Calcutta Chamber of Commerce: the oldest chamber of commerce in IndiaCalcutta Chamber of Commerce: the oldest chamber of commerce in India

Major Events 2016-17
October 15, 2017
186th AGM of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce

Shri C.R. Chaudhary, Hon'ble Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Commerce & Industry addressed the Inaugural Session of the 186th AGM of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.

Union Minister Shri C R Chaudhary in his inaugural speech asked the chambers to act as facilitators to raise employability in the small scale sector. The minister said - "The government is working on three planks - maximum production with quality, maximum employment and maximum export, expressing his government's resolve to encourage small enterprises, including start-ups. He said the government is committed to promote start-ups and financial incentives are being given to them depending on the viability of the project. He added, there is no dearth of brain in the country but the employability of the present generation needs to be ensured. The minister felt demonestisation and GST, initiated by his government, will transform the economy.

The Minister said the central government is working on mechanisms to further speed up the GST refund process for exporters. In a relief to exporters, the government recently announced that it would immediately refund exporters for the month of July and August through cheques from October 10 and October 18, respectively. Shri Chaudhary said large scale reforms like GST will often lead to hiccups and inconvenience during inception but it will be beneficial in the long run. "Rise in export data for September shows that initial hiccups of GST roll out is stabilizing," he added.

July 25, 2017
Transforming Lives through Education and Innovation Cum Education Excellence Awards 2017 organized jointly by ASSOCHAM & Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.

Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon'ble Minister of State for HRD (Higher Education), Government of India was Chief Guest, and the Guest of Honour was Shri Anil Swarup, I.A.S., Secretary, School Education & Literacy, Ministry of HRD, Government of India.

Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey said the Centre is formulating a draft education policy taking views of all stakeholders. Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey invited industry to come forward for partnership to take up development schemes, support start-ups, and take up new initiatives. He also talked about various measures to tap other elements who are engaged in the field of education. He said education is a subject matter of centre and state and expected greater cooperation from all the states. He invited suggestions and comments on draft education policy and other matters from industry members.

The programme was focussed on pre-school education, primary and secondary schooling and higher education. The deliberations centered around quality in education, technological interventions that can take sector forward and the holistic education and engagement of educators from pre-school level. On this occasion, office bearers of ASSOCHAM and Calcutta Chamber of Commerce were present. The gathering was informed by ASSOCHAM that the programme delibrations will be consolidated and key points alongwith inputs from stakeholders will be submitted to the Ministry of HRD for consideration.

Secretary to the union school education and literacy Ministry Shri Anil Swarup said to provide relief from buying text books at high prices, NCERT books will be made available to students of all public and private schools. However, choice should be available and option should be given to the school students. He said "So far our information goes CBSE has 20,000 schools and 13 crore books are consumed (used) by students. But while the maximum price of a NCERT book is Rs 50, that of a non-NCERT book goes upto Rs 300,".

The students of 20000 schools spent Rs 650 crore while buying NCERT books, however for non-NCERT publications they have to spend Rs 3900 crore, he said. "This is not a small margin. I am worried about the financial burden on the school children – there is no qualitative comparison." Suggesting that non-NCERT were of better quality, he said, "If you consider the performance of students of Kendriya Vidayalaya and Navodaya schools where 100 per cent of books are NCERT publications, the performance percentage of these institutions is much better than other institutions."

July 20, 2017
Special Session on Furthering Trade Ties Between India and Japan.

The Session was addressed by H.E. Mr. Masayuki Taga, Consul General of Japan, Kolkata.

Masayuki Taga, Consul General of Japan said Japan today laid emphasis on different avenues of its bi-lateral trade with India to transform Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership into a deep, broad-based and action-oriented partnership. "This has reflected a broad convergence of long-term political, economic and strategic goals between the two countries,". Taga said "It is obvious that relations between India and Japan have substantially improved and deepened in nearly all fields. As a result of this, Japan has now turned up as the third-largest FDI facilitator into India." Frequent exchanges at the ministerial level between heads of governments clearly signal India's growing importance for Japan and vice versa.

