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Industry & Regulation

Cryptocurrency exchanges seek clarity on taxation

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The Directorate General of GST Intelligence’s (DGGI) recent crackdown on nearly half a dozen of Cryptocurrency service providers in India has brought the focus back on the need for clarity on how cryptocurrencies and related services should be taxed.
The leading Cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, which has been a major focus of the DGGI crackdown, has paid Rs 49.2 crore as GST with interest and penalty.

While the firms providing cryptocurrency related services have been on the radar of the tax authorities due to avoidance of taxes, Cryptocurrency exchanges say the main issue is related to clarity on regulation.

“We strongly believe that regulatory clarity is the need of the hour for the Indian crypto industry. It will also provide us with more clarity on taxation so that we can work in sync with the lawmakers, and continue to be responsible industry players,” said a spokesperson of Zanmai Labs Pvt. Ltd, that runs WazirX.

Besides Zanmai Labs Pvt. Ltd, which runs WazirX, last week the DGGI also raided the premises of several other firms engaged in Cryptocurrency related businesses including Bitcipher Labs LLP, which runs Coinswitch Kuber, Neblio Technologies Private Limited, which runs CoinDCX, iBlock Technologies Private Limited, which runs BuyUcoin, and Unocoin Technologies Private Limited, which runs Unocoin.

According to the authorities, tax evasion to the tune of Rs 70 crore has been detected.

Reacting to the DGGI raids, iBlock Technologies Private Limited, which runs BuyUcoin, said: “Lack of clarity on filing procedures led to some human mistakes from our end which were flagged by the tax authorities and brought to our notice.”

“As soon as the matter was brought to our notice by GST officials, we obediently paid all the taxes along with incurred interest and penalty. We offer our full cooperation and support to all the regulators in creating a healthy regulatory framework for the booming crypto industry in India,” iBlock Technologies Private Limited said in a statement.

Issues related to cryptocurrencies have evoked wide interests and controversies. In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a complete ban on cryptocurrencies and prohibited banks, NBFCs and other financial institutions from facilitating transactions for entities related to cryptocurrenices.

However, in March 2020, the Supreme Court of India quashed the central bank’s order. While the Supreme Court’s order has paved the way for financial institutions facilitating the trading of cryptocurrencies, there is still no clarity on taxation and other issues. There are no crypto specific provisions in the GST and income tax.

A Bill concerning cryptocurrency was proposed to be presented in the Parliament during the winter session. However, the government decided to pull back the Bill. A new Bill is under consideration.

The confusion related to taxation and other issues related to cryptocurrencies is likely to prevail until a regulation is passed in Parliament. (ANI)

 

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Industry & Regulation

SC stays hearings before HCs

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Raise retirement age of SC, HC judges: BCI

Th e S up r e m e C o u r t o n Mo n d ay st aye d the further proceedings p e n d i n g b e f o r e t h e High Courts across the c o u n t r y o n p e t i t i o n s challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021) and the Cable TV Networks (Amendment) Rules 2021. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Abhay S Oka also issued a notice in the transfer petitions filed by the Central government seeking the transfer of the petitions from various High Courts to the apex court. The bench however said that it is not interfering w i t h t h e i n t e r i m orders passed by the High Courts at this juncture and that it is issuing notice on the stay applications. The bench now posted the matters for hearing on May 19. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre told the bench that the government has already filed a petition to transfer all such matters to the top court and sought a stay on High Courts proceedings

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Industry & Regulation

Much easier to change laws than mindset: SC

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SC seeks Centre’s reply on fresh pleas against CAA

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) to allow candidates suffering from colour blindness to pursue all courses on filmmaking and editing. A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh said: “It is much easier to change laws, but it takes a long time to change the mindset…” The bench emphasised that the institute should adopt a more inclusive and progressive approach in the matter, and insisted that no discrimination can be made on the basis of colour blindness to get admission in the institute. The bench remarked, “The respondent FTII was expected to encourage liberal thought process…” Justice Kaul said: “There are some vested interests always…change is difficult and a push is required to change.” The bench said that it is not for FTII to determine candidates’ future occupational prospects, and pointed out that the job of an editor is to creatively work with story, dialogue, music and performances. The apex court order came on an appeal filed by Patna resident Ashutosh Kumar against the Bombay High Court order, which declined to entertain his plea seeking admission in three-year postgraduate diploma course in film editing at FTII. 

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Industry & Regulation

RBI cancels license of Kanpur-based People’s Co-operative Bank

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday said it has cancelled the license of Kanpur-based People’s Co-operative Bank Limited as the bank does not have adequate capital and earning prospects.

