initiative, was reviewed. Discussions also focused on last mile connectivity and distribution, in both urban and rural areas. In the new and renewable energy sector, cumulative installed capacity has nearly doubled, from 35.5 GigaWatts in 2013-14, to about 70 GigaWatts in 2017-18. In solar energy, installed capacity has increased from 2.6 GigaWatts to 22 GigaWatts in the same period. Officials expressed confidence that India is on track to comfortably achieve the Prime Minister's target of 175 GigaWatts renewable energy capacity by 2022. The Prime Minister urged the officials to work towards ensuring that the benefits from increase in solar energy capacity, reach the farmers, through appropriate interventions such as solar pumps, and user-friendly solar cooking solutions. In the petroleum and natural gas sector, it was noted that targets set under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will be comfortably achieved in the current financial year. In the coal sector, discussions focused on further augmentation of production capacity.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed progress of key infrastructure sectors of roads, PMGSY, rural housing, urban housing, railways, airports and ports. The review meeting, which lasted for nearly two hours, was attended by top officials from infrastructure-related Ministries, NITI Aayog, and PMO. In course of the presentation made by CEO NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant, it was noted that the pace of road construction has picked up significantly. The average road length constructed per day in FY 17-18 was 26.93 km, as compared to 11.67 km in FY 13-14. The Prime Minister was informed about progress made in digitisation of the transport sector. Over 24 lakh RFID tags have been issued so far, and over 22 percent of toll revenue now comes from electronic toll collection. The "Sukhad Yatra" App, which provides information about road conditions, and facilitates lodging of complaints, has seen over one lakh downloads so far. The Prime Minister called for faster progress in electronic toll collection. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, rural roads have now connected 88 percent of all eligible habitations. Over 44,000 villages have been connected in the period from 2014 to 2018, as compared to about 35,000 in the preceding four year period. The "MeriSadak" App has been launched in 10 regional languages, and has seen 9.76 lakh downloads so far. GIS Mapping of roads is underway, and 20 States have so far been hosted on the Geospatial Rural Road Information System (GRRIS). Green technologies, and non-conventional materials such as waste plastic and fly ash, are being used in rural road construction. In the railways sector, there has been significant addition in capacity and rolling stock. Additions in "new lines, doubling and gauge conversion" between 2014 and 2018, was to the extent of 9528 kilometres, which is 56 percent higher than the preceding four year period. Similarly, in the aviation sector, passenger traffic has grown by over 62 percent in the four year period between 2014 and 2018, as against 18 percent in the preceding four year period. Under the UDAN scheme, 27 airports are now operational in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. In the ports sector, traffic volume in major ports increased by 17 percent in the period between 2014 and 2018. In the rural housing sector, the Prime Minister was informed that over one crore houses have been constructed in the period from 2014 to 2018, as compared to about 25 lakh houses in the preceding four year period. This has boosted employment in the housing sector and related construction industries. According to an independent study, the average construction completion time has dropped sharply, from 314 days in 2015-16, to 114 days in 2017-18. Stress is also being given to disaster resilience, and low cost housing design typologies. In urban housing, emphasis is being laid on new construction technologies. 54 lakh houses have been sanctioned under Pradhan MantriAwaas Yojana (Urban), since the inception of the scheme.
The Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that the Information Technology must also focus on Agri-Business and Agri-Markets to improve the farmer's income because they are un-remunerative. He was addressing the gathering after giving away IT/ITES Industry Summit Awards at the 26th Annual HYSEA Summit 2018, organized by the Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association. The Vice President said that we must ensure that the skill deficit is addressed and rural youth should become active stakeholders in India’s inclusive growth endeavor. He further said that the software engineers should think of ways to bridge the digital divide in the country and asked them to ensure that the skill deficit is addressed and rural youth should become active stakeholders in India’s inclusive growth endeavor. The Vice President said that the only way to stay on top of the tech wave is to constantly innovate and develop new technologies and solve business problems in multiple verticals using these newer technologies. This requires regular upgradation of skills, he added. The Vice President said that the IT knowledge should ultimately help the poorest of the poor, promote literacy, digitally literacy and skill the skilled in our country. He further said that the IT industry to increase its focus on innovation and developing new technologies, apart from skilling the youth to provide gainful employment. Saying that innovation and Intellectual Property are the main reasons for the success of global IT giants, the Vice President asked companies to stay invested in Intellectual property and continue focus on innovation. The Vice President appreciated the government of Telangana’s initiative T-Hub for promoting entrepreneurship and complemented the government for implementing industry-friendly policies and creating the necessary eco-system and infrastructure in the state. The Vice President said that India can become a leader in innovation and developing cutting edge technology. He called for collective and coordinated efforts from all the stakeholders, including the government and IT companies for creating the ecosystem and the environment for the IT sector to flourish. The Vice President expressed concern over the increasing lifestyle diseases in youth, including those in the IT sector and said that it is not uncommon to hear about heart related and orthopedic problems. He further said that depression is also becoming common among youngsters, which is not a good sign. This calls for a huge focus on ensuring the physical and mental wellness of employees and I am sure, the corporate sector will accord top priority to this aspect, he added. The Vice President said that the atrocities against women must be stopped and for this, there should be a change in the mindset. He further said that the another challenge the country is facing is the urban rural divide and this gap has to be bridged. The Government alone cannot do it, even the society should also pitch in, he added.
The due date for filing of Income Tax Returns for Assessment Year 2018-19 is 31.07.2018 for certain categories of taxpayers. Upon consideration of the matter, the Central Board of Direct Taxes(CBDT) extends the ‘due date’ for filing of Income Tax Returns from 31st July, 2018 to 31st August, 2018 in respect of the said categories of taxpayers.
Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies among the ASEAN countries said Union Minister of Commerce& Industry and Civil Aviation. He was speaking at an international conference on India-Vietnam economic ties. The Minister said that India values the cultural and religious similarities between the two countries but it is the “Act East Policy” initiated by the Prime Minister of India which has opened the doors to realize the tremendous potential for mutual growth. The Minister further said that India and Vietnam hold key positions in this region in both trade, and commerce, political and security issues. As a member of ASEAN, Vietnam is an enabler for India’s growing ties with rest of ASEAN, which is the focus of India’s Act East Policy. Both counties have extensive economic ties in oil exploration, agriculture, manufacturing and defence and are now looking at the services sector which is the new growth engine in global trade. India granted “Most Favoured Nation” status to Vietnam in 1975. Bilateral trade has grown tremendously since then and both nations have agreed on a target of USD 15 billion by 2020. Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Ton Sinh Thanh was present at the inauguration of the international conference.
