From the President
Greetings of the Season!
As we start the New Year it appears that the Chamber has a very exciting year ahead. We have several activities planned for the coming months and work on the same is on in full swing.
We kicked off the years’ programmes with the first CEO Breakfast Meeting of the 4th Edition of the CEO Forum Breakfast Meetings on Friday the 4th of January. The new edition of the Breakfast Meetings was inaugurated by Hon’ble Justice A M Shaffique of the High Court of Kerala. Justice Shaffique delivered the Inaugural Address and lit the lamp inaugurating the new series of meetings for the year.
The First Meeting was addressed by Ms. Lakshmi Menon who conceptualised Ammoommathiri / Wicksdom, a project designed to provide a means of livelihood to the underprivileged elderly women through crowdsourcing.
Ms. Menon elaborated on the various initiatives spearheaded by her viz. bags for the Regional Cancer Centre, the Water bulb in Bhopal, Paper Pens containing seeds, the Ammooma Thiri, the Orange Alert road signs and the Chekutty Dolls.
The next Breakfast Meeting will be held on Friday the 1st of February 2019. Professor Abraham Koshy, Professor of Marketing at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad will be the Speaker at the Session. He will speak on ‘The Bonsai Management Syndrome.’
I am also happy to inform you that the response to this initiative of the Chamber has been excellent this year. I thank our members for the support and cooperation in this connection.
As the President of the Chamber I was privileged to represent the Cochin Chamber at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit and the Conclave of International Chambers between January 18-20, 2019 at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Mr. P S Menon, Committee Member was also present at the Conclave. The Summit and the discussions held there were very impressive and it was an eye opener to see how Gujarat is progressing and the huge investments they are attracting to the State. It was a very enlightening and satisfying experience for me.
On the 23rd of January, the Chamber organised a half day Workshop on the Latest Updates in Labour Laws, EPF & ESI Act. The Speakers at the Session were Advocate Benny P. Thomas of Thomas & Thomas Advocates, Ernakulam and Mr. V. Subramonian, Former Director of the Employees State Insurance Corporation.
Around 60 delegates, representing various Companies, attended this Session which was held in the Chamber’s Conference Hall.
On the 24th of January, we were honoured to have H.E. Mr. Julius Pranevičius, the Lithuanian Ambassador in India, visit the Chamber. Matters of bilateral interest were discussed at this meeting.
Again, on the 28th of January, I had the privilege of representing the Chamber at the Inaugural Session of the Fourth Edition of the International Spice Conference organised by the All India Spices Exporters Forum in Hyderabad. I also got to speak at the Inaugural Session. You will be aware that the Cochin Chamber partners the All India Spices Exporters Forum each year in organising the International Spice Conference.
The theme for this year’s Conference was ‘Challenges of Change, Redefining the Value Chain.’
As is the practice each year, this year too, theChamber will be organizing the Annual Post Budget Lecture 2019-20 on Monday the 4th of February 2019 at the Avenue Centre, Panampilly Nagar, Ernakulam. Mr. Homi P Ranina, Senior Tax Consultant and Advocate in the Supreme Court of India, has once again graciously agreed to deliver the Annual Lecture, as in previous years. I trust that all our members will be present on this occasion to listen to Mr. Ranina’s views on the upcoming Budget, the last one before the General elections in May this year.
A new initiative that the Chamber is embarking on is a two-day Certificate Workshop titled ‘The Last Mile – Eligibility to Employability’ on the 15th and 16th of February 2019.
This Workshop is aimed at equipping graduates get ahead in the job market once they have completed their studies. The specifics regarding this programme will reach you shortly. I request you all to look at the details of the programme and spread the word about it so that a maximum number of students can benefit from this Workshop.
The programme will commence with an Inaugural Session at which Mr. S Venkatesh, President, Group HR, RPG Enterprises, Mumbai will deliver the Inaugural Address. Prof. Abraham Koshy, Professor – Marketing, IIM Ahmedabad will deliver the Keynote Address.
