The Week in Review for 03 September 2010

The Week in Review for 03 September 2010

The new Direct Taxes Code Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Most of its provisions are the same as those in a draft of the Bill circulated in June. As per the Bill, individuals earning Rs2-5 lakh a year will have to pay a 10% tax. That number will go up to 20% for incomes of Rs5-10 lakh. And those earning more than Rs10 lakh annually will have to pay 30% tax. The Bill also proposed increase in the deduction limit to Rs1.5 lakh from the current Rs1lakh.

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There’s also relief for some corporate houses. Companies, both foreign and domestic, will be taxed a flat 30%. And the minimum alternate tax (MAT) will only be levied on book-profits. There’s also a plan to move from profit-linked incentives to investment-linked ones. The DTC Bill is supposed to become operational from 1 April 2012.

India’s economy has done better than expected in the first quarter. Government data released on Tuesday shows the country’s GDP grew 8.8% in the April-June quarter. The high figure is partly because of the base effect. India’s GDP only grew at 6% in the same period last year.

Here’s how the economy did by sector. Industry expanded 10.3% during the quarter, while service sector grew 9.6%. Farming on the other hand, registered a mere 2.8% of growth.

Some new customer-friendly Ulips were introduced on Wednesday. The new Ulips will have cap on their charges and commissions. They also have to make minimum guarantees and provide the increased lock-in periods. Meanwhile, the 230 Ulips that operated under the old rules will not be marketed again.

Reliance Industries has entered the hospitality business. On Monday it bought a 14.12% stake in EIH for $217 million. And on Thursday it bought another 0.68%, bringing it close to the open offer threshold of 15%. EIH operates Oberoi hotels and resorts across India.

Wipro’s succession plan is taking shape. On Wednesday, the company promoted Rishad Premji to the post of chief strategy officer. Rishad is a Harvard MBA who joined Wipro in 2007. The 33 year old is son of Wipro chairman Azim Premji. Together the Premji family owns nearly 80% of Wipro.

BlackBerry maker RIM have avoided a ban in the nick of time. On Monday, it offered locate some of its servers here in India. RIM’s move came just one day before the government deadline threatening to ban some of its services because of security concerns.

Home minister P. Chidambaram has defended his use of the term saffron terror. Chidambaram said his own colleagues in the UPA had used the same words in the past and that it served a purpose. Chidambaram had used the term during a meeting of police chiefs, setting off a storm of criticism.