TV host asks atheist Stephen Fry question about God, you have to watch what happens next

Stephen Fry is an unapologetic atheist, so if you’re going to ask him a question about God then you better be prepared.

One who was not quite so ready was Gay Byrne, who was interviewing the newly-married broadcaster on his show The Meaning Of Life.

On his show, he likes to ask guests that when you die, you’ll walk up to the pearly gates and you’re confronted by God, what will you say to him?

‘I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare you?’ Fry responds to a totally stunned Byrne.

‘How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil.

‘Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God that creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain?’

Flabbergasted, Byrne sputters out: ‘And you think you’re going to get in?…’

‘But I wouldn’t want to,’ Fry confirms. ‘I wouldn’t want to get in on his terms.’

It’s incredible television.

Watch the whole video below

India’s Dr. Datsons Labs Ink Marketing And Supply Agreement with Yemen’s AL-MUGDH PHARMA to sell its drugs in YEMEN.

Yemen Deal

India’s Dr. Datsons Labs Ink Marketing And Supply Agreement with Yemen’s AL-MUGDH PHARMA to sell its drugs in YEMEN.

Dr. Datsons Labs to export Anti-Malarial Drugs worth 80 Crore to Yemen, deal to boost Dr. Datson’s export business.

Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd, India and AL-MUGDH PHARMA of Yemen have signed a licensing, distribution and supply deal, under which the distribution company will market Anti-Malarial Drugs. Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd, HSL Code: AANLIF, BSE Code: 533412, NSE Symbol: DRDATSONS,ISIN INE928K01013 should trade higher after entering into a binding Memorandum of Understanding with Almugdh Pharma, Yemen to distribute its anti-malarial product. Shares of Dr.Datsons Labs Limited was last trading in BSE at Rs.6.70 as compared to the previous close of Rs. 6.97. Once the darling of the stock market, Dr. Datsons Labs has been on a series of downfalls following the market conditions. Experts believe that with the new Management at the helm effected by the Board this month, some aggressive actions may be noticed including the deals underway with overseas companies for capital inflow.  The Company is also looking to widen its product basket to cater to the regulated & semi regulated market.

According to Mr. Sameer Talim, CEO, Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd, “the talk between the two companies was going on for the last six months & there are certain regulatory aspects that need to be addressed before the commercialization of the 5 products to be exported to AL-MUGDH PHARMA. These products include Codeine Phosphate U.S.P. – 30 mg , ARTESUNATE 100 MG + AMODIAQUINE 270 MG, MEFLOQUINE HCL 250MG+ARTESUNATE 200MG, ARTESUNATE 50 MG + AMODIAQUINE 153 MG,QUININE SULPHATE 300 MG. “. Dr. Datsons Labs is revamping its factory in Pune to cater to the overseas market. The estimated order for the Yemen is to the tune of 80 crore. We also have a commitment to manufacture Nutraceuticals for Belgium company Eubage which is awaiting for the final clearances.

It may be note that The pharmaceutical market in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and specially Yemen is growing rapidly and is projected to grow into an estimated US$10-billion industry by 2020. There were 46 pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in the GCC and Yemen in 2010. The combined investments of the region in this sector during the same year stood at US$830-million, providing jobs for 8,000 people, yet the region still imports the bulk of its medicines. This industry was growing six percent annually but local pharmaceutical companies have not been able to meet this growth. The GCC and Yemen was currently importing 90% of its medicines. “There are significant opportunities for growth and expansion of this sector in the GCC so that in future it will be able to meet a substantial part of the requirements of the region with the possibility of exporting them to neighboring countries,”

AL-MUGDH PHARMA is Yemen’s leading healthcare firm engaged in import, distribution and marketing agents of pharmaceuticals , medical disposables and medical appliances. Ministry Of Health, Chamber Of Commerce and Ministry of Industry and Trade has recognized AL-MUGDH PHARMA  as one of the leading Pharmaceutical importer , wholesaler and distributors for branded & amp; generic products of major multinationals , & amp; Multinational companies and surgical products , Eye drops & it has a good base of clients, a net of distributors equipped with all facilities and well educated and trained ones.

Dr.Datsons Labs Ltd., formerly Aanjaneya Lifecare Limited, is an India-based integrated pharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing capabilities in Contract Research and Manufacturing Services, and active pharmaceutical ingredients. The Company focuses on anti-malarial and finished dosage forms (FDFs), catering to diverse therapeutic segments. The Company manufactures second generation anti-malarial APIs like quinine and salts as well as third generation anti-malarial products like Artemisinin-based salts. The Company engages in contract manufacturing for leading Indian pharmaceutical brands namely Wockhardt, Cipla, Zydus Cadila, Lupin and Glenmark, among others.  The Company’s subsidiaries include Eros Pharmachem Pte Limited, Aanj Pharmalabs Limited Fze, Fair Success (Hongkong) Limited and Dr. Datsons Labs Limited (the United Kingdom.

 

Union Budget proposed law — the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill — to fight black money at home. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley talks tough action

If the previous NDA regime’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) became an instrument of misuse and human rights violations by the authorities, new laws outlined in the budget to fight black money threaten to put similar unbridled powers in the hands of enforcement agencies.

Concealment of income and assets and evasion of tax in relation to foreign assets will be prosecutable with punishment of rigorous imprisonment (RI) up to 10 years, and offenders will not be permitted to approach the Settlement Commission; those caught concealing income and assets will be penalised at 300% of the tax due. And not filing returns or inadequately disclosing foreign assets in those returns could result in seven years’ RI.

The measures evoked a strong response from industrialists and Opposition alike.

“The black money law is draconian with imprisonment even for minor transgressions, and it will be a source of harassment. It will also turn out to be ineffective in the absence of sophisticated information gathering systems,” said Mohandas Pai, former finance head of Infosys.

Manish Tewari, senior Congress leader and Supreme Court lawyer who deals in tax matters, said, “It’s simply the re-introduction of FERA. It is, in fact, far more draconian than FERA. It is going to put a huge amount of power in the hands of the Enforcement Directorate, which is really not known for its outstanding probity. But the fundamental question is: If you are sincere in your intention to unearth black money, why this distinction between black money stashed abroad and in India?”

Jaitley announced another proposed law — the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill — to fight black money at home. The bill will be introduced this Parliament session.

“This law will enable confiscation of benami property and provide for prosecution, thus, blocking a major avenue for generation and holding of black money in the form of benami property, especially in real estate,” he said.

Changes in income tax laws will be made so that, effective June 1, all transactions such as loans or deposits or advances for transfer of immovable property are done through an account payee cheque or account payee bank draft or by electronic clearing system through a bank account, if the amount of the loan or deposit is Rs 20,000 or higher.

Jaitley also raised the outlay for the special investigation team (SIT) on black money by nearly 10% to Rs 45.39 crore to help expand its infrastructure and logistics procurement capabilities.

Union Budget proposed law — the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill — to fight black money at home. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley talks tough action

States to be equal partners in economic growth; move to making India cashless society; social sector programmes to continue.

Full Speech of Finance Minister

Stock market participants gave thumbs up to the Union Budget 2015, with some terming it as “dream budget”, following promise of lower corporate taxes and deferral of GAAR. “Overall it was a dream budget. Corporate taxes down, GAAR postponed, crackdown on illegal money, wealth tax abolished. Major takeaways from the budget 2015 were high stress on Make in India, rural development this will surly bring a surge in job creations.

 

CONTENTS

 

PART – A

                                                                                                            Page No.

                    Introduction                                                                             1

                    Major Challenges Ahead                                                        5

                    Fiscal Roadmap                                                                       6

                    Good Goverance                                                                      6

                    Agriculture                                                                               7

                    Funding the Unfunded                                                           8

                    From Jan Dhan to Jan Suraksha                                           9

                    Infrastructure                                                                        10

                    Financial Markets                                                                  12

                    Monetising Gold                                                                    13

                    Investment                                                                              14

                    Safe India                                                                               14

                    Tourism                                                                                  14

                    Green India                                                                            15

                    Skill India                                                                               15

                    Digital India                                                                           17

                    Budget Estimates                                                                   18

 

PART – B

 

                    TAX PROPOSALS                                                              19

                              Conclusion                                                                 27

                              Annexure                                                                   28

                    Annexure to Part – B                                                              

                               (a)     Direct Taxes                                                        30

                               (b)     Indirect Taxes                                                      36

 

Budget  2015-2016

 

Speech  of

Arun Jaitley

Minister of Finance

 

February 28,  2015

 

Madam Speaker,

I rise to present the Budget of the Union for the year 2015-16.

  1. I present this Budget in an economic environment which is far more positive than in the recent past. When other economies are facing serious challenges, India is about to take-off on a faster growth trajectory once again. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its earlier forecast of global economic growth by 0.3%, and the World Trade Organization has revised its forecast of world trade growth from 5.3% to 4%. Forecasts for India, however, have either been upgraded, or remained the same, without downgrades.  Madam Speaker, we have also embraced the States as equal partners in the process of economic growth.  States have been economically empowered more than ever before and it is my belief that every rupee of public expenditure, whether undertaken by the Centre or the States, will contribute to the betterment of people’s lives through job creation, poverty elimination and economic growth.
  2. In the last nine months, the NDA Government headed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has undertaken several significant steps to energise the economy. The credibility of the Indian economy has been re-established.  The world is predicting that it is India’s chance to fly.

Kuch to phool khilaye humne, aur kuch phool khilane hai

Mushkil yeh hai bag me ab tak, kaante kai purane hai

  1. Though the Union Budget is essentially a Statement of Account of public finances, it has historically become a significant opportunity to indicate the direction and the pace of India’s economic policy. My proposals, therefore, lay out the roadmap for accelerating growth, enhancing investment and passing on the benefit of the growth process to the common man, woman, youth and child: those, whose quality of life needs to be improved.  This is the path which we will doggedly and relentlessly pursue.  As the Prime Minister has often said, we are a round-the-clock, round-the-year Government.
  2. Madam, allow me to describe the changes in the Indian economy since we first took office. In November, 2012, CPI inflation, stood at 11.2%, the current account deficit by the first quarter of 2013-14 had reached 4.6% of GDP, and normal foreign inflows until March 2014 were $15 billion.  We inherited a sentiment of, if I may say so, doom and gloom, and the investor community had almost written us off.
  3. We have come a long way since then. The latest CPI inflation rate is 5.1%, and the wholesale price inflation is negative; the current account deficit for this year is expected to be below 1.3% of GDP; based on the new series, real GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 7.4%, making India the fastest growing large economy in the world; foreign inflows since April 2014 have been about $55 billion, so that our foreign exchange reserves have increased to a record $340 billion; the rupee has become stronger by 6.4% against a broad basket of currencies; and ours was the second-best performing stock market amongst the major economies.  In short, Madam Speaker, we have turned around the economy dramatically, restoring macro-economic stability and creating the conditions for sustainable poverty elimination, job creation and durable double-digit economic growth. Domestic and international investors are seeing us with renewed interest and hope.
  4. While being mindful of the challenges, Madam Speaker, this gives us reason to feel optimistic. With all the humility at my command, I submit that this opportunity has arisen because we have created it. The people of India had voted resoundingly for quick change, faster growth and highest levels of transparency. They wanted the scam, scandal and corruption Raj to end. They wanted a Government in which they can trust. We have lived up to that trust.
  5. Our actions have not been confined to the core or macro-economic areas alone. Illustratively, action has been taken with regard to allocation of natural resources; financial inclusion; health and hygiene of the common man; girls and their education; employment for the youth; improved and non-adversarial tax administration; effective delivery of benefits; investment and job creation; welfare of labour; agricultural productivity and increasing farm incomes; power; digital connectivity; skilling our youth; efficient and better work culture in Government; ease of doing business; mainstreaming North Eastern States; and, reviving our pride in the nation and culture.  I am giving the details in an Annexure to this speech.
  6. Madam Speaker, of the work that we have done, I would like to talk of three achievements as they demonstrate the quality and conviction of our government. One is the success of the Jan Dhan Yojana.  Financial inclusion has been talked about for decades now.  Who would have thought that in a short period of 100 days, over 12.5 crore families could have been brought into the financial mainstream?  The other is coal auctions.  Earlier, the States only got benefits of royalty. Now, by the transparent auction process that we are carrying out, the coal bearing States will be getting several lakh of crore of rupees which they can use for creation of long awaited community assets and for welfare of their people.
  7. The third is ‘Swachh Bharat’ which we have been able to transform into a movement to regenerate India. I can speak of, for example, the 50 lakh toilets already constructed in 2014-15, and I can also assure the Members of this august House that we will indeed attain the target of building six crore toilets.  But, Madam, Swachh Bharat is not only a programme of hygiene and cleanliness but, at a deeper level, a programme for preventive health care, and building awareness.
  8. We are now embarked on two more game changing reforms. GST and what the Economic Survey has called the JAM Trinity – Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile – to implement direct transfer of benefits.  GST will put in place a state-of-the-art indirect tax system by 1st April, 2016.  The JAM Trinity will allow us to transfer benefits in a leakage-proof, well-targetted and cashless manner.
  9. Madam Speaker, one of the major achievements of my government has been to conquer inflation. This decline, in my view, represents a structural shift.  Going forward, we expect CPI inflation to remain at close to 5% by the end of the year.  This will allow for further easing of monetary policy.
  10. To ensure that our victory over inflation is institutionalized and hence continues, we have concluded a Monetary Policy Framework Agreement with the RBI, as I had promised in my Budget Speech for 2014-15. This Framework clearly states the objective of keeping inflation below 6%.  We will move to amend the RBI Act this year, to provide for a Monetary Policy Committee.
  11. The Central Statistics Office has recently released a new series for GDP, which involves a number of changes relative to the old series. Based on the new series, estimated GDP growth for 2014-15 is 7.4%. Growth in 2015-16 is expected to be between 8 to 8.5%. Aiming for a double-digit rate seems feasible very soon.
  12. I now come to the task ahead of us. In respect of social and economic indicators, for seven decades now, we have worked in terms of percentages, and numbers of beneficiaries covered. It is quite obvious that incremental change is not going to take us anywhere.  We have to think in terms of a quantum jump.
  13. The year 2022 will be the Amrut Mahotsav, the 75th year, of India’s independence. The vision of what the Prime Minister has called ‘Team India’, led by the States and guided by the Central Government, should include:

(i)         A roof for each family in India.  The call given for ‘Housing for all’ by 2022 would require Team India to complete 2 crore houses in urban areas and 4 crore houses in rural areas.

(ii)        Each house in the country should have basic facilities of 24-hour power supply, clean drinking water, a toilet, and be connected to a road.

(iii)       At least one member from each family should have access to the means for livelihood and, employment or economic opportunity, to improve his or her lot.

(iv)       Substantial reduction of poverty.  All our schemes should focus on and centre around the poor. Each of us has to commit ourselves to this task of eliminating absolute poverty.

(v)        Electrification, by 2020, of the remaining 20,000 villages in the  country, including by off-grid solar power generation.

(vi)       Connecting each of the 1,78,000 unconnected habitations by all weather roads.  This will require completing 1,00,000 km of roads currently under construction plus sanctioning and building another 1,00,000 km of road.

(vii)      Good health is a necessity for both quality of life, and a person’s productivity and ability to support his or her family.  Providing medical services in each village and city is absolutely essential.

(viii)     Educating and skilling our youth to enable them to get employment is the altar before which we must all bow.  To ensure that there is a senior secondary school within 5 km reach of each child, we need to upgrade over 80,000 secondary schools and add or upgrade 75,000 junior/middle, to the senior secondary level.  We also have to ensure that education improves in terms of quality and learning outcomes.

(ix)       Increase in agricultural productivity and realization of reasonable prices for agricultural production is essential for the welfare of rural areas.  We should commit to increasing the irrigated area, improving the efficiency of existing irrigation systems, promoting agro-based industry for value addition and increasing farm incomes, and reasonable prices for farm produce.

(x)        In terms of communication, the rural and urban divide should no longer be acceptable to us.  We have to ensure connectivity to all the villages without it.

(xi)       Two-thirds of our population is below 35.  To ensure that our young get proper jobs, we have to aim to make India the manufacturing hub of the world.  The Skill India and the Make in India programmes are aimed at doing this.

(xii)      We also have to encourage and grow the spirit of entrepreneurship in India and support new start-ups.  Thus can our youth turn from being job-seekers, to job-creators.

(xiii)     The Eastern and North Eastern regions of our country are lagging behind in development on many fronts. We need to ensure that they are on par with the rest of the country.

  1. By the time of the 75th year of Indian independence, Amrut Mahotsav of our independence is reached, we have to achieve all of the above, so that India becomes a prosperous country; and a responsible global power.  This will be our true and meaningful tribute to our freedom fighters.

Major Challenges Ahead

  1. As I stated earlier, Madam Speaker, I am also mindful of the five major challenges I have to reckon with. Firstly, Agricultural incomes are under stress.  Our second challenge is increasing investment in infrastructure.  With private investment in infrastructure via the public private partnership (PPP) model still weak, public investment needs to step in, to catalyse investment.
  2. Our third major challenge is that manufacturing has declined from 18% to 17% of GDP as per new GDP data; and manufacturing exports have remained stagnant at about 10% of GDP. The Make in India programme is aimed at meeting this challenge, thus creating jobs.
  3. Fourth, we need to be mindful of the need for fiscal discipline in spite of rising demands for public investment. In keeping with the true spirit of co-operative federalism, we have devolved a 42% share of the divisible pool of taxes to States. As members of this august House are aware, this is an unprecedented increase which would empower states with more resources. The devolution to the States would be of the order of `5.24 lakh crore in 2015-16 as against the devolution of `3.38 lakh crore as per revised estimates of 2014-15.  Another `3.04 lakh crore would be transferred by way of grants and plan transfers.  Thus, total transfer to the States will be about 62% of the total tax receipts of the country.
  4. In spite of the consequential reduced fiscal space for the Centre, the Government has decided to continue supporting important national priorities such as agriculture, education, health, MGNREGA, and rural infrastructure including roads. Programmes targeted for the poor and the under-privileged, will be continued by us.
  5. With fiscal space not just reduced but squeezed, I have to meet the fifth challenge of maintaining fiscal discipline. Economic growth this year, at 11.5%, was lower in nominal terms by about 2%, due to lower inflation.  Consequently, tax buoyancy was also significantly lower.  Despite this, Madam, I have kept my word, and we will meet the challenging fiscal deficit target of 4.1% of GDP, that we had inherited.  Madam Speaker, I need to overcome these challenges to reduce and eliminate poverty.

Fiscal Roadmap

  1. I want to underscore that my government still remains firm on achieving the medium term target of 3% of GDP. But that journey has to take account of the need to increase public investment.  The total additional public investment over and above the RE is planned to be `1.25 lakh crore out of which `70,000 crore would be capital expenditure from budgetary outlays.  We also have to take into account the drastically reduced fiscal space; uncertainties that implementation of GST will create; and the likely burden from the report of the 7th Pay Commission.  Rushing into, or insisting on, a pre-set time-table for fiscal consolidation pro-cyclically would, in my opinion, not be pro-growth.  With the economy improving, the pressure for accelerated fiscal consolidation too has decreased.  In these circumstances, I will complete the journey to a fiscal deficit of 3% in 3 years, rather than the two years envisaged previously.  Thus, for the next three years, my targets are: 3.9%, for 2015-16; 3.5% for
    2016-17; and, 3.0% for 2017-18.  The additional fiscal space will go towards funding infrastructure investment.
  2. I am moving amendments accordingly, in the Finance Bill, to the FRBM Act.
  3. Madam Speaker, I want to round up the discussion on the fiscal road map on an optimistic note. While there is a compositional shift, the aggregate envelope for job creation, poverty elimination and building infrastructure is not disturbed; in fact it goes up this year, and every subsequent year, in the same proportion as the tax revenues of the Union, and the State Governments increase.  From this national perspective of public finances, not only is the path to fiscal consolidation on track, aggregate annual capital expenditure of the Governments, as a whole, can be expected to rise  significantly, by more than 0.5% of GDP.
  4. Madam Speaker, it may be noted that the budget reflects considerable scaling up of disinvestment figures. This will include both disinvestment in loss making units, and some strategic disinvestment.

Good Governance

  1. Madam, Speaker, this Government is committed in its resolve, as Indians, to regain our pre-eminence as a just and compassionate country. Well-intentioned schemes  introduced in the past, have often been ill-targeted, riddled with leakages and delivered with inefficiency.  The same is true of subsidies.  Subsidies are needed for the poor and those less well off. What we need is a well targeted system of subsidy delivery. We need to cut subsidy leakages, not subsidies themselves.We are committed to the process of rationalizing subsidies based on this approach.
  2. We have embarked on that path. The direct transfer of benefits, started mostly in scholarship schemes, will be further expanded with a view to increasing the number of beneficiaries from the present 1 crore to 10.3 crore.  Similarly, `6,335 crore have so far been transferred directly, as LPG subsidy to 11.5 crore LPG consumers.  I am sure, persons who are better-off, such as those in the top tax bracket, and those genuinely concerned for the welfare of the poor, such as members of this House, will give up their LPG subsidy voluntarily.

Agriculture

  1. Our commitment to farmers runs deep. We have already taken major steps to address the two major factors critical to agricultural production: soil and water.  An ambitious Soil Health Card Scheme has been launched to improve soil fertility on a sustainable basis.  In order to improve soil health, I also propose to support Agiculture Ministry’s organic farming scheme – “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana”.  The Pradhanmantri Gram Sinchai Yojana is aimed at irrigating the field of every farmer and improving water use efficiency to provide `Per Drop More Crop’.  I am allocating `5,300 crore to support micro-irrigation, watershed development and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.  I urge the States to chip in substantially in this vital sector.
  2. To support the agriculture sector with the help of effective and hassle-free agriculture credit, with a special focus on small and marginal farmers,
    I propose to allocate `25,000 crore in 2015-16 to the corpus of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) set up in NABARD; `15,000 crore for Long Term Rural Credit Fund; `45,000 crore for Short Term Cooperative Rural Credit Refinance Fund; and `15,000 crore for Short Term RRB Refinance Fund.
  3. Farm credit underpins the efforts of our hard-working farmers. I have, therefore, set up an ambitious target of `8.5 lakh crore of credit during the year 2015-16 which, I am sure, the banks will surpass.
  4. Our government is committed to supporting employment through MGNREGA. We will ensure that no one who is poor is left without employment. We will focus on improving the quality and effectiveness of activities under MGNREGA. I have made an initial allocation of `34,699 crore for the programme.
  5. While the farmer is no longer in the clutches of the local trader, his produce still does not command the best national price. To increase the incomes of farmers, it is imperative that we create a National agricultural market, which will have the incidental benefit of moderating price rises. I intend this year to work with the States, in NITI, for the creation of a Unified National Agriculture Market.

Funding the Unfunded

  1. Madam Speaker, our government firmly believes that development has to generate inclusive growth. While large corporate and business entities have a role to play, this has to be complemented by informal sector enterprises which generate maximum employment. There are some 5.77 crore small business units, mostly individual proprietorship, which run small manufacturing, trading or service businesses. 62% of these are owned by SC/ST/OBC.  These bottom-of-the-pyramid, hard-working entrepreneurs find it difficult, if not impossible, to access formal systems of credit.  I, therefore, propose to create a Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank,  with a corpus of `20,000 crore, and credit guarantee corpus of `3,000 crore.  MUDRA Bank will  refinance Micro-Finance Institutions through a Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. In lending, priority will be given to SC/ST enterprises. These measures will greatly increase the confidence of young, educated or skilled workers who would now be able to aspire to become first generation entrepreneurs; existing small businesses, too,  will be able to expand their activities. Just as we are banking the un-banked, we are also funding the un-funded.
  2. A significant part of the working capital requirement of a MSME arises due to long receivables realization cycles. We are in the process of establishing an electronic Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) financing of trade receivables of MSMEs, from corporate and other buyers, through multiple financiers.  This should improve the liquidity in the MSME sector significantly.
  3. Bankruptcy law reform, that brings about legal certainty and speed, has been identified as a key priority for improving the ease of doing business. SICA (Sick Industrial Companies Act) and BIFR (Bureau for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction) have failed in achieving these objectives.  We will bring a comprehensive Bankruptcy Code in fiscal 2015-16, that will meet global standards and provide necessary judicial capacity.
  4. The Government is committed to increasing access of the people to the formal financial system. In this context, Government proposes to utilize the vast Postal network with nearly 1,54,000 points of presence spread across the villages of the country.  I hope that the Postal Department will make its proposed Payments Bank venture successful so that it contributes further to the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.
  5. To bring parity in regulation of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) with other financial institutions in matters relating to recovery, it is proposed that NBFCs registered with RBI and having asset size of `500 crore and above will be considered for notifications as ‘Financial Institution’ in terms of the SARFAESI Act, 2002.

From Jan Dhan to Jan Suraksha

  1. A large proportion of India’s population is without insurance of any kind – health, accidental or life. Worryingly, as our young population ages, it is also going to be pension-less.  Encouraged by the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, I propose to work towards creating a universal social security system for all Indians, specially the poor and the under-privileged.
  2. The soon-to-be-launched Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna will cover accidental death risk of `2 lakh for a premium of just `12 per year. Similarly, we will also launch the Atal Pension Yojana, which will provide a defined pension, depending on the contribution, and its period. To encourage people to join this scheme, the Government will contribute 50% of the beneficiaries’ premium limited to `1,000 each year, for five years, in the new accounts opened before 31st December, 2015.
  3. The third Social Security Scheme that I wish to announce is the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana which covers both natural and accidental death risk of `2 lakhs. The premium will be `330 per year, or less than one rupee per day, for the age group 18-50.
  4. There are unclaimed deposits of about `3,000 crore in the PPF, and approximately `6,000 crore in the EPF corpus. I have proposed the creation of a Senior Citizen Welfare Fund, in the Finance Bill, for appropriation of these amounts to a corpus which will be used to subsidize the premiums of vulnerable groups such as old age pensioners, BPL card-holders, small and marginal farmers and others. A detailed scheme would be issued in March.
  5. Madam Speaker, special regard needs to be paid to the population of senior citizens in the country which is now approximately 10.5 crore, out of which over one crore are above the age of 80 years. 70% live in rural areas and a large number are in the BPL category.  A sizeable percentage of them also suffer from age related disabilities.  Ours is a society that venerates its elders.
    I, therefore, propose that a new scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted Living Devices for senior citizens, living below the poverty line.
  6. In sum, these social security schemes reflect our commitment to utilize the Jan Dhan platform, to ensure that no Indian citizen will have to worry about illness, accidents, or penury in old age. Being sensitive to the needs of the poor, under-privileged and the disadvantaged, my Government also remains committed to the ongoing welfare schemes for the SCs, STs and Women. Despite serious constraints on Union finances, allocations made this year are as follows:

            SC                                         ` 30,851 crore

            ST                                         ` 19,980 crore

            Women                                 ` 79,258 crore

  1. An integrated education and livelihood scheme called ‘Nai Manzil’ will be launched this year to enable Minority Youth who do not have a formal school-leaving certificate to obtain one and find better employment. Further, to show-case civilization and culture of the Parsis, the Government will support, in2015-16, an exhibition, ‘The Everlasting Flame’. The allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs is being protected. The BE for the year 2015-16 is `3,738 crore.

