June 16, 2019

India largely a non tax-compliant society: Jaitley

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An Indian one rupee coin is seen in this picture illustration taken in Mumbai . REUTERS/Files

GANDHINAGAR: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that India was substantially a non tax-compliant society and demonetisation can lead to more formal banking transactions, thus nudging the society towards more compliance.

“We are substantially in terms of taxation, a non-compliance society. The narrowness of our tax base is realised by the data. Formal transactions can lead to higher revenues, and make us more compliant,” Jaitley said here at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017.

“Excessive paper currency has its own vices. There is anonymity and no history to the cash. When it moves to the banking system it is going to be a major step towards integration of informal or shadow economy into a more formal economy,” he added.

With more efficient tax system and more digitisation, the economy would be cleaner, he added.

Talking about the inconvenience caused to various sectors because of the cash crunch due to demonetisation, he said difficult decisions initially pass through difficult phases.

“It can have temporary transient pain attacks, but in medium and long term, the roadmap on which country is destined to move can change,” he said.

Japan plans to have new emperor in 2019: Media

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Japan’s Emperor Akihito waving to well-wishers during his new year speech in Tokyo on January 2. (Photo | AFP)

TOKYO: Japan is planning for Emperor Akihito to retire and be replaced by his eldest son on January 1, 2019, reports said Wednesday, as the country works on a legal framework for its first abdication in 200 years. 

Akihito, 83, expressed a desire in August to abdicate after nearly three decades on the Chrysanthemum Throne, citing his advancing age and weakening health. 

Major national newspapers — the Yomiuri, Asahi, Mainichi and Nikkei — cited unnamed sources as saying Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, would succeed his father on New Year’s Day 2019.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to comment on the reports at his regular news conference on Wednesday.

After Akihito’s announcement last year, the government established a panel of experts to help decide how best to proceed as the issue is fraught with historical and legal challenges.

Though abdications have occurred in Japan’s long imperial history there hasn’t been one in 200 years and under current laws there is no legal mechanism for one. 

The six-member panel has discussed various legal options, with speculation rampant it will propose parliament pass a special one-time law to allow Akihito to step down.

The leading opposition Democratic Party, however, opposes a one-time change, arguing that would not ensure stable future successions. It has advocated a revision to the permanent law that governs the imperial family.

Abdication is a highly sensitive issue in light of Japan’s modern history of war waged in the name of Akihito’s father, the late emperor Hirohito who died in 1989.

Some scholars and politicians worry that the abdication issue could open a can of worms and risk Japan’s monarchs — constitutionally constrained to being  the symbol of the nation — becoming subject to political manipulation.

The panel is expected to compile a summary of its views on the issue in January.

Akihito has keenly embraced the symbolic role imposed on the imperial family after Japan’s defeat in World War II. 

Previous emperors including his father, Hirohito, had been treated as semi-divine.

UP polls: BJP recommends to party high command of candidates list

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NEW DELHI: In Uttar Pradesh, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders held a brainstorming meeting with the core group yesterday to shortlist candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections. 

The meeting authorised party state president Keshav Prasad Maurya to hand over the list of the probable candidates recommended by the Election Committee to the central parliamentary board. 

A senior party leader said the committee had deliberations on all 403 seats and has identified the candidates, adding that the list will be sent to the national high command, which will take a final call on the candidates. 

There are 23 sitting legislators from parties like Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal, who have joined BJP in recent months. 

The list includes former leader of opposition in Vidhan Sabha Swami Prasad Maurya, former Congress state president Rita Bahuguna Joshi and leader of RLD Legislature Party Dalbir Singh.

US senators unveil Russia sanctions bill after intel report

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(File Photo | AP) U.S. Senator John McCain, right, speaks with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, left, at the IISS Summit in Singapore

WASHINGTON: Several US senators including Republicans critical of President-elect Donald Trump’s skepticism of alleged Kremlin-ordered hacking joined forces Tuesday to introduce sanctions against Russia for interfering in the US election.

The five Democrats and five Republicans laid out expansive new punishments including visa bans and financial asset freezes against those determined to have carried out cyberattacks against US Democratic offices.

“We should all be alarmed by Russian attacks on our nation,” Senate Republican John McCain told reporters, as he also criticized President Barack Obama’s outgoing administration for failing to craft a strong strategy for cyber deterrence.

“This appearance of weakness has been provocative to our adversaries,” he said.

Obama imposed sanctions on Moscow late last year after the US intelligence community concluded that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee and other US institutions with the intent to influence the 2016 election.

“We believe we can go further,” said Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017 would impose mandatory sanctions on Russia’s vast energy sector and on companies that invest in or help develop its civil nuclear projects. 

The measure is in part meant as retribution for Russia’s incursions in eastern Ukraine and its controversial annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The bill would mandate sanctions on investments in the development of Russian civil nuclear projects and of the Russian energy pipelines.

Republican sponsors of the measure include McCain, Robert Portman, Ben Sasse, and 2016 presidential hopefuls Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio.

Graham, who has been critical of Trump in the past, said he was “not trying to undermine the legitimacy of President-elect Trump’s victory” by highlighting Russia’s intention to impact the election and American democracy.

“My advice to him is that… it is now time to push back.”

Trump has said he wants better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he has rejected implications that Russian hacking of Democratic emails helped him win the election. 

He has also called US intelligence agencies’ actions and conclusions into question.

The legislation would provide the White House with the ability to waive the sanctions.

Whether or not it gets passed and signed into law before Obama leaves office on January 20, the bill would exert pressure on Trump, whose skepticism about Russian hacking has startled Democrats and Republicans alike.

“None of us know the position of the president-elect, but we do know and should know the position of the Congress,” McCain said.

The bill also would form a high-level task force within the Treasury Department’s financial crimes and enforcement network that would target illicit Russian financial flows that interact with the US financial system.

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