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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Committee on Allowances submits report, keeps HRA at 30 per cent



The Committee on Allowances, headed by Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa, has submitted its report on higher allowances, under the 7th Pay Commission recommendations, to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The Committee on Allowances has suggested to keep the house rent allowance (HRA) as it was under the 6th Pay Commission–at 30 per cent, 20 per cent, and 10 per cent respectively.
“The Committee on Allowances has already submitted the report on higher allowance to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The final decision on allowance will be taken by the end of this month or in the next meeting scheduled on March 23,” said the Zee Business report, quoting sources. Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal, in his written reply to Lok Sabha on March 10 about the 7th Pay Commission, had said the ‘Committee on Allowance’ hasn’t submitted its report.
While the government is yet to approved the report of the Committee on Allowance, a senior Finance Ministry official had said the central government employees will start receiving higher allowance according to 7th Pay Commission recommendations from April 1.
Central government employees have been protesting against the abolition of 51 allowances and subsuming of 37 others out of 196 allowances, recommended by the 7th Pay Commission. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley then formed the Committee on Allowance to look into the provision of allowances other than dearness allowance under the 7th Pay Commission recommendations.
Central government employees are currently receiving all allowances except dearness allowance, according to the 6th Pay Commission recommendations. The National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), which has been negotiating with Centre over the 7th Pay Commission report, threatened to launch an agitation if the allowances are not hiked from April 1.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

GPF Withdrawals – Amendment orders issued



No.3/2/2017-P&PW(F)(ii)
Ministry of Personnel, PG & Pensions
Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare
Desk-F
3rd Floor, Lok Nayak Bhavan,
Khan Market, New Delhi-11 0003
Dated the 7th March, 2017.
OFFICE MEMORANDUM
Subject: Amendment to the provisions of General Provident Fund (Central Service )Rules 1960- liberalization of provisions for withdrawals from the Fund by the subscribers – regarding.
The General Provident Fund (Central Service )Rules came into force in 1960 and Rule 15 of the said rules provide for withdrawals by the subscribers. Some amendments have been made from time to time to address the concerns raised by the subscribers. However, the provisions, largely remain restrictive. There is a felt need to liberalize provisions, raise limits and simplify the procedure.
2. The provisions in the rules have been reviewed and it has now been decided to permit withdrawals from the fund by the subscriber for the following purposes:
(i) Education – This will include primary, secondary and higher education, covering all streams and institutions,
(ii) Obligatory Expenses viz. betrothal, marriage, funerals, or other ceremonies of self or family members and dependants,
(iii) Illness of self, family members or dependants,
(iv) Purchase of consumer durables.
3. It has been decided to permit withdrawal of upto twelve months payor three-fourth of the amount standing at credit, whichever is less. For illness, the withdrawal may be allowed upto 90% of the amount standing at credit of the subscriber. A subscriber may seek withdrawal after completion of ten years of service.
(v) Housing including building or acquiring a suitable-house or a ready-built flat for his-residence,
(vi) Repayment of outstanding housing loan,
(vii) Purchase of house site for building a house,
(viii) Constructing a house on a site acquired,
(ix) Reconstructing or making additions on a house already acquired,
(x) Renovating, additions or alterations of ancestral house.
4. A subscriber may be allowed to withdraw upto ninety percent of the amount standing at credit for the above purposes. It is also decided do away with the present instructions which lay down that subsequent to the sale of house for which GPF withdrawal has been availed, the amount. withdrawn has to be deposited back. GPF withdrawal for housing purpose will no longer be linked with the limits prescribed under HBA rules. A subscriber may be permitted to avail the facility at any time during his service.
(xi) Purchase of motor car/motor cycle/ scooter etc. or repayment of loan already taken for the purpose,
(xii) Extensive repairs /overhauling of motor car,
(xiii)Making deposit to book a motor car/motor cycle/scoter, moped etc.
5. A subscriber may be permitted to withdraw three- fourth of the amount standing at credit or cost of the vehicle, whichever is less for the above purposes. Withdrawal for the above purpose will be permitted after completion of 10 years of service.
6. Presently, withdrawal of upto 90% of balance without assigning reasons is allowed for Government servants who are due for retirement on superannuation within a year. It is proposed that this may be allowed for upto two years before superannuation.
7. In all cases of withdrawal from the fund by the subscriber, the declared Head of Department is competent to sanction withdrawal. No documentary proof will be required to be furnished by the subscriber. A simple declaration form by the subscriber explaining the reasons for withdrawal would be sufficient.
8. As per the GPF(CS) Rule 1960, no time limit has been prescribed for sanction and payment of withdrawal amount. Therefore, it has been decided to prescribe a maximum time limit of fifteen days for sanction and payment of withdrawal from the Fund. In case of emergencies like illness etc., the time limit maybe restricted to seven days.
9. Necessary amendment to the GPF(Central Service)Rules 1960, giving effect to the above provisions will be issued in due course.
10. In so far as persons serving in Indian Audit and Accounts Department are concerned, these orders issue in consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
11. This issues with approval of Department of Expenditure, vide their ID No. 4(1 )/EV/2017 dated 28.02.2017.
12. Hindi version of this OM will follow
sd/-
(Sujasha Choudhu)
Director

