Thursday 17 January 2019

Infosys to implement Rs 4242 crores Integrated E-filing system to bring Income Tax Return processing time under 24 hours.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the PM Modi, has given its approval to expenditure sanction of Rs.4,241.97crore for Integrated E-filing &Centralized Processing Center 2.0 Project of the Income Tax Department.

The Union Cabinet also approved the expenditure sanction for the consolidated cost of Rs.1,482.44crore of the existing CPC-ITR 1.0 project up to FY 2018-19.

The broad objectives of this project are listed as under:
  • Faster and accurate outcomes for the taxpayer.
  • First time right approach,
  • Enhancing user experience at all stages.
  • Improving taxpayer awareness and education through continuous engagement.
  • Promoting voluntary tax compliance.
  • Managing outstanding demand.
This approval has significant benefits for the Department and taxpayers through various functionalities such as pre-filling of ITR and acceptance by taxpayer as a means to improve accuracy and to reduce refund/processing turnaround time drastically, facilitation to taxpayers in resolving outstanding tax demands; integrated contact centers for taxpayer assistance and tax payer outreach program through digital media and employer/partner accreditation program to bring significant enhancement in services to taxpayers.

The decision will ensure horizontal equity by processing returns filed by all categories of taxpayers across the country in a consistent, uniform, rule driven, identity blind manner. This will assure fairness in tax treatment to every taxpayer irrespective of their status.

Infosys has bagged the contract to implement e-filing system after a competitive bidding process. Infosys is expected to launch the project in 18 months after 3 months of testing on real-time data.

The processing time at present for Income Tax Return (ITR) is 63 days and it will come down to under 24 hours after implementation of the Integrated E-filing and Centralized Processing Centre 2.0 Project.

By faster processing of returns and issue of refunds to the taxpayer's bank account directly without any interface with the Department, by adhering to international best practices and standards (ISO certification) and by providing processing status updates and speedy communication using mobile app, email, SMS and on the Department website, the decision will ensure transparency and accountability.

The proposal ensures the continuation of the Department's goal towards business transformation through technology. The E-filing and CPC projects have enabled end to end automation of all processes within the Department using various innovative methods to provide taxpayer services and to promote voluntary compliance.

Source - PIB.

5 GigaWatts of clean power: SECI invites global bid for World's Largest Solar Plant in Ladakh region

The vast wasteland of Ladakh has attracted travellers from far away for its sizzling winters and summer bike rides. Often, referred to as the 'roof of the world',  the scenic Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir could soon host the world’s largest single-location PV plant.

All I see turns to brown
As the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand
As I scan this wasted land.

- Kashmir by Led Zeppelin.

The race to build World's largest solar plant between China, Saudi Arabia and India has heated up. According to the industry reports, China’s Datong Solar Power Project, with a projected capacity of 3 GW has the potential to become the world’s biggest single-location solar PV project, once completed. Similarly, Saudi Arabia's massive 200GW solar plant in its deserts has been currently put on hold by the King. India has taken a giant leap in Solar power generation after 2014 under the leadership of PM Modi. Solar Energy Corporation of India has invited Request for Selection bid for the 7500MW solar plant in Kargil and Leh region has heated up the race for building World's largest Solar Power Plant.

SECI, a Government of India enterprise under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is promoting the projects in Jammu and Kashmir state on a scale matching the grandeur of their locations. A 5,000 MW (megawatt) for the Ladakh unit and a 2,500 MW Kargil unit is planned to be completed by 2023 at an estimated investment of Rs 45,000 crore. 

This matches India's commitment at COP21 and as a lead founder of the International Solar Alliance. The World's Largest Solar Plant at Ladakh will save 12,750 tonnes of carbon emission a year, remove dependence on diesel generators and create a livelihood for the local population that remains cut off for 6-8 months.

