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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Finance Bill is now an Act, date for levy of 14% service tax to be notified

Finance Bill is now an Act, date for levy of 14% service tax to be notified

President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the Finance Bill, 2015. It means various provisions such as the new taxation norms and merger of the Forward Market Commission with the Securities and Exchange Board of India, besides others, will now be part of an Act and will be implemented accordingly.
Service Tax
However, assent by the President with effect from May 14 does not mean that one can start levying service tax at the rate of 14 per cent immediately. The Finance Ministry will notify the date for implementation of the new rate. New date could be July 1 and till the new date is notified, service tax will continue to be levied at the rate of 12.36 per cent (inclusive of education cess).
Service tax is levied on all services, except those on the negative list. Over half of the services that attract service tax also have abatement which means tax will be levied only on a portion of the total value. For example, air-conditioned restaurants are charge service tax on 40 per cent of the bill amount, which is 4.944 per cent. This will change to 5.6 per cent from the date notified for higher service tax rate.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech announced hiking of the rate of service tax to 14 per cent from 12 per cent plus education cesses. It was also said the ‘Education Cess’ and ‘Secondary and Higher Education Cess,’ will be subsumed in the revised rate of service tax. It means there will not be any cess over and above 14 per cent. But there is no change in the abatement rules. This means the percentage of value to be taxed will remain the same, but the effective rate of tax will go up.
Income Tax Benefit
With the enactment of the Finance Bill, various tax benefit provisions such as a) increase in the limit of deduction in respect of health insurance premium to Rs. 25,000 from Rs. 15,000 (for senior citizens the limit will stand increased to Rs. 30,000 from the existing Rs. 20,000); b) additional deduction of Rs. 25,000 for the differently-abled; and c) Rs. 50,000 investment in the New Pension Scheme (over and above the Rs.1.50-lakh deduction available under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act), beside others, will have legal backing. All these will be deemed to have come into force on the 1st day of April, 2015.
Merger of FMC with SEBI
The enactment also formalises the way forward for the merger of the commodity market regulator, FMC, with the capital market regulator, SEBI. Now, the Government will notify various dates for implementation of various processes of the merger. It is expected that the entire merger process will be completed in 6-12 months
Under the new mechanism, a commodity derivative broker will get three months’ time to get a registration from the SEBI. Currently, they are not required to register with FMC. SEBI also intends to put in place a stricter regulatory regime for commodity derivative participants. The current system of separate registration by a financial intermediary for commodity trading will continue for at least the “next few years.”
Post-merger, all the recognised associations (read commodity exchanges) providing trading facility in derivatives trading will be deemed to be recognised stock exchanges under the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956. These exchanges will be given enough time to become eligible to start trading in equity or currency derivatives. However, being eligible does not mean one can lay claim to providing any new trading platform. It will be a discretionary power of SEBI to give approval for starting anything new. However, post-merger, SEBI will not regulate spot trading as well as the warehousing corporation.
(This article was published on May 16, 2015)

Financial Lessons to be learnt from Nepal Earthquake

Financial Lessons to be learnt from Nepal Earthquake

Thursday, 14 May 2015 - 12:13pm 
Well, irrespective of the fact that whether one is a victim of a disaster or not, person should always have a foolproof financial plan to protect their financial life from any unfortunate event. While talking about disaster affecting financial life, there is little which one can do to prevent it but certainly there are steps which one can take to protect their families from getting financially hit in case a disaster occur.
1) How important is it to guard oneself financially, against these natural calamities?
Whether it is a calamity or something else, which severely affects a person’s financial life, should always be protected because financial freedom and security is one of the paramount objectives of doing the entire financial planning. It is very important to guard oneself against any natural calamity because that has the effect of completely wiping out all the belongings and leave a person without food, water, clothing and shelter. If you aren't prepared for it then one might just lose all of their belongings and may get wiped out financially. 

Let me explain these plans in detail in the upcoming & concluding part of this article, till then do your financial audit and protect yourself from any sort of financial disaster. Keep reading this space and stay tuned.

    Home prices hit roof, but affordability near its best: HDFC

    Home prices hit roof, but affordability near its best: HDFC

    Says improved affordability has largely been driven by the rising disposable income, tax incentives and affordable interest rates
    Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  
    May 17, 2015 Last Updated at 12:06 IST
    Housing prices have risen to record high levels, but increase in disposable income of the homebuyers has made the purchase of a house most affordable in over a decade, according to mortgage giant HDFC Ltd.

    The average property value of housing units has appreciated to an all-time high of over Rs 52 lakh, while the annual income of the homebuyer has grown to near Rs 12 lakh, also a record high level, shows the data compiled by HDFC.

    A sharper increase in the income levels, as compared to the housing prices, has brought down the affordability ratio to 4.4 -- the lowest in more than a decade since 4.3 in the year 2004 which remains the all-time low score.

    A lower ratio means it has become more affordable to purchase the house.

