Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lok Sabha debates the issue of price rise

Proceedings in the Lok Sabha went off quite smoothly and in a very constructive manner on the third day of the monsoon session on Wednesday.Following the question hour, discussion under rule 184 on the issue of price rise was initiated by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.Treasury benches defended the govt with Salman Khurshid taking the lead.Khurshid said that govt is taking all options possible to curb inflation.Yashwant Sinha;said after moving a resolution on price rise.
The opposition had been pressing for a discussion on price rise in the backdrop of the inflation which stood at 9.4 per cent in June and is likely to remain high till November.
Defending the government, Law Minister Salman Khurshid attributed high inflation to increasing prices of crude oil in the international market.
The government had taken a number of fiscal measures like reducing import duties, suspended futures trading in rice and certain pulses to rein in prices, he said.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will reply to the debate tomorrow.

Govt. received info on Swiss bank deposits: Pranab

The Government has received information on some Swiss Bank deposits of Indian nationals. In a written reply, the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday informed the House of Elders that to get back the black money to the country, a five pronged strategy has been formulated by the Government which includes joining the global crusade against black money, creating an appropriate legislative framework, setting up institutions for dealing with Illicit Funds, developing systems for implementation and imparting skills to the manpower for effective action. He said India has been raising the issue at international platforms like G 20, Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development, Financial Action Task Force, UN, OECD, etc. Mr. Mukherjee said various anti tax evasion measures have been legislated in existing Act and proposed in the DTC. He informed the House that 10 Income Tax Overseas Units have also been created with dedicated computerized Exchange of Information system.

The Finance Minister said, whenever information about money deposited in any foreign bank accounts is obtained, the same is first verified and then action is taken in accordance with the law to bring the undisclosed amount to taxation. He said, the information received under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) is covered by the confidentiality provision of the DTAA.

Meanwhile, in reply to a separate question, Minister of State for Finance, S S Palanimanickam said, currently India has DTAA with 80 countries, while it has signed Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with five nations. DTAA and TIEA are the two instruments through which information can be obtained from other nations. The minister said in his written reply, the government is in the process of amending pacts with a host of countries to get information from banks. He said, the government had identified 22 priority countries for negotiations of TIEAs. Negotiations have been completed with 16 countries.

To a query on whether the investigations against the persons who are having bank accounts in Liechtenstein have been concluded, the minister said the total income assessed for 18 individual beneficiaries was 39.66 crore and the total tax demand raised was 24.26 crore rupees. He said, prosecution proceedings for tax evasion have been initiated in the case of 17 individuals and information relating to these cases has been handed over to the CBI and Enforcement Directorate.

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