Monday, January 16, 2017
Govt employees needn’t file asset details under Lokpal for now
The Centre has extended indefinitely the deadline to file details of assets and liabilities by central government employees under a mandatory provision of Lokpal Act. A new format and fresh set of rules are being finalised by the government in this regard. The last date for filing such details was December 31.
“There is no requirement for filing of declarations of assets and liabilities by public servants now. The government is in the process of finalising a fresh set of rules. The said rules will be notified in due course to prescribe the form, manner and timelines for filing of declaration of assets and liabilities by the public servants under the revised provision of the said (Lokpal) Act.
“All public servants will henceforth be required to file the declarations as may be prescribed by the fresh set of rules,” an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.
There are about 50.68 lakh central government employees.
As per rules, notified under the Lokpal Act, every public servant shall file declaration annually pertaining to his assets and liabilities as on March 31 every year or on or before July 31 of that year.
For 2014, the last date for filing returns was September 15. It was first extended till December, then till April 30, 2015 and third extension was up to October 15. The date was again extended to April 15, 2016 and then July 31 for filing of the returns.
The last date was further extended till December 31 after Parliament had passed a bill to amend the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
The declarations under the Lokpal law are in addition to similar ones filed by the employees under various services rules.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
A storm is brewing in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) council over the Centre's comments against "badly managed" states for poor tax collections following demonetisation.
The finance ministry had said the indirect tax collections have taken a hit since December only in the "badly managed" states while others have shown an upward trend.
Some Opposition states such as Kerala, West Bengal and a few north-eastern states are likely to protest on the issue.
"Bengal has received the central government's highest award in integrated financial management system as well as e-taxation methods. So how can they say that we are badly managed, after rewarding us?" said a top functionary in the West Bengal government who did not wish to be named.
The Opposition-ruled states have already formed a cartel in the GST council to seek more negotiations before allowing the four pending GST-related bills to be passed in Parliament.
"We want a definition of state to help collection of taxes in states with a sea-border," said a GST council member who did not wish to be named. As the ninth GST council meeting is scheduled on January 16 here, several issues remain unresolved. Compensation and dual control are most important among them.
Though the issue of compensation was already discussed and agreed upon in earlier meetings, demonetisation has reportedly spurred the states to demand changes in the law — including bi-monthly payment of compensation instead of quarterly and 100% compensation instead of the earlier decided formula. And with this, the Compensation Bill has been jeopardised.
Dual control will decide who taxes whom between the states and the Centre. At the heart of this debate are states such as West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, which want control over businesses with an annual turnover of less than Rs.1.5 crore. But the Centre has refused to concede, stating that taking such a step would leave it with a very small pool of taxpayers.
Without putting the dual control debate to rest, the council cannot move on the other pending legislations; CGST, SG ST and IGST.
Monday, January 9, 2017
Govt pitching for September implementation of GST
As the delay in rolling out the nationwide goods and services tax (GST) seems inevitable, the government is now targeting its implementation by July. Earlier, it had targeted implementation by April 1, 2017.
While several state finance ministers said that it may not be possible before September, sources in the government said that “the ground work is done” and once pending issues including the one relating to dual control are resolved, GST can be immediately rolled out. The government also has the option of putting the pending issues for voting though finance minister Arun Jaitley has underlined the need to resolve them through consensus.
“We are ready with the necessary backbone and ground work, as soon as the issues are resolved and Parliament approves the remaining bills, we will go ahead with GST,” a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified, told HT. The government, however, will have to factor in the delay while estimating the collection figures of indirect tax for the next financial year.
“The finance minister must carefully do the calculation relating to collection figures (of the indirect tax) in the Union Budget,” Soumya Kanti Ghosh, chief economic adviser of the State Bank of India group added.
Sources said that once the all powerful GST Council resolves all issues, bills relating to Central GST and Integrated GST will be taken up during the session.
Rekindle the spirit of Team India to implement GST
A meeting of the GST Council – an empowered group of state finance ministers set up to frame rules, rates and modalities of the new tax system – held through Tuesday and Wednesday ended in acrimony after several states pressed for a review of what had been agreed upon before, in the words of West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, the “financial emergency” set in. It is now widely expected that the government will miss the April 1 deadline it had set to give effect to the proposed common tax.
There has been no windfall in revenues for the government or the Reserve Bank of India, as was expected by some proponents of demonetisation. Consumer spending and the informal sector have been hit hard, slowing down the economy. Credit off take remains sluggish although banks, nudged by the government, are lowering interest rates. The bad news doesn’t end there. This past week, demonetisation claimed its latest, and perhaps the biggest, casualty — the much-desired and much-awaited implementation of the GST.
