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Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill without discussion

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New Delhi, March 23 : The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Finance Bill, 2020 by voice vote and without holding any debate in the backdrop of COVID-19 outbreak, which has claimed seven lives in the country.

The opposition parties, including the Congress and DMK, however, sought for a special financial package in the wake of COVID-19 before the Bill was passed.

Soon after the House assembled at 2 p.m. — a first ever move — it took the Bill moved by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for consideration and passing.

The Bill gives effect to the financial proposals of the Central government for the financial year 2020-21. In the Union Budget 2020-2021, the government proposed to spend Rs 30,42,230 crore in 2020-21, which is 12.7 per cent higher than the revised estimate of 2019-20.

The receipts are expected to increase by 16.3 per cent to Rs 22,45,893 crore, owing to higher estimated revenue from disinvestments. The government has assumed a nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 10 per cent in 2020-21. The nominal growth estimate for 2019-20 was 12 per cent.

Leader of opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury requested for a financial package in the wake of spread of COVID-19, the deadly virus which has infected over 400 people and claimed seven lives.

“Announce for a Financial package in the wake of coronavirus. You can pass the Bill, we have no problem,” Chowdhury said. Interrupting Chowdhury, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla asked him to raise the issue after the Bill was passed.

“I had talked all floor leaders of the House from all parties. They had assured me that the Bill will be passed without any discussion as in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic,” Birla said. Chowdhury said we are ready to pass the Bill without the discussion but we can put our demands. DMK leader T. R. Ballu also requested the government to announce financial package considering the pandemic.

“I request the Prime Minister to announce a proper financial package for poor and other sections of the society. This is a very extreme situation after the COVID-19 outbreak.”

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PIL in Gujarat HC for saffron symbol on ”Made in India” products

It also sought the government assign different coloured symbols on products, so that an illiterate or semi-literate person can also recognise the place of origin.

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Gujarat High Court

Gandhinagar, July 9 : The Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the Centre and state governments on a PIL seeking colour coded symbols on products sold online, so that ignorant or illiterate persons can also recognise the place of the origin of the product and seeking direction to assign saffron coloured symbol to products ”Made in India.”

Ahmedabad resident Yatin Soni, in his PIL, said that the products that are sold on online platforms and web portals do not inform the prospective consumers about the manufacturing place of the product, the origin of the manufacturers and other details, which violates the fundamental rights of freedom of information ensured to Indian citizens.

After the ”Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, any prospective consumer, when ordering products from online platforms and web portals, should be allowed to avail of the information of the country where the product is manufactured, the nationality of the manufacturer et al, it said, adding that, at present there is no provision in law that mandates the manufacturer to display such information.

The PIL seeks directions to the Centre and the Gujarat government to mandate the manufacturer displays, on the web portal information about whether a particular product is manufactured by Indian company and in India, whether it is manufactured by an Indian company but outside India, whether it is manufactured by a foreign company in a foreign land, or in India, and if the manufacturer is an multinational company (MNC), the share of the Indian partner.

It also sought the government assign different coloured symbols on products, so that an illiterate or semi-literate person can also recognise the place of origin.

Apart for a saffron symbol for India-made products, it sought blue colour for Indian manufacturer producing product outside India, red for foreign company manufacturing outside India, yellow for products by foreign manufacturer produced in India and pink colour for products by MNCs.

The PIL also mentioned that after the Galwan valley incident – where 20 Indian soldiers were killed by the Chinese, there were many Indian customers who wanted to boycott Chinese products.

Soni said that the high court, after issuing notice, had slated the next hearing for July 29.

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No BS-IV vehicles will be registered if sold after March 31: Supreme Court

This comes as India has decided to switch to the world’s cleanest emissions standard from April 1. It has gone straight to Euro-VI emission standards from Euro-IV.

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NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that no BS-IV vehicles will be registered if sold after March 31, 2020.

A bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Arun Mishra was hearing the matter pertaining to sale of BS-IV vehicles during COVID-19 lockdown, via video conferencing.

The top court recalled its earlier March 27 order allowing sale of BS-IV vehicles for 10 days post lockdown. The apex court had back then allowed marginal relief to auto dealers and auto companies, permitting sale of 10% unsold BS-IV inventory.

Justice Arun Mishra said, “Please do not take advantage of this court by playing fraud. You have told us no sales have taken place. You are understating your values.”

He said, “no vehicle could be registered without our order.” “You have sold more than allowed,” the court noted.

KV Vishwanathan, lawyer for FADA, said, the apex court allowed registration in March 2020.

However, the Bench asked how vehicles were sold during lockdown.

“It would be violation of the spirit of the court order if we allow sales after opening of lockdown,” the Apex Court said.

This comes as India has decided to switch to the world’s cleanest emissions standard from April 1. It has gone straight to Euro-VI emission standards from Euro-IV.

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New sanitiser makers face action for GST evasion

The urgent requirement for alcohol-based hand sanitisers amid the Covid-19 pandemic enthused many firms, including sugar mills and alcohol producers, to jump on the bandwagon.

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GST

New Delhi, July 8 : The urgent requirement for alcohol-based hand sanitisers amid the Covid-19 pandemic enthused many firms, including sugar mills and alcohol producers, to jump on the bandwagon.

But, it seems, some evaded duties worth crores of rupee by classifying their products under a lower-taxed tariff heading.

The Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB), which comes under the Department of Revenue, in a recent communication to the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) has said some manufacturers of alcohol-based sanitisers are resorting to “non-payment” or “evasion” of Central GST and State GST by adopting wrong classification. They were paying 12 per cent GST instead of the 18 per cent, it said.

Following the CEIB letter, the DGGI prepared a list of 62 manufacturers and suppliers of sanitisers for analysis.

The DGGI has asked the CGST and the Customs Excise zones officials to look into the cases of evasion by sugar mills and distilleries and plug the leakages. The DGGI zonal units are looking into the instances of evasion by established brands.

“These manufacturers are classifying such products under the tariff heading 3004 under the harmonized system of nomenclature (HSN), whereas they are correctly classifiable under the tariff heading 3808,” the CEIB letter said.

The current applicable GST on products under heading the tariff heading 3004 of HSN of 2017 is 12 per cent, while the rate on those items under the tariff heading 3808 is 18 per cent.

The misclassification had resulted into “substantial evasion of CGST across the country,” it noted.

Acknowledging that the GST on alcohol-based hand sanitisers is 18 per cent, sugar industry officials said some manufacturers might be paying lower tax but that couldn’t be generalised.

The tariff heading 3004 includes medicaments comprising mixed or non-mixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses or in packs for retail sale, including Ayurvedic and Unani.

The tariff heading 3808 includes disinfectants under which alcohol-based hand sanitisers come. The classification also comprises insecticides, fungicides among others.

The misclassification had been continuing since the introduction of GST on July 1, 2017, it said.

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