image courtesy FICCI

Union Budget 2014-15 has put a lot of emphasis on greater use of technology for domestic growth and development of the country.  It also promises growth of media and entertainment industry which is currently valued at $20 plus billion and has a significant growth potential back by such policy reforms.

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NASSCOM today welcomed the focus on the ICT sector in the Union Budget proposals 2014-15 and termed it as a pragmatic and directional budget.

Mr. R. Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM said, “The announcements on a pan India digital initiative, funding for start-ups, district level incubator network and leveraging technology for good governance are welcome steps. These measures along with the initiatives on skilling, smart cities and ease of business, reflect the thrust on role of technology in Budget 2014”.

The proposal to set-up a Rs. 10,000 crore fund for start-ups and entrepreneurs will act as a great booster for the growing start-up landscape and will help drive innovation and solutions for the global as well as the domestic markets. At the same time, a pan-India "Digital India" programme will promote digital inclusion with broadband connectivity up to the village level, thereby enabling improved access to services through IT enabled platforms.

Leveraging technology for access and governance was another key highlight of the budget. The Ebiz initiative, E-kranti, Virtual classroom, E-visas, Financial Inclusion Mission and many others will help to enhance technology usage in the India market. The industry will look to partner with the government on these initiatives and would urge the government to address key challenges in the current procurement processes so that the industry can contribute optimally in this national agenda.

NASSCOM and the industry thanked the government for addressing many key concerns raised by it on transfer pricing issues. The APA rollback, usage of multi-year data for benchmarking and other announcements should help to improve the business environment in the country. The budget proposal on proactively brining a closure to the retrospective tax issue and setting-up a high-level CBDT committee should address industry concerns. There remain certain areas of concern, which could perhaps be addressed through subsequent guidelines and/or clarifications such as those related to royalty definition, Place of Provision of Service Rules, etc.

Skills development, infrastructure, innovation and social development were other welcome highlights in the budget that would enhance India’s long-term competitiveness.

Lastly, the statements on providing a stable tax regime, reducing litigation related to tax and providing a conducive regulatory environment for start-ups and companies to establish, operate and where necessary, close businesses would help improve the business environment in the country.

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 The National Institute of Design Bill, 2014, is the first legislation to be passed by Parliament after the Narendra Modi government came to power. 

The Rajya Sabha Monday passed a bill to give the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad the status of an institute of national importance.

The bill, which was introduced by the government in 2013, will enable the NID to conduct research and training in all disciplines related to design, confer honorary degrees, diploma, certificates and awards and other academic distinctions and titles in disciplines relating to design.

It will also enable the NID to undertake sponsored and funded research as well as consultancy projects.

The NID was set up in 1961 as a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, and also under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950, as an autonomous institution. It is an educational institution that conducts graduate and post-graduate programmes in all discipline of design education.

The National Institute of Design will now be able to award degrees to students with Parliament unanimously passing a bill in this regard.

Highlights: What Bill is all about?

The National Institute of Design Bill, 2013

The National Institute of Design Bill, 2013 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on March 11, 2013 by the Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of Textiles, Mr Anand Sharma.

  • The Bill seeks to declare the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (NID) an institution of national importance.

  • Currently, NID is registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and as an autonomous institution under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950.  The Bill seeks to make it a body corporate with the legal status of an Institute. NID can establish Institute campuses at any place within or outside India.

  • All property of the Society shall vest in the Institute.  All the rights and liabilities of the Society shall be transferred to the Institute.  Employees of the Society will hold their offices with the same remuneration under the Institute unless the terms and conditions of employment are altered by the Statutes.

  • Powers of NID: Key powers of NID include providing instruction and training in areas and disciplines related to design; granting degrees in disciplines relating to design; framing, altering, modifying and rescinding Statutes and Ordinances; and acting as a nucleus for interaction between academia and industry.

  • The President of India shall be the Visitor of NID with the power to appoint one or more persons to review the progress of NID.  The President may take action on the basis of the findings of the inquiry and issue directions.  NID shall be bound to comply with such directions.

  • Authorities of NID: Authorities established for the governance and management of NID are the Governing Council, Senate, Chairperson, Director, Dean and Registrar.

  • The Governing Council shall be chaired by an eminent academician, scientist or industrialist, nominated by the President, and consist of the Director, government officials dealing with NID, the Dean of each campus and professionals from related fields.  It shall be responsible for the general superintendence, direction and control of the affairs of NID including making Statues.  Statues provide for matters such as the powers of the authorities of NID and the conferment of honorary degrees. NID shall have the power to enter into arrangements with the central government, state governments and other public or private organisations and meet at least four times a year.

  • The Senate shall be chaired by the Director, and consist of the Dean of each campus and senior faculty, among others.  It shall be responsible for maintaining standards of instruction in the Institute.  Ordinances, dealing with matters such as admissions and conduct of examinations will be made by the Senate, with the Governing Council having the power to modify or cancel them.

  • The Chairperson will ensure that the decisions taken by the Governing Council are implemented.  The Director will be the principal executive officer of NID responsible for administration.  The Dean will look after all academic, administrative, research and other activities of NID in consultation with the Director.  The Registrar will be the custodian of records, the common seal, and the funds of NID.

  • Finances of NID: NID will be eligible to receive grants from the central government.  It shall maintain a fund with all money received by it.  The central government may direct NID to establish an endowment fund for a specific purpose.  The accounts of NID shall be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

  • Arbitral Tribunal: An Arbitral Tribunal shall be established to settle disputes between NID and its employees.

The bill was passed after a brief debate. Gaurav Gogoi of Congress said the credit for the bill should go to the UPA government.

TMC leader Saugata Roy and CPI(M) member Md Salim demanded setting up of a campus in West Bengal.

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