Monday, March 06, 2017

PFRDA circular on multiple choice to the Subscribers

NPS – PFRDA Circular Allowing multiple choice to the subscribers/corporate to change Investment Option and Asset Allocation Ratio during the Financial Year
PFRDA circular on multiple choice to the Subscribers.
PENSION FUND REGULATORY AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
B-14/A, Chhatrapati Shivaji Bhawan
Qutab Institutional Area,
Katwaria Sarai,
New Delhi-110016
Phone : 011-26517503
Fax : 011-26517507
Website : www.pfrda.org.in
01 March 2017
CIRCULAR
PFRDA/2017/8/PD/2
To,
All Stakeholder in the National Pension System
Subject: Allowing multiple choice to the subscribers/corporates to change Investment Option and Asset Allocation Ratio during the Financial Year
1. As per the extant guidelines, subscriber can change his/her existing Pension Fund (PF), the investment option(Active or Auto choice) as well as asset allocation ratio (allocation among asset class-Equity/Corporate Bonds/Government securities/Alternate investment ) once in a financial year. This scheme preference is applicable to the existing pension corpus as well as to the prospective subscriptions. Similarly in the NPS-Corporate Model where the choice of Pension Fund and Investment Options is exercised at Corporate level, the Corporates also have the option to change the pension fund and investment option and also asset allocation ratio once in a financial year.
2. In order to provide more choices in terms of investment option and asset allocation, the following has been decided:
(i) The subscribers/corporates will have the choice for change of the investment option (Active or Auto choice) as well as asset allocation ratio (allocation among asset class-Equity/Corporate Bonds/Government Securities/Alternate Investment) two times in a financial year.
This scheme preference will be applicable to the existing pension corpus as well as to the prospective subscriptions. The option will be available separately for Tier I and Tier II accounts.
(ii) The choice of change of Pension Fund shall remain once in a financial year.
4. The changes will come into effect from 01st April 2017.
Yours faithfully,
(Akhilesh Kumar)
Deputy General Manager

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Cabinet to approve the DA hike soon

“The Central cabinet is likely to give its approval to a two percent Dearness Allowance hike, with effect from January 2017, to the Central Government employees.”

The cabinet is, at its next meeting, expected to give its approval to the additional Dearness Allowance of two percent to Central Government employees and pensioners, to come into effect from January 1, 2017 onwards.
The 2% Additional Dearness Allowance hike will be calculated on the basis of the basic pay as recommended by the Seventh Pay Commission, and will be given to more than 47 lakh Central Government employees and 53 lakh pensioners, of which 14 lakh employees and 18 lakh pensioners are from the defence forces.

The Dearness Allowance, issued once every six months, is given to Central Government employees and pensioners to help them manage the increase in prices of essential commodities. The Dearness Allowance is calculated on the basis of the Consumer Price Index Numbers for Industrial Workers on Base Year 2001=100.

The percentage for January 2017 was arrived at by recording the prices of essential commodities at 78 towns and cities across the country, for the months of July 2016 till December 2016. Based on the data and calculation, the percentage may be fixed at 4.95 percent. But, according to the method prescribed by the Pay Commission, the decimal numbers are ignored. Hence, a Dearness Allowance of four percent will be issued with effect from January 1, 2017 onwards.

The table is given below for more information to arrive the percentage calculation.
M/Y CPI(IW)

BY 2001=100
Total 12 Months 12 Monthly Average % Increase Over 261.42 for DA
Jul -16 280 3245 270.42 3.44
Aug – 16 278 3259 271.58 3.88
Sep – 16 277 3270 272.50 4.23
Oct – 16 278 3279 273.25 4.53
Nov – 16 277 3286 273.83 4.75
Dec – 16 275 3292 274.33 4.95

Central Government Employees to observe today as ‘Black Day’


CONFEDERATION NATIONAL SECRETARIAT CALLS UPON ALL CENTRAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
Observe 6th March 2017 as BLACK DAY

Against the betrayal of Central Government employees and pensioners by Group of Ministers of NDA Government.

Demanding increase in minimum pay and fitment formula.