In August, all states and political parties agreed to a constitutional amendment that would make GST a law, on the promise that it would be implemented on the principles of cooperative federalism. Also, it was agreed that states losing revenues because of the common tax would be adequately compensated by transfer of funds from the central exchequer — about Rs 55,000 crore over the next five years. This was a big win for the NDA government because independent India’s biggest tax reform was finally becoming a reality after years of intense negotiations. Demonetisation, however, cut short the euphoria. Several states have now returned to the negotiating table to bargain afresh. They want much more in compensation from the Centre, because their revenues from sales and other local taxes were hit hard as people went short on cash and spending in the aftermath of demonetisation.
Friday, January 6, 2017
In Chennai CAT, an application was filed by the Central Excise Officers to rectify the All India Seniority List and till then no DPC has to be held. CAT, Chennai has stayed the holding of the DPC till the next date of hearing i.e. 12th January, 2017. The Chennai High Court has vacated the stay on 23rd December, 2016. On being aggrieved the applicants moved the application to pre-pone the hearing in in CAT from 12th to 06th January.
2017 for seeking justice in their favour.
Meanwhile Delhi Cadre Controlling Zone revised the Seniority List of the Inspectors of their Zone in pretext of N. R. Parmar’s Judgment on the following criteria:
Meanwhile Delhi Cadre Controlling Zone revised the Seniority List of the Inspectors of their Zone in pretext of N. R. Parmar’s Judgment on the following criteria:
· For Inspectors recruited, in Delhi Zone, directly through SSC Exam, the year mentioned in the relevant Examination Name (e.g. Examination for Recruitment of Central Excise, Income Tax etc, 1986; Combined Graduate Level Examination, 2004 etc) has been taken as the ‘year of availability’ in terms of the provisions of DoPT’s OMs dt. 07.02.1986 and 03.07.1986 ibid. In most of the cases, the recruitment process for selection of these Inspectors has been started in that very year with the publication of notification for conduct of examination by SSC. In a few cases, the notification for conduct of examination was issued prior to the year mentioned in Examination Name (e.g. notification for conduct of CGLE, 2004 was issued in November, 2003). But since the Examination was intended to fill up the vacancies of the year which was mentioned in Examination Name, their seniority has been fixed in that very year only.
· For Direct Recruit Inspectors of Delhi Zone selected through SSC Examination, 1984 and 1985, the recruitment process had been initiated prior to issuance of DoPT’s OM dt. 07.02.1986 so as per para 7 of the said OM, the seniority of these Inspectors has been fixed in accordance with the principle in force prior to the issuance of the OM i.e. as per principles contained in DoPT’s OM dated 22.12.1959. For Direct recruit Inspectors of Delhi Zone selected through SSC Examination of 1986 onwards, the seniority has been fixed in accordance with the provisions of DoPT’s OM dt 07.02.1986.
· As for Inspectors joining this Zone on Inter Commissionerate basis, the year in which their ICT orders were issued has been taken as the year of their availability and their seniority has been fixed along with other DRs and promotees of that year as per relevant provisions.
· The year of availability for promotees is taken as the year in which DPCs were conducted and corresponding Establishment Order were issued for their promotion to the Grade of Inspector on regular basis. In most of the years, the DPCs were conducted in the same year in which the respective Estt. Orders were issued. In a few cases, DPC to fill up promote vacancies of particular financial year were held in advance to enable candidates join on the first day of the relevant vacancy year. Since vacancies related to the year in which Establishment Order was issued, the seniority has been fixed accordingly.
· Seniority of officers appointed on Sports Quota has been fixed in accordance with DoPT’s OM No. 14015/1/76-Estt.(D) dt. 04.08.1980.
· Seniority of persons appointed on Compassionate Ground has been fixed in accordance with DoPT’s Om No. 14014/6/94-Estt(D) dt.09.10.1998 and subsequent amendment thereto effected vide DoPT’s OM No. 2011/1/2008-Estt(D) dated 11.11.2010.
· Upto 2001 the Calender Year basis for fixation of Relative Seniority of Direct Recruits and Promotees has been kept unaltered. From 2001-02 onwards, it has been changed to Financial Year basis.
· The seniority has been revisited upto the vacancy year 2013-14 i.e. upto 31.3.2014. Seniority for year 2014-15 will be taken up only after all Direct Recruit Inspectors selected through CGLE-2014 have joined.
