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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New Dress for Postmen / MTS launched by Shri Manoj Sinha

The Department of Posts has redesigned the uniform for Postmen (both male and female) and MTS cadre in consultation with National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi (NIFT). The uniform has been redesigned keeping in view the functionality, comfort and durability. The uniform will provide a strong brand identity of the Department of Posts as it provides for easy identification of postmen staff.

The Department enjoys credibility and respect through the field operatives that is the postmen. He is the face of the Department as he delivers letters and parcels to every door. Therefore, it is important that the uniform he wears, which identifies him with the Department should be such that he stands out. Khadi being indigenous to our culture and comfortable in all climatic zones of the country was found suitable for the postmen.

As per the recommendation of 7th CPC, the Government has decided to provide Rs. 5,000/- as dress allowance per year. Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) under the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises has agreed to provide dresses for the postmen from its outlets in each district of the country. The Postmen can purchase dresses from outlets of KVIC from the dress allowances provided to them.

Hon’ble Minister of Communications, Shri Manoj Sinha launched the redesigned uniform for postmen/postwomen and MTS in New Delhi in the august presence of Hon’ble Minister of State (I/C), MSME, Shri Giriraj Singh. The 90,000 postmen/postwomen, Mail Guard, Multi Tasking Staff will get benefited by the redesigned uniform.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Special Donation from members for 41st Circle Conference to be held on 04-02-2018 (Sunday)

To view please Click Here.

As decided in the CWC at Sambalpur all members are to contribute Rs.1,000/- for Circle Conference and donation for All India Conference. 

It can be deposited directly in POSB Account No. 0743253167 and the photocopy of counter foil or message regarding deposit may be shared in the WhatsApp.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

NSC vs 5-year bank FD: Which is a better tax-saving investment?

Preeti Motiani

Section 80C of the Income Tax Act has a list of specified investment avenues for an individual which ranges from pension schemes, Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS), life insurance to debt oriented products such National Savings Certificates (NSC), Provident Fund (PF), tax saving fixed deposits with banks or post office etc. If an individual invests in these avenues, then up to Rs 1.5 lakh of these investments (along with expenditures eligible under this section) is currently deductible from gross total income thereby reducing the tax payable by the individual. 

If an investor is not comfortable in taking risk by investing in ELSS schemes and wants better returns than life insurance schemes are offering, then he is left with debt-oriented products to choose from. 

Public Provident Fund (PPF), Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), NSC and tax-saving FDs are some of the most widely used debt-oriented options to save tax but the lock-in period of some of these schemes is very long. EPF has a lock-in till the age of 55 whereas PPF has a lock in period of 15 years. On the other hand, both NSC and tax-saving FDs have a lock-in period of five years. Therefore, if a person is looking for short-term debt investments which offer Section 80C tax benefits  and also a high degree of safety then he/she is left with these two options. 

NSC and tax-saving FDs have certain common features. However, there are certain differences between the two which, interest rate being same or close, give an advantage to NSCs over tax-saving FDs. 

  • Re-investment of interest in NSC is eligible for benefit under Section 80C
As per the current tax laws, interest earned on the NSC and tax-saving FD (cumulative or non-cumulative) are both taxable in the hands of the investor under the head 'Income from other Sources'. However, the interest earned on the NSC is not paid out to the investor, instead it is re-invested and this re-invested interest is eligible for tax benefit under section 80C. 

In the case of the cumulative option of the fixed deposit (which is comparable to NSC), the interest earned and re-invested is not eligible for tax benefit under section 80C. 

"To avail the benefit of interest re-invested in NSC, an individual first has to show the interest accrued as income from other sources and then claim the 80C deduction for the same amount under the overall limit of Rs 1.5 lakh," says, Abhishek Soni, CEO of tax-filing website, 

Soni adds that only the interest accrued for four years qualifies for this deduction. The interest accrued in the fifth year is not eligible for deduction as it gets paid to the investor along with the maturity amount. 


