India’s tax pie gets altered because of Covid; share of direct taxes drops


India’s tax pie seems to have undergone a subtle change with a sharp drop in direct tax collections resulting from a disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 carnage on incomes.

The share of indirect taxes, which mainly comprise of levy on goods and services as well as import duty, has risen while that of – made up of corporate and personal income tax – has gone down in 2020.

In an interview with PTI, Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said in a pandemic like this where the economy has been impacted, any large scale changes impact more severely, whereas indirect tax collection is mostly proportional to business turnover and compliance.

“In a situation like this where the economy has been impacted and we are on the recovery path, the are impacted more severely because the profitability of a company is not directly proportional to the turnover always. If your turnover reduces below a certain benchmark then the profit will not merely reduce, but it may get into a negative zone and therefore the company may not pay any income tax as it will be into a loss.

Centre plans to offload 10% stake in Rashtriya Chemical and Fertilizers


The government is planning to sell 10 per cent stake in Rashtriya Chemical and Fertilizers Ltd (RCFL) and invited bids from merchant banker and legal firms for managing the share sale process.

Interested merchant bankers and legal advisors will have to be submit their bids by January 28 and January 29, respectively, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said in a notice.

The government holds 75 per cent stake in RCFL and intends to disinvest 10 per cent of the paid up through an offer for sale (OFS).

The merchant banker would be required to advise the government on the timing and the modalities of the OFS, esure best return from the government and assist in securing approval and exemptions, wherever necessary, from regulatory agencies.

The government will select and appoint two merchant bankers for managing the share sale process.

Shares of RCF closed at Rs 54 apiece on Friday. At the current market price, the 10 per cent stake sale would fetch about Rs 300 crore to the exchequer.

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Seventh Body Found In Norway Mudslide, Three Still Missing


Rescue workers have uncovered a seventh body from a landslide that buried homes in a village near Norway’s capital, police said Sunday, but hopes persist that three people still missing might yet be found alive.

The tragedy occurred early on Wednesday when houses were destroyed and shifted hundreds of metres under a torrent of mud in the village of Ask, 25 kilometres (15 miles) northeast of Oslo.

Deadly landslide in Norway
 AFP / Sophie RAMIS

Police spokesman Bjorn Christian Willersrud told journalists they hoped to find more survivors in the landslide zone. “It is still a rescue operation until we decide otherwise,” he said.

Earlier Sunday, the head of the rescue operation, Goran Syversen, told reporters:

“We are working hard in the depression created by the landslide.

The disaster happened when part of a hillside collapsed

The disaster happened when part of a hillside collapsed
 NTB / Cornelius POPPE

“We have five teams working at the same time. They are doing very difficult work which is not without risk. Nevertheless, we are making good progress.”

Police said the latest body was found near where two others had been recovered, but gave no further details. The teams, backed up by sniffer dogs, helicopters and drones, have now found three bodies

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