26 May 2018
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  • DoT extends deadline for comments on new telecom policy to June 1
    May 26, 2018
    The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) today extended the deadline for submission of public comments on the new telecom policy to June 1 as many stakeholders had sought more time to give their views, according to an official release. The DoT had released the draft of the policy branded as National Digital Communications Policy, 2018, on May 1 and invited public comments by May 25. The department received request from several stakeholders to provide more time for giving inputs on the draft policy, the release said.
  • Local shipping rules eased for global lines
    May 23, 2018
    In the biggest policy reform yet in the shipping sector, the Centre has allowed foreign-flagged container ships to carry export-import laden containers for transhipment and empty containers for re-positioning on local routes without a licence or conditions. A Shipping Ministry order, issued on Monday, follows intense lobbying by global container lines to ease the cabotage rule and allow them to operate along the country’s coast. This, according to the lines, was essential with India seeking to set up transhipment hubs to reduce dependence on neighbouring foreign hubs to send and receive containers.
  • Unique identity number, PAN mandatory for customs broker licence
    May 21, 2018
    The revenue department has made unique identity number Aadhaar and PAN mandatory for persons seeking a customs broker licence, according to a notification. ‘Customs broker’ is a person licensed to act as an agent on behalf of importer/exporter for transaction of business relating to entry or departure of conveyances or goods at any customs station, including audit. According to the Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations, 2018, notified by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) recently, an applicant seeking to get a licence for customs broker should hold Aadhaar as well as PAN card.
  • Aadhaar not mandatory for getting pension: Government
    May 16, 2018
    Aadhaar card is not mandatory for central government employees to get their pension, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh has said. In 30th meeting of the Standing Committee of Voluntary Agencies here recently, he said Aadhaar is an additional facility to enable the use of technology for submission of life certificate without the need for visiting banks. His assertion assumes significance as there were reports of some retired employees facing difficulty in getting the pension in the absence of Aadhaar linkage with their bank accounts.
  • Cabinet approves continuation of PMSSY beyond 12th Five Year Plan to 2019-20
    May 03, 2018
    In a major boost to expansion of health care infrastructure in the country, the Union Cabinet today approved the continuation of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) beyond 12th Five Year Plan to 2019-20. The PMSSY, which is a central sector scheme, aims at correcting the imbalances in the availability of affordable tertiary health care facilities in different parts of the country in general, and augmenting facilities for quality medical education in the under-served states in particular.
  • Pay 2% of capital investment for green clearance: Environment Ministry to Corporates
    May 03, 2018
    The environment ministry has firmed up guidelines that will require every corporate seeking green clearance to set aside up to 2% of its capital investment for Corporate Environment Responsibility (CER). The guidelines make it mandatory for companies to set aside funds for CER over and above what is required for executing the environment management plan in a projectaffected area. While brownfield (expansion) projects would be required to earmark 0.125% to 1% of additional capital investment for CER purposes, the slab for greenfield projects ranges from 0.25% to 2% of the capital investment.
  • Govt notifies rules to operationalise fugitive economic offenders law
    Apr 30, 2018
    Showing urgency in dealing with absconding loan defaulters, the government has come out with series of rules to operationalise the fugitive economic offenders law, for which an ordinance was promulgated by the President last week. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018, is aimed at deterring economic offenders from evading the process of law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. The law seeks to expedite recovery of losses incurred by banks and other entities by confiscating their properties.
  • E-commerce policy in six months; to tackle data privacy and tax issues
    Apr 25, 2018
    The government has announced that a framework for an e-commerce policy will be prepared within the next six months. The comprehensive policy is expected to focus on all aspects of the e-commerce business and consumers. It will encompass data privacy and taxation, apart from a host of technical aspects such as technology transfer, server localisation and connectivity issues.
  • Lookout circular on the basis of PE has no legal sanctity in court: Experts
    Apr 17, 2018
    On January 11, 2015, immigration authorities at the Delhi airport prevented Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai from boarding a flight to UK on the directives of the Union government. Her passport was stamped with an "offload" mark despite Pillai holding valid travel documents and no criminal case pending against her in the country. Pillai was going to brief the UK parliamentarians about the impact of a London-based company's mining project on local tribes in India. The government tried to defend its action in the court saying that her testimony could have been “prejudicial to national interests". The court, however, rejected the government order and asked it to expunge “off-loaded” stamp from her passport.
  • To fast-track process, Cabinet does away with CCEA nod for awarding oil, gas blocks
    Apr 12, 2018
    In a major policy change, finance and petroleum ministers can now award oil and gas exploration blocks to successful bidders, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) announced on Wednesday. The move is expected to fast-track the process of awarding oil and gas exploration blocks to successful bidders under the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP). At present, CCEA’s approval is necessary for awarding blocks. The oil and gas exploration blocks are awarded twice in a year under HELP.