The Inaugural Session will be followed by a Panel Discussion on ‘Careers 2020 and Beyond – Your way forward.” The second days programme will also commence with a Panel Discussion on “Bridging the Eligibility Employability Divide.”
This programme is aimed at equipping fresh graduates/students hone their skills to become employable and to take-up reasonably good jobs on entering the job market. Although the overall employability scenario has improved in recent years, reports show that only less than half of our youngsters who graduate from the various Colleges/Universities are employable resources who can contribute to India’ fast growing economy.
We are undertaking this endeavour to ensure that the Chamber contributes to the effort addressing the needs of our youngsters and industry and to bridge the skill gap that exists today.
I wish you all a wonderful year ahead and seek your support and cooperation in all the endeavours of the Chamber.
CEO FORUM 2019 - "Bonsai Management Syndrome"
01.02.2019 | 08.00hrs - 10.00hrs
The 2nd Breakfast Meeting under the aegis of the Chamber’s CEO FORUM 2019 will be held on Friday, the 1st of February 2019 between 8.00 am and 10.00 am at the Anchor Hall, Taj Gateway Hotel, Marine Drive, Ernakulam.
The Speaker at this Session will be Professor Abraham Koshy, Professor – Marketing, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, who will speak on the Topic “The Bonsai Management Syndrome.”
For Annual Subscriptions, please register online by clicking here.
Annual Post Budget Analysis - 2019
04.02.2019 | 18.00hrs - 20.00hrs
The Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry cordially invites you to the “Annual Post Budget Analysis on the Union Budget 2019-20” on Monday, 4th February 2019 at “Asoka Hall” at Hotel Avenue Centre, Panampilly Nagar. The programme will commence at 6 pm with a High Tea.
The Lecture will be delivered by Mr. Homi P. Ranina, eminent Lawyer and Tax Consultant from Mumbai.
The event details and the Speaker profile are given below.
We invite you and your colleagues to participate in this event.
Kindly request you to click on the link to register for the lecture.
The Last Mile - Eligibility to Employability
15th & 16th of February, 2019
The Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry is organising a 2-day Certificate Workshop for students who will soon be entering the job market.
The Workshop entitled “The Last Mile – Eligibility 2 Employability” will be conducted on the 15th and 16th of February, 2019, at Hotel Abad Plaza, Ernakulam.
The Chamber has invited eminent speakers from industry to address the students during the Inaugural Session on the 15th and during two Panel Discussions that will be held during the course of the Workshop.
We also have arranged some of the finest trainers from Chennai and Bangalore who will train the participating students.
Chamber in the News
Cochin Chamber Blogs!
The Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry inaugurated the 4th edition of its CEO FORUM Breakfast Meetings on the 4th of January 2019, at Ernakulam.
Hon’ble Justice A.M Shaffique, Judge, High Court of Kerala inaugurated the CEO FORUM Breakfast Meetings for the year 2019. Delivering the Inaugural Address, Justice Shaffique spoke on the turbulence that the State is witnessing on account of the various harthals being organized. He lamented the fact that these strikes are causing incalculable harm to the Economy of our State. He called on the Business Community to come up with innovative ideas to counter these hartals and also called on them to stand together in the fight against this outdated method of protest. He commended the Chamber on its initiative the CEO Forum Breakfast Meetings which creates a platform for businessmen to interact and dialogue with one another while also acknowledging and acclaiming those who have achieved success through innovative ideas and excellence.
Ms. Lakshmi Menon, Founder – Pure Living was the Guest Speaker for the 1st Session. Ms. Menon spoke about her out of the box ideas and innovations that have brought about change in the society. Ms. Menon, was behind the conceptulisation of Ammommathiri/ Wicksdom which was a project designed to provide a livelihood for the underprivileged elderly through crowdsourcing, the now famous Chekutty dolls which have become the mascot of Kerala’s resilience, post the floods, and a few of her upcoming projects. She explained to the audience, what provoked her to take up these projects and how she came up with her ideas to execute those projects. She also spoke about the hurdles she faced from the time she mooted these ideas through its implementation. Some of the other initiatives spearheaded by her include bags for the Regional Cancer Centre, the Waterbulb in Bhopal, Paper Pens containing seeds, and the Orange Alert road signs.
