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Even though Delhi is busy with Demonetisation upheaval, it is too slow in Coping with new Strategic Dynamic engulfing the Region!

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Indian money, Pixabay

New Delhi, January 1, 2017: While New Delhi is busy with the demonetisation upheaval, it may find itself paces too slow in coping with the new strategic dynamic engulfing the region.

Neither Kabul nor New Delhi can be sanguine about the high-level meeting in Moscow on Afghanistan to which China and Pakistan were invited. This follows Moscow’s declaration that it does not consider Taliban as the enemy. In fact, Afghan Taliban can be allies against Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

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A piqued Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni, spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry, said “even if such talks are organised with goodwill, they cannot yield substantial results because there is no one from the Afghan side to brief the participants about the latest ground realities”.

New Delhi, preoccupied otherwise, has not reacted to the Moscow meet. Apparently, the Russians took the Indian Foreign Office into confidence that “it was only about the internal situation in Afghanistan”. Russians are concerned about the rise of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, a diplomatic source said.

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Does New Delhi accept Moscow’s anxieties about ISIS in Afghanistan? And does it go along with Moscow and Beijing’s evaluation that Taliban are possible allies against the more infectious ISIS? But Washington has invested blood and treasure fighting the Taliban for 14 years. Is New Delhi at a trijunction?

In diplomacy, friendly gestures come with disguised ambiguity. With the Trump Presidency, a new chapter may be opening in US-Moscow relations. In preparation for this phase, Moscow would like to retain some pressure points to determine the pace of new equations. Kabul may be one such pressure point.

Should Trump turn upon Tehran over the nuclear deal, there is something in the Afghan cauldron for Iran to stir too.

So, the New Year begins with many new events to juggle with. Of the scattered scratches on my mind that 2016 leaves behind, the deepest one was etched in New York. At my friend’s DUMBO loft in Brooklyn on the night of November 8, an assortment of friends from every walk of life, left champagne bottles uncorked because the ground from under their feet moved when Hillary Clinton lost.

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If you make Bernie Sanders impossible, I said then, you make Trump inevitable.

American exceptionalism notwithstanding, the popular mood globally across liberal democracies was the same — a disgust with establishments foisted on them by globalisation and crony capitalism.

The assault on the establishment has come from the Left as well as the Right. Establishments, like the skilled matador, have deflected the people to the Right. This is their preferred fallback position. Hence, No to Bernie Sanders. Yes, to Trump. And now they are beating their breasts!

Well, let it be recorded, the American establishment did try to write itself into the script too. Clinton, after all, was nothing if not the establishment. Yes, people think I am untrustworthy. Yes, they think I am dishonest. Yes, I goofed in Benghazi… but still vote for me because Russians have hacked into my email. Bill Clinton went one better. Did I not tell you, he said to an interviewer, that Boris Yeltsin was a much better President than Putin.

Who knows the new Trump team from Forbes Who’s Who may reassert an old motto: the Business of America is Business. This encourages one to conclude that Trump would like to restore America as the land of unvarnished capitalism minus the hegemonic distortions, one which has made the US the world’s most hated nation even in influential enclaves of Europe.

Whatever else Trump may achieve, will he ever succeed in weaning away the Occupy Wall Street youth Bernie Sanders had mobilised? If not, he will begin to look like a semi finalist until the next elections in 2020.

Establishments may be able to channelise popular preference away from the Left, once or twice, but they cannot make a habit of it.

Ultimately, all speculations will be tempered by a Realpolitik, like the one opening up to India’s north. Counter-moves will come as soon as Trump finds his feet in the White House. As he surveys the scene from the Oval office, he will notice a new bounce in the Russian tread in Islamabad, Beijing, Damascus, Ankara, Manila, Kuala Lampur.

To be counted among Putin’s possible friends could well be French Presidential candidate, Francois Fillon, who defeated Nicolas Sarkozy in recent Republican party elections. Trump has already held out his hand to Putin. How firmly will he clasp it? And will the clasp last over Afghanistan too? Will New Delhi have respite from the unfolding demonetisation drama to attend to all of this? (IANS)

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Income Tax Officers Announce 17-point Checklist to Track Unaccounted Cash During Demonetisation

I-T Dept issues 17-point checklist to trace unaccounted DeMO cash

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income tax
Examination will take place of cash deposits from period April 2015 to November 8, 2016. Pixabay

In a bid to seize illegal cash, the Income Tax Department has issued a 17-point checklist to tax commissioners across the country to track those who deposited unaccounted cash during demonetisation.

In a directive to the Principal Chief Commissioners of Income Tax and Principal Director Generals of Income Tax, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said that in continuation of the handling of cases related to demonetisation, a verification checklist of cash deposits has been prepared to assist the assessing officers so that deviant cases can be taken up for further study.

The CBDT move is aimed at spreading the department’s net wide and deep to catch those who deposited unaccounted cash during demonetisation.

In this latest directive to tax officers, a 17-point checklist has been created, which has to be updated on the department’s server for further action. All unaccounted cash deposits made between November 9, 2016, and December 31, 2016, will be examined as part of this plan.

The checklist also says that if a taxpayer disputes the amount, the correct amount has to be mentioned after checking with the bank.

The particulars in the checklist are — return filing compliance, the total income of the taxpayer in 2016-17, gross total income (including exempt income) of the taxpayer in FY 2016-17 and percentage of cash deposit to gross total income (including exempt income).

IT Officers
This move is aimed to catch those who deposited unaccounted cash during demonetisation. Pixabay

The assessing officers will have to check on the checklist with regard to the nature of deposit on assessment of the explanation provided by the taxpayer and the quantum of unaccounted deposits as determined by the assessing officers.

On the response side, they have to file if the explanation was acceptable, partially acceptable or not acceptable. The nature of the deposit option could be sale or advance for sale of land or any other capital asset, gift, repayment of loan and cash in hand.

Some other verification checkpoints are whether the quarterly VAT return is revised in the post-demonetisation period, if small part of the cash is deposited in or withdrawn from the bank despite having huge cash in hand, if there are large changes in the purchase and sales figures between the original and the revised VAT returns and if the changes are for genuine reasons.

The assessment procedures as per the checklist are — if the books of the accounts have been rejected, if additions have been made u/s 68 to 69D and if tax is calculated as per section 115BBE and if penalty u/s 271AAC has been levied.

income-tax
On November 8, 2016, the Government of India had announced demonetisation of all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes. Pixabay

The examination of monthly cash sales and cash deposits lists the period from April 2015 to November 8, 2016.

Also Read: Gold Price May Increase to Rs 40,000 per 10 Gram by Diwali

On November 8, 2016, the Government of India had announced demonetisation of all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes. It also announced the issuance of new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 banknotes. (IANS)