Citizens' Issues
Cleaning 60 lakh kgs of adulterated pepper under court diktat!
About 60-lakh kgs of pepper confiscated in 2012 due to adulteration is supposed to be cleaned with water under a court order. Is it feasible?
 
Mumbai-based National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), is in the process of cleaning 60-lakh kg of pepper, following an order from the Kerala High Court. This 60-lakh kgs of pepper has been adulterated by coating with carcinogenic oils and paraffin. 
 
These stocks had been confiscated in 2012 and kept sealed in various godowns in southern Kerala and were ordered to be destroyed by the then Food Safety Commissioner. This media report was followed up through applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the facts that have emerged, though not even a fraction of the info sought, are, to say the least, horrible, says Major PM Ravindran (retd). 
 
Here is the three-sentence order of A Muhammed Mushtaq, judge of the Kerala High Court…

 
The order reads, “Considering the facts and circumstances of the case there shall be direction to the first respondent (Commissioner of Food Safety, Kerala) to allow the petitioner (NCDEX) for cleaning all the sealed stocks of pepper and forward the samples of cleaned pepper to any of the FSSAI notified laboratories. The modalities for taking out the quantity and the manner in which it has to be taken for testing shall be done by the petitioner as per the direction of the first respondent. It is made clear that this exercise is without prejudice to the petitioner's rights/claims etc against any parties for the cost incurred.”
 
Major Ravindran says, “The first reaction on seeing the High Court order was how it can issue such directions? On thinking further, because we cannot allege that our Courts can be wrong, a doubt arose as to whether the answers to the following questions had been brought to the notice of the Court.”
  1. The quantity of water required to clean this large quantity of pepper.
  2. Whether the whole quantity can be cleaned at one place.
  3. Whether this large quantity of water is available wherever it is proposed to be cleaned.
  4. The details of the process used for the proposed cleaning.
  5. The stages in the process where things can be manipulated and how such pitfalls would be avoided. For example instead of rinsing thrice, the material is only rinsed once or twice.
  6. The cost of cleaning this complete quantity, including transportation to cleaning centre(s) from their present locations.
  7. Whether only Indian Products Ltd, Walayar has the technology and knowhow to clean contaminated pepper. What is their expertise and experience in this field?
  8. Whether the cleaned product would be fit for consumption.
  9. What are the contaminants that could have permeated/been absorbed by the pepper during the prolonged storage?
  10. Have reasonable samples been cleaned using this process, evaluated for fitness for consumption and the result submitted to the court? If not, why not? If yes, what are the results?
“Though it is such an important issue,” Major Ravindran said, “it is shocking that the order is not a speaking order and the facts and circumstances referred to in it are available only in an affidavit submitted by the applicant to the High Court. In fact, the first respondent did not even have that part of the order giving the details of the petitioner and the respondent(s). See the copy (below) of the order provided by the Public Information Officer of the Food Safety Commissionerate.”
 

 
He said, the order of the Commissioner is fairly elaborate but misses only one thing- the allotment of resources for this futile herculean task! 
 
“I say futile because pepper being an organic substance, I cannot believe that whatever has been ingested by it, can be removed by superficial cleaning. To those who disagree, please try removing salt from raw mango kept in brine for a month!” Major Ravindran added.
 
The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), which is responsible for approving facilities with the cleaning company, only knows whatever data has been provided by the company. But even then it does not seem competent to take a rational decision. 
 
 
For example, the company has intimated that its water consumption is only 7,000 litres per day from its bore well. And now look at the quantity of pepper cleaned as per the Asst. Commissioner of Food Safety, Palakkad below. 
 

 
On just one day, 24 January 2015, 18.95 tons of pepper had been cleaned/ processed! Of course a cursory look at the data of pepper brought for processing and processed would reveal that para 7 of the Commissioner's order has not been complied with!
 
Major Ravindran says this brings us to the question: what should We, the People, do when all the institutions of the government fail us with impunity?

User

COMMENTS

Vaibhav Dhoka

2 years ago

Many time courts passes unjust orders and people refrain from criticism due to fear of Contempt.

A bank run by beggars, for beggars in Bihar town
A group of beggars in this Bihar town has opened their own bank, which they run and manage to provide financial security in times of crisis.
 