Dear comrades

We know that all of you are in the midst of hectic preparation and campaign for making the 16thMarch Strike action a great success. As has been explained in the article, which we have placed on our website, the NDA Government, led by BJP has exhibited the worst anti-employee attitude in the post independent era of our country. This Government has treated its own employees as its worst enemy. The decision taken by the Union Cabinet on 29th June, 2016 rejecting even the recommendations made by the high level committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary was unprecedented. Even the setting up of various committees was nothing but an eye wash. Nothing will come out of that. Even the NPS Committee on which the young comrades had pinned some hope of at least getting a minimum guaranteed pension will produce nothing. The discussions at the JCM fora has been converted into mostly monologues i.e. the official side simply listening and not reacting. The Government, it appears, has made the Pension department to reject the one and only recommendation of the 7th CPC which was considered to be positive i.e. Option No.1 for pensioners on the specious ground that the same is not feasible to be implemented. The allowances committee has dilly dallied its deliberation and would now submit its report after the extended period of 6 months expires on 22.02.2017. Even if they make any positive recommendation, which is seldom expected, the NDA Government would not act upon it. They have very successfully postponed the payment of the revised allowanced for 15 months.

In the face of such terrible onslaught, betrayal and chicanery, which no Government in the past has every indulged in, it is surprising that some of our friends who has a predominant role in the movement of the Central Government employees has unfortunately chosen to wait and watch. It appears that they have chosen to wait endlessly hurting the cause of the workers.

We have no hesitation to affirmatively state the obvious that we have chosen the right path, the path of struggles, which can only the choice of the working class against tyrannical attitude of the employer, howsoever, powerful they may be. We must realize that those who are in the saddle of power today are not permanently posted there. We were witness to the abysmal downfall of persons who were arrogant personified. It appears that the reasonableness, righteousness and patience we had exhibited have been taken as signs of cowardice. The undeniable fact is that those who fight, only can win. We, therefore, appeal to you to carry on with conviction and courage.

Eight months will be over on 6th March, 2017, when the Group of Ministers held out the assurance of revisiting the minimum wage and multiplication factor. It is now crystal clear that that was an act of chicanery. No committee was set up and no discussions were held to seriously consider the issue. We, therefore, appeal to all of you to ensure that the day, i.e. 6thMarch, 2017 is observed as a day of betrayal and all our members are requested to wear a Black badge with the following words inscribed on it in bold letters and conduct demonstrations in front of all Central Government offices.

HONOUR THE COMMITMENT MADE ON
30th June & 6th JULY, 2016
REVISE THE MINIMUM WAGE AND
MULTIPLICATION FACTOR

6TH March 2017 must be yet another occasion to mobilize our members to ensure their participation in the 16th March, 2017 strike action and ultimately win all the demands in the charter.

We fight to win and we shall win.With greetings,

Yours fraternally,
(M Krishnan S/G Confd.)

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What are the benefits available to a senior citizen and very senior citizen in respect of tax rates?

What are the benefits available to a senior citizen and very senior citizen in respect of tax rates?

Senior citizens and a very senior citizen are granted a higher exemption limit as compared to normal tax payers. Exemption limit is the quantum of income up to which a person is not liable to pay tax. The exemption limit granted to senior citizen and very senior citizen for the financial year 2016-17 is as follows :
Senior citizen
Very senior citizen
A senior citizen is granted a higher exemption limit compared to non-senior citizens. The exemption limit for the financial year 2016-17 available to a resident senior citizen is Rs. 3,00,000. In other words, a resident senior citizen is not liable to pay any tax up to income of Rs. 3,00,000. The exemption limit for non-senior citizen is Rs. 2,50,000. Thus, it can be observed that an additional benefit of Rs. 50,000 in the form of higher exemption limit is available to a resident senior citizen as compared to normal tax payers. A very senior citizen is granted a higher exemption limit compared to others. The exemption limit for the financial year 2016-17 available to a resident very senior citizen is Rs. 5,00,000. In other words, a resident very senior citizen is not liable to pay any tax up to income of Rs. 5,00,000. The exemption limit for non-senior citizen is Rs. 2,50,000. Thus, it can be observed that an additional benefit of Rs. 2,50,000 in the form of higher exemption limit is available to a resident very senior citizen as compared to normal tax payers.

At what age a person will qualify as a senior citizen and very senior citizen under the Income-tax Law?