2. Revised Consolidated Seniority List of 2495 Inspectors prepared on the above basis has been placed on Central Excise, Delhi-I website - centralexcisedelhi.nic.in. Efforts have been made to avoid any error in this revision. This revision of seniority list in the grade of Inspectors also applies retrospectively to officers who have since been promoted to a higher grade etc..
Delhi Cadre controlling Zone has recasted, on the basis of the aforesaid criteria, the Zonal Seniority List of 2495 Inspectors. In CBEC, there are 16 Zones and if the aforesaid criteria is lawful, proper, just and fair one in accordance with the prevailing judgments and instructions then Board should not only approve the same but also instruct the other Zones to carry out the same exercise in their respective Zones so that uniformity will prevail. No officer will be deprived of any injustice on this count.
Further, the competent Authority who has issued the above said Seniority List, if it is not in order and found to be motivated, then exemplary accountability be fixed. Pay and post of any similarly placed individual officers shall be protected and safeguarded without any discrimination irrespective of the officer placed in any Zone.
CESA, Mumbai will represent to the Board on the above issue as well as appeal to AIACEGEO to represent to the Board that the criteria adopted by the Delhi Cadre controlling Zone if perfect and free from litigation may be adhered by all other Zones.
CESA, Mumbai appeals to its all members and others not to be panic or confused as it has nothing to do with the ensuing holding of DPC of ad-hoc vacancy posts for the year 2014-15, 2015-16 as the DPC will be held as per the current seniority list. Any revisions of Seniority List irrespective of the Zone unless it is compiled by the Board have no impact as far as the preparation of the panel for the DPC.
Further, Member (P&V) is out of Delhi and currently on official visit to Chennai. So far for holding of DPC, no date has been fixed. She is expected in her office on Monday and the date for holding of DPC will be fixed then only.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
GST deadlock continues over dual control, high sea taxes
The deadlock over the Goods and Services Tax (GST) continued on Wednesday with the Centre and states refusing to budge from their respective positions on issues like control of tax payers and taxing high sea trade, a stalemate that threatens to delay the rollout till September. The two-day meeting of the all-powerful GST Council, the 8th in a row, made little headway in brokering a solution even as non-BJP ruled states saw September as more likely deadline for the rollout of the indirect tax regime.
The next meeting of the GST Council, headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state representatives, on January 16 would discuss the issue of jurisdiction over assessees as well as try to reach a finality on taxation of territorial waters. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the other remaining issues before the GST Council include ways to fund the compensation to states for GST rollout and states participation in Integrated GST (IGST). "Working overtime, it should be possible to meet the deadline of September. I am not very optimistic about rolling GST out in June/July. Because it is a new tax and lot of complexity involved, it would be better to move in after full preparation. So GST, to my understanding, will be implemented from September," he said. Isaac said some states wanted the GST revenue from the highest tax bracket to be shared in 60:40 ratio with the Centre, instead of the present 50:50 sharing. "There are 4 different rates that have been fixed. Highest bracket is 28 per cent and of this how much will be the Centre and state's share, nowhere in the law it defines and it seems to be taken for granted it is 50:50.
Ever since the Independence in the Centre-state financial relation the imbalance has been growing wider and states' rights have been curtailed. "That can be corrected by ensuring that state's share in GST will be 60 per cent. Many states also supported this. The Centre did not respond to the demand but it was decided to be discussed later," he said. Isaac said convergence has been growing between the Centre and states. "The Centre seems to be in a mood to rethink some of the positions that the Centre has been adopting... On the whole the Centre has been taking a step backward and if it really takes one more step backward I think we will have a deal."
GST council fails to reach consensus on high seas tax
GST council meeting on Wednesday failed to reach a consensus on who will have jurisdiction over tax payers in the country and who will have right to tax products and services on high seas under the new indirect tax regime. These issues will be once again discussed in the next meeting of the GST Council on January 16. States want exclusive right to assess small tax payers be it for products or services and also want the right to impose tax on products and services in sea.
The failure of states and Centre to thrash out their differences even after series of meetings mean that it is virtually impossible to roll out GST by April 1. However the Centre and the states will have to reach a middle ground by September to roll out GST as without it they will lose the right to tax as per the GST constitutional amendment passed in the parliament. Stating that the issue of territory is a complex one, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the area within 12 nautical miles into the sea is an Indian territory and a question is whose territory is it.