Dozens of beggars, who have been depending for their survival on alms from hundreds of Hindu devotees at the gate of 'Maa Manglagauri Mandir' (temple) in Gaya town for years, have started the bank.
 
The beggars call it Mangala Bank.
 
"It is true that we have established a bank for ourselves," said Raj Kumar Manjhi, one of the 40 beggars who are members of this unique "bank".
 
"Bank's manager, treasurer and secretary along with one agent and other member, who are running and managing it, are all beggars," Manjhi told IANS in Gaya, about 100 km from here. Manjhi, incidentally, is the manager of the bank.
 
Manjhi, who is literate enough to manage the accounts and other works of the bank, said: "Each of us (beggars) deposits Rs.20 every Tuesday in the bank that comes to Rs.800 weekly deposit."
 
Malti Devi, who is secretary of the bank that was established six months ago, said: "It began last year with a big hope and to fulfill aspirations of beggars. We are still not treated well in the society because we are poorest of the poor." 
 
Malti now reaches out to more and more beggars by opening their account.
 
"Most of the beggars who are members of the 'bank' have neither BPL (Below Poverty Line) card nor Aadhaar card," she said.
 
Manjhi's wife Nagina Devi is treasurer of the bank. She said: "My duty is to manage the deposit money." 
 
Bank's agent Vanarik Paswan said his job is to collect money from each member weekly for deposit.
 
Manjhi said their bank helped him when he faced an emergency. 
 
"Early this month, my daughter and sister sustained burn injuries while cooking. The bank has provided me a loan of Rs.8,000 for their medical treatment. It is an example of how the bank can help a beggar like me without any paper work or guarantor as practiced in nationalised and private banks," he said.
 
Manjhi would not have to pay interest on his loan for a month.
 
"The bank has made it mandatory to pay interest on a loan at the rate of 2 to 5 percent from next month to put pressure to pay back loan amount," Malti said.
 
Beggars like Nathun Budha, Basant Manjhi, Rita Masomat, Dhaula Devi said that they were happy that at least now they have their own bank.
 
"We saved some money at least now and deposit in the bank," said Basant.
 
Rita said they have been depositing money in the bank to meet her future needs.
 
Nathun added that what was unique about their bank is the fact that it is owned and managed by beggars who decide on the rules and regulations themselves.
 
The beggars were encouraged to start their own bank by officials of State Society for Ultra Poor and Social Welfare last year.

User

COMMENTS

Gopalakrishnan T V

2 years ago

It is a shame on the nation that after 66 years of independence there are beggars and they have to start their own banks to take care of them. The countrey has numerous scehmes to help the poorest of the poor and this sort of a bank run by beggars for beggars is a reflection and sad commentary that all the schemes meant for poor have not benefited many and begginng continues to be a profession. Icould not believe when some one said that somebody runs a begging industry and the turn over is huge.This news confirms that anything is possible.I also happened to hear a complaint that a beggar who was keen to have an account in a bank was not allowed to open an account as the bank took a stand that beggars cannot be allowed to open account in banks and this had to be sorted out by highlighting and impressing upon the bank that any customer has to be treated as King and the beggar cannot be denied the facility and he is on par with any other deposit Customer.The news is heartening that there are industrious and enterprising people and given an opportunity they will establish themselves.

Harassment of taxpayers: CBDT promises action as PM Modi expresses dissatisfaction
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that he will personally monitor status of public grievances in the I-T department on a monthly basis through the recently launched PRAGATI programme
 
In a move that may bring big relief to honest taxpayers, Prime Narendra Modi has not only taken note of complaints about the hardships faced by honest tax payers but plans to ensure a clean-up by monitoring the progress himself. The Prime Minister expressed his dissatisfaction over the harassment of taxpayers says Taxsutra.com a website that provides, on a real-time basis, updates and analysis of all income tax rulings. Following the PM’s intervention, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairperson, Anita Kapur has asked all officers to attend to public grievances on 'top priority', says Taxsutra.com.
 
It further says that Ms Kapur has sent a letter to all officers in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) cadre, warning them to fix 'accountability' for breach of timelines in resolving grievances from taxpayers.
 
On 25th March, PM Modi had a video conference with the Revenue Secretary and the CBDT chairperson to review status of pending public grievances with the Income Tax (I-T) Department. During the meeting, Modi expressed dissatisfaction on delays in responding to public grievances, harassment meted out to taxpayers and officious behaviour of officials from I-T Dept. 
 
