Money & Banking
Common Service Centre gets RBI nod to function as bill payment unit
The CSCs eGovernance Service India has got in-principle approval from Reserve Bank of India for functioning as Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU), Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here on Wednesday.
 
"After the licence is made operational which may take about three months - integration with National Payment Corporation of India, the common service centres (CSC) across the country would be able to facilitate in collection of various bills of the customer near their place of residence," an official statement quoted Prasad as saying.
 
The CSCs are set up by CSC e-Governance Services India, which is a special purpose vehicle created for monitoring the implementation of the government's Common Service Centre. The BBPOU system is a bill payment system in India with a single point providing anytime, anywhere payment system to customer.
 
The Bharat Bill Payment Services offers interoperable and accessible bill payment services to customers through various payment modes and provides instant confirmation of receiving the payment.
 
The service will facilitate the collection of repetitive payment of everyday utility services such as electricity, water, prepaid payment instruments top-ups and mobile phone recharge.
 
"It will provide accessible bill payment system to large segment of banked and unbanked population. Common service centres would become ubiquitous service points for all consumers.
 
"Besides providing convenience to customers, the bill payment facility will significantly enhance footfalls in the CSC and establish their credibility as reliable bill payment access point. This would also enhance their business and income and make them sustainable," the statement added.
 
The bill payment service through CSC would also create additional infrastructure at CSC that would require deployment of manpower for running such services.
 
“With the deployment of at least one additional resource at CSC, the bill payment service would create the employment of around 160,000 people,” the statement added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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e-commerce to come under GST
The published draft bill of the destination-based, dual VAT-type Goods and Services Tax has clarified that all e-commerce transactions will attract GST which will be collected by the service operator as soon as the supplier receives payment.
 
The model GST law approved at the state finance ministers' meeting in Kolakata on Tuesday says: "Every electronic commerce operator shall, at the time of credit of any amount to the account of the supplier of goods and/or services or at the time of payment of any amount in cash or by any other mode, whichever is earlier, collect an amount representing consideration towards the supply of goods and/or services made through it."
 
Bringing e-commerce under the purview of GST, which will unify the myriad indirect taxes, is likely to end the kind of recent arbitrary moves by state governments of Uttarakhand, Assam and Bihar that imposed a 10% entry tax on goods sold online.
 
e-commerce companies have to currently deal with a complex tax framework involving VAT, central sales tax (CST), excise, and service taxes.
 
For instance, for digital downloads involving material like software, music and e-books, confusion over whether the transaction is for sale of goods attracting VAT and CST, or a provision of service liable for service tax, has led to many litigations.
 
All forms of "supply" of goods or services such as sale, transfer, barter, exchange, license, rental, lease and import of services of goods and services made for a consideration by will attract CGST (central levy) and SGST (state levy).
 
As GST will apply on "supply", the erstwhile taxable heads such as "manufacture", "sale", and "provision of services", among others will lose relevance, said Pune-based GST expert Pritam Mahure.
 
"Further, certain supplies, even if made without consideration, such as permanent transfer of business assets, assets retained after deregistration etcetera will attract GST. Even 'barter' of goods, transaction which were hitherto untaxed in VAT regime, will attract GST," Mahure said.
 
The liability to pay CGST or SGST will arise at the time of supply. Separate provisions in the model law prescribe what will apply as time of supply for goods and services.
 
"Given that there could be many parameters in determining 'time' of supply, maintaining reconciliation between revenue as per financials and as per GST could be a major challenge to meet for businesses," he added.
 
With GST to be applicable according to whether a transaction is a "intra-state" or "inter-state", the draft law provides separate provisions which will help an assessee determine the place of supply for goods and services.
 
The states will draft their own State GST based on the draft model law with minor variations, incorporating state-specific exemptions.
 
GST would be payable on the "transaction value", being the price actually paid or payable, and said to include all expenses in relation to sale such as packing and commission.
 
