below the line

| Updated on February 03, 2020

Twesh Mishra   -  Twesh Mishra

Nirvana Mode

Art installations being prepared at the State Bank of India, Local Head Office, Sansad Marg, New Delhi, leave all those who see them a bit intrigued. Wonder what Mudra SBI is hoping to achieve with these structures — Nirvana!

More rates to ponder

Thanks to the Budget’s attempt to provide a simpler personal income tax regime, several corporate honchos and the well-heeled burned the midnight oil or called up their consultants to do the math for them and help decide as to which regime to opt for — the new regime with more tax rates (and no exemptions) or stay with the existing one.

Whichever regime finds favour with the salaried and corporate honchos, one thing is for sure — tax computation has only got complicated with now as many as seven tax rates (nil, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30) to deal with as against the current regime of four rates (nil, 5, 20, 30). Indians need not only ‘Ease of Living’ but also ‘Ease of Computing Tax’, quipped economy watchers!

Expensive name

Last week, UrbanClap, decided to re-brand itself as Urban Company, an apt occasion for one of the co-founders to narrate an anecdote on how the original name of the platform was chosen.

Back in 2014, the three co-founders narrowed down on two possible options but while one of them was priced at nearly ₹2 lakh, the other one was a mere ₹270. No prizes for guessing which one the co-founders chose. A minuscule sum considering the company is valued by investors at over $933 million in the last funding round in 2019, making it close to joining the Unicorn Club.

RBI-Kotak truce

Now that the RBI and Uday Kotak (promoter of Kotak Mahindra Bank) have patched up their differences over promoter shareholding in the private bank, several bankers feel that the central bank has clearly blinked in this drama. Many see it as a victory for Uday Kotak as the agreement now reached between the RBI and Kotak Bank is a significant softening of stance by the regulator.

Some bankers even suggested that this was on expected lines given that Kotak is the blue-eyed banking industry leader of the current dispensation at the Centre. So will this mean that those promoters of banks who obtained licences in the last decade — under a new regulatory framework — too will get reprieve from promoter shareholding dilution norm? Unlikely. Kotak will still be a one-off case that cannot be taken as a precedent, feel legal pundits and banking industry insiders. Spare a thought for new age Indian entrepreneurs who want to build private banks in this de-globalising world.

Silent period or …

It has been over five months since the new Drug Controller General of India, VG Somani, took charge, but no meeting has taken place so far. A senior official from DCGI was heard saying that since five months there has not been a single meeting of the Drug Technical Advisory Board or Drug Consultation Committee, there have been no enforcement meetings, and there has not been a single action on any company for any alleged violation.

Income earned abroad

Even before the dust could settle on Nirmala Sitharaman’s second Budget, the Finance Ministry has issued a clarification in Finance Bill 2020. In a statement it said that the Bill has proposed that an Indian citizen shall be deemed to be resident in India, if he is not liable to be taxed in any country or jurisdiction. This is an anti-abuse provision since it is noticed that some Indian citizens shift their stay in low or no tax jurisdiction to avoid payment of tax in India.

The new provision is not intended to include in tax net those Indian citizens who are bona fide workers in other countries, it said, and blaming, of course, the media for sending a wrong signal.

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on February 03, 2020

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