The Prime Minister also said that he would personally monitor status of public grievances on a monthly basis through the PRAGATI programme.
 
Following this, the CBDT chief has issued a circular to all Principal Chief Commissioners and Director Generals in the I-T department. CBDT Chairperson Kapur, in the circular says, "I shall be grateful if offices under your jurisdiction are instructed to respond and attend to public grievances on top priority. If need be, Officers may be directed to conduct special drives to dispose of the public grievances pending with them so as to achieve the targets as per the Interim Action Plan 2015-16. Any breach of the timeline will be viewed seriously and accountability will be required to be fixed for such failure.
 
The Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation or PRAGATI is a platform, launched by PM Modi for resolving grievances of citizens and monitoring important programmes and projects. A built-in feature of PRAGATI is that these directions will remain in the system for further follow up and review until the finality of the matter. 
 
According to a statement issued by the PM's office, the PRAGATI platform uniquely bundles three latest technologies: Digital data management, video-conferencing and geo-spatial technology. It also offers a unique combination in the direction of cooperative federalism since it brings on one stage the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States. With this, the Prime Minister is able to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground level situation.
 

User

COMMENTS

vswami

2 years ago

An Update

News from the North Block

Links >

CBDT Top Brass Expresses Shock And Dismay At Apathy Of ...

Assessment framed in the name of non-existing entity due to amalgamation cannot be cured by...

CBDT Instruction Streamlines Litigation In High Courts

< Comments posted



Mr Jitendra

2 years ago

Why do they want to know taxpayer's foreign accounts each and every year to be declared in the tax return? Just because USA has a law that requires its residents to disclose foreign accounts, India also modified our ITR excel sheets and included columns for foreign accounts. Since that was not enough, then they frame a new law Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill 2015. Is this not like threatening the 'resident' taxpayers? And then give a statement saying "asking tax is not tax terrorism".
USA wants global income to be reported on their tax return, so India also wants global income to be reported on tax return.
If everything of USA has to be copied, then is the Rupee going to be equal to Dollar? Are those freeways built here?

vswami

2 years ago

RIDER 1
On the taxpayers' most absorbing concern over 'harassment', and the PM's purported initiative to assuage their long-living anxiety, the latest reported move from the CBDT is seemingly just in the diagonally opposite direction. For more, refer the Add-on @ Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards: The Need to Move Beyond Rhetoric (ICL Blog)

Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan

2 years ago

What is the purpose of PAN Card in the first place????
If they can build a CIBIL, they can collect financial details easily of any individual, this is with specific response to Individuals.Then CBDT can send the individuals a bill which may to scrutinised by the individual citizen and then paid. OTHERWISE THROW AWAY THE PAN CARD. There is a huge difference between an individual and a corporate with a huge battery of lawyers and accountant. There MUST be a separeate department for handling individuals. What we have is the TYRANNY OF THE TAX BABUs.

Gopalakrishnan T V

2 years ago

This is a very good move. This should be seriuosly monitored and periodically reviewed to know the progress. Tax payaers have also to coopearte in reporting the harassment, bribery demands if any to make the move of the PM a grand success.Once public turn vigiant and action is initiated by the authorities, Governance tandards will automatically improve. In a similar way, the goovernment should also have a data collecting system to enable public to report tax evasin or avoidance wherever observed or suspected.There is a paramount need to improve the number of tax players and minimise the tax impact on the honest payers.

praveer

2 years ago

THE BANKS/ POST OFFICES SHOULD BE GIVEN POWERS TO REFUND [TDS]TAX DEDUCTED BY MISTAKE TO THE TAXPAYER
WITHIN A MONTH'S TIME AFTER THE ERROR IS POINTED OUT. THERE SHOULD BE NO NEED TO FILE RETURN FOR SUCH ERRORS ON PART OF BANKS/ POST OFFICE.

REPLY

vswami

In Reply to praveer 2 years ago

LINK here>

Closure of Short Payment Defaults to facilitate downloading of Conso Files/ TDS Certificates

http://taxguru.in/income-tax/closure-sho...

vswami

In Reply to praveer 2 years ago

OFFHAND

According to the scheme of things as embodied in section 200A of IT Act itself,in terms thereof, in one's personal view, a refund of TDS, even if it be in excess,is due and has to be granted to the 'deductor'; not to the deductee.