Friday, March 3, 2017

DA INCREASE WEF 01 JUL 2017 IS LIKELY TO BE 3-4 %



Since
7th Pay Commission  (New Formula)
Month
All
India Index
% of
Increase
Jan-17
274
5.11
Feb-17
Mar-17
Apr-17
May-17
Jun-17
Jul-17
Aug-17
Sep-17
Oct-17
Nov-17
Dec-17
Jan-18



















Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) — January, 2017

The All-India CPI-IW for January, 2017 decreased by 1 point and stood at 274 (two hundred and seventy four). On 1-month percentage change, it decreased by (-) 0.36 per cent between December, 2016 and January, 2017, when compared between the same two months a year ago wherein it remained static.



Monday, February 20, 2017

Confederation call for observing 6th March 2017 as Black Day

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 16th March 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 allowance 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. 6th March, 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.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)
Secretary General

Confederation

Friday, February 17, 2017

Six WhatsApp Features You May Not Know About



WhatsApp is the most used instant messenger in India, and many parts of the world. There are many things we would like to see on WhatsApp, but the fact is that the Facebook-owned company has been making a lot of steady improvements. Today, you can do things like make a video call, or add a GIF, and a whole lot more. Here are some of the not-so-obvious WhatsApp features that you may not be aware of, but will find useful.
1) Two-factor authentication
Recently, WhatsApp rolled out two-factor authentication for its chat service. If you recall, there’s no username and password you need to use WhatsApp – you just need to type your phone number and verify it via an OTP SMS. If someone steals your phone, even if the phone is locked down, they could take out your SIM card and put it in a different phone. With just that much effort, they would have access to your WhatsApp account, as it would just require an SMS to verify the new phone. By enabling two-factor authentication, you can protect yourself from such fraudulent behaviour, as it will ask you to set a six digit passcode, which WhatsApp will ask every time you try to re-verify your account. And in case you forget your passcode, there’s a way to reset it via email too.
2) Reply to a specific message in a group chat
This might have happened to you – while conversing, you reply a little later, and it leaves the other side wondering about the context. In WhatsApp conversations, press and hold on a particular line of text, and hit the backward arrow button that appears on top on Android (or tap ‘reply’ on an iPhone). This lets you quote the particular message in a conversation, which you can comment on. Also, tapping on a quoted WhatsApp reply scrolls the conversation to the position of the original message.
3) Find out who’s read your message in a group chat
In a one-on-one conversation, it is easy to figure out whether the recipient has read your WhatsApp message, thanks to the blue coloured double tick symbol. But in a WhatsApp group conversation, it’s not as obvious to tell who exactly from the group has read your message. There’s actually an easy way to find this out – press and hold the message and hit the ‘i’ button on the top on Android (‘info’ on an iPhone). Here, you’ll get to see how many people from the WhatsApp group have read this particular message. In iOS, you can also just hold and drag the message to the left to go to that menu.
4) Listen to voice messages discreetly
Some people prefer sending WhatsApp voice messages instead of typing text. A common problem with this is that hitting the ‘play’ button makes the voice message play on the speakerphone by default. This may be a problem when you’re in the vicinity of others and would prefer if they didn’t hear it.
The solution is simple – just hit the ‘Play’ button and put the phone to your ear – it will automatically switch from speakerphone to the earpiece and play the WhatsApp voice message back there.
5) Manipulate text for better emphasis
There’s certain syntax that you can apply to manipulate text for better emphasis on WhatsApp. For example, applying an asterisk before and after words (e.g *like so*) makes them appear in bold in the WhatsApp conversation. Similarly, adding underscores (e.g _like this_) makes text appear italicised, and words enclosed inside two tilde symbols (~) strikes them off.
6) Message a user in a group to get their attention
Last but not the least, adding an @name in a WhatsApp group conversation lets you alert other users that they’ve been mentioned inside a group, similar to @mentions on Twitter.
So there you have it. Here’s hoping you discovered a useful WhatsApp feature or two that will make your usage better. Have any tricks of your own to share? Let the world know via the comments below.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New Income Tax Rates And Deductions Applicable From April 1, 2017

