The new Citizens' Charter will be a guiding rule book for the I-T department and its officials
Taxpayers whose premises have been searched or raided by the Income Tax (I-T) department can now expect to get possession of their sealed properties and assets in two months as compared to the usual duration of over a year, reports PTI.
The department is also planning to take steps to ensure return of seized and impounded account books—after completing final assessment—to assessees in two months' time while the taxpayer will also be allowed to operate his or her sealed premises and accounts within the same period.
These are some of the proposals which the department has mooted in its new draft Citizens' Charter that would be unveiled by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on 24th July during an I-T day function in New Delhi.
The department is expecting to "achieve minimum compliance level of 80% " for these time-frames and will also gradually enhance the compliance level for these services and others.
The issuance of refunds—a concern of a large number of taxpayers—will be achieved within nine months from the end of the month in which the application was received.
"The department is planning to bring down complaints and grievances of taxpayers. One major area to be addressed in the new charter of services is strict adherence to established time-frames," a senior I-T officer said.
After search and survey operations, the properties, accounts, movable and immovable assets of the assessee are sealed. Till the time the exact tax evasion is finalised and a demand is raised, a considerable number of assets lie unoperational. This will be checked, the officer added.
The new Citizens' Charter will be a guiding rule book for the department and its officials.
The finance minister, on 9th June while addressing the top brass of the department had said that subjects like tax refunds and credit of tax deducted at source (TDS) need to be attended on urgent basis.
The department will achieve the compliance of timeframes through close monitoring, use of information technology services and strengthening of back-end processes, an I-T officer said.
It is revising the Citizens' Charter after a period of three years and the current exercise holds prominence as the new Direct Taxes Code (DTC) replacing the 1961 I-T Act will be in place next year bringing in a slew of new measures in the administration of income tax in the country.
MIDC plans to invite bids for its planned 1,000MW power plant project in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district. The corporation was earlier planning a power SEZ in this location, to ensure cheap power for the State
After initially announcing plans for developing a power special economic zone (SEZ), Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has now scaled down its Chandrapur power project to a plain vanilla 1,000MW power plant. Bids for the private development of this power plant are expected to be called for this month.
"All the required clearances are on the way. Now we are going ahead to tender it out to the private sector," said Dr K Shivaji, chief executive officer, MIDC. The plant which is situated at Bhadrawati in Chandrapur district would be given out to private developers on a public-private partnership. The bids are likely to be invited this month.
In 2006, MIDC had announced plans for setting up power SEZs. However, four years later, the government body has scrapped the power SEZ plan and is now developing the Chandrapur project as a simple power plant.
Power SEZs were first planned in order to produce cheap power in the State. A power SEZ would have allowed using duty fuel in producing power. In addition, the construction costs would have also reduced considerably as the material used for plant construction would have also been duty-free. "This will help us to generate power at a cheaper rate," Rajiv Jalota, former chief executive officer, MIDC, was quoted as saying in a media report in 2006.
At present, Maharashtra faces a peak power deficit of 24.4% or 4,724MW and an energy deficit of 21.5% or 2,609MW. While around 2,100MW of power has been added in the State during the 10th Five Year Plan, there has been no contribution from the private sector. Major cities in the State face issues like load-shedding for several hours, due to the acute power shortage.
This 1,000MW capacity to be added through the power SEZ would have been significant and economical for the State. As per Central Electricity Authority (CEA) data, the State's energy requirement is around 12,132MW out of which around 9,523MW is available.
Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) chairman VP Raja has also emphasised the need for power projects to fructify on time, to ensure better power supply in the State. "For the State to become power sufficient, there are enough projects on the table at present, but the original ground-level issues like land acquisitions are a concern. There are a lot of projects on the shelf, but how many of them fructify (is to be seen)," he had said in an interview with Moneylife.
The central bank said the main challenge it is currently facing is adopting a ‘calibrated exit’ from the unprecedented monetary accommodation
Concerned over the continuing inflationary pressures, a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report on Thursday said the primary objective of the monetary policy would be to ensure price stability, amid expectations that the central bank would raise short-term rates in its 27th July monetary review, reports PTI.
"Inflation pressure will remain", the RBI said in its Currency and Finance Report 2008-09, and pointing out that "important challenges for the monetary policy authorities would be (to) ensure financial stability, although price stability should continue as the primary objective of the policy."
The central bank said the main challenge it is currently facing is adopting a "calibrated exit" from the unprecedented monetary accommodation.
RBI's statement comes ahead of the monetary policy review, scheduled for 27th July, during which the central bank is expected to take steps to contain inflation, while ensuring adequate liquidity to the productive sectors of the economy.
After the deepening of the global financial crisis, RBI had cut its key rates to provide funds to the cash-strapped financial system. However, after the recovery, it started tightening policy to tame rising inflation since late last year.
The RBI had raised the key policy rates by 25 basis points each in March and April. It hiked the lending and borrowing rates (repo and reverse repo) to 5.25% and 3.75%, respectively. The cash reserve ratio or the amount of deposits banks have to park with RBI, was hiked to 6%.
The wholesale price-based inflation touched 10.16% in May. The food inflation, however, eased to 12.92% for the week ended 19th June from about 20% in December last year.
Even as food inflation eased substantially by nearly 4 percentage points during the week ended 19th June from over 16.90% a week ago, economists expect RBI to focus on taming inflation.
"Policy focus will remain on containing inflation. The Reserve Bank has to lean over demand pull inflation and it will have to constantly monitor demand," Yes Bank chief economist Shubhada Rao said.