  • Thermal power gencos allowed to use renewables
    Apr 10, 2018
    The power ministry has allowed thermal power generation companies (gencos) the flexibility of using renewable energy sources to meet their contractual generation obligations. The move is aimed at easing complexities faced by electricity distribution companies (discoms) to comply with the mandate of buying a certain portion of electricity from renewable energy sources. To meet renewable purchase obligations (RPOs), discoms have to find suitable balancing power sources to support the infirm nature of renewable energy, adding to their exisiting financial stress.
  • Why Aadhaar will be a game changer in digital space
    Apr 09, 2018
    Aadhaar will be a game-changer for the Indian digital space, which will develop at a fast pace in the coming years in a way that is different from the one in the US and China, Uday Kotak, executive vice-chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, said on Sunday. Speaking on the financial sector at the CII annual session, Kotak said: “Digital space in India is going to be driven by the fact that we have Aadhaar, a platform that does the identity independent of any private platform.
  • LoU ban to impact financial flexibility of importers: Ind-Ra
    Apr 05, 2018
    Banning of letters of undertaking (LoUs) and letters of comfort (LoCs) by the RBI as trade finance instruments is likely to reduce financial flexibility of importers, a Fitch group company said today. In the wake of Rs 13,000-crore PNB scam allegedly by diamond jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his associates through fraudulent LoUs, the central bank stopped banks from issuing the two instruments for trade credits for imports into India.
  • No extension beyond March 31 for linking Aadhaar to welfare schemes: SC
    Mar 28, 2018
    The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday refused to further extend the March 31 deadline for linking of Aadhaar with government schemes and benefits. This comes days after the SC ordered an indefinite extension to the March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of the biometric identifier with bank accounts and mobile phones. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said: "We will not pass any interim order at this stage," and added that the petitioner may argue this aspect in their rejoinder submissions. On December 15 last year, the apex court had extended till March 31 the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes.
  • Govt paves way for tax-free gratuity of up to Rs20 lakh
    Mar 23, 2018
    The Rajya Sabha on Thursday approved the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2018, enabling the government to raise the limit of tax-free gratuity and to fix the period of maternity leave qualifying as continuous service period through an executive order. Once the gratuity bill is signed into law by the President, the government will be in a position to raise the tax-free gratuity for public and private sector employees from Rs10 lakh at present to Rs20 lakh, which government employees are eligible for after the implementation of the seventh pay commission recommendations.
  • Parliament passes payment of gratuity bill
    Mar 22, 2018
    Parliament today passed a key bill that will empower the government to fix the amount of tax free gratuity and the period of maternity leave with an executive order. The Rajya Sabha, which has failed to transact any significant business over the last fortnight due to protests by various parties, today passed the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill without discussion.
  • Government notifies fixed-term jobs for all sectors
    Mar 21, 2018
    In line with an announcement made by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his latest Budget speech, the labour ministry has extended full-benefit, fixed-term jobs — already a feature in the labour-intensive garment and leather industries — to all sectors of the economy. A notification to this effect, amending the relevant rules under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, has been issued by the ministry of labour and employment.
  • Lok Sabha passes bill to enable govt to double tax-free gratuity to Rs 20 lakh
    Mar 16, 2018
    The Lok Sabha today passed the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) bill which seeks to empower the government to fix period of maternity leave and tax-free gratuity amount with an executive order. After the passage of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the government would be able to enhance the ceiling of tax-free gratuity to Rs 20 lakh from existing Rs 10 lakh for employee under the Payment of Gratuity Act.
  • No deadline for linking Aadhaar card to services says SC
    Mar 14, 2018
    Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar card: The Supreme Court today extended the March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes run by the government till its constitution bench delivered its verdict on the validity of the 12-digit biometric number and its enabling law. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra extended the deadline after the Centre said it had already submitted that they were ready to extend the March 31 deadline for linking of the national biometric identifier with all services and welfare schemes.
  • Your Paytm, Mobikwik wallet may not work from today as KYC norms kick in
    Mar 01, 2018
    If from today you are not able to load fresh funds into your mobile wallet, you can blame the Reserve Bank for it. In what could be a major impact on the digital payments industry, mobile wallets would be required to submit a full KYC for their users, without which the central bank would impose severe restrictions on its operations. While the Payments Council of India, the industry body for the prepaid payments, made repeated appeals to the central bank to revoke the order and allow wallets till Rs 10,000 to operate without full KYC, the RBI said clearly that every payment instrument will have to abide by the KYC norms as they are also part of the extended banking ecosystem.
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