Basic income tax exemption limit of Rs 2.5 lakh may be raised in Budget 2022: KPMG survey - Business Guardian
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Basic income tax exemption limit of Rs 2.5 lakh may be raised in Budget 2022: KPMG survey



Basic income tax exemption limit, which currently stands at Rs 2.5 lakh, is likely to be raise in the Union Budget 2022-23, according to a pre-budget survey conducted by KPMG.

“On the individual tax front, most respondents i.e. 64 per cent expect an enhancement in the basic income tax exemption limit of Rs 2.5 lakh,” KPMG said in the survey report.
When asked about the most anticipated change for individual taxpayers, 29 per cent wanted that the government to enhance the income limit of Rs 10 lakh at which the maximum marginal rate of 30 per cent tax is triggered, while 36 per cent hoped for an increase in the 80C deduction limit of Rs 1.5 lakh.

A small number of respondents i.e. 19 per cent are expecting an increase in standard deduction limit of Rs 50,000 for the salaried class, while 16 per cent expect tax-free allowances/ perquisites for salaried individuals keeping in mind work from home arrangement – provision of internet connection/ furniture/ ear-phones, etc.

KPMG in India’s pre-budget survey conducted in January 2022 has tried to capture the expectations of important stakeholders on various tax aspects of the budget. Nearly 200 respondents across sectors participated in the survey, KPMG said.

Nearly 52 per cent of respondents feel that the faceless assessment scheme led to improved quality and efficiency in the assessment process.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Rajeev Dimri, Partner and National Head of Tax, KPMG in India said “our pre-budget survey indicates that relief for individual tax payers by way of an enhancement in the basic income tax exemption limit of Rs 2.5 Lakh is highly awaited. Respondents also support an upward revision in the top income slab of Rs 10 lakhs, and an increase in the existing section 80C deduction limit of Rs 1.5 lakh.”

“Although the Government has taken several measures to resolve tax disputes and overhaul the tax dispute resolution framework over the past few years, further measures in this regard may help in reducing litigation. A rationalisation of TDS and TCS provisions to ease compliance burdens will also be welcome,” said Dimri.

On the compliance side, there has been a significant increase in the scope of TDS and TCS provisions over the past few years. 86 per cent of respondents believe that the scope of TDS and TCS has led to increased compliance burden on taxpayers.

Currently, Indian branches of foreign companies are subject to corporate tax at 40 per cent. With the Government reducing headline corporate tax rate for domestic companies from 30 per cent to 22 per cent starting from financial year 2019-20, the gap between the rates applicable to foreign companies and domestic companies has widened. 49 per cent of respondents believe there is a need to reduce the rate applicable to Indian branches in line with the 2019 rate cuts, in order for India to remain a globally competitive investment jurisdiction.

The Survey also found significant support for the Government’s Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) applicable for the telecom, pharmaceuticals, steel, textiles, food processing, white goods, IT hardware and solar sectors. Most respondents felt that this scheme would help India become a key manufacturing hub, and a whopping 83 per cent of respondents favoured an expansion of this scheme to cover other sectors.

About 72 per cent respondents felt that the government should extend the date of commencement of production beyond 31 March 2023 for new manufacturing companies intending to avail of the concessional 15 per cent tax rate given the impact of the pandemic.

On the transfer pricing front, a significant majority of respondents expect the safe-harbour regulations to be rationalized in order to provide tax certainty to both taxpayers and tax administrators. 73 per cent of respondents believe that the Government should come up with detailed guidance on highly litigious transfer pricing issues like marketing intangibles, cost contribution arrangements, benchmarking of loans/guarantees, IP restructuring etc.

From a GST audit perspective, a significant proportion of respondents 41 per cent stated that they have started receiving audit notices, the report said. (ANI)


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Veg thali cost up by 10% amidst lower Kharif output



In a recent report by rating agency CRISIL, the cost of a vegetarian thali surged by 10% in November compared to October, attributing the spike to reduced Kharif output owing to irregular rainfall and amplified demand during the festive season. Simultaneously, the cost of a non-vegetarian thali escalated by 5% month-on-month (MoM).

CRISIL’s Roti Rice Rate index highlighted the primary factors contributing to the uptick in the vegetarian thali’s price. The surge is primarily rooted in a 58% surge in onion prices and a 35% hike in tomato prices. Comparatively, when juxtaposed with November of the previous year, the cost of the vegetarian thali witnessed a 9% change.

Detailing the year-on-year (YoY) increase, CRISIL outlined a 9% rise in the cost of the vegetarian thali. This surge stems from a substantial 93% surge in onion prices and a 15% increase in tomato prices. Additionally, pulses, constituting 9% of the thali’s cost, observed a significant 21% YoY surge in prices.

