Citizens' Issues
Services spared from extra tax during GST transition
The government on Tuesday said that the services sector will not be charged extra tax levied during the transitional period of the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).
 
According to Rashmi Varma, special secretary, revenue, in the finance ministry, the one percent additional tax which is proposed to be levied during the transitional period of GST for two years will not impact services sector.
 
Verma, who was addressing the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) Big Picture summit held here, elaborated that the additional levy will only be charged on the manufacturing sector. 
 
The special secretary assured the media and entertainment (M&E) industry that the soon-to-be-implemented GST will be a game changer for the sector.
 
“Multiplicity of tax will go in one stroke. Entertainment, services and goods tax both at the Centre and states will be built into one -- making compliance hassle free.”
 
However, the entertainment tax levied by local authorities like panchayats and municipalities will remain, she clarified. 
 
"But, the share of such taxes to the total tax collected would be insignificant. Close to 99 percent of the taxes levied under the Centre and state dispensation would be merged with GST," Verma said.
 
She assured the industry that under the GST regime, goods and services would be taxed uniformly.
 
The industry had voiced concerns over the lack of definitional clarity between goods and services, tangible and intangible goods. 
 
Verma said all industries would be eligible to take credit under GST to set off against other tax liabilities. 
 
“We are working on the transition roadmap, so that the change-over hiccups will be minimal and if there are any concerns remaining, the GST Council, which will be set up after the constitutional amendment, will look into it and take corrective actions,” she said.
 
Besides the ongoing process, the top finance ministry official mentioned that a fourth draft proposal on returns will be put in public domain to seek the views of all stakeholders.
 
The ministry plans to place a model legislation in public domain by mid-November. It also plans to hold regional workshops to elicit the views of the industry associations at the apex and state levels. 
 
Verma said there would not be any concessions or incentives schemes under the GST regime. 
 
"The states which want to continue with the fiscal concessions for specified sectors could do so, setting apart resources from their own kitty," she said.
 
She added that no final decision has been taken on GST rate.
 
"The slabs under the GST would be minimal - one low and the other high and in between a standard slab - to keep the cascading effect to the minimal and easy to comply." 
 
“It is not in the sinful list, I can assure you that," Verma added 
 
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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India ranks low in WHO's global road safety rankings
The data on road crashes in the country is highly fragmented, barring states of Punjab and Tamil Nadu which have a good Road Accident Data Management System.
 
Yet, India stands out miserably in the latest World Health Organisation's (WHO) "Global Road Safety Report-2015" with an estimated 2,07,551 deaths on roads.
 
In 2014, India reported 137,572 deaths, since accidental deaths are clubbed with suicides, totalling to 141,526 deaths, said SafeLife Foundation, an NGO that analysed the India-specific findings of the WHO report.
 
Over 1.20 million people perish on the world's roads annually, making it a leading cause of deaths, especially in low and middle-income countries and entailing a loss of almost three percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to their economies.
 
While the number of road traffic fatalities have remained nearly constant, given a four percent increase in global population and 16 percent increase in motorisation, road safety efforts in the past three years have saved human lives.
 
But in India, there has been a continuous rise in road accident deaths since 2007 -- with a brief annual decline in 2012. The 2014 data stood at 141,526, marking a three percent increase over 2013.
 
Road deaths in low and middle-income countries are more than double of those in developed countries.
 
The noteworthy aspect is that 90 percent of the road deaths occurred in the underdeveloped or developing countries, housing 84 percent of the global population but having only 54 percent of the world's vehicles.
 
In the same context, of the 68 countries which saw a rise in road traffic deaths since 2010, 84 percent are in the low and middle-income group countries.
 
Similarly, 79 countries reporting a decline in road traffic deaths include 56 percent which are in the low and middle-income group countries -- making it clear that the risk of dying in road accident remains highest in the underdeveloped/developing nations.
 
Almost half of all the road accident deaths are among the vulnerable users -- two-wheeler, cycles or pedestrians, with WHO recommending more attention to be paid to the needs of the pedestrians and cyclists.
 
India has no laws protecting these (pedestrians/cyclists) who account for more than one-third of all road accident deaths in the country.
 
The WHO estimates that half a million lives could be saved each year in developing countries by creating an efficient emergency system to tackle road accident casualties.
 
While India boasts of a multiple access numbers for emergencies, only a few are reliable, compared to 116 countries that have a universal access number to activate emergency services response.
 
Moreover, after a road crash in developing countries like India, the local community leaders, police or drivers, if trained in basic injury care and coordination of transporting the victims to a hospital can fulfil the role of saviours in the absence absence of professional experts or medicos.
 
The SaveLife Foundation's Chief Executive Officer Piyush Tewari also endorsed WHO recommendation that health-care staff must be trained in emergency care and there is no legislation ensuring efficient emergency care and protection to bystanders rendering help to the victims.
 
Added to this is the lack of robust data on road traffic fatalities in most countries, though many submit vital registration date to the WHO on all causes of deaths, including many which now use hospital data as the basis for their figures.
 
The WHO feels that coordination of road safety efforts across multiple sectors and stakeholders is critical for success and currently 167 countries, compared to 162 in 2010, have an agency that leads the initiative.
 
India has no lead agency to effectively execute road safety strategies despite most states having their own Road Safety Policies.
 
Regarding legislation and road user behaviour, 17 countries have laws relating to one or more of five key behavioural risk factors, representing 409 million or 5.7 percent of the world population.
 
These are -- speed limits, use of motorcycle helmets, using seat belts, reducing drunken driving and child restraint use in which India meets the WHO criteria only pertaining to seat belts usage.
 
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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Now, defence personnel can collect i-ticket across India
Defence personnel can now collect their railway i-tickets booked on the Defence Travel System from any computerised passenger reservation system counter across India.
 
Earlier, it could only be collected from the counters of the journey originating station.
 
The Indian Railways have also issued a format of receipt to be given by the defence personnel while collecting the ticket which specifies inter alia details such as PNR Number and "Transaction ID" on the Defence Travel System (DTS).
 
With a view to phase out the Defence Warrant System, railways commenced operations of DTS on its e-ticketing portal of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) in 2009.
 
It has also mitigated certain other problems encountered in booking i-tickets for the defence personnel through facilities like auto cancellation of fully waitlisted e-tickets, allowing booking of tickets on DTS during the first 30 minutes of opening of reservation which is disallowed for all other ticketing agents.
 
The i-ticket can be collected from any such counter by the defence personnel upon showing one of the ten prescribed proofs of identity allowed for undertaking the journey. 
 
In case some other person collects the tickets on behalf of the defence personnel, then the person has to produce any of the ten prescribed proofs of identity in original along with photocopy of the ticket-holding defence personnel.

 

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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