With some tinkering in the income tax rates for 2017-18, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reduced the tax rate for income between Rs. 2.5 lakh and Rs. 5 lakh to 5 per cent in the Union Budget, while adding a surcharge of 10 per cent on tax for income between Rs. 50 lakh and Rs. 1 crore.
Although the basic income tax exemption limit remains the same at Rs. 2.5 lakh, there are many exemptions available in the Income Tax Act, which can substantially reduce your tax liability.
One needs to plan from the beginning of the next financial year to take maximum benefit of the income tax deductions available.

Here are the new income tax slabs for taxpayers:

General categorySenior citizensSuper senior citizens
(Up to 60 years of age)(60-80 years)(Above 80 years)
IncomeTaxIncomeTaxIncomeTax
Up to Rs. 2.5 lakhNilUp to Rs. 3 lakhNilUp to Rs. 5 lakhNil
Rs. 2,50,001-Rs. 5 lakh5%Rs. 3,00,001-Rs. 5 lakh5%Rs. 5,00,001-Rs. 10 lakh20%
Rs. 500,001-Rs. 10 lakh20%Rs. 5,00,001-Rs. 10 lakh20%Above Rs. 10 lakh30%
Above Rs. 10 lakh30%Above Rs. 10 lakh30%
# Surcharge of 10% for income between Rs. 50 lakh and Rs. 1 crore
# Surcharge of 15% for income above Rs. 1 crore
# Rebate of up to Rs. 2,500 for taxable salary up to Rs. 3.5 lakh
# Education and higher education cess of 3%
Here are the some of the deductions available for FY2017-18: 

House Rent Allowance under Section 10 (13A) of the Income Tax Act

House Rent Allowance, commonly known as HRA, makes up a major chunk of a salaried individual’s total pay. HRA is partly exempted from tax. If you are staying in your own house or not paying any rent, your HRA will be completely taxable. However, those who stay with their parents can also claim HRA benefits by paying rent to their parents.
The amount which is allowed for exemption under HRA is calculated as minimum of:
1) Rent paid annually minus 10 per cent of basic salary plus dearness allowance
2) Actual HRA received
3) 40 per cent of basic and dearness allowance (50 per cent in case of metro cities)

Deductions under Section 80C

Section 80C of the Income Tax Act provides various provisions under which an individual can get deduction benefits up to Rs. 1.5 lakh. Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), Public Provident Fund (PPF), Sukanya Samriddhi Account, National Savings Certificate and tax-saving fixed deposits are some of the investment options that offer benefits under Section 80C. The premium paid for life insurance plans, National Pension Scheme (NPS) and tax-saving mutual funds (ELSS) also qualify for deduction under Section 80C. 
Further, one can claim tuition fees paid for up to two children, principal repayment on home loan, stamp duty and registration cost on the house bought as deduction under Section 80C. 

Deductions under Section 80CCD(1B)

Introduced in Budget 2015-16, Section 80CCD (1B) provides deduction up to Rs. 50,000 for investment in NPS Tier 1 account. This deduction is over and above the deduction available in Section 80C. An individual in 30 per cent tax bracket can save up to Rs. 15,450 of tax by investing Rs. 50,000 in NPS.

Deduction of interest on housing loan (Section 24B)

Buying a house is among several other things an individual wants to do during his or her lifetime. The income tax rules also incentivise the same. Under Section 24B of the Income Tax Act, interest paid up to Rs. 2 lakh on housing loan and up to Rs. 30,000 on home improvement loan is allowable as deduction from your taxable income. 
The government has however cut down tax benefits borrowers enjoyed on properties let out on rent. As per current tax laws, for properties rented out, a borrower could deduct the entire interest paid on home loan after adjusting for the rental income. On the other hand, borrowers of self-occupied properties get Rs. 2 lakh deduction on interest repayment on home loan.
However, according to the proposed change in Budget 2017, on rented properties, the borrower can only claim deduction of up to Rs. 2 lakh per year after adjusting for the rental income. And the amount above Rs. 2 lakh can be carried forward for eight assessment years.
Since the interest component of home loan repaid in initial years is higher, experts say that the borrower may not be able to fully adjust the interest paid as deduction even in subsequent years.

