Monsoon session to commence from 1st August

The much-talked about Lokpal Bill is expected to be tabled in the Monsoon session

New Delhi: The Monsoon Session of the Indian Parliament will be held from 1st August one to 8th September. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, reports PTI.

After the meeting, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said that the committee decided to recommend to the president to convene the session from 1st August.

"The CCPA has decided to recommend to the president for summoning the session of two houses of Parliament on 1st August and given the contingencies and exigencies of the work, it is likely to go up to 8th September," he told reporters.

Asked why the session was delayed, Mr Bansal said, "There have been instances in the past also where the session has been held in August."

On the Women's Reservation Bill, the minister said, "The government's seriousness on the issue showed when it got it into Rajya Sabha and also took a little unpleasant dose to see that it is passed."

The government has already announced its plans to bring the much-talked about Lokpal Bill in the Monsoon session.

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FDI dips by 9% to $6.51 billion in Jan-Apr

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has initiated steps, including consolidation of all related rules and regulations into a single document, to boost FDI in the country

New Delhi: Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country declined by 9% to $6.51 billion during January-April 2011 compared to $7.14 billion, reports PTI quoting industry ministry data.

According to experts, the government should further streamline FDI policies and make the environment more investment-friendly to attract investments.

"To boost FDI into the country, the government needs to take strong policy action," an economist said.

The sectors that attracted FDI include services (financial and non-financial), telecommunications, housing and real estate, construction activities and power, the data said.

Mauritius, Singapore, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany and the UAE are the major investors in India.

FDI inflows into India totalled $19.42 billion in 2010-11, down from $25.83 billion in 2009-10.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has initiated steps, including consolidation of all related rules and regulations into a single document, to boost FDI in the country.

Recently, relaxing FDI norms, the DIPP had allowed Indian companies to issue equity against the import of capital goods and liberalised the conditions for foreign investment for production and development of seeds.

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Govt resumes talks with Mauritius to revise DTAA

While the government has been pressing for re-negotiating Mauritius DTAA seeking to plug the loopholes and revenue leakages, some experts have raised concerns that the move may impact the foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country

New Delhi: The government today said that it has resumed talks with Mauritius for re-negotiation of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), a 30-year-old treaty which has been used by investors to save taxes, reports PTI.

"As far as DTAA with Mauritius is concerned, it is nothing new. It is an old one. For some time talks were suspended. Now it is resumed," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here on the sideline of a CAG seminar.

Earlier yesterday, finance secretary Sunil Mitra had said, "The discussions are likely to resume on re-negotiation of the three-decade old DTAA (with Mauritius) in July or August"

While the government has been pressing for re-negotiating Mauritius DTAA seeking to plug the loopholes and revenue leakages, some experts have raised concerns that the move may impact the foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.

On this, economic affairs secretary R Gopalan, "One agreement (renegotiating DTAA with Mauritius) would not make any difference on FDI inflows (in the country)."

India receives 42% of its foreign direct investment (FDI) routed through Mauritius. Likewise about 40% of the foreign institutional investor (FII) fund flows in the country are believed to be routed through the island nation. A large majority of them are third-country investors which use the DTAA for saving capital gains tax.

According the DTAA, capital gains from sale of shares by residents of Mauritius in India would be liable to tax only in that country. As Mauritius does not have capital gain tax, there is no burden on investors routing money in India through a circuitous route.

In the wake of pressure on the government to go after black money, it is in the process of renegotiating the DTAA with several countries mainly tax havens like Mauritius.

Experts, however, said that re-negotiation of the DTAA would not be of much help. Instead, the FII investments into country would be impacted if capital gains tax is imposed.

"Negotiating the treaty will not give desired results to the government. Renegotiation of the treaty will undermine India's confidence in other countries. We have an agreement with Singapore too," KR Sekar, partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells said.

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