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GST Council should bring real estate sector under new tax regime at the earliest

Rahul Gandhi for once spoke sensibly when he insisted that the GST rate should be one-size-fits-all 18 percent enshrined in the constitution.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley barnstorming the United States of America hot on the heels of the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said real estate could enter goods and service tax (GST) soon following the deliberations of the GST council next month.

It is time it did because accounting for as much as 6 percent of the GDP, real estate is one of the three major components of the GDP pie which was left out by the GST council when it was rolled out with effect from 1 July, 2017. The other two are petroleum products and liquor with the former accounting for a whopping 15 percent share of the GDP. Critics might say there was a crying need for first bringing petroleum products into the GST net given its sensitivity and inelastic nature of demand but building a consensus on it is a lot more difficult than on real estate.

When real estate comes under the GST regime, it would subsume multiple state taxes like stamp duty and registration fees giving buyers freedom from a lot of last mile hassles. As it is, stamp duty varies egregiously from state to state with some states like Delhi giving concessions to senior citizens and women while others choosing to treat the sector as a milch cow. The main achievement of the GST in its current form is at least the rate of tax on a given commodity or service is the same across the country even though ideally for the sake of simplification and ease of doing business it ought to be a single rate as well across product and service segments. Rahul Gandhi for once spoke sensibly when he insisted that the GST rate should be one-size-fits-all 18 percent enshrined in the constitution. But Jaitley pooh-poohed it saying tax on Hawaii chappals and a BMW car cannot be the same.

Indeed, the GST reforms won’t be complete unless all products and services are brought into the net and the rate is uniform across product and service categories. The recent changes were at best palliatives compounding for turnover up to a heightened amount of Rs 1 crore being the mainstay.

As it is, the realty sector continues to reel under the cascading effect of tax on tax without input credit except when it comes to excise duty on construction materials. State finance ministers, however, would try to wangle as many concessions and latitude as possible even while reluctantly agreeing to realty being brought under the GST regime. For example, regional parties would try to take up cudgels for their poor and wretched and say GST on economically weaker section and LIG houses should be minimal with the brunt being borne by the villa and bungalow owners.

The most beneficial aspect of realty coming under GST would be prevention of tax evasion which is admittedly rampant as rightly emphasized by Jaitley repeatedly including in his ongoing US tour. In fact, after gold, realty is the second most fecund place for parking black money in the country with builders and buyers indulging in an unholy mutual back scratching.

Many items, especially those procured from the unorganized sector, like bricks and granite stones from illegal quarries are outside the tax net. Such things will become a thing of past with GST whose lynchpin is tax on value addition at each stage and the concomitant credit for tax already paid till the last stage making each successive buyer dig his heels for the fear of having to pay tax again on value additions made hitherto before he stepped in. The result would be builders having to perforce pay income tax as well on the full price. Used property sales of course would lend themselves to income tax evasion as usual for which solution lies elsewhere.

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This Diwali get discount on Maruti Suzuki up to Rs 55,000

India’s largest carmaker company, Maruti Suzuki is all set for this festive season. It has rolled out Diwali offers to customers on elect Arena and NEXA models including the Wagon R, Swift, Brezza, Baleno, Ciaz and S-Cross.

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India’s largest carmaker company, Maruti Suzuki is all set for this festive season. It has rolled out Diwali offers to customers on elect Arena and NEXA models including the Wagon R, Swift, Brezza, Baleno, Ciaz and S-Cross.

The discount on Arena model will be available till October 16, on the other hand, discounts on other models will be available till October 20. Customers will get up to Rs 55,000 discount if they buy the car this season.

Alto: Customers will get benefits up to Rs 41, 000 on Maruti’s Alto. Both petrol and CNG variants are available with these offers. Maruti Alto’s price ranges from Rs 2.94 lakh to Rs 4.36 lakh.

Maruti S-Presso: Customers will get benefits up to Rs 48,000 on this car. The S-Presso’s will be available in petrol and CNG. The S-Presso is priced from Rs 3.70 lakh to Rs 5.13 lakh.

Maruti Celerio: Customers will get benefits up to Rs 53, 000. The Celerio is priced from Rs 4.41 lakh to Rs 5.68 lakh. The Celerio X ranges between Rs 4.90 lakh and Rs 5.67 lakh.

