Cabinet approves granting permanent residency status to foreign investors

The Union Cabinet on 31st August 2016 approved the scheme for grant of Permanent Residency Status (“PRS”) to foreign investors subject to the relevant conditions as stated under:

  1. Applicable only to foreign investors fulfilling the prescribed eligibility conditions, his/her spouse and dependents.
  2. In order to avail this scheme, the foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of Rs 10 crores, to be brought within 18 months, or Rs 25 crores, to be brought within 36 months. Further, the foreign investment should result in generating employment for at least 20 resident Indians every financial year.
  3. PRS will be granted for a period of 10 years initially with multiple entry facilities which can be renewed for another 10 years.
  4. PRS will serve as a multiple entry visa without any stay stipulation and PRS holders will be exempted from the registration requirements.
  5. PRS holders will be allowed to purchase one residential property for dwelling purpose.
  6. The spouse/ dependents of the PRS holder will be allowed to take up employment in private sector (in relaxation to salary stipulations for Employment Visa) and undertake studies in India.

The scheme is expected to encourage foreign investment in India and facilitate Make in India Programme. Under the Scheme, suitable provisions will be incorporated in the Visa Manual to provide for the grant of PRS to foreign investors.

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Cabinet approves introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016

The Union Cabinet has on 24th August 2016 given its approval for introduction of the “Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016” (”Bill”). The Bill will regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities in the State and Union Territories. The Bill shall apply to whole of India, except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.  (more…)

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Lok Sabha passes Factories Amendment Bill, 2016 to increase overtime hours for workers

The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (“Bill”) was introduced to increase the overtime limit of factory workers in Lok Sabha on 10th August, 2016 by the Minister for Labour and Employment, which was passed by Lok Sabha on the same day.

As per the amendment the total number of hours of overtime must not exceed 100 hours for a quarter as against the limit of 50 hours as provided earlier and the total number of hours of overtime work in a quarter if the factory has higher work load must not exceed 125 hours as against the limit of 75 hours as provided earlier.  (more…)

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NGO sector workers to get tag of a public servant

NGO workers shall file returns as regards their assets & liabilities

As per the notification dated 20th June 2016 issued by Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Department of Personnel & Training the rules, notified under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 any person who is or has been a director, manager, secretary or officer of society or association of persons or trust (whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not), by whatever name called, wholly or partly financed by the Government and the annual income of which exceeds such amount as the Central Government may, by notification, specify which is presently 1 crore or if the Non- Governmental Organization (“NGO”) is in receipt of any donation from any foreign source under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 in excess of Rs 10 lakhs in a year or such higher amount as the Central Government may by notification specify would be considered public servants  under Section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 and would require to disclose their assets by 31stJuly 2016 in accordance with the circular dated 24th June 2016 issued by Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Department of Personnel & Training.

The rules under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 have already caused a lot of resentment among people working in the trusts, societies, NGOs, charitable and non-profit organizations. Being aggrieved by the said notification a group of Parliamentarians took up the issue of NGOs being brought under the ambit of Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 with the Prime Minister. Pursuant to which the 31st July 2016 deadline for disclosure of assets and liabilities by Central Government employees and senior management personnel of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving government aid and foreign donations has been extended indefinitely.

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No Indirect recovery of tax during pendency of stay

The Central Board of Excise &Customs (“CBEC”) has vide a circular dated 4th July, 2016 directed that recovery proceedings in relation to an order of the High Court or Tribunal of a confirmed demand may be initiated only after a period of 60 days from the date of order of Hon’ble Tribunal or the Hon’ble High Court, as the case may be, where no stay has been granted by Hon’ble High Court or Hon’ble Supreme Court against the order of Hon’ble Tribunal or Hon’ble High Court. Further in case there is a stay application pending before the Commissioner (Appeals) or CESTAT for periods prior to 6th August 2014, no recovery shall be made during the pendency of the stay application. The circular would also be useful in making a uniform practice regarding the recovery of confirmed demands of indirect taxes. It may be noted that a confirmed demand for tax arises when, after the inspection of the submissions of taxpayers, an order is issued by the CBEC to pay the remaining tax.

Appropriate amendments have been made to Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962 and Section 35F of the Central Excise Act, 1944. The said circular was issued to ensure that the assessee gets enough opportunity to appeal before the commencement of recovery proceedings in indirect taxes.

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