In November 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Japan and had a summit meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The diplomat said this summit meeting substantially advanced the "new era in Japan-India relations," and expressed hope that both countries will lead to prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region as a result of the Act East policy. Taga discussed the importance for "Japan and India Vision 2025 Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World," a joint statement, which will serve as a guide for the "new era in Japan-India relations."

July 15, 2017
Special Session on Corporate Governance

The Session was addressed by Shri Ananta Barua, Executive Director, The Security and Exchange Board of India.

Sebi executive director Ananta Barua said "The question arises whether independent directors are really independent. It has come to our notice that in many cases if an independent director resigns, personal reasons are being given. Now, one of the things which is being debated is whether the independent director should give the detailed reasons (of resignation/cessation) to the stock exchanges," Under present norms, an independent director may resign by sending a letter of resignation in writing to the company. If the letter is accepted by the board of directors, it has to be filed with the registrar of companies. But it is not mandatory to disclose the details of the resignation/cessation with the stock exchanges. Barua indicated the regulator was keen on having stricter norms for independent directors, including with respect to their appointment, removal and larger responsibility as part of a company’s board.

Shri Barua said SEBI will seek public comments after it receives Kotak committee report on improvement of corporate governance standards including function of independent directors in September. The watchdog set up a 21-member committee under the chairmanship of veteran banker Uday Kotak to suggest ways to further improve corporate governance standards of listed companies. The panel will make recommendations on ensuring independence in spirit of independent directors and their active participation in functioning of the company.

June 20, 2017
Special Session on Re-Architecting India –Where will it Lead Sensex to?

The Session was addressed by Shri Nilesh Shah, Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Co Ltd.

Shri Nilesh Shah remarked that the government seems to have Plan A, B & C on Demonetization. Plan A was based on the hope that a big chunk of black money will not return to the banking system. Hence, the government, by appropriating unreturned money, could have funded massive infrastructure development to accelerate GDP growth. While the RBI is yet to reveal how much cash has returned, one can safely assume that majority of cash has returned to the banking system making Plan A ineffective. Plan B which is currently operational is to ensure that cash deposited in bank passes through the tax net. Eighteen lakh accounts are being targeted to expand the tax net. It is likely that between Rs 50,000 crore and Rs 1,00,000 crore can be recovered in additional taxes through Plan B between the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna and normal tax route.

Plan C is 'India's China Moment'. In 1980 India and China were almost equal in GDP. By 2016 India has become less than 20% of China. There are many reasons why China has leapfrogged India. One of the main reasons is China's credit expansion. Their credit to GDP ratio is officially about three times higher than India's. It could be more than four times higher if we include shadow banking of China. We failed to create adequate credit to support rapid growth. Our cash to GDP ratio was 12% on Nov ember 8, 2016. Velocity of cash is between 1-2 times depending upon distance from election periods. Velocity of bank money is averaging between 5 and 7 times for the last few years.Obsession of Indians to keep higher cash has cost the country dearly in terms of lower growth, higher poverty and poor infrastructure. The RBI is unlikely to print currency to the same level of November 8.

Shri Shah pointed out one analysis of BSE 200 companies, in FY15 broad BSE 200 showed negative earnings growth of 4.2% but within that, there were 105 companies which delivered 21.8% earnings growth. In FY16 earnings growth improved to 0.4%, a very mediocre earnings growth but there were 101 companies which delivered 32% earnings growth. So there is a pocket where earning  are coming in NBFCs, private sector banks, oil marketing companies, auto component companies, automobile companies, domestic pharma companies, some of the building materials companies, some of the chemicals and speciality chemicals. What is being wiped out from all these good efforts and good results are the public sector banks and corporate focussed private sector banks. In one pocket of corporate India there is still 20% earnings growth and in another pocket of corporate India there are losses.