Infrastructure

  1. Madam, it is no secret that the major slippage in the last decade has been on the infrastructure front. Our infrastructure does not match our growth ambitions. There is a pressing need to increase public investment.  I have, therefore, increased outlays on both the roads and the gross budgetary support to the railways, by `14,031 crore, and `10,050 crore respectively.   The CAPEX of the public sector units is expected to be ` 3,17,889 crore, an increase of approximately `80,844 crore over RE 2014-15. In fact, all told, investment in infrastructure will go up by `70,000  crore in the year 2015-16, over the year 2014-15 from the Centre’s Funds and resources of CPSEs.
  2. Secondly, I intend to establish a National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), and find monies to ensure an annual flow of ` 20,000 crore to it. This will enable the Trust to raise debt, and in turn, invest as equity, in infrastructure finance companies such as the IRFC and NHB.  The infrastructure finance companies can then leverage this extra equity, many fold.  Thirdly, I also intend to permit tax free infrastructure bonds for the projects in the rail, road and irrigation sectors.  Fourth, the PPP mode of infrastructure development has to be revisited, and revitalised.  The major issue involved is rebalancing of risk. In infrastructure projects, the sovereign will have to bear a major part of the risk without, of course, absorbing it entirely.
  3. Fifth, I also intend to establish, in NITI, the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). AIM will be an Innovation Promotion Platform involving academics, entrepreneurs, and researchers and draw upon national and international experiences to foster a culture of innovation, R&D and scientific research in India. The platform will also promote a network of world-class innovation hubs and Grand Challenges for India.  Initially, a sum of ` 150 crore will be earmarked for this purpose.
  4. India has a well regarded and world-class IT industry with revenues of about US$ 150 billion, over US$ 100 billion of exports, employing nearly 40 lakh people directly. We are now seeing a growing interest in start-ups.  Experimenting in cutting edge technologies, creating value out of ideas and initiatives and converting them into scalable enterprises and businesses is at the core of our strategy for engaging our youth and for inclusive and sustainable growth of the country. Concerns such as a more liberal system of raising global capital, incubation facilities in our Centres of Excellence, funding for seed capital and growth, and ease of Doing Business etc. need to be addressed to create lakh of jobs and hundreds of billion dollars in value.
  5. With this objective, Government is establishing a mechanism to beknown as SETU (Self-Employment and Talent Utilisation). SETU will be a Techno-Financial, Incubation and Facilitation Programme to support all aspects of start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology-driven areas. I am setting aside ` 1,000 crore initially in NITI Aayog for this purpose.
  6. As the success of so-called minor ports has shown, ports can be an attractive investment possibility for the private sector. Ports in the public sector need to both attract such investment as well as leverage the huge land resources lying unused with them.  To enable us to do so, ports in public sector will be encouraged, to corporatize, and become companies under the Companies Act.
  7. Madam Speaker, investors spend a large amount of time and resources on getting the multiple permissions required. We aim towards ease of doing in India.  I have myself launched the e-Biz Portal which integrates 14 regulatory permissions at one source.  Good States are embracing and joining this platform.  However, if we really want to create jobs, we have to make India an investment destination which permits the start of a business in accordance with publically stated guidelines and criteria.
  8. I intend to appoint an Expert Committee for this purpose to examine the possibility and prepare a draft legislation where the need for multiple prior permissions can be replaced with a pre-existing regulatory mechanism.
  9. The Government also proposes to set up 5 new Ultra Mega Power Projects, each of 4000 MWs in the plug-and-play mode. All clearances and linkages will be in place before the project is awarded by a transparent auction system.  This should unlock investments to the extent of ` 1 lakh crore.  The Government would also consider similar plug-and-play projects in other infrastructure projects such as roads, ports, rail lines, airports etc. I am happy to announce that the second unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Station will be commissioned in 2015-16.
  10. Madam Speaker, I hope to garner some additional resources during the year from tax buoyancy. If I am successful, then over and above the budgetary allocation, I will endeavour to enhance allocations to MGNREGA by ` 5,000 crore; Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) by ` 1,500 crore; Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) by ` 500 crore; and the Prdhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana by ` 3,000 crore; and the initial inflow of ` 5,000 crore into the NIIF.

Financial Markets

  1. One vital factor in promoting investment in India, including in the infrastructure sector, is the deepening of the Indian Bond market, which we have to bring at the same level as our world class equity market. I intend to begin this process this year by setting up a Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) which will bring both India’s external borrowings and domestic debt under one roof.
  2. I also propose to merge the Forwards Markets Commission with SEBI to strengthen regulation of commodity forward markets and reduce wild speculation. Enabling legislation, amending the Government Securities Act and the RBI Act is proposed in the Finance Bill, 2015.
  3. Capital Account Controls is a policy, rather than a regulatory, matter.
    I, therefore, propose to amend, through the Finance Bill, Section-6 of FEMA to clearly provide that control on capital flows as equity will be exercised by the Government, in consultation with the RBI.
  4. A properly functioning capital market also requires proper consumer protection. I, therefore, also propose to create a Task Force to establish a sector-neutral Financial Redressal Agency that will address grievances against all financial service providers.  I am also glad to inform the House that work assigned to the Task Forces on the Financial Data Management Centre, the Financial Sector Appellate Tribunal, the Resolution Corporation, and the Public Debt Management Agency are progressing satisfactorily.  We have also received a large number of suggestions regarding the Indian Financial Code (IFC), which are currently being reviewed by the Justice Srikrishna Committee.  I hope, sooner rather than later, to introduce the IFC in Parliament for consideration.
  5. Madam, Speaker, this is just the beginning. I have a vision of putting in place a direct tax regime which is internationally competitive on rates, is without exemptions, incentivises savings, and does not realize tax from intermediaries.  Such a direct tax regime would match the modernized indirect taxes regime we are putting in place by way of GST, and will bring both greater transparency and greater investments.
  6. Madam Speaker the situation with regard to the dormant Employees Provident Fund (EPF) accounts and the claim ratios of ESIs is too well known to be repeated here. It has been remarked that both EPF and ESI have hostages, rather than clients.  Further, the low paid worker suffers deductions greater than the better paid workers, in percentage terms.
  7. With respect to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), the employee needs to be provided two options. Firstly, the employee may opt for EPF or the New Pension Scheme (NPS). Secondly, for employees below a certain threshold of monthly income, contribution to EPF should be optional, without affecting or reducing the employer’s contribution. With respect to ESI, the employee should have the option of choosing either ESI or a Health Insurance product, recognized by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA). We intend to bring amending legislation in this regard, after stakeholder consultation.

Monetising Gold

  1. India is one of the largest consumers of gold in the world and imports as much as 800-1000 tonnes of gold each year. Though stocks of gold in India are estimated to be over 20,000 tonnes, mostly this gold is neither traded, nor monetized. I propose to:

(i)      Introduce a Gold Monetisation Scheme, which will replace both the present Gold Deposit and Gold metal Loan Schemes.  The new scheme will allow the depositors of gold to earn interest in their metal accounts and the jewelers to obtain loans in their metal account.  Banks/other dealers would also be able to monetize this gold.

(ii)     Also develop an alternate financial asset, a Sovereign Gold Bond, as an alternative to purchasing metal gold.  The Bonds will carry a fixed rate of interest, and also be redeemable in cash in terms of the face value of the gold, at the time of redemption by the holder of the Bond.

(iii)    Commence work on developing an Indian Gold Coin, which will carry the Ashok Chakra on its face.  Such an Indian Gold Coin would help reduce the demand for coins minted outside India and also help to recycle the gold available in the country.

  1. One way to curb the flow of black money is to discourage transactions in cash. Now that a majority of Indians has or can have, a RUPAY debit card.  I, therefore,  proposes to introduce soon several measures that will incentivize credit or debit card transactions, and disincentivise cash transactions.

Investment

  1. Alternate Investment Funds Regulations have been notified by SEBI. Such alternate investment funds provide another vehicle for facilitating domestic investments.  Keeping in view the need to increase investments from all sources, I propose to also allow foreign investments in Alternate Investment Funds.
  2. To further simplify the procedures for Indian Companies to attract foreign investments, I propose to do away with the distinction between different types of foreign investments, especially between foreign portfolio investments and foreign direct investments, and replace them with composite caps The sectors which are already on a 100% automatic route would not be affected.
  3. The ‘Act East’ policy of the Government of India endeavours to cultivate extensive economic and strategic relations in South-East Asia. In order to catalyze investments from the Indian private sector in this region, a Project Development Company will, through separate Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), set up manufacturing hubs in CMLV countries, namely, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

Safe India

  1. My Government is committed to safety and security of women. In order to support programmes for women security, advocacy and awareness, I have decided to provide another ` 1,000 crore to the Nirbhaya Fund.

Tourism

  1. While India has 25 (twenty five) Cultural World Heritage Sites. These facilities are still deficient and require restoration, including landscape restoration; signage and interpretation centres; parking; access for the differently abled; visitors’ amenities, including securities and toilets; illumination and plans for benefiting communities around them.  I propose to provide resources to start work along these lines for the following Heritage Sites:

(i)       Churches & Convents of Old Goa

(ii)      Hampi, Karnataka

(iii)     Elephanta Caves, Mumbai

(iv)     Kumbalgarh and other Hill Forts of Rajasthan

(v)      Rani ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat

(vi)     Leh Palace, Ladakh, J&K

(vii)    Varanasi Temple town, UP

(viii)   Jalianwala bagh, Amritsar, Punjab

(ix)     Qutub Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad, Telengana

  1. After the success of VISAS on arrival issued to travelers of 43 countries, I propose to increase the countries covered to 150, in stages.

Green India

  1. Madam, as environmental degradation hurts the poor more than others, we are committed to make our development process as green as possible.  Our de facto ‘Carbon Tax’ on most petroleum products compares favourably with international norms.  With regard to coal, there is a need to find a balance between taxing pollution, and the price of power.  However, beginning this year, I intend to start on that journey too. My Government is also launching a Scheme for Faster Adoption and manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME).  I am proposing an initial outlay of `75 crore for this Scheme in 2015-16.  The Ministry of New Renewable Energy has revised its target of renewable energy capacity to 1,75,000 MW till 2022, comprising 100,000 MW Solar, 60,000 MW Wind, 10,000 MW Biomass and 5000 MW Small Hydro.
  2. Madam, Speaker, we are putting the scam, scandal and corruption Raj behind us. Malfeasance in public procurement can perhaps be contained by having a procurement law and an institutional structure consistent with the UNCITRAL model.  I believe, Parliament needs to take a view soon on whether we need a procurement law, and if so, what shape it should take.
  3. On the other hand, disputes arising in public contracts take long to resolve, and the process is very costly too. My Government proposes to introduce a Public Contracts (Resolution of Disputes) Bill to streamline the institutional arrangements for resolution of such disputes.
  4. There is also a need, I feel, to tackle the lack of common approach and philosophy in the regulatory arrangements prevailing even within the different sectors of infrastructure. Our Government, therefore, also proposes to introduce a regulatory reform law that will bring about a cogency of approach across various sectors of infrastructure.

Skill India

  1. India is one of the youngest nations in the world with more than 54% of the total population below 25 years of age. Our young people have to be both educated and employable for the jobs of the 21st Century.  The Prime Minister has explained how Skill India needs to be closely coordinated with Make in India.  Yet today less than 5% of our potential workforce gets formal skill training to be employable and stay employable.
  2. We will soon be launching a National Skills Mission through the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry. The Mission will consolidate skill initiatives spread across several Ministries and allow us to standardize procedures and outcomes across our 31 Sector Skill Councils.
  3. With rural population still forming close to 70% of India’s population, enhancing the employability of rural youth is the key to unlocking India’s demographic dividend. With this in mind, we had launched the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin Kaushal Yojana.  ` 1,500 crore has been set apart for this scheme.  Disbursement will be through a digital voucher directly into qualified student’s bank account.
  4. This is the year when we will be entering the 100th birth anniversary of Shri Deen Dayalji Upadhyay. The intention of the Government is to celebrate the anniversary of this great nationalist, in a befitting manner.  A 100th Birthday Celebration Committee will be announced soon, and adequate resources provided for the celebration.
  5. With a view to enable all poor and middle class students to pursue higher education of their choice without any constraint of funds, I propose to set up a fully IT based Student Financial Aid Authority to administer and monitor Scholarship as well Educational Loan Schemes, through the Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram.  We will ensure that no student misses out on higher education for lack of funds.
  6. Hon’ble Members will remember that in the Budget Speech of July,
    I had indicated my intention to provide one major Central Institute in each State. In the fiscal year 2015-16, I propose to set up All India Institutes of Medical Sciences in J&K, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.  Keeping in view the need to augment Medical Sciences in Bihar, I propose to set up another AIIMS like institution in these States.  I propose to set up an IIT in Karnataka, and upgrade Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad into a full-fledged IIT.  I also propose to set up a Post Graduate Institute of Horticulture Research and Education in Amritsar.  IIMs will be  setup in J&K and Andhra Pradesh.  In Kerala, I propose to upgrade the existing National Institute of Speech and Hearing to a University of Disability Studies and Rehabilitation.  I also propose three new National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research: in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Chattisgarh; and an Institutes of Science and Education Research in Nagaland and Odisha.  I also propose to set up a Centre for Film Production, Animation and Gaming in Arunachal Pradesh, for the North-Eastern States; and Apprenticeship Training Institute for Women in Haryana and Uttrakhand.
  7. In order to improve the Governance of Public Sector banks, the Government intends to set up an autonomous bank Board Bureau. The Bureau will search and select heads of Public Sector banks and help them in developing differentiated strategies and capital raising plans through innovative financial methods and instruments. This would be an interim step towards establishing a holding and investment Company for Banks.

Digital India

  1. Madam, Speaker, I would like to inform the House we are making good progress towards making Digital India. The National Optical Fibre Network Programme (NOFNP) of 7.5 lakh kms. networking 2.5 lakh villages is being further speeded up by allowing willing States to undertake its execution, on reimbursement of cost as determined by Department of Telecommunications.  Andhra Pradesh is the first State to have opted for this manner of implementation.
  2. As Members are aware, in making their recommendations, the Finance Commission has not distinguished between special category and other states. Moreover, both Bihar and West Bengal are going to be amongst the biggest beneficiaries of the recommendations of the Finance Commission. Yet, the Eastern States have to be given an opportunity to grow even faster.  I, therefore, propose to give similar special assistance to Bihar and West Bengal as has been provided by the Government of India in the case of Government of Andhra Pradesh.  As regards Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, the Government is committed to comply with all the legal commitments made to these States at the time of reorganization.
  3. In spite of the large increase in devolution to states, which implies reduced fiscal space for the Centre in the same proportion we are committed to the welfare of the poor and the neo-middle class. Keeping this in mind, adequate provision is being made for the schemes for the poor and the dis-advantaged. Illustratively, I have allocated ` 68,968 crore to the education sector including mid-day meals, ` 33,152 crore to the health sector and ` 79,526 crore for rural development activities including MGNREGA, ` 22,407 crore for housing and urban development, ` 10,351 crore for women and child development, ` 4,173 crore for Water Resources and Namami Gange. The significant sums that will be spent by the States on these programmes will ensure a quantum leap in expenditures in these areas. I urge states to utilize their enhanced resources effectively in these areas.
  4. Madam, Speaker, I am delighted to report good progress for DMIC corridors: the Ahmedabad-Dhaulera Investment Region in Gujarat, and the Shendra–Bidkin Industrial Park near Aurangabad, in Maharashtra, are now in a position to start work on basic infrastructure. In the current year, I have earmarked an initial sum of ` 1,200 crore.  However, as the pace of expenditure picks up, I will provide them additional funds.
  5. Defence of every square inch of our mother land comes before anything else. So far, we have been over dependent on imports, with its attendant unwelcome spin-offs.  Our Government has already permitted FDI in defence so that the Indian-controlled entities also become manufacturers of defence equipments, not only for us, but for export.  We are thus pursuing the Make in India policy to achieve greater self-sufficiency in the area of defence equipment, including aircraft.  Members of this august House would have noted that we have been both transparent and quick in making  defence equipment related purchase decisions, thus keeping our defence forces ready for any eventuality.  This year too, I have provided adequately for the needs of the armed forces.  As against likely expenditure of this year of ` 2,22,370 crore the budget allocation for 2015-16 is ` 2,46,727 crore.
  6. While India produces some of the finest financial minds, including in international finance, they have few avenues in India to fully exhibit and exploit their strength to the country’s advantage. GIFT in Gujarat was envisaged as International Finance Centre that would actually become as good an International Finance Centre as Singapore or Dubai, which, incidentally, are largely manned by Indians.  The proposal has languished for years.  I am glad to announce that the first phase of GIFT will soon become a reality. Appropriate regulations will be issued in March.
  7. For the quick resolution of commercial disputes, the Government proposes to set up exclusive commercial divisions in various courts in India based on the recommendations of the 253rd Report of the Law Commission. The Government proposes to introduce a Bill in the parliament after consulting stakeholders in this regard.
  8. Madam Speaker, the Government will, during this session, also place before the Parliament the required Bills, to convert Ordinances issued by the Government into Acts of Parliament.

BUDGET ESTIMATES

  1. I now turn to the Budget Estimates for Budget 2015-16.
  2. Non-Plan expenditure estimates for the Financial Year are estimated at `13,12,200 crore. Plan expenditure is estimated to be ` 4,65,277 crore, which is very near to the R.E. of 2014-15.  Total Expenditure has accordingly been estimated at ` 17,77,477 crore. The requirements for expenditure on Defence, Internal Security and other necessary expenditures are adequately provided.
  3. Gross Tax receipts are estimated to be ` 14,49,490 crore. Devolution to the States is estimated to be  ` 5,23,958 crore.  Share of Central Government will be ` 9,19,842 crore.  Non Tax Revenues for the next fiscal are estimated to be  `2,21,733 crore.
  4. With the above estimates, fiscal deficit will be 3.9 per cent of GDP and Revenue Deficit will be 2.8 per cent of GDP.

 

 

PART  B

Madam Speaker,

  1. I now turn to my tax proposals.
  2. Taxation is an instrument of social and economic engineering. Tax collections help the Government to provide education, healthcare, housing and other basic facilities to the people to improve their quality of life and to address the problems of poverty, unemployment and slow development.  To achieve these objectives, it has been our endeavour in the last nine months to foster a stable taxation policy and non-adversarial tax administration.  A very important dimension to our tax administration is the fight against the scourge of black money.  A number of measures have already been taken in this direction. I propose to do much more.
  3. We need to revive growth and investment to ensure that more jobs are created for our youth and benefits of development reach millions of our poor. We need an enabling tax policy for this.  I have already introduced the Bill to amend the Constitution of India for Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the last Session of this august House.  GST is expected to play a transformative role in the way our economy functions.  It will add buoyancy to our economy by developing a common Indian market and reducing the cascading effect on the cost of goods and services.  We are moving in various fronts to implement GST from the next year.
  4. We need to match this transformative piece of legislation in indirect taxation with transformative measures in direct taxation. The basic rate of Corporate Tax in India at 30% is higher than the rates prevalent in the other major Asian economies, making our domestic industry uncompetitive.  Moreover, the effective collection of Corporate Tax is about 23%.  We lose out on both counts, i.e. we are considered as having a high Corporate Tax regime but we do not get that tax due to excessive exemptions.  A regime of exemptions has led to pressure groups, litigation and loss of revenue.  It also gives room for avoidable discretion.  I, therefore, propose to reduce the rate of Corporate Tax from 30% to 25% over the next 4 years.  This will lead to higher level of investment, higher growth and more jobs.  This process of reduction has to be necessarily accompanied by rationalisation and removal of various kinds of tax exemptions and incentives for corporate taxpayers, which incidentally account for a large number of tax disputes.
  5. I wanted to start the phased reduction of corporate tax rate and phased elimination of exemptions right away; but I thought it would be appropriate to give advance notice that these changes will start from the next financial year. Our stated policy is to avoid sudden surprises and instability in tax policy.  Exemptions to individual taxpayers will, however, continue since they facilitate savings which get transferred to investment and economic growth.
  6. While finalising my tax proposals, I have adopted certain broad themes, which include:
  7. Measures to curb black money;
  8. Job creation through revival of growth and investment and promotion of domestic manufacturing and ‘Make in India’;
  9. Minimum government and maximum governance to improve the ease of doing business;
  10. Benefits to middle class taxpayers;
  11. Improving the quality of life and public health through Swachch Bharat initiatives; and
  12. Stand alone proposals to maximise benefits to the economy.
  13. Madam Speaker, the first and foremost pillar of my tax proposals is to effectively deal with the problem of black money which eats into the vitals of our economy and society. The problems of poverty and inequity cannot be eliminated unless generation of black money and its concealment is dealt with effectively and forcefully.
  14. In the last 9 months several measures have been initiated in this direction. A major breakthrough was achieved in October, 2014 when a delegation from the Revenue Department visited Switzerland and the Swiss authorities agreed to (a) provide information in respect of cases independently investigated by the Income-tax Department; (b) confirm genuineness of bank accounts and provide non-banking information; (c) provide such information in a time bound manner; and (d) commence talks with India for Automatic Exchange of Information between the two countries at the earliest.  Investigation into cases of undisclosed foreign assets has been accorded the highest priority, resulting in detection of substantial amounts of unreported income.  For strengthening collection of information from various sources domestically, a new structure is being put in place which includes electronic filing of statements by reporting entities.  This will ensure seamless integration of data and more effective enforcement.
  15. Tracking down and bringing back the wealth which legitimately belongs to the country is our abiding commitment to the country. Recognising the limitations under the existing legislation, we have taken a considered decision to enact a comprehensive new law on black money to specifically deal with such money stashed away abroad.  To this end, I propose to introduce a Bill in the current Session of the Parliament.
  16. With your permission, Madam Speaker, I would like to highlight some of the key features of the proposed new law on black money.

(1)   Concealment of income and assets and evasion of tax in relation to foreign assets will be prosecutable with punishment of rigorous imprisonment upto 10 years.  Further,

  • this offence will be made non-compoundable;
  • the offenders will not be permitted to approach the Settlement Commission; and
  • penalty for such concealment of income and assets at the rate of 300% of tax shall be levied.

(2)   Non filing of return or filing of return with inadequate disclosure of foreign assets will be liable for prosecution with punishment of rigorous imprisonment up to 7 years.

(3)   Income in relation to any undisclosed foreign asset or undisclosed income from any foreign asset will be taxable at the maximum marginal rate.  Exemptions or deductions which may otherwise be applicable in such cases, shall not be allowed.

(4)   Beneficial owner or beneficiary of foreign assets will be mandatorily required to file return, even if there is no taxable income.

(5)   Abettors of the above offences, whether individuals, entities, banks or financial institutions will be liable for prosecution and penalty.

(6)   Date of Opening of foreign account would be mandatorily required to be specified by the assessee in the return of income.

(7)   The offence of concealment of income or evasion of tax in relation to a foreign asset will be made a predicate offence under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). This provision would enable the enforcement agencies to attach and confiscate unaccounted assets held abroad and launch prosecution against persons indulging in laundering of black money.

(8)   The definition of ‘proceeds of crime’ under PMLA is being amended to enable attachment and confiscation of equivalent asset in India where the asset located abroad cannot be forfeited.

(9)   The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) is also being amended to the effect that if any foreign exchange, foreign security or any immovable property situated outside India is held in contravention of the provisions of this Act, then action may be taken for seizure and eventual confiscation of assets of equivalent value situated in India.  These contraventions are also being made liable for levy of penalty and prosecution with punishment of imprisonment up to five years.

  1. As regards curbing domestic black money, a new and more comprehensive Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill will be introduced in the current session of the Parliament. This law will enable confiscation of benami property and provide for prosecution, thus blocking a major avenue for generation and holding of black money in the form of benami property, especially in real estate.
  2. A few other measures are also proposed in the Budget for curbing black money within the country. The Finance Bill includes a proposal to amend the Income-tax Act to prohibit acceptance or payment of an advance of `20,000 or more in cash for purchase of immovable property.  Quoting of PAN is being made mandatory for any purchase or sale exceeding the value of `1 lakh.  The third party reporting entities would be required to furnish information about foreign currency sales and cross border transactions.  Provision is also being made to tackle splitting of reportable transactions.  To improve enforcement, CBDT and CBEC will leverage technology and have access to information in each other’s database.
  3. Madam Speaker, the second pillar of my taxation proposals this year is job creation through revival of growth and investment and promotion of domestic manufacturing and ‘Make in India’. I propose to undertake a series of steps in this direction to attract capital, both domestic and foreign.  Tax ‘pass through’ is proposed to be allowed to both Category-I and Category-II Alternative Investment Funds, so that tax is levied on the investors in these Funds and not on the Funds per se.  This will step up the ability of these Funds to mobilise higher resources and make higher investments in small and medium enterprises, infrastructure and social projects and provide the much required private equity to new ventures and start-ups.
  4. A step was taken in the last Budget to encourage Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investments Trusts (InvITs) by providing partial pass through to them. These collective investment vehicles have an important role to revive construction activity.  A large quantum of funds is locked up in various completed projects which need to be released to facilitate new infrastructure projects to take off.   I therefore propose to rationalise the capital gains regime for the sponsors exiting at the time of listing of the units of REITs and InvITs, subject to payment of Securities Transaction Tax (STT).  The rental income of REITs from their own assets will have pass through facility.
  5. The present taxation structure has an inbuilt incentive for fund managers to operate from offshore locations. To encourage such offshore fund managers to relocate to India, I propose to modify the Permanent Establishment (PE) norms to the effect that mere presence of a fund manager in India would not constitute PE of the offshore funds resulting in adverse tax consequences.
  6. Implementation of the General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) has been a matter of public debate. The investment sentiment in the country has now turned positive and we need to accelerate this momentum.  There are also certain contentious issues relating to GAAR which need to be resolved.  It has therefore been decided to defer the applicability of GAAR by two years.   Further, it has also been decided that when implemented, GAAR would apply prospectively to investments made on or after 01.04.2017.
  7. Today I see a lot of young entrepreneurs running business ventures or wanting to start new ones. They need latest technology.  Therefore, to facilitate technology inflow to small businesses at low costs, I propose to reduce the rate of income tax on royalty and fees for technical services from 25% to 10%.
  8. To generate greater employment opportunities, it is proposed to extend the benefit of deduction for employment of new regular workmen to all business entities. The eligibility threshold of minimum 100 regular workmen is being reduced to fifty.
  9. The role of indirect taxes is also very important in the context of promotion of domestic manufacturing and Make in India. In indirect taxes, therefore, I propose to reduce the rates of basic customs duty on certain inputs, raw materials, intermediates and components (in all 22 items) so as to minimise the impact of duty inversion and reduce the manufacturing cost in several sectors.   Some other changes address the problem of CENVAT credit accumulation due to the levy of SAD.  I propose to fully exempt all goods, except populated printed circuit boards for use in manufacture of ITA bound items from SAD and reduce the SAD on imports of certain other inputs and raw materials subject to actual user condition. These changes are detailed in the Annexure to the Budget Speech.
  10. My next proposal is regarding minimum government and maximum governance with focus on ease of doing business and simplification of Tax Procedures without compromising on tax revenues. The total wealth tax collection in the country was `1,008 crore in 2013-14.  Should a tax which leads to high cost of collection and a low yield be continued or should it be replaced with a low cost and higher yield tax?  The rich and wealthy must pay more tax than the less affluent ones.  I have therefore decided to abolish the wealth tax and replace it with an additional surcharge of 2% on the super-rich with a taxable income of over `1 crore.  This will lead to tax simplification and enable the Department to focus more on ensuring tax compliance and widening the tax base. As against a tax sacrifice of `1,008 crore, through these measures the Department would be collecting about `9,000 crore from the 2% additional surcharge.  Further, to track the wealth held by individuals and entities, the information regarding the assets which are currently required to be furnished in wealth-tax return will be captured in the income tax returns.  This will ensure that the abolition of wealth tax does not lead to escape of any income from the tax net.
  11. The provision relating to indirect transfers in the Income-tax Act which is a legacy from the previous government contains several ambiguities. This provision is being suitably cleaned up. Further, concerns regarding applicability of indirect transfer provisions to dividends paid by foreign companies to their shareholders will be addressed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes through a clarificatory circular.  These changes would eliminate the scope for discretionary exercise of power and provide a hassle free structure to the taxpayers. I reiterate what I had said in the last Budget that ordinarily retrospective tax provisions adversely impact the stability and predictability of the taxation regime and resort to such provisions shall be avoided.
  12. Further, to reduce the associated hassles to smaller taxpayers and the compliance costs in domestic transfer pricing, I propose to increase the threshold limit from `5 crore to `20 crore.
  13. In order to rationalise the MAT provisions for FIIs, profits corresponding to their income from capital gains on transactions in securities which are liable to tax at a lower rate, shall not be subject to MAT.
  14. The Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) has given a number of recommendations to improve the administration in the Tax Departments. These recommendations are in advanced stage of examination and will be appropriately implemented during the course of this year.
  15. As part of the movement towards GST, I propose to subsume the Education Cess and the Secondary and Higher Education Cess in Central Excise duty. In effect, the general rate of Central Excise Duty of 12.36% including the cesses is being rounded off to 12.5%.  I also propose to revise the specific rates of Central Excise duty in certain other commodities, as detailed in the Annexure.  However, in the case of petrol and diesel such specific rates are being revised only to the extent of subsuming the quantum of education cess presently levied on them, keeping the total incidence of excise duties unchanged.  The ad-valorem rates of excise duty lower than 12% and those higher than 12% with a few exceptions are not being increased.  Some changes are also being made to excise levy on cigarettes and the compounded levy scheme applicable to pan masala, gutkha and certain other tobacco products.
  16. To give a boost to domestic leather footwear industry, the excise duty on footwear with leather uppers and having retail price of more than `1000 per pair is being reduced to 6%.
  17. To further facilitate the ease of doing business, online central excise and service tax registration will be done in two working days. The assessees under these taxes will be allowed to issue digitally signed invoices and maintain electronic records.  These measures will cut down lot of paper work and red tape. Time limit for taking CENVAT credit on inputs and input services is being increased from six months to one year as a measure of business facilitation.
  18. Introduction of GST is eagerly awaited by Trade and Industry. To facilitate a smooth transition to levy of tax on services by both the Centre and the States, it is proposed to increase the present rate of service tax plus education cesses from 12.36% to a consolidated rate of 14%.
  19. Madam Speaker, cleanliness of households and clean environment are very important social causes. The fourth pillar of my taxation proposals this year therefore relates to initiatives for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.  In my direct tax proposals, I have proposed 100% deduction for contributions, other than by way of CSR contributions, to the Swachh Bharat Kosh.  A similar tax treatment is also proposed for the Clean Ganga Fund.
  20. In indirect taxes, I propose to increase the Clean Energy Cess from `100 to `200 per metric tonne of coal, etc. to finance clean environment initiatives. Excise duty on sacks and bags of polymers of ethylene other than for industrial use is being increased from 12% to 15%.  It is also proposed to have an enabling provision to levy Swachh Bharat Cess at a rate of 2% or less on all or certain services if need arises.  This Cess will be effective from a date to be notified.  Resources generated from this cess will be utilised for financing and promoting initiatives towards Swachh Bharat.
  21. It is also proposed to exempt services by common affluent treatment plants from service tax. The concessions from customs and excise duties currently available on specified parts for manufacture of electrically operated vehicles and hybrid vehicles are being extended by one more year i.e. up to 31.3.2016.
  22. Madam Speaker, the fifth pillar of my taxation proposals this year is extension of benefits to middle class tax payers. The proposals in this regard are as follows :
  • Increase in the limit of deduction in respect of health insurance premium from `15,000 to `25,000.

o  For senior citizens the limit will stand increased to `30,000  from the existing `20,000.

o  For very senior citizens of the age of 80 years or more, who are not covered by health insurance, deduction of  ` 30,000 towards expenditure incurred on their treatment will be allowed.

