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Recommendations of RV Easwar Committee on simplification of the provisions of IT Act, 1961

Expert Committee to simplify income tax laws headed by Justice (retired) R.V. Easwar has submitted its report to Union Finance Ministry.

The 10 member committee has recommended simplifying provisions related to tax deduction at source (TDS), tax refunds and claims of expenditure for deduction from taxable income.

It also has suggested several taxpayer-friendly measures to improve the ease of doing business in the country, accelerate process of tax dispute resolutions and reduce litigation.

Key recommendations are

  • Deferring the contentious Income Computation and Disclosure Standards (ICDS) provisions and making the process of tax refunds faster.
  • Deletion of a clause in IT Act, 1961 that allows the IT department to delay tax refund due beyond six months. In case of delay in refunds levying higher interest.
  • IT department should stop the practice of adjusting tax demand of a taxpayer against legitimate refunds due whose tax return is under assessment.
  • Treat stock trading gains of up to 5 lakh rupees as capital gains and not business income.
  • TDS rates for individuals must be reduced to 5 per cent from current 10 per cent. Dividend income should be treated as part of total income.
  • Exempting non-residents not having a Permanent Account Number (PAN), but seeking to provide their Tax Identification Number (TIN) for the applicability of TDS at a higher rate.
  • Most of the working processes of the IT departments should be conducted electronically in order to minimize direct human interface.
  • Eligibility criteria under the presumptive tax scheme to be increased to 2 crore rupees from 1 crore rupees to make it easy for small businesses. Such scheme should be also for professionals.

Background

Union Government had constituted this committee in October 2015 by following up on a promise to provide a fair and predictable tax regime.

The committee was tasked to suggest recommendations to overhaul the IT Act, 1961 to remove ambiguities that cause unnecessary litigation and update the laws based on various judgements.

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Government constitutes Arvind Panagariya committee to fast-track bullet train project

Union Government has constituted a committee to fast track the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor, meant for connecting two cities with bullet trains.

The committee is tasked to interact with the Japanese counterpart for taking further steps in implementation of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor.

Members: The committee will be headed by Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of the NITI Aayog. It will also include Railway Board chairman, foreign secretary and secretary (industrial policy) and secretary in the department of expenditure as its members.

Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor: It will be 500km long and will be connecting both trains at the cost of the project will be 98,000 crore rupees.  Japan will invest 78, 000 crore rupees making it largest foreign investment in railway sector of India.

Background

  • Recently, Union Cabinet had had given its nod to bullet train project making it first of its king bullet train project with the help of Japan for funds and technology.
  • Cabinet approval was based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Panagariya which had favoured Japan over China due to the low-cost funding also commitment for technology transfer and local manufacturing for a specified period.

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Recommendations of Justice Lodha Committee on BCCI reforms

Justice RM Lodha Committee has submitted its report to the Supreme Court suggesting reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The committee was appointed by the SC in 2014 to make recommendations to the BCCI in order to prevent frauds and conflict of interest in cricket administration.

Major Recommendations Committee

  • Governing Bodies: They should be separate for Indian Premier League (IPL) and BCCI, with limited autonomy for the IPL Governing Council.
  • BCCI office-bearer: No Minister or government servant should become a BCCI office-bearer.
  • BCCI office-bearer’s tenure: It should not exceed more than two consecutive terms, and he/she cannot hold two posts at the same time.
  • Membership: Only to team representing the respective states. Each state should have only one vote.
  • Zones: The relevance of different zones should be for the purpose of tournaments and not for the governance of the BCCI and its committees.
  • State Associations: There should be uniformity of structure in the organisation and functioning of state associations on the lines of BCCI.
  • Management: The BCCI management affairs should be done by professionals led by Chief executive officer (CEO).
  • Players Associations: It should be formed for the international as well as for the first class levels. It should be for both men and women teams.
  • Player’s ethics: BCCI should carry out awareness programmes for the players.
  • Players Agents: They must be registered under the BCCI and players association norms.
  • Betting and match-fixing: Betting should be legalised and match fixing should be made criminal offence.
  • Conflict of Interest: To avoid conflicts it should be handled with the norms laid down by an ethics officer.
  • The Electoral Officer and Ombudsman: The electoral officer will oversee the election process, while the ombudsman to resolve grievances.
  • Functioning and Transparency: All details and rues of BCCI must be uploaded on the website on BCCI for transparency functioning purpose. BCCI should come under the purview of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
  • Supervision of Expenses: It should be carried out by an independent auditor.

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