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PM Narendra Modi announces a series of Financial incentives for Poor people, Farmers, Small businesses, Women and Senior citizens

Modi swept to power in 2014 promising to end graft, and while the currency ban aims to do that, political analysts have called it a risky gamble

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People watch Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation, on television in Hyderabad, India, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016. (VOA)

Asserting that his crackdown against corruption will not end, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a series of financial incentives for poor people, farmers, small businesses, women and senior citizens.

Modi addressed Indians on New Year’s Eve, 50 days after he banned high denomination currency in a bid to root out illegal money. The measure led to huge paper money shortages among citizens that hurt poor people the hardest and caused widespread disruption in the informal sector.

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Defending his move to scrap 86 percent of the country’s currency overnight, he said, “Corruption, black money and counterfeit notes had become so rampant in India’s social fabric that even honest people were brought to their knees.”

Although many in the country initially supported the move, patience has worn thin in recent weeks as the government has not been able to meet the demand for new currency, resulting in snaking lines outside banks since the November 8 announcement.

Those lines are likely to continue into the New Year. Although the prime minister had asked for 50 days to restore normalcy, cash shortages have not eased and limits on the amount people can withdraw from banks remain in place.

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Modi sought to address some of those concerns, saying efforts would quickly be made to restore normalcy to the banking sector. He said the focus would be on rural and remote areas, which have suffered the most from the cash crunch.

Acknowledging that the ban had led to hardship, the prime minister said people had shown patience, discipline and resolve in helping the government tackle corruption.

Among the promises Modi made were a discount on interest rates for home loans in rural and urban areas for poor and middle class people, doubling credit guarantees for small businesses, steps to help pregnant women and senior citizens and financial support for farmers.

Observers said the incentives are meant to alleviate growing anger among millions of poor people.

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He promised tough action against the corrupt but promised to help law abiding citizens. “The law will take its own course with its full force, but the priority is how to help the honest and protect them.”

Modi also called on all political parties to come together and take steps to ensure transparency in political funding, which many say is one of the major factors that fuels corruption.

Modi swept to power in 2014 promising to end graft, and while the currency ban aims to do that, political analysts have called it a risky gamble.

They say whether the move establishes his credentials as a strong leader who is meeting his promise or whether it loses him goodwill will be tested in crucial elections to be held in Uttar Pradesh province early next year.

Many economists have questioned the benefits of the currency ban and warn that it will hurt the economy while not achieving its objective of ending tax evasion. Modi however asserted that there is no precedent globally to what India has done. (VOA)

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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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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.

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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)