Business & Economy Current Affairs 2017

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Parliament passes The Employees Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The Parliament has passed The Employees Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill amends the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923.

It ensures compensation up to Rs 1 lakh to employee if an injured in an industrial accident and imposes hefty penalty in case of any violation by the employers.

Salient features of the Bill
  • Mandatory for employers to inform the employee of his right to compensation under the Act. Such information must be given in writing at the time of employing him.
  • Employer will be penalised if he fails to inform his employee of his right to compensation. Such penalty may be between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Raises amount in dispute related to compensation, distribution of compensation, award of penalty or interest, etc to Rs. 10, 000. It permits the central government to further raise this amount.
  • Provision of withholding payments pending appeal if an employer has appealed against a Commissioner’s order has been deleted.
The Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923
  • It provides payment of compensation to employees and their dependants in the case of injury by industrial accidents, including occupational diseases.
  • It provides that any dispute related to an employee’s compensation will be heard by a Commissioner (with powers of a civil court).
  • Under it, appeals from the Commissioner’s order, related to a substantial question of law, will lie before the High Court only if amount in dispute is at least Rs. 300.

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Cabinet approves of proposal to establish a Fund of Fund for Start-ups

The Union Cabinet has approved proposals to tweak Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS) rules to enable greater flow of resources. FFS was established in June 2016 with a corpus of Rs. 1,000 crores.

The proposals approved are
  • Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs) supported by FFS shall invest at least twice the amount of contribution received from FFS in Start-ups.
  • Further, if the amount committed for a Start-up in whole has not been released before a Start-up ceases to be so, the balance funding can continue thereafter.
  • The operating expenses for carrying out due diligence, legal and technical appraisal, convening meeting of Venture Capital Investment Committee, etc. will be met out of the FFS.
  • These expenses will be to an extent of 0.50% of the commitments made to AIFs and outstanding. This will be debited to the fund at the beginning of each half year i.e. April 1 and October 1.
Background
  • The Union Cabinet in June 2016 had approved the proposal to establish a Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) with a total corpus of Rs.10000 crore.
  • It was approved with contribution spread over the 14th & 15th Finance Commission (FC) cycles based on progress of implementation and availability of funds.
  • It was decided that the FFS shall contribute to the corpus of AIFs for investing in equity and equity linked instruments of various start-ups at early stage, seed stage and growth stages.
  • The FFS is being managed and operated by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). It contributes to SEBI registered AIFs that may go up to maximum of 35% of the corpus of the AIF concerned.

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Union Cabinet approves amendments to Customs and Excise Act to facilitate GST Regime

The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the Customs and Excise Acts related to abolition of cesses and surcharges on various goods and services to facilitate implementation of GST Regime

Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. It has approved the following proposals:

  • Amendment to Customs Act, 1962;
  • Amendment to Central Excise Act, 1944.
  • Amendments to Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
  • Repeal of Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 and
  • Amendment/repeal of the provisions relating to Acts under which cesses are levied.
Comment
  • The amendments in Customs Act, 1962 will allow furnishing of information relating to import or export of goods by specified persons to enable analysis and detection of cases of under or over-valuation in imports and exports.
  • It also aims to check misuse of export promotion schemes, including Drawback Scheme and violations of provisions of Customs Act and various other laws which Customs officials have been authorised to implement.
  • The amendments or repealing of various provisions of other Acts which in the GST regime will result in cleansing of the irrelevant portions from the Statute Book and reduce multiplicity of taxes.

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