The Ladakh project will be located at Hanle-Khaldo in Nyoma, a strategically important area 254km from Leh. The Kargil project will be built at Suru in Zanskar, 254km from the district HQ. Power from the Ladakh project will flow to Kaithal in Haryana, for which a900-km line will be laid mostly along Leh-Manali road. The Kargil project will hook up with the grid at New Wanpoh near Srinagar.

The Times of India quoted SK Mishra, Director of Power Systems, Solar Electrification Corporation of India, "The Leh and Kargil administration have designated 25,000 and 12,500 acres of non-grazing land, respectively, at prices remunerative for the hill councils, which will also earn rental of around Rs1,200 per hectare, per annum, with 3% annual escalation".

Tender Details as on SECI website - 

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

Monday 7 January 2019

Fight against Bad Loans: Merger of Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank to come into force from 1st April 2019.

The much-awaited amalgamation of Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank is set to be India's first ever three-way consolidation of banks.

The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi has approved the scheme of amalgamation for amalgamating Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, with Bank of Baroda as the transferee bank and Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank as transferor banks.

The amalgamated entity, which is likely to retain the brand name of Bank of Baroda will become India's second largest bank after State Bank of India. The amalgamation will help create a strong globally competitive bank with economies of scale and enable realisation of wide-ranging synergies. Leveraging of networks, low-cost deposits and subsidiaries of the three banks has the potential of yielding significant synergies for positioning the consolidated entity for substantial rise in customer base, market reach, operational efficiency, wider bouquet of products and services, and improved access for customers.

Key points of the Scheme of amalgamation:
  1. Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank are transferor banks and BoB is transferee bank.
  2. The scheme shall come into force on 1.4.2019.
  3. Upon commencement of the scheme, the undertakings of the transferor banks as a going concern shall be transferred to and shall vest in the transferee bank, including, inter alia, all business, assets, rights, titles, claims, licenses, approvals and other privileges and all property, all bor­rowings, liabilities and obligations.
  4. Every permanent and regular officer or employee of the transferor banks shall become an officer or employee and shall hold his office or service therein in the transferee bank such that the pay and allowance offered to the employees/officers of transferor banks shall not be less favourable as compared to what they would have drawn in the respective transferor bank.
  5. The Board of the transferee bank shall ensure that the interests of all transferring employees and officers of the transferor bank are protected.
  6. The transferee bank shall issue shares to the shareholders of transferor banks as per share exchange ratio. Shareholders of the transferee bank and transferor banks shall be entitled to raise their grievances, if any, in relation to the share exchange ratio, through an expert committee.

 Some of the strengths of the envisaged amalgamated entity are-
  • The amalgamated bank will be better equipped in the changing environment to meet the credit needs of a growing economy, absorb shocks and capacity to raise resources. Economies of scale and wider scope would position it for improved profitability, wider product offerings, and adoption of technology and best practices across amalgamating entities for cost efficiency and improved risk management, and financial inclusion through wider reach.
  • It would also enable creation of a bank with scale comparable to global banks and capable of competing effectively in India and globally.
  • Strengths of individual banks - such as Dena Bank's relatively higher access to low-cost CASA deposits, Vijaya Bank's profitability and availability of capital for growth, and the extensive and global network and offerings of BoB will translate into advantages in terms of market reach, operational efficiencies and the ability to support a wider offering of product and services.
  • The amalgamated banks will have access to a wider talent pool, and a large database that may be leveraged through analytics for competitive advantage in a rapidly digitalising banking context. Benefits would also flow as a result of wider reach and distribution network and reduction in distribution costs for the products and services through subsidiaries.
  • The public at large shall benefit in terms of enhanced access to banking services through a stronger network, the ability to support a wider offering of product and services, and easy access to credit.
It would be herculean task to amalgamate banking services and IT set-up of these banks into a merged entity in just 3 months. The previous experience of SBI would help the Ministry of Finance to chart out the merger plan. The merger would create a behemoth banking company on the lines of SBI in these states: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. While the 85,000+ employees of these banks are curious about the way forward, the stocks of Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank were seen at day high since the announcement of the merger.

Source - Press Information Bureau.