  • The deduction limit of ` 60,000 towards expenditure on account of specified diseases of serious nature is proposed to be enhanced to `80,000 in case of very senior citizens.
  • Additional deduction of ` 25,000 will be allowed for differently abled persons under Section 80DD and Section 80U of the Income-tax Act.
  • The limit on deduction on account of contribution to a Pension Fund and the New Pension Scheme is proposed to be increased from`1 lakh to `1.5 lakh.
  • To provide social safety net and the facility of pension to individuals, an additional deduction of ` 50,000 is proposed to be provided for contribution to the New Pension Scheme under Section 80CCD. This will enable India to become a pensioned society instead of a pensionless society.
  • Investments in Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme is already eligible for deduction under Section 80C. All payments to the beneficiaries including interest payment on deposit will also be fully exempt.
  • Transport allowance exemption is being increased from `800 to `1,600 per month.
  • For the benefit of senior citizens, service tax exemption will be provided on Varishta Bima Yojana.
  1. Madam Speaker, I am giving these concessions to individual taxpayers despite inadequate fiscal space. After taking into account the tax concession given to middle class tax payers in my last Budget and this Budget, today an individual tax payer will get tax benefit of `4,44,200 as detailed in the annexure.  As and when my fiscal capacity improves, individual taxpayers will have a lot to look forward to.
  2. Madam Speaker, there are several stand-alone proposals relating to taxation. These include conversion of existing excise duty on petrol and diesel to the extent of `4 per litre into Road Cess to fund investment in roads and other infrastructure.  An additional sum of ` 40,000 crore will be made available through this measure for these sectors.  In service tax, exemption is being extended to certain pre cold storage services in relation to fruits and vegetables so as to incentivise value addition in this crucial sector.  The Negative List under service tax is being slightly pruned and certain other exemptions are being withdrawn to widen the tax base.
  3. Yoga is India’s well acknowledged gift to the world. It is proposed to include yoga within the ambit of charitable purpose under Section 2(15) of the Income-tax Act.  Further, to mitigate the problem being faced by many genuine charitable institutions, it is proposed to modify the ceiling on receipts from activities in the nature of trade, commerce or business to 20% of the total receipts from the existing ceiling of `25 lakh.  A national database of non profit organisations is also being developed.
  4. Enactment of a Direct Taxes Code (DTC) has been under discussion for quite some time. Most of the provisions of the DTC have already been included in the Income-tax Act.  Among the very few aspects of DTC which were left out, we have addressed some of the issues in the present Budget.  Further, the jurisprudence under the Income-tax Act is well evolved. Considering all these aspects, there is no great merit in going ahead with the Direct Tax Code as it exists today.
  5. Madam Speaker, the details of direct and indirect tax proposals are given in the Annexure to the Budget speech and the other budget documents laid on the Table of the House. My direct tax proposals would result in revenue loss of `8,315 crore, whereas the proposals in indirect taxes are expected to yield `23,383 crore.  Thus, the net impact of all tax proposals would be revenue gain of `15,068 crore.

CONCLUSION

  1. To conclude, Madam Speaker, it is no secret that expectations of this Budget have been high. People who urge us to undertake Big Bang Reforms, also say that the Indian economy is a giant super tanker, or an elephant.  An elephant, Madam Speaker, moves slowly but surely.  Even our worst critics would admit that we have moved rapidly.  In this speech, I think I have clearly outlined not only what we are going to do immediately, but also a roadmap for the future.
  2. I think I can genuinely stake, for our Government, a claim of intellectual honesty. We have been consistent in what we have said, and what we are doing.  We are committed, Madam Speaker, to achieving what we have been voted to power for:  Change, growth, jobs and genuine, effective upliftment of the poor and the under-privileged.  Our commitment to the ‘Daridra Narayan’ is steadfast, as is commitment to the Constitutional principles of Equality and Justice for All, without concern for caste, creed or religion.  This will be in the spirit of the Upanishad-inspired mantra:

Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah

            Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah

            Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu

            Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet 

            Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih 

            (OM! May All Be Happy

May All Be Free From Illness

May All See What is Beneficial

May No One Suffer)

  1. With these words, Madam Speaker, I commend the Budget to the House.

 Here are the highlights of the Union Budget 2015:

Fiscal deficit

* Fiscal deficit seen at 3.9 per cent of GDP in 2015/16

* Will meet the challenging fiscal target of 4.1 per cent of GDP

* Remain committed to meeting medium term fiscal deficit target of 3 per cent of GDP

* Current account deficit below 1.3 per cent of GDP

* Jaitley says have to keep fiscal discipline in mind despite need for higher investment

Growth

* GDP growth seen at between 8 per cent and 8.5 per cent y/y

* Aiming double digit growth rate, achievable soon

Inflation

* Expects consumer inflation to remain close to 5 per cent by March, opening room for more monetary policy easing

* Monetary policy framework agreement with the RBI clearly states objective of keeping inflation below 6 per cent

* “One of the achievements of my government has been to conquer inflation. This decline in my view represents a structural shift.”

Revenues * Revenue deficit seen at 2.8 per cent of GDP

* Non tax revenue seen at Rs 2.21 trillion

* Agricultural incomes are under stress

Disinvestment

* Government targets Rs 410 billion from stake sales in companies

* Total stake sale in 2015/16 seen at Rs 695 billion

Market reforms

* Propose to merge commodities regulator with SEBI

* To bring a new bankruptcy code

* Jaitley says will move to amend the RBI act this year, and provide for a monetary policy committee

* To set up public debt management agency

* Proposes to introduce a public contract resolution of disputes bill

* To establish an autonomous bank board bureau to improve management of public sector banks

Policy reforms

* To enact a comprehensive new law on black money

* Propose to create a universal social security system for all Indians

* To launch a national skills mission soon to enhance employability of rural youth

* To raise visa-on-arrival facility to 150 countries from 43

* Allocates Rs 346.99 billion for rural employment guarantee scheme

Borrowing

* Gross market borrowing seen at Rs 6 trillion

* Net market borrowing seen at Rs 4.56 trillion

General anti-avoidance rules (GAAR)

* Government defers rollout of anti-tax avoidance rules GAAR by two years

* GAAR to apply prospectively from April 1, 2017

* Retrospective tax provisions will be avoided

Taxation

* To abolish wealth tax

* Replaces wealth tax with additional 2 per cent surcharge on super rich

* Proposes to cut to 25 per cent corporate tax over next four years

* Corporate tax of 30 per cent is uncompetitive

* Net gain from tax proposals seen at Rs 150.68 billion

* Jaitley proposes modification of permanent establishment norms so that the mere presence of a fund manager in India would not constitute a permanent establishment of the offshore fund, resulting in adverse tax consequences.

* Proposes to rationalise capital gains tax regime for real estate investment trusts

* Expects to implement goods and services tax by April 2016

* To reduce custom duty on 22 items

* Basic custom duty on commercial vehicle doubled to 20 per cent

* Proposes to increase service tax rate and education cess to 14 per cent from 12.36 per cent

* Plans to introduce direct tax regime that is internationally competitive on rates without exemptions

* Exemptions for individual tax payers to continue

* To enact tough penalties for tax evasion in new bill

* Tax department to clarify indirect transfer of assets and dividend paid by foreign firms

Infrastructure

* Investment in infrastructure will go up by Rs 700 billion in 2015/16 over last year

* Plans to set up national investment infrastructure fund

* Proposes tax-free infrastructure bonds for projects in roads, rail and irrigation projects

* Proposes 5 “ultra mega” power projects for 4,000MW each

* Second unit of Kudankulam nuclear power station to be commissioned

* Will need to build additional 100,000km of road

* Ports in public sector will be encouraged to corporatise under Companies Act

Expenditure

* Plan expenditure estimated at about Rs 4.65 trillion

* Non-plan expenditure seen at about Rs 13.12 trillion

* Allocates Rs 2.46 trillion for defence spending

* Allocates Rs 331.5 billion for health sector

* If revenue improves, hope to raise budgeted allocations for rural job scheme by Rs 50 billion

Investment

* Propose to do away with different types of foreign investment caps and replace them with composite caps

* To allow foreign investment in alternative investment funds

* Public investment needed to catalyse investment

Gold

* To develop a sovereign gold bond

* To introduce gold monetisation scheme to allow depositors to earn interest

* To introduce Indian-made gold coin to reduce demand for foreign gold coins

Subsidies

* Food subsidy seen at Rs 1.24 trillion

* Fertiliser subsidy seen at Rs 729.69 billion

* Fuel subsidy seen at Rs 300 billion

* We are committed to subsidy rationalisation based on cutting leakages

Finance minister’s comments

* “We inherited a sentiment of doom and gloom. The investment community had almost written us off. We have come a long way since then.”

* “We have turned around the economy, dramatically restoring macroeconomic stability and creating the conditions for sustainable poverty elimination, job creation, durable double digit economic growth.”

* “While being mindful of the challenges … this gives us reason to feel optimistic.”

* “Domestic and international investors are seeing us with renewed interest and hope.”

  • Allocation of Natural Resources: Auction of coal, reform in the mining sector to see that resources are used for development of the country and its people;
  • Financial Inclusion: through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana-making every Indian a part of the financial system;
  • Health and hygiene of the common man: Launched a successful campaign of Swachh Bharat to ensure cleanliness, leading to better productivity and well being of the poor;
  • Girl Child & their Education: Started a drive for constructing toilets in the remaining elementary schools and also Launched the Beti Bachao-Beti padhao campaign;
  • Creation of Employment for the Youth: Launched the ‘Make in India’ campaign and combined it with a detailed process and policy re-engineering to make India a Global Manufacturing Hub for creation of job opportunities for millions of youth;
  • Hassle Free Business Environment: Created a non-adversarial tax regime, ending tax terrorism; Secured the political agreement on the goods and services tax (GST), that will allow legislative passage of the constitutional amendment bill;
  • Delivery of benefits to the poor made efficient: Started direct transfer of cooking gas subsidy on a national scale by use of technology;
  • Attracting Investment to create Jobs: Increased FDI caps in defence, Insurance and Railway Infrastructure; rationalised the conditions for FDI in construction and medical devices sectors;
  • Expanding the job market and ensuring welfare of the labour: Facilitated Sates which work to improve its Labour Laws and brought systemic changes in the area through the umbrella programme of ‘Shrameva Jayate’;
  • Better agri-productivity; more income to farmers: Launched the programme for Soil Health cards for better productivity in agriculture;
  • Energising the country: Brought rapid growth in power sector inspite of uncertainty on the coal front and launched ambitious programmes for new and renewable energy;
  • Technology-from grass root to the Space: Launched the Digital India programme to make India a knowledge & innovation based society with Broadband connectivity being taken to all villages, Success of Mars Orbiter Mission;
  • Skill India programme: Created a separate Ministry for skill development which is about to launch a massive programme;
  • Efficiency & better work culture in Government: Brought a culture of responsibility without fear, and with efficiency and transparency; created an environment of trusting the citizens-encouraging self-certification in a number of areas;
  • Red tape to Red carpet: Ending the red tape, created the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in India by reforming and rationalising a large number of procedures, rules and regulations;
  • North-eastern part of the country brought in the mainstream: North East given special priority in the development process by two visits of PM and launch of important infrastructure projects;
  • Pride in the Nation and its culture: Brought out India’s cultural and spiritual strength through UNO’s recognition for Yoga, Namami Gange, Ghat and heritage city development programmes.

Annexure to part-b of the budget speech

The Finance Bill, 2015 proposes to make amendments in the Income-tax Act, 1961, Wealth-tax Act, 1957, Excise Tariff Act, Customs Act, Finance Act, 1994 and Finance (No.2) Act, 2004.  A gist of the main amendments is given below:-

Direct Taxes

  1. Rates of tax

2.1       It is proposed that there will be no change in the rate of personal income-tax and the rate of tax for companies in respect of income earned in the financial year 2015-16, assessable in the assessment year 2016-17.

2.2       It is further proposed to levy a surcharge @12% on individuals, HUFs, AOPs, BOIs, artificial juridical persons, firms, cooperative societies and local authorities having income exceeding ` 1 crore.  Surcharge in the case of domestic companies having income exceeding ` 1 crore and upto ` 10 crore is proposed to be levied @ 7% and surcharge @ 12% is proposed to be levied on domestic companies having income exceeding ` 10 crore.

2.3       It is further proposed that in the case of foreign companies the surcharge will continue to be levied @2% if the income exceeds ` 1 crore and is upto ` 10 crore, and @5% if the income exceeds ` 10 crore.

2.4       It is also proposed to levy a surcharge @12% as against current rate of 10% on additional income-tax payable by companies on distribution of dividends and buyback of shares, or by mutual funds and securitisation trusts on distribution of income.

2.5       The education cess on income-tax @ 2% for fulfilment of the commitment of the Government to provide and finance universalised quality based education and 1% of additional surcharge called ‘Secondary and  Higher Education Cess’ on tax and surcharge is proposed to be continued for the financial year 2015-16 for all taxpayers.

  1. A. Measures to curb black money

3.1       With a view to curbing the generation of black money in real estate, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 269SS and 269T of the Income-tax Act so as to prohibit acceptance or re-payment of advance in cash of ` 20,000 or more for any transaction in immovable property.  It is also proposed to provide a penalty of an equal amount in case of contravention of such provisions.

3.2       Offence of making false declaration/documents in the transaction of any business relating to Customs (section 132 of the Customs Act) to be predicate offence under PMLA to curb trade based money laundering.

  1. B. Job creation through revival of growth and investment and promotion of domestic ‘manufacturing’ and ‘Make in India’.

4.1       Taking into account the representations received from various stakeholders and international developments in this regard, it is proposed to defer applicability of General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) by 2 years.  Accordingly, it is proposed to be applicable for income of the financial year 2017-18 (A.Y. 2018-19) and subsequent years.  It is also proposed that the investments made upto 31.03.2017 shall not be subjected to GAAR.

4.2       With a view to streamline the taxation regime of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), it is proposed to provide pass through status to all the sub-categories of category-I and also to category-II AIFs governed by the regulations of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

4.3       With a view to facilitate relocation of fund managers of offshore funds in India, it is proposed to modify the permanent establishment (PE) norms.

4.4       With a view to give effect to the provisions of section 94 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, it is proposed to provide an additional investment allowance (@15%) and additional depreciation (@15%) to new manufacturing units set-up during the period 01.04.2015 to 31.03.2020 in notified areas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

4.5       In respect of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (INViTs), it is proposed to provide that the sponsor will be given the same treatment on offloading of units at the time of listing as would have been available to him if he had offloaded his shareholding of special purpose vehicle (SPV) at the stage of direct listing.  Further, the rental income arising from real estate assets directly held by the REIT is also proposed to be allowed to pass through and to be taxed in the hands of the unit holders of the REIT.

4.6       It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 194LD of the Income-tax Act so as to extend the period of applicability of reduced rate of tax at 5% in respect of income of foreign investors (FIIs and QFIs) from corporate bonds and government securities, from 31.5.2015 to 30.06.2017.

4.7       With a view to obviate the problems faced by small companies and to facilitate the inflow of technology, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 115A of the Income-tax Act so as to reduce the rate of tax on royalty and fees for technical services from 25% to 10%.

4.8       With a view to facilitating generation of employment, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 80JJAA of the Income-tax Act so as to provide that tax benefit under the said section shall be available to a ‘person’ deriving profits from manufacture of goods in a factory and paying wages to new regular workmen. The eligibility threshold of minimum 100 workmen is proposed is to reduced to fifty.

4.9       Additional depreciation @ 20% is allowed on new plant and machinery installed by a manufacturing unit or a unit engaged in generation and distribution of power.  However, if the asset is installed after 30th September of the previous year only 10% of the additional depreciation is allowed.  It is proposed to allow the remaining 10% of the additional depreciation in the subsequent previous year.

  1. C. Minimum government and maximum goverance to improve the ease of doing business

5.1       Section 9 of the Income-tax Act was amended by Finance Act, 2012 to clarify that if an asset, being a share of, or interest, in a company or an entity derives its value, directly or indirectly, substantially from an asset situated in India, the gain arising from transfer of such share or interest shall be taxable in India.   After the clarificatory amendment, a large number of representations were received from various quarters seeking clarification on certain terms used in the amended provisions.  An Expert Committee was also constituted to look into the concerns. Taking into account the recommendations made by the Expert Committee and the concerns raised by the various stakeholders, it is proposed to amend the provisions of the Income-tax Act so as to provide that:-

  • the share or interest shall be deemed to derive its value substantially from the assets located in India, if on the specified date, the value of such assets represents at least fifty per cent of the fair market value of all the assets owned by the company or entity. However, the indirect transfer provisions would not apply if the value of Indian assets does not exceed ` 10 crore.  Further, the principle of proportionality will apply to the taxation of gains arising from indirect transfer of Indian assets.
  • the Indian entity shall be obligated to furnish information relating to the offshore transactions having the effect of directly or indirectly modifying the ownership structure or control of the Indian company or entity. In case of non-compliance, a penalty is also proposed.
  • the indirect transfer provisions shall not apply in a case where the transferor of share or interest in a foreign entity, along with his associated enterprises, neither holds the right of control or management nor holds voting power or share capital or interest exceeding five percent. of the total voting power or total share capital in the foreign company or entity, directly or indirectly, holding the Indian assets.
  • the capital gains shall be exempt in respect of transfer of share of a foreign company deriving its value, directly or indirectly, substantially from the shares of an Indian company, under a scheme of amalgamation or demerger.

5.2       It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 92BA of the Income-tax Act so as to increase the threshold limit for applicability of transfer pricing regulations to specified domestic transactions from `5 crore to `20 crore.

5.3       It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 2(15) of the Income-tax Act so as to include ‘yoga’ as a specific category of activity in the definition of ‘charitable purpose’ and also to provide relief for activities in the nature of business undertaken by genuine charitable organizations subject to the condition that aggregate receipts from such activity is less than 20% of the total receipts.

5.4       It is proposed to exempt the income of Core Settlement Guarantee Fund established by Clearing Corporations as per mandate of SEBI.

5.5       It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 255 of the Income-tax Act so as to increase the monetary limit from ` 5 lakh to ` 15 lakh, for a case to be heard by a Single Member Bench of the ITAT.

5.6       It is proposed to amend the provisions of the Income-tax Act so as to provide tax neutrality on transfer of units of a scheme of a Mutual Fund under the process of consolidation of schemes of Mutual Funds as per SEBI Regulations, 1996.

5.7       It is proposed to amend the provisions of the Income-tax Act so as to provide a mechanism to pre-empt the repetitive appeals by the revenue in the same assessee’s case on the same question of law year after year.

5.8       It is proposed to empower the Board to prescribe rules for grant of relief in respect of taxes paid in foreign jurisdictions.

5.9       It is proposed to abolish the levy of Wealth-tax with effect from 2016-17 (Assessment Year) for reducing the compliance burden on the tax payers. The revenue loss on account of such abolition is proposed to be compensated by increase in the existing surcharge by 2% in case of domestic companies and all non corporate taxpayers.

5.10     With a view to rationalise the dispute resolution mechanism available to taxpayer in the form of Settlement Commission, it is proposed to provide that while making an application to the Settlement Commission for an assessment year which has been re-opened by the Assessing Officer, the assessee can make an application for other assessment years in which the proceedings could be re-opened provided the return of income for such assessment years has been furnished by the assessee.

  1. D. Improving the quality of life and public health through Swachh Bharat Initiatives

6.1       It is proposed to provide that the donations (other than the CSR contributions made in accordance with section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013) made to Swachch Bharat Kosh (by both resident and non-resident) and Clean Ganga Fund (by resident) shall be eligible for 100% deduction under section 80G of the Income-tax Act.

  1. E. Benefits to middle class taxpayers

With a view to encourage savings and to promote health care among individual taxpayers, a number of measures are proposed to be taken by way of incentives under the Income-tax Act.  The same are enumerated below:-

7.1       It is proposed to provide that investment in Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme will be eligible for deduction u/s 80C and any payment from the scheme shall not be liable to tax.

7.2       It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80D of the Income-tax Act from ` 15,000 to ` 25,000 on health insurance premium (in case of senior citizen from ` 20,000 to ` 30,000). It is also proposed to allow deduction of expenditure of similar amount in case of a very senior citizen not eligible to take health insurance.

7.3       It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction in case of very senior citizens u/s 80DDB of the Income-tax Act on expenditure on account of specified diseases from ` 60,000 to ` 80,000.

7.4       It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80DD of the Income-tax Act in respect of maintenance, including medical treatment of a dependant who is a person with disability, from ` 50,000 to `75,000.  It is also proposed to increase the limit of deduction from ` 1 lakh to `1.25 lakh in case of severe disability.

7.5       It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80U of the Income-tax Act in case of a person with disability, from ` 50,000 to ` 75,000.  It is also proposed to increase the limit of deduction from ` 1 lakh to `1.25 lakh in case of severe disability.

7.6       It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80CCC of the Income-tax Act on account of contribution to a pension fund of LIC or IRDA approved insurer from ` 1 lakh to ` 1.5 lakh.

7.7       It is proposed to increase the limit of deduction u/s 80CCD of the Income-tax Act on account of contribution by the employee to National Pension Scheme (NPS) from ` 1 lakh to ` 1.50 lakh.  It is also proposed to provide a deduction of  upto ` 50,000 over and above the limit of ` 1.50 lakh in respect of contributions made to NPS.

7.8       It is proposed to amend the provisions of section 197A of the Income-tax Act so as to provide the facility of filing self-declaration of non-deduction of tax by the recipients of taxable maturity proceeds of life insurance policy.

7.9       Under the existing provisions of the Income-tax Act, an individual buying an immovable property from a resident is required to deduct tax but is not required to obtain TAN for depositing the tax so deducted.  With a view to extend the same facility to an individual or HUF purchasing an immovable property from a non-resident, it is proposed to relax the requirement of obtaining TAN by the individual or HUF who is required to deduct tax on acquisition of immovable property from a non-resident.

7.10     It is proposed to provide that donation made to National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse (NFCDA) shall be eligible for 100% deduction under section 80G of the Income-tax Act.

7.11     Details of tax deductions referred to in para 99.

  • Deduction u/s 80C                                           `1,50,000
  • Deduction u/s 80CCD                                        `50,000
  • Deduction on account of interest

on house property loan

(Self occupied property)                                  `2,00,000

  • Deduction u/s 80D on health                                                                              insurance premium        `25,000
  • Exemption of transport allowance                      `19,200

                    Total                                                                `4,44,200

  1. F. Stand alone proposals to maximise benefits to the economy

8.1       It is proposed to provide for chargeability of interest paid by a permanent establishment (PE) or a branch of foreign bank to its Head Office (HO) and other overseas branches under the source rule of taxation and for treating the PE or branch as a taxable entity for computation of income and for purpose of levy of TDS.

8.2       With a view to providing a uniform method of computation of period of stay in Indian for the purposes of determination of ‘resident’ status in the case of a India seafarer, whether working on a Indian-ship or foreign-ship, it is proposed to provide an enabling power to CBDT to prescribe the same in the rules.

8.3       In search cases, it is proposed to allow seized cash to be adjusted towards the assessee’s tax liability under his settlement application.

8.4       With a view to ensuring proper deduction of tax on payments made to non-residents, it is proposed to amend the provisions of section 195 of the Income-tax Act so as to provide for enabling power to the CBDT for capturing information about prescribed foreign remittances which are claimed to be not chargeable to tax.

INDIRECT TAXES

  1. Job creation through revival of growth and investment and promotion of domestic manufacturing and ‘Make in India’.

 

CUSTOMS

  1. Reduction in duty on certain inputs to address the problem of duty inversion:

1)        ‘Metal parts’ for use in the manufacture of electrical insulators.

2)        Ethylene-Propylene-non-conjugated-Diene Rubber (EPDM), Water blocking tape and Mica glass tape for use in the manufacture of insulated wires and cables.

