Highlights of Finance Bill 2023

Highlights of Finance Bill 2023

Highlights of Finance Bill 2023

The 2024 general elections are just one year away. When the 2023 budget was unveiled, it was expected that taxpayers wouldn’t be burdened in any way, although the average taxpayer did expect to see tax relief. Find out what they were relieved about and what they were dissatisfied about.

Subas Tiwari

Proposed Changes in Tax Rates

  • In the alternate tax regime under Section 115BAC, a revision to the basic exemption limit and the number of slabs has been proposed. The revised basic exemption limit shall be INR 3, 00,000 and for every additional INR 3, 00,000 of income, the next slab rate will be applicable. The highest slab rate of 30% shall continue to apply to income above INR 15, 00,000.
  • The threshold limit for total income eligible for rebate under Section 87A has been proposed to be increased from INR 5, 00,000 to INR 7, 00,000 for assesses opting for the new tax regime.
  • Under the new tax regime, the highest surcharge rate of 37% on income above INR 5, 00, 00,000 has been proposed to be reduced to 25%.
  • The alternate tax regime of Section 115BAC is proposed to be applicable to Association of Persons (AOP) [other than a co-operative society], Body of Individuals (BOI), and Artificial Juridical Persons (AJP).
  • Standard deduction from salary income and deduction from family pension is proposed to be extended to employees who opt for new tax regime.
  • The new tax regime under Section 115BAC is proposed to serve as the default regime.
  • A new section 115BAE is proposed to be inserted, which provides for reduced rate of tax of 15% (plus surcharge of 10% and cess) for manufacturing co-operative societies established on or after April 1st, 2023, and commencing production on or before March 31st, 2024 [provided that specified incentives or deductions are not availed]. Further, income not derived or incidental to manufacturing or production of an article or thing shall be taxed at 22%.
  • Section 115BBJ is proposed to be inserted which provides the tax rate of 30% on any winning from online gaming.
  • Provisions of Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT) and credit thereof shall not apply to cooperative societies opting for an alternate tax regime under Section 115BAE.

Proposed amendments w.r.t. Deductions and Exemptions

  • Receipts arising from life insurance policies issued on or after April 1st, 2023 shall be considered as income from other sources if the premium paid exceeds Rs. 5, 00,000 in a given year. The exemption for receipts in the event of the insured person’s death shall remain unchanged.
  • To avail a deduction under Section 10AA, the assessee must submit a return of income on or before the due date specified under Section 139(1).
  • Deduction under Section 10AA shall only be allowed if the proceeds from the sale of goods or provision of services are received within 6 months from the end of the previous year or within such further period as the competent authority may allow in this behalf.
  • Income distributed from offshore derivative instruments (ODI) entered into with an offshore banking unit of an IFSC shall be exempt from tax under Section 10(4E).
  • The exemption under Section 10(22B) for news agencies is proposed to be withdrawn.
  • Tax exemption under Section 10(46A) is proposed to be extended to ‘Non-corporate entities (Such as bodies, authorities, boards, trusts, or commissions), established by a Central or State Act for the purpose of providing housing, planning urban development, and regulating activities for the benefit of the public.

Proposed Tax Benefits to Agniveers

  • Receipts from the ‘Agniveer Corpus Fund’ by a person enrolled under the ‘Agnipath Scheme 2022’ shall be exempt from tax under Section 10(12C).
  • A new deduction under Section 80CCH is proposed, which provides for deductions to Individual enrolled in Agnipath Scheme on or after 01st November, 2022. The deduction shall be equal to the amount of contributions made to the Agniveer Corpus Fund. This deduction is available in old as well as new tax regime.
  • The Central Government’s contribution to the Agniveer Corpus Fund account of an individual enrolled in the Agnipath Scheme shall be considered as salary in accordance with the provisions of Section 17. A corresponding deduction shall be allowed under Section 80CCH for the same.

Proposed amendments w.r.t. Income from Business or Profession

  • Under Section 43B, deductions for sums payable to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) proposed to be allowed on payment basis.
  • It is proposed that for sugar co-operatives societies, for years prior to A.Y. 2016-17, if any deduction claimed for expenditure made on purchase of sugar has been disallowed, an application may be made to the Assessing Officer, who shall recomputed the income of the relevant previous year after allowing such deduction up to the price fixed or approved by the Government for such previous year.
  • Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) proposed to be notified for the purposes of Sections 43B and 43D.
  • It is proposed to clarify that the benefit could also be in cash for taxability under section 28 of the Act and for tax deduction at source under Section 194R of the Act.
  • Restrictions are proposed for set off of losses and unabsorbed depreciation by the assesse who opt for presumptive tax schemes under Sections 44BB and 44BBB.
  • The threshold limits for presumptive taxation schemes under Section 44AD and Section 44ADA have been proposed to be increased to INR 3 crores and INR 75 lakhs respectively, provided at least 95% of receipts and payments are made through non-cash methods.
  • It is proposed to amend Section 35D to remove the condition of activity in connection with these expenses to be carried out by a concern approved by the Board. Instead, the assessee shall be required to furnish a statement containing the particulars of this expenditure within prescribed period to the prescribed income-tax authority in the prescribed form and manner.
  • The threshold limit for opting for the presumptive taxation scheme under section 44AD and section 44ADA is proposed to be increased to Rs. 3 crores or Rs. 75 lakhs, respectively, where 95% of the transaction are made in non-cash mode. The consequential amendments have been made under section 44AB to remove the tax audit requirement for persons opting for such presumptive schemes.