  • Interest rate differential
NSC interest rates are announced by the central government every quarter whereas the interest rates on tax-saving FDs are decided by banks. 

Currently for the quarter running from January to March, 2018, the central government has fixed interest rate of 7.6 per cent per annum, compounding annually, for NSCs. On the other hand, interest rate offered by banks on 5-year tax-saving FDs is currently ranges between 6.00 per cent and 6.50 per cent per annum, compounding quarterly. Senior citizens are offered slightly higher interest rate on bank FDs. 

However, one should not go by the interest rates alone as the frequency of compounding also plays a major role while determining how much money you will earn at the time of maturity. Higher compounding frequency can earn you higher interest. 

A bank tax-saving FD offering interest rate of 6 per cent per annum, compounded quarterly, earns you effective annualised rate of 6.13 per cent and FD offering interest rate of 6.5 per cent a year compounded quarterly gives you effective annualised interest of 6.66 per cent. However, due to annual compounding the effective yield on NSC remains the same as the nominal interest. 


  • No deduction of TDS on NSC interest
According to the NSC (Viii issue) 1989 rules, interest earned on the NSC certificates is not subject to TDS. On the other hand, interest earned on a bank tax-saving FD is subject to TDS. The TDS is deducted at the rate of 10 per cent in case interest accrued or paid out exceeds Rs 10,000 in a financial year. The limit of Rs 10,000 is set for each bank and not on each branch. If the PAN of an investor is not available, then the TDS will be deducted at 20 per cent, adds Soni. 

To get the refund of higher TDS deduction, a person has to file income tax returns even if the total income is less than the maximum tax-exempted limits. However, a person can submit Form 15G (Form 15H for senior citizens) to avoid TDS deduction. 

TDS deduction also affects how much interest you will receive in the future when the interest accrued is re-invested. Say you have invested Rs 1.5 lakh with a bank FD and NSC. In case of bank fixed deposit because TDS is deducted from your interest first and then the balance interest is reinvested, the maturity value at the end of 5 years is approximately Rs 1.98 lakh whereas for the same time period because of no deduction of TDS and higher interest rate, the NSC's maturity value would be Rs 2.16 lakh. 


If NSC gave the same rate of interest as bank tax-saving FD then, too, the NSC would fetch you a slightly higher maturity amount because TDS is not deducted. Just to compare, even if we assume there is no TDS deduction in a bank FD, NSC's maturity value is higher due to the current interest rate differential. 


  • Liquidity facility
Another feature that makes NSC score over tax saving fixed deposit is the liquidity. According to the Bank Term Deposit Scheme, 2006 rules, the tax saving FD cannot be used as security to obtain a loan. However, National Savings Certificates (VIII issue) Rules, 1989, allow the certificates to be used as a security to obtain loans from the specified entities. 

According to the rules, the specified entities are as follows: 
a) The President of India or Governor of a State in his official capacity; 
b) The Reserve Bank of India or a scheduled bank or a co-operative society including a co-operative bank 
c) A corporation or a government company 
d) A local authority; and 
e) A housing finance approved by the National Housing Bank and notified by the Central Government. 

As per current interest rates offered by both instruments, NSC has an edge over bank tax-saving FD as it not only offers higher interest rate but also gives an option to borrow against the certificates in case of a requirement. However, it needs to be mentioned that NSC has this edge mainly because of the interest rate differential that currently exists. 

Further, one must also remember that the interest earned on the NSC certificates and cumulative bank FD will be accrued but not paid out. Therefore, you should consider investing in either of these two only if your expenses can be well managed without a regular interest payout. In addition to that, you must be able to claim the 80C tax benefit for the interest accrued and reinvested in case of NSCs or else it will taxed as per your tax slabs applicable to you. 

Source:- The Economic Times

UPU News:- Easy Export Programme pilot launched in Morocco

The trade facilitation initiative was launched by the UPU and the Moroccan government in Rabat on 18 January with a view to helping more Moroccan small businesses trade their wares on the global market.

UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein with Moroccan Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Rkia Derham (right) and Moroccan Secretary of State for Artisanal Industry and Social Economy Jamila El Moussali (left).
The UPU Easy Export Programme brings together designated operators and key trade facilitation stakeholders in national government to help countries implement solutions to boost their micro, small and medium enterprises’ (MSMEs) participation in the export market. Morocco is among the first countries to pilot the programme.
UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein and Moroccan Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Rkia Derham, chaired the launch ceremony, which was attended by other high-level officials, including Moroccan Secretary of State for Artisanal Industry and Social Economy Jamila El Moussali and Poste Maroc Director General Amin Benjelloun Touimi.
The UPU Director General remarked on the difficulties MSMEs face in accessing the financial and informational resources required to participate fully in the economy, despite their significant contribution the job market, particularly in emerging economies.
“The UPU has recognized the crucial role of MSMEs in the national development of our member countries and that is why we are supporting initiatives that enable them to play a bigger role in business and employment creation. Through access to export opportunities, MSMEs will access new markets for their products and increase their return on investment,” said Hussein.
Easy Export harnesses this capillarity of the postal network to deliver trade facilitation resources to small businesses in even the most remote corners of the world. He noted the role the programme could play in fulfilling the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to inclusive economic growth and employment, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and global partnership for sustainable development.
Benjelloun thanked the UPU for its support, adding: “Easy Export will support Morocco’s micro, small and medium enterprises by giving them the opportunity to export goods easily and at a low cost via Poste Maroc, which, as the public postal operator, boasts an extensive network and offers local, tailored services that benefit the economic fabric of Morocco."
The UPU will work with Morocco to implement the programme throughout the next two years. The pilot will help the UPU test and improve the project methodology, guide and training programme, among other tools, before it implements the programme in further countries.

UPU News:-UPU signs MOU with OTIF

The Universal Postal Union and the Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) have signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate cooperation on the international carriage of postal items.

The memorandum will formalize working ties between the two organizations – both of which have interests in the shipment of postal items from China to Europe via rail – allowing them to share knowledge and establish working groups where necessary to prepare recommendations and guidelines toward cooperation.
“With cross border e-commerce on the rise, it is more important than ever for supply chain partners to deliver what our customers are demanding, which is quick, reliable and inexpensive delivery of goods. Developing rail corridors for the carriage of post is an attractive option that we look forward to exploring further with OTIF,” said UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein.
The UPU Director General signed the memorandum with OTIF Secretary General Fran├žois Davenne at the International Bureau on 23 January. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Modi's next big tax reform after GST could be for the salaried class


The next big tax reform from the Modi government after GST could be a big bonanza for the salaried employees. 

Sources tell ET Now that the Centre is looking at a mega reform to ease salary structures and give a "generous" standard deduction in the form of tax-free expense to salaried employees. The Prime Minister's Office and the Finance Ministry are finalizing the quantum for this. 

If not announced in Budget 2018, Finance Minister may, in his speech, highlight the intent of moving to such a mechanism for salaried employees. "Today as a policymaker, the finance minister understands it is the salaried class and not those in business who need relief when it comes to personal income tax," says a senior government official. 

Giving a "generous" standard deduction to salaried employees would create parity with non-salaried assesses. 
For example, businessmen have the advantage of claiming tax-free expenses such as office rent, driver salaries, official entertainment, travel etc. But salaried taxpayers cannot claim such expenses. What's more, salaried employees also pay out of their own pocket for higher skills or signing up for a magazine subscription. 

They also have to deal with cumbersome procedures to claim LTA or HRA. "Should the finance department in an office be asking an employee why he or she flew economy and did not travel by train? We need to revisit LTA. Even the House Rent Allowance is outdated as is the annual Rs 15,000/annum medical expense and not at all in sync with market realities," a govrnment official told ET Now. 