3)        Magnetron upto 1 KW for use in the manufacture of microwave ovens.

4)        C- Block for Compressor, Over Load Protector (OLP) & Positive thermal co-efficient and Crank Shaft for compressor, for use in the manufacture of Refrigerator compressors.

5)        Zeolite, ceria zirconia compounds and cerium compounds for use in the manufacture of washcoats, which are further used in manufacture of catalytic converters.

6)        Anthraquinone for manufacture of hydrogen peroxide.

7)         Sulphuric acid for use in the manufacture of fertilizers.

8)        Parts and components of Digital Still Image Video Camera capable of recording video with minimum resolution of 800×600 pixels, at minimum 23 frames per second, for at least 30 minutes in a single sequence, using the maximum storage (including the expanded) capacity.

  1. Reduction in Basic Customs Duty to reduce the cost of raw materials:

1)        Ethylene dichloride (EDC), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and styrene monomer (SM) from 2.5% to 2%.

2)        Isoprene and Liquefied butanes from 5% to 2.5%.

3)        Butyl acrylate from 7.5% to 5%.

4)        Ulexite ore from 2.5% to Nil.

5)        Antimony metal, antimony waste and scrap from 5% to 2.5%.

6)        Specified components for use in the manufacture of specified CNC lathe machines and machining centres from 7.5% to 2.5%.

7)        Certain specified inputs for use in the manufacture of flexible medical video endoscopes from 5% to 2.5%.

8)        HDPE for use in the manufacture of telecommunication grade optical fibre cables from 7.5% to Nil.

9)        Black Light Unit Module for use in the manufacture of LCD/LED TV panels from 10% to Nil.

10)      Organic LED (OLED) TV panels from 10% to Nil.

11)      CVD and SAD are being fully exempted on specified raw materials [battery, titanium, palladium wire, eutectic wire, silicone resins and rubbers, solder paste, reed switch, diodes, transistors, capacitors, controllers, coils (steel), tubing (silicone)] for use in the manufacture of pacemakers.

12)      Evacuated Tubes with three layers of solar selective coating for use in the manufacture of solar water heater and system to Nil.

13)      Active Energy Controller (AEC) for use in the manufacture of Renewable Power System (RPS) Inverters to 5%, subject to certification by MNRE.

14)      Parts, components and accessories (falling under any Chapter) for use in the manufacture of tablet computers and their sub-parts for use in manufacture of parts, components and accessories are being fully exempted from BCD, CVD and SAD.

III.      Reduction in SAD to address the problem of CENVAT credit accumulation:

1)        All goods except populated PCBs, falling under any Chapter of the Customs Tariff, for use in manufacture of ITA bound goods from 4% to Nil.

2)        Naphtha, ethylene dichloride (EDC), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and styrene monomer (SM) for manufacture of excisable goods from 4% to 2%.

3)        Metal scrap of iron & steel, copper, brass and aluminium from 4% to 2%.

4)        Inputs for use in the manufacture of LED drivers and MCPCB for LED lights, fixtures and LED lamps from 4% to Nil.

  1. Increase in Basic Customs Duty:

1)        Metallurgical coke from 2.5% to 5%.

2)        Tariff rate on iron & steel and articles of iron or steel, falling under Chapters 72 and 73 of the Customs Tariff, from 10% to 15%. However, there is no change in the existing effective rates of basic customs duty on these goods.

3)        Tariff rate on Commercial Vehicles from 10% to 40% and effective rate from 10% to 20%. However, customs duty on commercial vehicles in Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits and electrically operated vehicles including those in CKD condition will continue to be at 10%.

  1. Miscellaneous:

1)        Export duty on upgraded ilmenite is being reduced from 5% to 2.5%.

2)        Excise duty structure for mobiles handsets including cellular phones is being changed from 1% without CENVAT credit or 6% with CENVAT credit to 1% without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit.

3)        Excise duty structure of 2% without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit is being prescribed for tablet computers.

4)        Basic Customs Duty on Digital Still Image Video Camera capable of recording video with minimum resolution of 800×600 pixels, at minimum 23 frames per second, for at least 30 minutes in a single sequence, using the maximum storage (including the expanded) capacity is being reduced to Nil. Basic Customs Duty on parts and components of these cameras is also being reduced from 5% to Nil.

5)        Concessional customs duty structure of Nil Basic Customs Duty, 6% CVD and Nil SAD on specified parts of electrically operated vehicles and hybrid vehicles, presently available upto 31.03.2015, is being extended upto 31.03.2016.

EXCISE

  1. Excise duty structure on certain goods is being restructured as follows:

1)        Wafers for use in the manufacture of integrated circuit (IC) modules for smart cards from 12% to 6%.

2)        Inputs for use in the manufacture of LED drivers and MCPCB for LED lights, fixtures and LED lamps from 12% to 6%.

3)        Mobiles handsets, including cellular phones from 1% without CENVAT credit or 6% with CENVAT credit to 1% without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit. NCCD of 1% on mobile handsets including cellular phones remains unchanged.

4)        Tablet computers from 12% to 2% without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit.

5)        Specified raw materials [battery, titanium, palladium wire, eutectic wire, silicone resins and rubbers, solder paste, reed switch, diodes, transistors, capacitors, controllers, coils (steel), tubing (silicone)] for use in the manufacture of pacemakers to Nil.

6)        Pig iron SG grade and Ferro-silicon-magnesium for use in the manufacture of cast components of wind operated electricity generators to Nil, subject to certification by MNRE.

7)        Solar water heater and system from 12% to Nil without CENVAT credit or 12.5% with CENVAT credit.

8)        Round copper wire and tin alloys for use in the manufacture of Solar PV ribbon for manufacture of solar PV cells to Nil subject to certification by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).

 

 

  1. Miscellaneous:

1)        Excise duty on leather footwear (footwear with uppers made of leather of heading 4107 or 4112 to 4114) of Retail Sale Price of more than ` 1000 per pair from 12% to 6%.

2)        Excise duty levied on the value of duty paid on rails for manufacture of railway or tramway track construction material is being exempted retrospectively for the period from 17.03.2012 to 02.02.2014, if no CENVAT credit of duty paid on such rails is availed.

  1. Mimimum government and maximum governance to improve the ease of design business
  2. Reduction in number of levies:

EXCISE

1)        Education Cess and Secondary & Higher Education Cess leviable on excisable goods are being subsumed in Basic Excise duty. Consequently, Education Cess and Secondary & Higher Education Cess leviable on excisable goods are being fully exempted. The standard ad valorem rate of Basic Excise Duty is being increased from 12% to 12.5% and specific rates of Basic Excise Duty on petrol, diesel, cement, cigarettes & other tobacco products (other than biris) are being suitably changed. However, the total incidence of various duties of excise on petrol and diesel remains unchanged. Other Basic Excise Duty rates (ad valorem as well as specific) with a few exceptions are not being changed. Customs Education Cesses will continue to be levied on imported goods.

  1. Ensure certainty and uniformity in valuation of the goods for the purposes of levy of excise duty:

1)        All goods falling under Chapter sub-heading 2101 20, including iced tea, are being notified under section 4A of the Central Excise Act for the purpose of assessment of Central Excise duty with reference to the Retail Sale Price with an abatement of 30%. Such goods are also being included in the Third Schedule to the Central Excise Act, 1944.

2)        Goods, such as lemonade and other beverages, are being notified under section 4A of the Central Excise Act for the purpose of assessment of Central Excise duty with reference to the Retail Sale Price with an abatement of 35%. Such goods are also being included in the Third Schedule to the Central Excise Act, 1944.

III.      Compliance Facilitation:

1)        Online Central Excise/Service Tax Registration within two working days.

2)        Time limit for taking CENVAT Credit on inputs and input services is being increased from six months to one year.

3)        Facility of direct dispatch of goods by registered, dealer from seller to customer’s premises is being provided. Similar facility is also being allowed in respect of job-workers. Registered importer can also send goods directly to customer from the port of importation.

4)        Penalty provisions in Customs, Central Excise & Service Tax are being rationalized to encourage compliance and early dispute resolution.

5)        Central Excise/Service Tax assessees are being allowed to issue digitally signed invoices and maintain other records electronically.

  1. Miscellaneous:

1)        The entry “waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavoured” in the Seventh Schedule to the Finance Act, 2005 related to levy of additional duty of excise @ 5% is being omitted. Till the enactment of the Finance Bill, 2015, the said additional duty of excise of 5% leviable on such goods is being exempted. Simultaneously, the Basic Excise Duty on these goods is being increased from 12% to 18%.

2)        Excise duty on chassis for ambulances is being reduced from 24% to 12.5%.

  1. Improving the quality of life and public health through Swachh Bharat Initiatives.

CUSTOMS & EXCISE

1)        The Scheduled rate of Clean Energy Cess levied on coal, lignite and peat is being increased from `100 per tonne to `300 per tonne. The effective rate of Clean Energy Cess is being increased from `100 per tonne to `200 per tonne.

2)        Concessional customs and excise duty rates on specified parts of Electrically Operated Vehicles and Hybrid Vehicles, presently available upto 31.03.2015, is being extended upto 31.03.2016.

3)        Excise duty on sacks and bags of polymers of ethylene other than for industrial use is being increased from 12% to 15%.

SERVICE TAX

1)        An enabling provision is being made to empower the Central Government to impose a Swachh Bharat Cess on all or certain taxable services at a rate of 2% on the value of such taxable services. The proceeds from this Cess would be utilized for Swachh Bharat initiatives. This Cess will be effective from a date to be notified.

2)        Service provided by a Common Effluent Treatment Plant operator for treatment of effluent is being exempted.

  1. Stand alone proposals to maximise benefits to the economy

D.I      Broadening the Tax Base:

EXCISE

1)        Excise duty of 2% without CENVAT credit or 6% with CENVAT credit is being levied on condensed milk put up in unit containers. It is also being notified under section 4A of the Central Excise Act for the purpose of valuation with reference to the Retail Sale Price with an abatement of 30%.

2)        Excise duty of 2% without CENVAT credit or 6% with CENVAT credit is being levied on peanut butter.

SERVICE TAX

  1. Change in Service Tax rates:

1)        The service tax rate is being increased from 12% plus Education Cesses to 14%. The ‘Education Cess’ and ‘Secondary and Higher Education Cess’ shall be subsumed in the new service tax rate. The revised rate shall come into effect from a date to be notified.

  1. Review of the Negative List

1)        Service tax to be levied on the service provided by way of access to amusement facility such as rides, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, water parks, theme parks, etc.

2)        Service tax to be levied on service by way of admission to entertainment event of concerts, non-recognized sporting events, pageants, music concerts and award functions, if the amount charged for admission is more than Rs 500. Service by way of admission to exhibition of the cinematographic film, circus, dance, or theatrical performances including drama, ballets or recognized sporting events shall continue to be exempt.

3)        Service tax to be levied on service by way of carrying out any processes as job work for production or manufacture of alcoholic liquor for human consumption.

4)        An enabling provision is being made to exclude all services provided by the Government or local authority to a business entity from the Negative List. Once this amendment is given effect to, all service provided by the Government to business entities, unless specifically exempt, shall become taxable.

III.      Review of General Exemptions

1)        Exemption presently available on specified services of construction, repair of civil structures, etc. when provided to Government shall be restricted only to,-

  1. a) a historical monument, archaeological site
  2. b) canal, dam or other irrigation work;
  3. c) pipeline, conduit or plant for (i) water supply (ii) water treatment, or (iii) sewerage treatment or disposal.

2)        Exemption to construction, erection, commissioning or installation of original works pertaining to an airport or port is being withdrawn.

3)        Exemption to services provided by a performing artist in folk or classical art form of (i) music, or (ii) dance, or (iii) theater, will be limited only to such cases where amount charged is upto Rs 1,00,000 per performance (except brand ambassador).

4)        Exemption to transportation of ‘food stuff’ by rail, or vessels or road will be limited to transportation of food grains including rice and pulses, flours, milk and salt only. Transportation of agricultural produce is separately exempt which would continue.

5)        Exemptions are being withdrawn on the following services:

(a)         services provided by a mutual fund agent to a mutual  fund or assets management company;

(b)        distributor to a mutual fund or AMC; and

(c)         selling or marketing agent of lottery ticket to a   distributor of lottery.

6)        Exemption is being withdrawn on the following services,-

(a)         Departmentally run public telephone

(b)         Guaranteed public telephone operating only local calls

(c)         Service by way of making telephone calls from free telephone at airport and hospital where no bill is issued

7)        Existing exemption notification for service provided by a commission agent located outside India to an exporter located in India is being rescinded, as this notification has become redundant in view of the amendments made in law in the previous budget, whereby services provided by such agents have been excluded from the tax net.

D.II     Relief Measures:

CUSTOMS

1)        Exempt artificial heart (left ventricular assist device) from Basic Customs Duty of 5% and CVD.

EXCISE

1)        Full exemption from excise duty is being extended to captively consumed intermediate compound coming into existence during the manufacture of Agarbattis. Agarbattis attract Nil excise duty.

SERVICE TAX

1)        Services of pre-conditioning, pre-cooling, ripening, waxing, retail packing, labeling of fruits and vegetables are being exempted.

2)        Life insurance service provided by way of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojna is being exempted.

3)        Service provided by way of exhibition of movie by the exhibitor/theatre owner to the distributor or association of persons consisting of exhibitor as one of it’s member is being exempted.

4)        All ambulance services provided to patients are being exempted.

5)        Service provided by way of admission to a museum, zoo, national park, wild life sanctuary and a tiger reserve is being exempted.

6)        Transport of goods for export by road from the factory to a land customs station (LCS) is being exempted.

D.III   Allocation of additional resources for infrastructure:

EXCISE & CUSTOMS

1)        The Scheduled rates of Additional Duty of Customs / Excise levied on Petrol and High Speed Diesel Oil [commonly known as Road Cess] are being increased from `2 per litre to `8 per litre. The effective rates of Additional Duty of Customs / Excise levied on Petrol and High Speed Diesel Oil [commonly known as Road Cess] are being increased from `2 per litre to `6 per litre. Simultaneously, Basic Excise Duty Rates on Petrol and High Speed Diesel Oil (both branded and unbranded) are being reduced by `4 per litre. Basic Excise duty rates on petrol and diesel are also being increased suitably so as to subsume Education Cess and Secondary and Higher Education Cess presently levied on them. Thus, the net decrease in Basic Excise Duty on branded petrol is `3.46 per litre, on unbranded petrol is `3.49 per litre, on branded diesel is `3.63 per litre and on unbranded diesel is `3.70 per litre. However, total incidence of excise duties on petrol and diesel remains unchanged.

D.IV   Promote public health:

EXCISE

1)        Excise duty on cigarettes is being increased by 25% for cigarettes of length not exceeding 65 mm and by 15% for cigarettes of other lengths. Similar increases are proposed on cigars, cheroots and cigarillos.

2)        Maximum speed of packing machine is being specified as a factor relevant to production for determining excise duty payable under the Compounded Levy Scheme presently applicable to pan masala, gutkha and chewing tobacco. Accordingly, deemed production and duty payable per machine per month are being notified with reference to the speed range in which the maximum speed of a packing machine falls.

D.V     Other measures relating to Service Tax

  1. Changes in the Finance Act, 1994
  2. A definition of the term “government” is being incorporated in the Act to resolve interpretational issues as regards the scope of this term in the context of the Negative List and service tax exemptions.
  3. To amend the definition of term “service” to specifically state the intention of legislature to levy service tax on:
  4. chit fund foremen by way of conducting a chit; and
  5. distributor or selling agent of lottery, as appointed or authorized by the organizing state for promoting, marketing, distributing, selling, or assisting the state in any other way for organizing and conducting a lottery.
  6. It is being specifically prescribed in the Act that value of a taxable service shall include any reimbursable cost or expenditure incurred and charged by the service provider to make legal position clear and avoid disputes.
  7. Section 66F of the Act prescribes that unless otherwise specified, reference to a service shall not include reference to any input service used for providing such service. An illustration is being incorporated in this section to exemplify the scope of this provision.
  8. Rationalization of abatement
  9. A uniform abatement is being prescribed for transport by rail, road and vessel to bring parity in these sectors. Service Tax shall be payable on 30% of the value of such service subject to a uniform condition of non-availment of Cenvat Credit on inputs, capital goods and input services. Presently, tax is payable on 30% of the value in case of rail transport, 25% in case of road transport and 40% in case of transport by vessels.
  10. The abatement for executive (business/first class) air travel, wherein the service element is higher, is being reduced from 60% to 40%. Consequently, service tax would be payable on 60% of the value of fare for business class.
  11. Abatement is being withdrawn on chit fund service.
  12. Service Tax Rules
  13. In respect of any service provided under aggregator model, the aggregator is being made liable to pay service tax if the service is provided using the brand name of aggregator in any manner.
  14. Consequent to the upward revision in Service Tax rate, the composition rate on specified services, namely, life insurance service, services of air travel agent, money changing service provided by banks or authorized dealers, and service provided by lottery distributor and selling agent, is proposed to be revised proportionately.
  15. Reverse charge mechanism
  16. Manpower supply and security services when provided by individual, HUF, partnership firm to a body corporate are being brought to full reverse charge as a simplification measure. Presently, these are taxed under partial reverse charge mechanism.
  17. Services provided by mutual fund agents, mutual fund distributors and lottery agents are being brought to under reverse charge consequent to withdrawal of exemption on such services.
  18. The Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004

Cenvat Credit Rules are being amended to allow credit of service tax paid under partial reverse charge by the service receiver without linking it to the payments of value of service to service provider as a trade facilitation measure.

BUDGET 2015

Here are sector-wise highlights

Taxation

1 Abolition of Wealth Tax.
2 Additional 2% surcharge for the super rich with income of over Rs. 1 crore.
3 Rate of corporate tax to be reduced to 25% over next four years.
4 Total exemption of up to Rs. 4,44,200 can be achieved.
5 100% exemption for contribution to Swachch Bharat, apart from CSR.
6 Service tax increased to14 per cent.

Infrastructure

1 Rs. 70,000 crores to Infrastructure sector.
2 Tax-free bonds for projects in rail road and irrigation
3 PPP model for infrastructure development to be revitalised and govt. to bear majority of the risk.
4 Atal Innovation Mission to be established to draw on expertise of entrepreneurs, and researchers to foster scientific innovations; allocation of Rs. 150 crore.
5 Govt. proposes to set up 5 ultra mega power projects, each of 4000MW.

Education

1 AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Assam.
2 IIT in Karnataka; Indian Institute of Mines in Dhanbad to be upgraded to IIT.
3 PG institute of Horticulture in Armtisar.
4 Kerala to have University of Disability Studies
5 Centre of film production, animation and gaming to come up in Arunachal Pradesh.
6 IIM for Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh.

Welfare schemes

1 GST and JAM trinity (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile) to improve quality of life and to pass benefits to common man.
2 Six crore toilets across the country under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
3 MUDRA bank will refinance micro finance orgs. to encourage first generation SC/ST entrepreneurs.
4 Housing for all by 2020.
5 Upgradation 80,000 secondary schools.
6 DBT will be further be expanded from 1 crore to 10.3 crore.
7 For the Atal Pension Yojana, govt. will contribute 50% of the premium limited to Rs. 1000 a year.
8 New scheme for physical aids and assisted living devices for people aged over 80 .
9 Govt to use Rs. 9,000 crore unclaimed funds in PPF/EPF for Senior Citizens Fund.
10 Rs. 5,000 crore additional allocation for MGNREGA.
11 Govt. to create universal social security system for all Indians.

Agriculture

Rs. 25,000 c
Rural Infrastructure Development Bank
Rs. 5,300 cr
Micro Irrigation Programme
Rs. 8.5 lakh cr
Targeted for farmer credit

Defence

Rs. 2,46,726 cr
allocated for defence
(an increase of 9.87 per cent over last year)
Focus on Make in India for quick manufacturing of Defence equipment.

Renewable energy

Rs. 75 cr
electric cars production
2022: 100K MW
Solar power
60K MW
Wind power
10K MW
Bio Mass
5K MW
Small Hydro

Tourism

Develpoment schemes for churches and convents in old Goa; Hampi, Elephanta caves, Forests of Rajasthan, Leh palace, Varanasi , Jallianwala Bagh, Qutb Shahi tombs at Hyderabad to be under the new toursim scheme.
Visa on Arrival for 150 countries

12.28 p.m.: Rs. 50,000 contribution to new pension scheme. “To make India a pensioned society.”

12.27 p.m.: Additional deduction of Rs. 25,000 for differently abled persons.

12.26 p.m.: Increase in limit of deduction of health insurance premium of Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000. For senior citizens, limit will be Rs. 30,000. Very senior citizens – Rs. 30,000 deduction on expenses incurred.

12.25 p.m.: 2 per cent cess on services for Swachch Bharat.

12.24 p.m.: 100 per cent deduction for contribution to Swachch Bharat and Clean Ganga schemes.

12.23 p.m.: Service Tax rate increased to 14 per cent.

12.22 p.m.: Educational cess and higher educational cess to be subsumed as a part of GST.

12.19 p.m.: Wealth tax – Rs. 1,008 crore in 2013-14. Wealth tax to be abolished and replaced with a super-rich tax for those with income of over Rs. 1 crore.

12.17 p.m.: Basic custom duty rate reduced for 22 items.

12.16 p.m.: GAAR – applicability to be deferred by two years.

12.15 p.m.: Allocation for renewable energy

12.10 p.m.: Allocation for agriculture

12.08 p.m.: First proposal is to deal with black money. In the last 9 months, a major breakthrough was achieved when a delegation of the Revenue Department visited Switzerland.

12.07 p.m.: Exemption to individual taxpayers will continue.

12.04 p.m.: Taxation

Basic rate of corporate tax in India is now 30 per cent. But rate of collection is 23 per cent. A regime of exemptions has led to loss of revenue.

Coporate tax rate wil be reduced to 25 per cent over the next four years.

12.02 p.m.: Budget estimates

Non-plan expenditure – Rs. 13,12,200 crore

Plan expenditure – Rs. 4,65,277 crore

Fiscal deficit – 3.9% of GDP

12.01 p.m.: Make in India policy for defence equipment – Rs. 2,46,727 crore allocation for defence.

12.00 noon: Rs. 68,968 crore for education sector.

11.57 a.m.: We are making good progress on Digital India.

11.55 a.m.: AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Assam. AIIMS-like institution in Bihar. IIT in Karnataka. IIMs in Jammu and Kashmir, and Andhra Pradesh. Centre for Film Production and Animation in Arunachal Pradesh.

11.54 a.m.: Fully IT based student financial aid scheme for higher education.

11.53 a.m.: National Skills Mission for skill development and entrepreneurship – Rs. 1,500 crore.

11.52 a.m.: Procurement law for public contracts. Govt. to introduce Public Contracts (Resolution of Disputes) Bill. Regulatory reform law to be introduced.

11.51 a.m.: Rs. 75 crore for electric cars production.

11.50 a.m.: Visa on arrival scheme – increased to 150 countries in different stages.

11.49 a.m.: World Heritage Sites – churches and convents of old Goa, Hampi, Elephanta caves, Leh palace, Varanasi temple town, Jallianwala Bagh etc., will be developed to make them more tourist-friendly.

11.48 a.m.: Rs. 1,000 crore additional allocation to the Nirbhaya fund.

11.47 a.m.: Will do away with different types of foreign investment — like FPI and FDI — and replace them with a comprehensive type.

11.46 a.m.: We will look at making India a cashless society by incentivising card transactions.

11.44 a.m.: EPF – Employee may opt for EPF or new pension scheme, employee’s contribution to EPF below an income threshold will be optional without reducing employer’s contribution.

11.43 a.m.: Direct Tax regime which will be internationally competitive on rates.

11.41 a.m.: Will merge Forward Markets Commision with SEBI. Will set up a public debt management agency.

11.40 a.m.: Rs. 5,000 crore additional allocation for MGNREGA.

11.37 a.m.: Ports will be encouraged to corporatise and become companies under Companies Act.

11.35 a.m.: The govt. is establishing a mechanism for techno-financial incubation and facilitation programme – Rs. 1,000 crore set aside for this.

11.33 a.m.: Investment in Infrastructure will go up by Rs 70,000 crore in 2015-16. Annual inflow of Rs. 20,000 crore by way of a trust, to use this extra equity to leverage investment in infrastructure. PPP model to be revisited and revitalised. Atal Innovation Mission – for entrepreneurs and researchers to foster a culture of innovation: R.s 150 crore for this purpose.

11.32 a.m.: Nayi Manzil scheme – to enable minority youth to obtain school leaving certificate and gain better employment.

11.31 a.m.: Assisted living devices for senior citizens living below the poverty line.

11.30 a.m.: Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana – Rs. 1 per day premium, Rs. 2 lakh coverage.

11.28 a.m.: Accident death risk – Rs 2 lakhs for a premium of Rs. 12 per year. Atal Pension Yojana – defined pension depending on contribution. Govt. will contribute 50 per cent of the amount.

11.27 a.m.: NBFCs registered with RBI above Rs. 5,000 crore to be considered financial institutions.

11.26 a.m.: We will bring a comprehensive bankruptcy code in 2015-16.

11.26 a.m.: Will create Mudra Bank with corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore for microfinance. “We are banking the unbanked and funding the unfunded.”

11.25 a.m.: MGNREGA – Rs. 34,699 crore

11.23 a.m.: Rs. 8.5 lakh crore of rural credit for the year.

11.21 a.m.: In order to improve soil health, the Agriculture Ministry’s organic farming programme, Rs. 5,300 crore for micro-irrigation watershed projects.

11.20 a.m.: Gross disinvestment in loss-making units will be undertaken. DBT will be further expanded from 1 crore to 10.3 crore.

11.17 a.m.: Total public investment will be Rs 1.25 lakh crore. “Will complete the journey to fiscal deficit of 3 per cent in two years and not three years.”

11.16 a.m.: Government will continue all social sector programmes like MNREGA, rural schemes etc.

11.14 a.m.: “We have devolved a 42 per cent share of divisible taxes to States. Devolution will be Rs. 5.2 lakh crore in 2015. Total transfer to States will 62 per cent.”

11.13 a.m.: “The rural-urban divide is no longer acceptable.”

11.12 a.m.: “All our schemes should focus off-centre on the poor. We need to upgrade 80,000 secondary schools.”

11.11 a.m.: Housing for all by 2022 announced — 2 crore in rural areas, 5 crore in urban areas.

11.10 a.m.: Estimated GDP for 2015-16 will be between 8 and 8.5 per cent. “Aiming for a double-digit growth rate seems feasible.”

11.08 a.m.: We have embraked on two other programmes now — GST and JAM Trinity. GST will be implemented by April 2016 says Mr. Jaitley.

11.07 a.m.: Mr. Jaitley puts forth three achievements of the new government — the success of the Jan Dhan Yojana, coal auctions and Swachch Bharat Abhiyan. “We will attain the target of building 6 crore toilets. It’s at a deeper level a programme of preventive healthcare.”

11.05 a.m.: “The people of India have voted resoundingly for quick change, faster growth and high levels of transparency. We have lived up to that trust.”

11.04 a.m.: “We inherited a sentiment of doom and gloom. We have come a long way since then. The CAD for the year is expected to be below 1.3% of GDP. Foreign exchange reserves have risen to $340 billion.”

11.02 a.m.: “The credibility of the Indian economy has been reestablished,” says Mr. Jaitley. “We are a round-the-clock, round-the-year government.”

11 a.m.: Arun Jaitley begins his Budget speech. “We have embraced the States as equal partners in the process of economic growth.”

10.50 a.m.: Budget documents arrive at the Parliament. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

10.45 a.m.: The Swachch Bharat Abhiyan has a target of building 120 million toilets over five years with an investment of Rs. 2 lakh crore. But the FY ’15 target of 12 million targets seems set to be missed.

