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Saturday, October 28, 2017

10 documents you can use at airports to prove identity

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has issued a list of 10 identity documents that can be used to gain entry to airport terminals and for checking in, dispelling confusion over the issue.

List of 10 identity documents issued by BCAS

1. Passport

2. Voter ID

3. Aadhaar or m-Aadhaar

4. Pan Card

5. Driving licence

6. Service ID

7. Student ID card

8. Passbook of account in a nationalised bank with photo
9. Pension card or pension documents with photo

10. Disability ID card or handicapped medical certificate

In a first, BCAS chief Kumar Rajesh Chandra has also put in place a system for flyers to establish their identity if they lose their ID cards. "In case of a passenger who for some valid reasons is not in a position to produce any of the above photo identity proofs, the identity certificate issued by a Group A gazetted officer of central/state government on his/her official letterhead with passenger's photo duly attested will be valid..." for this purpose," the BCAS said

BCAS also clarified that infants or minors accompanied by a guardian with a valid ID wouldn't need a separate proof for domestic air travel. Unaccompanied minors would .

UPU News:- Visa to support financial inclusion programme

Technical Assistance Facility supports digitization of financial services offered through postal networks worldwide

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has recently established a Financial Inclusion Technical Assistance Facility (FITAF), which will receive significant support from Visa. As Stephen Kehoe, Head of Global Financial Inclusion at Visa Inc., explains, “Visa’s partnership with the UPU will make a significant contribution to financial inclusion. This systematic effort to leverage Posts’ services, size and reach will help build the comprehensive digital network needed to benefit whole societies, and especially help reach two priority groups of unbanked people: rural poor and women.” FITAF was created by the UPU to advance financial inclusion, by accelerating the digitization of postal financial services and increasing their uptake, to reach last-mile customers and businesses.
In order to increase the number of postal accounts by 250 million by 2020 and support the launch of digital financial service projects for financial inclusion from 20 Posts, FITAF will champion postal action on inclusive digital financial services, conduct research to identify key actions and provide qualifying Posts with technical assistance to improve and expand their capabilities. “This partnership is a key milestone in our efforts to position the postal network as a critical tool for delivering economic and social development to all,” emphasizes Bishar A. Hussein, UPU Director General. “Thanks to its universal coverage, to its long history as a financial actor and to the trust it holds amongst the citizens of the world, the postal sector is in a unique position to provide access to financial services to all and especially the underserved. We need to leverage that unique position.”

The situation

Over 2 billion adults worldwide were unbanked in 2014. Of those that are banked, 19% have an account at a Post, making the postal sector the second largest contributor to financial inclusion after banks. Postal networks are well positioned to meet the financial needs of some of the world’s hardest-to-reach populations. “Governments and international development stakeholders increasingly see the postal network, with its ability to deliver to everyone, everywhere and at all times, as critical infrastructure to achieving a whole range of public services and policies, including their financial inclusion objectives,” explains Siva Somasundram, UPU Director of Markets Development and Regulation.
Indeed Posts have extensive, government-backed networks that reach across countries into both urban and remote rural areas. They provide numerous services – including financial services – to customers of all income levels; they often distribute government payments, such as pensions or social support; and their public, egalitarian mission makes their services affordable and accessible to all segments of society. However, significant investment and transformation is required to improve postal capacities and services, so as to be able to deliver digital financial services and reap their many benefits.

The FITAF approach

FITAF will provide technical assistance to help Posts launch new digital financial services at a national level. Assistance will be offered according to need, based on requests from post offices, local levels of digital delivery, and the type of issue – such as product, network (e.g. back office) and systems (e.g. postal network, IT infrastructure). The criteria for selection include: commitment from the Post’s management and from government leaders; the existence of a legal and regulatory framework to enable the Post to deliver financial services; evidence of innovation; and willingness to co-fund 20% of costs. Support will also include designing mobile-based strategies for the Post, expanding Post-owned services, and capacity building.
The Facility carries out research to inform and advance Post-based financial inclusion. This includes developing case studies and best practices, identifying service and quality gaps, and creating a readiness guide to help Posts prepare to offer digital financial service. The Facility will also examine the role of Posts in supporting the financial inclusion of micro and small merchants near their branches. A crucial aspect of this work is sharing new insights and resources with UPU members and other stakeholders through regional and leadership meetings, as well as at partner events. For example, UPU organized four regional workshops for members in 2017 to explain the importance of digitization and to present effective business models and services.