We have one of the strongest macros in the world. People outside of India are far more bullish on India than inside of India. They are evaluating many more countries and they are finding India to be on resounding top down bet. We believe over a longer period of time if we can withstand the short-term volatility, Indian equities will still deliver decent return. It will not be as huge as we have witnessed in let us say last one year from February 2016 but certainly it will be far better than what we have witnessed between Jan 2008 till today.

June 14, 2017
Talk & Interactive Session on Goods & Service Tax (GST)

The Session was addressed by Shri S.K. Panda, IRS, Chief Commissioner of Service Tax, Kolkata Zone, Shri Kaushik Chakrabarty, Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, West Bengal and Shri Sushil Kr. Goyal, CA, Vice Chairman, Indirect Tax Committee, ICAI.

The Chief Commissioner of Service Tax, Kolkata Zone Shri S K Panda said Bengal will be the best state across the country for GST administration. The state is now the most prepared for adapting to GST among all other states in the country as most of the businessmen, organisations and forums have already migrated to the new system. The Chief Commissioner of Service Tax also said "Bengal will play the most important role in GST. It will be the best state across the country for GST administration. We can see that the most of assesses have migrated to the new system. We are completely ready,". Chief Commissioner of Service Tax mentioned that they have received a great response from the businessmen. "The businessmen have been waiting for it since the last 10-15 years. Now they are saying that this is a great reform and we should bring it in as soon as possible," he added.

However, it may be mentioned that Bengal has achieved the highest enrolment percentage, which is 91 per cent in GST through the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBSC). Dual GST in India will consist of Central GST (CGST) and State GST (SGST). In place of Central Sales Tax (CST), there will be IGST which will be known as Integrated Tax. The Central government organised GST Mobile Van, GST Walkathon, GST Morning Walk seminars and many other such programs. Tax officers said that a GST Motorbike Rally is also being planned in the city and it is advisable for the businesses to share their mobile numbers at the time of registration.

Shri Kaushik Chakrabarty said that GST is being framed after taking into consideration the recommendations of the users and therefore the laws and the draft were changed again and again. The Government aims to ensure that there will be no problem from the users’ end. There should be seamless flow of business, tax administration and use of all the provisions that have been framed in the law.

Shri Sushil Kr. Goyal commented that we have to apply fresh when GST will be implemented. One cannot issue GST bill unless he/she is registered or migrated. Definitely provisions of GST are coming for ease of doing business. But the question remains how much ease of business will be there for smaller businessmen? He also pointed out the complicacies involved in submission of return. Truly, GST is a beautiful mechanism if everything going correct, if it is not going correct one will be on toes.

June 10, 2017
Special Session on Consumer Protection: Issues and Challenges

The Session was addressed by Shri Sadhan Pande, Hon’ble Minister for Consumer Affairs, Government of West Bengal.

Consumer Affairs Minister Shri Sadhan Pandey informed that a new consumer forum will be set up in Siliguri so that local people, along with tourists, can lodge their complaints there. Within the budgetary limits of the department of consumer affairs, 26 new forums will be set up in order to eliminate the difficulty of people who have to travel to distant places to get their cases filed. These forums will also have a ‘Consumer Assistance Bureau’ that will associate with the NGOs to provide services to the poor people in the court. As far as Kolkata is concerned, a new consumer forum is being set up in Rajarhat.

"All over India, this Consumer Affairs Department is combined with the Food Department. Now Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, the Central Minister, has requested all the Chief Ministers to separate the Consumer Affairs Department from the Food Department." He also informed that the National Consumers Commission which is located in Delhi has never come to Kolkata to analyze matters of Consumer Affairs and on his advice the commission will be moving all over India. "This is the first time the national Commission is coming to Kolkata", he added.

May 27, 2017
Special Session on "Furthering Trade Ties between India and China"

The Session was addressed by H.E. Mr. Ma Zhanwu, Consul General of the Peoples Republic of China, Kolkata.