It is yet to be decided if the standard deduction would immediately subsume LTA, HRA etc, or if it would be over and above these existing deductions. 

"For standard deduction to be effective and actually be at parity with business professionals, then it should be at flat 10% of gross salary," Tax expert TP Ostwal told ET Now. 

The standard tax deduction used to be in existence till 2006, but was withdrawn by then finance minister P Chidambaram. At that time, the standard deduction was Rs 20,000 a year for a salary above Rs 5 lakh. 

Source:-The Economic Times

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Caste decided by birth, can't be changed by marriage: SC

A person's caste is unalterable and can't change after marriage, the Supreme Court said on Thursday, setting aside the appointment of a woman teacher who joined Kendriya Vidyalaya 21 years ago taking benefit of reservation on the ground that she was married to a Scheduled Caste man. 

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar said the woman, who has now become vice-principal after serving two decades in the school, was not entitled to the benefits of reservation as she was born in an upper caste family and her caste remained so despite marrying into a Scheduled Caste family.

"There cannot be any dispute that the caste is determined by birth and the caste cannot be changed by marriage with a person of Scheduled Caste. Undoubtedly, she was born in 'Agarwal' family, which falls in general category and not in Scheduled Caste. Merely because her husband belongs to a Scheduled Caste category, she should not have been issued with a caste certificate showing her caste as Scheduled Caste," the bench said.

The woman was issued a caste certificate in 1991 by the district magistrate of Bulandshahr certifying her as of Scheduled Caste. Based on the academic qualifications and caste certificate, she was appointed as a Post Graduate Teacher in 1993 at Kendriya Vidyalaya at Pathankot in Punjab. During the course of her service, she completed her M.Ed. 

Two decades after her appointment, a complaint was filed against her seeking cancellation of her appointment, alleging she had illegally taken the benefit of reservation without belonging to Scheduled Caste category. After conducting an inquiry, authorities cancelled her caste certificate and Kendriya Vidalaya terminated her job in 2015. Challenging KV's decision, she approached the Allahabad HC which dismissed her plea, and upheld her termination. She then approached the apex court for relief.

Taking into account her unblemished service of over two decades, the SC modified the HC order and said the order of termination from service shall be treated as the order of compulsory retirement. "While exercising leniency, we have also kept in mind that she has neither played fraud nor misrepresented before authorities for getting the caste certificate... No questions were raised against her till the complaint ... came to be lodged, even when the authorities had seen the high school certificate, marksheet etc. showing her caste as Agarwal..." the bench said.

Source:-The Times of India

Travel entitlements of Government employees for the purpose of LTC post Seventh Central Pay Commission - clarification reg.

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Submission of Annual Immovable property return (IPR) by Group 'A' officers of Department of Posts for the year ending 2017 (as on 01.01.2018) - Placing in Public domain

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

How to claim tax benefit on tuition fees under Section 80C

Sending kids to school has an inbuilt taxadvantage for parents. This is because tuitionfee qualifies for tax benefit under Section 80Cof the Income-tax Act, 1961. The amount of tax benefit is within the overall limit of the section of Rs 1.5 lakh a year. 

For tax purposes, the fee reduces the total gross income which in turn reduces the tax liability. Let us say you fall in the highest income bracket and you pay 30.9 per cent as tax, and you pay Rs 80,000 a year as schools fees. In this case, the tax saved will amount to Rs 24,720 in that year. 

Here's how to get the maximum benefit out of tuition fees

Are all institutions eligible? 
Tuition fees paid at the time of admission or anytime during the financial year to any registered university, college, school or educational institution based in India qualifies for tax benefit. 

What kind of education? 
It has to be a full-time education, including any play school activities, pre-nursery and nursery classes. The institution can be either private or a government sponsored one. 

What is not covered? 
At times, parents have to make payments, other than tuition fees, to the educational institutions. Payments like development fees or donation or capitation fees, etc., are not covered and do not qualify for tax benefit. Also, if you haven't paid the fees on time, the applicable late fee paid will not be eligible. 

