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Finance Ministry rules out farm loan waiver

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 26, 2021

Hand sanitizer not medicament, but disinfectant, says Ministry

The Finance Ministry has ruled out any farm loan waiver. In a reply to a query on the issue in Lok Sabha, the Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad said, “There is no proposal under consideration of the Union Government to waive off farm loans.”

Using data from NABARD, it said that as on March 31, 2021, over ₹16.80 lakh crore amount was outstanding in more than 13.85 crore accounts.

No official estimate of black money

On a question on black money in the question and answer session in the House, Pankaj Chaudhary, Minister of State for Finance, said in a written reply that there is no official estimate of the black money stashed in Swiss Bank for last 10 years. He informed the House that as on May 31, 2021, assessment orders under the Black Money Act, 2015 have been passed in 166 cases, wherein demand of ₹8,216 crores has been raised.

He further said undisclosed income of ₹8,465 crore (approximately) has been brought to tax and penalty of ₹1,294 crore has been levied in HSBC cases. Undisclosed income of ₹11,010 crore (approx.) has been detected in ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) cases. In the Panama Papers Leaks cases, undisclosed credits of ₹20,078 crore (approx.) have been detected. And in the Paradise Papers Leaks cases, undisclosed credits of ₹246 crores (approx.) have been detected, he said.

Also read: Alcohol-based hand sanitisers do not contain medicinal properties: AAAR

To a question on cyber risks, Karad said that as per the information reported to and tracked by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a total of 454, 472, 280 and 138 phishing incidents were observed during the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 (up to June) respectively. Further, the number of financial fraud incidents affecting automated teller machines (ATMs), cards, point of sale (PoS) systems and the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) have been reported as six, four, four and four during the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 (up to June) respectively, he said.

In a written response to starred question, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed Lok Sabha that as per the HSN (Harmonised System of Nomenclature) Classification reference, for Covid-19 medical supplies, prepared jointly by the World Customs Organization and World Health Organization, hand sanitizers have been classified HS sub-heading ‘3808 94’, describing it as – a liquid or gel generally used to decrease infectious agents on the hands. . Therefore, hand sanitizers are globally classified under this sub-heading as ‘disinfectant’. HSN, as used globally, is the basis of classification of goods in GST and Customs (for international trade).

She acknowledged representations received from industry bodies to consider hand sanitizer as ‘medicament’ as well as to consider reduction of rate of GST from 18 per cent. “ GST Council has not recommended any change to the present classification that is based on globally followed HSN system,” she said. However, for a brief period (June 14-September 30), GST rate on hand sanitizers has been reduced to 5 per cent from 18 per cent.

Published on July 26, 2021

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