Partner coordination

Visa joins the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UPU in funding the Financial Inclusion Technical Assistance Facility. Visa will provide financial support for three years through a charitable grant. The UPU has collaborated with a number of Visa’s global financial inclusion partners, including the Alliance for Financial Inclusion and Better than Cash Alliance, which the UPU joined in 2015. It has also issued joint research publications on financial inclusion with the World Bank, UN Women and the International Labor Organization, and collaborated with diverse service providers at the country level – policy makers, academics and social-welfare organizations. This inter-connectedness exemplifies the type of collaborative, coordinated approaches needed to achieve financial inclusion.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Government retains General Provident Fund interest rate at 7.8% for Oct-Dec

Employees of central government, Railways and defence forces will get 7.8% interest on their retirement savings for the October-December quarter, as they did in the previous threemonth period. 

The government on Wednesday retained the interest rate for general provident fund (GPF) and other related schemes, in line with that for public provident fund (PPF). 

“The Government of India has announced that during the financial year 2017-18, accumulations at the credit of subscribers to the GPF and other similar funds shall carry interest at the rate of 7.8% with effect from October 1 to December 31, 2017,” a finance ministry notification said. 

Last month, the government had kept the interest rate on PPF unchanged at 7.8% for October-December, in line with the rates for small savings schemes. This may put pressure on the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to lower interest rates on its deposits. 

The central board of trustees of EPFO is likely to consider the interest rates for 2017-18 at its upcoming meeting next month. EPFO had declared interest rate of 8.65% for 2016-17, down from 8.8% for 2015-16. 

The finance ministry has been asking the labour ministry to rationalise the EPF interest rate in view of lowering of returns on various administered savings schemes such as PPF. 

EPFO has over 50 million subscribers comprising employees other than those working in government organisations. The government generally ratifies the rate approved by the central board of trustees because the EPFO is an autonomous body and provides interest on EPF deposits from its own income. 

The MoF takes a decision after evaluating whether the EPFO would be able to provide the rate approved by trustees through its own income. Once the finance ministry ratifies the rate, it is credited into the account of EPFO members for that particular financial year. 

Source:-The Economic Times

Monday, October 23, 2017

Linking your bank account with Aadhaar is mandatory, here's what happens if you don't

Turns out you have to link your bank account with Aadhaar after all. The Reserve Bank of India on Saturday stepped in to strike down news reports that claimed, quoting an RTI reply, it was not necessary to link the 12-digit biometric identification number with bank accounts, saying the directive remained in force under anti-money laundering rules. 

So, the December 31 deadline stays put for now. "The Reserve Bank clarifies that, in applicable cases, linkage of Aadhaar number to bank account is mandatory under the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 published in the Official Gazette on June 1, 2017," the central bank said a notification. 

Earlier this year, the government had made it mandatory to link bank accounts with Aadhaar. Accounts that are not linked will cease to become operational, it said. 

To comply with the finance ministry directive, banks have already started asking for Aadhaar while opening new accounts and have been giving constant reminders to those who still haven't linked their accounts with the number. 

So considering that the rule to make Aadhaar mandatory for opening new accounts has already been enforced by banks, it would appear that as per current situation, existing account holders will not be given an exemption. Hence, if the government has its way, bank accounts not linked to Aadhaar will cease to become operational. Blocking of one's savings account will obviously lead to huge inconvenience and may well put a stop to your financial life. You don't want to stuck in a situation where your salary is not getting credited to your bank account, you cannot withdraw cash at ATMs, or even swipe your card. 

So make sure you seed your bank account with Aadhaar before the December 31 deadline. 

What happens if I don't and my account gets cancelled? 

Well, you can re-activate your account by submitting the required documents and linking it with Aadhaar. According to the finance ministry directive, "Provided that in case client already having an account based relationship with reporting entities prior to date of this notification fails to submit the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number by 31st December, 2017, the said account shall cease to be operational till the time the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number is submitted by the client." However, there is no mention on how long it will take to retrieve your bank account once it becomes inoperable. 

Here's a step-by-step guide to check whether your Aadhaar has been linked with your bank account. 