10.34 a.m.: Which are India’s most effective subsidies, the ones that best reach the poor?

 

$80 billion wearables market?

$80 billion wearables market?

Connected gadgets that are indistinguishable from their disconnected peers will fuel the growth of wearable technology.

Wearable technology is redefining what it means to be disabled

Several factors have dogged the nascent wearable technology market. The lack of breakthrough innovation around batteries, for one, requiring wearers to plug in on-the-go gadgets more than they’d like. The lack of sophistication around tiny user interfaces is another, though that will no doubt improve over time.

But a big one? The social factor. Beyond the geeks of Silicon Valley and elsewhere, it’s just not cool to wear a watch, glasses, or headset that’s as big as a hood ornament.

That’s going to change, according to Juniper Research. The British market observer believes that the wearable technology market will grow to $80 billion by 2020—and the key will be making the connected gadgets virtually indistinguishable from their disconnected peers.

That means that Apple AAPL 0.05% must be on to something as it continues to make atypical hires from the fashion and apparel world. Observers, including Fortune‘s own Philip Elmer-Dewitt, believe the new talent will help smooth the rough edges of a technology that’s as personal as a bracelet, watch, or ring. (So, apparently, does Google.) The best wearables, and the ones best positioned for profitability, may be those that allow their technology to completely recede into the background.

Nevertheless, wearables will be a diverse growth market that’s not merely Internet-connected jewelry. Wearables that attach to the skin, such as MC10’s Biostamp, are also part of this category—though they’re in a “more embryonic state” and require a much larger shift in consumer habits than a smart watch, Juniper says.

Many technology companies—including Apple, ARM, Google, Intel, Lenovo-Motorola, LG, MC10, Microsoft, Omate, Qualcomm, Sony, and Withings, plus wearables-savvy design firms like Gadi Amit’s NewDealDesign and Yves Béhar’s Fuseproject—are well-positioned to benefit from the boom. With the right features, consumers are, too.

The meaning of “disabled” is changing as people adopt wearable devices and move into a bionic future.

The visually impaired have used canes to navigate for most of recorded history, but the white version we’re familiar with was born in early 20th century Paris. Guilly d’Herbemont lived above a street frequented by blind pedestrians, regularly witnessing their peril in an era when automobiles were common but crosswalks a novelty. By 1931, she had come up with the idea of establishing a bold white cane as a protective symbol and navigational tool for the blind, and distributed more than 5,000 of them at her own expense. The idea had spread internationally within two years.

Tech developer Krispian Lawrence hopes to build on d’Herbemont’s legacy. Lawrence lives in India, which he says has “the unfortunate distinction of being the blind capital of the world,” and he sees both the strengths and drawbacks of the white cane. “The cane has social significance. At the same time, it has two major defects: it can’t [guide] you from one place to another, and it can’t orient you.” Lawrence is CEO of Lechal (Hindi for “Take me there”), which he co-founded with Anirudh Sharma in 2011. The company is about to release its first products: footwear that will supplement the white cane by providing navigation and safety information through vibrations in the wearer’s feet.

Since starting the company, Lawrence and his team have discovered that their product appeals to a variety of people. When the Lechal shoes and insoles become available later this year (for about $150), they will include features that will help runners monitor their pace, outdoorsmen map new trails, and tourists navigate unknown cities, all without burying their faces in a smartphone. This broader spectrum of users benefit from the haptic interface and motion commands that make Lechal intuitive for the blind.

Lechal is just one example of how wearable tech is eroding the boundaries between assistive technology and the consumer technology market. As interfaces get more creative and sensors get more powerful, people with all types of bodies will be drawn to technology that enhances senses, monitors health, and eases interactions with the environment. As they become more and more a part of everyday life, these devices may shift our views on bodies and their limitations.

The developers at Soundhawk have planted their flag on that blurring line. Soundhawk is an in-ear device to enhance hearing—but don’t call it a hearing aid. The company’s founders and executives include audiologists who have seen plenty of patients experience difficulty hearing in certain situations even though they display no measurable sign of hearing loss. Soundhawk is based on the same technology built into high-end hearing aids, but it’s targeted at this technically unimpaired group.

“We’re taking a product away from the idea of being a hearing assistive device for people who have a problem,” says Drew Dundas, the company’s chief science officer, “to being a performance enhancement for people to improve their quality of life.” To target these users, Soundhawk is trying to distance itself from the stigma of hearing aids as signs of aging and infirmity. In part, they’re doing this by marketing the device directly to consumers, rather than through doctors.

Soundhawk has also bucked the trend toward invisibility in hearing aids, instead releasing a device that resembles a hands-free headset—a design less likely to mark the user as impaired than even the most discreet in-ear hearing aid. Similarly, while Lechal offers invisible insoles, its shoe product is flashy, a bet that today’s users are unembarrassed about showing off their enhancements.

The assistive benefits of wearables aren’t limited to those with mobility and perceptual deficits. Jesse Slade Shantz, chief medical officer of the “smart” apparel companyOMsignal, cites the power of biometric tracking for lung and heart disease patients, diabetics, and sleep apnea sufferers. As the sophisticated sensors once available only in clinics and labs find their way into shirts and watches, chronic disease patients will be able to optimize their behavior in real time, in ways very similar to how early-adopting fitness buffs already use wearables.

As wearable technology advances and spreads, information technology is becoming even more ubiquitous, with complex implications for those who use assistive devices. According to a report by Transparency Market Research, the assistive devices market is estimated to grow to $19.68 billion by 2019. But that measure only includes devices defined as assistive in the traditional way. Lechal, Soundhawk, OMsignal, and other consumer wearables that are useful for the disabled and able-bodied alike might constitute a new category.

They may also change how society as a whole understands disability. Will Seymour of the Future Foundation consulting group points out that wearable and mobile tech is already giving the disabled newfound freedom to communicate and navigate. “Allowing someone to do more with their body is certainly a redefinition of what it means to have a disability,” he says. “Performance boundaries are now seen as flexible; the body’s weaknesses as negotiable.”

Indian Pharma Industry Needs a Big Investment Reforms & Push from Transformational Union Budget 2015-16 ” – Dr. Rajendra Kamat , VC & MD, Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd.

Indian Pharma Industry Needs a Big Investment Reforms & Push from Transformational Union Budget 2015-16 ” – Dr. Rajendra Kamat , VC & MD, Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd.

Dr. Rajendra Kamat , VC & MD, Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd. expressed hope that the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will  accord enhanced tax incentives for research and development (R&D) activities in the pharmaceutical sector in the forthcoming Budget to be announced on February 28. In its Budget proposals, the Commerce Ministry has sought “weighted average tax benefit of 400 per cent for R&D activities for the sector”.

Midsized companies like us will look at more positive agenda & push from the forthcoming budget & clarity of direction on tax reforms & FDI.

“There is an urgent need to boost R&D in the pharma sector. India is the hub of generic medicines. It contributes significantly to the country’s total exports,” Dr. Kamat expressed that the industry will get fresh incentives as annually, India exports pharmaceutical products worth $10 billion. The market size of the industry is around Rs. 1 lakh crore.The need for special financial package for the pharma sector has been highlighted in various fora.The pharma sector is a capital intensive sector. Besides R&D expenditure, regulatory requirements require large funds. All quality investments should be treated on par with R&D to provide incentives to the industry,” the official added.

Dr. Datsons Lab Ltd, formerly known as Aanjaneya Lifecare Ltd, BSE code (533412) is a vertically integrated company having state-of-the-art; WHO GMP approved facilities for manufacturing bulk drugs at Mahad and finished dosage forms at Pirungut near Pune. It is one of the largest contract manufacturers of codeine based cough syrups in India. The company exclusively manufactures the Codorex Brand of Zydus Cadilla and Codilite Brand of Tablets India Ltd. amongst others.The company raised about Rs. 117 crore from its IPO and the funds are being used to built new capacities along with the refurbishing of Research & Development centre. The new facilities being created as part of CAPEX are using eco friendly, recyclable material and will be rated by LEEDS once completed.The Facilities being established will comply with the latest European & US guidelines. With new capacities to be added in next 6 to 9 months the company will be expanding operations in emerging markets of South East Asia, Africa & South & Central America and its domestic operation in branded generics segment. The company with its manufacturing facilities –in Mahad, Hyderabad and Pune has to its credit many achievements. It is the world’s third-largest manufacturer of quinine salts in the world . Only nine companies globally manufacture quinine salts.One of the largest codeine based formlulations manufacturer in the pharmaceutical sector. One of the largest manufacturer of multi- flavored Lozenges in  medical products in India. The company pioneered the recognition that lozenges represent a stable platform for the delivery of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical ingredients. Dr. Datson’s Nicco Nil lozenge is a first-of-its-kind  hard boiled lozenge remedy for smoking de-addition; its Relacs is a first-time lozenge against insomnia and Arecta Plus, a lozenge variant for Erectile Dysfunction, is a first of its kind . The company has an expertise in opportunity spotting and innovation. The company’s success has been built on a business model that integrates Research, Innovation and Knowledge. The company has invested in building proprietary Knowledge through research and acquisitions. Dr. Datson’s competence has been validated through patents granted by international and Indian authorities. Production of Quinine Sulphate increased 30% in 2011-2012. Sales of Quinine Sulphate grew 45%. Exports increased 250% from Rs 10 Crore to Rs 31 crore. Added 35 international and 50 domestic clients. Completed trials for Bromexine(expectorant)a new API that will be launched in 2012-1023. Highlights 2011-2012 for Finished Dosage Forms. Launched ‘Rancorex’ an in-house codine based cough syrup brand for the first time in its history. received the Kenya PPB GMP approval from all facilities namely lozenges,liquids and ointments. Received registration for ‘Arecta Plus’(a lozenge variant of Viagra tablets)from Sierrs Leone and Libya; received the first export order for this product to be executed in 2012-2013.

India missed the momentum in Obama’s visit!

Twenty years ago, the talking points of U.S. policy were to ‘cap and eventually eliminate’ the subcontinent’s nuclear programmes. Now, to have the U.S. President at the Republic Day parade in 2015 while negotiators worked out ways to operationalise civil nuclear cooperation shows how far India-U.S. ties have progressed


Lisa Curtis

The rain during the Republic Day parade apart, United States President Barack Obama’s visit to India was a near-perfect one. Indeed, his sojourn is likely to be viewed as one of the most important and defining moments in the history of India-U.S. relations.

The pomp and symbolism of Mr. Obama being the first U.S. President to attend the parade was expected. But the substance of the visit, particularly its focus on defence and strategic cooperation, confirms that both Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are serious about bolstering ties.

Progress on strategic agenda

The most significant achievement was the progress made in military and defence cooperation. The renewal of the 10-year framework for the U.S.-India Defence Relationship; the announcement of joint projects, including the co-production of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and specialised equipment for military transport aircraft; the establishment of contact groups to explore co-development of jet engine technology and aircraft carrier systems, and the decision to upgrade bilateral, annual naval exercises represent substantive steps that will deepen the defence partnership.

The establishment of a hotline between the two leaders and their national security advisers are also an indicator of the two countries taking ties to a deeper, strategic level.

“U.S. companies are apparently still studying the Indian proposal for a nuclear insurance pool to mitigate investment risks, so it may be too early to claim victory on the civil nuclear front.”

The forward movement on civil nuclear issues was a surprise, given the antagonistic position of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) towards the civil nuclear deal when it was in the Opposition. But details on the “breakthrough understanding” are sparse. And Mr. Obama has himself acknowledged that U.S. companies will have the final say on whether India’s proposal for an insurance pool will be sufficient to mitigate investment risks in light of Indian legislation that holds suppliers liable for damages in the event of a nuclear accident. The companies are apparently still studying the proposal, so it may be too early to claim victory on the civil nuclear front.

Nonetheless, U.S. officials seem to appreciate the effort India’s negotiators are making in trying to resolve the civil nuclear deadlock. Many were sceptical that Mr. Modi would invest much political capital in trying to move the deal forward since it was initiated under the previous government headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh. The time and the attention the Indian side has devoted in trying to resolve differences over the nuclear liability issue shows that the Modi government is taking ownership of the deal.

Pharma Press

China factor

Forming the backdrop of progress on India-U.S. defence and strategic ties is undoubtedly the military and economic rise of China. The Joint Statement’s call for freedom of navigation and overflight, especially in the South China Sea, should be viewed as a veiled reference to Chinese assertiveness in the region.

By demonstrating that China is very much on his mind, Mr. Modi has reportedly raised the idea of reviving the Quad (security collaboration between Australia, India, Japan and the U.S.). Shinzo Abe, during his previous stint as Prime Minister of Japan, proposed the idea of the Quad almost nine years ago. The four countries backed away from the proposal when China raised strong objections. Mr. Modi’s mention of the Quad may have been aimed at convincing China to back down from its assertive position with regard to their border disputes. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in September 2014 was overshadowed by border tensions provoked by unusual movements of Chinese soldiers along the disputed frontier in northern Kashmir.

Incidentally, the Washington-based Heritage Foundation will join the Delhi-based Vivekananda International Foundation, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the Tokyo Foundation, and the Jakarta-based Habibie Center in Bali, Indonesia, next week for a Track II Quad-Plus dialogue to discuss ways to enhance cooperation in defence, regional security and counterterrorism.

China has reacted warily to Mr. Obama’s visit to India. In a commentary that ran in a state-owned Chinese newspaper, its author cautioned India not to fall into America’s “trap” of trying to counter China.

Counterterrorism cooperation

The two sides advanced their counterterrorism dialogue and recommitted to cooperating against Pakistan-based groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). There is confusion about whether Pakistan is cracking down on the LeT front organisation, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), led by the LeT founder, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

The Pakistani media reported last week that Islamabad had frozen JuD assets and banned its leaders from international travel. But Hafiz Saeed’s recent announcement of the JuD launching a new ambulance service in Karachi, shows that the organisation is not feeling much heat from the government’s purported actions.

Washington should push Pakistan to try in the newly established military courts, the seven LeT members in Pakistani custody for their alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Pakistan has set up these special military courts to overcome weaknesses in the civilian court system in dealing with terrorist cases. One major problem has been the ability of terrorists to intimidate civilian lawyers and judges in order to influence the system in their favour.

Washington has not adequately leveraged its aid and influence in Pakistan to convince the authorities to crack down on terrorist groups that focus on attacking India, but also pose an international threat. The U.S.’s increased willingness to work with India to target these groups is welcome, but not enough.

Until Washington makes clear that it places the threat from LeT on a par with that from al-Qaeda, Pakistani military and intelligence services will continue to allow the LeT and the JuD to operate relatively freely.

Women’s rights, religious freedom

On the final day of the visit, Mr. Obama’s speech, which focussed on women’s rights and religious freedom, was appropriate. The treatment of women in India has garnered a great deal of attention in the last couple of years, especially following wide media coverage after a brutal gang rape on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012 that left the young woman dead.

The issue of religious freedom has also come in the spotlight following reports of mass ceremonies where Muslims and Christians are being converted to Hinduism. Parliament was paralysed for several days last month when reports surfaced that a BJP leader planned to hold one of these ceremonies on Christmas Day (December 25). Eventually the group organising the event agreed to cancel it.

Amid the controversy, some BJP leaders have proposed passing a national anti-conversion law — legislation purportedly aimed at preventing forced conversions. But India’s religious minorities worry that such laws would be used to harass or intimidate them. There is also concern that allowing law enforcement or judicial authorities to determine whether a conversion has been forced or manipulated allows the state to intervene too heavily in religious matters that involve personal and ethical choices.

Mr. Modi has stayed away from communal politicking and has signalled that he is more interested in focussing on his economic agenda, rather than in pursuing Hindutva policies. He has taken steps to reach out to the Muslim community. For instance, during his first speech to Parliament last June, he said it was unacceptable that the Muslim minority often lagged behind the rest of the country in socio-economic terms.

But he needs to reaffirm his commitment to religious freedom and show that he is not beholden to those pushing a hardline Hindutva agenda. Failing to do so could harm the BJP government’s international reputation and dampen India-U.S. ties.

As a young diplomat heading to South Asia nearly 20 years ago, I remember being coached with very specific talking points on U.S. policy, which was to “cap, roll back, and eventually eliminate” the nuclear programmes of both India and Pakistan. To now see the U.S. President at a spectacular parade where India’s strategic weapons capabilities were on full display, while U.S. and Indian negotiators hashed out ways to operationalise civil nuclear cooperation, vividly illustrates just how far the relationship has progressed in recent years.

The Joint Statement released during the visit is notable for its length, spelling out several achievements in the relationship but also detailing the work that lies ahead. The India-U.S. collaboration that now stretches across a broad array of issues and the vision set forth by the two leaders shows that we are no longer striving for a strategic partnership. We have arrived at one.

(Lisa Curtis is Senior Research Fellow on South Asia at the Heritage Foundation.)

Red-faed Ex Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi& Bihar BJP Strong man mocks at Nitish Kumar’s Morality, says, the self proclaimed Nitish Babu is not Arvind Kejriwal!

 

Red-faed Ex Deputy CM & Bihar BJP Strong man mocks at Nitish Kumar’s Morality, says, the self proclaimed  Nitish Babu is not Arvind Kejriwal!. If Nitish Kumar had been Arvind Kejriwal, Nitish would not have souight support from corrupt Congress & RJD said Sushil Kumar Modi

 

Former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi (SuMo) said on Saturday that CM-designate Nitish Kumar owed to the people of the state a serial apology for a number of political mistakes that he made after winning the assembly elections for a second time in November 2010.SuMo said Nitish has already apologized to the people of the state for tendering resignation after the parliamentary elections, in which his party JD (U) could win only two of the 40 parliamentary seats in the state.He said Nitish, however, has committed five other mistakes, for which he should also tender public apology. According to him, people of the state had given a massive mandate to run the affairs of the state and take the Bihar turnaround story forward, but he, by breaking the state NDA government, had committed the first major mistake.”Nitish, in fact, insulted the popular mandate when he broke the BJP-JD(U) alliance,” SuMo said, adding he forged alliance with RJD chief Lalu Prasad even as the mandate given to him was to stall the return of Lalu.Subsequently, during the parliamentary elections, Nitish tried to create obstacles in the way of the then PM candidate of the BJP Narendra Modi, who wanted to give a strong government at the Centre, SuMo said, and added that even though Nitish came as a cropper in his bid, he owes an apology to the people of the state.In his bid to wrest power from now caretaker CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, Nitish forced Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary to take unconstitutional steps, he said, adding he also made unbecoming remarks against governor K N Tripathi. These were two instances of insulting the constitutional posts, which also require an apology from him.On the other hand, BJP national spokesman and former Bhagalpur MP Shahnawaz Hussain said that Nitish, who had campaigned actively against Lalu and declaration of the President’s rule during his ‘Nyaya Yatra’ in March 2005, had now ensured the return of Lalu and his party to power in the state after around 10 years.”The new government that Nitish would lead will not be only of him, but Nitish-Lalu rule for all practical purposes,” Shahnawaz said.Meanwhile, the state BJP felicitated Union minister for skill development Rajiv Pratap Rudy for flying the Sukhoi plane. Shahnawaz said he is the only Union minister and only Bihari to have achieved this feat.The gravity of power in Delhi rests at 7 RCR – Race Course Road, the prime minister’s residence. In Patna, the new centre of power is 7 CR – Circular Road, Nitish Kumar’s residence. The physical distance between these two power centres is 1031 km. But the political distance between the residents of these two famous addresses is infinite.

If Kejriwal can, so can I

In May, Narendra Modi had handed Nitish Kumar the biggest political defeat of his life. His party, the Janta Dal United, had been routed in the Lok Sabha polls, its tally crashing from 20 in 2009 to two in 2014. The JD(U) was in disarray, critics within were clamouring for Nitish’s head. “Sushasan Babu” as he was called, took moral responsibility and stepped down. Nitish couldn’t reconcile to the scale of the defeat and that too at the hands of his arch-nemesis, the man over whose elevation he had split his party’s 17-year alliance with the BJP. His famed social engineering formula of bringing together the Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) had flopped. Even the Muslims of Bihar had not rallied around Nitish. Shoulders drooping, morale crushed, it seemed the end of the political road for a man who had tried to remove the so-called stigma of being a “Bihari”.

Nitish copy

But nine months is a long time in politics. Cut to February 2015. Narendra Modi has tasted the first electoral defeat under his leadership at the hands of the diminutive Arvind Kejriwal. The AAP’s heroics were one of the key triggers for Nitish Kumar to demand the CM’s chair back from Jitan Ram Manjhi. Though many years decades senior to Kejriwal in politics, the JD(U) chief was inspired by the spirited campaign the Aam Aadmi Party leader ran to rout the mighty BJP in the capital. If Kejriwal can, so can I, thought Nitish. In the first week of February as opinion polls and feedback from the ground started showing that Kejriwal was winning Delhi, Nitish decided to take advantage of the fact that the BJP was distracted and under pressure.

A renunciation gone horribly wrong

What Nitish didn’t account for was Manjhi’s refusal to step down from the CM’s post. The hitherto unknown Manjhi had been handpicked by Nitish as his replacement because he rarely spoke, was known not to have strong views and could be expected to follow the dictation given by his boss.

On all three counts, Manjhi proved Nitish wrong. His tenure was riddled by a series of controversial statements. From justifying his son’s extra-marital affair with a married police woman to saying it was okay for the poor to indulge in black marketing and hoarding to going to the extent of suggesting that wives couldn’t be trusted when their husbands travelled for work outside Bihar, Manjhi was blurting a blooper a week.For the first three months, Manjhi dutifully implemented whatever Nitish wanted. But a coterie of leaders and Dalit bureaucrats around him started pumping him up by telling him what a wonderful job he was doing and how he was being seen as a big hope by Bihar’s numerically significant Dalits.The BJP played a big role in prodding Manjhi to go against his one time mentor. The Senior BJP leaders were in constant touch with the CM. They were offering him full support and even telling him that the BJP would offer tickets to the JD(U) MLAs who Manjhi was able to break away from Nitish’s fold.Turbocharged by the support being promised by the BJP, Manjhi decided to free himself of the umbilical cord tying him to Nitish. The former CM’s trusted bureaucrats were shunted to insignificant posts and Manjhi brought in his own men. He even announced a series of populist but fiscally imprudent measures with an eye on consolidating the Dalit vote bank. The Mahadalits may have been a category of castes brought together by Nitish but Manjhi wanted to be their undisputed leader.

Buil-up to the anti-climax

His protégé had gone rogue and aides were putting pressure on Nitish to crack the whip against Manjhi. But Nitish was initially hesitant. After all he had taken the high moral ground while resigning and electorally nothing had changed since May. But anti-incumbency against the JD(U) government was spiralling, corruption was rampant again and the law and order situation was deteriorating rapidly. During a flight from Patna to Delhi in January, a young Bihari walked up to the former CM and gave him a piece of his mind for letting Bihar fall back into the dark ages. The young man’s admonition, Nitish claims, left a deep mark and he realised that he had to act before it was too late.There were at least three dozen disgruntled MLAs in the JD(U) who had indicated that they were willing to back Manjhi. The rebel RJD MP Pappu Yadav was also hard at working mobilising support for the CM. Lalu’s grip on his party seemed shaky and more than a dozen RJD MLAs indicated that they were willing to jump ship. With the BJP coming out and declaring open support for the CM 48 hours before the vote of confidence, Manjhi was hopeful his boat would sail through comfortably. The magic figure of 117 was within sight.

But the day before the vote of confidence the Patna High Court dealt a double whammy to Manjhi. Eight JD(U) rebel MLAs were disqualified from participating in the vote of confidence on February 20. The court also upheld key Nitish man and Bihar speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary’s controversial decision to grant the JD(U) the status of the opposition party in the Assembly.

Suddenly Manjhi was still in government but in fact he was all alone. Had a vote of confidence taken place on Friday, the Vidhan Sabha in Patna would have witnessed the unprecedented scene of a CM sitting all by himself in the treasury benches. Manjhi had been expelled from the JD(U) but most of his supposed supporters were officially still members of Nitish’s party. Because the JD(U) had issued a whip, even Manjhi’s backers would have had to sit in the opposition benches along side the 87 BJP MLAs. The speaker had already ruled out a secret ballot. Every MLA who disobeyed the party whip and voted for Manjhi would have risked disqualification under the Anti-Defection Law.

 

The ambitious protégé had been checkmated by his wily mentor. Manjhi realised that his time was up when 98 JD(U) MLAs, 22 RJD MLAs and five Congress MLAs showed up at the dinner hosted by Nitish Kumar the night before the vote of confidence. Jubilation was in the air. Nitish was beaming. His swagger was back. The JD(U)’s joyous MLAs hailed it as the “victory feast”.

 

At the same time, there was another dinner being hosted across the road at the chief minister’s residence. Only a dozen Manjhi loyalists had shown up. Two of them, Manjhi later said, had come covered in a bed-sheet to avoid being spotted by Nitish’s men who were on the look out. The elaborate catering had been done by Patna’s famed Maurya Hotel. But the food had lost its taste. The MLAs were scared of being forced to resign. Manjhi summoned his secretariat at midnight and got them to type out three letters.

 

The first letter to the governor sought dissolution of the house. The second was his resignation letter. The third was a complaint to the governor against the partisan behaviour of the speaker. To fight or to throw in the towel, that was the question. Till 3am Manjhi was busy in confabulations with his aides. Without telling them what he was thinking, the CM went to to his room to ruminate over his next step.

 

When he woke up early the next morning, Manjhi was clear. He would not risk the ignominy of being all alone on the treasury benches. There was a real possibility of the JD(U) and the BJP MLAs coming to blows. Manjhi decided to shun bravado and chose a tactical retreat instead.

 

Minutes before the governor Keshari Nath Tripathi was slated to arrive at the Bihar Assembly to deliver his address, Manjhi decided to pay him an unscheduled visit. Manjhi means boatsman in Hindi. Instead of drowning with his boat, Manjhi decided to jump off the sinking vessel and swim to the shore. He wanted to live to fight another day.

 

Aftershocks in battlefield Bihar

 

Manjhi’s summersault left the BJP red-faced. His handlers in the saffron party had wanted Manjhi to deliver an emotional farewell address and go down in a blaze of glory. The BJP hoped Manjhi would attain political martyrdom and emerge as a pan-Bihar Dalit icon. The BJP wanted Manjhi to form his own party, which would cut into Nitish’s crucial Mahadalit vote. Along with RJD renegade Pappu Yadav, the BJP was banking on the emergence of a third front which would split the anti-BJP vote. Pappu Yadav was to eat into Lalu’s Yadav vote bank while Manjhi chipped away at Nitish’s support among the Mahadalits. The BJP wanted to divide and rule. In the Lok Sabha elections, the party had swept Bihar because the anti-BJP vote was split. In the Assembly elections too, the party wanted to avoid a consolidation of the anti-Modi vote. Nitish could have potentially united the non-saffron vote and brought back a semblance of governance to Bihar in the last six months before the Assembly elections. The BJP had wanted to stop Nitish at all costs from becoming CM again.

 

Instead, Manjhi’s histrionics helped Nitish reestablish his control over the JD(U). Dissenters have been silenced, at least for the time being. It has also removed the speed breakers slowing down the proposed merger between the JD(U) and Lalu’s RJD. The tension of Manjhi’s rebellion saw the JD(U) and the RJD leaders working closely together to prevent their flock from fleeing. Voters of the two parties may not yet be fully reconciled to the proposed merger between the two parties, but the leaders realise that it is a question of survival and are working towards the micro-detailing of the merger with renewed vigour.