Mr. V. Venugopal, President of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry delivered the Welcome Address and introduced the Speakers.
Mr. K. Harikumar, Vice President of the Cochin Chamber, Proposed the Vote of Thanks
The session was attended by 40 CEOs from different verticals of the Trade and Commerce.
The session concluded with a Networking Breakfast.
Vibrant Gujarat 2019
18th - 20th - January 2019
The President Mr. V. Venugopal represented the Chamber at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit and the conclave of International Chambers held between the 18th & 20th of January 2019 at Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Mr. P.S. Menon, Committee Member also attended this Summit along with the President.
Half Day Session on the Latest Updates in Labour Laws, EPF & ESI Act
23.01.2019 | Chamber Hall, Willingdon Island
The Chamber organised a half day Workshop on the ‘Latest Updates in the ESI and PF Act and Labour Laws’ on Wednesday, 23rdJanuary, 2019, in the Chamber Conference Hall.
Mr. V. Subramonian, Former Director of the Employees State Insurance Corporation and Advocate Benny Thomas of the High Court of Kerala were the faculty at the Workshop.
The session was attended by around 60 people representing various Companies.
The first part of the Session was on the recent amendments to the Labour Laws and its implications. In his presentation Adv. Benny Thomas spoke about Social Security to the Working Class and their Families, the benefits that accrue etc. He said that the aim of the law is to provide financial security to the working class, to have a steady and content workforce as a resource for national development. He also explained the various Schemes that are in place to promote these objectives viz. Provident Fund, Deposit Linked Insurance and Employees’ Pension.
Adv. Benny explained the objectives, applicability, special powers and exceptions vis a vis these Schemes.
He further went on to define Establishments and Factories, Voluntary Coverage, the definition of employee, employer and the exclusions applicable. He touched upon the rates of contribution, the definition of basic wages, rules regarding the payment of the contribution, the records to be maintained etc.
He also explained the obligations of Contractors, recovery of dues by the Principal Employer from the Contractor and other obligations of the Employer.
He concluded his Session by talking about the Powers of Inspectors, the Resolution of Doubts, Penal Actions and Judicial and non-Judicial remedies.
The Session on Labour Laws was followed by a presentation on Latest Updates in the ESI and PF Act by Mr. V. Subramonian, Former Director of the Employees State Insurance Corporation.
Commencing his presentation Mr. Subramonian spoke about the Implementation of the Scheme
- By Central Govt. Notification, where Factories will be covered.
- By State Govt. Notification, for shops, hospitals and educational institutions etc.
He said that w.e.f 1.2.2017 the ESI Act has come into force in the entire State of Kerala.
The applicability of ESI to employees and their classification was also discussed;
- Employees, Whose Wages Does Not Exceed Rs. 21,000/- (w.e.f. 1-1-2017)
- Employee IncludesPermanent——Temporary — CasualManagerial Persons —–Trainees Etc
- Engaged Through Contractors
- Employees Deployed On Repair And Maintenance, Building Extension Work Etc
The Wage Ceiling For Coverage Is Rs. 21,000/- Per Month (w.e.f.01-01-2017) and for disabled persons RS.25,000/-
Mr. Subramonian explained the Acts applicability to Factories and Establishments, the exceptions, the definition of Factories etc.
He specified that all Establishments need to be registered online within 15 days and the registration of employees needs to be done online within 10 days.
He went on to explain the definition of ‘family’ under the Act and the rates of contribution. He also defined ‘wages,’ the records to be maintained, the submission of returns i.e. 31st January each year.
The obligations of employers, their joint liability etc. was also explained. Mr. Subramonian also elaborated on the concept of ‘clubbed coverage.
In conclusion, he spoke about the enforcement and punitive actions, judicial remedies – including E.I Courts and Consumer Redressal forums.
