Friday, February 24, 2012

Will FM listen to Standing Committee on relaxing IT slabs?

There is all possibility of some relief to Salary class in the next budget. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance chaired by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, is believed to have recommended raising of income tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh and tax breaks on investments to Rs 2.5 lakh.    

Yashwant Sinha raising Hopes
The committee  represents members from both ruling coalition as well as opposition, "There is a consensus among the members that annual tax exemption limit be raised to Rs 3 lakh," sources revealed to media. Raising the tax exemption limit from Rs 1.8 lakh currently, they said, was necessary to provide relief to the people suffering from the impact of high inflation.

Members of the standing committee have also suggested to increase  the total tax saving deduction limit from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh. Under this  investment in provident fund, life insurance, children education and infrastructure bonds, is deducted from income to calculate the tax. In addition, investments up to Rs 20,000 in infrastructure bonds are also exempted from tax.

The government may or may not accept recommendations of the Standing Committee. To bridge the gap of fiscal deficit is first priority of the finance ministry. The direct tax collection  target for the  current financial years were  of Rs 5.32 trillion, which, the government is likely to miss.

According to data released by the finance ministry , net direct tax collection for the period in review is Rs 3.17 trillion, while gross direct tax collected was Rs 4.25 trillion. It is a growth of 14.57 per cent from the Rs 3.71 trillion in the corresponding period last fiscal, whereas this year targets were  based on an estimated growth of 19 per cent.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Iconic Cricketer Sachin bags top Test batting award

In a time when nothing is  going well for the master blaster, a piece of good news for his  fans has come from an unexpected corner. Sachin Tendulkar’s  146 in Cape Town were judged as the best  batting performance in Tests for the year 2011 by the jury of fifth ESPNcricinfo award.

This was a rare inning of Sachin where he showed  highest patience of his career under the testing conditions of South African weather and in the face of some sublime swing bowling by Dale Steyn. Former Aussie captain Chappell said Tendulkar showed true class during this innings.

"He faced 314 balls which is not Tendulkar-like, the strike rate, but these were precious runs. This was another side of Tendulkar, just showing his greatness -- his ability to make runs when things were really tough, and he really had to battle," said Chappell.

This performance has bagged him  favour from has him seven jurors out of the 11 who had him in their top three. Close second to him was Australian skipper Michael Clarke who  brilliantly scored 151 on the same ground of Cape town. In that historic test Australia dismissed South Africa for 96 and were then bowled out in their second innings for just 47.

New Zealander Doug Bracewell won the Test bowling award for his debutant year performance that gave his team a historic seven-run win against Australia in Hobart. He dismissed six Australian players for mere 40 runs.

Jurors did not forget to reward Kevin O'Brien who crafted biggest upset in the world cup by scoring a century against England. His nerveless performance for Ireland got votes from 13 out of a panel of 16 jurors. The ODI bowling award was given to Australia’s Mitchell Johnson for his six-wicket haul in Pallekele against  Sri Lanka.

The awards were decided by a 16-member jury that included former players Ian Chappell, Ian Bishop, Ramiz Raja, Kepler Wessels, Geoff Boycott, Martin Crowe, Sanjay Manjrekar and Russel Arnold, and ESPNcricinfo's senior writers. The jurors were asked to pick their top three performances in each category from a shortlist of nominees.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

ICAI action too little, too late.

When business ethics are dwindling, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has tried to send a message to all  practicing CAs in India to continue their profession ethically and in order with the relevant laws of India. The Institute on Monday banned Srinivas Talluri, ex-CFO of erstwhile Satyam Computer Services, and former Pricewaterhouse auditor Vadlamani Srinivas from practice for life.

The audit regulator also imposed a penalty of Rs.5 lakh each on the two executives for their role in the Rs.14,000-crore fraud at the IT firm, which was exposed in 2009. The action is too little and too late for their role in the largest financial scam of Indian Corporate world known so far. ICAI disciplinary panel had found this duo culprit way back in June 2009. It has taken more than 30 months to announce the penalty.

Action against the audit managers Chintapatla Ravindranath and P Siva Prasad - who worked for Lovelock & Lewes then (an affiliate of PwC India network) were imposed in December last year. They were associated from 2001 till 2008, the glorious period of Satyam.

Jaydeep Shah, the new president of ICAI, assuring to penalize all those who were involved in the scam,said, "We will now act against Gopalakrishnan and V S Prabhakara Gupta (ex-internal audit head of Satyam), who have also been found guilty."

A spokesperson for PW India has snubbed this imposition by saying, "The DC proceedings are in context of individuals concerned and therefore as a firm PW India will not like to comment.”

Though late, but ICAI deserves credit for setting a new benchmark for regulatory diligence. It is observed that such statutory bodies normally try to shield their errant members. But the need to reform judiciary process to bring in the ethics in business is still there.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

SC admits Modi's Plea on Lokayukta

The Supreme Court on Friday admitted  Gujarat Government’s appeal against the High Court order  challenging the state governor Kamla Beniwal's decision to "unilaterally" appoint Justice (Retd) R A Mehta as the Lokayukta.

Congress Tool to
Arm Twist Modi 
A bench of justices B S Chauhan and J S Khehar said it would examine the matter at length as vital question of constitutional law is involved. The bench  has   fixed up to hear the matter at a stretch of three days from February 20.

In the petition filed on January 19, the state government has  sought stay of the High Court judgement and also of the August 25, 2011, order of Governor Kamla Beniwal  appointing Justice Mehta as Lokayukta  
of Gujarat.

The state government   has raised the issue of absence of advice by the council of ministers on the appointment of Lokayukta by the Governor. It said,  "the Governor, while exercising function under section 3 of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, is to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers headed by Chief Minister and is not required to exercise the said function in the individual and personal capacity and discretion."  It further added, “therefore, on this ground alone, the action under challenge deserves to be held constitutionally bad."

It also objected to the use of "very harsh expressions and language" against Gujarat Chief Minister by  the  high court. Gujarat High Court Justice V M Sahai, who decided the matter as a third judge had said the "pranks" played by the chief minister on the Lokayukta issue "demonstrates deconstruction of our democracy".

BJP government  had  suggested the name of Justice J R Vora  for this job of Lokayukta but the same  was not accepted by the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court on the ground that the judge had been appointed as the Director of the Gujarat State Judicial Academy.

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