Morning briefing: New tax regime in the budget, promises Jaitley

GN Bureau | January 16, 2016



Startup friendly tax measures will be announced in the forthcoming budget, said finance minister Arun Jaitley at the Start Up India event this morning. Investment company SoftBank Corp.’s founder Masayoshi Son, taxi-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc.’s founder Travis Kalanick and collaborative workspace provider WeWork founder Adam Neumann, among others, will interact with Indian start-ups and policymakers at the Start-up India in New Delhi today (Saturday). India’s aspiring generation will be watching out for what the prime minister Narendra Modi-led government will have for them.

With 4,200 enterprises, India already ranks third in the world in terms of the number of start-ups, behind the US and the UK. Saturday’s meet will see the government and the private sector brainstorm together on a common platform. Meanwhile, president Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday that India has “woken up” too late on it and owned up responsibility for the delay, while noting that he had been in administration earlier.

Mukherjee, while interacting with a delegation of CEOs from the Silicon Valley here, said India needs to grow at the rate of 10 per cent over period of next 10-15 years in order to address the issues of poverty and healthcare. “Some of you have correctly pointed out that they (new entrepreneurs) feel confident, they want to do..It is the job of the government to create the policy environment to encourage entrepreneurship. We have taken too long but nonetheless we have taken that decision. We have woken up,” he told the CEOs while referring to the ‘Start-Up’ campaign which is aimed at boosting entrepreneurship at grassroots level.

While talking about the delay in creating an environment enabling for small entrepreneurs, Mukherjee, who had served as Finance Minister in the previous UPA government, said, “I cannot pass on the buck to anybody. I will have to take the buck to myself because I was in administration too long.” He appreciated Modi for taking the initiative.

New law on juveniles' trial in heinous crimes comes into effect
With the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 coming into force from Friday and allowing for lower culpable age of a juvenile, such accused can now be tried as adults for heinous crimes. The act - lowering culpable age from 18 years to 16 years - was passed in the winter session by the Rajya Sabha and received presidential assent on December 31, 2015. It repeals the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000. Under Section 15 of the new law, special provisions have been made to tackle child offenders in the age group of 16-18 years who commit heinous crimes, a Ministry of Women and Child development release said. The Juvenile Justice Board is given the option to transfer cases of heinous offences by such children to a children’s court (court of sessions) after conducting preliminary assessment. The act provides for placing such offender children in a ‘place of safety’ both during and after the trial till they attain the age of 21, after which his/her evaluation shall be conducted by the children’s court. After the evaluation, the child is either released on probation and if not reformed, he/she will be sent to a jail for the remaining term.

Prior green clearance may soon be mandatory for new NCR home
The Supreme Court indicated on Friday it may insist on prior environmental clearance instead of post facto permission for all realty projects and warned builders against flouting green norms and “seducing gullible buyers”. “You cannot merrily construct without getting the clearances. Any stay will only perpetuate this illegality. At the threshold this is a double-edged weapon. You are misleading people, seducing them to buy such flats on one hand and on the other destroying the environment,” a three-judge bench headed by chief justice of India TS Thakur said. The court indicated it may restore an earlier National Green Tribunal (NGT) order which disallowed real estate builders from getting such post-facto approvals. The NGT had in July last year quashed a ministry of environment and forests circular that allowed post facto clearances. It said the circular couldn’t override an earlier notification which made green clearances mandatory before construction began. However, the NGT order was subsequently stayed last year. On Friday, the SC said it would reconsider the stay order and posted the matter for hearing on January 22.

RBI governor to meet bank chiefs next week on bad loans
Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan will meet bank chiefs next week to review the state of bad loans as stringent new provisioning norms could result in as much as Rs 70,000 crore being set aside to cover them, threatening the capital adequacy of the lenders. Rajan has set March 2017 as deadline for banks to clean up balance sheets and the meeting could be aimed at steering the lenders in that direction. In the first week of December, RBI had issued a list of 150 truant accounts and asked banks to downgrade these loans since they were showing signs of weakness.

Rahul Gandhi interacts with students at a Mumbai college
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is holding an interaction session with students at Mumbai's Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies this morning. Some of the points made by him are:
* Don't put labels on things and industries. Labels are human invention, not the Universe's.
* You must know what you are doing before doing it.
* When I was younger and sitting where you are I use to think lots of things need to be changed and change is relatively easy. Now, with experience, I know that change is not easy.
* I am happier living in India.

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