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Resource for a women’s think tank

Dr Nita Mukherjee finds a rich collection that provides published and unpublished materials relating to Indian women

On a recent visit to Delhi, I had the opportunity to personally explore the rich resource that the library of the Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS) provides on all aspects of gender research.

CWDS has been functioning as a think tank on women’s issues since it was set up in 1980 by a group of people involved in writing ‘Towards Equality’, the first comprehensive government report on the status of women in India. It was registered under the Societies’ Registration Act, 1860, in New Delhi, in response to a felt need for an autonomous institute that would build on the knowledge generated, but with a wider mandate and resources to expand its activities in research and action. It began operations with a grant from the Vikram Sarabhai Foundation. In 1985, CWDS was recognised by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, which now gives the Centre an annual grant. It also receives funds raised from various national and international donor agencies for specific research projects.

Crucial to the functioning of any think tank is a source for information and documents. The CWDS library has been playing this role remarkably, with its comprehensive collection of published and unpublished materials relating to Indian women. More commendable is its effort to ensure that the needs of those who work on gender issues are fulfilled. To keep its users abreast with current information, it publishes a “Current Awareness Bulletin”. Since January 2008, the Bulletin is available in PDF format and is sent by email, on request.

Anju Vyas, the librarian at CWDS, has been proactive in marrying technology with information. She says that “most people get immersed in the technology aspects of the IT revolution and forget its information part. It is here, that we librarians play a vital role.” To this end, she has prepared various databases that can be searched through OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) on the Centre’s Intranet and are also searchable online.

Among the important searchable databases are: a) Articles Index Database comprising news items and articles from selected periodicals and journals received in the Library since 1994; b) Mahila Database of books and analytical entries from edited volumes, monographs, government documents/ policy papers, institutional publications, reports and conference proceedings; c) Periodical Database about the journals/ newsletters/ bulletins being received in the Library; d) Women’s Studies Articles Database which contains some 3,000 full text articles on women’s studies from various journals; and e) Chitra—An Audio-visual Database on over 1,000 posters, films and videos relating to women from South Asia from secondary sources.

Among the many initiatives of the Library—applying the latest developments in information technology—has been providing electronic platforms for discussions on women and health, to begin with. One of these is called ‘Bol’ (Hindi for talk), which is a moderated e-discussion group about issues pertaining to women from South Asia that was started in 2000, much before social media became a rage. Currently, ‘Bol’ has nearly 1,000 subscribers from 25 countries.

Anju, and her team, has also brought out several bibliographies on subjects like “Voices of Resistance, Silence of Pain: An Annotated Bibliography on Violence against Women” and “Gender Dimensions of Employment and Wages in Selected Asian Countries”.

Anju says that she has noticed a surge in publication of women’s memoirs and biographies. These provide insights into the status of women over the past century. Maybe a bibliographic compilation of these publications would enable scholars to do a content analysis to study these as cases of social change.

A membership-based research institute, currently, CWDS has 93 life members and four institutional members. Members are drawn from among scholars, activists and intellectuals with the expectation that they would actively participate in fulfilling the Centre’s aims and objectives.

Centre for Women’s
Development Studies
25, Bhai Vir Singh Marg (Gole Market)
New Delhi 110001 India Phone: 91-11-23365541;
+91-11-23366930 Email: [email protected]; [email protected]


Budget fine print: Clarifications and revelations follow the Budget Speech

Finance Minister P Chidambaram promised to keep his budget speech short and did it, but as in the past, a detailed reading by experts has thrown up many twists in the tale that need careful analysis

The base income-tax brackets for the assessment year (AY) 2014-15 for individuals, Hindu Undivided Families (HUF), association of persons and body of individuals have not been changed, except with respect to some minor tax rebates provided to individuals whose income does not exceed Rs5 lakh.


The Budget has sought to introduce a surcharge at the rate of 10% on such persons if their total income exceeds Rs1 crore, thereby increasing the maximum tax rate to 33.99%.


The income limit on the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) has been enhanced to Rs12 lakh from Rs10 lakh to include investment for three successive years. The impact of the enhancement may still be limited as it is restricted to only new investors.


