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Union Budget 2017: NITI Aayog urges 10% tax slab extension

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New Delhi, January 12: Although RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch criticized NITI Aayog for its deliberation into sectors like agriculture and health and questioned its role as an institution, Aayog has defiantly come up with its recommendations for Union Budget 2017.

 

NITI Aayog has urged the Ministry to not change the threshold for the income tax exemption at Rs 2.5 lakh. However it wants to extend the slab for 10 percent tax up to Rs 7 lakh instead of current Rs 5 lakh.

At present, income tax is exempt till Rs 2.5 lakh annual income. While there are three slabs: 1) 10 per cent tax for annual income between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh. 2) 20 per cent tax on annual income between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh. 3) 30 per cent on income above Rs 10 lakh.

The NIT Aayog has outlined job creation as the central theme of the Budget.

It wants the government to curb discretionary powers of tax officials and pass a clear regulation on it. Post demonetisation, the move is much called for.

The Aayog seeks tax laws to be clearly laid out so that the future investors know their liabilities certainty. “China has firms such as Foxconn that employs 1.3 million workers and pays wages averaging $3 per hour… India cannot afford to miss out on good jobs that such firms promise,” the document said.

 “The rules governing construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders can be cumbersome and thus deter many potential investors from entering business in the first phase,” the document by Aayog said.

Further it promoted the need for massive research in improving seed varieties including the controversial genetically modified (GMo) seeds so as to boost agriculture production.

“Elsewhere, in the world, most notably in the United States, GMO seeds have been in use for over two decades with no adverse effect on either crops or those consuming the products of those seeds,” the paper said.

It also laid down the required attention to increase micro-irrigation, complete the pending irrigation projects, horticulture, fisheries and livestock, reforming the land leasing laws for agriculture sector.

Further, the Aayog advocated three times increase in social sector spending and a decent cut on the mega subsidies that the government doles out every year. The document further highlights points for sustained economic growth and elimination of poverty.

It wants government to divert the extra revenue earned to health and education over the next three years.

The Aayog has made these recommendations in a three-year action plan that it will unveil after the budget for 2017-18 is presented. A senior government official said that the think tank will make revenue and expenditure projections for key sectors.

“Public expenditure on health in India is significantly on the lower side. So the action plan will have some forecast of the tax revenues as well as some sort of road map for expenditure based on the budget estimates of 2017-18 for key sectors — health, education and railways,” the official said.

In January 2015, PM Narendra Modi had introduced National Institution for Transforming Indian (NITI) Aayog as a replacement to planning commission. Since two years of its inception, the autonomy and powers of Aayog have been questioned as it is sought as a no power institution headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At least the incidence of SJM grilling NITI Aayog on Tuesday suggests so. SJM said the aayog is confused about its role as a think tank or a policy-making institute. “What differences has NITI Aayog made in these two years?” asked SJM in a conference held to access performance of Aayog in two years.

Wefornews Bureau

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Tamil Nadu: 9 people killed as Anti-Sterlite protest turns violent in Tuticorin

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Chennai, May 22: At least nine persons were killed and over a dozen injured after the Anti-Sterlite protest turned violent in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin on Tuesday.

Hundreds of residents went on a rampage demanding the closure of a Sterlite’s industrial plant in the city, citing that the pollution it generates is causing serious health issues.

To control the situation police resorted to firing and lathi-charge. Section 144 has been also imposed in the area.

We condemn both the state and central government who have failed to constitute Cauvery Board with all its statutory powers. We also condemn the police atrocities & violence that took place in Tuticorin during the protest”, said DMK leader MK Stalin

The agitation against the plant, which represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited, recently escalated after the firm announced the expansion of its unit in the city.

Sterlite Copper, which presently operates a 400,000-tonne per annum, maintains it has received necessary permits and has not violated any guidelines.

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Petroleum products should come under GST: IOCL Chairman

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New Delhi, May 22: Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) Chairman Sanjiv Singh on Tuesday stressed on bringing petroleum products under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to provide relief to common people from a surge in fuel prices.

“There is no directive from the government to control fuel price. Spikes (in prices) were happening earlier and we decided to hold the prices for 19 days. All the petroleum products should come under GST”, said IOCL Chairman.

On being asked whether IOCL violated govt directive of day to day revision of prices of petroleum products during Karnataka election, he stated “government has given us a freedom to revise prices on day to day basis, we took a call”.

Earlier in a day, All India Petroleum Dealers Association president Ajay Bansal said the rising fuel price can be controlled by reducing VAT of state and central taxes.

“Fuel prices are directly linked to crude oil. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have reduced supplies. We don’t have any say to bring down the price. We can only reduce VAT of state taxes and central taxes, that is the only way to reduce the price,” asserted Bansal.

A litre of petrol in Mumbai was retailing at Rs 84.70, while in Bhopal it hit a record high of Rs 82.47 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, diesel touched Rs 71.66 in Bhopal and in Mumbai Rs 72.48 per litre.

In Delhi, prices of petrol was retailing at Rs 76.87 for a litre.

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Enforcement Directorate seizes assets worth crores from Dabur Director

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New Delhi, May 22: Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday seized assets worth Rs. 20.87 crores belonging to Pradip Burman, the Director of Dabur India Ltd. in lieu of assets held abroad.

The ED seized the assets under section 37A of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), news agency ANI reported.

Burman, is the Chairman of Dabur Nepal Pvt Ltd (a subsidiary of Dabur India Ltd), Sanat Products Ltd., and Ayurvet Ltd. Sandesh. He joined the company in 1968, after completing his education from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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