RBI has informed that the increase in demand for currency recently, which led to high ATM usage, can be attributed to seasonal and structural issues. Seasonal issues include demand for cash in the agriculture sector, and Schemes such as Investment Assistance Schemes for Farmers and Pension Schemes announced by a few State Governments. Structural issues include economic growth, high currency deposit (CD) ratio in some states, etc. Regular monitoring of cash availability and ATM functionality has been done by the Government to ensure that sufficient currency notes are made available so that ATMs do not run dry in any eventuality and people do not face any problems. RBI has further informed that as on 18.07.2018, the total stock of issuable currency in the country, including RBI vaults and currency chests of all banks across the country, was 2.93 lakh crores. Further, the position of fresh / re-issuable notes in currency chests of banks and in RBI vaults are being monitored on a regular basis and adequate supply of cash is being ensured. This was stated by Shiv Pratap Shukla, Minister of State for Finance in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
The GST Council in its 28th meeting held under the Chairmanship of Union Minister Piyush Goyal took following decisions on GST Rate on Goods . GST rates reduction on 28% items: 28% to 18% Paints and varnishes (including enamels and lacquers) Glaziers’ putty, grafting putty, resin cements Refrigerators, freezers and other refrigerating or freezing equipment including water cooler, milk coolers, refrigerating equipment for leather industry, ice cream freezer etc. Washing machines. Lithium-ion batteries Vacuum cleaners Domestic electrical appliances such as food grinders and mixers & food or vegetable juice extractor, shaver, hair clippers etc Storage water heaters and immersion heaters, hair dryers, hand dryers, electric smoothing irons etc Televisions upto the size of 68 cm Special purpose motor vehicles. e.g., crane lorries, fire fighting vehicle, concrete mixer lorries, spraying lorries Works trucks [self-propelled, not fitted with lifting or handling equipment] of the type used in factories, warehouses, dock areas or airports for short transport of goods. Trailers and semi-trailers. Miscellaneous articles such as scent sprays and similar toilet sprays, powder-puffs and pads for the application of cosmetics or toilet preparations. 28% to 12% Fuel Cell Vehicle. Further, Compensation cess shall also be exempted on fuel cell vehicle. Refund of accumulated credit on account of inverted duty structure to fabric manufacturers:Fabrics attract GST at the rate of 5% subject to the condition that refund of accumulated ITC on account of inversion will not be allowed. However, considering the difficulty faced by the Fabric sector on account of this condition, the GST Council has recommended for allowing refund to fabrics on account of inverted duty structure. The refund of accumulated ITC shall be allowed only with the prospective effect on the purchases made after the notification is issued. III. GST rates have been recommended to be brought down from,- 18%12%/5% to Nil: Stone/Marble/Wood Deities Rakhi [other than that of precious or semi-precious material of chapter 71] Sanitary Napkins, Coir pith compost Sal Leaves siali leaves and their products and Sabai Rope PhoolBhariJhadoo [Raw material for Jhadoo] Khali dona. Circulation and commemorative coins, sold by Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd [SPMCIL] to Ministry of Finance. 12% to 5%: Chenille fabrics and other fabrics under heading 5801 Handloom dari Phosphoric acid (fertilizer grade only). Knitted cap/topi having retail sale value not exceeding Rs 1000 18% to 12%: Bamboo flooring Brass Kerosene Pressure Stove. Hand Operated Rubber Roller Zip and Slide Fasteners 18% to 5%: Ethanol for sale to Oil Marketing Companies for blending with fuel Solid bio fuel pellets IV. Rate change made in respect of footwear 5% GST is being extended to footwear having a retail sale price up to Rs. 1000 per pair Footwear having a retail sale price exceeding Rs. 1000 per pair will continue to attract 18% GST rates have been recommended to be brought down for specified handicraft items [as per the definition of handicraft, as approved by the GST council] from,- 18% to 12%: Handbags including pouches and purses; jewellery box Wooden frames for painting, photographs, mirrors etc Art ware of cork [including articles of sholapith] Stone art ware, stone inlay work Ornamental framed mirrors Glass statues [other than those of crystal] Glass art ware [ incl. pots, jars, votive, cask, cake cover, tulip bottle, vase ] Art ware of iron Art ware of brass, copper/ copper alloys, electro plated with nickel/silver Aluminium art ware Handcrafted lamps (including panchloga lamp) Worked vegetable or mineral carving, articles thereof, articles of wax, of stearin, of natural gums or natural resins or of modelling pastes etc, (including articles of lac, shellac) Ganjifa card 12% to 5%: Handmade carpets and other handmade textile floor coverings (including namda/gabba) Handmade lace Hand-woven tapestries Hand-made braids and ornamental trimming in the piece Toran Miscellaneous Change relating to valuation of a