 

Who benefits from Manjhi’s boat sinking

 

For the time being, Manjhi is keeping his cards close to his chest. Speaking to the India Today Group during a walk in the lawns of his 1, Anne Marg residence the day after his resignation, Manjhi dropped hints about his future course of action. “People thought I was a puppet of the BJP but I have shown that I am truly independent. Even today I have nothing against Nitish Kumar. If the new government carries forward the pro-poor schemes announced by me, then I will support the new government. Otherwise I will travel all across Bihar and campaign against Nitish.” Lalu Yadav has thrown ajar the doors of the Janata Parivar by asking Manjhi to bury past differences and return to the “secular fold”.

 

The BJP is trying hard to play down the significance of the Manjhi plan backfiring. “We have shown the people of Bihar that the BJP sided with the son of a Mahadalit while Nitish was scheming to oust Manjhi. This will hurt the JD(U) in the elections,” senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi told the India Today Group at his residence in Patna. When asked whether Manjhi will join the BJP in the near future, Modi turned philosophical. “In the darkness you cannot see beyond the light of a torch. In politics you can only see what is happening today not what might happen tomorrow. No one can predict what happens six months later and who knows what Manjhi will do next.”

 

The worst case scenario for the BJP is Manjhi mending fences with Nitish and returning to the Janata Parivar. They are planning on targeting Nitish by highlighting 15 years of jungle raj under his new partner Lalu. “Nitish cannot become Bihar’s Kejriwal while he has Lalu by his side,” said Sushil Modi. Nitish’s defence is that most of the strongmen like Pappu Yadav, Sadhu Yadav, Subhash Yadav and Shahbbuddin who gave Lalu’s government a bad name are no longer in the RJD.

 

The chief minister is turning his swearing-in into a major show of strength for anti-Modi forces. Apart from his fellow travellers from the Janata Parivar, Lalu Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee will also be in attendance. Sharing the dais will be CP Joshi from the Congress, former PM Deve Gowda and Abhay and Dushyant Chautala from Haryana’s INLD.

 

Arvind Kejriwal has not been invited to Nitish’s swearing-in. When asked why, he said, “Journalists get carried away by what’s been in the news recently. Kejriwal has to do his work in Delhi and we have to do ours in Bihar”. The new Delhi CM may be absent at the swearing-in function, but his heroics will linger in the thoughts of Bihar’s comeback man.

New Leadership take charge at Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd, New Management to drive export market of Dr. Datsons’s branded generics.

New Leadership take charge at Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd, New Management to drive export market of Dr. Datsons’s branded generics.

 Mr. Mahesh Vaidya takes charge as the Vice Chairman and Managing Director & Mr. Sameer Talim as the  new Chief Executive officer.

 Dr Datsons News image ceo interview

Saturday, 14th February 2015, Mumbai, Maharashtra. In a major development to the top leadership change in the listed Pharma Company Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd, the announcement has come from the Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Company held on February 14, 2015. The salient features of the unaudited financial results seem to indicate a positive vibe as the sales is up 15% & net profit up from 1.97lakhs to 1.99 lakhs

Dr.Datsons Labs Ltd has informed BSE that the Board of Directors of the Company at its meeting held on February 14, 2015, inter alia, has decided to appoint Mr. Mahesh Vaidya, as the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Company w.e.f. February 14, 2015. Dr. Kannan Vishwanath, as the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Company has stepped down from the post  w.e.f. February 14, 2015. Dr.Datsons Labs Ltd had earlier appointed Mr. Sameer Talim as the  Chief Executive officer of the Company, with effect from February 09, 2015.

Sources to Pharmaleaders reveal that the appointment of Mr. Samir Talim as the CEO of Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd will be primarily to drive the company’s presence in the major markets & to aggressively build on the export orders, work on existing clients & as well as to generate new business give push to the Generic barands of Dr Datsons in Middle East, South East asia & South America. The new CEO  will also push Registrations of our formulations & enter new markets using his expertise in these markets. Mr. Samir has wide exposures in the export markets based on his successful stints in the previous assignments will help Dr. Datsons Labs penetration into the key market. India ofcourse will remain as the Key market as the company still has big companies in Contract Manufacturing.  Mr. Mahesh Vaidya  as the new Vice-Chairman & Managing Director will aggressively look into equity raising for the company. Mr. Mahesh Vaidya is entrusted with the responsibilities to meet  with the  potential investors for stake sale or fresh infusions of funds into  the company which is quite vital for the growth momentum of Dr. Datsons Labs. Ltd. There are key unfinished agenda as certain vital deals are yet to be given a finishing end including the current proposals to give new & fresh perspectives.

In an exclusive interview to Pharmaleaders ( www.pharmaleader.tv ), the new Vice-Chairman & MD, Mr Mahesh Vaidya expressed hope that the coming I year is going to be very crucial to the company’s both organic & inorganic growth as many deals, JV’s & partnership are pending for the final clearances, Dr. Datsons Labs will be closely looking at the operational efficiency of the Mahad Facility for Making APIs for Captive Use of APIs for their formulations. There are interesting & exciting times ahead of us, we all are committed to bring the company to its new height. Commenting on the state of india’s booming Pharma market, Mr Vaidya stated that India has become a prime destination for manufacture of branded, generic and branded generic medicines with a strong export element. It is estimated that around 40 per cent of the generic drugs in the US come from India and with Obamacare being introduced this figure is set to rise further. Overall market seems positive & our new CEO Mr. Sameer Talim will drive the domestic as well as the exports market, soon we will announce a breakthrough export deal that we have received from Nigeria & Yemen.

Mr. Sameer Talim stated that “Indian pharmaceutical companies have capitalised on export opportunities in regulated and semi-regulated markets and pharma exports from India grew at a CAGR in excess of 20% from 2006 to 2012. Currently, India is the third-largest exporter of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). Indian pharma exports are expected to bring in an estimated $40 billion by the First Quarter of 2015. With Indian products competing with their global counterparts in terms of quality, India has been able to establish a global footprint. Indian companies operating in the west have been able to do so successfully & Dr. Datsons Lab is fully equipped to meet the challenges both regulatory & operationally to cater to the world market. We are expecting a 30 % jump in exports in the second quarter which will largely be driven by the generic push”.

 Mr Sameer Talim, CEO, Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd.

Mr Sameer Talim is an B.COM & MBA from Mumbai University with entire Experience Based in  West Africa in Healthacare Marketing. He started as Management Trainee with Kinds Healthcare Limited Kampala & Rose to Become The Vice President Marketing & Operations at Sparkeway Industries in Kampala. In last 20 years he has extensive experience in West African Markets for marketing registration & Distribution of Anti Malarial Drugs, HIV & AIDS Medication. He has returned to India after 20 years due to person & domestic requirements. He has joined us & will spearhead our growth operations for Exports worldwide. Mr Sameer repeatedly produce sustained revenue and EBITA growth in dynamic and changing markets. Has proven achievements  and Extensive business background in international, multi-cultural environments. Mr. Sameer is a results-oriented Healthcare CEO with over 25 years’ experience as a Senior Executive. Strong reputation in executive leadership, strategic planning, business development, fiscal and organizational management. Demonstrated results in quality management, revenue cycle improvement and financial turnarounds. Worked in both for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare organizations and systems. Superb decision making and problem solving skills. High-energy people-person with strong communication and interpersonal skills & a  Senior executive with verifiable year-after-year success achieving revenue, profit, and business growth objectives within start-up, turnaround, and rapid-change environments. Extensive experience with highly engineered systems, which require deep understanding of critical business drivers in multiple markets and industries; highly successful in building relationships with upper-level decision makers, seizing control of critical problem areas, and delivering on customer commitments.

Mr Mahesh Vaidya

 Vice Chairman & MD, Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd.

 Mahesh Vaidya is a top Management Professional  with over 25 years of experience in the field of Finance,Accounts, Overall Business Development. This dynamic young  MD of Dr Datsons Labs, started his career with couple of Pharma Companies  through his hardwork and dedication earned the highest position in the organisation. His leadership witnessed dramatic growth and through his aggressive positioning and strategy the organisation won many laurels and awards in past. As the new VC & MD of the company, Mahesh will spearhead Dr Datsons Labs’s’s aggressive game plan to accelerate growth and take advantage of the changing business dynamics that emphasize equally, aspects of product portfolio, quality, global footprint and cost efficiency. Mahesh  has a meritorious track record, and the experience of managing large business operations earlier, with similar responsibilities.

Mr Mahesh Vaidya is BSC & MSc It from Pune University. He has over 25 years experience working in global markets . He started His  career with  Pharmed Europe Ltd  looking into their Medical devices Business. He rose to Position of Head of commercial operations in one year looking into their entire exports of Medical devices worldwide. From Pharmed Limited Europe  he Moved to Quibarkfarm Global S.A.  As Director Exports to looking into entering generic markets in South America Till January 2015. He has been appointed as the  Vice Chairman & Managing Director. Repeatedly produce sustained revenue and EBITA growth in dynamic and changing markets. Proven achievements  and Extensive business background in international, multi-cultural environments. Senior executive with verifiable year-after-year success achieving revenue, profit, and business growth objectives within start-up, turnaround, and rapid-change environments. Extensive experience with highly engineered systems, which require deep understanding of critical business drivers in multiple markets and industries; highly successful in building relationships with upper-level decision makers, seizing control of critical problem areas, and delivering on customer commitments. Mr Vaidya has shown remarkable achievements in Excellent marketing skills, exceptional ability to communicate orally and in writing, has experience of sales metric designs & demonstrated ability to work in a leadership role. A far sighted individual withover 25 years’ experience in  excellent business development skills with hands on knowledge of directing the activities of all projects. Excellent knowledge of supporting  the company’s strategic alliances and participating in marketing strategies. Hands on experience of supervising employees across different departments in order to facilitate the process of production and marketing. Mr. Vaidya has hands on experience on operations management, Acquisitions & Integrations, Organic Business Growth,Strategic Planning Staff Development-Promotion, Performance & Quality Standards,Customer Satisfaction & Allegiance Leadership Development, P&L Management/Budget Planning, Engineering & Manufacturing Change Management, Commercial & Customer Support  Strategic Partnerships. As Vice Chairman & Managing Director of Dr. Datsons Labs Ltd, Mr Mahesh Vaiday will be the driving spirit of leadership to the Board & will undertake strategic initiatives to propel the growth engine of the Company. Mr Mahesh Vaiday will have the responsibilities to identify and direct business development activities, ensure that all corporate objectives are pursued & organize activities for business development, develop strategic business plans, establish company culture, values and vision manage risk management plans.

About Dr. Datsons Lab Ltd

Dr. Datsons Lab Ltd, formerly known as Aanjaneya Lifecare Ltd, BSE code (533412) is a public listed vertically integrated company having state-of-the-art; WHO GMP approved facilities for manufacturing bulk drugs at Mahad and finished dosage forms at Pirungut near Pune. It is one of the largest contract manufacturers of codeine based cough syrups in India. The company exclusively manufactures the Codorex Brand of Zydus Cadilla and Codilite Brand of Tablets India Ltd. amongst others.The company raised about Rs. 117 crore from its IPO and the funds are being used to built new capacities along with the refurbishing of Research & Development centre. The new facilities being created as part of CAPEX are using eco friendly, recyclable material and will be rated by LEEDS once completed.The Facilities being established will comply with the latest European & US guidelines. With new capacities to be added in next 6 to 9 months the company will be expanding operations in emerging markets of South East Asia, Africa & South & Central America and its domestic operation in branded generics segment. The company with its manufacturing facilities –in Mahad, Hyderabad and Pune has to its credit many achievements. It is the world’s third-largest manufacturer of quinine salts in the world . Only nine companies globally manufacture quinine salts.One of the largest codeine based formlulations manufacturer in the pharmaceutical sector. One of the largest manufacturer of multi- flavored Lozenges in  medical products in India. The company pioneered the recognition that lozenges represent a stable platform for the delivery of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical ingredients. Dr. Datson’s Nicco Nil lozenge is a first-of-its-kind  hard boiled lozenge remedy for smoking de-addition; its Relacs is a first-time lozenge against insomnia and Arecta Plus, a lozenge variant for Erectile Dysfunction, is a first of its kind . The company has an expertise in opportunity spotting and innovation. The company’s success has been built on a business model that integrates Research, Innovation and Knowledge. The company has invested in building proprietary Knowledge through research and acquisitions. Dr. Datson’s competence has been validated through patents granted by international and Indian authorities. Production of Quinine Sulphate increased 30% in 2011-2012. Sales of Quinine Sulphate grew 45%. Exports increased 250% from Rs 10 Crore to Rs 31 crore. Added 35 international and 50 domestic clients. Completed trials for Bromexine(expectorant)a new API that will be launched in 2012-1023. Highlights 2011-2012 for Finished Dosage Forms. Launched ‘Rancorex’ an in-house codine based cough syrup brand for the first time in its history. received the Kenya PPB GMP approval from all facilities namely lozenges,liquids and ointments. Received registration for ‘Arecta Plus’(a lozenge variant of Viagra tablets)from Sierrs Leone and Libya; received the first export order for this product to be executed in 2012-2013.

Once framed by BJP’s rhetoric as“Chillar Party” to AAP, is now invited by PM Narendra Modi to AAP Founder Arvind Kejriwal for ‘Chai Pe Charcha’. Kejriwal & Co decimate BJP.

 Once framed by BJP’s  rhetoric  as“Chillar  Party” to AAP, is now invited by PM Narendra Modi  to AAP Founder Arvind Kejriwal for ‘Chai Pe Charcha’. Kejriwal & Co decimate BJP.

The Bharatiya Janata Party said Tuesday the Delhi Assembly election results were a “big setback” and it would soon introspect the reasons behind the dismal showing.

The party also said that Delhi’s loss is a “collective failure” of the party and the defeat cannot be thrown on any single individual, seen as an attempt to deflect any blame on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The party leaders while congratulating Arvind Kejriwal, hoped he will now fulfil the promises made to people and ensure development of Delhi even as the Centre promised to extend all its support to the new government.

BJP Spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said, ”It is a big setback for us. We will assess the reasons of the defeat. We accept the verdict of the people and hope Kejriwal fulfils his promises made to people. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, the Centre will extend all its help to Delhi government.”

Party general secretary P. Murlidhar Rao said, “BJP’s defeat in Delhi elections is a collective failure of our party. It cannot be thrown on any single individual. We all own the loss.”

”Election results for Delhi state is a setback for BJP. BJP accepts d(the) defeat in Delhi elections. We respect the verdict n(and) positively cooperate with Delhi government on d development,” Rao tweeted.

He felt that Haryana elections, where BJP got a majority, has not impacted Delhi polls.

“Why Delhi elections will impact BJP in other states”.   ”Extending d Verdict of Delhi elections to unrelated issues is like stretching too far. Central govt performance was not d election issue,” he said in another tweet.

Another BJP Spokesperson Nalin Kohli said the party will assess the reasons why the party failed to appeal to Delhi voters and hoped Kejriwal will fulfil all the promises made.

”It is a huge victory for AAP. BJP would certainly assess what were the reasons that we have not not been able to appeal to the voters of Delhi. We wish well for AAP for delivering on the promises made and give Delhi a good government,” he said.

Party’s Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay admitted that the party failed to understand the mood of the people.

Upadhyay said, ”We accept the mandate given by the people of Delhi. We failed to understand the mood of the people. BJP will continue to serve the people as it had been doing in the past. I congratulate Kejriwal on his victory.”

Another party spokesperson G.V.L. Narsimha Rao said the polls were a referendum on Kejriwal and could not be seen as reflection on the performance of the Modi government as local issues dominated the polls.

”I do not see in this way,” he said when asked whether the elections were a referendum on Modi’s performance.

”In this election it was a referendum on Arvind Kejriwal. That’s how people of Delhi saw it. I think people have certainly voted for Kejriwal. It was a referendum of AAP’s 49 days in office and its performance. People felt they should be given a chance,” he said.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has also congratulated Kejriwal for his victory in the Delhi polls.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi congratulated Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday for Aam Aadmi Party’s landslide victory in the Delhi Assembly polls in which Congress failed to score.

”My congratulations to Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi party for their victory. The people of Delhi have chosen AAP and we respect that. I wish Kejriwal and his team the very best”, Rahul said.

An All India Congress Committee statement said the Congress president and vice-president congratulated Kejriwal.

Congress has failed to open its account in the 70-member House, prompting Ajay Maken, who was the party’s face in the Delhi polls, to resign from the post of general secretary, taking moral responsibility for the humiliating defeat at the hustings.

Congress had won eight seats in the last Assembly polls in Delhi held in 2013, which had delivered a hung verdict. Congress had lost power in those elections after being at the helm for 15-long years under the leadership of Sheila Dikshit.

 

The capital was without a government for almost a year and the vote to elect a new set of lawmakers was much more than local politics. The state poll turned into a battle between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and the anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party.

AAP declared a wholesale victory on Tuesday spelling the first major setback for a BJP electoral juggernaut that started with a victory in the national parliamentary vote in May.

Main points:
  •  AAP  won over 90% of the seats in the state assembly.
  • Mr. Kejriwal will be sworn in as chief minister on Feb. 14. 
  • The BJP  won three seats.
  • Congress, that ruled Delhi for 15 years until 2013, won no seats. 
  • India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Arvind Kejriwal to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the city.
  • Why is the election happening now just over a year since the previous state poll?

    You might not have noticed, but India’s capital city has not had an elected government since February last year when Arvind Kejriwal quit after just 49 days as chief minister.

    The national capital has since been under president’s rule, awaiting either a different government to take charge or another round of elections.

    The first option proved difficult because no party had won a majority. The Bharatiya Janata Party came first followed by the Aam Aadmi Party leaving Congress a distant third. AAP formed a government with support from the Congress.

    After Mr. Kejriwal stepped down, no other coalition emerged.  Months of consultations later, the state’s lieutenant governor recommended fresh elections in Delhi, which were held on Feb. 7.   Results are announced today.

  • The opinion polls and exit polls have had their say and given the lead to AAP. But they’ve been wrong before. Who do you think will win Delhi elections today?

     

    • 7:35 am
    • – If You Believe the Exit Polls, Today Is All About AAP

    Most exit polls released on Saturday suggested a comfortable majority for the Aam Aadmi Party. Some predicted a sweeping one.

    A poll by ABP News gave AAP a 17-seat lead over the BJP saying it would win 43 of 70 seats in Delhi’s legislative assembly. The poll said the BJP would trail with just 26 seats. Another poll, by the India Today media group, gave between 38 and 46 seats to AAP and only 19 to 27 to the BJP.

    If they hold true, this would be the first electoral bloody nose for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party since they stormed to power in federal elections in May.

    • 7:41 am
    • This Year, Delhi’s Electorate Outvoted Itself

    Delhi has just outvoted itself.  In 2013, a record 65.13% of voters cast a ballot. On Saturday, 67.11% of the 10 million registered voters turned out, breaking the previous year’s record.

    • 7:42 am
    • Megacity

    While close to 9 million people voted in the Delhi elections. The union territory and its nearby suburbs make one of the biggest clusters of humanity in the world. A World Bank Report last year put the region’s population at around 25 million people, ranking it the second-most populous city in the world after Tokyo. Delhi is likely to add another 10 million inhabitants in the next 16 years, the report said.

    • 7:45 am
    • Kejriwal Tweets Request for Prayers

    The Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal was up early asking for people’s prayers on Twitter as Delhi awaits election results.

    • 7:53 am

    BJP chief minister candidate Kiran Bedi spared a thought on Twitter for the poor hacks up at the break of dawn to cover the election results. “I don’t think anyone can envy the media profession,” she tweeted.

    • 7:56 am
    • How Reliable Are Exit Polls?

    According to most exit polls from Saturday’s vote, the Aam Aadmi Party is headed for victory in the state election when results are announced today. Exit polling can be unreliable in India but it’s worth looking at which ones got it right last time round during state elections in 2013.

    News 24 -Today’s Chanakya poll came the closest. It predicted the Aam Aadmi Party would win 31 seats.

    In fact, AAP won 28 of 70 seats and formed a government with support from the Congress party.

    In the exit poll released Saturday, Chanakya predicted AAP would win a clear majority with 48 seats.

    • 8:00 am
    • Exit Poll Accuracy

    An exit poll released by ABP News, a news station, and a survey conducted by Nielsen in 2013 predicted a slim majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party and only 15 seats for the upstart Aam Aadmi Party.

    The minimum number of seats required to govern the 70-member Delhi assembly is 36.

    For the 2015 election, the poll predicts AAP will do much better with 39 seats and the BJP will win between 37 to 28 seats.

    • 8:02 am
    • Counting Has Started

    When polls closed at 6 p.m. on Saturday, the more than 12,000 electronic voting machines were put under lock, key, CCTV, and police guard.

    Then, this morning, they were taken to 14 different counting centers that each have several counting halls where counting supervisors and their assistants press the “result button” on each machine.

    The layout inside a counting hall looks something like this.

    Election Commission of India

    Counting can run into several rounds and is sometimes repeated before the returning officer announces the winner and final tally for each candidate.

    • 8:03 am
    • Ugly Fight

    Many observers said the campaign to capture control of Delhi was uglier than most political campaigns. There were a lot of personal attacks and some mud-slinging, often through pamphlets stuck in newspapers.

    • 8:04 am
    • Selfie Promoter
    www.selfiewithmodi.com

    As part of its campaign, the BJP built more than 1,000 selfie-with-Modi booths–many of them on the back of little trucks–which set up in shopping malls, parking lots and street corners across the state. They let people take selfies using an app that made it look like they were standing with the prime minister. The BJP says that over half a million selfies were taken at the booths.

    • 8:06 am
    • Modi vs. Kejriwal

    Unlike previous state elections, where Mr. Modi focused largely on his development agenda, the Indian Prime Minister ran a direct attack campaign against Mr. Kejriwal. In rallies, Mr. Modi accused the AAP leader of dishonestly accumulating money for his campaign. The allegations against AAP – that some of its funds come from shell companies involved in money laundering — have not been investigated. Yogendra Yadav, a senior AAP leader has said that the party would “investigate shady companies” giving it money.

    In the end, in this David and Goliath-style struggle, Mr. Modi came off as trying too hard to bring Mr. Kejriwal down.

    • 8:07 am
    • Stock Market Is Scared

    Power and property shares fell Monday after exit polls over the weekend suggested the AAP could capture majority control of Delhi’s assembly. Some analysts and investors are worried that the party of the protesting politician Arvind Kejriwal could cause trouble for companies in the capital region. Power companies and property companies in particular could be hurt, analysts say, if Mr. Kejriwal comes to power and tries to implement policies to lower voters’ electricity bills and rents.

    • 8:09 am
    • Star Campaigners and Their Constituencies

    Constituency: New Delhi

    Why it Matters: Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s former chief minister, is again running for office from the elite New Delhi constituency. In 2013, Mr. Kejriwal triumphed here, defeating the Congress party’s Sheila Dikshit, at the time the incumbent chief minister. This year, Mr. Kejriwal was challenged by the BJP’s Nupur Sharma, a former president of  the Delhi University Student Union and a law graduate from the London School of Economics.

    Constituency: Krishna Nagar

    Why it Matters: Kiran Bedi, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, is contesting elections from east Delhi’s Krishna Nagar constituency. The constituency has been dominated by the BJP for more than two decades. A post-poll analysis by The Hindu, an Indian English-language daily newspaper, suggested that Saturday’s turnout in Krishan Nagar was about 72%, up from 68% in 2013.

    Constituency: Sadar Bazaar

    Why it Matters: The beleaguered Congress party’s star campaigner, Ajay Maken, a former member of parliament, is running from central Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar. In 2013, the Aam Aadmi Party won the seat — defeating a Congress party candidate who had won the seat since 1993.

    • 8:10 am
    • First Lead to BJP – TV

    That didn’t take long. Vijender Gupta of the BJP is leading in Rohini, in outer Delhi, according to NDTV. The first lead in counting that began at 8a.m. with postal votes.

    • 8:10 am
    • Referendum

    While the Bharatiya Janata Party has been quick to say the Delhi elections are not a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first eight months in office, the ruling party was not shy about putting Mr. Modi’s photo on most campaign advertisements.

    But is this election a referendum on Modi? This question will be hotly debated in television studios and outside if the BJP loses the election. The party has credited a wave of support for Mr. Modi and his development agenda for its recent electoral victories. So, is a defeat in the center of power indicative of his waning popularity, or a comment on his government’s economic program?

    The BJP’s spokespeople have preempted this line of questioning. Shaina NC of the BJP said “results in Delhi can’t be linked to the Prime Minister’s work.” And the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Delhi, Kiran Bedi, said in televised statements last week that she would take responsibility for the party’s performance, an apparent effort to shield Mr. Modi from criticism.

    To be sure, political analysts also say Mr. Modi remains overwhelmingly popular in other parts of the country and that Delhi’s elections reflect local issues rather than national preferences. Still, if the BJP loses, questions about whether the Modi wave is beginning to plateau will surface.

    • 8:16 am
    • AAP Takes a Lead in Mangol Puri – TV

    Rakhi Bidlan of AAP is leading in Mangol Puri, outer Delhi according to NDTV and Somnath Bharti leads in Malviya Nagar.

    The BJP gets another lead in Janakpuri, central Delhi

    So, according to leads on T.V.,  it’s two all.

    • 8:17 am
    • Festive Mood at AAP

    As counting began, hundreds of AAP supporters—from rickshaw-pullers to young students—gathered outside the party’s office in the western reaches of the capital. The song “Long Live Revolution” blasted from loudspeakers.

    Photo credit: Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

    • 8:20 am
    • Kejriwal in High Spirits

    AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal seems unperturbed by early results showing a close race with the BJP. While waiting for election results he’s watching, and sharing, parody videos of himself.

    • 8:24 am
    • How AAP Won Delhi in 2013

    In its debut election, the Aam Aadmi Party had quite a showing. It won 28 of the 70 seats it contested. Most of the support, at the time, came from the southern and central parts of the national capital, home to the city’s upper and middle classes.

    But Mr. Kejriwal managed to leave these groups that backed him slightly miffed when he decided to quit office not even two months into the job.

    This time, analysts say, he is set to gain from the city’s poor and lower-income communities, or the “urban underdogs,” who seemed pleased with Mr. Kejriwal’s short stint as chief minister when he cut electricity and water prices.

    • 8:26 am
    • Kiran Bedi for CM?

    The former police officer known for her fight against corruption might be a right fit for Indian politics. But she appears to have become a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Parachuted into the BJP just three weeks before the election, Ms. Bedi was quickly declared the party’s chief ministerial candidate. That decision set off discontent among the BJP’s longtime leaders who felt upstaged by the newcomer. If the polls are correct and the BJP don’t win today, Ms. Bedi could be made the scapegoat.

    • 8:28 am
    • Big Business Basher

    Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign against corruption has not only been aimed at politicians and bureaucrats. The AAP has said it plans to cut power prices in Delhi in half by looking into the books of the big power companies for proof that they are pocketing too much profit.

    • 8:29 am
    • Jail Time

    The Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief minister candidate, Kiran Bedi, made her name as a high-profile police woman.  She worked in the narcotics bureau, the northeastern state of Mizoram and as inspector general of Tihar jail.  Ms. Bedi is widely credited with turning around the jail and introducing significant reforms to the treatment of prisoners,including introducing yoga and meditation programs for inmates.

    Mr. Kejriwal too spent time in Tihar. He was arrested in 2014 and sent to the Delhi jail briefly after a senior BJP politician accused him of defamation. Mr. Kejriwal denies the allegations.

    • 8:30 am
    • In Delhi, is AAP the New Congress?

    Mr. Kejriwal denies his party is left-leaning with a welfare-oriented bent. But his policies, including cheap electricity and free water, and his promise to take on Delhi’s large power distribution companies, have given AAP a pro-poor image.

