India-Belgium Current Affairs
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Belgium has become the first country to open an honorary consulate office in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Belgium already has two Consulates-General in Mumbai and Chennai, and an honorary consulate in Kolkata. The consulate was inaugurated by Belgian Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Pieter De Crem.
Hari Sankaran, Vice-Chairman and MD, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS), has been nominated as Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Belgium to the state of Gujarat. Gujarat and Belgium have strong historic ties surrounding the diamond industry.
GIFT is a central business district (CBD) located between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in the state of Gujarat. GIFT will be built on 886 acres of land to provide high-quality physical infrastructure with facilities like electricity, water, gas, district cooling, roads, telecoms and broadband services to woo finance and tech firms to relocate their operations from Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon etc. GIFT will include a special economic zone (SEZ), international education zone, integrated townships, an entertainment zone, hotels, a convention center, an international techno park, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) units, shopping malls, stock exchanges and other service units. The likely cost of the GIFT City project is Rs 70,000 crore.
Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Company Limited (GIFTCL) is responsible for developing and implementing the project. GIFTCL is a joint venture of Gujarat Urban Development Company Limited (GUDCOL) and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS).
India and Belgium have signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two countries.
The Protocol was signed by Sushil Chandra, Chairman Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Jan Luykx, Ambassador of Belgium to India.
- The amendment of DTAA will broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information between the two countries.
- It will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries and also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes.
- It also revises the scope of existing treaty provisions on mutual assistance in collection of taxes and further help to curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.
The Union Government has set a key priority area for dighting the menace of Black Money stashed in offshore accounts. To further this goal, India has either signed or amended international agreements, declarations or conventions for the DTAA and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and for the Exchange of Information with Mauritius, Switzerland, Cyprus, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Kazakhstan, and Austria during the financial year 2016-17.