The Consul General of the People's Republic of China, Ma Zhanwu, said that the conditions to attract Chinese investment and businesses to West Bengal “were not up to par". He said, "On the whole, relations between the two countries have been growing quite fast. We have great respect for India and want to be partners. If political relations are good it will contribute greatly to economic ties." Ma Zhanwu added, "Of course there are differences between the two countries, there have been for many years, and they can't be resolved overnight. But our border has been peaceful. We don't consider India a threat nor do we want to threaten India. Our foreign policy is one of mutual benefit, peaceful co-existence, cooperation and openness".

"Many people see the huge potential of economic cooperation between the two countries and are sorry to see the slow progress. We have come a long way, but China is anxious to see more results. Although we are neighbouring countries, very few Chinese actually visit India. Before, there were restrictions. The present Chinese ambassador had always wanted to come to India, but in order to do so he needed to join the foreign service." The best way to attract investors is to allow them to make money. And allow them to make money without having to encounter so much difficulty. Over the next few years, China will look at spending 8 trillion US dollars and we want Indian businessmen to benefit from this.

"From 2018, we will be pushing imports more than exports, and in the past our priority has been exports. The Chinese company, Yangshin, has invested 3 crore US dollars in West Bengal, the most we have ever invested in East India. Help us and help the Chinese businessmen to find ways to invest here and make money," said Zhanwu, adding that this would go a long way to encourage ties between China and India, and West Bengal.

April 21, 2017
Special Session on The Different Arts of Management

The Session was addressed by Dr. Jamshed J Irani, Former Managing Director, Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited (TISCO).

Dr. Jamshed J Irani in his speech said acquisition of Britain-based steel major Corus by the Indian steel producer was an "aspirational mistake". Irani, who served as Managing Director of Tata Steel for almost a decade, said that the Indian steel producer acquired Corus (renamed as Tata Steel Europe) in 2007 when the global steel market was good but the subsequent downturn in global steel market turned the acquisition bad. He said the Tata Steel management had cordial relations with the union in his tenure and with such cordial ties, the 78,000 odd strong workforces could be gradually reduced to 40,000. "That decision to shed flab at that time has helped the company now to be one of the most profitable and efficient steel companies in India".

Mentioning credibility as the single most important factor in management, Irani, described J.R.D. Tata, who headed 50 companies, as master of management and as his icon. Asked about the row between Ratan Tata-Mistry that left to the latter's sacking, he said: “Ratan Tata had never interfered with the board decisions. Tata Sons' majority shareholder Tata Trust has lost the confidence on Mistry." He added, "Interference, in my opinion, is not desirable,".

March 18, 2017
Book launch "FEARLESS IN OPPOSITION - Power and Accountability" authored by P. Chidambaram, Hon'ble Former Union Minister of Finance.

The Book was released by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Tarun Chatterjee, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India, followed by a Conversation between The Author & Mr. Derek O'Brien, TMC Parliamentary Party Leader (RS) on "What it means to be Fearless in Opposition".

Speaking to Trinamool Congress MP Mr. Derek O'Brien, Former Finance Minister Mr. P Chidambaram said the Congress's current organisational structure is "no match for that of the BJP and RSS". TMC leader Derek O Brien countered the former finance minister’s argument, saying the problem in the Opposition at present is that the senior Congress leaders are not raising issues in Parliament and leading from the front.

Mr. Chidambaram's book, a collection of essays written over the past 52 weeks, is a "mirror to what happened to India in 2016. He said "From my columns on demonetisation, on Jammu and Kashmir, you will get an idea of how the economy transitioned from January to December in 2016 because of demonetisation, or how Jammu and Kashmir - where there was relative calm in 2015 - was on the verge of complete collapse by the end of 2016,".

