Lokpal Bill: Agreement on many issues; new ones come up

HRD minister Kapil Sibal told reporters that 80%-85% issues were resolved while activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan differed on this percentage but contended that there was consensus on majority of the issues

New Delhi: After an acrimonious meeting last week, the joint drafting committee on the Lokpal Bill today agreed on most of the issues but new areas of disagreement like the manner of selection and removal of the ombudsman came up adding to persisting differences on contentious aspects, reports PTI.

Both the government side and the Anna Hazare team said the three-hour-long meeting was held in a “very cordial atmosphere” but differed on the extent of its success.

The committee will meet tomorrow for the last time during which both the sides will exchange their drafts on which they will comment upon.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal told reporters that 80%-85% issues were resolved while activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan differed on this percentage but contended that there was consensus on majority of the issues.

“On a range of issues, there is a broad agreement. It is a major step forward. Both sides feel we should move towards a consensus to formulate a draft where difficult issues of divergence are spelt out when it goes to political parties sometime in July,” Mr Sibal said.

On the basis of this, a strong Lokpal Bill can be drafted and sent to the Cabinet so that it can be introduced in Parliament in the Monsoon session.

“There is agreement on 80%-85% of the issues,” Mr Sibal said. Immediately after, Mr Bhushan said agreement was on minor issues and differences persisted on contentious issues like bringing under Lokpal the post of prime minister, higher judiciary and the conduct of MPs inside Parliament.

He said “two new issues” of divergence came up. These relate to the constitution of the selection panel and procedure for removal of Lokpal.

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Cannot impose capital gains tax on Mauritius-routed funds: Govt

Under the present treaty, only Mauritius has the right to tax capital gains on investment which is routed through it in India. But it does not levy any tax as per its domestic policies giving advantage to the investors

New Delhi: Amidst panic in the stock market over double tax avoidance treaty with Mauritius, the Indian government on Monday said India “cannot impose arbitrarily” capital gains tax on investment routed through the island nation, reports PTI.

“How can you do that? There has to be some agreement on that. Right now, it is not there in the agreement. You cannot impose it arbitrarily,” Indian finance secretary Sunil Mitra told PTI.

However, he said the two nations are likely to hold discussions on revision of the double tax avoidance treaty, which has been used for routing third country investment into India for availing of tax exemptions.

The BSE benchmark Sensex plunged by over 556 points in intra-day trade Monday on widespread panic selling by funds as well as retail investors, triggered by reports that the government may impose capital gains tax on investments through Mauritius.

There was a recovery in the market in the afternoon, but the Sensex was trading 336 points lower 1450 hours.

Asked to comment on the market fall, Mr Mitra said, “That is up to the market. What can I say?”

The finance secretary said the process of renegotiation of the tax treaty with the island nation began in 2006 through a joint working group, but got stalled in 2008.

New Delhi has suggested dates in July and August for resumption of talks. “They have to give their consent,” he said.

Under the present treaty, only Mauritius has the right to tax capital gains on investment which is routed through it in India. But it does not levy any tax as per its domestic policies giving advantage to the investors.

Most of the foreign direct investment as also the inflows in the stock market are round-tripped through Mauritius.

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COMMENTS

Java

6 years ago

This dumb treaty explains why the Indian markets are so volatile. If Dawood Ibrahim were to or the ISI were to earn a minor fortune and periodically demolish the Indian markets, all they have to do is to buy up shares through Mauritius, jacking up the prices to sky high and then sell and get out, taking the entire proceeds, paying zilch, nada, cipher, zero tax. Enter again when the prices have collapsed and go through the cycle again. Is India inflicted with congenital stupidity or is there a method in this madness which I am missing?

Royal Sundaram Alliance eyeing presence in rural areas

Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance expansion strategy is based on the hub-and-spoke model, where in a branch would serve the smaller adjoining locations

Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance said it plans to increase its presence in the semi-urban and rural areas of the country. As part of this initiative, the company recently inaugurated its new branch in textile hub of Karur, a company statement said.

The company’s expansion strategy is based on the hub-and-spoke model, where in a branch would serve the smaller adjoining locations, it added. The new branch at Karur would serve the adjoining areas like Kulithalai, Pallipatti and Aravakurichi, it said.

“This move is a part of our geographic expansion strategy in tier II and tier III cities. Karur has high potential and generated substantial business in the current year and we expect a higher growth,” Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance managing director Ajay Bimbhet said.

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