The vegetarian thali typically encompasses roti, vegetables (onion, tomato, and potato), rice, dal, curd, and salad. CRISIL’s computation of the thali’s average cost considers prevalent input prices across northern, southern, eastern, and western regions of India.

Contrarily, the increase in prices for the non-vegetarian thali remained moderate due to a decline in broiler prices, a major component accounting for 50% of its total cost. Both thalis share similar constituents, with the non-vegetarian version substituting dal with chicken.

Comparing November’s costs to the same period last year, the cost of the non-vegetarian thali remained steady. October witnessed a slight decline of 1% and 3% in the costs of vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis, respectively, in comparison to September. This dip was attributed to reduced prices of potatoes, tomatoes, and broiler chicken.

In efforts to curb food inflation, the government has initiated the sale of subsidised onions at Rs 25 per kg through entities like the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited (NCCF), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), KendriyaBhandar, and state-controlled cooperatives. This move aims to mitigate the impact of soaring onion prices on consumers.

The steep rise in the cost of the vegetarian thali, driven largely by the surge in onion and tomato prices, has notably impacted household budgets across regions. With these staple vegetables constituting a significant portion of the Indian culinary landscape, any fluctuations in their prices directly influence the affordability and accessibility of meals for households.

CRISIL’s insights into the year-on-year surge underscore the persistent challenges faced by consumers amid inflationary pressures. The substantial increases in onion and tomato prices, coupled with a notable uptick in pulses, have intensified concerns regarding food affordability and accessibility, especially for the economically vulnerable sections.

The stability in the cost of the non-vegetarian thali, particularly in comparison to the previous year, offers a semblance of relief amidst the overall inflationary trends. However, the shift in prices of key components, notably the fluctuations in broiler prices, highlights the volatility within the food market, necessitating proactive measures to ensure price stability and accessibility of essential food items.

The government’s initiatives to offer subsidised onions through various cooperative federations and entities reflect an attempt to alleviate the burden of escalating vegetable prices on consumers. Nevertheless, these measures may require sustained efforts and strategic interventions to navigate the multifaceted challenges posed by fluctuating food prices and ensure the affordability of essential food items for the masses.

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Digital India Act delayed until after next general election



The anticipated introduction of the Digital India Act (DIA), aimed at replacing the archaic IT Act of 2000, may face a delay in implementation ahead of the impending general elections, as revealed by Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Speaking at the Global Technology Summit 2023, the minister outlined challenges in ensuring extensive consultations, indicating insufficient time before the elections.

Chandrasekhar acknowledged the imminent release of rules pertaining to the Digital Personal Data Protection Act for public consultation later this month. These regulations are expected to be notified by the end of December or early January, signalling progress in digital legislation efforts.

Highlighting the limitations of the current IT Act, Chandrasekhar emphasized its obsolescence, lacking even the inclusion of the term ‘internet.’ He underscored the consensus for superseding and replacing this outdated legislation with the Digital India Act, a comprehensive document that is currently in the drafting stage.

Despite considerable groundwork and preparedness with a draft in place, the Minister expressed scepticism regarding the legislation’s enactment before the forthcoming elections. He highlighted the Prime Minister’s insistence on rigorous consultations for every digital legislation, underscoring the challenge of meeting this prerequisite within the limited time frame.

The proposed Digital India Act aims to address various facets of the online domain, prioritizing the openness of the internet while curbing the dominance of specific entities. It emphasizes online safety and user protection, intending to regulate addictive technologies through age-gating measures. Additionally, the Act is slated to exercise discretionary control over fake news circulated on social media platforms and proposes the definition and regulation of emerging technologies.

The proposed legislation also includes stringent regulations targeting privacy-invasive devices like spy camera glasses and wearable tech. It seeks to incorporate ‘know your customer’ rules for retail sales of such devices, backed by appropriate criminal law sanctions.

While the Digital India Act represents a comprehensive and forward-looking endeavour, its implementation faces hurdles attributed to the requirement of extensive consultations. The delay in its enactment may extend beyond the upcoming general elections, hindering its immediate integration into the legislative framework.

The postponement in implementing the Digital India Act prior to the upcoming general elections underscores the intricacies and thoroughness required in formulating significant digital legislation. Minister Chandrasekhar’s emphasis on the need for comprehensive consultations aligns with the government’s commitment to soliciting diverse viewpoints and ensuring a robust framework that caters to evolving digital landscapes.