Maruti Wagon R: Get benefits up to Rs 40,000. These offers are applicable to both the petrol and CNG variants of the Wagon R. Maruti’s tall boy hatchback is priced from Rs 4.45 lakh to Rs 5.94 lakh.

Maruti Swift: Maruti is offering discounts on both the MT and AMT variants of the Swift. Maruti Swift is priced from Rs 5.19 lakh to Rs 8.02 lakh. Get a discount up to Rs 40,000.

Maruti Swift Dzire: Get a discount up to Rs 44,000. Maruti has priced the Dzire from Rs 5.89 lakh to Rs 8.80 lakh.

Maruti Vitara Brezza: The Vitara Brezza is priced from Rs 7.34 lakh to Rs 11.40 lakh. Benefits of up to Rs 45,000 on Maruti’s sub-4 metre SUV.

Maruti Baleno: All variants of the Baleno are offered with these benefits. It’s priced from Rs 5.63 lakh to Rs 8.96 lakh. Get benefits up to Rs 33, 000.

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All new Hyundai i20 to launch in November, check features here

The all-new Hyundai i20 is scheduled to launch in India next month. Hyundai India has released the first set of the new i20’s sketches, showcasing what the car set to arrive in India will look like.

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The all-new Hyundai i20 is scheduled to launch in India next month. Hyundai India has released the first set of the new i20’s sketches, showcasing what the car set to arrive in India will look like. It looks identical to the global-spec model with a few changes here and there.

In a statement, Hyundai Motor India Limited stated, “Deriving its futuristic and dynamic characteristics from ‘Sensuous Sportiness’, the all-new i20 brings harmony between four fundamental elements: Proportion, Architecture, Styling, and Technology. The all-new i20 is designed to evoke an emotional Human – Machine interface representing the persona of Modern Tech Savvy, Ambitious and Sophisticated customers. Set to recreate benchmarks of the premium hatchback segment, the all-new i20 showcases an energetic new avatar and a serene ambience on the inside.”

The design of the all-new Hyundai i20 in India is similar to the model for international markets. Based on the newly-released sketches, the upcoming car in India will get a different response. The rear appears to be unchanged, it is the same as one of the models available in markets across the globe.

New Hyundai i20 is expected to be offered with a choice between three engine options: 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol, 1.2-litre petrol, and a 1.5-litre diesel. For transmission, the upcoming Hyundai car in India will most probably get a choice between a manual transmission, an IVT, an iMT, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic based on the selected engine.

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2020 lockdowns to drive new forms of automation: Report

Document extraction, robotic process automation (RPA) from anywhere, drones and various employee robots will proliferate.

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The ‘great lockdown of 2020 will make the drive for automation in 2021 both inevitable and irreversible and remote work, new digital muscles and pandemic constraints will create millions of pragmatic automations, according to a new report.

Document extraction, robotic process automation (RPA) from anywhere, drones and various employee robots will proliferate.

“In 2021, up to 30 per cent of organisations will ramp up their focus on quality by better planning and testing automation before deploying it to production or exposing it to employees,” said the Forrester report on automation.

Three times as many information workers will work from home all or most of the time, while many companies will institute hybrid models in which workers come to the office less often.

“As a result of the pandemic, new forms of automation will support one in four remote workers either directly or indirectly by 2022”.

Direct support in the form of giving a bot to individual workers to support their daily journey will be rare.

However, indirect support will blossom, as intelligent automation handles employee benefits questions and supports document, customer service, and line-of-business tasks that are often invisible to the home worker, the findings showed.

Recent rapid growth in the consumer drones industry has sparked momentum in the commercial drone market.

While social distancing is a factor in drone usage, two forces will accelerate adoption in 2021.

“First, governments are crafting better regulations to facilitate drone adoption and commercialization, with Amazon Prime Air gaining FAA approval for drone deliveries and India driving drone pilot training with new policies,” according to the report.

Second, the rapid evolution of computer vision and 5G will enable real-time drone intelligence over ultra-reliable, low-latency communications.

Like machine learning, RPA will become an embedded feature of many platforms by the end of 2021.

“But rushed and haphazard automation exposes systems and the business to serious risk, so the lack of focus on automation quality is alarming, the report warned.

It can lead to monumental failures that not only damage a company’s reputation and customer trust but also limit broader public trust in automation (specifically AI) as a result of media scrutiny, it added.

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