    That used to be the Congress party’s territory. But exit polls suggested Congress has lost considerable ground among India’s poor communities and its sway with disadvantaged caste groups has declined.

    A poll by the India Today group suggested that support for the Congress in groups the organization classifies as “working class” and “lower middle class” has shrunk to roughly 16% while nearly 45% of such voters preferred AAP.

    According to an exit poll by Today’s Chanakya, an Indian survey company, 55% of votes of Delhi’s lower castes went to AAP, with Congress getting less than 10%.

    • 8:31 am
    • AAP Funding

    Donations to AAP are rather like its political fortunes — up and down. After the party fared poorly in national elections, funding almost dried up. On one day in October last year just 713 rupees was donated to the party. But in recent weeks, as AAP has regained popularity among voters, donors have begun to open their wallets again and funding for the party has soared.

    • 8:33 am
    • AAP Takes Lead

    At around 8:30 a.m. the common man’s Party was ahead in the earliest vote tallies, leading in the contests for 10 seats in the Delhi elections compared to BJP’s 9 seats Congress’s 2 seats.

    • 8:35 am
    • – Which Way did Delhi’s Middle Class Vote?

    A key demographic that political pundits will be watching is the middle class vote. According to a study of the 2013 state elections in Delhi by the Center for the Study of Developing Societies, a New Delhi-based think tank, a third of voters it classified as middle class – who earn between $250 and $380 a month – picked AAP.

    Some political analysts believed these voters had turned against Mr. Kejriwal after he quit just 49 days into his term as chief minister last year. Many of them had begun to see him as an anarchist and a rabble rouser. But, if AAP wins the kind of broad victory exit polls are projecting for it, it appears many among Delhi’s middle class may have wanted to give Mr. Kejriwal another chance.

    • 8:37 am
    • Anarchist Leader
    AFP/Getty Images

    While Arvind Kejriwal seemed to have become a bit more calm and confident in this campaign, in the run up to the previous election and even during his brief stint as chief minister of Delhi, he did not shy away from creating chaos.  He led protests, staged a roadside sit-in and even called himself an anarchist.

    • 8:37 am
    • AAP supporters to Modi: Watch Out

    Vansh Saluja, a 19-year-old law-school student, is among those chanting slogans outside the Aam Aadmi Party’s office. “Modi should watch out,” he says of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose BJP is the main rival in the Delhi state elections. “The new India, the young India, doesn’t vote on caste or religion. AAP is the only party that didn’t campaign on those lines,” says Mr. Saluja. “That’s why I’m here.”

    Photo credit: Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

    • 8:42 am
    • Eric Bellman

    Some of the first shots fired in the battle between Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi—former anti-corruption movement buddies—were through Twitter.

    Not long after it was announced that the former police woman was running with the BJP for chief minister, Mr. Kejriwal took to Twitter to challenge her to a debate and then ask why she had blocked him.

    — Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 20, 2015

    To which Ms. Bedi responded…

    • 8:44 am
    • Early Call?

    The television news station CNN-IBN Live says political pundits are claiming they will be able to call the election as early as 9 a.m. The station shows the Aam Aadmi Party leading in two constituencies with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress Party following with one each.

    • 8:46 am
    • A Short History of the AAP Candidate Leading from Malviya Nagar

    Aam Aadmi party leader Somnath Bharti is currently leading from south Delhi’s Malviya Nagar constituency, according to NDTV. He became a controversial figure for actions he took as the state’s law minister during AAP’s brief period in power last year. He ordered police to search a house in Delhi’s Khirki Extension that he suspected was a brothel. Mr. Bharti and his aides detained four Ugandan women at the scene after police said they lacked a judicial warrant for a search. The episode stiffened ties between India and Uganda, and prompted some African immigrants to move out of the Indian capital.

    • 8:47 am
    • BJP Scared

    Sambit Patra, BJP spokesman, says “What I’m seeing definitely scares me.”

    This is what he’s seeing. AAP is leading in 20 seats. The party needs 35 to win a simple majority.

    The BJP has 10 early leads in the city and Congress five.

    • 8:48 am
    • Refresher on Results of 2013

    The December 2013 elections left the state with a hung assembly. Of the 70 seats, Aam Aadmi Party got 28 back then,  Bharatiya Janata Party got 31, Congress got 08 and Janata Dal (United) and Shiromani Akali Dal got one each. There was also one independent candidate that won a seat.

    • 8:48 am
    • 8:49 am
    • AAP’s Lead Growing

    As the results come in it’s becoming clear that it will be hard for the BJP to catch up to AAP’s lead. WSJ columnist Sadanand Dhume tweets that the only question left is when the BJP will admit defeat.

    • 8:53 am
    • Screens Flashing

    India’s many television news channels are all working hard. Even before results have come in, their screens are stuffed with statistics. Headline Today’s screen barely had space for the news anchor.

    • 8:54 am
    • – Wither Congress?

    If Congress proved to be an underperformer in the previous Delhi elections, it has been something of a non-entity in this one. The party, which governed Delhi for 15 years before the 2013 polls in the national capital, ran a lackluster campaign.

    It won a fourth of Delhi’s votes in the previous election – at the time that was considered a dismal performance for the party. This time around, its vote share could fall below 15%, exit polls say. Its tally of seats in the legislative assembly could drop from 8 to below 5.

    The reason? Polls show Congress may have lost support among its most-loyal constituencies: the city’s poor and Muslim residents.

    • 8:55 am
    • Mistakes That May Have Cost Mr. Modi the Delhi Government

    Delhi has been waiting for an election for nearly a year since Mr. Kejriwal stepped down as chief minister in February 2014. The BJP could have called for one at any time after it swept the national vote in May last year. Mr. Modi and his team may have waited too long and missed the Modi wave.

    Political analysts say the BJP would have been better-placed if it had gone to the polls in Delhi shortly after the nationwide vote in which the party won a historic victory. AAP, on the other hand, won only four of 543 seats in that election and lost all seven seats in Delhi.

    The fledgling party looked weak and out of depth then. But in the months that followed, it regrouped to prepare for the Delhi vote.

    • 8:56 am
    • Paanch Saal Kejriwal Song

    Mr. Kejriwal lasted 49 days as chief minister of Delhi before he resigned after not being able to pass anticorruption legislation. His party has since tried to use that short stint as a selling point. AAP has tried to remind voters of what he did during those 49 days and promised that if elected again, he’ll stay in office for five years. They’ve even written a song about it titled “Paanch Saal Kejriwal” or “Five Years Kejriwal.”

    • 8:57 am
    • What a Defeat Would Mean for Modi

    First, it would put the brakes on the BJP’s winning spree. Since the party won a landslide victory in national elections in May, it has won state elections in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra as it seeks to expand its base outside its traditional strongholds.

    Second, a loss would hamper Mr. Modi’s efforts to consolidate his party’s position in the upper house of India’s Parliament where his political opponents, who are in the majority there, are obstructing his policies.

    Third, it would come as a personal embarrassment for Mr. Modi, who campaigned extensively in this election and governs the country from Delhi, and dent his image as India’s most-popular leader in recent years.

    Fourth, it could embolden opposition parties at the federal level and in states, where his political dominance has overshadowed other political players.

    • 8:57 am
    • “Major Implications” Beyond the City’s Boundaries

    Political analyst Navnita Chadha Behera, professor in the department of political science at Delhi University, said the outcome of the Delhi election “would have major implications far beyond the boundaries of the capital city.”

    “A victory for the BJP would reaffirm Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s countrywide popularity,” she said.

    On the other hand, a win for AAP, which has put up a spirited campaign under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal, “would be the first major setback for Mr. Modi” in the nine months since he won the national election,” Ms. Behera said. “The AAP’s victory would stop the Modi juggernaut.”

    For the first time, Delhi is witnessing a direct two-way contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi Party.  The Congress party, which ruled Delhi for 15 years until December 2013, has trailed badly this time in exit polls.

    • 8:58 am
    • AAP First

    We read AAP’s manifesto so you don’t have to.

    High on its agenda is to pass the Jan Lokpal bill, the anti-corruption legislation that Mr. Kejriwal couldn’t get through the assembly in 2014, leading to his resignation as chief minister.

     

    • 9:00 am
    • New AAP Candidates

    Sandeep Shastri, a political analyst on CNN-IBN said that so far it looks like the Aam Aadmi Party did a better job of choosing new candidates this time. Early results suggest that AAP is winning in the constituencies where AAP picked different candidates than those that ran in 2013. The Bharatiya Janata Party has not done as well with its new candidates.

    • 9:01 am
    • The Election Commission Website Shows First Preliminary Results

    The Election Commission’s official website just flashed the first preliminary results, showing that AAP’s Som Dutt is leading in the central Delhi constituency of Sadar Bazar. Ajay Maken, who led the campaign for the Congress party, is trailing there by more than 3,400 votes.

    Meanwhile, television news channels are projecting a big overall lead for AAP. NDTV says AAP is leading in 32 of 70 assembly constituencies.

    • 9:01 am
    • What Happened to the WagonR?
    AFP/Getty Images

    He was rarely photographed without it during his first campaign for Delhi. He even held meetings with his ministers in the boxy, blue vehicle.

    But Arvind Kejriwal’s trusty WagonR—the car that connected him with the common man—has been out of the picture in recent weeks. Did it break down? Has he started using Uber instead? We want to know—what happened to the WagonR?

    • 9:03 am
    • A Brief Appearance

    A smile, a wave and a brief appearance by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi. Ms. Bedi spoke briefly from the balcony of a residence where she said the state election results are not a referendum on her party’s performance in the national government. She says “the defeat is mine and not a reflection of the party.”

    Ms. Bedi is contesting from Krishna Nagar, where she is leading, according to CNN-IBN and NDTV news stations.

    • 9:06 am
    • Media Revival

    After national elections in May, Arvind Kejriwal—who used to make headlines daily—all but disappeared from the media. The tally of the total number of English news articles he was mentioned on in on Factiva shows he was largely ignored during the second half of 2014. He started making a comeback however in early January.

    • 9:07 am
    • APP Lead Widens

    Early results being broadcast on NDTV suggest that AAP is ahead on the votes for 36 seats giving it a majority at around 9:00 a.m. while BJP is only ahead on 12 seats. Meanwhile the Congress party is ahead in the races for 4 of the 70 Delhi assembly seats.

    • 9:07 am
    • AAP Supporters: We Want a Corruption-Free Delhi

    Rajiv Jain, 40, and his wife, Samta, who run a jewelry shop, are among scores of people who have skipped a day of work to volunteer at the Aam Aadmi Party office. They say they are frustrated by how long it took to obtain licenses and permits to set up their small business. “At every step, we had someone asking for money to get the job done,” Mr. Jain says. He voted for Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP because it has its roots in India’s 2012 anticorruption movement. “All we want is a corruption-free Delhi.”

    Photo credit: Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

    • 9:12 am
    • Markets Bracing for BJP Defeat

    India’s stock market braced for another weak day as the Aam Aadmi Party looked likely to get majority in Delhi state elections. The benchmark S&P Sensex index has already lost 5% in the last week after various exit polls showed the Bharatiya Janata Party trailing in the race to govern the national capital. It ended down 1.7% Monday. “Traders are disappointed and shocked as the market was not expecting this kind of verdict,” said  Vinod Nair, head of fundamental research at Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services. An AAP win will likely hit power and real-estate companies operating in the Delhi region, analysts said. has promised to cut electricity tariffs.

    • 9:14 am
    • Politics Is India’s National Sport

    The Cricket World Cup is on, but all eyes are on India’s real national sport—elections, tweets Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd:

    • 9:18 am
    • BJP’s Kiran Bedi is Officially Trailing

    Trends on the Election Commission website look good for Aam Aadmi. AAP is now leading in 24 constituencies, according to the commission, including east Delhi’s Krishna Nagar, from where the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, Kiran Bedi, is running for office. Ms. Bedi is almost 300 votes behind AAP’s S.K. Bagga.

    Take a look at this pie chart from the Election Commission, which shows the vote-share for each party as vote-counting continues.

    • 9:19 am
    • Suryatapa Bhattacharya
    Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

    Author Chetan Bhagat said the pin-striped suit which Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore during  President Barack Obama’s visit in January is partly to blame for the defeat that the Bharatiya Janata Party is facing in the Delhi election.

    “That suit has not gone down well,” said Mr. Bhagat on a local television broadcast.

    The gold stripes in Mr. Modi’s navy blue Indian jacket and pants were not simple stitching. They were Mr. Modi’s name. Over and over again, the lines repeated the name: Narendra Damodardas Modi. Mr. Modi’s middle name is his father’s first name.

    • 9:27 am
    • AAP Supporters Light Firecrackers to Celebrate

    From just a few dozen volunteers this morning to scores of supporters now, the scene outside the Aam Aadmi Party office has begun to resemble that of a crowded Indian festival. Loudspeakers blast revolutionary tunes in the background, while supporters light firecrackers to celebrate the party’s lead.

    Photo credit: Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

    • 9:27 am
    • High-Income and Low-Income Voters Going AAP

    Rajdeep Sardesai, a journalist on the Headlines Today television news station, says the results coming in show that both high-income and low-income neighborhoods in Delhi have voted for the Aam Aadmi Party. Promising subsidies for the poor—such as reduced electrical bills, and increased water supplies in areas without running water—may have worked in favor of AAP, says Mr. Sardesai.

    “What we said, we can deliver over the next five years,” says Meera Sanyal, an AAP spokeswoman.

    In the 2013 assembly election, predominantly central and south Delhi voted for AAP—that is, mostly middle to upper-class neighborhoods.

    • 9:28 am
    • BJP Starts to Spin

    The BJP is starting to spin the results that show AAP in the lead.

    “This is a localized election,” said BJP Spokesman G.V. L. Narsimha Rao.

    “We have not been in power in Delhi for nearly 16 or 17 years, Delhi is not an easy ground for the BJP. Were this a national poll we would have swept it. This is a referendum on Kejriwal, people wanted to give him a chance.  They somehow have good memories of the 49 days [he was in power.]”

    • 9:31 am
    • Photo: Celebrations at Aam Aadmi Party Office

    Celebrations are in full swing at the Aam Aadmi Party office. According to the Election Commission, the party is leading in 41 of the Delhi’s 70 assembly constituencies.

    Photo credit: Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

    • 9:35 am
    • Mamata Banerjee Applauds Kejriwal’s Victory

    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted congratulations to Arvind Kejriwal as election results seem to indicate a clean sweep for the Aam Aadmi Party. Ms. Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress Party and other regional parties have thrown their weight behind AAP in recent weeks. Trinamool will face its own challenge from the BJP in 2016 when the state goes to the polls.

    • 9:35 am
    • AAP Now Leading In 49 Seats

    The Aam Aadmi Party is now leading in 49 seats of 70 in the Delhi assembly, according to data available on the website of NDTV. That’s a seat each for the 49 days of AAP’s last term in power. It suggests that Arvind Kejriwal’s apology for his previous 49-day-only government may have paid off.

    Photo credit: Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

    • 9:37 am
    • Congress Spin

    Congress says there is no anger against the party.

    Congress is leading in just two of 70 seats, reducing the party to a complete non-entity. Randeep Singh Surjewala, a spokesman for the Congress, says the party’s “younger leadership needed a little time to find their feet.” But, Mr. Surjewala adds, “There is no anger against the Congress party per se.”

    • 9:38 am
    • ‘AAP Has Swept Delhi’

    “The weather has changed in Delhi. The broom has swept the lotus away,” an Aam Aadmi Party supporter announces, a reference to the rival BJP’s party symbol. The crowd goes wild.

    Party volunteers begin handing out brooms, the electoral symbol of the AAP, to excited supporters. “Come, let’s clean up the mess in Delhi,” a young supporter screams.

    • 9:39 am
    • Results Due At Noon

    The counting of votes for Delhi election should be over by 12 p.m. “We should know who will form the next Delhi government by early afternoon,” an official at India’s election commission said.

    At 9:25 a.m., Election Commission results showed the Aam Aadmi Party leading in races for 41 of Delhi’s 70 assembly seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party was leading in seven constituencies. The Congress party, which held power in Delhi for 15 years before losing elections in December 2013, was trailing everywhere.

    • 9:42 am
    • The AAP Wave

    Yogendra Yadav, a senior AAP leader and one of the party’s more professorial voices (perhaps because he is a professor), said Delhi has seen a wave in favor of his party. “The polls have turned out right, we underestimated,” he said, speaking on NDTV. “It’s a wave—it’s not just an underclass that voted for AAP, it’s the middle class as well. The [BJP]  juggernaut seems to have halted at least for the moment.”

    He criticized Mr. Modi for making the vote a “referendum on himself.” But Mr. Yadav cautioned that hype could be damaging for the party going forward. “The hype around AAP actually damaged us last time,” he said.

    • 9:43 am
    • 9:48 am
    • The Fate of Congress Hangs in Balance

    Questions are being asked on the television station CNN-IBN about the status of Congress as a national party as the party trails Aam Aadmi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Delhi election. The news station shows zero seats for Congress with the BJP leading in around 10 seats and AAP leading with more than 50 seats.

    “There is something called incumbency and that has affected us,” says Brijesh Kalappa, Congress party spokesman.

    • 9:50 am
    • Pankaj Pachauri Congratulates AAP

    Manmohan Singh’s former spokesman, Pankaj Pachauri, congratulated the Aam Aadmi Party for its looming victory in the Delhi elections. The former Congress-led government’s spokesman had nothing to say about dismal showing by the Congress in the election.

    • 9:52 am
    • 9:54 am
    • Biggest Swing for AAP in Badarpur?

    The Aam Aadmi Party had a poor showing in 2013 in south Delhi’s Badapur constituency, where it lost to the BJP by more than 20,000 votes. This year, Badarpur seems to be the constituency where AAP has managed to climb the ladder to the top in the most spectacular manner. Its candidate, Narayan Dutt Sharma, is leading by more than 21,000 votes.

    As counting continues, this seems to be the maximum margin the AAP has managed among the 55 constituencies where it is leading.

    • 9:56 am
    • “Bring Priyanka Back,” People Chant Outside Congress Office

    The Times Now television broadcast is reporting protests outside the Congress party’s office, including chants of “Bring Priyanka back.”  Priyanka Gandhi is the daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and the late Rajiv Gandhi, prime minister from 1984 to 1989. Her great-grandfather was independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. Her grandmother, Indira Gandhi, served as prime minister for 15 years in two stints. But it is her brother, Rahul, who is the vice-president of the Congress party. “The only hope for the Congress party is Priyanka Gandhi,” says Arnab Goswami, a journalist on Times Now.

    • 10:01 am
    • AAP Is Hogging All the Seats

    The latest numbers suggest that AAP could win more than 80% of the seats of the Delhi Assembly. The NDTV tally at around 10:00 a.m. shows AAP leading on a whopping 59 out of the 70 seats. The BJP is a distant second, leading in 10 seats while Congress was ahead on no seats.

    • 10:10 am
    • Photo: The Broom Makes an Appearance
    Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal
    • 10:13 am
    • AAP Pie

    When Arvind Kejriwal first ran for office from the elite New Delhi constituency, he zoomed past Delhi’s three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit by more than 25,800 votes. While counting is still in progress, Mr. Kejriwal’s lead doesn’t seem as impressive as last time, he’s heading the charts with about 3,500 votes more than his immediate competitor from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Nonetheless, his party is on a great run leading in 58 of the 70 assembly seats, according to the Election Commission.

    The official vote-share of individual parties, as it stands now.

    • 10:15 am
    • ‘I Will End Bribery’
    AFP/Getty

    Arvind Kejriwal has given his first interview since results showed his party was leading in state polls.

    According to NDTV, Mr. Kejriwal said he was “the people’s chief minister.”

    “This is not my election it was the people’s election, I will show that the people are with me,” Mr. Kejriwal was quoted by the TV channel as saying.

    Asked about his priorities, Mr. Kejriwal was quoted as saying: “I will end bribery. I will end the culture of bribery. I will be everybody’s chief minister.”

     

    • 10:16 am
    • BJP Says It Didn’t Do As Expected

    Nalin Kohli, a spokesman for the Bharatiya Janata Party, said the party “certainly did not do as expected.”

    “We will concede defeat, just a matter of time,” Mr. Kohli said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The final results are expected to be announced by noon. A defeat would be a major blow for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP, which is in power at the national level and had campaigned energetically to win in the national capital.

    • 10:18 am
    • Modi Calls Kejriwal – Says Times of India
    • 10:22 am
    • Modi Tweets
    • 10:24 am
    • Drums and Dancing

    The Aam Aadmi Party has begun celebrating its lead in a quintessentially Indian way: by rolling out a dholak, or a traditional Indian drum. Housewives clad in saris and domestic workers holding brooms, AAP’s symbol, are among those dancing to the beats.

    Photo credit: Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

    • 10:29 am
    • High-Profile Defector to BJP From AAP Says, Kejriwal Asked Her to Go

    Politician Shazia Ilmi, who moved officially to the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Aam Aadmi Party just weeks before the Delhi election, congratulated the AAP on the party’s lead as vote-counting continued. “We should accept the result with humility,” she said moments ago on the Times Now television station, where she was bombarded with questions from journalist Arnab Goswami. “We want to know whether you took the right decision to switch,” he asked her. Ms. Ilmi said that AAP party chief Arvind Kejriwal “asked me to leave the party.”

    • 10:34 am
    • The Latest Numbers
    Made with Datawrapper for The Wall Street Journal
    • 10:41 am
    • Kiran Bedi Congratulates Kejriwal

    BJP chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi tweeted her congratulations to former colleague and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal. “Now take Delhi to the heights it belongs to,” she tweeted.

    At 10:36 a.m. Ms. Bedi was trailing in her constituency Krishna Nagar.

    • 10:42 am
    • Photo: ‘First They Ignore You, Then They Laugh at You, Then They Fight You, Then You Win’
    Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal
    • 10:46 am
    • Doctor Explains Why He Backs AAP

    Ajit Jain, a cardiosurgeon, is helping manage the swelling crowd outside the Aam Aadmi Party office. He says he was motivated to lend a helping hand after AAP leader, Arvind Kejriwal, dived into politics. “He was a tax officer, leading a comfortable life. There was no need to get his hands dirty. He still did,” Dr. Jain says, his stethoscope flung around his neck. “He is one of us. If we professionals don’t come out and support him, it’s a real shame.”

    • 10:49 am
    • Yogendra Yadav: Not an AAP Win, But a Win For the “Common Man”

    “This is not a victory for the Aam Aadmi Party,” Yogendra Yadav, a senior AAP leader, says outside the party office. “It is a victory for the aam aadmi,” or common man. The crowd roars. “Hail India,” they chant in unison.

    • 10:56 am
    • Chetan Bhagat Apologizes to AAP

    Best-selling author Chetan Bhagat apologized on Twitter for mocking the Aam Aadmi Party in the past. Mr. Bhagat is particularly popular among India’s young people, who voted for AAP in droves.

    Mr. Bhagat instead turned his sharp tongue toward the BJP, noting that the party’s contingent in the Delhi state legislature looks to be so small, it could travel together in a single minivan.

    • 10:59 am
    • 3…2…1?

    Of the 70 seats in Delhi’s state assembly, the BJP is now leading in only three, according to latest numbers from the Election Commission — and the Aam Aadmi party is looking to win in 66. The Congress party appears nowhere in the tally.

    In this picture, AAP supporters celebrate the stellar lead in 66 seats.

    Photo credit: Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

     

    • 11:06 am
    • What Is a Juggernaut?

    Yogendra Yadav, spokesman for the Aam Aadmi Party who specializes in psephology, the study and analysis of elections, said his party had was set to halt the Bharatiya Janata Party’s “juggernaut.”

    Juggernaut is a word with origins in Indian history. The mid 19th-century term describes a large or heavy vehicle, or something with overwhelming force.

    It comes from the giant wheels of chariots carrying the Hindu deity Krishna that are annually rolled during a procession from the Jagannath temple in the state of Orissa.

    • 11:09 am
    • Chetan Bhagat Issues Correction

    The BJP is leading in three seats, meaning that the MLAs could share an auto-rickshaw to work.

    • 11:09 am
    • BJP Could Lose the “Leader of Opposition” Status

    The Bharatiya Janata Party looks set to lose so badly in the election, it might not qualify for the right to name the official opposition leader in Delhi’s state assembly.

    The BJP’s drubbing in the election appears to be leaving it with fewer than 10% of the 70 seats in the state legislative assembly. So, even though it would be the second-largest party in Delhi’s state assembly, behind the Aam Aadmi Party, its share of seats would be too small to qualify as official opposition leader.

    “The general rule is to get 10% of the seats in the state assembly, or a minimum of 10 seats,” constitutional expert Subhash C. Kashyap said. At 10:55 a.m., the BJP was leading in three seats in Delhi’s 70-seat state assembly. The AAP was leading in 66 seats, according to Election Commission of India website.

     

    • 11:14 am
    • DLF Welcomes Kejriwal’s Victory

    Rajeev Talwar, managing director of India’s largest property company, DLF Ltd., welcomed Arvind Kejriwal’s victory in Delhi.

    “It’s a change in the nation, a new generation is coming in,” he said.

    Mr. Talwar said that any result in a democratic election is worth applauding, “as long as we also develop the economy.”

    Property and power shares have been sliding this week on concerns about AAP’s win. Investors and analysts are worried that Delhi’s new ruling party’s suspicion of big, profitable companies could lead to restrictions on how property and power companies do business in the capital. The shares of DLF had fallen as much as 2% Tuesday morning.

    • 11:20 am
    • ‘Victory of Honesty’

    Manish Sisodia, a member of the Aam Aadmi Party who is contesting the Delhi state election says “it is a victory for honesty” as latest numbers suggest that AAP could win more than 90% of the seats.

    Mr. Sisodia, who is contesting from the Patparganj constituency, is leading by 10,000 votes, according to the Election Commission of India.

    AAP party chief Arvind Kejriwal in his first interview since results showed his party was leading vowed to “end the culture of bribery,” according to the Indian channel NDTV.

    • 11:22 am
    • The BJP Car Wisecracks Accelerate On Twitter

    With just three candidates leading in the Delhi assembly race, the BJP is “now a ‘Nano’ party with enough room for a chauffeur,” one joker quips–a reference to that most un-BJP of rides, the diminutive Tata Nano.

    • 11:31 am
    • Paanch Saal

    The stretch leading up to the Aam Aadmi Party’s headquarters is now flooded with a sea of supporters.  Doctors, teachers, day-laborers and domestic workers are among those shouting slogans praising party leader, Arvind Kejriwal.

    “Paanch saal Kejriwal. Paanch saal Kejriwal,” the crowd chants, which, in English, loosely translates to “Kejriwal for five years.” Five years is the tenure of a chief minister in Delhi.

    Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

     

    • 11:35 am
    • In Political Debut, the Daughter of India’s President Is Losing

    The daughter of India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, Sharmishtha Mukherjee, ran her debut election this year from south Delhi’s Greater Kailash constituency. She represented the Indian National Congress, which might help you guess how she has fared.  According to the most recent numbers from the Election Commission, Ms. Mukherjee is way behind both the AAP and BJP candidates. Last year, the seat went to AAP’s Saurabh Bharadwaj, who is currently leading with more than 42,000 votes.

    • 11:36 am
    • Hazare: This Is “A Defeat for Modi”

    Indian activist Anna Hazare described the Delhi election results as “a defeat for Narendra Modi.” He congratulated Arvind Kejriwal on his party’s victory in the assembly election and said Mr. Kejriwal “must not forget the anti-corruption campaign and should work for public benefit.”

    He said the BJP made promises to tackle corruption but “didn’t fulfill them.” “People believe Arvind will fight for them,” he said on CNN-IBN television news channel Tuesday.