The imminent release of rules for the Digital Personal Data Protection Act signals a proactive step towards fortifying digital privacy laws. This move demonstrates the government’s responsiveness to growing concerns regarding data protection and privacy in the digital sphere. The forthcoming regulations aim to establish a framework that safeguards individuals’ personal data, addressing crucial aspects of data security and privacy within the digital realm.

Amidst the challenges and time constraints highlighted by Minister Chandrasekhar, the delay in enacting the Digital India Act doesn’t deter the government’s commitment to fortify India’s digital governance framework. While the legislative process might extend beyond the elections, the focus remains steadfast on crafting a progressive, inclusive, and robust digital legislation that aligns with the country’s aspirations in the digital era.

The proposed Digital India Act reflects a comprehensive vision to navigate the complexities of the digital landscape, aiming not just at regulatory measures but also at fostering innovation and safeguarding user interests. As the digital ecosystem continues to evolve, the forthcoming legislation is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping India’s digital future, ensuring a conducive environment for growth, innovation, and responsible digital governance.

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Next round of India, UK talks for FTA expected soon



India and the UK’s chief negotiators are poised to engage in the upcoming next round of india discussions for the envisioned free trade agreement, aiming to resolve discrepancies on matters like automobiles, medical devices, and the movement of professionals, as conveyed by an official. The official expressed the possibility of the UK team visiting for the 14th negotiation round, with the objective of expediting the conclusion of talks.

“Virtual sessions are progressing. But we are planning for a full fledged round of talks. In the full round, both sides discuss all the chapters. Some 60-70 sessions happen parallelly,” the official, who did not wish to be named, said. Issues which need resolution include rules of origin; intellectual property rights (IPRs); social security agreements; duty concessions on electric vehicles, scotch whiskey, lamb meat, chocolates and certain confectionary items; and liberalisation of norms in services sectors like banking and insurance. Talks are also progressing on the proposed bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The investment treaty is being negotiated as a separate agreement between India and the UK.

These investment treaties help in promoting and protecting investments in each other’s country. The main point of contention involved in this pact is about the mechanism for the settlement of disputes. BITs help in promoting and protecting investments in each other’s countries. India has proposed to first utilise all local judicial remedies for settlement of disputes before initiating an international arbitration. India and the UK launched the talks for a free-trade agreement (FTA) in January 2022, with an aim to conclude talks by Diwali (24 October, 2022), but the deadline was missed due to political developments in the UK.

There are 26 chapters in the agreement, which include goods, services, investments and intellectual property rights. The Indian industry is demanding greater access for its skilled professionals from sectors like IT, and healthcare in the UK market, besides market access for several goods at nil customs duties. On the other hand, the UK is seeking a significant cut in import duties on goods such as scotch whiskey, automobiles, lamb meat, chocolates and certain confectionary items. Britain is also looking for more opportunities for UK services in Indian markets in segments like telecommunications, legal and financial services (banking and insurance).

In the fiscal year 2022-23, the bilateral trade between India and the UK witnessed a growth, reaching USD 20.36 billion, up from USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22. The ‘rules of origin’ clause stipulates a requirement for a minimal level of processing within the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) country. This ensures that the final manufactured product can be designated as originating goods in that particular country. According to this provision, a nation that has entered into an FTA with India is prevented from introducing goods from a third country into the Indian market merely by affixing a label. Instead, a specified value addition must be undertaken in the product for it to be exported to India. The rules of origin norms serve as a mechanism to prevent the dumping of goods.


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Greaves Cotton Limited announces Q2, FY24 earnings with standalone EBITDA of INR 64 crores



Greaves Cotton Limited, one of India’s leading diversified engineering companies, has reported standalone revenues of Rs 459 Crores for the second quarter of fiscal year 2024. The Company has reported an improvement in standalone margins, with quarterly EBITDA at INR 64 crores, a growth of 42% over the first quarter of FY24.

The Company is making substantial progress with a strong and diversified strategy across various business sectors. Greaves Engineering has expanded its product portfolio to meet diverse market demands and drive significant export growth. Simultaneously, Excel Controlinkage is on an impressive growth trajectory, fueled by its commitment to tailored solutions and expanding into mechatronics and electronics. In the electric mobility sector, Greaves Electric Mobility maintains its position among the Top Five players in electric two-wheelers (E2W)* and achieved a significant milestone with its highest-ever quarterly sales in the electric three-wheeler (E3W) segment, marking a remarkable 75% increase from the first quarter of FY’24. Their recent announcement with the Greaves ELTRA 3W cargo vehicle launch reflects their dedication to innovation and market diversification.

