RBI asks banks to issue CTS 2010 standard cheques from 1st April

The new cheque standard ‘CTS 2010’ with set of minimum security features would ensure uniformity across all cheque forms issued by banks in the country and also help presenting banks while scrutinising and recognising cheques of drawee banks in an image-based processing scenario, RBI said in a notification

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday  directed all banks to issue cheques conforming to Cheque Truncation System (CTS) 2010 standard with uniform features from 1 April 2012 onwards, reports PTI.

The new cheque standard ‘CTS 2010’ with set of minimum security features would ensure uniformity across all cheque forms issued by banks in the country and also help presenting banks while scrutinising and recognising cheques of drawee banks in an image-based processing scenario, RBI said in a notification.

The homogeneity in security features is expected to act as a deterrent against cheque frauds, while the standardisation of field placements on cheque forms would enable straight-through-processing both under CTS and MICR clearing, it said.

It has been decided to prescribe a cut-off date for implement the—CTS-2010 standards—across the country, it said.

All banks providing cheque facility to their customers, are, therefore, advised to issue only ‘CTS-2010’ standard cheques not later than 1 April 2012 on priority basis in northern and southern region which will be part of the northern and southern CTS grids respectively and across the country by 30 September 2012 through a time bound action plan, it said.

The introduction of new cheque standards ‘CTS 2010’ was warranted on account of several developments in the cheque clearing namely growing use of multi-city and payable-at-par cheques at any branch of a bank, increasing popularity of Speed Clearing for local processing of outstation cheques and implementation of grid based CTS for image-based cheque processing etc, it said.

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Import of sensitive items up 40% in Apr-Sept period

Import of sensitive items shot up 39.9% to Rs48,274 crore in the April-September period of this fiscal, from Rs34,516 crore in the year-ago period, mainly due to a huge jump in imports of edible oil, fruits and vegetables

New Delhi: Led by edible oils, import of sensitive items shot up 39.9% to Rs48,274 crore in the April-September period of this fiscal, reports PTI.

India’s imports of sensitive items stood at Rs34,516 crore in the year-ago period. In particular, edible oil, fruits and vegetables registered a huge jump in imports.

Imports of edible oils rose by 63.5% to Rs21,852.77 crore in April-September 2011, from Rs13,367.32 crore in the year-ago period. India is the world’s largest importer of edible oils and one of the largest consumers, a senior commerce ministry official said.

“The increase in edible oil import is mainly due to substantial increase in import of crude palm oil and its fractions,” the official added.

The sensitive items are those which impact farmers and small-scale industries and increase in their imports can hurt these sectors.

Import of fruits and vegetables went up 85.5% to Rs5,075.71 crore, from Rs2,736.79 crore in April-September 2010.

Food inflation stood at 10.60% for the week ending 8th October on the back of costlier vegetables, fruits, milk and protein-based items. The rate of price rise of food items has, however, fallen sharply since then.

Vegetables had become 17.59% more expensive year-on-year during the week ended 8th October. Fruits grew dearer by 12.39% on an annual basis.

During the first half of the current fiscal, imports of items such as alcoholic beverages and spices also increased by 40.7% and 66.5%, respectively.

Imports of products of small-scale industries such as umbrellas, locks, toys and glassware too went up by 46.3% to Rs1,058.31 crore, compared to the year-ago period.

Automobile imports jumped by 92% in April- September, to Rs1,926.46 crore from Rs1,003.62 crore in the same period last year.

However, imports of foodgrain, milk and milk products and pulses contracted by 94.3%, 22.1%, and 0.8%, respectively. India is a net importer of pulses.

Milk and dairy product imports declined to Rs354.74 crore during the period under review.

The official did not comment on the reason behind the contraction.

Import of sensitive items accounted for 4.6% of the country’s total imports during the period.

Gross imports of all commodities in April-September 2011, stood at Rs10,55,339 crore from Rs8,11,773 crore in the same period last year.

Sensitive-items import from Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Germany, the US, Canada, Japan, Thailand and the UK have gone up, while those from Myanmar and Australia have fallen.

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CBDT panel for amnesty scheme to bring back black money

The committee on black money, headed by the CBDT chairman, which met last week, considered among other suggestions, an Offshore Voluntary Compliance scheme on the lines of the one operated by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States

New Delhi: The government may announce an amnesty scheme for citizens having unaccounted wealth abroad and also permit taxmen to dig into income tax filings of past 16 years of suspected assesses, based on the suggestions made by a high-powered panel, reports PTI.

The committee on black money, headed by the CBDT chairman, which met last week, considered among other suggestions, an Offshore Voluntary Compliance scheme on the lines of the one operated by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States.

“We have suggested that an Offshore Voluntary Compliance scheme be brought in like in the US, whereby a person declares money kept in foreign accounts and pays the penalty on it, after which the money can be brought back into the country,” a top finance ministry official told PTI.

“We have also recommended increasing the review period of re-opening tax assessments to 16 years from six years now, but that may be only for money stashed abroad,” the official said.

Besides, the committee, which is slated to submit its report to the finance minister by 31January 2012, could also recommend changes in current laws to curb generation of black money within the country.

“A lot of black money is generated out of activities under the state’s control, like illegal mining, land deals, building construction, and in awarding contracts. We will suggest some changes in current law to tackle this menace,” the official said.

Under the Offshore Voluntary Compliance scheme, eligible taxpayers in the US who step forward do not face civil fraud and information return penalties. However, they still have to pay back taxes, interest and certain accuracy or delinquency penalties.

They can also escape criminal prosecution based on application of the revised voluntary disclosure practice.

Under the scheme in the US, eligible taxpayers have to file or amend their returns and pay interest and certain civil penalties, as well as the tax.

The interest and penalties depend on the amount of the unpaid tax liability, the years involved, whether a return was inaccurate or if a return should have been filed and was not.

Apart from the US, countries including the UK, Germany, France, Greece, Italy and Portugal also have similar voluntary disclosure schemes.

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