    The affordability ratio equals the average property price divided by the annual income and determines how affordable a housing unit is for a homebuyer as per his or her income.
    In its latest annual update on the mortgage market in India, HDFC said the improved affordability has largely been driven by the rising disposable income, tax incentives and affordable interest rates.

    HDFC's Managing Director Renu Sud Karnad said the increased tax incentive limits on housing loans and for the personal taxes have helped boost the demand for housing loans, while property prices have also stabilised.

    The increase in double-income-no-kids (DINK) population have also helped increase the disposable income, which has made purchase of house more affordable, Karnad told PTI.

    "The end user demand is reflected in our loan book, while the absence of investors has also helped the property prices to remain stable," she added.

    HDFC, the country's largest mortgage lender with total assets of about Rs 2,54,000 crore, has a loan book of about Rs 2.5 lakh crore that grew by 23 per cent last fiscal. Its average home loan size has also grown to Rs 23.3 lakh, while its loan to value stands at 66 per cent. It has financed over 4.9 million homes in the last three and a half decades.

    The HDFC data also shows that the tax incentives have lowered the effective rates on mortgages to below 4 per cent, while the same was more than double at 8-12 per cent in the early years of the current century.

    The home finance major further said that the mortgage penetration is the lowest in India at just 9 per cent of the GDP, in comparison to many other major countries, which implies significant room for growth.

    SBI to resume mega e-auction for properties next month

    SBI to resume mega e-auction for properties next month

    To hold separate auction for retail; commercial assets
    BS Reporter  | State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, will resume next month the mega e-auctions for properties, acquired from borrowers following defaults.

    Gaining from its experience with a similar auction in March 2015, the bank will hold separate auctions for retail (predominantly residential units) and commercial properties.

    In March, SBI’s e-auction for properties worth Rs 1,200 crore had failed to enthuse investors. It could sell only 124 properties of the 350 put on sale and the bank could realise only about Rs 90 crore. The response for industrial and commercial properties was not up to expectations.
    This was first effort by the lender to hawk properties on large scale. While lender has been able to contain fresh slippages, it is struggling to dispose of distressed properties through auction.
    The fourth quarter ending March being last quarter of financial year is crucial for recovering dues to bolster the bottom-line.
    SBI had put on block properties, including offices, shops, factory buildings and residential apartments spread across 25 cities after it had put out a public notice on Thursday.
    SBI launches contactless cards
    State Bank of India has introduced Contactless Debit Card and SBI Signature Contactless Credit Card for quick, secure and hassle free payments at merchant outlets.
    Contactless Cards use the near-field communication (NFC) technology to make payments by waving or tapping the card near the contactless reader instead of swiping or dipping. These Cards will replace the use of cash at retail establishments like convenience stores, petrol stations and super markets where speed and convenience are important. Credit Card will have fraud liability cover of Rs 1,00,000.
    At present the ceiling on amount per tap (transaction) is Rs 2,000 and SBI has approached Reserve Bank of India to increase ceiling to Rs 5,000 per transaction.
    May 15, 2015 Last Updated at 00:27 IST

    Stop publicity stunts: Colleagues to CEO

    Stop publicity stunts: Colleagues to CEO

    His latest gesture of giving away his shares worth Rs 200 cr to his employees is not going well with anyone in the industry
    Kalpana Pathak  |  Mumbai  
    May 18, 2015 Last Updated at 00:44 IST
    Rahul Yadav has been a busy man over the past few weeks, making news by going overboard with social networking and e-mail missives.

    Now, however, friends and colleagues want the 26-year-old chief executive officer (CEO) of to concentrate more on work than this publicity. Quite a few have communicated to him their concerns.

    “If the CEO indulges in such behaviour, how will people down the line concentrate on work? Employees have been busy reading papers and posts on Twitter and Facebook on Yadav,” said a person in the know at “We have to focus on our revenues, listings and expansion. With all this, there is no work being done. Even people in the organisation are saying the Facebook challenge was uncalled for.”

    Last week, Yadav allotted all his personal shares, worth Rs 150-200 crore to the 2,251 employees of his company and challenged fellow Indian Institute of Technology alumni, Bhavish Aggarwal of Ola and Deepinder Goyal of Zomato, to disburse at least half their shares in their own companies to employees. Goyal responded by calling Yadav the “Arvind Kejriwal of start-ups”.

    “There is fear in the mind of everyone. Yadav has shown inclination and we won’t be surprised if he quits tomorrow. Investors are genuinely concerned. If he quits, it might be difficult to attract talent with the bad publicity we have been attracting,” added another source.

    Employees at Housing say if Yadav’s gesture to give away his stake was pure charity, why did he have to  advertise it? “When you do charity, you do not put others (Zomato & Ola) in a spot. He is trivialising the whole act of charity. And, what charity are we talking about? Housing pays its employees handsomely,” said a company source.

    It is believed that investors in the company got Yadav an image consultant, Pitchfork Partners, but this had failed to work. Former MSL Group India heads, Jaideep Shergill and Sunil Gautam, launched Pitchfork, a strategic consulting firm, this January.