Greaves Retail has made substantial progress in bolstering its market presence by expanding its multi-brand distribution network for two- and three-wheelers, offering a comprehensive range of spare parts. Additionally, Greaves Spares is expanding its distribution network in northern and eastern India, poised for increased domestic and international traction soon. These accomplishments showcase the Company’s commitment to innovation, market expansion, and sustainable mobility solutions.

Commenting on the Company’s Q2, FY24 performance, Mr Nagesh Basavanhalli, Non-Executive Vice Chairman of Greaves Cotton Limited, said, “We have made substantial strides in our journey towards becoming a full-stack ecosystem player focused on democratising sustainable mobility. Our diversified portfolio and fuel-agnostic strategy have played a pivotal role in our journey. Excel Controlinkage is demonstrating impressive growth and a significant increase in EBITDA. Furthermore, our acquisition of MLR contributes to our ongoing efforts to strengthen our presence in the 3-wheeler market, aligning with our goal of sustainable margin improvement.”

Ms. Akhila Balachandar, CFO, Greaves Cotton Limited, added, “We are pleased to announce that this quarter, standalone, we have delivered a robust performance with 23% y-o-y growth in revenues, 91% y-o-y growth in EBITDA along with improvement in the margins. We are confident that our strong foundation and unwavering commitment to excellence will sustain our success in the forthcoming quarters and the exciting future opportunities.”

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‘Lanka faces worst economic crisis since 1948’



Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from the British in 1948 which has triggered food shortages, soaring prices and power cuts. Many say the government is to blame. and in recent days, thousands of Sri Lankans have taken to the streets to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, reports the BBC. Sri Lanka’s problems come down to the fact that its foreign currency reserves have virtually run dry. It means the island nation cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices. The government blames the pandemic, which all but killed off Sri Lanka’s tourist trade, one of the island’s biggest foreign currency earners, the BBC reported. It also says tourists were frightened off by a series of deadly bomb attacks on churches during the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks. However, many experts say economic mismanagement is to blame. There are many reasons for this, but one main factor is that at the end of its 30-year civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka chose to focus more on its domestic markets instead of exporting to foreign ones. So income from exports remained low, while the bill for imports kept growing. The government also racked up huge amounts of debt to fund what critics have called unnecessary infrastructure projects. At the end of 2019, Sri Lanka had $7.6 billion in foreign currency reserves, but by March 2020 it had only $2.3 billion. When he came to power in 2019, President Rajapaksa decided to cut taxes. This meant the government had less money to buy foreign currency on the international markets to increase its reserves. When Sri Lanka’s currency shortages became a really big problem in early 2021, the government tried to stop the outflow of foreign currency by banning all imports of chemical fertiliser, telling farmers to use organic fertilisers instead. This led to widespread crop failures, said the BBC report. Sri Lanka had to supplement its food stocks from abroad, which made its foreign currency shortage even worse. The economic crisis has deepened since last year, and one of the major reasons for this downfall is organic farming. The Sri Lankan government had banned the usage of chemical fertilisers in April 2021 in order to make farming environment friendly. There were protests by farmers who asked for a hybrid policy and some transition time

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Ukraine’s economic output will likely contract by a staggering 45.1% this year as Russia’s invasion has shuttered businesses, slashed exports and rendered economic activity impossible in large swaths of the country, the World Bank said on Sunday. The World Bank also forecast Russia’s 2022 GDP output to fall 11.2% due to punishing financial sanctions imposed by the United States and its Western allies on Russia’s banks, state-owned enterprises and other institutions.

The World Bank’s “War in the Region” economic update said the Eastern Europe region, comprising Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, is forecast to show a GDP contraction of 30.7% this year, due to shocks from the war and disruption of trade. Growth in 2022 in the Central Europe region, comprising Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland and Romania, will be cut to 3.5% from 4.7% previously due to the influx of refugees, higher commodity prices and deteriorating confidence hurting demand. For Ukraine, the World Bank report estimates that over half of the country’s businesses are closed, while others are operating at well under normal capacity. The closure of Black Sea shipping from Ukraine has cut off some 90% of the country’s grain exports and half of its total exports.

The World Bank said the war has rendered economic activity impossible in many areas, and is disrupting agricultural planting and harvest operations. Estimates of infrastructure damage exceeding $100 billion by early March – about two-thirds of Ukraine’s 2019 GDP – are well out of date “as the war has raged on and caused further damage.” The bank said the 45.1% contraction estimate excludes the impact of physical infrastructure destruction, but said this would scar future economic output, along with the outflow of Ukrainian refugees to other countries.

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