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Clarification follows letter from Kerala CM over impact on workers in West Asia

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday scotched fears that provisions introduced in the Budget would bring Indian workers’ income in zero tax jurisdictions, like the UAE, into the Indian tax net.

The Finance Bill has proposed three major changes to prevent tax abuse by citizens who don’t pay taxes anywhere in the world — reducing the number of days that an Indian citizen can be granted non-resident status for tax purposes from 182 to 120; citizens who don’t pay taxes anywhere will be deemed to be a resident; and the definition of ‘not ordinarily resident’ has been tightened.

“Let’s say an NRI, living in Dubai or elsewhere, is not taxed for his income there, but has some earnings through something in India for which he doesn't pay tax here. We are saying, for that income which is generated in India, pay a tax,” she said.

‘It will hurt Indians’

Alarmed by the possible implications of the new provisions, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, recording the State’s strong disagreement over the provision as it will hurt Indians working in the Middle East, “who toil and bring foreign exchange to the country” through remittances.

“The new provision is being interpreted to create an impression that those Indians who are bonafide workers in other countries, including in the Middle East, and who are not liable to tax in these countries, will be taxed in India on the income that they have earned there. This interpretation is not correct,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The Ministry will incorporate a clarification, if required, into the law so that only income derived from an Indian business or profession will be taxable for such citizens, the Minister said.

India suspends e-visas for travellers from China

Stringent checks: Indian nationals being screened at the Delhi airport on Sunday on their arrival from Wuhan.PTIPTI

India’s second case of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection was confirmed in Alappuzha, Kerala, after a student, admitted to the isolation ward of the Government Medical College, tested positive on Sunday.

Officials in Kerala said a total of eight suspected cases had been admitted to isolation wards at the Government Medical College Hospital and General Hospital in Alappuzha.

Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said, “One more confirmed case of nCoV has been reported in the State. The patient is stable. At present, there are four people, including the affected person, in the isolated ward at the Government Medical College Hospital. Of them, three have been returned recently from Wuhan. The other suspected case is a relative of one of them. We are awaiting the test reports of other suspected cases. A majority of those in observation in the district are in house quarantine.”

Travel curbs

Following the Alappuzha case, the Union government temporarily suspended the e-visa facility for Chinese and foreigners residing in China. Indian citizens have been asked to refrain from travel to China and warned that in case of travel on return from China, they could be quarantined.

A statement issued by the Union Health Ministry said: “Anyone with travel history in China since January 15, 2020, and from now on could be quarantined.”

The Indian Embassy in Beijing tweeted that owing to the current developments, travel to India on e-visas stood temporarily suspended.

Kumar Gyanesh, a 1997-batch DANIPS officer, put in charge

The Election Commission on Sunday removed Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East Delhi) Chinmoy Biswal after two incidents of firing took place at the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest sites in the district within three days.

With the Delhi Assembly elections scheduled for February 8, the EC had reviewed preparations, including law and order, on January 31 and appointed a special police observer. The review, though routine, took place a day after a young man shot at anti-CAA protesters in Jamia. On February 1, another firing incident took place at Shaheen Bagh.

“As decided by the Election Commission, this is to convey that Chinmoy Biswal, IPS (2008), DCP (South-East) stands relieved from his present post with immediate effect and shall report to MHA [Ministry of Home Affairs],” an EC spokesperson said on Sunday.

The spokesperson added that “in view of the ongoing situation”, the EC has put Kumar Gyanesh, a 1997-batch DANIPS officer and the most senior Additional DCP in the district, in charge.

The MHA or Delhi Police Commissioner were asked to send a panel of three names to the poll panel so it could post a replacement.

An EC team, headed by an observer, had visited Shaheen Bagh on Sunday morning and submitted a report to the Commission. The decision to remove the DCP was taken after the report, said sources.

Two unidentified bike-borne men reportedly opened fire in the air near the anti-CAA protest site outside Jamia Millia Islamia late on Sunday night.

Shadosh, a volunteer with the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) who was at the site, said he heard loud shots between Gate No. 7 and Gate No. 5 and saw a red scooter leaving the site.

Shail Khudaai, a member of the JCC, a group comprising students and alumni of the university, said two persons came on a two-wheeler on the road opposite the protest site, fired two rounds in the air and sped away.

The police said they were verifying the JCC’s claims. “SHO, Jamia Nagar, along with his team searched the area. No empty bullet shells were found there. Also, there are different versions regarding the vehicle on which the alleged miscreants were travelling,” said Kumar Gyanesh, Additional DCP (South-East). “Many people, including students, have gathered outside the police station. They will be asked to give their complaint,” he added.

It was carried out by researchers from the U.S., China and India

The report of a government inquiry into a study conducted in Nagaland by researchers from the U.S., China and India on bats and humans carrying antibodies to deadly viruses like Ebola was submitted to the Health Ministry, officials confirmed to The Hindu.

“The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sent a five-member committee to investigate. The inquiry is complete, and a report has been submitted to the Health Ministry,” a senior government official told The Hindu. The inquiry comes as officials worldwide grapple with the spread of novel coronavirus (nCoV) 2019 from Wuhan in China to over 20 countries.

The study came under the scanner as two of the 12 researchers belonged to the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Department of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and it was funded by the U.S Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).

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