Friday, 31 March 2017

EPF pensioners to get medical benefits: Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya

Date : 31.3.2017

EPF pensioners to get medical benefits: Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.




A meeting of the EPFO Board yesterday had on its agenda a proposal to provide health insurance scheme to pensioners of the Employees’ Pension Scheme through Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
Nearly 58 lakh people Employees Provident Fund pensioners will now get medical benefits, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in the Lok Sabha today. “Regarding the pensioners, we are going to give the pensioners benefit under the ESIC (Employees State Insurance Corporation) to those who are retired pensioners. We will be providing all medical services to the retired pensioners. 58 lakh pensioners will be benefited,” he said. Dattatreya was replying to a debate on a private member’s resolution moved by RSP member N K Premachandran on ‘Steps To Ensure Welfare of Employees Provident Fund Pensioners’.
A meeting of the EPFO Board yesterday had on its agenda a proposal to provide health insurance scheme to pensioners of the Employees’ Pension Scheme through Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). Although the board agreed in principle to approve the proposal but a final call would be taken on this in the next meeting of the CBT. Earlier, back of the envelop calculations done by ESI had estimated Rs 200 monthly premium per person for providing health cover under its scheme to the EPFO pensioners
The proposal is aimed at providing health cover to EPFO pensioners, who get very little amount as pension and hence healthcare is out of their reach. Hukum Narayan Yadav (BJP), while participating in the debate, demanded pension for farmers and agricultural labourers. Participating in the discussion, Anandrao Adsul (Shiv Sena) said that unclaimed pension fund of around Rs 27,000 crore which has been deposited should be utilised for the people.
Ravindra Kumar Rai (BJP) said that Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay was of view that policies of the country should be according to the country and added the present government under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “we are leading the same direction.” Contending that the present government wants to spread the ray of hope for those who are suffering from destitute, Rai said “We are not working for the political intent but with social ethos.” He also suggested that in every district some amount should be kept aside for the needy which should be allocated to them when there is a need.
Pashupati Nath Singh (BJP) said the unclaimed fund of about Rs 27,000 crore lying with EPFO belongs to poor and it should be utilised to provide relief to the poor only. Poor people due to lack of awareness or information about rules for drawal could not withdraw so it is lying unused with the the EPFO, he said. Government has taken various steps to make India a pensioned society, he added. Due to efforts of the government, the shift of PF fund from one organisation to other has become seamless, said Jugal Kishor Sharma (BJP).
Financial Express.

Govt may merge two large banks, says Vinod Rai.

Date : 31.3.2017.

Govt may merge two large banks, says Vinod Rai.



Banks Board Bureau chairman Vinod Rai said that the government is keen on bank consolidation, but not before building strong balance sheet by addressing the bad debt problem, and in that case merger may happen first between two large banks.

Vinod Rai was speaking at the Credit Suisse annual investors conference, of which the foreign brokerage made a note to clients. Business Standard has a copy of the report.

“The government is waiting for the resolution of the NPL (non-performing loans) issue and wants improvement in balance sheet strength before going ahead with the consolidation process. The strength of balance sheet is a hurdle as there are not too many large strong PSUs that can be merged. Therefore, initially the government may look to merge two large banks,” the report said.

It would be preferable to create “strong regional entities”, but the biggest challenge in any merger would continue to be how to reduce the redundancies in terms of branches and employees. 

“To address this, various options are being considered such as branch swapping, early VRS (voluntary retirement schemes) and going slow on fresh hiring,” Credit Suisse wrote, attributing to Rai.

The government has already started the bank consolidation process by merging five associate banks with parent State Bank of India, effective April 1. The associate banks have also rolled out VRS schemes for their employees.

Rai’s comments at the summit is contrary to the general expectations in the market that smaller banks would be merged with larger banks. The plan, eventually, is to create a few global banks through consolidation. 

