Tax: Income Tax Department Issues Detailed Circular To Address Tax Grievances
The I-T department has put in place a detailed framework for ‘verification and correction’ of the outstanding tax demand while rectifying the inaccuracies arising due to delayed or non-reporting of TDS (tax deduct at source).
 
The circular explains the various steps taxpayers need to take to view and submit their responses with regard to their outstanding tax demand. Taxpayers may view their outstanding tax demand on their e-filing account at incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in

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How goats, chicken have lifted households out of poverty
Apart from India, the graduation model was tested in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Pakistan and Peru by researchers from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, US
 
Some interventions in day-to-day living have led to a 15 percent increase in assets, 26 percent growth in consumption and 96 percent rise in savings among the ultra-poor, or those with no assets, in India, according to a new six-country study that followed the lives of 21,000 of the world's poorest people.
 
Examples: A chicken, goat or a similar productive asset. Goods such as betel leaves and vegetables for a small shop. Training on using such assets. Money to reduce incentives to sell assets in an emergency. Frequent personal mentoring or coaching. Health education. Savings services for between 18 and 24 months.
 
These interventions follow what is called the "graduation model", a programme that endeavours to help the poorest people upward and out of poverty, and could have seminal implications for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, as it attempts to move from costlier, broad subsidies to clearly-targeted interventions.
 
Apart from India, the graduation model was tested in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Pakistan and Peru by researchers from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, US.
 
“The programme’s approach differs from that of micro-credit or self-help groups as households are not required to repay the asset cost. Further, the training and intensive hand-holding helps beneficiaries fully benefit from their chosen self-employment activities,” according to economist Abhijit Banerjee, J-PAL founder, and one of the researchers.
 
Micro-credit programmes tend to serve those just below, or even above, the poverty line, typically excluding the poorest. In India, it has meant a 433 percent return on investment
 
The J-PAL research in India was carried out in West Bengal by Bandhan-Konnagar, the not-for-profit arm of Bandhan Financial Services and offered a 433 percent return on investment.
 
“We gave [a] stipend for a year and provided support for 18-24 months. The per beneficiary cost worked out to Rs 20,000-25,000, with 70 percent spent on the asset and stipend, 10 percent on training and 20 percent on managing and monitoring the project for two years,” said Shekhar Ghosh, chairman of Bandhan Financial Services.
 
Those in the programme group had significantly more assets and savings, spent more time working, went hungry on fewer days and experienced lower levels of stress and improved physical health, said Ghosh.
 
Across the six countries, researchers tracked 10,495 households to test the graduation approach. Researchers used a “randomised controlled-trial methodology”, in which they tracked people invited to participate in the two-year programme and a similar group that was not, and compared how their lives changed up to a year after the programme ended.
 
The researchers found that the beneficiaries, after the third year, had significantly more assets and savings, spent more time working, went hungry on fewer days and experienced lower levels of stress and improved physical health.
 
Vast anti-poverty apparatus have given a miss to India’s excluded people. The cuntry has almost 216 million people, or 43 million households, with no assets, as IndiaSpend has reported. Of those with zero assets, nearly 80 million people-the population of Germany-or 16 million households are Adivasis.
 
The government runs various social-security programmes. Some are employment-led, such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which promises 100 days of work per person annually, and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) which trains rural youth to be self-employed. Others, such as the food-security mission, promise rice and wheat at subsidised prices and offer support in kind and cash, such as old-age pensions.
 
There has been a 125 percent rise in funding, from Rs.47,014 crore in 2013-14 to Rs.1,06,115 crore in 2015-16. This vast anti-poverty apparatus-one of the world’s most extensive-barely addresses the needs of the asset-less class of Indians.
 
As IndiaSpend reported previously, schemes like the NRLM are struggling in areas with a significant rural population because self-help groups were not being formed or could not be formed.
 