As the threshold limit, the draft GST law proposes the amount of Rs.10 lakh, and that of Rs.5 lakh for northeastern states including Sikkim.
 
An Authority for Advance Ruling is proposed to be located in every state, comprising one central GST member and one state GST member.
 
The law also provides for the creation of an Appellate Authority in each state.
 
The draft bill includes a composition levy, wherein a person with an annual turnover of less than Rs50 lakh on the sale of goods and services in a single state will have to pay a tax of "not less than one per cent".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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India's aviation policy pushes affordable, convenient flying
India has unveiled its long-awaited aviation policy with a roadmap to support 300 million air travellers in five years and steps to make air travel affordable and convenient. It also recasts the controversial norms on national carriers to flying abroad.
 
Besides sops to make India a hub for aircraft maintenance, the policy proposes an all-inclusive tariff of Rs 2,500 per ticket for each flying hour to promote regional routes and facilitate more people to travel at lower costs with incentives for airport developers, operators and carriers.
 
One of the most contentious rules that had split the domestic airlines was the 5/20 norm of five-year operation and a 20-aircraft fleet to qualify to fly overseas. The five-year wait is now done away with, but airlines will need 20 aircraft and fly 20 per cent on domestic routes.
 
The new policy was approved by a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after several years of discussions, following which a revised draft policy was last uploaded by the civil aviation ministry on October 30 last year for comments from stakeholders.
 
Civil Aviation Minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju said it was for the first time that India has an integrated civil aviation policy that has been crafted after some 450 responses and talks with all stakeholders -- airlines, airport operators and informal consultations among ministers.
 
The ambitious policy seeks to make India figure among the three largest aviation hubs in terms of passengers within the next decade from the 10th position now, while promoting the entire chain of aviation infrastructure: from cargo and maintenance to charter services and manufacturing.
 
Civil Aviation Secretary Rajeev Nayan Choubey said while India built more than 350 airports and airstrips during and after World War II, many of them are inoperational. A new scheme will seek to revive as many as possible as no-frills airports at an investment of Rs.50 crore each.
 
This will be a a part of the regional connectivity scheme that will kick-off from July, along with a cap in all-inclusive fare of Rs 2,500 per ticket per hour of flying, and viability gap funding for airline operators. Excise duty in such airports will be just 2 per cent on fuel.
 
"Apart from funding, there will not be any airport charges -- like for landing, parking as also navigation -- to the un-connected airport. The service tax will also be reduced by 90 per cent on the ticket which would make the effective rate come down to 1.2 per cent," Choubey said.
 
The government also intends to develop India as an MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) hub to attract business from foreign airlines with sops such as a service tax concession, customs duty exemption for tools, self-certification for parts and a longer, six-month stay for foreign aircraft to park in India.
 
"The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business of Indian carriers is alone around Rs 5,000 crore, 90 per cent of which is currently spent outside India," said the policy document. It seeks to get India this share, than airlines going to Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE.
 
Broadly, the policy dwells on upgrade of airports, regional connectivity, easing of norms for flying abroad, liberalisation of open skies regime, development of cargo hubs, chopper services, attracting investments in maintenance and ground handling and security.
 
Officials said norms for choppers and how to utilise the excess manpower in terms of pilots will be announced separately. The ground handling policy, which has come under criticism for making the cost of operations costly has also been recast to allow airlines carry out self-handling. 
 
Otherwise there will be three independent ground-handling agencies, including those associated with Air India, at every large airport. The number of such agencies in other airports will be decided by the operator.
 
As per the data furnished by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the country had seen 168.89 million domestic and over 54 million international air travellers in 2015-16.
 
The new norms on flying overseas are expected to benefit at least two new entrants -- Vistara and AirAsia. India currently has 15 scheduled carriers. Three international carriers have stakes in Indian carriers -- Singapore Airlines with the Tatas in Vistara, AirAsia again with the Tatas and Etihad in Jet Airways.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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