Some pointers that need more clarification…

  1. TDS in respect of maturity of insurance policies which are taxable u/s 10(10D)
  2. TDS u/s 194A- Interest payments to NBFC
  3. Annual Receipts u/s 10(23C)
  4. Clarification may be issued u/s 40a(3) to clarify whether direct deposit into the account of recipient in excess of Rs20,000 by debtor be subject to disallowance under this section
  5. Exemption u/s 54 and 54F
  6. Section 206AA—Requirement of furnishing of PAN for TDS
  7. Non filing of revised return in respect of new claim and during assessment proceedings
  8. Clarification regarding TDS on commission to a partner u/s 194H read with Section 40(b)
  9. Section 132—Search and Seizure
  10. Section 80IA—unit wise deduction
  11. Section 194J- TDS on rental income


Mutual Funds

The finance minister has sought to incentivize household savings to be channelized into financial investments (and reduce dependence on savings in gold) and accordingly provided for certain relaxations in respect of such investors which would serve to expand the investor base. Mutual fund transactions will also benefit by the reduction in the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) which will take effect from 1 June 2013 and will apply to transactions made on or after that date.


Although the measures proposed are positive, all demands/expectations of the mutual fund industry have not been met, especially those in relation to additional tax relief and reduction in the applicable rates which if adopted might have had more positive impact on the mutual fund industry.


Transfer of ‘real’ assets at reckoner value

Earlier, as per Section 50C (Special provision for full value of consideration in certain cases) of the ITA, a provision similar to Section 43CA (special provision for full value of consideration for transfer of assets other than capital assets in certain cases) was introduced for computation of capital gains by a transferor. However, being limited only to capital assets, most real estate developers in the business of trading in real assets were outside the purview of that provision.


Extending it to all assets is likely to be a major dampener for real estate developers who may want to do an intra-group transfer or restructuring at book value.


Some pointers that need more clarification…

  1. Section 50C—Fair market value
  2. Section 54—Investment in residential house
  3. Section 56 (2): Once the sum of money or the values of assets are subject to tax u/s 56(2) in the hands of recipient, the provisions of clubbing of income should not be attracted

GAAR and distribution tax on buy-back of shares by unlisted companies

While the deferral of general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR) by two years is welcome, there is much ambiguity on its scope and application to current investment structures.


Unlisted Indian companies buying back shares will be subject to a 20% distribution tax, a cost which will ultimately be borne by the investor, but which may not be subject to treaty relief or creditable in the investor’s home country.


Withholding taxes on royalty, technical and consultancy fees paid to non-residents is proposed to be increased from 10% to 25% on a gross basis. This will directly impact FDI in joint ventures and technology transfers and the additional tax burden may be shifted to the Indian company.


Debt market

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) will be allowed to participate in exchange-traded currency derivatives, thereby improving their hedging options. Stock exchanges will be able to open a dedicated debt segment. The development of a robust debt market and boost to infrastructure debt funds is a step in the right direction. However, the structuring of foreign investment into such funds and are often hit by tax related challenges.


Some pointers that need more clarification…

  1.  Valuation of shares—Section 56(2)(viib)
  2. Section 193—Interest on securities

To understand the implications of these provisions and more Moneylife Foundation has organised a seminar on Saturday, 2 March 2013 at The Royal Bombay Yacht Club, near Gateway of India in Mumbai. Two prominent experts, Anil D Harish, partner of DM Harish & Co and Vimal Punmiya, partner of Vimal Punmiya & Co would simplify the Budget for the audience. (Read more Budget Simplified



Ubaldo C DSouza

4 years ago

A radio-channel commentator reported that the FM, in his budget speech, mentioned 'women' 24 times and also spoke about using 'she' instead of always 'he' whenever relevant and possible. This is empty pre-2014 flattery of women. How about sitting down with his colleague the HM (who seems to be always busy with matters concerning everyting else but the priorities of his own ministry) and working out something about the safety of women on their way to the boardroom and upwards so that they are not molested, attacked, raped and murdered with alarmning freqauency and regularit on their way there?

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