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A big step towards transparency, India shares income tax data and the results are astounding

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rtxynaoSAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — For the first time since the year 2000, India has published the country’s tax income data, and the numbers are shocking.

About 12.5 million Indians — or 1% of the total population — paid tax on their earnings in 2013. Despite nearly 30 million tax returns being filed that year, 16 million of those got off scot-free without paying any taxes, according to the data.

The total tax paid during fiscal year 2013 was Rs1.14 lakh crore ($17 billion), according to the income tax department. Two years later, this had increased to Rs2.65 lakh crore. The number represents just about 2.4 percent of India’s gross domestic product.

Essentially, all of this data means two things: the richest of Indians aren’t paying enough taxes, and the number of salaried workers is still low.

The low tax collection only makes more difficult the job of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has sought to increase the share of direct taxes in revenue and eliminate black money — undisclosed foreign assets. India represents Asia’s third largest economy, and needs the tax money in order to properly execute spending on its ambitious infrastructure and public service plans.

Here is how the personal tax income for the government has increased over the years:

How much did India make from taxes in 2015:

Experts and economists alike weren’t surprised by the low figures. In 2014, India’s per capita income was $1,631, according to the World Bank.

“The statistics are actually in line with the per capita income of India. It also means most employees in the organised sectors are earning below the limit that is taxable,” said Chitra Jayasimha, practice leader and lead actuary, retirement planning at Aon Hewitt.

Experts also believe that India’s tax net should be widened, thanks in part to a long history of non-tax paying citizens. In 2012, then finance minister P. Chidambaram had said that less than 3% of Indians file income tax returns.

More than 50 percent of the nation’s residents work in agriculture and allied activities — agriculture income is exempted from tax in the country.

“With such a large population engaged in agriculture and a huge gap between the rich and the poor, the number of taxpayers as a percentage is likely to be low. But these numbers are of concern—are those who needed to pay taxes actually paying, or, are those paying the taxes actually paying the right amount?” explained Kuldip Kumar, leader, personal tax at Price Waterhouse India.

Another large reason of poor tax collection in the country is because most of the labor is in the country’s unorganized sector. While this accounts for less than 10 percent of the population, these workers are paid in cash, and are part of an informal economy.

India’s decision to publish these tax records only comes after years of critique and ridicule from the world’s international economists and experts. Thomas Piketty, the French economist, said in January that there is “extreme lack” of data in India, especially income tax.

“Our govt. has taken the landmark decision of publishing the income tax data. It is a big step towards transparency & informed policy making,” Modi tweeted on April 29.

Business

Harvard to host 17th annual India Conference this February

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — For the 17th year in a row, the graduate students at Harvard University will host an India Conference. It will take place during the weekend of February 15-16, 2020. Two days of exciting discussions through panels, mixers and networking will fill the halls of the Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government.

The theme for this year’s conference is Foresight 20/20 – a look at what to expect from India in 2020 and beyond. As one of the largest student led conferences in the USA, the Harvard India conference attracts the biggest headliners from every field – from politics, business, entertainment & the arts. And this year is no different.

India Conference
India Conference at Harvard

With more than 100 speakers and 1000 attendees, the conference promises to have something for everyone. This year’s biggest draw from the entertainment genre is veteran Bollywood actor and self proclaimed ambassador to India, Anupam Kher. Kher has a long standing list of accolades within the film industry. In addition to his acting roles, he has been a producer, director and teacher at his own acting school. Most recently he played the role of Dr. Vijay Kapur on NBC’s primetime drama ‘New Amsterdam‘.

Some other notable speakers this year include founder of the India Today Group, Aroon Purie, Indian Olympic athelete Dutee Chand, comedian and actor, Vir Das, partner at Softbanks’ Vision Fund Lydia Jett & politician and India’s ruling party (BJP)’s sherpa to the G20, Suresh Prabhu.

The harsh winter in Harvard doesn’t seem slow down or dull these brilliant minds in any way. The India Conference at Harvard continues to retain its standing as the conference of choice for deliberating issues ranging from technology, media, politics and eduction to creating solutions for India’s path towards global leadership. The event features brainstorming sessions and sincere discussions on the very real and large scale problems that are uniquely Indian.

Diya TV is a media sponsor to the event and will be on-site covering conference. To receive a 20% discount use code RDAY20 here and to know more about the conference or speakers, head to the IndiaConference.com

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Indian Ambassador, Shringla speaks to U.S. Congress about Kashmir

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AMB. Shringla speaks to congress about Kashmir | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla met with members of Congress at a private roundtable briefing, hosted by Southern California Congressman Brad Sherman. Sherman, who has been a supporter of India, took to Twitter recently to share his concerns about Kashmir and said serious questions about Kashmir were asked at the briefing.

President Trump is being urged to fix the H1-B visa process and do away with country-specific limits, with the latest effort for reform being spearheaded by 60 U.S. business school deans and CEO’s.

In an earthquake, seconds matter. So on the anniversary of the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California, state officials announced the launch of America’s first statewide earthquake early warning system.

Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain will be coming to Boston next month to perform at the Berklee India Exchange, where he will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the esteemed music school. A Zakir Hussain Scholarship at Berklee is also being established.

And we have incredible video of three kids from India rescuing their dog from a snake that’s equal parts courageous and nuts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Federal Court rules Trump must turn over tax returns | Diya TV News

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Trump Tax Returns

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — A federal judge ruled President Trump must turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, striking down the President’s argument that a sitting president cannot be criminally investigated. The ruling was quickly appealed and this case could end up in the Supreme Court to answer the constitutional question of whether presidents can be charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, the President celebrated a victory by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as a federal appellate court upheld most of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. It also ruled the FCC cannot preempt state net neutrality laws, meaning the rules of the road in states like California remain in place.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee announced their Asia-Pacific and Non-Proliferation Subcommittee will be holding a hearing asking State Department officials and human rights activists to chime in on Human Rights in Kashmir, the Tamils of Sri Lanka, Muslims in Assam and the human rights situation in Pakistan, which includes the Sindh Province.

Lockheed Martin announced they will build F-16 wings exclusively in India, helping in integrating Indian industry into the $165 billion fighter aircraft market.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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