Taxation
Services to have 4-slab GST rates, no decision on gold
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council concluded its latest round of meetings on Friday with the decision to apply the same four tax rate slabs for services as for goods, exempting, however, healthcare and educational services from the purview of the GST.
 
Speaking to reporters here following the meeting, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said that no consensus could be reached on the rate to apply on gold, and that the next meeting of the GST Council has been fixed for June 4.
 
"We could not come to a decision in this meeting on the rate to apply on gold," Issac said. 
 
"Services will have the same four multi-slab structure of tax rates as for goods," he said. 
 
The council on Thursday approved the tax rates for 1,211 items, of which 7 per cent will be exempted, 14 per cent will be in the 5 per cent slab, 17 per cent in the 12 per cent category, 43 per cent in the 18 per cent segment, while 19 per cent of goods will go into the top tax bracket of 28 per cent.
 
"Services, which are at currently taxed 15 per cent will be fitted into the 18 per cent bracket. However, services will get the benefit of input tax credit for the goods used, so real incidence of taxation will be lower than the headline rate," Isaac added. 
 
He said that while "luxury services" would attract the highest rate of 28 per cent, health and education services would be exempt categories.
 
"Telecom services would continue to be taxed at the same rates of the past. Not in a single case has there been an increase in taxes from before," he added. 
 
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the media here on Thursday, after the first day of the council meeting, that "there is no increase in taxes of the items considered today. In fact, for many of them, taxes have come down." 
 
An overwhelming 81 per cent of items will attract tax of 18 per cent or below. Only 19 per cent of items will be taxed at the highest rate of 28 per cent.
 
Jaitley said that while the overall basket of taxes will see a reduction, he hoped for greater tax buoyancy because of greater efficiency and less tax evasion.
 
"On many commodities there would be reduction because of the cascading effect, but we are banking on the hope that because of a better tax system and less evasion there would be tax buoyancy," he said.
 
In a major measure of support to industry, the rate for capital goods, as well as industrial and intermediate items have been set at 18 per cent. 
 
Commenting on the GST Council's deliberations, a senior tax analyst said the rates announced were along expected lines.
 
"However, it seems a lot of work is yet to be done. Exemptions and issues related to reverse charge mechanism have not been finalised, and looks doubtful that it will be done in a day," said Taxmann.com Senior Consultant V.S Datey.
 
"Thus the chances of introducing GST by July 1 appears doubtful," he added.
 
"Companies would now quickly want to compute/re-compute the impact of rate change, if any, on their products and consequential change in their related margins," Partner in international accounting firm KPMG in India Harpreet Singh said in a statement here.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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With 180% growth, Chinese smartphone vendors set to wipe out Indian brands
Chinese vendors captured 49 per cent of the Indian mobile phone handset market in the first quarter of 2017 -- a 180 per cent (year-on-year) revenue growth -- threatening to wipe out domestic players from the overall handset segment, a report said on Friday.
 
According to research firm CyberMedia Research's (CMR) "India Quarterly Mobile Handset Market Review" report, mobile handsets market in India recorded revenues of Rs 346,295 million in the first quarter (January-March), down eight per cent sequentially quarter-on-quarter. 
 
Samsung of South Korea, and the Chinese Itel and Xiaomi were the top market players with 27 per cent, nine per cent and six per cent market share, respectively, in terms of volume. 
 
"In the smartphone arena, the Chinese brands have already kicked out domestic players from the top five list and in the near future, we will see Chinese players wiping out the Indian brands from the top five chart of overall mobile handset segment too," said Krishna Mukherjee, Telecom Analyst with CMR, in a statement. 
 
The Indian mobile handset market -- having leading brands Micromax, Intex and Lava -- is forecast to be at around 65 million units in the second quarter (April-June), and the growth will come from replacement/upgrade market that would continue to benefit the Chinese brands. 
 
"As this would be the last quarter before GST is implemented (on July 1), a lot of push by way of schemes and offers from various handset makers is expected during the quarter," the report added. 
 
Apple's entry into the 'Make in India' bandwagon via iPhoneSE will change the market dynamics as it will open up tough competition for Chinese players like Vivo and Oppo, which have been strong in the Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 price range.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Simple Indian

2 months ago

Despite the "Make in India" motto of this Modi Govt since 2014, it has done precious little to prevent Chinese goods flooding Indian market, which has been happening for over a decade now. The least this Narendra Modi Govt could do is levy heavy import duties on Chinese goods, so that domestic manufacturing sector can surge gradually, and undo years of onslaught by Chinese goods. But, sadly, this Govt has only been all talk, no walk. While I, like most people who voted for BJP in LS 2014 hoped that BJP will not be as corrupt and people-unfriendly as the Congress has been for most of the past 70 yrs, it has disappointed us hugely. Just as Congress remained in power due to the TINA factor, so does Modi, and the day an alternative emerges, it will be curtains for both Modi and his hypocritical party.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

2 months ago

I hope the Indian smartphone manufacturers will successfully withstand the tough competition in the smartphone arena.

