Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Public Finance

Public Finance

External debt: $297.5 (December-2010) 12th plan target: 9 − 9.5%

GST Bill tabled in Lok Sabha

  • The Centre introduced a Constitution Amendment (One Hundred and Fifteenth Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha to facilitate implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a tax regime that would subsume levies such as excise, service tax and sales tax.

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution with a view to conferring simultaneous powers on the Centre and the States to levy taxes on goods and services.

  • It will also subsume State VAT/sales tax, entertainment tax (unless levied by the local bodies), luxury tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling as also tax on advertisements, cesses and surcharges levied by States.

  • However, crude petroleum, diesel, petrol, aviation turbine fuel, natural gas and alcohol for human consumption have been kept out of the GST ambit. GST Council

  • The Bill provides for creation of a GST Council to be headed by Union Finance Minister. The council will be empowered to recommend tax rates and exemption and threshold limits for goods and services.

  • GST Dispute Settlement Authority:

  • The Bill proposes a GST Dispute Settlement Authority to deal with grievances of the Centre and the States with regard to GST.

  • The chairperson of the authority will be a retired judge of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of a High Court, who would be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of India. The GST, considered to be a major tax reform, has been pending for the last four years due to disagreement between the Centre and some States over the structure of the new tax regime.

Tax Exemption under section for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

The Union Cabinet approved the proposal of Ministry of Finance for exempting ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 from income tax under section 10 (39) of the Income Tax Act 1961 in respect of income which is arising in the India from the ICC World Cup, 2011 to the subsidiaries of the ICC, only where the contractual obligation to bear the income-tax liability is on these entities.

The financial implication will be Rs. 45 crore approximately.

In 2005, the Cabinet has approved a proposal to amend the Income Tax Act, 1961 to give an exemption to the income of both residents and non-residents arising from an international sporting event conducted in India.

Consequently, exemption from income tax was granted to ICC for the ICC Championship Trophy 2006.

Creation of seven posts of Indirect Tax Ombudsman

The Union Cabinet approved creation of seven posts of Indirect Tax Ombudsman to be located at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.

The Indirect Tax Ombudsman Guidelines, 2011 has also been approved.

The Indirect Tax Ombudsman shall have powers to receive complaints from tax payers on indirect tax matters and consider such complaints and facilitate their satisfaction or settlement by agreement through conciliation and mediation between the Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax department and the aggrieved parties or by passing an ‘Award’ in accordance with the Guidelines.

It is expected that this will result in making the grievance redressal mechanism in the Customs, Central Excise and the Service Taxes offices under the CBEC more effective and transparent.

Extension of Indian Development and Economic Assistance (IDEA) Scheme

The CCEA has approved the operating and extending Indian Development and Economic Assistance (IDEA) Scheme during the period 2010 − 11 to 2014 − 15 for both African and non-African countries. Under the IDEA scheme, Government supported Export and Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) Lines of Credit (LoCs) are made available to developing countries for support of developmental and other projects as recommended by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Background

The IDEA Scheme initially known as the India Development Initiative had its genesis in the announcement made by Finance Minister in the Union Budget for 2003 − 04, as an initiative for providing grants or project assistance to developing countries in the Africa, South Asia and other parts of the developing world and with a view to also leverage and promote our strategic economic interests abroad.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India