Tax benefit for how many children? 
The benefit applies for the fees paid for up to two children. So if a couple has four children, both can claim tax benefit as both have a separate limit of two children each. 

Which parent gets the tax benefit? 
The parent who makes the payment gets the tax advantage. If both parents are working and pay taxes, both can claim individually up to the amount of fees paid. 

If both are working and want to take the benefit under Section 80C for the amount paid by them respectively, they can do so. So if the fee paid is Rs 2 lakh, of which the father has paid Rs 50,000, while the mother has paid Rs 1.5 lakh, both can claim the amount individually as per the payment made by them. 

As the upper limit for Section 80C tax benefit is Rs 1.5 lakh a year, see how much of that gets exhausted through tuition fees and then decide on further tax savers. While the tax benefit on tuition fees is incidental and helps you to save tax during the early days of your child's education, do not forget to create a long-term investment plan for his higher education. 

Estimate the amount needed for higher studies and create a savings plan towards that goal, preferably through SIPs in 3-5 equity diversified mutual funds scheme. To ensure that the goal is met, do buy adequate life cover, preferably through a pure term insurance plan.

Source:-The Economic Times

Harassment at workplace: Supreme Court seeks reply from Centre, states

The Supreme Court today sought response from the Centre and state governments on a plea for the protection of women from sexual harassment at workplace, cases of which the petitioner claimed were on the rise. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing a PIL which has sought immediate and proper implementation of the provisions of the Sexual Harassment At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition) Act and for setting up redressal mechanism. 

The bench, which also comprised justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, was told by the petitioner that even the local district officers and complaints committees were not being appointed and the victims did not have a forum to file complaints even as such cases were on the rise. 

"It will not be possible to effectively implement the provisions of the Act unless district officers are notified in all the districts of the states and UTs and Local Complaints Committees are constituted," the PIL, filed through advocate Esha Shekhar by Delhi-based NGO Initiatives for Inclusion Foundation (IIF), said. 

The PIL sought a direction to the state governments to give full support to district officers, ensure collection of annual compliance reports from all organisations. 

It alleged that various RTIs filed by the NGO shows that a very little progress has been made by the states to implement the Act. 

"The data collected nationwide presents a picture of apathy and inaction in implementation of an Act which was originally brought in to eradicate sexual harassment from workplace and subsequently to create an enabling, safe and secure working environment for women. 

"There is practically no avenue, both in organised and unorganised sector, for women who experience sexual harassment at workplace to lodge their complaints and seek redressal," it said. 

The PIL claimed that the 2013 Act envisaged the setting up of district officers, nodal agencies as well as other redressal mechanisms at district level, in the form of local complaints committee in each state for redressal of sexual harassment complaints. 

"However, it is seen that after four years of the Act coming into force throughout India, such mechanisms have not been created by many state governments/UTs," it alleged. 

It added that the women working at the grass-root level are victims of sexual harassment and in the absence of any grievances redressal mechanism available to them for making complaints, they suffer. 

"This is a very shocking state and unless appropriate directions are passed by the Supreme Court, the situation which women were facing in spite of the Vishaka Guidelineswill continue," it said. 

The present issue was earlier addressed by the Supreme Court in 1997 in its famous Vishaka judgement where the court had formulated guidelines to check the sexual harassment of working women in all workplaces in consonance with the international conventions and the fundamental rights. 

It was directed that the guidelines, popularly known as Vishaka Guidelines, would be observed in all workplaces and they would be binding and enforceable under law until suitable legislation was enacted to occupy field. 

Later, Parliament enacted the Act in December, 2013.

Source:-The Economic Times

SB Order No.19/2017-Revision of interest rates of Small Savings Schemes

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SB Order No 16/2017 Addendum-I Inclusion of Aadhaar in respect of Small Savings Schemes

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