Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - , , 0 comments

Strategy to Tackle the Issue of Black Money Stashed Abroad



INFO-NUGGETS

FINANCE


Shamima Siddiqui*
  
            The Government has adopted a five-pronged strategy to tackle the sensitive issue of Black Money –
Joining the Global Crusade Against Black Money

·           Issues of tax evasion and Exchange of Information have been incorporated in G 20 communiqué due to efforts of India in the recent ministerial meetings.
·           India is playing a key role in Global Forum on Transfer Pricing and Exchange of Information for tax purpose, as Vice Chairman of Peer Review Group.
·           Joined FATF, Task Force on financial integrity and Economic Development and Eurasian Group.
·           India is participating in policy groups of OECD and UN on Exchange of Information, International Taxation and Transfer Pricing as observer and member respectively.

Creating an Appropriate Legislative Framework

·         Started renegotiation with 75 countries to broaden the scope of Article concerning Exchange of Information, and negotiation of DTAA and Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with new countries and 22 priority countries/jurisdictions (no tax or low tax countries/jurisdictions) respectively.
·         India has signed the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax matters on 26 January, 2012. This Convention shall expand the scope of India’s treaty network on tax matters.
·         Enacted legislation incorporating counter measure against non-cooperative   jurisdiction (section 94 A in Finance Act 2011).
·         Tightened provisions of transfer pricing.
·         Proposed GAAR and reporting requirement of foreign asset in the Finance Bill, 2012.
·         28 of existing DTAA also contain article for assistance in collection of taxes including taking measures of conservancy. Government is trying to have this Article in other treaties as well.

Setting up Institutions to Deal with Illicit Funds

·       Ten Income Tax Overseas Units in various Indian Missions abroad have been created and out of which two are already functional. The remaining 8 Units shall be made operational very soon. Creation of more ITOUs is under active consideration.
·      To effectively handle the increase in tax information exchange and transfer pricing issues, a dedicated Exchange of Information unit (EOI Unit) has been set up.

Developing Systems for Implementation

·      New policy for deployment of manpower to Directorate of Transfer Pricing and International Taxation is implemented.
·      Manpower of FT&TR Division in CBDT has been doubled.

Imparting Skills to the Manpower for Effective Action

·      Officers are being imparted specialized training abroad in field of International Taxation and Transfer Pricing. 
·      International seminar on transfer pricing was held in India in month of June 2011.

            India played a major role in G-20 discussions and highlighted the importance of automatic exchange of information and importance of obtaining past banking information. India has also obtained useful information about Indians having bank accounts in Swiss bank. This is under investigation. Further a dedicated Exchange of Information Cell has been created to handle the work related to exchange of information in line with latest international standards. (PIB Features.)
- , , , 0 comments

World Environment Day



Following is the address by Hon’ble Minister of State (I/C) for Environment & Forests, Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan on World Environment Day Celebration today.
The Minister alongwith Delhi Chief Minister Smt. Sheila Dikshit flagged off Science Express – Biodiversity Special train at Safdarjang Railway Station in New Delhi
“This is indeed a very important day to celebrate in recognition of the value of the environment around us and its significance for our lives. 
            The World Environment Day is celebrated every year, to not only create awareness but also to reaffirm our commitment to protect and safeguard the environment for us and our future generations. It’s a call for a positive environmental action to save our planet from further degradation. As so rightly said: "Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."(American Indian proverb)
Our own scriptures are replete with conservation ethos:

Rising or sitting, standing or walking,
May we, either with our right foot or our left,
Never totter on the earth.
 (hymn to Earth : Atarva- veda)