Mr. P. Chidambaram said, "The space for the ruling party and the opposition is decided by the people of the country. They have given the BJP 282 and us 44, and we accept that. But this space for the opposition should be occupied fearlessly. Instead, today this space is shrinking under the present government - whether it's the academics or researchers, or Dalits or other minorities, or NGOs and activists - their space is being encroached upon and they are today leaving in fear,".

Mr. Chidambaram said India's political ethos has "unfortunately" not matured to the extent that opposition and protests could go beyond street protests and hunger strikes. “This reflects that in India, the democratic process is not mature enough yet. Right after Trump's inauguration as the US president, 100 liberal businessmen met at a resort and vowed to defeat Trump in the next election. As in Europe, Germany matured politics without having to resort to hunger strikes or street fights. I don't see this happening in our country, but I want this to happen."

Mr. Chidambaram further said the three objectives, with which demonetisation was launched, have not been met - to end black money, to end corruption and to end FICN.

March 8, 2017
Panel Discussion & Interactive Session on "WOMEN RUN THE SHOW IN EVERY SPHERE OF LIFE, MEN ONLY RUN!"

The session was addressed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly, former Judge, Supreme Court of India, Prof. Bharati Ray, Former Pro–Vice Chancellor, Calcutta University, Dr. Alok Roy, Chairman, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, Prof. Suman K Mukerjee, Director General, Bhawanipur Educational Society College, Smt Priti Patel, Manipuri Dancer & Smt Ramanjit Kaur, Theatre Actor.

Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly said that "Observing the International Women's Day does not mean enhancing the status of women. Despite several laws and the very concept of egalitarian society in our constitution where concept of equal justice, equal rights, liberty and all that, the position has not changed much. Referring to Indian mythology, Prof. Bharati Ray pronounces "Indian Upanishad says you are; a woman you are a man, both are the same. It is the same body, it is the same soul and it is the same atma. Therefore you run the show from background, you run the show from in front, you are both the same. One is incomplete without the other." Recounting her journey to becoming a classical dancer Ms. Priti Patel said that though there is huge difference between the man and the woman, men have really contributed to women attaining present status. According to Dr. Alok Roy there is scientific evidence as to why women run the show. Man who is born with testosterone is by nature competitive and runs faster. But women with testosterone and progesterone are balanced. Smt. Ramanjit Kaur said that women are more committed than men. Women cannot leave their duties ever and that's because women by nature are naturals and men would not commit to that. Prof. Suman Mukerjee argued that 'the contribution of woman should not be measured by what she earns and what she does but she is the future of society because she creates, she procreates, she gives you the society for the next generation.'

February 03, 2017
Panel Discussion & Interactive Session on "UNION BUDGET 2017-18 - AN ANALYSIS"

The session was addressed by Shri Pawan Kr. Bajaj, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, United Bank of India, Shri Vinod Juneja, Vice President, SAARC Chamber of Commerce, Shri Vikram Naik, Partner, Deal Advisory, M&A Tax, KPMG, Shri Rajarshi Dasgupta, Associate Director, Tax & Regulatory Services, Indirect Tax Practice, KPMG India & Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Group Chairman, Inditrade Capital Limited

Shri Pawan Bajaj said that merger of weak public sector banks cannot be ruled out in a run up to meet Basel III norms. "I think they (government) will be looking to two quarters, December 16 (Q3) and March 17 (Q4) and then a decision may be taken on merger of banks specially which are not doing well,".

However, he clarified that this has not yet been announced as of now and government was concentrating on merging associate banks of SBI with the parent. Bajaj pointed out that Rs 10,000 crore each for FY2017-18 and FY2018-19 for recapitalisation of banks is not adequate given the stress in the banking system due to core sectors like steel, power, infrastructure and coal. According to estimates, banking sector needs Rs 1.3 lakh crore to Rs 1.5 lakh crore to meet the Basel III norms. Moreover, government was setting goals to get capital for recapitalisation and some banks may not be able to meet the criteria. UBI is one of the banks which have failed in meeting the goals and likely to lose out some capital. Many banks which may not able to raise capital in equity, QIP will be an option but would depend on market conditions. However, a positive relaxation by RBI on AT 1 bonds interest payment norms will give some leeway for banks to raise tier I capital.