However, big bank consolidation talks are not new. In early 2000s, there were some indications that Union Bank could be merged with Bank of India, both Mumbai based, but no concrete steps were taken by the government in this regard. 

According to Credit Suisse, government is looking at industry-wide restructuring package, instead of company-wise. 

“The government is also focusing on an industry-wide restructuring package instead of company-wise, given that stress is concentrated in a few sectors like infra and steel,” the report said.

The aim of the new restructuring move would be to improve decision making process, Rai said.

“For the resolution of problem loans, the government is looking at various structures including an increase in the number of oversights committees and allowing larger flexibility in the existing mechanisms, as decision-making continues to be the biggest obstacle to resolution,” the report said.

Vinod Rai said the government would be looking for rights issue in fiscal 2017-18 as the budgeted capital allocation is low and can be supplemented by minority shareholders. The budget provisioned for Rs 10,000 crore in the next fiscal, against Rs 25,000 crore in fiscal 2017. The government’s Indradhanush plan envisages infusion of up to Rs 70,000 crore in public sector banks in phases till fiscal 2019. The government, however, had indicated there would be more capital if there was a need. 

“Our interaction with Mr Rai highlights that the resolution of stressed accounts will involve deep haircuts and with NPL coverage for banks low at 40%, this means higher provisioning and capital requirement for banks. Remain cautious on corporate lenders,” Credit Suisse said. 
BBB names five future bank chiefs
 

The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) has recommended five executive directors of public sector banks as CEOs and managing directors for future vacancies. The five are Sunil Mehta (Corporation Bank), Dina Bandhu Mohapatra (Canara Bank), Rajkiran Rai G (Oriental Bank of Commerce), R A Sankara Narayanan (Bank of India) and R Subramania Kumar (Indian Overseas Bank). BS Reporter

Aadhaar can be hacked, data leaked, Modi government finally admits.

Date : 31.3.2017

Aadhaar can be hacked, data leaked, Modi government finally admits.




How safe are your biometric data? With Aadhaar, you have given your fingerprints and iris scans to the government. This clearly gives an individual a 'unique' identity. But what if the details of your Aadhaar get leaked? In the recent past, there have been several cases of UID data being compromised with. While the government has constantly denied any possibility of a compromise, The New Indian Express published on Friday a report on how the NDA government has acknowledged that personal identity of individuals, including Aadhaar number and other sensitive information, has been leaked to the 4 domain.
 
A letter written by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, which the Express claims to have accessed, confirms that data, which the government has been cautiously guarding, has been leaked online. “There have been instances wherein personal identity or information of residents, including Aadhaar number and demographic information and other sensitive personal data such as bank account details etc. collected by various Ministries/Departments... has been reportedly published online and is accessible through an easy online search,” Archana Dureja, a scientist in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, wrote on March 25.
 
The official went on to add that the leak of data was a serious and punishable offence.
 
“Publishing information like Aadhaar number along with name, date of birth, address etc. is a clear contravention of provisions of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years,” the letter said.
 
“The offending parties are liable to pay damages in the form of compensation to persons affected.” The official, through her letter, also directed ministries and states to discontinue any such content with immediate effect.
 
Modi government in denial of potential threat posed by Aadhaar Card?
 
Ironically, on Wednesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the mandatory use of Aadhaar amid the Opposition’s concern over privacy and data security.
 
After his predecessor, P Chidambaram, raised the fiasco related to former cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Aadhaar details being leaked, Jaitley replied, “It was a case of an immature behaviour and the company has been blacklisted for 10 years.
 
“If the firewalls can be broken and hacking can take place, then hacking will take place anywhere. It is not a ground that hacking takes place only because Aadhaar is there,” Jaitley argued, replying on the finance bill debate in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
 
The finance minister told the Rajya Sabha that the government feels there is no harm in expanding the usage of Aadhaar. “The fact that technologies can be breached is no argument to not use Aadhaar,” he said.
 
