RBI Should Change Nomination Norms

THE banking rules in India have been liberalised  over the period of time but there are still some rules which are rigid and not customer-friendly. Take the rule of nominations for example. The facility of nomination has been provided in order to facilitate the payment of money which lies in the customer’s account upon his death. Banks encourage customers to file a nomination which means filling up of a simple form. So far so good. However, there are people who are single and who wish to nominate a charitable institution as a beneficiary in the absence of a relation. The banks refuse to accept such nominations and insist on nominations in favour of individuals only. Some banks insist on nominations in favour of close relations only. Such restrictions deprive customers of their freedom to appoint a nominee of their choice and wish. In such cases,  customers are forced to take  the alternate route of making a will. In places like Goa, making a will is not only  expensive but also a cumbersome and time-consuming exercise involving services of a lawyer, three witnesses and registration formalities after seeking an appointment with the registration authority. Furthermore, there is only one registration authority in each taluka as against a bank next door in every village. Therefore, the Reserve Bank of India should revisit the old nomination rules and free them of rigidity in the interest of customers and their genuine needs.


Ways To Rein In Fuel Prices

OIL prices are burning a hole in the pockets of the common man. Every time the price increases it has a cascading effect on the  supply and transport  chain. Cost of vegetables and foodgrains go up. Taxi, auto and bus fares also increase. Cost of living rises. Rise in fuel prices happens when the international price of crude or the dollar rate  goes up. But when these rates come down, the prices do not come down correspondingly. Hence increase in crude prices are a windfall for the government. I think the taxes on fuel must be levied on the volume of fuel, with one litre as the basic unit, as in the  case of alcohol. The central government  must decide the tax it requires as excise duty on every litre of petrol/diesel. Similarly, the state governments must determine the amount of tax it requires as VAT on every litre of petrol/diesel. These tax rates per litre must be announced in the central and state budgets every year. Thereafter, the taxes must remain fixed for the entire year. The only variables  will be the price of crude and the dollar  exchange rate. Taxes will remain constant whether the crude rate is $30 or $100 per barrel.


Cashing In On GST System

THIS is with reference to news reports on GST officers arresting a lawyer in east Delhi for opening fake firms to claim false input-tax-credit to tune of Rs 50.3 crore under goods and service tax. There have  been 27 such arrests in Delhi zone with false ITC claims of Rs  4019.95 crore being detected in Delhi zone alone. The actual number of false ITC claims must be multiple times more than the detected amount because only a little fraction of actual tax evasion is brought to notice of the authorities. Nationwide such false ITC claims detected or undetected must be huge. There have been 950 amendments so far in GST system and  traders all over the country protested against some recent amendments. System should be so simplified and made user-friendly so that false ITC claims may not be possible. ITC should be allowed to be claimed only in respect of tradable commodities and not on expenses, services and production.


In Praise Of Ligia

A very proud moment for Goa and every Goan with the elevation  of the daughter of our soil Dr Ligia Noronha as the assistant secretary-general and head of the New York office of the United Nations Environmental Programme. Had the privilege of knowing Ligia in the 1970s during my student days as a wonderful and always beaming human being. Ligia has achieved the rare distinction of being a leading economist while also attaining excellence in the complex field of environmental issues. The world has been grappling with serious issues concerning the environment including climate change with only empty rhetoric talk by those in power. In these critical circumstances it is proven achievers like Ligia who can act as catalysts to deliver the much required change to ensure a better and healthy environment. Her elevation now to the coveted position at the UNEP is a ray of hope for our country’s environment and more particularly the rapid environmental degradation that our Goa has been  going through. At this crucial juncture Ligia’s role with passion and commitment can usher some much needed expectation and hope for the future generations. May she and her phenomenal  achievements act as a role model and impetus to the youth of today who are conscious and rightly concerned about issues concerning the environment and the catastrophic consequences that lie ahead if radical measures are not taken. Ligia and her husband Dr Peter Ronald De Souza, who has been an acclaimed academician and intellectual, are great Goans who have excelled in their fields. The widely travelled couple has in their own way worked fervently and so dedicatedly on a labourious mission for the betterment of humanity. Their very positive contribution and outstanding achievements will go down in the history of Goa.