Regulations
Anti-black money bill tabled in Lok Sabha

A bill on unearthing black money and punishing those with ill-gotten wealth was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Friday, the last day before parliament goes into its scheduled month-long recess.

The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of New Tax) Bill, 2015, proposes a short window to overseas income tax assessees to declare their assets, pay tax and a penalty and thus avoid imprisonment.

It provides for a maximum of 10 years' rigorous imprisonment for evading tax on foreign assets.

There will also be a penalty at the rate of 300 percent of taxes on the concealed income and assets.

The new legislation will provide that income in relation to any undisclosed foreign asset or undisclosed income from any foreign asset will be taxable at the maximum marginal rate.

 

Salient points of the Anti-black money bill tabled in the Lok Sabha Friday

 
* Maximum of 10 years rigorous imprisonment for offenders who evade taxes on foreign assets.
 
* Penalty at the rate of 300 percent of taxes on the concealed income and assets.
 
* Income from any undisclosed foreign asset or undisclosed income from any foreign asset to be taxable at the maximum marginal rate.
 
* Beneficiary of foreign assets will be mandatorily required to file return, even if there is no taxable income.
 
* Non-filing of income tax returns or filing of returns with inadequate disclosure of foreign assets liable for prosecution with punishment of rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years.

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Charlie Sheen makes racist comment against Obama
Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen has posted a racist comment on US President Barack Obama, calling him "Barry Satera Kenya”.
 
"Barry Satera Kenya u won't attend a soldier's funeral uhkros da street that u kild yet u hav time 4 brackets? s a d," the actor posted on his Twitter page on Wednesday.
 
"Barry Satera Kenya" refers to Obama's African heritage, as his father came from Rachyuonyo District in Kenya, even though Obama himself was born in Hawaii. The meaning of word 'Satera' is still left unexplained, reports aceshowbiz.com.
 
The 49-year-old's anger appeared to be fuelled by Obama's appearance at the bracket on ESPN, an annual tradition during his presidency, instead of attending a soldier's funeral. 
 
The soldier's funeral that Sheen refers to may be the funeral of a two-star general, who was killed in Afghanistan. 
 
However, his accusation that the funeral had been ignored by the administration was incorrect since the ceremony was attended by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
 
The tweet sparked an outburst from other Twitter users. 
 
One of the users who commented on Sheen's tweet, wrote: "He can't attend every funeral, grow up", while others said that mentioning Kenya in his tweet was racist.

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Goa's top election official bats for paper ballot
Electronic voting machines, or EVMs, may have made the conduct of elections easy and tamper-proof, but Goa's top polling official says the use of the traditional ballot paper is both cheaper and better suited for small states.
 
State Election Commissioner M. Modassir should know. He has just conducted the Zilla Panchayat election, using the good old ballot paper.
 
A total of 66.43 percent of the voters turned out. This was a 12 percent rise in voting percentage compared to the Zila Panchayat election in Goa of 2010. There are 50 Zila Panchayat constituencies in Goa's two districts. Each Zila Panchayat covers three panchayats.
 
Modassir said he found no point in going for the electronic voting machines (EVM) as a "fashion".
 
"Why to burden the government just by what you will call 'joining the fashion' when I can manage with the old style ballot papers?" Modassir told IANS.
 
The official said that using EVMs to hold elections was an expensive affair. While it suited big states with a large voter base, he felt that they made no sense for small states with sparse population like Goa. "The maintenance cost of these machines, the cost of calling the engineers, re-calibrating them, everything is very high.
 
"So, at the end of the day, I feel satisfied that the elections were held without spending a huge amount of taxpayers' money," Modassir said.
 
According to him, while the cost of conducting the Zila Panchayat election using ballot paper was about Rs.2 crore, it would have cost the state government Rs.5 crore to organise the election with EVMs.
 
EVMs were first used as a pilot project in 1989. Over the years, they have become a steady fixture in the national and state elections because they are said to be tamper proof.
 
EVMs also make the vote count an easy affair. Counting hundreds of thousands of ballot papers manually can be a mammoth task.
 
He added that the EVMs with the Goa government were old and many were outdated.
 
"When we can manage the election (with ballot paper), why should I spend another four or four crores (of rupees) on buying new machines?"
 
There were challenges, he said, which had to be overcome and extra preparations had to be made to make the poll by paper ballot successful in the age of the EVM.
 
"You have to re-orient polling personnel. They are used to machines," Modassir said.
 
"Had the constituencies (ZP constituencies of Goa) had 250,000 voters, had the population of Goa been, let's say, 5.5 million, I would have had no option but to go for that (EVM).
 
"But we have managed. We increased the number of polling booths from 950 (in 2010) to 1,208 and everything got over nicely," he said.

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