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No fake currency seized from Nov 8 to Dec 30 says Finance Ministry

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currency notes
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One of the main motives of demonetisation was to dig out counterfeit money and tackling terrorist financing. But in its submission to the Public Accounts Committee, the Finance Ministry stated that no counterfeit notes were seized by agencies from Nov 8 to Dec 30.

While an amount of Rs 474.37 crore in new and old notes was seized by Income Tax from Indian nationals during the demonetisation drive from November 9 to January 4, the Ministry informed that it has no information whether the persons from whom the cash was seized were terrorist groups or smugglers.

However, the ministry has discovered a 100 percent increase in the seizure of valuables and 51 per cent increase in undisclosed income admitted during April-December 2016, as compared to the corresponding period last year.

During the period, there was an increase of 136 percent in the number of groups searched than the last year.

The ministry also declared buoyancy in tax collections since the demonetisation drive was announced on November 8. There is 12.01 percent increase in the total collection of direct tax, net growth of 24.6 percent in personal income tax collections and 14.4 percent rise in advance collection than what was recorded in the corresponding period last year.

“CIT (corporate income tax) advance tax is growing at 10.6 per cent while PIT (personal income tax) advance tax has registered a rise of 38.2 percent,” the ministry told the PAC in answer to its queries on demonetisation.

The four secretaries from the ministry — Revenue, Expenditure, Department of Economic Affairs and Department of Financial Services — are likely to present before the PAC on February 10.

Stressing that there have been widespread reports of the usage of Fake Indian Currency Notes financing of terrorism and drug financing, both the government and the RBI have claimed that demonetisation could tackle it.

In a note given to the Parliament’s Department Related Committee of Finance, RBI has said: “It occurred to Government of India and the Reserve Bank that demonetisation could provide a very rare and profound opportunity to tackle all the three problems of counterfeiting, terrorist financing and black money by demonetising the banknotes in high denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 or by withdrawing legal tender status of such banknotes.”

To a specific question by the PAC on how many counterfeit notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination have been seized from terrorist groups, smugglers of arms, drugs and spies until December 30, the ministry answered. “No counterfeit currency have been seized by agencies under CBEC (Central Board of Excise and Customs) since 8th November 2016 till 30th December 2016.”

Out of total cash seizure between November 8 to January 4 2017, Rs 112.29 crore was in new notes. The ministry’s reply to the PAC also said during demonetisation period, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) seized Rs 3 crore in old currencies from 67 places across India and foreign currency worth Rs 1.7 crore. A search on 36 hawala operators across the country could bring out old currency worth Rs 1 crore, new currency worth Rs 20 lakh and foreign currency in Rs. 50 lakh.

During December 2016, there is an increase of 14.2 per cent in the net indirect tax collection which included a 31.6 per cent growth in central excise and 12.4 per cent rise in service tax over the corresponding month last year.

The Finance Ministry reiterated that the demonetisation exercise has had a “positive impact” which includes idle cash coming to the formal system, possibility of widening and deepening the tax base, increased availability of funds with banks, rise in the usage of non-cash transactions, increased transparency, easier tracking of cash that returned to the bank and more cash-less transactions.

 Wefornews Bureau

India

North Eeast Border Row: Protesters block highway to Mizoram for 2nd day

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Assam Mizoram Border Row

Silchar/Aizawl: The Assam-Mizoram border trouble continued for the second day on Thursday as the agitators in southern Assam refused to withdraw their blockade of National Highway 306, the lifeline of Mizoram, demanding the withdrawal of its security personnel from Assam’s territory.

Assam’s Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, Gyanendra Pratap Singh, who is camping in southern Assam since Wednesday, held a series of meetings to normalise the situation but despite his appeal, over a hundred people refused to withdraw their blockade at Lailapur, leaving more than 250 goods-laden vehicles stranded on the either side of the border.

Singh, after visiting the agitation site, told the media that the Assam government would approach the Centre to probe the October 22 bomb blasts in a school located at Khulicherra area near the Assam-Mizoram border.

“The blast at the school was possibly triggered by the miscreants to frighten the border residents. Senior police officials are closely watching the situation and the security along the inter-state borders was further tightened,” he said.

“The demarcated inter-state boundary should be respected by everyone. Necessary statutory provisions are being exploited and interactions with the Central government are being done on a regular basis,” he added.

The picketers were demanding withdrawal of Mizoram’s forces from Assam’s territory in Cachar and Karimganj districts.

“In the series of high-level meetings during the last two weeks, Mizoram officials had agreed to gradually withdraw their forces from the areas inside Assam territory. But, they are yet to withdraw,” a senior Cachar district police official said.

Mizoram ferries all its essentials, food grains, transport fuel and various other goods and machines through NH 306 which connects Vairengte in its Kolasib district to southern Assam.