Proposed amendments w.r.t. Capital Gains

  • The transformation of physical gold into Electronic Gold Receipts and vice versa by a Vault Manager registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) shall not be considered as a transfer for purposes of capital gains taxation.
  • The cost of any intangible assets and rights shall be considered as nil for which no consideration has been paid for acquisition.
  • The gains derived from the transfer, redemption, or maturity of Market Linked Debentures shall be taxed at applicable rate as short-term capital gains under Section 50AA.
  • An individual or HUF can claim a maximum exemption of Rs. 10 crores under Sections 54 and 54F.
  • No tax shall be imposed on the transfer of capital assets in connection with the relocation of an offshore fund to an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). The deadline for this relocation has been extended to 31-03-2025.
  • To align the provisions of Joint Development Agreement with the TDS provisions under section 194-IC, amendment is proposed in section 45 to provide that the full value of consideration shall be taken as the stamp duty value of the property received as increased by any consideration received in cash or by a cheque or draft or by any other mode

Proposed amendments w.r.t. Charitable & Religious Trusts

  • The utilization of corpus, loans or borrowings by a charitable or religious trust prior to 01-04-2021 will not be considered an application for charitable or religious purposes if the amount is subsequently deposited back into the corpus or the loan is repaid.
  • The repayment of a loan or investment into the corpus will only be considered an application for charitable or religious purposes if it occurs within 5 years of the initial utilization.
  • The donations made by one trust or institution to another trust or institution shall be deemed to be an application of up to 85% of the donated amount.
  • The Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation have been excluded from the list of eligible funds for deductions under Section 80G.
  • Trusts and institutions that have initiated their activities must apply directly for regular registration, rather than provisional registration.
  • The submission of an application for registration containing false, inaccurate, or incomplete information is considered a designated violation and may result in the revocation of the registration of trusts or institutions by the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax/Commissioner of Income Tax.
  • The provisions for tax on accreted income as specified in Section 115TD have been extended to trusts or institutions, if they fail to apply for re-registration.
  • In order to claim the accumulation of income, trusts or institutions must file Form 9A and
  • Form 10 at least two months prior to the deadline for filing the return of income.
  • Time provided for furnishing a return of income for claiming exemption by trusts or institutions under Section 10(23C) or Section 11 or Section 12 shall not include the time provided for furnishing an updated return. In other words, the exemption shall be allowed if the return of income is furnished within the time allowed under Section 139(1) or Section 139(4) and not Section 139(8A).
  • The second, third and fourth proviso to Section 12A(2) allows trusts and institutions to claim an exemption under sections 11 and 12 for the previous year in which application for registration is made even though registration is granted in the subsequent year. However, under the new registration rules proposed by the Finance Bill 2023, provisional registration must be applied before the commencement of the activities. So, these rollback provisions are removed.

Proposed amendments w.r.t. Assessment & Appeals

  • Assessee can file an appeal against the penalty orders imposed by the Commissioner (Appeals) under Sections 271AAB, 271AAC, and 271AAD and revision orders passed by the Principal Chief Commissioner or Chief Commissioner under Section 263. The amendment also allows for the filing of a memorandum of cross-objections in all cases that are appealable to the Appellate Tribunal.
  • A new appellate authority, the Joint Commissioner (Appeal), has been introduced for specific categories of taxpayers, such as individuals and HUFs, to speed up the resolution process in appeal proceedings.
  • Where any direction has been issued to give the effect to faceless schemes and e-proceedings before the expiry of the limitation period, the relevant provisions are proposed to be amended to empower Central Government to make amendments in such directions at any time by notification in the Official Gazette.
  • Time limit for disposing of pending rectification applications by “Interim Board for Settlement” has been extended. If the time-limit for amending an order by it or for making an application to it expires on or after 01.02.2021 but before 01.02.2022, such time-limit shall stand extended to 30.09.2023.
  • The deadline for completing the scrutiny and best judgment assessment has been extended from 9 months to 12 months, starting from Assessment Year 2022-23.
  • A provision has been proposed to empower the Assessing Officer to require a cost audit for inventory valuation before assessment.
  • Return in response to a notice under Section 148 shall be furnished within 3 months from the end of the month in which such notice is issued or within such further time as may be allowed by the Assessing Officer on a request made in this behalf by the assesse.
  • Specified authority for granting approval for issuance of notice under Section 148 and Section 148A shall be Principal Chief Commissioner or Principal Director General or Chief Commissioner or Director General, where more than three years have elapsed from the end of the relevant assessment year.
  • Where search related information is available after 15th March of any financial year, an additional period of fifteen days shall be allowed for the issuance of the notice, for assessment/reassessments etc., under Section 148 of the Act.
  • The time limit for completion of any pending assessment or reassessment is proposed to be extended by 12 months, where a search is initiated under Section 132 or requisition is made under Section 132A. The extension shall be applicable for the assessee being searched and to whom any seized or requisitioned items (money, bullion, jewellery, valuable articles, books of account, documents) belong or pertain.
  • The amendment proposed to Section 132 allows the authorized Officer to receive assistance from approved professionals, such as digital forensic experts and registered valuers, during the search and seizure process.
  • The timelines for completing assessment or reassessment in search cases are linked to the execution of the last of the authorizations during such procedure. It is proposed to provide the meaning of execution of the last authorization under section 132 itself.