“Aadhaar was an instrument to service. It was never intended to tag it to income tax and bank accounts. Remember, Pentagon has been hacked. What is the guarantee you have to stop hacking of bank accounts and Aadhaar accounts?” Chidambaram asked.

Aadhaar can be hacked, data leaked, Modi government finally admits
 
Jaitley maintained that the only way to prevent hacking is to strengthen the firewalls. “Technology always is a learning experience,” he added.
 
On March 5 the Ministry of Electronics and IT issued a statement assuring that personal data of individuals held by UIDAI is fully safe and secure.
 
With over a billion Indians possessing an Aadhaar card in 2017, data theft issue can turn into a mammoth crisis for Modi government that has been aggressively pushing for its adoption across services and platforms and for the citizens who have linked their bank accounts and other sensitive information with it.

Business Standard.

Revision of Interest ratesfor Small Savings Schemes : Deposits including PPF lowered by 0.1 percent from tomorrow

Date : 31.3.2017

Revision of Interest ratesfor Small Savings Schemes : Deposits including PPF lowered by 0.1 percent from tomorrow 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

National Union of Gramin Dak Sevaks conveys hearty Congratulations to Miss Lavanya

Date : 31.3.2017


Our Postal staff Selvi. Lavanya, Tiruchengodu HO, TN Circle had won Silver medal in 100 metres Hurdles in All India Civil services meet held at Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium, New Delhi today 30/03/2017.


 Selvi. Lavanya, Postal Assistant (SBCO), Tiruchengodu HO,  TN Circle had won Silver medal in 100 metres Hurdles in All India Civil services meet held at Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium, New Delhi today 30/03/2017.





National Union of Gramin Dak Sevaks conveys  hearty Congratulations to Miss Lavanya, the young and dynamic athlete for the glorious victories in future also

NOMINATIONS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE STAFF SIDE OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL (JCM).

Date : 31.3.2017


NOMINATIONS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE STAFF SIDE OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL (JCM).


Congratulations to Sri.D.Kishan Rao G/S NAPE Group 'C'.





Postings / transfers in the cadre of PS Group 'B' in Kurnool Region.

Date : 30.3.2017

Postings / transfers in the cadre of PS Group 'B' in Kurnool Region.

TAX EXEMPTION TO NATIONAL PENSION SYSTEM

Date : 30.3.2017

TAX EXEMPTION TO NATIONAL PENSION SYSTEM






GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
RAJYA SABHA


STARRED QUESTION No. *285
TO BE ANSWERED ON TUESDAY, THE 28th MARCH, 2017
7,CHAITRA, 1939 (SAKA)

TAX EXEMPTION TO NATIONAL PENSION SYSTEM

*285. SHRI N. GOKULAKRISHNAN:
Will the Minister of FINANCE be pleased to state:

(a) whether it is a fact that the maturity amount of the National Pension System has no tax benefits like Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF);

(b) if so, the details thereof;

(c) whether Government has received any representation requesting to provide tax exemption to NPS at par with PPF and EPF; and

(d) if so, the stand of Government in this regard?

ANSWER

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
(SHRI ARUN JAITLEY)

(a)to (d):- A Statement is laid on the Table of the House.

Statement referred to in reply to parts (a) to (d) of Rajya Sabha Starred Question No.*285 for 28th March, 2017 by Shri N. Gokulakrishnan, MP reg. Tax Exemption to National Pension System.

(a)&(b) Prior to Finance Act, 2016, National Pension System (NPS) referred to in section 80CCD was Exempt, Exempt and Tax (EET) i.e., the monthly/periodic contributions during the pension accumulation phase were allowed as deduction from income for tax purposes; the returns generated on these contributions during the accumulation phase were also exempt from tax; however, the terminal benefits on exit or superannuation, in the form of lump sum withdrawals, were taxable in the hands of the individual subscriber or his nominee in the year of receipt of such amounts unlike PPF and EPF which have been enjoying EEE regime i.e. Exempt, Exempt, Exempt.