            World Environment Day celebration that began in 1972, is now a global movement that has grown to become one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political & social attention and action. It enables enable everyone to realize that not only it is their responsibility but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development.
            India is blessed with rich natural resources, from the mighty Himalayas to the Gangetic plains to the Deccan; from the deserts to the lush greens in the North east; the Western Ghats, the coasts and the islands. No wonder our country is one of the 12 mega-diverse countries in the world, rich in biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge. It is not just about the tigers and the elephants, but it is also about the algae and the fungi, and the microbes that build up our systems. This biodiversity can only be protected for future use through informed and responsible decision making and by sustainable use by the communities. This requires understanding the value of the ecosystems to the benefit of the communities. Being aware of the biodiversity is the key to protecting the fragile ecosystem and threatened species. One of the example is that the tiger. The tiger population estimates, through sustained interventions, has increased in numbers from 1411 in 2006 to 1706 (about 20% increase).
            The mosaic of environment conservation is interwoven with sustainable livelihoods through implementation of programmes at the local level, creating awareness and fostering partnerships. To fight degradation of the ecosystem and biodiversity, the policies of the Ministry aim at a convergence between sustainable natural resources management and livelihood enhancement programmes. These innovative approaches are aimed to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover and water while providing sustainable livelihoods. 
The current decade (2010-2020) has been declared as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity and United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification. With India is hosting the Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP-11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), from 8- 19 October 2012 in Hyderabad. This CBD COP 11 assumes immense importance considering that it is being held in the 40th anniversary year of Stockholm Conference held in 1972, 20th anniversary year of Rio Earth Summit held in 1992, and 10th anniversary year of World Sustainable Summit held in 2002.  This would also be the first CoP in the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020. About 10,000 delegates and participants from 192 countries are expected to participate in the event, making in one of the largest global event.
In an effort to highlight the multifaceted dimension of biodiversity, the Ministry of Environment & Forests is flagging off the “Science Express- Biodiversity Special” - a collaborative initiative between the Ministry and the Department of Science & Technology.
The train “Science Express” with the theme on Biodiversity, very clearly enunciates our commitment to the creating awareness on the diverse ecosystems that sustains us and way and means to conserve the same. The Science Express- Biodiversity Special- “Biodiversity on Wheels” is an exhibition - an expression of our existence!
Why the train? One would ask.

The Ministry chose the Science Express train as a medium to reach out to the far flung areas through its extensive networks that will enable reaching out to the masses and create widespread awareness on the rich biodiversity of our country and the issues associated thereof. The Science Express- Biodiversity Special will be traversing across the country over two years, halting at more than 100 plus stations. Between 5 June 2012 & 22 Dec 2012, the train will travel almost 18,000 km, halting for 3-4 days at each of the 52 locations. It is expected that the train will be visited by a wide range of people, especially school & college students, directly engaging more than 15 lakh visitors and engaging over 50 lakhs people indirectly.  Platform and outreach activities are being planned at each halt and will actively engage Ministry’s National Environment Awareness Programme (NEAC) and National Green Corps (NGC).
The train’s 8 coaches devoted to show-case the biodiversity of the country through different lens and include exhibits on bio-culture heritage, biodiversity-livelihoods linkages, and the also domestic biodiversity. The train also has four other coaches dedicated to climate change, biodiversity & water and energy conservation, supported by other agencies, like HSBC, PCRA and the Swiss Embassy & Nestle. One coach is dedicated to the Joy of Science Lab which throws open the door of scientific experimentation to students specially school children.
                        The exquisiteness of the train is the collaborative effort between multiple stakeholders, including government ministries, scientific organizations, the civil society organizations and the corporate in bringing together the significance of biodiversity in our lives.
I take this opportunity to invite you all to visit the Science Express- Biodiversity Special and experience the unique biodiversity that our country that so proudly boasts of. I also call upon each of us present here to pledge our allegiance to the future generation by leaving behind a ‘living & thriving planet’. Lastly, I would like to share with you the slogan of the UN CBD COP meeting that summarizes our relationship with nature - ‘Prakriti Rakshati Rakshita” - Nature protects if she is protected.”

- , , , 0 comments

Vice Admiral DK Joshi Will be the Next Navy Chief



The Government has appointed Vice Admiral DK Joshi, presently Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) Western Naval Command, as the next Chief of the Naval Staff with effect from afternoon of August 31, 2012. The present Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral NK Verma retires from service on Aug 31, 2012.

Born on July 04, 1954 Vice Admiral Joshi was commissioned on April 01, 1974 in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy.

During his long and distinguished Service spanning nearly 38 years, he has served in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. Vice Admiral Joshi`s Sea Command includes Guided Missile Corvette Kuthar, Guided Missile destroyer Ranvir and the Aircraft Carrier Viraat. Before taking over as FOC-in-C Western Naval Command, he has served as the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Commander- in-Chief of A&N Command (CINCAN) and the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC).

Vice Admiral Joshi is a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College, USA, an alumnus of the College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai and the prestigious National Defence College, New Delhi. He was Defence Advisor in the Indian High Commission at Singapore from 1996 to 1999.

