Rail tariff body to be set up after decision on GAAR: PM

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After a slew of reforms in recent weeks, prime minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday hinted that a decision on controversial GAAR will be taken soon followed by setting up of rail tariff authority to rationalise fares.

“We need to complete the exercise that was begun on GAAR and taxation of the IT sector,” Singh said adding the Railways are working on a rail tariff authority, which will make fare setting a more rationale exercise.

Inaugurating the 85th annual general meeting of Ficci, Singh said, “We are bringing greater clarity on the FDI policy in pharma sector, and that the game changing tax reforms -- the direct tax code and the goods and services tax bills -- are “high on our priority list.”

Government had set up a committee headed by Parthasarathi Shome to go into GAAR, after the issue proposed in this year’s budget sparked off an uproar from the FII, industry and other stakeholders. GAAR that was proposed originally gave unbridled powers to assessing officers to check tax avoidance and evasion.

The finance ministry has already prepared the guidelines and requisite amendments to finance act of 2012 based on the committee recommendations diluting the draconian provisions and perhaps deferring its implementation for some more years. This is now with the prime minister for approval, which is needed to take it forward.

Rail tariff authority was proposed in this years rail budget, but its implementation got derailed after stiff opposition on rising of lower class rail fares from the then UPA ally Trinamool Congress supreme Mamata Banerjee.

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