“Today, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), vide order dated March 17, 2022, has cancelled the license of People’s Co-operative Bank Limited, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Consequently, the bank ceases to carry on banking business, with effect from the close of business on March 21, 2022. The Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Uttar Pradesh has also been requested to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator for the bank,” RBI said in a statement.
The RBI said the “bank does not have adequate capital and earning prospects. As such, it does not comply with the provisions of Section 11(1) and Section 22 (3) (d) read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.”

Consequent to the cancellation of its license, People’s Co-operative Bank Limited, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh is prohibited from conducting the business of ‘banking’ which includes acceptance of deposits and repayment of deposits as defined in Section 5(b) read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 with immediate effect, the RBI added. (ANI)

 

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Business News

NMDC, IIT Kharagpur join hands for drone-based mineral exploration

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National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), the country’s largest iron ore producer, said on Saturday it has signed an MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur for drone-based mineral exploration.

As per the deal, NMDC and IIT Kharagpur would develop spectral products, methods, and algorithms for exploration using the Drone (UAV) for mining. The collaboration between NMDC and IIT Kharagpur would further lead to the development of software spectral tools for mineral excavation and capacity-building programmes on mining technology.
“NMDC would be the first CPSE in India to conduct Drone-based Geophysical Surveys and Hyperspectral Studies for Mineral Exploration in the country. NMDC’s tie-up with IIT-Kharagpur will open a new chapter and set a benchmark in the field of mineral exploration for the nation,” NMDC’s Chairman and Managing Director Sumit Deb said in a statement.

NMDC, a central public sector undertaking (CPSE) under the Ministry of Steel, has been exploring minerals for six decades for a wide range of minerals such as Copper, Rock phosphate, Limestone, magnesite, Diamond, Tungsten, and Beach sands amongst others.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Steel, NMDC is conducting exploration for various minerals in Madhya Pradesh and also in the Beloda-Belmundi block in Chhattisgarh for diamonds.

“NMDC is also the first CPSE to use Space Geophysics in Central Indian Diamond Province and the first to use online monitoring of exploration of data on the BHUVAN platform. NMDC is increasingly relying on technological innovation and digitalisation of its database related to exploration and mining,” the ministry said. (ANI)

 

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Industry & Regulation

TN to set up R300 crore botanical garden

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Chennai- Partnering with the Kew Gardens of London, the Tamil Nadu government is set to build a botanical garden at an outlay of Rs 300 crore near Chennai, state Finance Minister P Thiaga Rajan said. While presenting the state budget for 2022-23 in the state Assembly, Rajan said that the botanical gardens serve as bio-diversity hubs as well as recreational spots for public. 

“Taking this into consideration, the government will set up a botanical garden at a cost of Rs 300 crore near Chennai in partnership with Kew Gardens of London. For this, a detailed project report will be prepared,” he said. In addition, to generate awareness about forests and wildlife among young children, the government has decided to set up a Children’s Nature Park at an estimated cost of Rs 20 crore which will house birds, butterflies and animals by remodelling the Guindy Children’s Park. A detailed project report will be prepared this year, he added. 

According to him, the government will set up the ‘Tamil Nadu Green Climate Change Fund’ to fund climate change initiatives, mitigation and greening projects. The fund will also mobilise necessary resources from various sources including development finance institutions and international climate funds. 

For the conservation of animals, expansion of its habitat and spreading awareness among people, the government will implement “Project Nilgiri Tahr” with an initial allocation of Rs 10 crore. According to Rajan, the a Forest Commission is also being set up to recommend policy changes needed in forest conservation, expansion of green cover, involvement of tribals in forest management, prevention of man-animal conflict, capacity building and modernisation initiatives in the forest department. Ecotourism without harming the forests will be promoted by developing Sethumadai (Coimbatore district). 

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Industry & Regulation

RBI lifts restrictions on HDFC Bank’s new digital launches

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HDFC Bank on Saturday said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has lifted all the restrictions imposed on the lender regarding its business-generating activities under a programme called Digital 2.0.
“We wish to inform you that the RBI vide its letter dated March 11, 2022 has lifted the restrictions on the business generating activities planned under the Bank’s Digital 2.0 program. The members of the Board of Directors have taken note of said RBI letter,” HDFC Bank said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges.

In December 2020, the Reserve Bank of India had directed HDFC Bank to temporarily halt all digital launches as well as new sourcing of credit card customers.

The central bank had asked HDFC Bank to halt Digital 2.0 program after customers faced a number of incidents of outages in internet banking, mobile banking and other digital operations. (ANI)

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