Taxation
Shah panel on MAT set up
The government on Wednesday constituted the three-member A.P.Shah Committee that will look into controversial minimum alternate tax (MAT) demand on foreign companies, it was announced here.
 
The panel also comprises former chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri and renowned chartered accountant Girish Ahuja. Its term is one year.
 
The finance ministry in a statement here also said other tax issues would be referred to the three-member committee in due course.
 
The Income Tax department had sent notices to 68 foreign institutional investors (FIIs) demanding Rs 602.83 crore as MAT dues of previous years, with FIIs, in turn, moving the higher court challenging the demand.
 
The Shah committee will examine MAT notices for the period before April 1, 2015, and it has been requested to "give its recommendations expeditiously".
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget 2015-16 had exempted FIIs from paying MAT with effect from April. He has announced setting up of the Shah Committee earlier this month.
 
"The committee may interact with various stakeholders as it may deem fit. The committee may also invite officers from department of revenue including CBDT for consultations/discussions as may be necessary," it added.
 
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) earlier this month said it will not issue any new demands for payments, and will take no coercive action to pursue claims that have already been filed under the controversial MAT.
 
Even after Jaitley's announcement exempting FIIs from paying MAT on the capital gains earned by them, the income tax department sent notice to at least 90 foreign portfolio investors (FPIs).
 
With the uncertainty created by MAT, foreign investors sold around $630 million in Indian shares and bonds on May 6, marking the biggest single-day sales since January 2014.

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Chinese firm interested in Mumbai Trans Harbour Link
Chinese infrastructure major, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has expressed interest in constructing the much-awaited Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Wednesday.
 
The CCCC has also come up with financing options for the project, pending implementation since nearly 15 years, he said.
 
The discussions and subsequent developments took place during Fadnavis' recent visit to China as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's delegation.
 
Addressing media persons to mark the completition of the BJP-Shiv Sena government's six months in office, at a media meet organised by Mantralaya & Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh he said the CCCC is a state-owned entity of China.
 
"As part of the province-to-province ties between the two countries, an idea of the PM, Maharashtra state and Shandong region of China are considering various things, and this (MTHL) is one of them," he said.
 
Noting that CCCC is involved in urban transport projects, bridges, power and other infrastructure requirements, Fadnavis said his talks also veered to getting Chinese concessional funds to finance the MTHL.
 
The 22-km long MTHL, including 16.5 km over the Arabian Sea, is envisaged as a cable-stayed eight-lane bridge, with the possibility of a railway line being added, to connect Mumbai island with the mainland.
 
Two other bridges of this type are 36-km long Hangzhou Bay Bridge in China and the 26-km long King Fahd Causeway in Saudi Arabia.
 
The MTHL would have interchanges at Sewri in Mumbai and Chirle in Navi Mumbai, helping boost development on the mainland in Thane and Raigad.
 
It will ensure high speed connectivity to the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport and offer a quick link to Pune, Konkan and Goa, entailing huge savings in fuel and time.

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Bachchan family invests $71 mn in Singapore firm
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan and his family have invested around $71 million in Singapore-based file sharing portal Ziddu.com, a company official said on Wednesday.
 
"I am very happy and excited that Amitabh Bachchan has reposed confidence and trust on Ziddu.com," company founder Venkata Srinivas Meenavalli said in a statement.
 
The portal is owned by Meridian Tech Pvt Limited which offers free cloud storage besides operating in the e-distribution and micro payment platform.
 
Based on Google Analytics data, the company says it has generated 1.2 billion page views with more than 300 million visitors per month from 225 countries.

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