Deduction under Section 80EE

Under Section 80EE, an additional deduction of Rs. 50,000 is available over and above the limit of Section 24B on interest paid on home loans if the person is buying a house for the first time (the person must not own any other residential property on the date of sanction of loan). However, to avail the benefit of this section the value of the property must be below Rs. 50 lakh and the loan amount should not exceed Rs. 35 lakh. Further, the property must be bought after April 1, 2016.

Deduction under Section 80D 

Premium paid for medical/health insurance for self, spouse, children and parents qualify for deduction under this Section. On can claim deduction of Rs. 25,000, if he is below 60 years of age, and Rs. 30,000 if he is above 60 years of age, towards medical insurance premium paid for self, spouse and children. Further, additional deduction of Rs. 25,000 is available if one has bought medical insurance for his parents. This deduction can go up to Rs. 30,000 if parents are above the age of 60 years.

Deduction under Section 80DD

If a tax payer has dependent parents, spouse, children or siblings who are differently-abled, then he can claim deductions up to Rs. 75,000 for expenses on their maintenance and medical treatment under this section. This deduction can increase to Rs. 1.25 lakh in case of severe disability.

Deduction under Section 80DDB

Under this section, one can claim deduction of Rs. 40,000 for treatment of certain diseases for self and dependents. The deduction can go up to Rs. 60,000 if the tax payer is above 60 years of age and if he is above 80 years of age, then the deduction amount is up to Rs. 80,000.

Deduction under Section 80E

According to the provisions of Section 80E, a taxpayer can claim deduction for interest paid on education loan for him, spouse or children. There is no upper limit on the amount of deduction. However, the loan must have been taken from a financial institutional or approved charitable institution and for full-time higher education.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Center to hike allowances of Central Govt employees from April 1

 A day after Budget 2017 was tabled in the Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Central Government employees were upset as the Union Minister nowhere mentioned any increase in the hike of allowances in the 7th Pay Commission. But the members of National Joint Action Committee (NJCA) are an optimist about the implementation of 7CPC and believe that the government will come up with some positive news on April 1. The NJCA also believe that the Union Government will be implementing the 7CPC latest by April 1, after the end of financial year.
On Wednesday, the central government employees were gripped with pessimism after Arun Jaitley made no reference to the anomalies related to 7CPC in his Budget speech. “All of us were eagerly waiting for Finance Minister to make some announcement on minimum wages. But after Mr Jaitley’s speech ended without mentioning a single word about the increase in the minimum wage, most of us were upset,” Shiv Gopal Mishra, NJCA chief said to India.com.
He further added, “The government may implement the 7CPC by April 1 and their demand to increase the minimum wage will also be implemented. If the government fails to increase minimum wages from Rs 18,000 to Rs 25,000 then we will launch a massive protest against the government”.
The NJCA has been actively involved with the Centre where they are seeking a revision of minimum salary from Rs 18,000 to Rs 26,000. The NJCA members and its conveyor had also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, a day after the implementation of 7CPC and had kept their demands in front of senior leaders.
Shiv Gopal Mishra is quite optimist about the hike in allowances of government employees but he is not sure that their demands of raising the minimum wage would be fulfilled by the government.
On Wednesday, most of the senior central government employees were eagerly waiting for the Budget speech as most of them expected the Finance Minister to speak on the 7CPC.
On July 1, 2016, the 7th Pay Commission was approved by the Union Cabinet. The date of implementation was fixed by the high-powered committee as for January 1, 2016. From the month of July, the central government employees were provided with the hiked salaries, along with the arrears of six months. But the hike was only related to the basic component of their pay. The increase in allowances was upheld, due to the anomalies raised by employees unions.
The implementation of 7th Pay Commission will directly benefit around 47 lakh central government employees, along with 53 lakh pensioners. In the 7th Pay Commission, the minimum wage has been revised from Rs 7,000 to Rs 18,000. While the maximum salary has been capped at Rs 2.5 lakh.