Nirmala Sitharaman Current Affairs - 2020

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Finance Minister launches ‘eBkray’ auction platform for assets attached by banks

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has launched eBkray or eBक्रय,  an common e-auction platform to enable online auction of attached assets transparently and cleanly for the improved realization of value by banks. The e-auction platform is now linked on Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information (IBAPI) portal and guidelines have been made available.

About eBkray platform

Objective of Portal: To enhance user experience through seamless access to information by search based on type and location of property put up for e-auction by banks in India.

It will provide navigational links to all Public Sector Banks (PSBs) e-auction sites, property search feature and will present single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction, comparison of similar properties, as well as contains videos and photographs of uploaded properties.

The platform will help buyer to easily navigate to bank e-auction site after a notified property is selected. It also helps user to search property using State-wise, District-wise and bank-wise details.

Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information (IBAPI) portal

It is an initiative of Indian Banks Association (IBA) under policy of Department of Financial Services (DFS), Union Ministry of Finance, to provide details of mortgaged properties to be auctioned online by banks, starting with PSBs. Buyers can use the IBAPI portal to search and get properties details and participate in auction process. Currently, 21 banks are onboard on this portal.

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In a first, GST Council fixes 28% uniform tax rate for lottery

In a first, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting resorted to voting to decide on an issue, as all the earlier decisions by GST Council had been taken through consensus. The controversial issue of GST rate for lotteries was decided on basis of voting, with the GST Council headed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman fixing a uniform tax rate of 28% on both state and private lotteries with effect from 1 March 2020. The voting move was taken on insistence of Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac’s proposal.

GST Rate for Lottery

Currently, there are dual rates for lotteries, with 12% tax on state-run lotteries and 28% on state-authorised, or private, lotteries. Voting happened twice on the issue, with first time being on whether there should be a uniform or dual rate. 17 states voted in favour of single rate and 7 for a dual rate. Then there was voting on whether there should be an 18% or 28% rate for lotteries and all voted for 28%.

Others:

Besides lotteries, the GST Council decided to exempt upfront amount payable for long-term lease of industrial or financial infrastructure plots by an entity in which Centre/ State governments have at least 20% ownership. This exemption is currently available to those where governments have at least 50% stake. This move would promote setting up of industrial and financial parks.

The GST Council also decided to block input tax credit (ITC) for fake invoices in certain cases and further restrict credit for invoices not uploaded in relevant forms to 10% from current 20% of eligible credit. Also, to check the menace of fake invoices, suitable action will be taken for blocking fraudulently availed ITC in certain cases. The decision to block ITC in cases of fake invoices indicated that focus on revenue augmentation measures could lead to several anti-evasion measures in the coming months.

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