Vice Admiral Joshi has been decorated with ParamVishistSeva Medal (PVSM), AtiVishistSeva Medal (AVSM), YudhSeva Medal (YSM), NauSena Medal (NM) and VishistSeva Medal (VSM). He is one of the Honorary ADCs of the Supreme Commander.

He is married to Mrs. Chitra Joshi and the couple have two daughters.

Source : Press Information Bureau
- , , 0 comments

‘World IPv6 Launch Day’ and IPv6 Implementation in India


                                                                                                                                              

Today, the traditional communication networks are undergoing a big change and are converging into packet based Next Generation Networks (NGN) which run on Internet Protocol (IP). The Internet Protocol is basically acommunications protocol used for relaying packets of data across a network. The current version of the Internet Protocol IPv4 is about 27 year old l having many limitations. It is to be replaced by Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) to overcome the limitations.
On the occasion of the ‘World IPv6 Launch Day’ tomorrow  (on 6th June 2012), major Internet Service Providers, networking equipment manufacturers and web companies around the world are coming together to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services. This day, being organized by Internet Society, represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6.It builds on the successful one-day ‘World IPv6 Day’ event held last year on 8 June wherein , top websites and Internet Service Providers around the world, joined together for a successful 24-hour global-scale trial of the new Internet Protocol, IPv6.
As a result of the initiatives undertaken by Department of Telecommunication (DoT), majority of the major service providers in India are ready to handle traffic & offer IPv6 services at present. Despite the readiness of the major service providers, there are issues to be addressed so as to ensure that the complete ecosystem migrates to IPv6. The service providers have mainly three challenges i.e. readiness of the content providers, equipment vendors and end user devices. To tackle the above challenges, a lead has been taken by DoT and the respective stakeholders are being pursued with by DoT through extensive discussions and meetings. 
India has at present 35 million IPv4 addresses against a user base of about 360 million data users. In addition, Government is planning to have a target of 160 million and 600 million broadband customers by the year 2017 and 2020 respectively. Moreover, there is a strong security requirement to provide unique IP address to each individual data user. As IPv6 is not backward compatible with IPv4, the transition to IPv6 is likely to be a complex, mammoth and long term exercise during which both IPv4 and IPv6 will co-exist.  In order to facilitate the widespread introduction of IPv6 in India, a policy document titled ‘National IPv6 Deployment Roadmap’ was released by the DoT in July 2010. The first initiative of its kind by a Government anywhere in the world, the roadmap’s main focus was to educate/ sensitise the Indian ecosystem about the issues related to IPv6 and enable it to take the first step in the transition towards IPv6. Accordingly, following policy decisions were taken:
i)                 All major Service Providers will target to handle IPv6 traffic and offer IPv6 services by December-2011
ii)                All Central and State government ministries and departments, including its PSUs, shall start using IPv6 services by March-2012.
iii)               Formation of IPv6 Task Force
An India IPv6 Task Force Task Force headed by Secretary (T) was formed and has a 3-tier structure consisting of Oversight Committee, Steering Committee and 10 Working Groups. Each tier has members from different organizations / stakeholders in PPP mode.
            The current version of the Internet Protocol IPv4   has many limitations. The biggest limitation is its 32-bit addressing space resulting in about 4.3 billion IP addresses.  The rapid growth of internet, wireless subscribers and deployment of NGN technology  has accelerated consumption of IP addresses with the result that IPv4 addresses are almost exhausted today. To overcome this problem of shortage, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) way back in early 1990s. The IPv6 improves on the addressing capacities of IPv4 by using 128 bits addressing instead of 32 bits, thereby practically making available an almost infinite pool of IP addresses. Besides, it also offers several other advantages over IPv4. IPv6 has been designed with many new features which make it possible to develop entirely new applications which are not possible in the IPv4 protocol, supports end-to-end security, autoconfiguration simplifies network configuration and IP Host Mobility etc.
There was a need to have IPv6 test bed in India so that the vendors and stakeholders can test their equipments for IPv6 compatibility and readiness. Accordingly, a IPv6 test bed has been installed by Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), a technical wing of DoT, to foster explicit IPv6 harmonisation across the entire ecosystem.
To address the various problems being faced by the stakeholders regarding IP address allocation from APNIC, the National Internet Registry (NIR) has been approved by APNIC in India for allocation of IPv6 address in a systematic manner with a big pool to cater to all future requirements and will start functioning shortly.