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Inset : Nirmala Sitharaman

2012-2021: Retrospective Tax Gone, But The Ghost May Remain For Some Time

The Income Tax Department lost the Vodafone case because it didn’t contest well in the Supreme Court, held the lawmakers. And to address this, the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee introduced the retrospective tax in the Income-tax Act in 2012, though he was not happy with the decision when he understood the implications. (Vodafone was asked to pay $3.79 billion, including $2 billion in tax, interest and penalties – a claim called incorrect by an international arbitration tribunal). The retrospective tax is gone, but its ghost may remain. Seasoned observers say the decision to do away with the controversial tax provision is purely a political one. The Central Board of Direct Taxes officials maintain that income arising out of the sale of assets on Indian soil must be taxed in India, and they will keep doing so. Now that the I-T provision is gone, it would be interesting to see how the existing cases are handled by the taxmen. The Income-tax Act is a powerful piece of legislation that gives the tax department immense powers to deal with any case in the way it wants, if it is decided at the top level of the Board. The companies involved in the retrospective tax cases may feel happy that the provision has been quashed, but they should wait for some more time before it turns out to be a final respite.
PK Puruvar

PK Purwar

Beleaguered BSNL’s 4G Plans Stuck In Limbo As Rival Telcos Rev Up For 5G

State-owned telecom behemoth Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL) plans to launch 4G, at a time when private operators are on the verge of rolling out 5G services, seems to be jinxed. While the latest in the series is a Tata Consultancy Services-led consortium seeking changes in product specifications, in July BSNL’s board did not approve upgradation of its base transceiver stations (BTS) in two zones. The proposal to upgrade BTSs, supplied by Nokia in southern and western zones, did not get approval at the board meeting held on July 23, 2021, which was chaired by BSNL chairman and managing director PK Purwar. This was despite the proposal, which was estimated to cost a modest Rs 550 crore, was approved by BSNL’s management committee on July 1. However, its board, including two members from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and directors of BSNL, did not agree to the proposal and the agenda has been deferred to the next board meeting, which should take place before September 30, sources said. The mini-ratna firm was expecting the launch of 4G services, along with the Union Cabinet-approved revival plans, to help in its turnaround. For BSNL unions, this is a feeling of déjà vu, as there was a string of rejections to the PSU’s 4G equipment procurement and upgradation plans, the prior one being in December 2019.
Parth Jindal

JSW Group’s Parth Jindal Showers Rs 2.5-Cr Wishes On Tokyo Olympics Champions

Parth Jindal is pleased as punch after Tokyo 2020 Olympics returned seven medals, including the first Track and Field gold, thanks to the tall and strapping Neeraj Chopra directing the World Athletics approved Javelin made of steel/aluminum or aluminum alloy to a distance of 87.58 metres, that usually the 100m sprinters on track run in probably under a flat nine seconds. Parth is the Founder of Inspire Institute of Sport and JSW Sports, but most importantly a sports lover keen to create a good space for non-cricket sports persons ambitious of wanting to excel in running, throwing, jumping in addition to team sports. He owns the IPL franchise, Delhi Capitals. The medal winners have been hailed as the new stars on the Indian sports horizon and awarded money which they deserve. If money can act as an incentive to motivate and perform, why not? Parth’s JSW Group has announced Rs 25 million (Rs 2.5 crore) to the medal winners and their coaches. Chopra will receive Rs 1 crore, wrestlers Ravi Dahiya and Bajrang Punia, Rs 20 lakh and Rs 15 lakh, Badminton ace PV Sindhu and boxer Lovlina Borgohain Rs 15 lakh each, Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, Rs 20 lakh, and each member of the men’s hockey team, Rs 2 lakh. The coaches and support staff have been handsomely rewarded. Hopefully many more corporates would follow suit.

Rahul-Rohit’s Run Feast In England Lifts India’s Opening Gloom

India’s unlikely opening pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, eternally on Test comeback trails, have forged into a fine combination to be the bedrock of India’s campaign. They have added 257 runs so far in five innings in the English summer, including the WTC final. While Rahul put his name on the coveted honours board at hallowed Lord’s, Rohit is yet to make his first century away from home even as he improves his away average that is at least 50 runs worse than his imposing 79.50 at home. Standing a foot outside his crease is Rohit’s adaptation of the Virat Kohli technical template for English conditions while Rahul stays crease-bound and yet masterful in his ability to drive the ball through the offside and in the classical V. Dark skies with hints of moisture to aid swing and seam of a virtually black Test Dukes ball and pitches that are spicier than ever before and offering variable bounce are the challenge India’s openers are facing up to with elan. India’s batting dominance thus far has also been helped along by the presence of Ravindra Jadeja as the batting all-rounder, which comes at the expense of the controversial omission of Ravichandran Ashwin. Crucially, India have been on top of England after the disappointment of the WCT final.

ICC Sponsorship, Design Contests Lined Up to Boost Skoda's 2.0 Strategy

The year 2021 seems to be an important one for Skoda Auto, the European auto giant, as they have unveiled the 2.0 strategy. For starters they have announced a unique design contest for all its new cars to be globally unveiled in India later this year. The winners of this contest will get to meet their head of design at Prague, Czech Republic. Realizing India loves cricket, the company is investing in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as broadcast partner. It may be recalled that Škoda made its first major inroad into football sponsorship by agreeing a deal with Spanish LaLiga club Espanyol. Its strategy seems to be to sponsor the most popular sports. For ICC, besides Skoda, they have already signed another auto client on board besides Nissan who are the sponsors for global cricket events till 2023. ICC has also opened Expression of Interest for media rights opportunities for various non-exclusive media rights in relation to public screening. To popularise the sports globally, they have also introduced bids to get bidders to package attractive content on any inflight or on board entertainment on aircraft, ship or train. These commercial initiatives by ICC are to boost the popularity of cricket globally by 2032 and open the door to the sport’s entry in the Brisbane Olympics.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.