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Gautam Adani meets new British envoy to India, wishes her to boost bilateral ties

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New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Gautam Adani, Chairman of the Adani Group, on Thursday, met Lindy Cameron, the new British High Commissioner to India, and wished her the best in continuing to enhance relations between the two countries.

In a post on X, Gautam Adani said it was an honour to meet and hear from Cameron on a wide range of subjects.

“Fascinating to learn about a wide set of topics ranging from her tenure across the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, to cybersecurity, the future of nuclear and so much more,” the Adani Group Chairman commented.

“We wish her the best in her pivotal role to continue to enhance India-UK relations”.

Appointed as British High Commissioner to India in succession to Alex Ellis, Cameron is the UK’s first woman envoy to the country.

In a post on X last month, Cameron said that she is immensely proud to be appointed the next British High Commissioner to India.

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“Huge thanks to @AlexWEllis for leaving such a great legacy. So looking forward to working with the amazing @UKinIndia team. I can’t wait to get started!” she had posted.

From 2020 to 2024, she was Chief Executive of the National Cyber Security Centre. She has also served as Director General of the Northern Ireland Office in the UK. Cameron also worked at the UK’s aid agency, the Department for International Development (DFID).

–IANS

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Over $122 million embezzled by financial firms' workers over past 6 years in South Korea: Data

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Seoul, June 23 (IANS) Nearly 170 employees of banks and other financial firms embezzled around 180 billion won combined ($122.21 million) over the past six years in South Korea, but less than 10 per cent has been retrieved, data showed on Sunday.

According to the data from the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), a total of 168 officials from the country’s financial firms pocketed 178.92 billion won combined from 2018-2023.

The amount of stolen money came to 5.67 billion won in 2018 but surged to 15.69 billion won in 2021 and 82.76 billion won in 2022 before falling slightly to 64.26 billion won last year, reports Yonhap news agency.

But a mere 9.8 per cent, or 17.45 billion won of the total, has been redeemed, indicating that their embezzlement has caused damage to corporate profits and ultimately to customers.

In 2022, the FSS announced a set of measures to strengthen internal control, but critics have said that they are far from enough to prevent such cases.

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This year alone, 11 officials have been caught for pocketing 1.51 billion won combined, and 6.7 per cent of the amount has been retrieved, the data showed.

There have been renewed calls for stronger rules and supervision after a Woori Bank employee in his 30s was arrested earlier this month on charges of embezzling around 10 billion won by forging corporate documents.

The FSS is considering the introduction of a new law that holds CEOs of financial firms accountable for such embezzlement and similar crimes by their officials.

–IANS

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GST Council waives interest, penalty on notices to taxpayers under Section 73

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) As part of several taxpayer-friendly decisions, the GST Council on Saturday recommended the waiving of interest and penalty in cases of tax demand notices that have been sent under Section 73, of the GST Act, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said after the meeting.

“In the case of demand notices issued for 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, interest and penalty will be waived off, if tax is paid by March 31, 2025,” Nirmala Sitharaman said.

The GST Council has also recommended that the time limit to avail input tax credit in respect of any invoice or debit note under section 16(4) of the CGST Act filed up to the 30-11-2021 for the financial years 17-18, 18-19, 19-20 and 20-21 may be deemed to be 2011 to 2021.

So for the same requisite amendment retrospectively with effect from 1 July 2017, the Finance Minister said.

In order to reduce tax litigation which is expected to benefit both taxpayers and the government, the GST council recommended a minimum limit for filing appeals of Rs 20 lakh for the appellate tribunal, Rs 1 crore for the High Court and Rs 2 crore for the Supreme Court.

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In another taxpayer-friendly measure, the GST Council has decided to introduce Form GSTR 1A to enable taxpayers to add information they have missed when filing Form GSTR 1.

The new form can also be used to correct mistakes that they have made while filing their particulars in form GSTR 1.

–IANS

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Govt rolling out pan-India biometric authentication to prevent GST fraud

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council at its 53rd meeting on Saturday decided to roll out pan-India Aadhaar-based biometric authentication to check fake invoicing used to fraudulently claim input tax credit (ITC) by unscrupulous elements, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Two pilot projects for biometric authentication have already been carried out successfully and now the facility will be rolled out nationwide in a phased manner, the Finance Minister said at a press conference.

To facilitate GST registration, Aadhaar biometric authentication will become mandatory for new registrations across the country, she added.

“This will help us to combat fraudulent input tax credit claims made through fake invoices,” FM Sitharaman said.

FM Sitharaman also said that a Group of Ministers (GoM) for reationalising GST rates has been set up, which will submit a status report in the next meeting.

Bihar Deputy CM Samrat Choudhary will chair the GoM.

FM Sitharaman said that while a lot of decisions were taken at Saturday’s meeting, not all GST issues could be included in the agenda.

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The GST Council will meet again after the Budget Session of Parliament is over to take up these issues.

The meeting is likely to be held in mid-August, she added.

–IANS

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GST Council okays uniform 12 per cent GST on milk cans, cartons, water sprinklers

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The GST Council meeting held on Saturday recommended a uniform GST rate of 12 per cent on all milk cans whether they be made of steel, iron, or aluminum, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Milk cans will be governed by a standard measurement and not by the material they are made of, in order to avoid ambiguity, the Finance Minister said.

They are called milk cans but wherever they are used, that will be the rate applicable so that no disputes arise out of it, she added.

The council also recommended a uniform GST rate of 12 per cent on all carton boxes and cases of both corrugated and non-corrugated paper or paper board.

This will in particular help the apple growers of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

A uniform 12 per cent GST has also been recommended on all types of water sprinklers including fire water sprinklers, she added.

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–IANS

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Railway services, students' hostels exempted from GST

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The GST Council meeting chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday decided to exempt services provided by Indian Railways from GST.

Addressing the media after the council meeting, the Finance Minister said the purchase of railway tickets and payments for waiting room and cloak room charges have been exempted from GST.

Similarly, no GST will be levied on services provided like battery-operated vehicles and intra-railway services.

The Council has also decided to exempt GST on charges for hostels for students that are located outside educational institutions.

The exemption will be extended to hostels run by communities as well.

However, the condition will be that the upper limit of charges will be Rs 20,000 per person per month and the student must have stayed in the hostel for a continuous period of 90 days.

The condition has been introduced to prevent hotels from taking advantage of the exemption, she added.

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The Finance Minister clarified that hostels located within education institutions are already exempt from GST.

–IANS

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