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Vodafone v/s India: Indian govt may have to pay Rs 85 crore if it decides not to appeal

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The Indian government may have to pay a total of Rs 85 crore, if it decides not to appeal against Friday’s ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Rs 22,100 crore retrospective tax dispute with Vodafone Group. The arbitration tribunal on Friday delivered its verdict in favour of Vodafone against Indian government’s retrospective tax demand of capital gains tax.

As per an IANS report on Saturday, Finance Ministry sources said that the court has asked the Indian government to pay only 4.3 million pounds, or about Rs 40 crore, which is 60 per cent of the tribunal’s administrative cost while the rest 40 per cent would be borne by Vodafone. Also, the government may have to refund the tax collected, which is about Rs 45 crore, only if it does not go for appeal against the award.

Therefore, the total outgo would be around Rs 85 crore only.

The Finance Ministry, in a statement, said that the government will make a decision on the further course of action, including legal remedies, among other options including legal remedies before appropriate fora.

The statement issued by the ministry read as: “The Finance Ministry has just been informed that the award in the arbitration case invoked by Vodafone International Holding BV against Government of India has been passed. The Government will be studying the award and all its aspects carefully in consultation with our counsel”.

Vodafone had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2016 due to a lack of consensus between the parties’ arbitrators in finalising a judge for a tax dispute. Following this, a tribunal was constituted in June 2016 after Vodafone challenged India’s use of a 2012 legislation that gave it powers to retrospectively tax deals like Vodafone’s $11 billion acquisition of 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Whampoa in 2007.

The retrospective tax law had been enacted after a Supreme Court judgement went in Vodafone’s favour.

Vodafone had challenged the tax department’s demand of Rs 7,990 crore as capital gains tax (Rs 22,100 crore after including interest and penalty) under the Netherlands-India Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). In 2007, the Income Tax Department had slapped a demand notice seeking capital gains tax.

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Finance Ministry to present paperless Budget 2021- a first since Independence

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In a historic move, the Finance Ministry has that it has decided not to print the upcoming budget’s documents and go paperless. The ministry took the decision after taking the coronavirus pandemic situation into consideration.

The budget is scheduled to be presented by the Finance Minister Nirmal Sitaraman on February 1.

This will be for the first time in the history of independent India that the budget papers will not be printed.

Reports suggested the government has received permission for the same from both the Houses of Parliament.

The decision has been taken as the printing process would require several people to stay at the press for around a fortnight amid the coronavirus fears.

The budget documents are generally printed at the Finance Ministry’s in-house printing press in the North Block.

This budget for the financial year 2021-22 may see several conventions being broken as the sources said that the traditional ‘Halwa’ ceremony may also not take place this year or a subdued function may be held with limited gathering. This ceremony, which normally starts around January 20, is attended by all the people involved in budget-making, and marks the beginning of printing.

Once printing starts, printing staffers stay inside the press till the presentation of budget. Only a few high-ranked officials are allowed access and that too on the basis of a special identity card. The entire facility, loading-unloading and transportation are manned by the special security forces.

This is not the first time that there would be a change in tradition in the presentation of the budget under the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Last year, she did away with a colonial-era tradition of carrying Budget papers in a briefcase, and introduced the Budget ‘Bahi Khata’ or a ledger, enclosed in a red cloth folder and tied with a string.

source: The Statesman

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LIC of India introduces online proposal deposit collection in ANANDA

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Following the overwhelming response received for Atma Nirbhar Agent New Business Digital Application, (ANANDA), LIC of India has introduced the feature of Online proposal Deposit collection in ANANDA, where the customer can pay the Online proposal deposit through Payment Gateway using various options like Credit Card / Debit Card/ Netbanking / Wallets / UPI etc at his own convenience.

This feature was launched at the hands of LIC Chairman MR Kumar in the presence of Managing Directors TC Suseel Kumar, Vipin Anand, Mukesh Gupta and Raj Kumar on 05.01.2021.

All the Zonal Managers and Executive Directors of LIC attended the programme through video conferencing. With Online BOC, the LIC customers are now enabled to invest ULIP plans through the Agent Digital Application. This Digital Initiative empowers the LIC agents to complete the proposals round the clock.

Life Insurance Corporation of India launched its first Digital Application, “ANANDA”, an acronym for Atma Nirbhar Agents New Business Digital Application, on 19th of November 2020. The Digital application is a tool for the onboarding process to get the Life Insurance policy through a Paperless module with the help of the Agent / Intermediary.

ANANDA is a first of its kind in the Indian Life Insurance industry with LIC of India pioneering the process through its in-house IT-enabled systems. The launch had generated tremendous enthusiasm among the Marketing Officials and Intermediaries of LIC of India.

source: The statesman

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No relation with the three farm laws, in no way benefits from them: Reliance

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Facing the brunt of farmer’s ire over perception of it being a beneficiary of new farm laws, Reliance Industries on Monday filed a petition in Punjab and Haryana High Court saying that it has no relation with the three farm laws and in no way benefits from them. It further said that any of its subsidiary has never been engaged in any corporate” or “contract” farming in the past nor to plans to do so in the future.

In a statement, billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s firm said its subsidiary “Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), in a petition mentioned to be filed in Honourable Punjab and Haryana High Court today, has sought the urgent intervention of Government authorities to bring a complete stop to the illegal acts of vandalism by miscreants.”

Reliance said it “has nothing whatsoever to do with the three farm laws currently debated in the country, and in no way benefits from them.”

“As such, the sole nefarious purpose of linking the name of Reliance to these laws is to harm our businesses and damage our reputation,” it said.

The company said it does not do “corporate or contract farming” and has not bought “any agricultural land, directly or indirectly, in Punjab/Haryana or anywhere else in India, for the purpose of corporate or contract farming.”

Its retail unit which sells food grains and staples, fruits and vegetables and items of daily use through its stores, “does not purchase any food grains directly from farmers,” the statement said.

“It has never entered into long-term procurement contracts to gain unfair advantage over farmers or sought that its suppliers buy from farmers at less than remunerative prices, nor will it ever do so,” it added.

It further said that Reliance and its affiliates fully share and support the aspiration of Indian farmers to get a fair and profitable price on a predictable basis for what they produce with exemplary hard work, innovation and dedication.

“Indeed, we shall insist on our suppliers to strictly abide by the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism, and/or any other mechanism for remunerative price for farm produce, as may be determined and implemented by the government.”

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