Congestion tax on private vehicles to encourage public transport

New Delhi: Urban development minister S Jaipal Reddy on Wednesday criticized Indians for treating cars as status symbols. Reddy argued that the government could not stop people from buying cars but must design policies that discouraged buying of cars and promoted use of public transport. Reddy asked the states to consider imposing a road congestion tax on private vehicles to encourage public transport and check vehicular pollution in cities.

To a question on plans to introduce measures like congestion tax on private vehicles, Reddy said, “These are matters to be thought over and decided upon by the state governments. But having regard to size of cities, every state must think of measures like congestion tax.” Calling Indians “car maniacs”, he said, “Upwardly mobile classes are crazy about cars. Car is a status symbol in the country and this state of car mania can be done away with only in a subliminal way and not by the government.”

Reddy highlighting that over 1 lakh people were killed in road accidents every year, the minister asked the authorities to take due care of pedestrians. “Roads in the country are extremely cruel to pedestrians. The foot over-bridges are so intimidating that people prefer to cross the roads rather than use them. These are small things, which have to be taken into consideration,”

The government could not stop people from buying cars but must design policies that discouraged buying of cars. He criticized Indians for treating cars as status symbols and asked to impose restrictions like ‘one car for one family. Imposing road congestion tax on private vehicles will encourage public transport, reduce vehicular pollution in cities and discourage buying of cars.

Two held for the murder over availability of water

Ahmedabad:  Jayesh Patel and Vijay Patel residents of Suramya Society in Nikol were arrested for the murder of Gordhan Gedia. Gordhan Gedia was allegedly killed by Jayesh Patel and Vijay Patel following a scuffle that broke out between residents of Suramya Society in Nikol over availability of water.

Vijay Patel, resident of Suramya Society in Nikol attacked a group of people during a meeting that was held on the terrace of their apartment to resolve the long pending issue of non-availability of water. Gedia was killed and seven others injured in te attack.

Police inspector of Odhav police station, MS Sindha said that Patel had broken some pipelines in his building a few days ago. A meeting was later called to discuss the issue. In the meeting,Gordhan Gedia was allegedly killed  following a scuffle that broke out between residents. With the arrest of Patels, the Odhav police have so far arrested four people including Kalu and Ashok Raghuvanshi in this connection. Meanwhile, the Odhav police have intensified their efforts to nab the two other absconding accused.

Memorandum for removal of service tax on under construction property

Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) a real estate industry body submitted a memorandum to the Finance Ministry concerned with the appeal for removal of service tax on housing complexes under construction. The Chairman of CREDAI, Kumar Gera stated that they have put forth their concerns and suggestions and also discussed the probable impact of the provisions with the Ministry.

According to Gera, the money collected through the imposition of service tax on real estate development will not be big enough, rather it would majorly lead an overall negative sentiment and a net loss of revenue. In budget 2010,Service Tax is imposed on 33 per cent of total selling price.

According to CREDAI, it was an impractical proposal to levy service tax on under construction complex since it would lead government giving preference to the secondary market of completed projects. An understanding of the problem and required corrective steps will be taken is a hope from the government. The list of recommendations was built in consultations with KPMG, its knowledge partner and was submitted to Y G Parande, a Finance Ministry Member (Budget).

Real estate developers are back building high-end housing

On the back of a revival in demand, real estate developers are again building super luxury apartments, say experts. About 7,000 such apartments to be delivered within a year in Mumbai alone by consultancy firms Jones Lang Lasalle Meghraj (JLLM) and Knight Frank India.The cost is not below Rs 4.7 crore for a single unit. Anand Narayanan, Knight Frank India’s national director (residential agency) said in the central business district of Bangalore,400 high-end luxury apartments are going to hit the market in the current year itself.

LLM country head and chairman Anuj Puri said “After the recession got over, real estate developers are back building high-end super luxury projects because there is good demand for such projects.” Similar high-end projects are coming up in the National Capital Region as well, but demand for such projects depend on many things, including the location of the property and its novelty.The higher cost of such products is justified because not a single one has a common design and lay-outs are also never identical, the consultants said.

Stating that there is ‘enough demand’ for such projects, both consultancy firms said that consumers are treating such projects as a consumer product for which they are ready to pay a premium.

Registering a property could soon become easier

The government is planning to replace the Indian Stamp Act 1899 with a simpler law that will do away with a large number of provisions and fees.The finance ministry has already initiated a preliminary exercise to draft the new law and is hopeful of finalizing it by the end of the year. The draft will need to be discussed with State governments to elicit their views as well.