Before understanding the age criteria, it is very important to know that the tax benefits offered under the Income-tax Law to a senior citizen/very senior citizen are available only to resident senior citizen and resident very senior citizens. In other words, these benefits are not available to a non-resident even though he may be of higher age. The age and other criteria to qualify as a senior citizen and very senior citizen under the Income-tax Law are as follows :
Criteria for senior citizen
Criteria for very senior citizen
Must be of the age of 60 years or above but less than 80 year at any time during the respective year. Must be of the age of 80 years or above at any time during the respective year.
Must be resident Must be resident
Illustration
Illustration
(1) Mr. Kumar (resident in India) attained the age of 60 years during the financial year 2016-17. Will he qualify as senior citizen under the Income-tax Law for the financial year 2016-17?
**
Yes, since Mr. Kumar is a resident and he attained the age of 60 years during the year 2016-17, he will be treated as senior citizen under the Income-tax Law for the financial year 2016-17.

(2) Mr. Kamal (non-resident) attained the age of 60 years during the financial year 2016-17. Will he qualify as senior citizen under the Income-tax Law for the financial year 2016-17?
**
Mr. Kamal is a non-resident, the benefits of senior citizen under the Income-tax Law are available to a resident only, and hence, Mr. Kamal will not be treated as senior citizen under the Income-tax Law for the financial year 2016-17.
(1) Mr. Raja (resident in India) attained the age of 80 years during the financial year 2016-17. Will he qualify as very senior citizen under the Income-tax Law for the financial year 2016-17?
**
Yes, since Mr. Raja is a resident and he attained the age of 80 years during the year 2016-17, he will be treated as a very senior citizen under the Income-tax Law for the financial year 2016-17.

(2) Mr.Rajat (non-resident in India) attained the age of 80 years during the financial year 2016-17. Will he qualify as very senior citizen under the Income-tax Law for the financial year 2016-17?
**
Mr.Rajat is a non-resident, the benefits of very senior citizen under the Income-tax Law are available to a resident only and, hence, Mr.Rajat will not be treated as very senior citizen under the Income-tax Law for the financial year 2016-17.

Is there any special benefit available under the Income-tax law to very high aged person, i.e., very senior citizens?
Yes, the Income-tax Law very well takes care of very senior citizens of the nation by offering special tax benefits to high aged person (80 year or above).

Is there any special benefit available under the Income-tax law to senior citizens?

Yes, the Income-tax Law very well takes care of the senior citizens of the nation by offering them several tax benefits.In this part you can gain knowledge of various benefits offered by the Income-tax Law to senior citizens.

Is a very senior citizen granted exemption from e-filing of income tax return?

  • From the assessment year 2015-16 onwards any taxpayer filing return of income in Form ITR 1/2/2A and having a refund claim in the return or having total income of more than Rs. 5,00,000 is required to furnish the return of income electronically with or without digital signature or by using electronic verification code. However, Income-tax Law grants relaxation from e-filing in above case to very senior citizen.
  • In other words, a very senior citizen filing his return of income in Form ITR 1/2/2A and having total income of more than Rs. 5,00,000 or having a refund claim can file his return of income in paper mode, i.e., for him e filing of ITR 1/2/2A (as the case may be) is not mandatory. However, he may go for e-filing if he wishes.

Is a retired senior citizen granted exemption from payment of advance tax?

As per section 208, every person whose estimated tax liability for the year is Rs. 10,000 or more, shall pay his tax in advance, in the form of "advance tax". However, section 208 gives relief from payment of advance tax to a retired senior citizen. As per section 208 a resident senior citizen (i.e., an individual of the age of 60 years or above during the relevant financial year) not having any income from business or profession, is not liable to pay advance tax.

What are the benefits available in respect of expenditure incurred on account of medical treatment of specified diseases on treatment of a senior citizen or a very senior citizen?

section 80DDB of the Income-tax Law gives various provisions relating to tax benefits available on account of expenditure on medical treatment of specified diseases. Click the following link to know about details of section 80DDB which covers the details of special benefits under section 80DDB available to a senior citizen or very senior citizen. Check page 8 topic "Deduction in respect of expenditure on medical treatment of specified diseases [ section 80DDB]" 

What are the benefits available in respect of expenditure incurred on account of medical insurance premium/ medical expenditure to a senior citizen/very senior citizen and on account of?

