Amendments to GAAR finalised, says Chidambaram

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Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
SummaryGAAR evoked sharp reactions from foreign as well as domestic investors

Amendments to the General Anti-Avoidance Rules, or GAAR, the controversial law against tax avoidance through foreign investments, have been finalised, Union finance minister P Chidambaram disclosed on Sunday in an interview.

“I have finalised the amendments to the Chapter 10A of the Income Tax Act. Now it will go to the PMO and then we should be ready with the amendments and then the GAAR rules will reflect the amended Chapter 10A. That is under preparation and I think the work is almost complete. The drafting work is complete. So, GAAR is under control. I have taken the decisions, subject to Prime Minister’s approval and then Cabinet,” he said.

GAAR, which was proposed in 2012-13 budget with a view to preventing tax evasion, evoked sharp reactions from foreign as well as domestic investors who feared that unbridled powers to taxmen would result in harassment of investors. The government later appointed a committee headed by tax expert Parthasarthi Shome to look into their concerns.

On the issue of retrospective tax amendment on which Shome Committee had submitted its report, he said, “The CBDT has given its views. I have taken decisions at my level. The drafting is going on. Again it will go to the PMO and then to the Cabinet.” Referring to the Direct Taxes Code, a bigger matter, he said, “We have now started work. This morning I spent two hours on that. Earlier, I spent several hours. We are looking at it. We have tabulated it...will take final decision.”

Cabinet to take up NIB proposal soon

Chidambaram indicated that the proposal to set up the National Investment Board (NIB) for expediting clearance to large projects will soon come up for approval before the Cabinet. “The Cabinet Note is with the Cabinet Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office. It will be listed before the Cabinet at a time when the PM decides it should be listed. But I saw in some newspapers ... that it is likely to be listed,” he said.

‘Reserve Bank, govt not antagonistic’

“The equation between the government and the central bank in India is the same as the equation between the government and the central bank of any country. It is always arguing for growth on the part of government and arguing for stability and taming inflation on the part of the central bank,” he said.

Even as the government makes out a case for the central bank to support

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