Government launches smart card scheme in Madurai district

The new scheme with smart cards has been introduced to avoid middlemen and would help the beneficiaries to draw from the bank whatever amount they needed

Madurai: Smart Card scheme that would enable beneficiaries of various social welfare schemes such as old age and destitute pension to draw the money from banks was launched in the district, reports PTI.

The objective of the scheme was to implement welfare schemes in the 'best possible way' and avoid middlemen, district collector U Sagayam said launching it at Shivarakottai near Tirumangalam, about 30 km from here.

Hitherto, old age pension was sent through Money Order and the beneficiaries had to shell out some money for receiving their pension from the postman.

The new scheme had been introduced to avoid middlemen and would help the beneficiaries to draw from the bank whatever amount they needed.

It was being introduced in villages with more than 2000 population, where bank facility was not available. The scheme would be initially launched in 22 villages and extended to all 160 villages where the population was more than 2000, the collector said.

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'Received info on money held in overseas bank accounts'

The government received a number of cases of information relating to remittances, payments and money held in foreign bank accounts

New Delhi: The government has received a number of cases of information relating to money held in foreign bank accounts, Minister of State for Finance SS Palanimanickam said, reports PTI.

"The government has received a number of cases of information relating to remittances, payments and money held in foreign bank accounts under the provisions of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA)," Mr Palanimanickam said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

He was responding to a question on whether government has received details regarding 9,900 persons who have deposited black money in foreign banks and whether the government is investigating those persons.

Every reliable information, including information received from outside the country, Palanimanickam said "is verified according to the provision of Direct Tax laws and action is taken to being undisclosed amounts to taxation".

He said the tax department levies penalty in cases of concealment and in appropriate cases, initiates prosecution proceedings.

To another question on the amount of black money confiscated during the last two years, Mr Palanimanickam said the Income Tax department has seized assets worth Rs905.61 crore and Rs774.98 crore in the 2011-12 and 2010-11 fiscal, respectively.

"The Income Tax department takes constant action against tax evasion including tax scrutiny, surveys, search and seizure under the Direct Tax laws," Mr Palanimanickam said.

India currently has DTAA with 82 countries and TIEA with 17 jurisdictions.

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'Companies' claims about food products in ads to be regulated'

The Food Standard and Safety Authority said advertisers cannot make claim unless the company does study and generate adequately valid scientific data

Hyderabad: In a bid to restrict deceptive advertisements, particularly with regards to food articles such as weight-loss or weight-gain drinks, the Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI) is going to make it mandatory for the manufacturers to display scientific evidence on the package, reports PTI.

According to B Sesikeran, director at National Institute of Nutrition and chairman of Scientific panel on Food Labelling said the panel recommendations will be notified in a month and after that it will seek public opinion before amending the existing Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.

"New food labelling regulation will have a lot of things such as if a health drink claims that children will grow taller with the drink then they will have produce evidence to prove their claim," Mr Sesikeran told reporters on the sidelines of 'Technology as Driver of Growth: Ensuring Farm Productivity' a panel discussion organised by IndoAsiancommodities.com.

"We are going to regulate advertisements also. They cannot make claim unless the company does study and generate adequately valid scientific data. Otherwise, claims have to be removed for the advertisement," he added.

He said there is also a proposal to display nutritional values on the hotel menu cards.Though it is not mandatory for the hotels initially it may become a rule after three years, Mr Sesikeran explained.

"Particularly salt, sugar, iron and fat values should be displayed against each food item the hotel offers. Initially, we will ask them to do it voluntarily," he said.

Meanwhile, the NIN has undertaken a project to assess food values in Indian food items, including vegetables across the country. Mr Sesikeran said the teams are now touring across the country to collect food sample to analyse.

"The study was done many years ago. Now with the newer technologies and new foods adding to the food basket and the composition of existing food is also changed over the years because of the different farming practices," he said.

Once the date is generated it will help forming a regulation and the project will take two years to publish the data, he added.

Earlier in the panel discussion, the participants felt the need to introduce newer technologies to increase agriculture productivity.

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