Section 80D of the Income-tax Law gives various provisions relating to tax benefits available on account of payment of medical insurance premium and other related items. Click the following link to know about details of section 80D which covers the details of special benefits under section 80D available to a senior citizen and very senior citizen.. Check page 5 topic "Deduction in respect of medical insurance premium [ Section 80D]"

NC JCM -IMPORTANT AGENDA POINTS FOR NEXT STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING

Dated: 05/03/2017

The Secretary,
JCM (Staff Side),
13-C, Ferozshah Road,
New Delhi

Dear Brother.

Sub: Agenda Items for next meeting of Standing Committee of NC (JCM)-reg.

Ref: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, DoP&T’s letter No.F.No.3/3/2016-JCA dated 1st March 2017.

Please find enclosed the items to be included in the agenda for meeting.

Yours faithfully,
sd/-
(Dr.M.Raghavaiah)
General Secretary

Sub: Counting full service of Temporary causal labourers for pensionary and retirement benefits in Railways-reg.
The Staff Side had discussed its demand for counting fulI service of temporary status of casual labourers for pensionary and retirement benefits at the level of Railway Ministry. Consequently, the Railway Ministry had agreed and accordingly proposal was sent to the Ministry of Finance and DoP&T seeking clearance. Unfortunately, the MoF/DoP&T have not accorded approval:-

In this connection, the Staff Side brings following key points for consideration.

(a) The Casual Labourers in Railways had attained temporary status on completion of prescribed days of continuous working and got the benefits admissible to temporary Railway/Government employees such as regular Pay Scale, Medical facility etc.,

(b) The Railway Administrations have however taken abnormally long periods to absorb them as regular staff although regular posts were vacant.

(c) The status of casual labourers in railways after acquiring temporary status (termed as Temporary employee) is exactly similar to the substitutes in whose case, the total service from the date of attainment of temporary status is counted for reckoning qualifying service for pensionary benefits.

(d) Various CATs, High Courts and even the Apex Court have given decisions against the differential treatment between the casual labour and substitutes particularly when both attained temporary status and directed to treat them at par so far as reckoning the service from the date of temporary status till the date of regularization for pensionary benefits etc.,

(e) The SLPs filed by the Union of India before the Apex Court in a few cases of casual labourers were dismissed and the Hon’ble Supreme Court had directed the Union of India to calculate Pension and other retiral benefits payable to the retiring/retired employees, taking into account the 100% temporary status service.

The Staff Side, therefore, requests to consider the above valid points and accord approval for counting total temporary status service of Casual Labourers for pensionary benefits in Railways.

Sub: Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme (MACPS) for the Central Government Employees – Arbitrary revision of benchmark from “Good” to “Very Good”-reg.

The Staff Side brings to the notice of the Government that after introduction of the Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme (MACPS) w.e.f. 01st June 2009, the JCM (Staff Side) took up the issue relating to the benchmark laid down for granting financial upgradation under the schemd at the level of DoP&T and discussed in the Joint Committee Meetings and National Advisory Committee Meetings held on 17/0712012 ad 2710712012, urging to reconsider the benchmark concept taking into consideration the norms laid down for promotion of staff. After discussions, the DoP&T vide O.M. No. 35034/3/2008-Estt. (D) (Vol. II) dated 1st November 2010 & 4th October 2012 had issued instructions that the benchmark maintained for filling the vacancy through promotion by selection/non-selection/fitness be adopted for granting financial upgradation.

The Staff Side however, expresses its disappointment over the decision (Resolution No.1-2/2016-IC dated 25th July 2016) of the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure) introducing the benchmark “Very Good” for granting financial upgradation. The Government could have taken into consideration the bilateral agreement reached with the JCM (Staff Side) and the decision communicated vide DoP&T O.M. dated lst November 2010 and 4th October 2012 for continuance of the standard prescribed already for granting MACP. Ignoring the said decision and introducing the benchmark concept of “Very Good” is an unjustified action when bilateral agreement had already been reached with the JCM (Staff Side).

The Staff Side therefore urges to review for cancellation of upgraded bench mark decision.