According to Shri Vikram Naik on a capital market fronts, the biggest good news is that there are no changes in capital gains tax rate. But Sec 10(38) of the Income Tax Act gives exemption to long term capital gain on sale of equity shares listed on any stock exchange in India and on which security Transactions Tax (STT) has been paid. The budget provides that for such shares the long term capital gains shall become exempt only if STT has been paid on purchase of such transactions as well. Providing relief to assessees paying Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT), the Finance Minister proposed to enhance the time limit to claim MAT credit from the existing 10 years to 15 years.

Shri Rajarshi Dasgupta remarked that there has been no change in any of the rates whether that is customs, excise duty or service tax. Instead of increasing the tax rates the FM was on the agenda of increasing the tax base and having proper compliance mechanism.

Shri Vinod Juneja said that although there was a lot of negativity & confusions in the public minds after demonetization such as banking transaction tax will come, more search and seizure will come & whether Rs. 2000/- note will stay, but nothing such happened in the budget. He explained as per Reserve Bank of India provision, printing of any denomination either in the shape of coin or in the shape of notes will continue at least for 3 years. Nobody can withdraw that particular denomination before 3 years. This is the RBI Act. He added that Rs. 10000/- cr. capitalization for whole banking system is probably nothing. But, the merger of oil companies in this budget is fair.

Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay was of opinion that in so far as the market is concerned US Dollar has relatively weakened, but Indian currency has been rock solid. The global currency has been performing in a particular manner and Indian currency has been performing in a completely different manner. Finance Minister didn’t get into the state tax, capital gains tax; he didn’t tinker too much on STT. This is a welcome step. FM tried to reform the political funding. It was a remarkable step. It would go a long way in cleaning the Indian society. The focus on rural economy, affordable housing and certain other key things has probably created some necessary environment for rural demands to come back and that will help lot of sectors going forward. Regarding Bank recapitalization, 10 thousands crore is definitely not enough. There is an NPA issue, banks needs to be capitalized, the decision cannot be postponed and something has to be done to the banking sector.

January 10, 2016
Special Session on "Special Session on New Horizons in Insurance Sector"

The session was addressed by Shri K. Sanath Kumar, Chairman & Managing Director, National Insurance Company Limited.

National Insurance, a public sector general insurance company, is looking to improve its solvency ratio before it hits the capital market in the next fiscal. Solvency margin is how much an insurer has in the form of prescribed assets over liabilities. It helps investors to gauge the financial soundness of the company. Insurance regulator IRDA has set the ratio at 1.5, and all insurers are required to maintain the solvency ratio.

Chairman and Managing Director K Sanath Kumar said "Currently, we are not able to meet solvency ratio of 1.5 required for becoming eligible for IPO. Even in the first half, our ratio was at 1.26 but by March we hope to meet the same,". The company requires capital for future and also for meeting the solvency requirements as per IRDA guidelines. Public sector National Insurance Company (NIC), gearing up for its maiden share sale either through strategic divestment or initial public offer, today said it aims to meet the regulatory criteria by March 2017.

In order to improve the solvency ratio, the general insurance major has decided to shed or reduce some group businesses in health and motor segments. Kumar said due to some asset classification criteria, NIC is unable to meet the solvency ratio. "Real estate is not considered and equity is taken at book value. Market value of equity is Rs 17,000 crore against book value of just Rs 6,700 crore," he said. NIC is planning to garner Rs 13,000 crore premium for the current fiscal against Rs 12,000 crore for 2015-16.

December 03, 2016
Special Session on "Special Session on Demonetization of Rupee & Its Impact on The Economy"

The session was addressed by Shri Sunil Mitra, Former Secretary, Finance and Revenue, Government of India & Shri S K Tulsiyan, Eminent Tax Consultant.

