India Insight

Revised India tax code proposal targets foreign companies, wealthy people

Companies with as little as 20 percent of their global assets in India could find themselves facing tax bills in deals involving their domestic units under changes to the tax code that the government proposed on Tuesday.

The government’s Direct Taxes Code 2013 recommended the change along with a new income tax bracket that would require rich people to pay higher taxes.

A previous recommendation in 2010 said that indirect transfers should be taxed in India if the companies involved have at least 50 percent of their assets located in the country.

“This (50 percent) threshold is too high. There could be a situation that a company has 33.33 percent assets in three countries but it will not get taxed anywhere,” said the document, available on the Income Tax Department’s website.

Ketan Dalal, joint tax leader at PwC India, told India Insight that the “new threshold of 20 percent is very low”.

Dharavi’s once-booming leather industry losing its edge

A busy street in Asia’s largest slum Dharavi leads to a quiet lane where Anita Leathers operates its colouring unit. As children play near shops that sell everything from mobile phones and garments to raw meat and sweets, the mood at the leather unit is sombre.

The leather business is one of the biggest contributors to the Mumbai slum’s informal economy, estimated to have an annual turnover of more than $500 million. About 15,000 small-scale industries, spread over an area of 500 acres, deal in businesses such as pottery, plastic recycling and garment manufacturing.

But the leather trade has been hit hard by increasing competition, an influx of cheap Chinese goods, rising raw material costs and labour shortages in recent years, leading to a decline in demand and dimming prospects of the once-flourishing business.

Colour is India’s over-hyped commodity, fashion designer Rahul Mishra says

(Any opinions expressed here are not those of Thomson Reuters)

Rahul Mishra is the man of the moment in fashion. He just brought home the international Woolmark Prize, the most coveted prize in the fashion world, and one that has gone to some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Karl Lagerfeld.

Mishra, who made his debut at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2006, has created a new kind of fibre from Merino wool that can be worn in the summer. Mishra’s fashions will be on sale at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, Harvey Nichols in London, 10 Corso Como in Milan, Colette in Paris and elsewhere.

Mishra spoke to Reuters on day three of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi. Here are excerpts from the interview.

Markets this quarter: Sensex gains 5.7 percent, L&T surges 19 percent

By Aditya Kalra and Sankalp Phartiyal

Indian shares posted record highs in March as strong foreign buying sent blue-chip stocks such as Larsen & Toubro higher and boosted overall investor sentiment ahead of a general election.

Provisional data showed foreign investors bought shares worth more than $3 billion in March, pushing the BSE Sensex to a life high of 22,467.21 points on the last trading day of the quarter. While the index rose 6 percent during the month, it rose 5.7 percent in the Jan-March period.

Markets rallied on hopes that the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, perceived to be more business -friendly, would emerge as a winner in the general election, while hopes of a recovery in the domestic economy also aided sentiment.

Room for experimentation at Delhi fashion week

(Any opinions expressed here are not those of Thomson Reuters)

The collection that designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil displayed at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi last week had all the right elements: it was beautiful, it had lehengas and gowns, it looked regal, it looked vintage. It was an instant hit and a big “sold out” note adorned the door of their stall the very next day. Still, a guest remarked, “it didn’t do it for me.”

That’s the way it goes at fashion shows. Most established designers take the safer path, creating garments in their signature styles and adhering to what the world wants now. Few designers experiment or create avant-garde clothing or try something different than what the market knows it wants and would pay to get.

Take Anand Bhushan’s show, “Broken”. The audience looked confused. Did they like what he made? Maybe, but how many of them will buy it? His clothes were made of leather, plastic and acrylic, and he used copper binding. Some of the pieces were welded together. His skirts, gowns, crop tops and jackets were textured and edgy.

Photo gallery: Best of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week

Traditional Indian wear with the latest trends dominated the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) in New Delhi.

The Autumn/Winter 2014 edition showcased designers such as Tarun Tahiliani and Namrata Joshipira, with Rahul Mishra presenting a collection that won the Woolmark Prize in Milan in February.

Here are highlights in pictures from the fashion week that ended on Sunday:

(Additional reporting by Arnika Thakur, editing by Tony Tharakan; Follow Sankalp on Twitter @sankalp_sp, Arnika @arnikathakur, Tony @TonyTharakan | Disclaimer: This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced in any form without permission)

No anti-Muslim ideology in party – BJP’s Anurag Thakur

Many people see Anurag Thakur, 39, as the youthful face of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the main opposition to the Congress party-led government and the party of prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi. He is the son of the former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, and was named one of the World Economic Forum’s global young leaders this year.

In an interview with Reuters, Thakur spoke about Modi’s popularity as well as criticisms levelled against him. He also spoke about internal problems at the BJP, the party’s perceptions among Muslims, Congress PM contender Rahul Gandhi and more.

Here are excerpts from an interview:

Q: The BJP has attacked Congress over many issues – price rise and corruption being the biggest. Do you think these problems will be solved if Narendra Modi comes to power?
A: Today, when the country wants someone who has experience, and can deliver, 65 percent people of the country want Modi as the PM. During NDA regime, there was hardly any price rise. There were no charges of corruption against Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his government colleagues.

Movie review: Youngistaan

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Syed Ahmad Afzal’s “Youngistaan” is supposed to be a funny and clever look at the reign of a carefree young man who finds himself sworn in as the prime minister of India.

Abhimanyu Kaul (Jackky Bhagnani), the son of the incumbent premier, is partying one minute and sitting by his dying fathers bedside the next. Our young hero is oblivious to his parent dying of cancer and knows nothing about the vagaries of politics in India, but is still trusted with the highest office in the country.

Abhimanyu’s wardrobe undergoes a transformation — from grungy tees to crisp, linen shirts. He makes rousing speeches at the United Nations and pushes for youth reform. What does not change though, is his whiny girlfriend and her whims and fancies, which the young prime minister insists on fulfilling, even when they are unreasonable and childish.

Not funny – jokes Indian politicians crack

(Any opinions expressed here are not those of Thomson Reuters)

Politicians facing outrage over their comments often say that they didn’t mean what they said to come out that way. Lately in India, they say they were joking.

One of the latest was Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, whose self-confessed attempt at a joke earned him the ire of the Election Commission of India just before the beginning of this year’s elections that could boot the Congress out of power. Addressing a community of labourers in Maharashtra last week, the chief of the Nationalist Congress Party urged listeners to vote twice for his party – and told them how to do it.

“This time, Election in Satara is on 17 and as per my information election here is on 24. So cast your vote on ‘clock’ (party symbol) there and cast your vote on ‘clock’ here. Wipe the ink,” he said, referring to the indelible ink to mark the fingers of people who have voted, noting that people should be able to remove it.

Accomplished women in India face higher risk of domestic violence: study

Women in India who are more educated than their husbands, earn more or are the sole earners in their families face a higher risk of domestic violence than women who are more dependent on their partners, according to a new study.

Much of India is still deeply patriarchal and there are wide gaps in the status of men and women. And this form of violence could be a way for men to reassert their power or maintain social control over their wives to preserve the “status quo” in the relationship, said the study’s author Abigail Weitzman.

Weitzman, a graduate student at New York University, looked at data from the female-only module of India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS) collected between 2005 and 2006, concentrating on married women.

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