1. Visit the Aadhaar website - 
2. Click on 'Check Aadhaar & Bank Account Linking Status' 
3. Enter your Aadhaar number and security code. Once submitted, an OTP will be sent to your mobile number registered in the Aadhaar database. 
4. Enter the OTP and click on 'Login' 
5. On successful login, the website shows whether your Aadhaar number is successfully mapped or not. 

You can also check using your mobile phone. 

1. Dial *99*99*1# 2. 
Enter your 12 digit Aadhaar number 
3. Confirm that the digits entered by you is correct 
4. On confirmation, it will show you the bank account linked with Aadhaar 

Points to remember 

1. It will only show you the last bank account that has been linked with your Aadhaar. 
2. If you have multiple bank accounts, you will have to check the status of the same with the bank. 
3. You will be able to use this service only if your mobile number is linked to your Aadhaar. 

Exemption has been given only to small accounts 

Not all types of bank accounts will become un-operational if they are not linked with Aadhaar before the deadline. Small accounts are exempt from this directive as these can be opened even without Aadhaar. 

Source:-The Economic Times

Sunday, October 22, 2017

PMLA: Banks to now match original IDs with photocopies

The Government has made it mandatory for banks and financial institutions to check the original identification documents of individuals dealing in cash above the prescribed threshold, to weed out the use of forged or fake copies.

The Department of Revenue in the Finance Ministry has issued a gazette notification making an amendment to the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules.

The new rule now requires the reporting entity to compare "the copy of officially valid (identification) document so produced by the client with the original and recording the same on the copy".

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) forms the core of the legal framework put in place by India to combat money laundering and generation of black money.

The PMLA and its rules impose obligation on reporting entities like banks, financial institutions and intermediaries to verify identity of clients, maintain records and furnish information to Financial Intelligence Unit of India (FIU-IND).

As per Rule 9, every reporting entity shall at the time of commencement of an account-based relationship, identify its clients, verify their identity and obtain information on the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship.

Intermediaries like stock broker, chit fund company, cooperative bank, housing finance institution and non-banking finance companies are also classified as reporting entities.
Biometric identification number Aadhaar and other official documents are required to be obtained by the reporting entities from anyone opening a bank account as well as for any financial transaction of Rs 50,000 and above.

The same is also required for all cash dealing of more than Rs 10 lakh or its equivalent in foreign currency, cash transactions where forged or counterfeit currency notes have been used and all suspicious transactions.

All cross border wire transfers of more than Rs 5 lakh in foreign currency and purchase and sale of immovable property valued at Rs 50 lakh or more also fall under this category, according to the reporting rules.

The Gazette notification said in case the officially valid document furnished does not contain updated address, a utility bill like electricity, telephone, post-paid mobile phone, piped gas or water bill which is not more than two months old can be considered as a proof of address.

Also, property or municipal tax receipt, pension or family pension payment orders issued to retired employees by Government departments, or letter of allotment of accommodation from employer can be considered for the same purpose. 

Source:-The Economic Times

Recovery of wrongful/excess payment made to Government servants

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Revision of Ceiling Rates for Knee and Hip Implants under CGHS and CS(MA) Rules ( Release Date :06/10/2017 )

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Reservation for OBCs in Civil posts and Services under the Government of India - Regarding.

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Manual entry not to be allowed in Post Office Passbooks of various POSB Schemes in CBS Post Offices where Passbook printers have been supplied

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7.5 lakh university and college teachers to receive benefits under 7th Pay Commission

The salaries of university and college teachers are set to increase in the range of Rs 10,400 to Rs 49,800.

A decision that is going to benefit nearly eight lakh teachers and other academic equivalent staff in higher educational institutions under the purview of the University Grants Commission and in centrally funded technical institutions, the Union Cabinet approved the revision of pay scales based on the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission for Central Government employees on Wednesday.

Post the Cabinet meeting, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said that the government extended the benefits of the Seventh Pay Commission for the teaching faculty of central and state universities and aided colleges.

"The move will benefit 7.58 lakh professors, assistant professors and others," said Javadekar, adding that the hike would be anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000.
"This amounts to an increase of around 22-28 per cent," Javadekar said.
The approved pay scales will be applicable from January 1, 2016 and the revision will register an entry pay growth in the range of 22% to 28%. Javadekar said that the measured proposed in the revised pay structure are expected to improve quality of higher education and also attract and retain talent. The annual central financial liability on account of this measure would be about Rs 9,800 crore.