Vide Finance Act, 2016, section 10 of the Income-tax Act was amended to provide that any payment from National Pension System Trust to an employee on account of closure or his opting out of the NPS shall be exempt from tax, to the extent it does not exceed forty percent of the total amount payable to him at the time of closure or his opting out of the scheme. Further, Section 80CCD was also amended by Finance Act, 2016 to provide that the whole amount received by the nominee of NPS subscriber on his death shall be exempt from tax.

Further, vide Finance Bill,2017 as passed by the Lok Sabha on 22.03.2017, it has been proposed to exempt partial withdrawals by employees from their NPS accounts in accordance with the guidelines prescribed under Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act,2013.

Furthermore, it has also been proposed in the Bill to amend section 80CCD of the I.T.Act,1961 so as to increase the upper limit of deduction for contribution into NPS from ten per cent of gross total income to twenty per cent in case of individual other than employee.

(c) &(d) Yes, Madam, the Government has received such representations in the past and the stand of Government was reflected in the amendments made in Income-tax Act vide Finance Act,2016 and Finance Bill 2017 as discussed above.

Grant of Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees - Revised Rates effective from 01.01.2017 : Finanance Ministry Order

Date : 30.3.2017

Grant of Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees - Revised Rates effective from 01.01.2017 : Finanance Ministry Order




Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Aadhaar should not be undermined by critics: Ashok Lavasa

Date : 30.3.2017


Aadhaar should not be undermined by critics: Ashok Lavasa




Aadhaar should not be undermined by critics: Ashok Lavasa
Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa
Amid mounting criticism by Opposition and civil society on the government’s efforts to make Aadhaar mandatory for a number of schemes, including to pay income taxes, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa defended the move and said the government’s initiatives should not be undermined. Speaking at an industry body event on Wednesday, Lavasa said for many years Indians applauded developed economies which had common unique identification for their citizens.

“I think this platform of Aadhaar which has been created should not be undermined. It is very important. Linked to this is the whole gamut of public expenditure which is a matter of concern not only for those who want more efficiency in public spending but also all of us who are concerned with transparency and removal of corruption,” Lavasa said. “It (Aadhaar) is revolutionary in the sense and what it has done is something which has not been done anywhere in the world. You have 105 crore (1.05 billion) people who have a unique identity.” 

Apart from central government schemes such as the rural employment scheme, employee pension benefit, food security act, livelihood missions, schemes for expecting mothers, small businesses, crop insurance policies, anganwadi schemes and various other programmes with or without direct benefit transfers, the Narendra Modi government has also passed rules or amended existing acts to make Aadhaar mandatory to pay taxes and to link with all mobile numbers. This even as the Supreme Court has stated that Aadhaar is not compulsory to avail benefits under central government schemes. 

The criticism has increased after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tried to bring in additional amendments in the Finance Bill to make mandatory the linking of Aadhaar with PAN cards. Not only Opposition MPs like Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress and Tathagata Satpathy of the Biju Janata Dal, but even Rajeev Chandrashekar, affiliated to the ruling party, raised concerns on privacy issues related to unique identification database.

Lavasa also said the direct benefits transfer (DBT) in various social sector schemes have resulted in savings to the tune of Rs 34,000 crore for the Centre. “There have been some palpable achievements in some of the schemes where DBT has been implemented. There is an assessment that in all these schemes, the quantum of savings would be about Rs 34,000 crore. So far, DBT has been implemented in 78 schemes and there are many more in which it has to be implemented,” he said.

Stating that use of technology has made the system more transparent, he said Aadhaar seeding has brought about efficiency and inter-linking of beneficiaries has enabled weeding out bogus and un-deserving people.

“About 1.73 lakh (173,000) public distribution scheme shops have point of sale machines and all these are Aadhaar-enabled. The fertiliser depots are in the process of installing PoS machines. The subsidy in fertiliser has remained where it was in previous years, but the subsidy in kerosene has come down tremendously, the finance secretary stated as an example.