That holds good to ANY deductor,not only to Banks / POs.

If so,any TDS 'deducted by mistake', that is wrongly,it is the deductor who should claim and obtain a refund.

In other words, the deuctee's recourse would be to the dedeuctor , who should be demanded to make good for the amount of witholding.

See the recently posted comment on the website of Taxguru, wprt 2 recent circulars of CBDT, - though on the topic of short TDS.

Suggest to check with the department,and get it confirmed, if any doubt or difficulty faced.

KAIALSH SINGHAL

2 years ago

sir,
excise deptt still does not approve the excise registration though excise reg certificate issued and they have completed the inspection of unit and also no query raised after 7 days of inspection and hold the matter at range level and tells that they are busy in march 2015 ending
regards
kc singhal

vswami

2 years ago

IMPROMPTU

As is readily noted , the PM , in his reported video conference, expressed dissatisfaction on, (a) delays in responding to public grievances, and (b) “harassment meted out to taxpayers and officious behaviour of officials from I-T Dept.” The CBDT, however, in its in-house letter,
as read and understood, underlined the need to, rigidly adhere to the timelines laid down unwittingly or otherwise, omitted to even make an oblique mention of the other aspect (as in (b) above). It is common knowledge that, while delayed response to grievances is just one, is not all; for, the most concern of most taxpayers is the harassment meted out in other ways as well. The most predominant and commonly heard of public grievance has something to do with the law being administered by the authorities, strictly in accordance/coherence with the letter and/also spirit of it; and do so, objectively, with a profound fair-mindedness, and more importantly keeping in focus the overriding common law principles of equity, good conscience, so on,- cryptically called, ‘natural justice’. That is an all inclusive concept, to take within its coverage anyone or more of areas of concern to taxpayers, domestic or foreign.

This is an aspect which, time and again, has come to be forcefully urged by the taxpayers and professional advisers, including retired Revenue officials; so also underlined by courts open to be gathered from case law. For getting to know more and intimately, anyone can care to and go through the host of material available in public domain, in the form of inter alia published critiques of expert lawyers of eminence, with lifelong field experience and exposure. For a brief account and sum-up, the published article, - [2008] 169 TAXMAN 14 (ART) may be looked up.

SuchindranathAiyerS

2 years ago

This is an excellent step in the right direction. I sincerely hope that Narendra Bhai is able to tame India's run away and unaccountable Politician-Bureaucrat-Judge-Police-Crony Kleptocracy that has plundered India for Sixty Five years and more.

TIHARwale

2 years ago

MoneyLife Digital should take up at the highest level certain mischief played by Income Tax Dept. Tax Payers are getting notices for Tax due in 2008-09 running into thousands . This is because TRACES are doing a shoody job in uploading Tax Payment remitted thro Banks. Banks are giving certificates to Tax payers confirming of having transmitted the tax remitted thro the branch to I.Tax Dept. However as TRACES are not entering AY properly as a result I.Tax dues are arrived and CPC Bangalore that due are there and tax payer to contact AO. What is preventing the A.O. to see whether any data entry mismatch is there and concerned credit are there in a different AY. If A.O. do this job it will found that 99% of notices for AY 2008-09 2009-10 etc are nothing but simple harassment.

Why A.O. are not provided with official email id so that tax payers without visiting A.O. in person can put up clarifications over e-mail.

REPLY

S BHASKARA NARAYANA

In Reply to TIHARwale 2 years ago

I am also victim of TRACES for AY 2009-10. Though the employer confirmed deduction of TDS in FORM 16 & Form 26, and my manual return was filed with local AO, I was served notice, when I started filing return online.
---ABXPS0727J

Veeresh Malik

2 years ago

Great news. I hope this is followed through in letter and in spirit by the Income Tax Department on an all-India basis. Simplification of the tax system is essential for growth of India.

Vishal Modi

2 years ago

Perhaps only our revered PM can reduce the harassment to genuine taxpayers.

I am sure my father, aged 76, will be happy if this intervention is effectively implemented.

The tax authorities have talked through many such circulars in the past, yet not much has changed at the ground level.

Vaibhav Dhoka

2 years ago

One must applaud Hon'ble Prime Ministers concern about common public.In past none has cared to do so.

Krishnaraj

2 years ago

Delighted to hear this.

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