Shri Sunil Mitra remarked that "in all electoral democracies major economic decisions must have a political dimension. The Government's decision to demonetize high value currency notes is nothing if not political. This action has a fuzzy economic component - financial inclusion and digitization of payment. It will deduct black money and an unstated political ambition. The GDP growth will be adversely impacted for at least two quarters. It is interesting that two of Mr. Modi's major initiative is Surgical Strike against terrorist camps and the other is demonetization which came when he is just in his mid way of his term. Today if you see the list of achievements of the Government, the list is quite impressive. Inflation is under control, central finances are in good shape, the Insurance, Coal and Mineral Bills have been passed, Aadhar is now backed by law, cooking gas already shifted to direct benefit transfer, power and coal sector problems have been fixed at least temporarily and infrastructure investments have begun in roads and railways".

He added "demonetization is a bold move by the Government which when seen in conjunction with the drive to open Jan Dhan Accounts in the last one year, tax amnesty scheme of the last few months and strong push towards GST, points towards a well thought out constructive effort to formulize the issue. When we can expect a near term or medium term or long term, demonetization along with GST should help make significant progress in adjusting the issue of black money"

Shri S K Tulsiyan was of opinion that "The farmers, labourers, the workers, the bullock cart hirers, the rickshaw pullers, the transport operators, large mass of the population although affected by demonetization, totally untouched by the objective behind demonetization."

According to him, "there is hardly 1% of population who are effectively paying income tax, the rest of the population are having income below taxable limit. The point to be noted is that it is ante reforms. The loss of business to the marginal businessmen, the vegetable vendors, the thelawalla, everybody is adversely affected because of the non-availability of cash. How long they will be affected. So the point to be noted is due to the demonetization all the money which is reaching the counters of banks are not counterfeit money, even the counterfeit money are reaching the bank. Nobody will be there to look into that, because 15 lacs crore rupees will be deposited in the bank, who will check into what is counterfeit and what is genuine. So the counterfeit money will also make it safe. That is the minus side of demonetization."

November 18, 2016
Special Session on "Overview of New Investment Pattern for Provident Funds"

The session was addressed by Smt. Udita Chowdhary, Addl. Central Provident Fund Commissioner (Kolkata Zone), Shri S.K. Deb, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (II), Kolkata, Shri Sanjay Parekh, Senior Fund Manager - Equity & Shri Natesh Narayan, Sales Head- Exchange traded funds, Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd.

Smt. Udita Chowdhary said that - "One of the most important initiatives is the introduction of Universal Account Number (UAN) as because the biggest hurdle so far was transporting individual account from one establishment to the other. Lot of IT initiative establishment have been introduced over the last few years. From 1st of December onward we are rolling out the latest version. UAN 2.0 Version wherein we have tried to address most of the shortcoming which was brought to our notice in the backdrop of the exempted establishment. That the ECR is required to be filed is linked with the UAN. Now allotment of the UAN would be mandatory while filing the ECR, which means that when the ECR return to be filed in respect of 100 employees, each of those 100 must have an UAN. So that becomes mandatory in the new regime. This automatically links us the contributions of an individual with his UAN. So there is no mismatch or cross connectivity issue at all. Therefore for the exempted trust also it becomes mandatory to allot the UAN at the time of filing the ECR".

Shri Sanjay Parekh was of view that the differential of Indian bond yield compared to US is still attractive. So the US tenure even after recent rise is at 2.35%, our tenure yield is 6.4% and the differential is fairly healthy. Coming to the Outlook, the growth rates are coming to be in the range of 1.5% to 1.6% in case of US, Euro area, Japan, UK, the growth rates are very low. Only in two countries which are China and India, the growth rates are at the range of 7-7.5%. India has clearly 50-60% economic indicators which are clearly showing a recovery, still it is far from expectation. For the recent announcement of demonetization, we are going to have some hiccups in the economy, but beyond the next 3-4 months, India will be in the long term growth trajectory.

