India Regulatory Brief: Online PAN Database, Medical Devices Regulator Forthcoming
CBDT Creating Online PAN Database for Taxpayers
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Income Tax Department’s administrative and policy-making body, is creating an online permanent account number (PAN) database for taxpayers. Tentatively called the ‘Income Tax Business Application’, the database will use PAN numbers to allow tax authorities to access tax related information for persons or entities that pay income tax in India.
The database is set to include all tax related information, including taxable financial transactions. At this time, it is unclear whether taxpayers will have access to the database. CBDT Chairperson Anita Kapur reported last week that the primary aim of the database is to improve government data and tax collection activities. Kapur specifically said that the database would allow tax authorities to investigate suspected cases of tax evasion.
The CBDT initiative follows a federal government directive that challenged the Income Tax Department to increase the number of taxpayers in the country by 2.5 million every month. Recently, the Income Tax Department announced a plan to intensify tax collection activities in Tier II cities to increase the number of tax payers in the country. Prior to this, the Indian Parliament passed the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015 in a bid reduce tax evasion.
Regulator for Medical Devices Industry Proposed
The Department of Pharmaceuticals earlier this month released a draft policy report that advised the federal government to establish an independent regulatory body for the medical devices industry. The report specifically recommended that the government establish a ‘National Medical Device Authority’ to promote the local industry, set price controls and enforce safety standards. The vast majority of the medical devices in India are imported.
The federal government wants to encourage the industry to manufacture in India. Recently, the government announced plans to introduce price caps on some medical device products. Prior to this, the government announced plans to establish an industrial park for manufacturing medical devices in Gujarat state. Earlier this year, the government opened the medical devices industry to 100 percent foreign direct investment.
Electrical Tariff Hiked in Delhi
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) increased power tariffs in Delhi. Effective since June 15, consumers now have to pay the Power Purchase Adjustment Cost (PPAC) surcharge. A DERC official told the local media that tariffs for Tata Power Delhi Distribution customers would increase by 4 percent, while tariffs for BSES Yamuna Power and BSES Rajdhani Power customers will increase by 6 percent. The official also reported that tariffs for consumers in New Delhi Municipal Corporation areas will increase by 5 percent.
Delhi Union Government Power Minister Satyendar Jain criticized the surcharge and requested DERC to review the decision. Following the surcharge decision, Jain called on DERC to impose an hourly fine against power distributors for power outages. The local media report that Delhi experienced more than 1,000 unscheduled power cuts across the capital in the first two weeks of June. According to the reports, southern and western districts of Delhi experienced the highest number of power outages, followed closely by central and eastern districts.
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