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Ombudsmen to settle row over customs, excise and service taxes
April, 01st 2011

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the creation of seven posts of Indirect Tax Ombudsmen' to undertake quick redress of grievances over customs, excise and service taxes.

The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also approved the Indirect Tax Ombudsman Guidelines 2011. The adjudicating offices are to be set up in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Lucknow,

The Ombudsman an official whose job is to examine and report on complaints made by ordinary people about public authorities will consider complaints of taxpayers and facilitate their satisfaction or settlement by agreement through conciliation and mediation between the departments of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax and the aggrieved parties. He will have the powers to give awards to the aggrieved parties in keeping with the guidelines.

It is expected that this will result in making the grievance redress mechanism in the Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax offices under the Central Board of Excise and Customs more effective and transparent, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told journalists after the meeting.

In another decision, the Cabinet approved exemption for ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 from payment of tax on income accruing to subsidiaries of the International Cricket Council, only where the contractual obligation to bear tax liability is on these entities. The financial implication will be approximately Rs. 45 crore, a statement said.

Promoting electric mobility

The Cabinet approved a proposal for setting up a council to promote electric mobility and manufacture of electric vehicles. The National Council for Electric Mobility (NCEM) will be the apex body in the Union government for making recommendations in these matters.

The meeting also cleared the setting up of a National Board for Electric Mobility (NBEM) under the Department of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. The National Automotive Board (NAB) after its formation will be the technical adviser and secretariat for both the NCEM and the NBEM.

The government is taking up promotion and manufacturing of electric vehicles in mission mode: National Mission for Electric Mobility.'

As a first step, an enabling, empowered, fast decision and policy making structure at the apex level in the form of the NCEM and the NBEM is being set up. The NCEM will comprise Ministers from the key Central Ministries and departments, eminent representatives from industry and the academia, and will be chaired by the Minister [Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises].

The NCEM will be aided by the 25-member NBEM, comprising the Secretaries of stakeholder Central Ministries and departments with representation from industry and the academia.

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