FDI in retail: Still a distant dream

The organised retail segment has been clamouring for foreign direct investment, but the recent Budget has not been forthcoming on this front

The organised retail industry has been awaiting a governmental nod for foreign direct investment (FDI) to boost capital inflows. However, some industry experts point out that the recent budget does not clearly approve the same.

In his Budget speech, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had said that the government would address the issue of opening up of retail trade and will help to bring down the considerable difference between farm gate, wholesale and retail prices. The minister also mentioned that the ministry has developed schemes for setting up and operating of cold chains and storage facilities for the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

“This is certainly a step in the right direction.  However, it is still too early to say what it means for the sector as I would like to see the concrete measures that the government intends to take in this regard,” said Thomas Varghese, chief executive, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd.

Mr Varghese also pointed out, “The definition of service tax on rent has been widened to include services other than rent. The government has also retrospectively declared that no court cases can be maintained against levy of service tax on rent.”

The retail industry, which wanted to expand rapidly, will now have to go slow on expansion plans, as retailers now have to pay 10% service tax on rentals. In India, most retail space is rented as this has been a profitable model for the industry.

The finance minister’s speech also highlighted that the agricultural supply chain will see more foreign investment coming in. “My sense is that there will be foreign participation in the agricultural supply chain and possibly rules governing this will be rationalised to make it simpler and more attractive to invest and repatriate returns,” said Bijou Kurien, president and chief executive for lifestyle, Reliance Retail.

“We expected some roadmap at least for FDI, but it did not happen. We also expected an industry status to retail so that it is easy to bring in FDI. The service tax on rents is a big deterrent for the industry,” said Susil Dungarwal, founder and chief mall mechanic, Beyond Squarefeet.

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    Fraudsters want your card number, PIN and CVN to grant your I-T refund

    Last year in October, Moneylife had warned that the fraudulent emails in circulation at that time claiming to offer you a tax refund were only test mail and were bound to be refined in the future. Recent scam mails, with the I-T Dept image, the Indian national emblem and other details are proof of what we had predicted

    It seems that fraudsters are again on the online prowl for new targets. Only this time, they are asking for your bank name, card number, its expiration date, card verification number (CVN) and last but most important—your ATM PIN. Yes, it’s true—many people have received an email ostensibly from the Indian Income-Tax (I-T) Department, offering online refund on tax paid.

    In October 2009, Moneylife had reported on the new scam, taking place over the Internet (see here). Then, fraudsters wanted you to visit their website (fasterners.ru) probably to test their system! This time, they have come up with a novel idea to collect personal information by directly mimicking the I-T Department's website.

    The look of the fraudulent website is so similar to the original website of the I-T Department (incometaxindia.gov.in) that many people are likely to be fooled easily.

    This time, fraudsters are directly asking you to submit details like cardholder name, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, address, phone number and what’s stunning is your bank name, card number, expiration date, CVN and ATM PIN! Your card number (16 digits), CVN (three digits) and ATM PIN (four digits) are most essential for any transaction and with you readily (!) offering this info to fraudsters, they can easily make you penniless within minutes.

    I tried checking the fake website used by these fraudsters ( and according to Whois.com, the Internet protocol (IP) address belongs to Reseaux IP Europeens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC), PO Box 10096, Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Last time it was from Russia.

    RIPE NCC, in a mail to Moneylife, said according to its database the IP address mentioned above is registered to a local Internet registry (LIR). RIPE NCC as a Regional Internet Registry (RIR) allocates IP addresses to its members based on need. LIRs then further assign address space to their customers. “The RIPE NCC has no legal control over the activities of an LIR or their customers. The RIPE NCC does audit its members but only with regards to their compliance with RIPE policies,” the e-mail from Lucie Smith, senior client manager, Racepoint Group UK said.

    The fraudsters, who want to return your IT refund however, seem to have fallen in love with the figure. They still love to use 820.50 Rupees instead of Rs or rupees 820.50. In addition, the addressing remains poor. The fraudsters this time have used "Dear applicant", while our own I-T Department uses "Dear Taxpayer" and not “applicant”.

    The email reads, "After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 820.50 Rupees. Bank account holders at the Bank of India will receive the money within 12 hours after filling the form to access your tax refund. Please complete the form attached to this email."

    Last time we had warned that with the Indian I-T Department encouraging taxpayers to file their returns online, email fraud is bound to proliferate and trap the gullible. On their part, the I-T Department issued a release asking taxpayers not to give personal details like PAN card number and information about their credit/debit cards over the Internet.

    If you receive such mails, do not pay any heed and simply mark them as "spam" and press delete.

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    Udit C

    1 decade ago

    What is worrying that despite the obviously fake e-mail IDs displayed, the refund amount tallies, to the paisa, with a demand amount paid.

    NASA radar on Chandrayaan-I detects ice deposits on moon

    Scientists have detected more than 40 ice-filled craters in the moon's North Pole using data from a NASA radar that flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-I

    Scientists have detected more than 40 ice-filled craters in the moon's North Pole using data from a NASA radar that flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-I, reports PTI.

    NASA's Mini-SAR instrument—a lightweight, synthetic aperture radar, found more than 40 small craters with ice. The craters range in size from 2km to 15km in diameter.

    The finding would give future missions a new target to further explore and exploit, a NASA statement said, adding that it is estimated that there could be at least 600 million metric tonnes of water ice in the craters.

    "The emerging picture from the multiple measurements and resulting data of the instruments on lunar missions indicates that water creation, migration, deposition and retention are occurring on the moon," Paul Spudis, principal investigator of the Mini-SAR experiment at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, said yesterday.

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    1 decade ago

    It is a really good information and make every Indian feel proud of Indian scientists achievements.

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