Teachers and equivalent academic staff in the 106 universities/ colleges which are funded by the UGC/ MHRD, 329 universities which are funded by state governments and 12,912 government and private aided colleges affiliated to public universities are set to benefit from this pay revision.

In addition, the revised pay package will cover teachers of 119 centrally funded technical institutions, viz., IITs, IISc, IIMs, IISERs, IIITs, NITIE, etc.

For the state government funded institutions, the revised pay scales will require adoption by the respective governments. The Central government will bear the additional burden of the states on account of revision of pay scales.

Source:-The Times of India

UPU News:- Guterres on World Post Day: Posts contribute to the SDGs

 The UN Secretary General’s remarks were read at a first of its kind ceremony organized by the UPU to celebrate the annual awareness day celebrated each 9 October.

The winners and high-level audience present at World Post Day Award Ceremony.
Held at the UPU’s headquarters in Berne, the event brought together guests from the postal sector, diplomatic corps and Swiss Confederation to honour both its 46th International Letter-Writing Competition gold medallist and top scorers in the UPU Integrated Index for Postal Development (2IPD).
For his part, UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein emphasized the Post’s important role in global public infrastructure.
“Posts are not only about letters and stamps. They are enablers of inclusive development, constituting an essential component of the global economy,” said Hussein.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres echoed this sentiment in a special message sent to the UPU, adding that Posts play an important role in the everyday lives of people and businesses and are making welcome contributions to global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.“
Letter-writing winner
The ceremony first honoured fourteen year old Eva Giordano Palacios, whose composition won Togo’s national letter-writing competition before being selected by a panel of judges in the UPU’s international round.
In 2017, children were asked to write a letter to the new UN Secretary-General advising him on an issue they would like to help him solve. Palacios brought the audience to tears with her poignant letter and accompanying song on child marriage.
“The solution, the only solution to child marriage, is education. Education allows the children of today, who will be the adults of tomorrow, to understand that age-old traditions which instruct them to marry off their daughters are unfair, and that poverty is no excuse, especially when the men are far too old for them,” she read.
Guterres praised the competition and the chosen theme in his World Post Day message, adding that “This year’s 1.2 million participants, in considering which global challenge they would want me to tackle first, displayed an encouraging concern for humankind and commitment to international cooperation.”
UPU Director General and Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz then honoured the top three global and five regional top scorers in the UPU’s new 2IPD ranking.
2IPD is a is a composite index providing an overview of postal development around the world, with the results for 2016 covering over 170 countries. It uses UPU data to benchmark each country’s development across four dimensions: reliability, reach, relevance and resilience.
The top three countries in the ranking included Switzerland, France and Japan. The five regional champions included Poland for Europe and CIS, Singapore for Asia-Pacific, Mauritius for Africa, Brazil for Latin America and the Caribbean, and United Arab Emirates for the Arab region.
Swiss Post CEO Susanne Ruoff accepted the award on behalf of Switzerland, which received a perfect score according to the ranking.
“Swiss Post is playing a pioneer role in the development of new technology and this award serves to motivate us,” said Ruoff.
“This prize is for our people and our employees and I want to give this award to them for their hard work and for their trust in the Swiss Post,” she concluded.
To learn more about 2IPD, watch the informational video

Monday, October 9, 2017

Where should you invest: PPF, NSC, Sukanya Samriddhi or Senior Citizens' Saving Scheme?

Investors are feeling relieved that interest rates on small savings schemes have not been reduced. Bond yields have fallen in the past three months, so logically rates should have been cut. If we go by the formula that links small savings rates to bond yields, the Public Provident Fund (PPF) should not offer more than 7%. However, fears of a backlash from the middle class seem to have prevented the government from reducing rates. 
Observers believe the prevailing rates will continue for a few more quarters. "The formula has long been abandoned. Now rates are determined by politics and fixed by the Finance Ministry," says Manoj Nagpal, CEO of Outlook Asia Capital. Even so, investors should not blindly invest in small savings schemes. Each instrument has specific features and one should assess which option best fits into one's financial portfolio. We take a look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular small savings .. 


