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SEBI: To issue guidelines for FATCA compliance for fiscal year 2014-15

To combat possible tax evasion by Americans through Indian entities, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) planned to issue the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) compliance norms in the fiscal year 2014-15.  For the implementation of the FATCA, the US government is required to sign Inter-Government Agreement (IGA) with various countries, including India, where American individuals and companies may hold accounts and other assets.  Till now, the USA has signed IGAs with 22 countries viz. the UK, Switzerland, etc.

  • Currently, the negotiations are going on between the India and US for an IGA to be signed between the two countries under the FATCA.
  • Purpose of FATCA: To check and impose withholding tax on illicit activities of some wealthy individuals who use offshore accounts to evade millions of dollars in taxes.
  • Once this new Act and the Indo-US IGA come into effect, all financial institutions in India would need to carry out a detailed due diligence on all their clients and report details of their US clients to the US tax department (Internal Revenue Service).
  • Any non-compliance of the FATCA provisions would result in penal withholding of 30% of the total US-source income of such financial institutions.

SEBI would examine the applicability of the FATCA provisions to all market intermediaries regulated by the capital markets regulator. It was examined by SEBI in coordination with the Ministry of Finance.

Note: FATCA became a law in 2010, the final regulations were issued for it in January 2013 and it is set to come into effect from 1 July 2014, after signing of IGAs with different countries.

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Third Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) 2014

The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) 2014 held at The Hague, Netherlands. In the third edition of nuclear summit, 58 world leaders participated to enhance the global nuclear security structure.

Objective: To prevent nuclear terrorism by reducing the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world, improving the security of all nuclear material and radioactive sources and improving international cooperation.

  • Leaders of 35 countries viz. Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan,  Morocco, the Netherlands, Philippines, UAE, the United Kingdom, the United States of America,Vietnam, etc, agreed to adopt the Nuclear Security Guidelines. These guidelines will bind and engage IAEA teams to assess the security of nuclear materials.
  • Permit international experts to evaluate their security procedures for nuclear material. It guarantees that security will be assessed on the basis of international standards and ensures the effectiveness of the measures taken.

 New guidelines of NSS 2014  

  • Reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear material (highly enriched uranium and plutonium) in the world that terrorists could use to make a nuclear weapon.
  • Improve the security of radioactive material (including low-enriched uranium) that can be used to make a dirty bomb.
  • Improve the international exchange of information and international cooperation.
  • Keep the quantities of nuclear material as low as possible and to reduce them where possible. Countries that use highly enriched uranium or plutonium as fuel for power generation will limit the quantity involved as much as they can.
  • Also covers other radioactive materials viz. low-enriched uranium, cobalt-60, strontium-90 and caesium-137. These materials have useful applications in hospitals industry, research and can also be used with ordinary explosives to make a dirty bomb.

Note: The leaders of the countries refused to adopt the Nuclear Security Guidelines, viz. China, Russia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Argentina, Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia, Nigeria, Singapore, Egypt, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Jordan and Gabon.

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India’s spices export registered 41% increase in April-Dec 2013

As per the data released by the Spices Board at Kochi, the India’s spices export in rupee terms registered an increase of 41% in the current financial year (April-Dec 2013). The total volume of 1,93,625 tonnes seed spices valued at Rs.1,906 crore has been exported against 1,09,067 tonnes valued at Rs.1,008 crore in the previous year.

  • Seed spice basket had registered 78 % increase in volume and 89 % in value.
  • Cumin registered a prominent increase of 89 % in volume and 83 % in value.
  • Mint and mint products viz. mint oils, menthol and menthol crystals topped the item-wise list.
  • Value-added products viz. spice oils, oleoresins, etc, fetched Rs. 1,242 crore by exporting 8,665 tonnes.
  • Pepper and cardamom (small) marked an increase of 41 % and 23 % respectively.

 Note: Indian spices export is on course to touch $3 billion by 2016-17.

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