Spending on trainers, healthcare similar to job funding
 
The J-PAL study found that the money spent over two years on each beneficiary-including spending on trainers and healthcare-was around Rs 20,000; roughly what the government would spend if the beneficiaries received 58 days of employment a year.
 
The study results prompted NGO partner Bandhan to scale-up the programme to 32,280 families in six states: West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh. The programme is also being scaled up in 20 other countries.

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Are reverse osmosis filter systems a threat to public health?
Experts suggest that regulations are needed to stop the unchecked use of RO, or at least the disposal of the stuff left behind after filtering
 
The reverse-osmosis water purifier at home seems to be a benign invention, allowing people to drink clean, healthy water. But now scientists are warning that rampant use of the RO technology could pose a serious threat to public health.
 
One of the most popular water purifying technologies in India, the RO process is efficient in terms of filtering out toxic substances like arsenic and fluoride, especially in areas where groundwater is heavily contaminated.
 
Simultaneously, though, RO systems, at both household and industrial levels plough back concentrated amounts of these substances back into the aquifers.
 
Experts suggest that regulations are needed to stop the unchecked use of RO, or at least the disposal of the stuff left behind after filtering.
 
"What we found with our survey is that industrial firms, like bottled-water ones, and households have no way out but to put it back into the soil and aquifers," said Saradindu Bhaduri, Assistant Professor, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
 
The arsenic and fluoride-laden waste water generated by RO systems could have "adverse consequences" for human and animal health after it is dumped back into the groundwater aquifers, he told IANS. This could affect the population in the surrounding area which is dependent on this water source.
 
"The waste water contains high amount of total dissolved salts like sulphates, calcium, bicarbonates and organic matter and higher concentration of arsenic and fluoride in areas where originally these elements were reported in ground water," co-author of the study, Aviram Sharma of the JNU, said.
 
Published on April 25 in Current Science, the survey report titled 'Growth of water purification technologies in the era of regulatory vacuum in India' also questions the absence of proper methods to dispose of the contaminated waste water.
 
The research shows that bottled water firms of all sizes and classes, ranging from major multinationals to the vast majority of India's 2,700 small proprietory firms, use RO-based water purification technologies in their manufacturing plants.
 
The USP of RO-based system is that it can produce higher amount of filtered water with less supervision in comparison to methods like ion-exchange, explained Sharma.
 
However, there is a drawback. During industrial use, waste water amounts to between 30 and 40 percent of the total water used. At the household level too there is a huge wastage.
 
This can have a "disastrous impact" in water-starved areas due to over extraction of ground water, which is a major source of fresh water in most of the regions in India, said Sharma.
 
Originally invented to make seawater potable, RO technology is being used in India without regulation.
 
Most of the countries where the technology is used extensively, the feed water is primarily sea water or brackish water, according to the researchers.
 
Namit Bajoria, Director, Kutchina, which entered into the water purifier market with an RO-based system, conceded that wastage was a concern.
 
"It is like an equal and opposite reaction. 100 litres of water will give only 10 to 12 litres of pure water. So wastage is a big problem. But I don't agree that it can cause harm to the groundwater. You are taking from it and giving it back," Bajoria said.
 
Bhaduri, however, says that "We have regulations for water quality but we don't have regulations for the application of these processes."
 
He also said that more epidemiological studies were needed so that customers can make an informed choice.

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COMMENTS

Veeresh Malik

2 years ago

RO water has been used on ships for decades now, and is then taken out for 3 main purposes -

1) boilers
2) jacket cooling

(in both these cases the pure distillate H2O obtained is used as otherwise there would be heavy scaling)

3) Drinking water-in this case, the water is first passed through a charcoal bed filter and then the required minerals and salts to make the water potable and fit for human consumption are added back.

RO water by itself is not considered to be potable and is not fit for drinking purposes.

Specifications for "drinking water" are found here and insist on re-mineralisation of RO water.

http://www.bis.org.in/qazwsx/cmd/water_m...

REPLY

Anand Vaidya

In Reply to Veeresh Malik 2 years ago

Thanks for the BIS link

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