Samsung Pay launched

Top smartphone maker Samsung debuted in the payment space in the country yesterday by launching Samsung Pay, a payment method that incorporates all credit cards and debit cards, mobile wallets such as Paytm, and the newly launched Unified Payments Interface.

Users can save several cards on Visa, MasterCard and American Express on their Samsung Pay app and link their Paytm and UPI accounts. To make transactions they need to authenticate their biometric on the phone and then bring the mobile close to the PoS device, the company said.

At the launch of Samsung Pay, Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Aay og, said it is not just a revolutionary app but a “killer“ app.

The feature is currently only available on eight mobile devices of Samsung and Samsung Gear S3 watch.

Samsung Pay works with both magnetic secure transmission technology and near field communication. Since most PoS terminals in India are MST enabled, they will work seamlessly with Samsung Pay without any upgrade required, the company said.

Samsung has tied up with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, SBI Cards and Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank India, which will be live on Samsung Pay shortly. 

Buxa tiger relocation project

In another couple of months, north Bengal's Buxa Tiger Reserve will become home to six big cats from Assam. If the detailed project report submitted to the state recently by the Global Tiger Forum is to be believed, Buxa, in the first phase, will get six tigers ­ two males and four females­ from either Kaziranga National Park or Orang in Assam, both of which now have surplus tiger population.

Bengal's chief wildlife warden Pradeep Vyas confirmed receiving the DPR. According to him, once the first phase relocation is over, there are plans to reintroduce at least six more big cats in the next nine years to carry on with the `tiger re-stocking plan'. Adding that they have plans to release 50 sambar deer from Jaldapara to improve the prey base in Buxa.

But wildlife enthusiasts are keeping their fingers crossed since Assam had earlier taken U-turn in 2010 and refused to hand over critically endangered pygmy hogs to the Bengal government under a similar reintroduction plan. Before that, the Assam government had also refused to part ways with its Barasingha, a threatened deer species.

Wildlife Institute of India scientist K Ramesh, who leads post-release monitoring programme for tiger reintroduction and had earlier monitored such a programme in MP's Panna, is giving scientific inputs for the project in Buxa too.

Hyderabad Metro update

The long-awaited Metro rail will become operational by the end of this year. Municipal administration minister KT Rama Rao said that the Miyapur-LB Nagar Metro corridor (29 km) and the Nagole-Raidurg Metro corridor (29 km) will be opened to the public by December-end.The minister was, however, silent on the Jubilee Bus Station (JBS)-Falaknuma corridor covering a distance of 15 km.

The Metro rail project began in April 2012 and a major portion of the work on Miyapur-LB Nagar and Nagole-Raidurg corridors has been completed. Earlier, it was expected that the Metro would be operational by June 2, the day Telangana state was formed.

Traffic woes in Hyderabad are likely to ease with the launch of the Metro.

Work on the 72 km Metro rail project--it includes the JBS-Falaknuma corridor II--began in June 2012 and was to be completed in five years.Till February, about 78% of work had been completed. As per the concessionaire agreement signed between Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd and Larsen & Toubro in 2010, the entire project was to be completed by June 2017. While the project cost was Rs.12,132 crore when the agreement was signed, it was revised to Rs.16,375 crore.

Namma Canteen Logo Design contest

The BBMP has urged the public to design logo and architecture for Namma Canteens, proposed to be set up in all the 198 wards of Bengaluru where food will be sold at concessional rates.
The best logo will be awarded with Rs.1 lakh and the best architectural design will get Rs.2 lakh.The architectural designs have been sought for an area of 200 to 500sq feet. The BBMP has set a 15day deadline for sending the designs in black and white and colour to the BBMP commissioner. Log on to http:www.bbmp.gov.in

Aadhaar for I-T returns

The Centre said that making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns was necessary to plug evasion and frauds. Finance minister Arun Jaitley indicated that it could replace other identity cards such as PAN and voter ID cards in future. Defending the move to make Aadhaar mandatory for IT returns, Jaitley said 98% Indian adults or 108 crore people have an Aadhaar card.

The government’s move to make Aadhaar compulsory for filing income tax returns or applying for a permanent account number from 2017-18 may well be a part of an ambitious plan to eventually replace PAN with Aadhaar as the sole warehouse of individual tax information.

Over the last two years, the Income Tax Department has hastened the pace of seeding PAN with the unique identity number Aadhaar that contains citizens' biometric and other details.

A pilot project to integrate PAN cards with Aadhaar data was first undertaken in 2012.

A PAN number, besides serving as a unique 10-digit alpha numeric identity for citizens, has also become mandatory in a host of transactions. Aadhaar uses fingerprints and iris scans, and integrating this with tax return data should help identify duplicate PAN holders and tax dodgers.

In July 2015 the Central Board of Direct Tax introduced the Electronic Verification Code,  allowing individuals the option of linking Aadhaar details to their income tax returns.

Previously, after e-filling the ITR, the taxpayer had to post the signed copy of ITR-V to Centralised Processing Centre in Bangalore.

Since July 2015 the income tax department has started linking of PAN with the Aadhaar Card, eliminating the procedure of sending a physical copy of the I-T return to CPC, Bangalore.

Last year, the tax department gave taxpayers the option to disclose their Aadhaar number in the income tax return form. This is going to be made mandatory from the next assessment year.

The tax department is so far learnt to have seeded about 10 million Aadhaar numbers into the PAN database.

The move to make quoting Aadhaar compulsory in I-T returns is expected to significantly hasten this seeding process, and allow a complete “360 degree profiling” of all taxpaying individuals to help detect evasion and tax fraud.

The income tax department has been using technology to match personal details to ensure that duplicate PANs are not issued. However, some taxpayers managed to get more than one PAN by making some changes in their personal information at the time of submission of the PAN application.

So far, about 250 million PAN cards have been issued, but only about 40 million individuals file income tax returns in India, a sign that millions may have been evading taxes despite holding PAN cards.

Furnishing PAN is now mandatory for cash transactions such as hotel or foreign travel bills exceeding Rs.50,000, purchase of jewellery above Rs.2 lakh in cash or through card, purchase of immovable property of over Rs.10 lakh, term deposits exceeding Rs.50,000 at one go or Rs.5 lakh in a year with banks, post offices and non-banking financial companies.