Govt considering Vodafone request on tax demand

Written by feBureau | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 23 2013, 06:54am hrs
The government said on Friday it is considering a request from UK's Vodafone to amicably settle the tax demand arising from the telecom major's purchase of Hutchison Essar in 2007.

Minister of state for finance SS Palanimanickam told Parliament that the ministry was also examining suggestions from the Parthasarathi Shome committee on modifying the retrospective tax changes of 2012, that empowered the authorities to demand tax on the Vodafone deal despite a Supreme Court order favouring the company.

The government's response to the Shome committee's suggestions to bring certainty in tax laws will be reflected in the Finance Bill 2013 to be presented on February 28, Palanimanickam said in a written reply.

The government will also amend the Income Tax Act to implement the decisions taken on the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) based on Shome's recommendations. The ministry had earlier decided to implement GAAR only from April 2016.

The retrospective amendments to the Income Tax Act introduced earlier this year by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had generated controversy as many global companies opposed the move. The changes were made after the Supreme Court favoured Vodafone in the tax dispute.

GSM subscriber base beats trend, grows marginally in January to touch 657.5 million

Beating the trend of a falling subscriber base, the GSM mobile subscriber base in the country grew marginally in January to touch 657.5 million, with net addition of 400,000 new customers over the previous month led by Idea Cellular, Airtel and Vodafone, according to data released by the GSM industry body COAI. The subscriber base witnessed growth after two months of decline in November and December 2012. Idea Cellular led the growth by adding 24.5 lakh customers over its subscriber base in December, taking its total subscriber base to 11.64 crore. The company had lost 1.97 lakh customers in December. Bharti Airtel added 22.86 lakh new subscribers in January, taking its total subscriber base to 18.41 crore. Vodafone's subscriber base increased to 14.77 crore with an addition of over two lakh customers. Meanwhile the subscriber base of new operators such as Videocon dipped by around 13 lakh to 22.57 lakh in January from 36.4 lakh in December, a fall of 38% month-on-month.