Regulations
Investment policy for overseas Indians tweaked
The union cabinet on Thursday approved certain amendments to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy to make investments by overseas Indians in the country easier and simpler.
 
Overseas Indians comprise Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs).
 
According to a cabinet communique, the cabinet approved redefining an NRI as an individual resident outside India who is a citizen of India or is an OCI cardholder under Section 7 (A) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, while PIOs who have registered under the August 19, 2002, central government notification "will be deemed to be overseas citizens of India".
 
Investment by NRIs under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) will be treated as a domestic investment at par with investments made by residents.
 
"The decision to include OCIs and PIOs under NRIs is meant to align the FDI policy with the government policy and provide parity in economic, financial and educational arena," the statement said.
 
"The amendment is expected to result in increased investments across sectors and greater inflow of remittances leading to the country's economic growth," the statement added.
 
The FDI policy for investments by overseas Indians was reviewed with amendments as a follow-up of reform measures the NDA government initiated in the past one year and assurances Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave to the Indian diaspora during his official visits to the US, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea recently.

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Four north Indian states agree on uniformity in tax rates
The north Indian states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh on Thursday agreed on achieveing uniformity in tax rates, a Delhi government statement said.
 
The consensus was brought in a meeting of finance ministers of these states at the Delhi Secretariat on Thursday.
 
"There should be uniformity in rates of VAT on all goods, especially the goods in which trade diversion takes place, with minimum difference in the sale price," the statement said.
 
Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, his Punjab counterpart Sukhbir Singh Badal along with the finance ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Himanchal Pradesh took part in the meeting.
 
The statement said that a committee of secretaries/commissioners of finance/taxation departments of the states should be formed and its decisions should be implemented in a time bound manner.
 
Punjab's commissioner, excise and taxation will coordinate the meeting, it added.
 
The ministers also agreed to establish a Zonal Economic Intelligence Unit to avoid cross-border smuggling of goods.

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SEBI charges Murugappa group chairman Vellayan of insider trading
Market regulator on Thursday charged A.Vellayan, chairman of Murugappa group and three other persons of insider trading.
 
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in an order said Vellayan also the chairman of Coromandel International seemed to have passed on unpublished price sensitive information (UPSI) to other persons in the matter of acquiring Sabero Organic Gujarat.
 
The other persons charged by SEBI for insider trading are Gopalakrishnan C, V.Karuppiah and A.R. Murugappan.
 
Karuppiah is the son-in-law of Murugappan. Vellayan's grandfather is the brother of Murugappan's mother.
 
SEBI in its order impounded unlawful gains along with interest to the tune of Rs.2.15 crore made by Gopalakrishnan and Karuppiah.
 
The market regulator said the unlawful gains are lying in the bank accounts of Gopalakrishnan, Karuppiah, Murugappan and Vellayan.
 
If the funds are found to be insufficient to meet the figure of unlawful gains, as directed, then the securities lying in the demat account of these persons shall be frozen to the extent of the remaining value, SEBI said.

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