Visit of the Lithuanian Ambassador to the Cochin Chamber
H.E. Mr. Julius Pranevičius, the Lithuanian Ambassador in India visited the Chamber on Thursday the 24th of January 2019.
The President Mr. V Venugopal, Past President Mr. C S Kartha and Committee Member Mr. S P Kamath met with the Ambassador on that day. The discussions centered around the economies of both countries and need for enhanced economic and social cooperation between the two countries and the various possibilities like tourism, exports and imports etc. for the same.
INCOME TAX RETURN FILING
8 DOCUMENTS YOU MUST NOT FORGET WHILE FILING TAX RETURNS
Since it is now necessary to provide a break-up of gross salary, income earned from house properties and income from other sources while filing ITR1 form, taxpayers should keep certain documents close to them during the process:
- Many taxpayers often make errors due to missing documents
- Some of these documents help fetch significant tax benefits
- Form 26AS is one of the most important documents required during ITR filing
Millions of Indians are required to file income tax returns (ITR) at the end of each financial year to avoid penalties and earn certain tax benefits. Filing income tax can be tricky at times but it can be accomplished in minutes if you have the necessary documents with you.
Since it is now necessary to provide a break-up of gross salary, income earned from house properties and income from other sources while filing ITR1 form, taxpayers should keep certain documents close to them during the process:
If you are a salaried professional, this is one of the most important documents required while filing ITR. Form 16 is basically a TDS or tax deducted at source certificate issued by the employer, providing details of your gross remuneration and TDS deducted on it. Any employer who deducts TDS from salary has to provide a Form 16 to employers. Even if no tax is deducted at source on income, you can ask the employer to give Form 16 to you. Since you will be required to give a complete break up of your salary, having Form 16 will help significantly in filing accurate tax return.
A regular Form 16 has two parts Part A and B. While Part A contains information pertaining to tax deductions by your employer, it also consists of PAN, PAN and TAN of employers. On the other hand, Part B consists of gross salary break-up details such as exempt allowances. It is important to not have any incorrect details of your Form 16.
Another document that comes in extremely handy during ITR filing is a salary slip. Since all income has to be disclosed by taxpayers, it is necessary for them to provide information on allowances such as house rent and transport allowance,
You can find the breakup of all such allowances on your salary slips. You can sum up all the allowances you have received as House Rent Allowance (HRA) in the last financial year, following which you can calculate the tax on the amount.
Considering the fact that the tax treatment of each allowance received is taxed differently, it is key that you go through your salary slips to find out the exact type of allowances.
Form 16A, Form 16B, Form 16C
If TDS is deducted on any income other than salary over specified limit under income tax laws, the bank will issue a Form 16A form with exact details of amount of TDS deducted. Meanwhile, if you have recently sold any property belonging to you, the buyer has to issue a Form 16B.
Last but not the least, if you are earning income from rent, you should ask the tenant to give you a Form 16C for providing details related to TDS deducted on received rent.
Interest certificates from banks
Interest certificates are issued by banks and contain information related to interest income from savings bank account, post office savings account, fixed deposits and recurring deposits all of which are taxable beyond a certain ceiling (Rs 10,000).
In case your bank does not issue an interest certificate, you should ideally keep your passbook updated. It will help you figure out exact details regarding interest credited to your account till the end of the financial year.
Home loan statement
Taxpayers who have taken home loan from bank or other financial institution, should collect the loan statement from the bank as it will provide break-up details of principal and interest repayment.
Under Section 24, a taxpayer’s liability comes down on timely repayment of loan installments. An individual can claim up to Rs 2 lakh under the section. However, a taxpayer is required to provide the exact amount of interest repaid in ITR along with the rental income (if any) from the house.
Form 26AS is one of the most important documents that individuals should look at before filing returns. Form 26AS is basically a consolidated annual tax statement. It has information of taxes deposited against your PAN card. TDS deducted by employer, banks (in some cases), advance tax deposits and any self-assessment taxes that you paid.
Individuals can download Form 26AS from TDS Reconciliation Analysis and Correction Enabling System (TRACES) website. Before filing income tax return, you should crosscheck that all deducted taxes reflect against your PAN in Form 26AS. Any mismatch would disallow individuals from claiming tax credit.