Interest rate: 7.8% 
Tenure: 15 years (from first investment) 

The PPF is the favourite of risk-averse investors who are content with modest but assured returns. Its tax-free status gives it a distinct advantage over fixed deposits. Since interest from fixed deposits is fully taxable, the returns from a 7.5% bank deposit are reduced to barely 5.25% in the highest tax bracket. The only glitch is that there is a cap of Rs 1.5 lakh on the annual investment by an individual. 

The best part about the PPF is its longevity. The account has a tenure of 15 years, but can be extended in blocks of five years indefinitely. After 15 years, the investor has three options: withdraw the corpus, continue with the account without further contributions or continue investing in the account. If you choose to continue investing in it, you have to submit an application for extending the account tenure for a block of five years. The application (Form H) has to be submitted within a year from the maturity date. After five years, the account tenure can be further extended for another five years. 

If one doesn't submit an application for tenure extension, the PPF account tenure automatically gets extended but the investor cannot make further contributions to it. The balance in the account will continue to earn interest, but the investor will no longer be required to contribute the minimum Rs 500 in the account every year. Once this option of continuing without contribution has been selected, the subscriber cannot alter it to make further contributions to the account. 

The PPF suits non-salaried people who are not eligible for retiral benefits. Self-employed professionals such as doctors, architects and chartered accountants should use it to build the debt portion of their retirement nest egg. Ashmeet Narula has been investing in the PPF for the past 13 years and intends to keep extending it till she retires. 


Interest rate: 8.3% 
Tenure: 14 years 

If you have a daughter below 10 years, the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is a better option than the PPF because it offers a higher interest rate. Like the PPF, the interest earned is tax free and there is an annual cap of Rs 1.5 lakh on the investment. Accounts can be opened in any post office or designated banks with a minimum investment of Rs 1,000.A parent can open an account for a maximum of two daughters, but the combined investment in the two accounts cannot exceed Rs 1.5 lakh in a year. 

Some experts argue that the debt-based Sukanya scheme is not the best way to save for a longterm goal. This is true, because equity-based options can deliver higher returns. This is why experts advise that the SSY should be used in combination with other investments, such as equity funds, for saving for a child's future goals. The good part is that the girl child tag lends a sense of purpose to the investment. The maturity proceeds of other investments are often squandered. On the other hand, the Sukanya scheme helps a family save the daughter's education and marriage. 


Interest rate: 7.8% 
Tenure: 5 years 

Unlike the PPF, there is no cap on investments in the NSC. But the interest is fully taxable. The posttax returns to 5.38% in the highest 30% bracket, which is comparable with the returns of bank fixed deposits. The only difference is that the interest accruing on NSCs every year is also eligible for tax deduction. Suppose you buy NSCs worth Rs 50,000 and claim tax deduction this year. The following year, you can claim deduction for the Rs 3,900 that accrues as interest in the first year. In the third year, you can claim deduction for Rs 4,204 as interest gets compounded. 

NSCs fell out of favour when bank rates were higher at 9-9.5% a few years ago. But deposit rates have fallen in the past two years and especially after demonetization. Though banks offer senior citizens higher rates,for regular investors the deposit rates are now 7-7.2% (See page 25). This makes the NSCs more attractive. But go for them only if you are ready to stand in long queues at the Post Office and put up with the laxity of the government staff. 


Interest rate: 8.3% 
Tenure: 5 years 

Another bestseller from the Post Office, this scheme gives out regular income to retirees. The tenure of the scheme is five years, which is extendable by another three years. However, there is a Rs 15 lakh overall investment limit per individual. Also, the scheme open only to investors above 60. In some cases, where the investor has opted for voluntary retirement and has not taken up another job, the minimum age is relaxed to 58 years. There is also no age bar for defence personnel. They can invest in the scheme even before 60 as long as they satisfy the other requirements. 

Experts say the Senior Citizens' Savings Scheme should be the first option for retirees looking to park their life savings. "It offers assured returns and regular income. These are critical requirements of most retirees," says Nagpal. This is what made Faridabad-based retired PSU manager Mangal Dutta Sharma park Rs 15 lakh of his retirement proceeds in the scheme. he remaining is invested in bank deposits and the Post Office Monthly Income Scheme to earn a monthly income. 

Source:-The Economic Times