Festering since October 9, the situation along the 164.6-km Assam-Mizoram border took an ugly turn with around 20 shops and houses being burnt and over 50 people injured in the attacks and counter-attacks by people on either side on October 17.

Union Home Ministry’s Joint Secretary (North East), Satyendra Kumar Garg had held a meeting with the Home Secretaries of Assam and Mizoram last week where it was agreed that both sides will maintain the status quo and hold regular talks to prevent any untoward incident.

After these meetings, over 300 stranded Mizoram-bound essential goods laden vehicles went to the neighbouring state.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Mizoram CM Zoramthanga several times last week to defuse the crisis. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla held a meeting, through video conference, with the Chief Secretaries of Assam and Mizoram.

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Rs 1,752 cr disbursed to 3 MCDs till Oct 26: Sisodia

Sisodia said the Delhi government paid MCDs their due share of taxes, but it has also paid a large sum over and above as loan.

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Manish Sisodia

New Delhi: Amid war of words over unpaid dues of healthcare workers in the hospitals run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday wrote a scathing letter to three Mayors of MCDs alleging petty politics by them over the issue of delayed salaries to healthcare workers.

Sisodia claimed that it’s the MCD which owes money to the Delhi government.

The three Mayors had earlier protested in front of the CM’s residence claiming a large amount of balance payment from Delhi government to the MCDs.

Countering the claims made by the Mayors, Sisodia presented facts showing that not only had Delhi government paid all the funds due to the MCDs as per the Fifth Delhi Finance Commission, it has paid over and above the required amount resulting in a huge outstanding loans.

“As for the amount owed by the government of Delhi to the MCDs for the current financial (2020-21), as per the Fifth Delhi Finance Commission calculations, a total of Rs 1965.91 crore was due until October 26, 2020, of which Rs 1752.61 crore has already been paid,” Sisodia wrote in the letter.

“MCDs have outstanding loans from Delhi government to the tune of Rs 6008 crore, they also have arrears of Rs 2596 crore to the Delhi Jal Board. Hence, in all, they owe over Rs 8600 crore to the Delhi government,” said the letter.

Sisodia urged the three Mayors to rise above petty politics and focus on the real issue of corruption and financial mismanagement in each of the three MCDs. He urged the Mayors to demand the unpaid amount of Rs 12,000 crore from the Central government.

“I am writing this letter with much anguish and disappointment over your actions as the three Mayors of Delhi (NDMC, EDMC, SDMC) with regard to the unpaid salaries of doctors and healthcare workers in MCD hospitals.

“From your actions, it is clear that rather than finding a viable solution to the matter using all administrative options available to the MCDs, you are only interested in peddling lies and indulging in shameful politics over this issue.

“In the process, you have caused unprecedented pain to the families of thousands of healthcare workers and lowered the prestige of the national capital at a time when the entire country has united in the fight against Corona,” the letter said.

Sisodia said the Delhi government paid MCDs their due share of taxes, but it has also paid a large sum over and above as loan.

As on April 1, 2020, a total of Rs 6,008 crore loan is outstanding from the three MCDs, as per the records of the Urban Development Department. This includes Rs 1,977 crore outstanding loan from EDMC, Rs 3,243 crore from NDMC and Rs 788 crore from SDMC.

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India

PDP’s Srinagar Office Sealed After Protests Against Land Laws

Under the new land law, no domicile or permanent resident certificate is required to purchase non-agricultural land in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Mehbooba Mufti

Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir Thursday foiled a protest march by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the new land law and detained several leaders from the party.

The party had organized a protest rally from the party headquarters in Srinagar to the Press Enclave. However, soon after the leaders reached the party headquarters, they were detained by the police force that was already deployed there. The police detained party members including Khurshid Aalam, Waheed Parra, Suhail Bukhari, Mohit Bhan.

The party had lodged a similar protest in Jammu on Wednesday.

The PDP president and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti in a tweet stated that the party office in Srinagar has been sealed by the administration and workers have been arrested for organizing a peaceful protest.

“PDP office in Srinagar sealed by J&K admin & workers arrested for organising a peaceful protest. A similar protest was allowed in Jammu so why was it thwarted here? Is this your definition of ‘normalcy’ that’s being showcased in the world?” Mehbooba tweeted.

“PDP’s @parawahid, Khurshid Alam, Rouf Bhat, @MohsinQayoom_& @buttkout were arrested by J&K police for protesting against the settler colonial land laws thrusted upon people of J&K. We will continue to raise our voice collectively & wont tolerate attempts to change demographics,” she tweeted.

Under the new land law, notified on October 27 by the Union Government, no domicile or permanent resident certificate is required to purchase non-agricultural land in the UT. Earlier, Article 35-A of J&K Constitution which was revoked on August 5, placed prohibitions on the sale of land to those who were not state subjects.

The central government has even empowered an Army Commander to declare any area in J&K as strategic for operational and training requirement of the armed forces.

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