Reporting ransomware, other cyber threats - your legal obligations
The Wannacry ransomware outbreak that continues to unravel across the globe is the latest in a long line of prominent cyber security threats. With time, these attacks are only likely to become more frequent, sophisticated and widespread.
 
The Indian IT Secretary recently stated that the impact of ransomware in India is currently limited to six incidents. In sharp contrast, other estimates peg attempts at over 48,000 and counting, with over 700 successful infections.
 
If the government figures belie (as they often do) the true impact of attacks such as Wannacry, this creates big problems for everyone.
 
For one, it delays the time specialised first-responders like the government's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) take to kick into high gear and take the necessary steps to prevent an online pandemic. It also creates a false sense of security in users who may not take critical steps at their level to prevent a much larger network attack.
 
An important step in ensuring the government is on the ball, is reporting such incidents to the authorities -- something that may not strike most people, but is the law, and non-reporting is punishable.
 
So what qualifies as a report-worthy "incident" under law?
 
Rules relating to CERT-In's functioning classify the following instances as those which are required to be mandatorily reported as soon as possible: (i) targeted scanning/probing of critical networks/systems (ii) Compromise of critical systems/information (iii) Unauthorised access of IT systems/data (iv) Defacement of website or intrusion into a website and unauthorised changes such as inserting malicious code, links to external websites, etc. (v) Malicious code attacks such as spreading of virus/worm/Trojan/botnets/spyware; (vi) Attacks on servers such as database, mail, and DNS and network devices such as routers (vii) Identity theft, spoofing and phishing attacks (viii) Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks (ix) Attacks on critical infrastructure, SCADA systems and wireless networks and (x) Attacks on applications such as e-governance, e-commerce, etc.
 
Most of these instances are self-explanatory, and the current ransomware attack falls within several of these categories -- (ii), (iii), (v), (vi) (vii) and (viii) all have elements of a ransomware attack.
 
If you find that you fall within one of the instances above, the next question that arises is who needs to report them and how.
 
Under the CERT-In Rules, the reporting requirement lies on "any individual, organisation or corporate entity affected by cyber security incidents" (which include the mandatory reportable incidents set out above, although the definition itself is wider). Reporting incidents to CERT-In can be through several channels (email [email protected], call the helpdesk at 1800-11-4949, or fax 1800-11-6969).
 
The website http://www.cert-in.org.in/ also provides an incident reporting form to be filled in, which must cover details such as the timing of the incident, affected systems, symptoms observed and relevant technical information.
 
If you are an enterprise user and have system administrators, the best person to carry out the reporting exercise would be the head of the team. Remember that the reporting is required as soon as possible, and a general yard-stick (though not specifically set) would be within 24 hours of the incident.
 
Although a direct penalty is not provided for under the CERT-In Rules, its umbrella legislation does, and non-reporting could attract one of several potential penalties (currently open to interpretation), ranging from Rs 5,000 a day or Rs 150,000 per failure, to Rs 100,000, imprisonment (yes) of up to one year, or a combination of the two.
 
Additional reporting requirements apply to "intermediaries" under the IT Act, banks are mandatorily required to specifically report cyber security incidents to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) within 2-6 hours (see https://tinyurl.com/moca57f and https://tinyurl.com/l5ajkqq), and telecom operators have a similar obligation under the Unified License Agreement where a breach of a license term (such as reporting) carries a hefty fine of Rs 50 crore for each breach.
 
Finally, if you're affected by ransomware and are being asked to pay a ransom in Bitcoin to decrypt your data, beware that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and the wallets and exchanges that enable Bitcoin transactions in India continue to function in a legal grey area, although some form of regulation is on the anvil.
 
Thus, beyond the practical problem of paying a ransom in Bitcoin and the attacker rescinding on his promise to decrypt your files, making such payments, especially overseas, could result in the RBI coming knocking at your door.
 
As a long-term strategy, individuals and organisations alike would do well to adapt industry best-practices relating to cyber security (whether or not they are mandated to do so by law), ensure that policies adopted in this regard are in sync with legal reporting requirements, and that all relevant stakeholders are made aware of what those requirements are and how to address them in a crisis situation.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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