    Mr. Hazare shot to public attention and became an icon for India’s middle classes when he went on a hunger strike in 2011 to demand tough anti-corruption laws and in particular a law to create an ombudsman to deal with allegations of corruption. He advised Mr. Kejriwal to remain simple. “The more you remain simple, the more people will have faith in you,” Mr. Hazare said.

    • 11:38 am
    • Man with @bjp Twitter Handle Wakes Up to Bombardment of Tweets. Again.

    John P. Brennan whose Twitter handle is @BJP said he was getting “blown up” with mentions on the micro blogging site on Tuesday.

    “It’s that time of the year again: Elections in India. I am getting blown UP with mentions.#BJP”

    The official Twitter handle for the Bharatiya Janata Party is @BJP4India

    One assumes he was bombarded by tweets when the BJP led by Indian Prime Minister swept the national election in May. The party is set to take a drubbing in the Delhi election, with a lead in only three seats.

     

    • 11:40 am
    • 11:46 am
    • Kejriwal Appears

    AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal has just made an appearance outside the party headquarters.

    “When you walk on the path of truth, the whole universe gets together to make good things happen,” Mr. Kejriwal says. The crowd cheers.

    • 11:46 am
    • AAP Mentions Ambani — Again

    An Aam Aadmi Party-composed song, playing in loop outside the party headquarters, sings about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s relationship with India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. “Do you want a leader that sells the country to the Ambanis?” the song asks in Hindi, “or do you want an honest Kejriwal?”

    Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal has criticized Mr. Ambani in the past as well. Mr. Ambani’s company, Reliance Industries, has previously denied any wrongdoing on its part or its chairman’s.

    • 11:50 am
    • 12:01 pm
    • Arvind Kejriwal Speaks to Supporters

    Amid a shower of flower petals and loud booms, presumably from celebratory crackers or dodgy sound system, Arvind Kejriwal speaks to supporters cheering him on as counting continues for the Delhi state election and shows the party leading in 90% of the seats.

    “Delhi has given us such an overwhelming majority,” he says in Hindi using the word ‘bahumat’ which is used interchangeably to describe mandate and majority.

    “I alone cannot do anything. I am a very small man,” he says adding that he is “hopeful” that the people of Delhi will help him make the state “a place where the rich and poor peacefully co-exist.”

    Mr. Kejriwal thanks his father and introduces his wife who folds her hands as a gesture of thanks to the crowd. Mr. Kejriwal says: “I could not have done it without her.”

    He takes a dig at the competing BJP and the Congress party. Both parties are trailing AAP by massive margins.

    “Today, the BJP and Congress lost out because of their ego,” Mr. Kejriwal adds.

    • 12:09 pm
    • BJP Will Be in Opposition

    Even if the BJP can’t win the minimum seven seats needed to qualify as the official opposition leader in the Delhi state assembly, the Aam Aadmi Party will let the BJP hold the post, tweeted Kumar Vishwas, a senior AAP figure.

     

    It’s not the first time this kind of issue has arisen in Indian politics in the past year or so. Last year, when the BJP trounced the Congress party in national elections, the BJP resisted Congress’s claim to be the official opposition leader in Parliament. In that race, Congress failed to win the minimum number of seats needed to qualify.

    • 12:13 pm
    • The AAP’s First Two Official Victories

    The Election Commission just flashed the Aam Aadmi Party’s first two official wins: in Adarsh Nagar, in Delhi’s north west and Ambedkar Nagar in the city’s south. AAP’s Pawan Kumar Sharma and Ajay Dutt have won the two seats. Both Mr. Sharma and Mr. Dutt were party volunteers before they were nominated to contest elections this year.

    • 12:22 pm
    • India’s Aspirational Class Has Spoken

    A landslide victory by the Aam Aadmi Party is a very serious reminder to the major political parties, policy makers and even India Inc. that a new aspirational class lies at the bottom of pyramid and not the conventional middle class, says Rana Kapoor, founder of Yes Bank Ltd. (532648.BY) and the president of industry lobby group ASSOCHAM. “This aspirational class are the backbone of the Indian economy but somehow has felt left out of the mainstream,” says Mr. Kapoor. They are now asserting themselves and they have no patience, he says.

    • 12:24 pm
    • Rahul Gandhi Congratulates Arvind Kejriwal

    As Congress heads for another electoral drubbing, the party issued a statement on Rahul Gandhi’s behalf. “The people of Delhi have chosen the Aam Aadmi Party and we respect that,” said Mr. Gandhi, according to the statement. Mr. Gandhi has faced criticism for his failure to be a more public face for the party.

     

    • 12:34 pm
    • 12:35 pm
    • Reliance Stock Falls on AAP Win

    Reliance Industries Ltd. is trading down 0.5% at 893.05 rupees. The stock started falling from 899.75 rupees at 12.09 India time, exchange data showed, just after it was clear that the anti-corruption-agenda driven Aam Aadmi Party was winning in Delhi state assembly elections.

    The stock has been roughly volatile in pre-noon trade. The party’s leader Arvind Kejriwal has targeted Mukesh Ambani, founder of Reliance Industries. The company has previously denied wrongdoing on its part or its chairman’s and on Tuesday declined to comment on AAP’s victory.

    • 12:39 pm
    • Exit Polls Right But Wrong

    Most of the exit polls that came out after voting ended on Saturday, correctly caught the swing of voters towards the Aam Aadmi Party but none predicted the magnitude of the popularity of the party’s candidates. Exit polls that came out over the weekendpredicted that AAP would win, with a comfortable majority with somewhere around 40 of the 70 seats of the Delhi assembly. Instead it looks like the common man’s party could win 65 seats.

    • 12:40 pm
    • Mahindra: AAP Win “Bodes Well” for Doing Business

    As the Bombay Stock Exchange rebounds, Anand Mahindra said AAP’s message isn’t anti-business. Mr. Mahindra is chairman of the Mahindra Group conglomerate.

    A government “promising clean governance bodes well for ease of doing business in the territory. Hence market rebounding makes sense,” he tweeted.

    • 12:40 pm
    • BJP Accepts Defeat, “Will Introspect”

    The Bharatiya Janata Party accepted defeat as the vote-count trends showed the Aam Aadmi Party headed toward a landslide victory. “The results indicate that we failed to convey our message of development to the people of Delhi,” BJP national spokesman Praveen Shankar Kapoor told The Wall Street Journal. “We accept defeat and will introspect the reasons behind it,” he said.

    • 12:53 pm
    • AAP Fans: Kejriwal Has “Prime Minister Potential”

    A market next to the Aam Aadmi Party headquarters is abuzz with news of the party’s electoral win.

    Shatrugan Rai, a 49-year-old driver who migrated from the state of Bihar decades ago, says Kejriwal is one of the few leaders who delivered on his party promises. “All other parties coerce us poor people into voting for them. They make false promises to us desperate people.”

    In the 49 days that Mr. Kejriwal was chief minister in 2013, his party halved electricity charges and significantly bought down water prices. “He actually did what he said,” Mr. Rai says. “If he keeps at it, he can become prime minister one day.”

    Arti Verma, a 19-year-old student standing nearby, agrees. “He certainly has prime minister potential,” she says.

    • 1:03 pm
    • Auto Drivers Call on Kejriwal

    Delhi’s auto rickshaw and taxi drivers are a sizeable voting bloc. This time, they backed Congress.

    “We had asked our members to vote for the Congress party this time because AAP didn’t fulfill the promises they made in the last election when we had wholeheartedly supported them and they won,” said Kishan Verma, president of Federation of All Delhi Auto Taxi Transporters Congress, which has about 45,000 members.

    Mr. Verma said the union has already congratulated Mr. Kejriwal and is hoping that the new chief minister will implement measures such as installing CCTV cameras in various parts of the city, proper parking stands for auto rickshaws and taxis and better education of children from lower-income homes.

    • 1:07 pm
    • Kiran Bedi Admits Defeat

    “I’m a defeated candidate today,” says Kiran Bedi, who was the BJP’s choice for chief minister in the city.

    Ms. Bedi conceded defeat in the Krishna Nagar constituency where she was parachuted in just three weeks ago.

     

    • 1:13 pm
    • What’s AAP Going to Do?

    Now they’ve won, what can we expect the Aam Aadmi Party to do when they take power?

    We read the AAP manifesto so you don’t have to.

    The party says it wants to cut electricity prices in half, provide clean water at an affordable price, introduce self-rule at the hyper-local level and improve safety for women.

    It will also create a 10,000-strong women’s security force made up of people currently working as cooks, cleaners and drivers for government officials, according to its manifesto.

    More on what to expect from the AAP government here.

     

     

    • 1:35 pm
    • Mrs. Kejriwal

    Arvind Kejriwal thanked his wife, Sunita after his victory was announced and retweeted a picture of the couple embracing after the Aam Aadmi Party’s landslide  in Delhi.

    • 1:35 pm
    • ‘We Want Priyanka’
    Sajjad Hussain/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
    Men held pictures of Priyanka Gandhi as they shouted slogans outside the Congress party’s office in New Delhi on Feb. 10 demanding Priyanka replace Congress party vice-president Rahul Gandhi
    • 1:36 pm
    • Bare at the BJP
    Altaf Qadri/Associated Press
    A man walked past empty seats in front of a stage set up for a press conference at the headquarters of the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in New Delhi on Tuesday.
    • 1:38 pm
    • ‘I Am Aam Aadmi’
    Getty Images News
    A man sported Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal stickers on his face as he watched the results of Delhi Assembly Elections at the party’s Patel Nagar office on Feb. 10.
    • 1:41 pm
    • Photo: AAP Cheer
    Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal
    • 1:51 pm
    • Valentine’s Day Reunion
    Reuters/Adnan Abidi
    Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal addresses his supporters in New Delhi on Feb. 10

    You could say Arvind Kejriwal broke up with Delhi on Valentine’s Day in 2014 when he stepped down as chief minister 49 days into his five-year term.  But voters have given him another chance and this year, also on Valentine’s day that falls on Saturday, Mr. Kejriwal will reaffirm his allegiance to the city when he is sworn in as chief minister once again.

    Mr. Kejriwal will take oath at Ramlila Maidan, an open air meeting ground, according to the Press Trust of India. The venue is the same as his last swearing-in ceremony.

    • 2:33 pm
    • Aam Aadmi Party’s Anthem

    The song that defined the Aam Aadmi Party’s 2015 Delhi state election campaign can be heard blaring from speakers at the party’s headquarters where hundreds have gathered to celebrate on Tuesday.

    Supporters can be seen waving the Indian flag, posters, banners and brooms – the party’s symbol. They are also holding up giant cut-outs of the face of AAP party leader Arvind Kejriwal.

    The song called “Five Years Kejriwal” or “Paanch Saal Kejriwal” was composed by Bollywood music producer Vishal Dadlani. From the ring tone for AAP’s phone lines to blaring from loudspeakers in the congested lanes of Delhi’s old quarters, the song seemed to be everywhere during the election campaign.

    Listen to the song here.

    Mr. Dadlani, the song’s composer said in a tweet he was boarding a flight from Mumbai to Delhi to join celebrations after it become clear that AAP was set to win the state polls by a landslide.

     

     

    • 3:26 pm
    • Indian Shares Recover

    Indian shares recovered from early losses as investors have already factored in the win of Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi state elections.

    The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex is now trading up 0.6% at 28,395.75 after falling as much as 0.6% in early morning trade.

    “The AAP impact is gradually fading out and investors are shifting their focus back to reforms process and the Budget session,” said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities.

    The Sensex index had lost 5% in the past one week after exit polls showed Bharatiya Janata party will likely lose the Delhi election.

    However, some of the stocks related to billionaire Ambani brothers were still trading lower as AAP’s leader Arvind Kejriwal had targeted them previously. Reliance Industries Ltd. was down 1.5%, while Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. fell 0.2%.

    • 5:01 pm
    • Planet AAP
    info.gram

    Delhi has witnessed the birth of planet AAP today. The party, at 4.55 p.m. had won 66 seats and was leading in the one remaining seat. BJP won in three seats.

    Delhi’s assembly has 70 seats.

    There has been a tectonic shift in Delhi’s voting patterns over the last three elections. Congress–which was the dominant player for decades, eclipsing all others with more than 43 seats seven years ago—saw its supporter base deflate and then disappear in the last two elections.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party had a solid foothold in 2008. It built on that in 2013 only to be beaten back by AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal’s popularity. In the Delhi assembly this time, the BJP’s trio of assembly members is barely a moon circling around planet AAP.

    The AAP did not even exist seven years ago. To see just how it has expanded click here.

    • 5:07 pm
    • AAP’s a Wrap
    Junho Kim/The Wall Street Journal
    In pictures, AAP celebrates victory in Delhi on Feb. 10, 2015.

    That’s it folks. A momentous day for Delhi and Indian politics that saw the Aam Aadmi Party overtake the capital’s assembly with a resounding result that has left political pundits all out of adjectives to describe its significance.

HSBC’s Swiss private banking Secrets, 200 Countries, Over $100 million Accounts including Mukesh and Anil Ambani, Yashovardhan Birla, Chandru Lachhmandas Raheja and Dattaraj Salgaocar among others

US government faces pressure after biggest leak in banking history. Questions for Department of Justice and IRS after disclosure of leak revealing HSBC’s private Swiss bank helped clients to conceal undeclared ‘black’ accounts  HSBC bank branch 

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In 2010, amid growing scrutiny from US tax authorities, HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland stopped doing business with US residents entirely. Photograph: Mike Segar/Guardian
Paul Lewis in New York

The US government will come under intense pressure this week to explain what action it took after receiving a massive cache of leaked data that revealed how the Swiss banking arm of HSBC, the world’s second-largest bank, helped wealthy customers conceal billions of dollars of assets.

The leaked files, which reveal how HSBC advised some clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities, were obtained through an international collaboration of news outlets, including the Guardian, the French daily Le Monde, CBS 60 Minutes and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The files reveal how HSBC’s Swiss private bank colluded with some clients to conceal undeclared “black” accounts from domestic tax authorities across the world and provided services to international criminals and other high-risk individuals.

The disclosure amounts to one of the biggest banking leaks in history shedding light on some 30,000 accounts holding almost $120bn (£78bn) of assets. Of those, around 2,900 clients were connected to the US, providing the IRS with a trail of evidence of potential American taxpayers who may have been hiding assets in Geneva.

A trail of evidence
The data was leaked by a computer expert turned whistleblower working in HSBC’s Geneva office. French authorities later obtained the files and shared them with the US Internal Revenue Service in 2010. That year, amid growing scrutiny from US tax authorities, HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland stopped doing business with US residents entirely.

HSBC files: why the public should know of Swiss bank’s pattern of misconduct
Scores of clients of lucrative operation are already under criminal investigation amid claims of their involvement in drug smuggling, frauds and terror financing
Read more
The US Department of Justice and IRS have been investigating HSBC’s Swiss banking operations ever since but the scale of those inquiries remain unclear.

Confronted by the Guardian’s evidence, HSBC admitted wrongdoing by its Geneva-based subsidiary. “We acknowledge and are accountable for past compliance and control failures,” the bank said in a statement. The Swiss arm, the statement said, had not been fully integrated into HSBC after its purchase in 1999, allowing “significantly lower” standards of compliance and due diligence to persist.

HSBC added: “Beginning in 2008 HSBC began to put a more rigorous control structure in place in the Swiss private bank by, for example, introducing a new policy on US persons and reducing the number of US taxpayer accounts. In 2010, the Swiss private bank decided to exit US resident client business entirely.”

However the Swiss files, made public for the first time by the Guardian and other media, are likely to raise questions in Washington over whether there is evidence to prosecute HSBC or its executives in the US. Lawmakers are also expected to question the rigour of IRS investigations into undeclared assets hidden by US taxpayers in Geneva.

The IRS said it “remains committed to our priority efforts to stop offshore tax evasion wherever it occurs”, and pointed out it has collected more than $7bn from a program, introduced in 2009, that allows US taxpayers to voluntarily disclose previously undeclared offshore accounts.

However the IRS declined to say how much it has retrieved in back taxes, interest and penalties as a result of investigations stemming from the leaked HSBC Swiss data. The IRS also declined to say how many US taxpayers have been investigated as a result of the leak, citing taxpayer privacy and the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA), a treaty that renders secret information shared between the US and France. The DoJ said it “does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation”.

Senior Senate sources said government officials are likely to be questioned on Capitol Hill over what action was taken after the US received the leaked HSBC data almost five years ago.

Intense scrutiny in DC
On Tuesday, Maryann Hunter, who is on the board of governors of the Federal Reserve, and has some responsibility for regulation of foreign banking organisations operating in the US, will give evidence to the Senate banking committee. Two days later, Geoffrey Graber, a deputy associate attorney general at the DoJ who oversees settlements with Wall Street banks, will appear before a House judiciary subcommittee. Both are expected to be questioned about the leak.

Public disclosure of the leaked files comes at a critical moment for HSBC in the US, where prosecutors have already warned the bank is operating under a “sword of Damocles”. HSBC global and its US bank was forced to pay a $1.9bn fine two years ago after the DoJ uncovered evidence HSBC subsidiaries had enabled clients to breach US sanctions against Cuba, Sudan and Iran and, due to oversight failures, allowed Mexican drug cartels launder billions of dollars.

That deal was unveiled in December 2012, six months after a damning investigation into HSBC global and its US affiliate by the Senate permanent subcommittee for investigations. The deferred prosecution agreement made no mention of evidence of tax evasion connected to HSBC’s Swiss banking division, even though the US government had received the leaked data two years earlier.

Catalogue of malpractice endorsed by bankers laid bare in HSBC files
Swiss operation actively abetted clients in keeping accounts secret from tax authorities, at its height hiding $120bn in assets
Read more
The 2012 settlement was overseen by Loretta Lynch, who was then US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Lynch is currently Barack Obama’s current nominee for attorney general.

At the time, the HSBC settlement was heavily criticised by both Republicans and Democrats for allowing the bank to escape criminal indictments and keep the charter which enables it to operate in the US. Lynch and other senior DoJ officials defended the deal, pointing out it committed HSBC to a five-year plan to stamp out money laundering and other illicit practices, an ongoing process that is being overseen by an independent, court-appointed monitor.

Files pertaining to HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland were obtained by a Geneva-based computer technical analyst, Herve Falciani, between 2006 and 2007. The files were later seized by French authorities and have been quietly shared with governments around the world, some of which have mounted investigations into tax evasion.

The HSBC leak has sometimes been referred to as the “Lagarde List”, after the then French finance minister, Christine Largarde, who shared portions of the HSBC data with her counterpart in Greece. The Guardian has reviewed the list of US clients with accounts in HSBC’s private Swiss bank. They include prominent film directors, sports stars, hedge fund managers, retail magnates and major political donors. The HSBC files provide no indication as to the US clients who declared their assets to the IRS.

In a recent court filing, Michael Danilack, a deputy commissioner at the IRS in Washington, said he asked the French for details of US individuals with undisclosed accounts in HSBC’s Swiss bank in early 2010. The request was granted and he received a CD file containing data leaked from HSBC’s Swiss bank “on or about April 6, 2010”, he said.

Prosecuting cases in US
There is evidence in that at least some US clients of HSBC’s private Swiss bank have been prosecuted. HSBC was found to have handed over “bricks” of $100,000 a time to US surgeon Andrew Silva in Geneva, so that he could illegally mail cash back to America. He mailed the sum to an address of his home state in Virginia in sums of less than $10,000, to avoid declaring the packages to US customs. He pleaded guilty to criminal tax evasion in 2010.

Another US client, Sanjay Sethi, pleaded guilty in 2013 to cheating the US tax authorities by maintaining $4.7m in accounts in Switzerland and India. The prosecution in his case said a high-ranking HSBC executive based in London promised on Swiss undeclared account would allow his assets “to grow tax-free and bank secrecy laws in Switzerland would allow Sethi to conceal the existence of the account”.

Last year, there were additional US court cases, in New York and Virginia, to enforce IRS summons for records of undeclared HSBC Swiss accounts held by two US taxpayers.

It is not known how many other investigations have been brought against US taxpayers over undeclared assets in HSBC’s Swiss bank, or whether the DoJ is considering prosecuting the bank or its executives. Almost five years after the data leaked by Falciani was passed onto US authorities, the investigations into HSBC’s private Swiss bank appear to be ongoing.

Obama will propose mandatory tax on US companies’ earnings held overseas
HSBC’s most recent annual report, published last year, said the bank was under investigation in the US by the DoJ and IRS “regarding whether certain HSBC companies and employees acted appropriately in relation to certain customers who had US tax reporting requirement”. It added: “In connection with these investigations, HSBC Private Bank Suisse SA, with due regard for Swiss law, has produced records and other documents to the DoJ and is cooperating with the investigation.”

HSBC also said in the report that the DoJ had requested additional information from HSBC’s Swiss bank “regarding the transfer of assets to and from US person related accounts and employees who serviced those accounts”. The report disclosed the fact that the DoJ informed HSBC’s Swiss bank, in August 2013, that it was not be eligible for the non-prosecution agreements made available to other Geneva-based banks.

It also warned HSBC shareholders there was a “high degree of uncertainty” over the ongoing US investigations and it was possible the bank could be forced to pay “significant” fines and penalties.

The DoJ was under pressure to go beyond financial penalties – to bring criminal charges against HSBC or its bankers – in July 2012, after the Senate’s permanent subcommittee on investigations published its crushing 330-page report documenting how the bank’s lax anti-money laundering controls had been exploited by drug traffickers.

HSBC’s head of compliance, David Bagley, resigned before the committee during a gruelling cross-examination from senators. Six months later, in December 2012, HSBC negotiated the settlement with the DoJ in which it agreed to pay almost $2bn and commit to a five-year plan to stamp out illicit practices, overseen by the independent monitor.

The settlement proved controversial because it stopped short of criminally indicting the bank or its executives; lawmakers from both parties complained it revealed some Wall Street institutions were considered “too big to jail”.

HSBC deal ‘fundamentally wrong’
The Democratic senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren famously labelled the HSBC deal “fundamentally wrong”. “HSBC paid a fine, but no individual went to trial, no individual was banned from banking and there was no hearing to consider shutting down HSBC’s actives in the US,” Warren said at a Senate committee hearing in 2013. “How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?”

At the time of the HSBC settlement, Lanny Breuer, then the head of the DoJ’s criminal division, insisted the bank was not being let off the hook. “It’s the first time in history that a foreign institution is going to have a monitor,” Breuer said. “There’s a sword of Damocles right now over HSBC.” Lynch told a CBS news at the time that she expected HSBC to “literally turn their company inside out” as part of the agreement.

Lynch was pressed over the HSBC settlement by Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal last week, during a confirmation hearing by the judiciary committee. Obama’s candidate for attorney general did not comment on the specifics of the deal, but told senators she was committed to “aggressively” pursuing white collar crime. “No individual is ‘too big to jail’,” she said. “And no one is above the law.”

HSBC is now just over two years into its reform plan, and has been deemed to be complying with the terms of the settlement. However the court-appointed monitor, Michael Cherkasky, who oversees a team of banking investigators who review HSBC’s changes, has expressed some concern over the pace of reform. Cherkasky’s most recent assessment of HSBC’s ongoing efforts to clean up its act has once again concluded it could do better, according a recent report in the Wall Street Journal which cited people familiar with its findings.

Meanwhile, HSBC remains entangled with US law enforcement and regulators on other fronts. In November, the bank reached with the the Securities and Exchange Commission in which HSBC agreed to pay $12.5m to resolve charges that its Swiss private banking division illegally provided investment and brokerage services to US clients.

The following month, the IRS issued a court summons to HSBC USA to “produce information about US taxpayers who may be evading or have evaded federal taxes” using a company called Sovereign Management & Legal Ltd, which trades via the website named ‘offshore-protection.com’. Prosecutors believe the US correspondent bank accounts that HSBC USA holds for Sovereign’s banks in Panama and Hong Kong are likely to have records of financial transactions by US clients who may have evaded taxes.

In May last year, the DoJ revealed it was prepared to bring criminal charges against banks suspected of involvement in tax evasion, when it forced Credit Suisse to plead guilty to a major conspiracy to aid US taxpayers filing false returns to the IRS. Under a plea agreement, Credit Suisse paid a total of $2.6bn.

“This case shows that no financial institution, no matter its size or global reach, is above the law,” the Attorney General Eric Holder said at the time. “Credit Suisse conspired to help US citizens hide assets in offshore accounts in order to evade paying taxes. When a bank engages in misconduct this brazen, it should expect that the Justice Department will pursue criminal prosecution to the fullest extent possible, as has happened here.”.

The Indian Link

The Indian Express on Monday published an investigation into bank accounts held by 1,195 Indians abroad. The investigation is based on leaks from the HSBC’s Swiss banking unit. The most significant names on the list, by far, are those of Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani.

India’s richest man does not top the list. He features at rank eight, below Sandeep Tandon, who used to be his Man Friday, managing Reliance’s taxation and liaison work.

Tandon was a former Indian Revenue Service official, the same service to which Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party leader, belonged.

In November 2012, before the formation of AAP, when Kejriwal was still an activist of the Anna Hazare led India Against Corruption movement, he held a press conference where he revealed a list of ten names of Indian account holders of Swiss bank vaults.

Kejriwal expose

The Hindu reported, “In a daring expose, IAC members alleged that Mukesh and Anil Ambani and Congress MP Anu Tandon, among others, had crores of rupees sitting in Swiss banks.”

The choice of words ‒ “a daring expose” ‒ said it all.

In a scathing story in August 2014, describing Reliance as “a rotten role model for corporate India”, The Economist said, “When it comes to governance this secretive and politically powerful private empire is not a national champion but an embarrassment.”

These are words that you are unlikely to find in an Indian publication, which is why the Indian Express investigation is significant. Produced as part of a global collaboration, which saw 140 journalists worldwide go through the list of Swiss bank account holders obtained by the Paris-based newspaper Le Monde, the investigation ends the speculation swirling around Swiss bank accounts held by Indians, and puts down a credible list. On the list are the Ambani brothers among other corporates heads, businessmen, politicians, and at least two former IRS officers. Most earlier reports on the HSBC Swiss bank list have omitted the names of Ambanis.

The paper is careful to remind its readers that not all accounts hold black money. But given the secrecy over Swiss bank accounts, the paper thought it was worth making public the information and said that “undeclared wealth is an important part of political discourse, involving the government, the Supreme Court and the central bank”

The list owes its existence to Hervé Falciani, a systems engineer and former employee of the Geneva office of HSBC, who walked away in 2008 with 11 floppy discs containing data of around 130,000 bank customers. Not all on the list were people who had stashed away illicit money. Many were legitimate account holders who had paid taxes. But the French government took the list seriously enough to pass it on to other countries. Many countries including UK, France, Spain and others used the list to initiate investigations into possible tax evasion.

International project

In August 2011, the Indian Express reported that the Indian government had received the information and Pranab Mukherjee, then finance minister, now President of India, had asked for a probe into the accounts. “Names of several important Indian businessmen and corporates are said to be in the data received,” the report said.

Not a single name was published anywhere in India. But in January 2012, the Economic Times reported that HSBC had apologised to Mukesh Ambani “for embroiling him in an investigation by India’s income-tax authorities…the bank clarified that neither he, nor Reliance Industries, was the owner of any beneficiary account with the bank’s private banking division.”

But three years later, as Indian Express partnered in an international project to access the names and details of 1.688 bank account holders, which it laboriously checked and whittled down to 1,195 account holders, it found Mukesh Ambani’s name was indeed part of the leaked HSBC list of customers. In a response to the paper, a Reliance spokesperson still maintained, “Neither RIL nor Mr Mukesh Ambani have or had any illegitimate bank accounts anywhere in the world.”