supply: IGST @5% on Pool Issue Price (PIP) of Urea imported on Govt. account for direct agriculture use, instead of assessable value plus custom duty. Exemption from Compensation cess to Coal rejects from washery [arising out of cess paid coal on which ITC has not been taken]. Clarifications/amendments as regards applicability of GST rate in respect of certain goods recommended by GST Council which inter-alia includes: Milk enriched with vitamins or minerals salt (fortified milk) is classifiable under HS code 0401 as milk and exempt from GST. 5% GST on both treated (modified) tamarind kernel powder and plain (unmodified) tamarind kernel powder. Beet and cane sugar, including refined beet and cane sugar, (falling under heading 1701) attracts 5% GST rate. Water supplied for public purposes (other than in sealed containers) does not attract GST. Marine engine (falling under sub-heading 8408 10 93) attracts 5% GST rate. Kota stone and similar stones [ other than marble and granite] other than polished will attracts 5% GST, while ready to use polished Kota stoneand similar stones will attracts 18%. Certain other miscellaneous clarification as regards classification/rate have been recommended
The Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism K J Alphons said that the Tourism Sector alone has created 14.62 million job opportunities in the country in the last four years. Addressing the media in New Delhi, the Minister further elaborated that the Tourism sector provides opportunities to skilled as well as unskilled job seekers thereby providing employment to all sections of the society. The Minister added that Tourism Ministry is now focusing on promotional activities to bring attention of the tourists about the unexplored areas of North Eastern states of India, like the largest cave network of Asia which is in Meghalaya. Refuting the recent reports in the media on ‘Safety of women in India’, the Minister ascertained that India is safe for tourists and added that Ministry also has taken various initiatives to ensure safety and security of tourists. In view of this, the Minister said that guidelines on Safety and Security of Tourists have been issued for States/UTs and 14 states already have Tourist Police in one form or other. The Tourism Minister added that inorder to promote the country abroad, the Ministry has conducted several ‘Incredible India road shows’ in the US, Europe and few upcoming ones in China and Nordic countries. He further added that three theme based 60 seconds Incredible India videos has been released till date and it has received huge viewership in social media platforms. The Minister also added that more focus is given to the Cruise Tourism sector with the Tourism Ministry investing Rs. 100 crore and the Shipping Ministry contributing a corpus of Rs. 250 crore to the sector. The cruise ports are being developed at Mumbai where it is along with an entertainment complex, and also Cruise jetties in Goa, Cochin, Chennai and Visakhapatnam.
Preparations have taken a leap in India for its active participation in the Dubai Expo 2020, Dilip Chenoy, Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, FICCI, has told Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al-Banna, UAE Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to India, reports WAM. This came about at a meeting between the Secretary-General and the Ambassador to review India’s preparations for taking part in the landmark event following an agreement between the two sides. FICCI is India’s leading industry association, and it has been tasked "for helping the government" in preparing the Indian presence at Expo 2020. The Indian pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 will be on a one-acre plot in the "opportunity" segment, reports WAM. "This is tune with the great opportunity for economic activity that India provides today on the way to becoming a five-trillion-dollar economy by 2025," Chenoy said. He added that the Indian pavilion will aim to connect with the UAE’s priorities by showcasing India's strength in innovation and start-ups. These are pushing the barriers in high technology areas like artificial intelligence, fintech, space and green energy, according to a press release issued by the UAE Embassy in New Delhi after the meeting, reports WAM. The Ambassador responded that "the pavilion will focus on connecting minds through sustainable and futuristic technologies integrated with rich traditions which have been nurtured in 5,000 years old Indian civilisation," according to the press release. He hoped that it will be a fine blend of modern outlook and of a billion dreams and millions of opportunities with a focus on building a happy world. The expectation was that the immense cultural diversity of India will also be on display at the pavilion. The meeting agreed that India's participation in Dubai Expo 2020 is reflective of the comprehensive strategic partnership between India and the UAE. "The relations between both countries have particularly strengthened and expanded with regular exchange of visits at highest levels in recent years. Apart from the traditional people-to-people and business ties, trade and investment add further vibrancy to the relationship," the press release noted.