    “I have known Rahul since our IIT- Bombay days. He has always had his head firmly placed on his shoulders. But we are all perplexed with the way he is behaving these days. We just hope he concentrates more on his company than these antics,” said a friend.

    Investors and employees are also concerned that if Yadav decides to walk away from (giving up his stake in the company makes way for it), some needed staff might leave with him.

    “Legally, there is nothing wrong with Yadav giving away shares. But, the board (of directors) should have been informed. The board is now apprehensive of his behaviour. They have asked Yadav to explain. This makes the investors doubt him,” said one of the investors in

    In the past fortnight, Yadav has been making headlines. On April 30, after questioning the intellectual abilities of the company’s investors in an e-mail, Yadav resigned, only to apologise and withdraw his resignation five days later. Prior to that he had entered into a public spat with Sequoia Capital’s Shailendra Singh and Times Group.

    Over 500 projects near Mumbai by end of 2015

    Over 500 projects near Mumbai by end of 2015

    Surbhi Gupta | May 18, 2015 @ 11:00 AM
    Beyond Thane region is today flooded with a range of new residential projects offering buyers a wide gamut of options to choose from. As per Magicbricks data, there are currently more than 500 projects in Beyond Thane region which are available on sale. What make this news more interesting is that majority of the projects available in the sub-region are slated to be delivered by the end of 2015 while the rest of them have their delivery scheduled for 2016 and 2017.
    Popular areas housing the properties
    Popular localities such as Badalapur, Ambernath, Dombivli, Kalyan and Ambivli have some of the biggest projects of the metropolitan region being developed by prominent builders of the country. Moreover, these townships are not just spread over a large area but will have with amenities such as club houses, gymnasium and massive size playground for kids and recreational purposes.
    A wide budget range to choose from
    For those with a restricted budget, there are several medium-sized housing projects to select in these pockets. The demand for these properties is for the amenities being offered and also for its attractive pricing and schemes. In fact, some of the builders are using terms like ‘sundecks’, ‘decorative entrance lobby’, ‘branded fittings’, etc. to lure first time home buyers as these terminologies are often used for defining luxury in Mumbai city.
    What remains on top of the mind for Mumbai buyers is the neighbourhood as most of them are families with children. Hence, areas which are supposed to have more cosmopolitan make up are being preferred by young couples. “These days most of the queries are being driven by working class couples who want a family-like neighbourhood for their kids. Most popular localities remain the ones with gated communities offering a sustainable lifestyle to offer,” says Rajkiran Mhatre, one of the local property consultants in Thane.
    Easy to track projects
    As most of the projects are under-construction, buyers are deterring their buying decision because of usual delays and builders’ faults. However, now you can track the status of your project at by clicking this image.

    Home buying is a serious decision and we expect with Magicbricks it would be a happy decision for you!
    Surbhi Gupta is a part of the Magicbricks- Content & Research team and analyses industry trends and scenario.
    You can reach us at for further queries, feedback and comment

    Demand for office space remained strong in Mumbai, which accounted for around 30% of the total office space transacted during the month, followed by Chennai and Pune that together contributed around 47%

    Demand for office space remained strong in Mumbai, which accounted for around 30% of the total office space transacted during the month, followed by Chennai and Pune that together contributed around 47%18 May 2015, 5:40 PM IST
    ETRealty Bureau

    NEW DELHI: Office leasing activity rebounded in the month of April with around 2 million sq ft of space being absorbed across major cities, the highest quantum seen in the first four months of 2015, reports property consultancy CBRE.

    Demand for office space remained strong in Mumbai, which accounted for around 30% of the total office space transacted during the month, followed by Chennai and Pune that together contributed around 47%.

    All cities saw an increase in space take-up, barring the National Capital Region (NCR) and Bangalore, which observed a dip in occupier demand during the month.

    Demand for office space was largely concentrated in IT developments spread across suburban / peripheral micro-markets of Gurgaon in the NCR; Navi Mumbai / Kurla in Mumbai; Outer Ring Road (ORR) / Whitefield / North Bangalore / CV Raman Nagar in Bangalore; IT Corridor in Hyderabad; parts of the OMR stretch in Chennai; and Hinjewadi / Baner / Badhwan in Pune, the report said.

    In addition, SEZ developments across Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad also attracted strong leasing activity from corporates from the BFSI, IT and electronics sectors, it added.

    Meanwhile, housing launches remained low in the month of April, with Chennai recording the highest quantum of new launches in the mid-end segment. New project launches in mid-end and high-end segments remained buoyant in Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune; while Delhi NCR, Hyderabad and Kolkata witnessed limited launches during April.

    Housing demand has weakened against the backdrop of higher property prices and interest rates lately. However, a few nationalised and private sector banks have cut lending rates following the Reserve Bank of India's announcement of a status quo monetary policy in early April. "Going forward, further reduction in lending rates is likely to help improve sluggish property sales in the short to medium term," the report said.