Lavasa also reiterated India’s gross domestic product growth for 2016-17 was expected to be around seven per cent and could be higher than 7.5 per cent for 2017-18. Speaking on the increasing trend among western leaders stressing on protectionism, Lavasa said at a time when people were talking about building walls, literally and figuratively, and when global trade was expected to reduce as a share of global growth, Indian industry should focus on deepening and strengthening the local economy. “It is important for industry to look into the Indian market in a bigger way, how to strengthen the rural economy,” he said.

Business Standard.

Japan Post Bank Power Point Presentation at FNPO &JPGU Joint Seminar

Date : 29.3.2017

Japan Post Bank Power Point Presentation at FNPO &JPGU Joint Seminar on comparative study on IPPB & Japan Post Bank held on 22.3.2017 at Visakhapatnam.

To view ppt click the below two links.




Monday, 27 March 2017

Inter-Ministerial Committee to examine issue of Social Security benefits to unorganized sector

Date : 28.3.2017

Inter-Ministerial Committee to examine issue of Social Security benefits to unorganized sector : Ministry of Labour & Employment.



The Ministry of Labour and Employment has constituted an inter-ministerial Committee under the chairpersonship of Secretary (Labour & Employment) to examine the issue of giving social security benefits to the unorganized sector e.g. Anganwadi, Mid-day meal and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) workers. The other members of this Committee include representatives from Ministries of Women & Child Development, Human Resource Development, Finance and Health & Family Welfare.

In addition to above, the ESIC has also launched two pilot schemes for auto-rickshaw drivers in Delhi and for domestic workers in Delhi and Hyderabad.
This information was given by Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State (IC) for Labour and Employment, in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today

PIB

More than 2 dozen companies want collaboration with India Post Payments Bank-Manoj Sinha

Date : 27.3.2017

More than 2 dozen companies want collaboration with India Post Payments Bank-Manoj Sinha 




Government has said that there are many companies who have approached the Department of Posts for collaboration with India Post Payments Bank. Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha said that while the Department is in various stages of discussions with them, decision on formal partnerships will be taken after carefully evaluating the entire value proposition that they propose for the common man. The India Post Payments Bank had launched its two branches in Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and Ranchi (Jharkhand) on 30/01/2017 with basic products and banking services in partnership with Punjab National Bank.

Shri Sinha also said that the Payments Banks are different from regular Banks in the following fundamental ways as per RBI guidelines for Licensing of Payments Banks:

(i) Payment Banks are not allowed to undertake lending activities directly. It can accept demand deposits only that is savings and current accounts and will initially be restricted to holding a maximum balance of Rs. 100,000(Rupees one lakh only) per individual customer.

(ii) Payment Banks cannot accept Non Resident Indian (NRI) deposits.

(iii) The Payment Banks cannot set up subsidiaries to undertake non banking financial services activities.

A list of companies interested in partnering with India Post Payments Bank is attached at Annexure

Annexure A
List companies keen to partner with India Post Payments Bank.
1
YES Bank
2
Union Bank
3
Punjab National Bank
4
IDBI Bank (Industrial Development Bank of India)
5
SBI (State Bank of India)
6
Axis
7
Bank of Baroda
8
IDFC Bank (Industrial development finance company)
9
Deutshe Bank
10
Barclays Bank
11
Citibank
12
NABARD (National Bank For Agriculture & Rural Development)
13
HSBC (Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation)
14
MICRO SAVE
15
Allahabad Bank
16
Indian Overseas Bank
17
Dena Bank
18
FIA (Financial Inclusion)
19
Kotak Mahindra Bank
20
United Bank of India
21
HDFC Life (Housing Development Finance Corporation)
22
Royal Sundaram
23
PNB Metlife (Punjab National Bank)
24
ICICI Lombard ( Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India Bank)
25
ICICI Prudential ( Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India Bank)
26
Bajaj Allianz Life


PIB