Nation
Karti distances from ED raids, Chidambaram calls Modi government foolish
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday conducted raids in Chennai at the premises of firms allegedly connected to former finance minister P. Chidambaram's son Karti.
 
Karti said neither he nor his family were shareholders in any of the firms, while Chidambaram issued a statement saying "nothing was found in the fishing and roving enquiry" and he would like to see how far a "foolish government" will go in "harassing" his son.
 
Karti, in a statement issued in Chennai, said some officers of the investigating agencies visited his office on Wednesday.
 
"I was informed that they are investigating three firms of which two belong to my friends. They are owned by professionals and managed by competent board of directors. I am not aware of the third firm," he said.
 
"I made it clear to the officers what I had publicly stated earlier. Neither I nor any member of my family is a shareholder or director of any of the said firms. We do not have any economic interest in the said firms."
 
He said that as the allegation of his connection with the firms was "false".
 
He said there was no "basis for them to have visited by office or to make any enquiries in my office".
 
Chidambaram said: "As can be expected, nothing was found in the fishing and roving enquiry. I would like to see how far a foolish government will go in harassing him. I still believe that the department I left behind have many officers who will act according to their conscience."
 
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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PAN mandatory in hotel bill payments, foreign travel tickets
The government on Wednesday announced mandatory quoting of income tax permanent account number (PAN) for payment of hotel bills and buying of foreign travel tickets costing Rs.50,000 and above.
 
PAN would also be mandatory for cash payments of more than Rs.50,000 for cash cards or prepaid instruments, as well as for acquiring shares in unlisted companies for Rs.1 lakh and above.
 
The new norms aimed to curb domestic black money generation will be effective from January 1, 2016, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters here.
 
Furnishing of PAN for post office deposits of over Rs.50,000 has been dispensed with to facilitate small investors.
 
Adhia said PAN has been mandatory for opening all bank accounts, except Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana accounts.
 
He said on purchase of jewellery or bullion, major sources of generation of black money, PAN would be required if the sum involved is Rs.2 lakh per transaction. Currently, it is mandatory for transaction of Rs.5 lakh and above.
 
PAN will also be mandatory on purchase of immovable property of Rs.10 lakh and above.
 
Non-luxury cash transactions of Rs.2 lakh will also require submission of PAN details.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told parliament on Tuesday that the government had made PAN mandatory for cash transactions of Rs.2,00,000 and above. 
 
An official notification in this regard would be issued shortly, he told the Lok Sabha while presenting his ministry's supplementary demand for grants.
 
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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US Fed raises interest rates for first time since 2006
 In a historic move, America's central bank, the US Federal Reserve, for the first time in nearly a decade raised its key interest rate from a range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent
 
Wednesday's rate hike though a small one, is seen as a sign of how much the US economy has healed since the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The central bank apparently believes the US economy is strong now and no longer needs crutches.
 
The announcement of the widely expected move came at the conclusion of the crucial two-day meeting of the policy making federal open market committee's (FOMC). 
 
Explaining the Fed's historic decision, Janet Yellen, the first woman Fed Chair in the bank's 112-year history, told a press conference that Fed decided to move now because it felt it was on course to hit its goals. 
 
"We decided to move at this time because we feel the conditions we set out, for a move, namely further improvement in the labour market and reasonable confidence that inflation would move back to 2 percent in the medium term, we felt these conditions had been satisfied," she said. 
 
"We have been concerned about the risks from the global economy and those risks persist, but the US economy has shown considerable strength," Yellen said. But "don't "overblow the significance of this first move," she said reminding reporters, "It's only 25 basis points. Monetary policy remains accommodative." 
 
Earlier the Fed said in its statement: "The Committee judges that there has been considerable improvement in labour market conditions this year, and it is reasonably that confident inflation will rise."
 
Stocks rallied with the Dow rising over 100 points after the announcement, CNN reported. Investors were pleased to see that the Fed expects "only gradual increases" in interest rates next year.
 
The Fed put interest rates near zero during the financial crisis in December 2008 to help stimulate the economy and boost the collapsed housing market.
 
But the economy is now a lot healthier with unemployment at 5 percent, half of the 10 percent rate it hit in 2009 during the worst of the jobs crisis.
 
Over 12 million jobs have been added since the recession ended. Wages -- which have barely grown during the recovery -- have also started to pick up recently.
 
On Wednesday, the Fed's committee improved its economic outlook. Compared to its last forecast in September, the Fed raised its expectations for economic growth next year to 2.4 percent from 2.3 percent.
 
It also lowered its projection for unemployment in 2016 to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent.
 
The Fed still has low expectations for inflation -- a key measure when it decides to raise rates again.
 
The Fed's target for inflation is 2 percent, but right now its close to zero. The Fed sees inflation inching up in the years to come, but not hitting 2 percent until 2018.
 
Known as "liftoff," the Fed's action is expected to be the first of more rate increases that will probably come in 2016, CNN said.
 
The last rate hike was in June 2006 culminating a steady series of rate hikes that began two years earlier.
 
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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