Insurance deduction certificates
There are various other sections under which tax deductions can be claimed apart from tax-saving investments under popular Section 80C of Income Tax Act. Buying a health insurance premium can also earn you deductions over Rs 25,000 under Section 80D of the act.
So, if you have purchased any health insurance, you should furnish details of the insurance certificate to claim additional deduction.
Similarly, deduction can also be claimed for any interest paid towards education loans under Section 80E.
Aadhaar card has become mandatory for filing ITR under Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act. It says that an individual has to provide his or her Aadhaar details while filing tax return. Those without an Aadhaar card will not be able to file ITR unless they have applied for it, in which case, people will be able to complete the process using an enrollment ID.
THE LOWDOWN ON THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY
What is it?
Sporting feats are difficult to imagine from match records and statistics — numbers alone can leave one in the dark about what transpired on the field. The tale of India’s economy in the year gone by is not too dissimilar. One could be fooled into believing little happened if one simply looked at some key parameters at the same time last year and compared them to where we are at now. Bond yields, for instance, on 10-year government securities are virtually the same in December 2018 as they were in December 2017. The GDP grew at 7% for the September-December quarter of 2017, and the latest growth print suggests a rise of 7.1% in the July to September quarter of 2018. Yet, 2018 has been far from benign — in fact, it has been one of the most topsy-turvy roller-coaster rides for the economy in recent years (if one ignores the 2016 demonetisation).
What is the situation now?
Right now, India’s macro economy “appears to be in a sweet spot,” as D.K. Srivastava, Chief Policy Adviser at EY India, puts it. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s global growth estimates for 2019 have been revised downward by 20 basis points to 3.5%, but it expects India to be the fastest growing major economy in 2018-19 with a 7.5% surge in GDP. Even the conservative Reserve Bank of India expects growth to be 7.4%. Mr. Srivastava’s optimism stems from the fact that some of the biggest dark clouds that hovered over the economy through the year have now receded or blown away. For starters, after a torrid nine months of freefall, the rupee finally recovered some ground against the U.S. dollar in November. It had gone from a level of around 64 to the dollar at the beginning of the year to as low as 73.7 by October. Consumer Price Inflation, which had been over the 4% comfort zone since late 2017, finally started to taper off after June, slipping to 2.3% by November — the lowest level in 17 months. This happy turn of the tide was largely driven by a drop in crude oil prices that had been buoyant through most of the year, raising concerns about India’s current account deficit and other fiscal indicators going out of whack as it is an oil-import dependent economy.
How did it come about?
While the oil price surge (and cooling off) was dictated by global geopolitical tremors, the Indian government did try to tweak key policy initiatives in a bid to stir up the domestic growth engines. From rationalising the new indirect tax regime (introduced last July) through this year, to plugging loopholes in the insolvency and bankruptcy process aimed at cleaning up the mess in banks as well as corporate India’s balance sheets — some of this has apparently paid off. From a growth rate of just 5.6% in the first quarter of 2017-18 (attributed to firms’ scaling back of inventories ahead of the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax), gross domestic product climbed steadily for four successive quarters, even crossing the 8% mark to register 8.2% in the April to June quarter. Bank credit growth that had been somnolent in recent times hit a 5-year high (14.6%) in October as
investment demand revived. Yet, there was a dark cloud in this silver lining — GDP growth in the July to September quarter slipped to 7.1%, driven mainly by changes in India’s external trade basket owing the surge in crude oil prices.
What lies ahead?
Despite the latest blip, growth in the first half of 2018-19 looks better than the first half of 2017-18, and if external factors like oil prices don’t play spoil sport, there is room for more. The Finance Minister has expressed “comfortable hopes” of meeting the fiscal deficit target for this year, and that should keep other macro indicators in favourable zones. But with the general election months away and an anti-incumbency fear gripping the powers that be (after the State election reverses), the biggest risk to the economy is short-run populism with long, lingering side-effects.