A high-level NITI Aayog Committee of Chief Ministers has favoured continuance of service tax exemptions on digital payments beyond December 31, in order to make India a less-cash economy.
NITI Aayog, along with Nasscom and telecom operators, will also be launching a dedicated helpline for all digital payments-related queries soon.
“We want to recommend this (service tax exemptions) to government of India to continue not only beyond December 31, even beyond March 31, and for the future also. If digital currency will be costlier than physical currency, then people will go to physical currency,” Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said.
Naidu was speaking to reporters after the fourth meeting of Committee of Chief Ministers on digital payment.
Meanwhile, Nasscom, telecom operators, and NITI Aayog have come together to create a dedicated helpline - 14444 - for addressing all queries on digital payments as government strives to attract majority of Indians into making cashless transactions post demonetisation.
Naidu also said plans are afoot to import one million PoS machines to enable cashless payments across India.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister said that the Committee of Chief Ministers will present its interim report on digital payments movement to Prime Minister Narendra Modi within a week.
“We are planning a sustainable, long-term, policy to attract a majority in India to move to digital payments through providing incentives...,” Naidu said.
He added that two major breakthroughs using existing infrastructure -- Aadhaar Pay and modified versions of USSD and UPI -- would be launched soon. This apart, significant upgrades in technology have been made and new capacities created to enable millions of Indians use digital payments, he said.
An app for UPI and interoperability of USSD and UPI has now been made possible which will be a major push for 600 million Indians to use digital payments. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister also said that the Committee is working with NITI Aayog to address existing constraints in connectivity, hardware and technical infrastructure to push cashless transactions. During the meeting, a presentation was also made on best practices and learnings from other countries for a digital economy in India.
When asked if he has changed his position on demonetisation of higher value currency notes, Naidu said, “We are going to have variable advantages...Even today, there are some problems. People are suffering today for the larger interest of the country. So, we have to appreciate that.
Proof of tax paid, 4-yr money lock-in must to avail of PMGKY
Blackmoney holders keen to avail of the new tax evasion amnesty scheme will have to first deposit 49.9 per cent tax and park a quarter of their unaccounted cash in zero-interest deposit before being able to apply for it.
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016, which provides last chance to holders of undisclosed income in the form of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes to come clean, will not be applicable to any person facing prosecution for corruption, holding benami property, money laundering, violation of foreign exchange or drug trafficking.
In a clarification on Provisions of the Taxation and Investment Regime for PMGKY, CBDT said the scheme will not be applicable to anyone facing charges under the Foreign Blackmoney Act.
“The provisions of this scheme shall not apply in relation to any person in respect of whom an order of detention has been made under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974,” it said.
This is also not applicable to cases of detention orders in relation to prosecution for any offence punishable under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, 1988 and the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002.
Additionally, the provisions will not cover “any person notified under Section 3 of the Special Court (Trial of Offences Relating to Transactions in Securities) Act, 1992”.
CBDT promised that the content of the declarations made shall not be admissible as evidence against the declarant under any Act other than the exceptions listed above.
IT said that upon making a valid declaration, the amount of undisclosed income declared will not be included in the total income of the declarant under the Income Tax Act for any assessment year.