According to Shri Natesh Narayan, in the last 3 years Nifty delivered 14% return and they outperformed the index. We believe that the markets are supreme. We believe that most of the returns come from the markets, at least 70-75%. What we propose that instead of looking at alpha why don't we invest in the market in general and that's how the ETF concept has come. This is very relevant for most of the investors. The primary difference between the Mutual Fund and the ETF that we make the index our portfolio by itself. We do not try to create and pick stock. For us we have Nifty ETF, Sensex ETF, we have CPSU ETF where it is basically an index that is our portfolio. We just go and invest in the same stock. And hence we neither underperform nor outperform in the market.

November 08, 2016
Workshop on National Pension System jointly organized with FICCI

The workshop was addressed by Shri Ananta Gopal Das, Chief General Manager, PFRDA, Shri Akhilesh Kumar, Deputy General Manager, PERDA, Shri Prasenjit Mukherjee, Assistant Vice President, NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited, Shri Gautam Singh, Sr. Manager-Pension, HDFC Pension Management Company Limited & Shri Dalal Rambir , Director, , BSR & Co LLP.

Shri Ananta Gopal Das remarked that, "only 12% of population in this country do get pension and this 12% constitute of government sector, defense forces or some numbers are in Provident Fund organization. There was a need to cover more number of people under some sort of social security scheme and thus the Government created a Regulator for pension. Already 3 crores of people have already subscribed to this scheme. The Central Government has joined after 2004, 27 State Governments have joined to this venture. This is basically a contributory pension scheme, where you can contribute, the employer contributes, a corpus is created. At the age of 60 it is given back to you to take a decision to purchase an annuity. Annuity is nothing but a pension scheme given by the Insurance Company basically because they are governed by Insurance and Regulatory Development Authority. The role of PFRDA is to manage the fund properly in a transparent manner. Because they are the Regulatory Body of Government of India."

PFRDA has asked Pension Advisory Committee to study the current norm mandating NPS subscribers to buy an annuity with 40% of their accumulated corpus. PFRDA has also created a separate asset class under which private sector NPS subscribers can invest upto 5 per cent in Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

In his presentation Shri Akhilesh Kumar added that - We have established NPS Trust. The Pension Fund Managers, who have invested money on behalf of the subscribers, have to report to the NPS Trust. NPS Trust monitors the report quarterly. NPS has the Trustee Bank and all the investment deposits in the Trustee Bank account. All types of records are being kept by the Central Record Keeping Agency. They interact with all the intermediaries. There are two types of NPS accounts - Tier I Account and Tier II Account. Tier I account is the pension account but Tier II account is just a savings account. There are no tax benefits available in the Tier II account and it is not mandatory to open the NPS Tier II account.

Shri Rambir Dalal stated that - EPF currently has 15 crore account. If you start savings at 22 @Rs.8000/- per month and if we save one lac rupee p.a. and the salary grows if not by 10% even by 5%, if we grow the contributions accordingly they get the return of 9%. At 60 your corpus will be 5 crore. However, if we put this money into NPS which is giving 12% interest, your money will suddenly jump to Rs.10 crore.

Shri Prasenjit Mukherjee explained the benefits of NPS and clarified in detail the tax benefits available to corporate subscribers and the advantages for corporates in the case of superannuation being replaced by NPS. The need of the hour is to have pension and the Government is giving us tax benefits. He asked the audience to join POP (Point of Presence). More than 2000 corporate have already done it.

According to Shri Gautam Singh, with 0.01% as FMC, NPS is one of the World's least cost investment options. NPS is regulated by PFRDA, with transparent investment norms and regular monitoring and performance review of fund managers by NPS Trust. NPS stands apart and its distinct features are - Cost effective, Flexible contribution mechanism, Freedom to switch, Portable Account. NPS can be offered in addition to other Employee Benefit schemes like Employee Provident Fund / Superannuation / Gratuity


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