"Conventionally service tax and customs are charged by Government of India in those areas. Some states had, as far as fishing business is concerned the Constitution provides for fishing rights to states in that area. Some states have been levying taxes in the nature of sales tax/VAT," he said. Mr Jaitley said since states have been levying these taxes, they want to continue to levy them, but the contra argument is that high sea area strictly doesn't fall within the definition of state and as per Constitution is an Union Territory. This issue is currently before the Supreme Court.
With regard to the issue of dual control which has been held up for long, he said a majority of states want to find a solution to the issue but the Centre would want to take every decision by consensus. "I have been consciously avoiding the voting. GST Council is a federal institution and a federal institution is a very delicate organisation. The fact that we have so far been able to resolve the issue by discussion, we want to establish this as a precedent of how the Council functions," he said.
FM hopes to resolve dual control issue in next GST Council meet
Admitting that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council was racing against time on the government's implementation target of April 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said it is hoping to resolve the vexed issues of Integrated GST (iGST) and dual control over assessees in its next meeting on January 16. "We know the difficulties, we are moving against time. Dual control is a complex issue. We started a discussion that was inconclusive. We have decided to meet on January 16 to untie the knots in this issue," Jaitley told here after the two-day GST Council meet. "We will be meeting to conclude the discussion on the gaps in draft laws. The gaps are on two issues. The first pertains to the definition of the word territory (in iGST) and the second is on dual control and cross empowerment," he said, reports IANS. Even after eight meetings of the GST Council, the deadlock continues between the Centre and the states on the vexed issue of "cross empowerment", or dual control of assessees. The question of who will exercise control over GST assessees -- the Centre or the states -- remains critical. The states want exclusive control on businesses with turnover below Rs 1.5 crore, including the service taxpayers. The impact of demonetisation on states' tax revenues was brought up at the GST Council meeting and Jaitley said that the states presented their estimates of December revenue figures based on collections made in November
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Central Excise Thane-I,
Sub: JCM to be held on 06.01.2017 – Submission of points – Reg.
At the outset CESA, Mumbai wishes Your goodself and the entire Administration under your command a ‘Happy and Prosperous New Year, 2017’.
With reference to above subject, the points sponsored for the JCM are as under;
1. Disposal of Vigilance Cases : N-number of Senior officers came and gone, the enthusiasm initiated while opening the vigilance files against the officers irrespective of the role played by the officers are not visible for a logical conclusion of the cases. Discrimination in opening and closing of files of the officers of junior and senior cadres are apart. Several officers who are retired have undergone mental trauma and financial losses on account of delay in handling and disposal of the cases. Since January, 2008 there are around 23 officers cases are pending.
In this regard, the pending cases may please expedited in terms of the instructions contained in CBEC’s circular dated 23.06.2016. Further, as like withdrawal of the cases from various appellate forums on monetary grounds a similar stand may be taken against the cases where no revenue loss involved and dereliction of duty /connivance of officers is not involved so that the services of the officers can be utilized to the optimum.
2. Stafffing position: The sanctioned strength and working strength in the Commissionerate is not balanced one. Heavy workload in all the five divisions and no range may be given on additional charge and similarly minimum of two superintendents at least be posted to all Divisional Headquarters for smooth functioning and avoiding any lapses. More staff in all cadres may be asked for as the Commissionerate is sensitive one. At present the staff position SS 55 Superintendents WS 47 + 3 (1 each in Appeals, CESTAT/DLC) and in the cadre of Inspectors the SS is 60 whereas the WS is 57 (+1 DGHRD).
Premature transfers and rotations may be avoided as the schedule of budget has been announced which has been pre-poned to 1st February, 2017. Posting and rotations at this juncture will not yield any result except inconvenience in the field formations. Further, Officers on medical grounds be considered to place nearer to their residences as far as possible.
3. Pending medical claims: All the bills of officers pending on account of medical claims be expedited.
4. Misc. Points :
(A) Care may be taken in providing of sufficient number of computers and printers in each formations. In most of the formations ACES is not in proper operation/ functional. Weeding out of old records in Chandrama building as well as in Navprabhat Chambers, Rabi plaza be instructed suitably to complete in a time bound manner. As most of the Divisional/Range formations in Kalyan facing frequent disruption of power supply it is suggested to provide inverters in all the formations so that work should not be hampered.
(B) Any changes in the formations from the present set-up to GST, Staff associations may be consulted before submitting any proposals for change of existing locations/buildings as most of the staff hails from suburbs i.e., beyond Thane upto Karjat/Kasara.
To resolve all the above issues CESA, Mumbai will extend all its co-operation to the fullest extent.