Economy
Parliament panel for enquiry into abuses in export units scheme
New Delhi : Parliament's Public Accounts Committee has voiced serious concern over irregularities and widespread misuse of the 100 percent export oriented units (EOUs) scheme and has called for a detailed inquiry into the "rampant abuses".
 
"They (PAC) accordingly recommend that a high-powered independent inquiry should be ordered in the light of the facts contained in this report with a view to find out the unscrupulous elements responsible for the rampant abuse of the scheme and also to fix responsibility of the officers for the various acts of omissions and commissions," Public Accounts Committee said its report presented in parliament earlier this week.
 
Keeping in view the "grave nature of the irregularities, the large scale misuse" and also taking into account the "enormous amount of revenue foregone", the committee said it is convinced that there is a need for undertaking a detailed inquiry into the manner of operation of this scheme.
 
Noting that the total number of EOUs have come down to 2,608 in 2013-14 from 3,109 in 2009-10, the PAC also suggested that the departments of commerce and revenue should conduct a comparative study of the benefits accrued to special economic zone (SEZ) units vis-a-vis EOUs to find out the reasons for shifting of EOUs to the SEZ sector.
 
Though duty foregone on the scheme remained static in 2012-13 and 2013-14 at Rs.5,800 crore, exports from these units dropped by 11 percent in 2013-14 from the previous financial year.
 
"Development commissioner, Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ) Mumbai said the major factors responsible for poor growth of exports from EOUs were withdrawal of income tax benefit under section 10B of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (with effect from April 1, 2011) decreasing profit margins on export products, more attractive schemes like SEZ, where similar export benefits are available to the domestic unit without any domestic sales limitation," the report said.
 
It called for a suitable strategy to attract EOUs into the scheme and "all necessary steps should be taken to remove the impediments in their successful operations".
 
The committee also that government had foregone significant customs and central excise duties at Rs.32,932 crore during 2009-10 to 2013-14 on EOUs, the Electronics Hardware Technology Park and Software Technology Park schemes.
 
"No serious attempt has been ever made by the ministry concerned to evaluate the impact of concessions, incentives extended to EOUs from time to time," it said.
 
It also noted irregular domestic tariff area sales in 48 cases by EOUs under the development commissioners of Mumbai, Cochin, Noida, Kandla and Falta.
 
Further, its scrutiny of records revealed that 10 EOUs were allowed to exit from the scheme by allowing "incorrect rate of duty" on finished goods and "incorrect depreciation allowed on capital goods".
 
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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Non-subsidised LPG, non-PDS kerosene, jet fuel rates hiked
New Delhi : State-run oil marketers on Sunday hiked prices of non-subsidised cooking gas, non-PDS (public distribution system) kerosene and aviation turbine fuel (ATF), following their increasing petrol and diesel prices late on Saturday night.
 
The price of non-PDS kerosene has been increased by nearly Rs.3 per litre. It now costs or Rs.49.10 a litre in Delhi as against Rs 46.17 earlier.
 
The price of non-subsidised cooking gas, which consumers buy after exhausting their quota of 12 cylinders per year, has been raised by Rs.18 per 14.2-kg cylinder. It now costs Rs.527.50 in Delhi as against Rs 509.50 previously.
 
The hike comes after three straight monthly reductions. Prices were last cut by Rs.4 on April 1.
 
Rates vary according to different local levies.
 
The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), or jet fuel, was also increased by 1.5 percent.
 
ATF price in Delhi was hiked by Rs.627 per kilolitre, or 1.48 percent, to Rs.42,784.01 per kl. It follows a much steeper hike of 8.7 percent, or by Rs.3,371.55 per kl on April 1.
 
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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Mumbai Hotel Industry hit by water crisis
Appeals to the Maharashtra Chief Minister to resolve the water supply crisis
 
The hotel industry in Mumbai heavily relies on the water supplied by private tankers, in addition to what it gets from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. On average, hotels in Mumbai required 50-60 tankers each day to meet its operational needs. However, the Mumbai Water Tankers Association is has now gone on an indefinite strike. As a result, hotel operations throughout the city have been severely affected. Hotels, dependent on tankers, have not received any water supply through tankers for over 24 hours. This is affecting many critical areas, according to industry sources:
 
Fire Safety: Hotels are forced to use the water stored in our fire water tanks to meet operational requirements.
 
Hygiene & Sanitation: Water supply is now restricted for toilet flushing, showers, washbasins, laundry and kitchen usage.
 
Food preparation: Restaurants are being shut down in order to conserve water used in kitchens.
 
Guest facilities: Swimming pools and fitness facilities in hotels have been closed due to lack of water.
 
The industry argues that guests in Mumbai are global citizens and investors with business dealings. Besides, hotels are also committed to hosting many important events and conferences over the next few weeks. The current lack of water supply will cripple the operations. It remains to be seen whether this is high enough in the priority of the state administration given how bad the drought situation is across the state 

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