Under the Indian Registration Act, the purchase of a house should be registered with the office of the registrar or sub-registrar of the district within whose jurisdiction the property is situated. Registration of property helps trace the history of ownership of a property.At present, the documents are physically verified by different departments, making the process of registration a time-consuming one. The new legislation is expected to address the problems being faced in registration of properties. The proposed legislation is likely to recognize electronic stamping and electronic payment of stamp duties. At present electronic stamping and electronic payment of stamp duties facility is available as part of the e-governance initiative for companies that wish to file their papers online with the Registrar of Companies.

The government is also planning to rework the current structure of stamp duty fees and penalties. Duties charged in the smaller denominations could be replaced with specific amounts or be calculated as a percentage. It is to be noted that the Law Commission had taken up the issue of amending the Indian Stamp Act last year. It had suggested in its report that the required fee for any transaction or court fee should be paid by demand draft, cash, or postal order rather than through non-judicial stamp papers or special stamps.

People in 15 cities across India and many more across the globe will observe Earth Hour today

From hotels to student hostels, those concerned for the green cause are making an effort to bring in the change they want to see. Earth Hour is an initiative by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to show support for action against climate change by switching off lights for an hour in the evening. Residents and some organizations in Pink City (jaipur) too will be doing their bit to show their support. Today people in 15 cities across India and many more across the globe will observe Earth Hour.

“From 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm as the world observes the Earth Hour, we too will pitch in by completely switching off the lights in our area. We’ll keep our staircases which connect the lobby and the corridors leading to the rooms partly lit, while the others will not be lit.” says Rajit Seth, training manager at Le Meridien, Jaipur.

Doing their bit are the students of IIS Institutional Network who are spreading the word about Earth Hour by visiting localities near their campus and even distributing CFL lights among households. MBA student Ankit Kandelwal says, “I share my vehicle to come to college; I make sure the lights and fans are switched off before leaving the class room. Though those 60 minutes will end, I shall continue to motivate everyone around me to help conserve energy and resources.”

Times of India

Saving Tax by Donating to your favorite Charity

Income tax Act encourages many good causes such as supporting a disabled dependent, donation to charities or donations made for public good. March is one month when people get far more altruistic (kindness and concern for others) than usual. The amount donated towards charity attracts deduction under section 80G of the Income Tax Act.Any person who makes an eligible donation is be entitled to get tax deductions subject to conditions.

Eligibility for tax deduction

The first point to note is that donations under section 80G are treated as a deduction from your gross total income. Donation to government or any approved local authority to be utilized for promoting family planning, National games, National Defence Fund of the central government, Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund are eligible for 100 per cent deduction. Donation to government or any approved local authority to be utilized for any charitable purpose other than promoting family planning, NGOs etc are are eligible for 50 per cent deduction.

Compulsory for all charitable trusts to register themselves

Each year, one can save thousands of rupees in income tax through income tax exemptions.There are thousands of trusts registered in India that claim to be engaged in charitable activities. The Government has made it compulsory for all charitable trusts to register themselves with the Income Tax Department. Only if the trust follows the registration, they will get the tax exemption certificate, which is popularly known as 80G certificate. Charitable organizations/associations such as Society, Trust, NGOs etc can apply to the Department of Income Tax for registration under the provision of 80G in a prescribed form.

Receipt is must for claiming deduction

For claiming deduction under Section 80G, a receipt issued by the recipient trust is a must.Generally, the Income Tax Department issues the registration for a limited period (of 2 years) only. Thereafter, the registration has to be renewed.The donor must ensure that the registration is valid on the date on which the donation is given. The most important requirement is the Registration number issued by the Income Tax Department under Section 80G. This number must be printed on the receipt.The receipt must not only mention the Registration number but also the validity period of the registration.Donations in kind do not entitle for any tax benefits.Only donations in cash/cheque are eligible for the tax deduction. You can also ask for a photocopy of the 80G certificate issued to the trust / institution by the income tax department.

In case of certain funds or institutions, donations above 10% of your Adjusted Gross Total Income (GTI) are allowed for deduction only up to 10% of your adjusted GTI. The deduction would be capped at 10% of your adjusted GTI even if you make a donation larger than 10% of your adjusted GTI. For claiming deduction under section 80G, file the original donation receipt along with the return of income.

If you are interested in philanthropic activities or want to contribute to your favorite charity, you can contribute to your favorite charity and save tax on your contributions. Remember, the donation should be made only to specified institutions as there are thousands of trusts. Many of them are genuine but some are untrue or fraud. You can also ask for a photocopy of the 80G certificate issued to the trust / institution by the income tax department.