Source: NFIR

Information on House Rent Allowances : Finance Ministry Office Memorandum

Centre to hike dearness allowance by 2% from January 1, 2017

The Centre is likely to announce a hike of 2-4 per cent in dearness allowance for its about 50 lakh employees and 58 lakh pensioners later this month.

Dearness allowance and dearness relief are provided to employees and pensioners to neutralise the impact of inflation on their earnings. The labour unions, however, are not happy with the proposed hike saying it would not be able to offset the real impact of price rise.
"The dearness allowance as per the agreed formula by the Centre works out to be 2 per cent which would be effected from January 1, 2017," Confederation of Central Government Employees' president K K N Kutty told PTI.

However, Kutty expressed dissatisfaction over such a "meagre" hike saying that the consumer price index for industrial workers (CPI-IW) which is an agreed benchmark for increasing dearness allowance is far from reality.

He said that there is difference between the quantum of price rise of commodities ascertained by the labour bureau and the ministry of agriculture.

CPI-IW is an imaginary number due to poor quality of data collection by labour bureau and it is far from reality, he claimed.

The average CPI-IW to be taken into account for raising DA is 4.95 per cent from January 1 to December 31, 2017. Since the government has already hiked the dearness allowance by 2 per cent in October last year from July 1, 2016, it will now raise it further by 2 per cent.

As per an agreed upon formula, the Centre hikes the allowance taking 12-month average of retail inflation. The government does not consider the price rise rate beyond a decimal point for deciding the rate of the dearness allowance.

Therefore, despite the fact that the hike works out to be 2.95 per cent, the government will ignore the rate of price rise beyond decimal point and increase the DA by 2 per cent.

The dearness allowance is paid as proportion of the basic pay of the central government employees.

Source : The Times of India

Aadhaar data base fully safe and secure, says UIDAI


New Delhi, Mar 5 (PTI) Dismissing reports of misuse of biometrics data, the government today said Aadhaar-based authentication is "fully safe and secure".

Moreover, subsidy transfers linked to Aadhaar has led the exchequer to save Rs 49,000 crore during the last two-and-half years.
According to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), there has been no incident of misuse of Aadhaar biometrics leading to identity theft and financial loss when more than 400 crore Aadhaar authenticated transactions took place during the last five years, it said.

UIDAI also said that it has carefully gone through various reports and would like to emphasise that there has been no breach to UIDAI database of Aadhaar in any manner whatsoever and personal data of individuals held by UIDAI is fully safe and secure.

"Aadhaar-based authentication is robust and secure as compared to any other contemporary systems. Aadhaar system has the capability to inquire into any instance of misuse of biometrics and identity theft and initiate action," it said.

With reference to an incident of misuse of biometrics reported in a newspaper, UIDAI said that it is an isolated case of an employee working with a bank's Business Correspondent's company making an attempt to misuse his own biometrics which was detected by UIDAI internal security system and subsequently actions under the Aadhaar Act were initiated.

Responding to media reports about on-boarding of the ecosystem partners, UIDAI said that the regulations under the Aadhaar Act strictly regulate the on-boarding, functioning including the data sharing restrictions imposed on the companies which want to use Aadhaar information.

UIDAI further said that Aadhaar is an important tool of good governance and empowerment of people and has helped more than 4.47 crore people open bank accounts through Aadhaar e-KYC.

It has enabled the government to do Direct Benefit Transfers under various schemes including LPG subsidy and has helped the exchequer save over Rs 49,000 crore during the last two and half years.

Aadhaar-based Public Distributions System is benefiting people by ensuring that their food grain entitlement are given only to the deserving beneficiaries and are not cornered by unscrupulous and corrupt elements, it said.

With reference to reports that there are no extant regulations available to prevent storage and misuse of e-KYC data, while citing instances like capturing IRIS from high resolution photograph, UIDAI said that there are stringent provisions in the Aadhaar (Authentication) Regulations governing the usage of e-KYC data including storage and sharing, resident consent being paramount in both the cases.

Any unauthorised capture of IRIS or fingerprints or storage or replay of biometrics or their misuse is a criminal offence under the Aadhaar Act, it said.

State Bank of India - Revision of Service Charge from 01/04/2017