Proposed amendments w.r.t. Set-off and Carry Forward of Losses

  • The definition of ‘strategic disinvestment’ in Section 72A has been proposed to be modified to include the sale of shares by the Central or State Governments, or by a public sector company in another public sector company resulting in a reduction of its shareholding below 51% and transfer of control to the buyer.
  • Section 72AA proposed to be amended to allow the carry forward of accumulated losses and unabsorbed depreciation in the case of the amalgamation of a banking company with another banking company within five years of the strategic disinvestment.
  • Eligible start-ups will be able to set off and carry forward losses incurred during their first ten years of incorporation, even if there has been a change in shareholding, as long as all shareholders continue during the relevant period. The previous time limit of seven years has been proposed to be increased to ten years.

Proposed amendments w.r.t. TDS & TCS

  • The threshold limit for TDS under Section 194N has been proposed to be raised from INR 1 crore to INR 3 crore for recipients who are cooperative societies.
  • The rate of TCS for foreign remittances, for other purposes under LRS and purchase of overseas tour program, is proposed to increase from 5 % to 20 %
  • TDS on winning from online gaming is proposed without any threshold benefit. The tax will be deducted either upon withdrawal or at the end of financial year.
  • The exemption from TDS available on interest payments on listed debenture is proposed to be removed.
  • If the recipient of EPF withdrawal does not provide his PAN, TDS on the withdrawal will be 20%, instead of the maximum marginal rate.
  • Section 197 is proposed to be amended to include section 194LBA in its scope. Thus, unit holders receiving income from business trusts can obtain lower or nil deduction certificates.
  • Sections 206AB and 206CCA have been amended to exclude certain persons from the scope who are not required to file a return of income and are notified by the government.
  • For certain income paid to non-residents or foreign companies, TDS will be deducted at a rate of 20% or the rate specified in a tax treaty, whichever is lower. This relief will be available if the payee provides a tax residency certificate.
  • Section 155 is amended to solve a TDS mismatch problem. When a taxpayer reports income using the accrual method, it may be taxed before the TDS is deducted. It causes a TDS mismatch and prevents the taxpayer from claiming TDS credit. The amendment in section 155 allows taxpayers to apply to the assessing Officer within two years of the financial year in which the tax was withheld. The Assessing Officer will then amend the assessment to allow the taxpayer to claim TDS credit. Section 244A is also amended to provide that the interest on refund arising out of the above rectification shall be for the period from the date of the application to the date on which the refund is granted.

Proposed amendments w.r.t. Penalties and prosecutions

  • A penalty of Rs. 5,000 will be imposed on financial establishments for submitting inaccurate SFTs as a result of incorrect information provided by account holders. The financial institution has the right to recover the fine from the account holder.
  • It is proposed to amend section 271C and section 276B to provide for penalty and prosecution where deductor fails to ensure that tax has been paid under Section 194R, Section 194S and Section 194BA.
  • It is proposed to decriminalize certain acts of omission of liquidators under section 276A of the Act with effect from 1st April, 2023.

Other Proposed Amendments

  • Central Govt. will prescribe a uniform method for the valuation of perquisites arising from rent-free or concessional accommodation provided by an employer to an employee.
  • Distributions by business trusts to unit holders that are classified as debt repayment proposed to be taxed in the hands of unit holders.
  • The authorities can adjust the Income tax refunds with any outstanding tax due after written intimation only. In the case of pending assessment/ reassessment, written reasons must also be provided for withholding the refund. In such cases, the additional interest on the refund will not be payable from the time of withholding until the assessment is made.
  • Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) and Primary Co-Operative Agricultural and Rural Development Banks (PCARD) can now accept deposits or offer loans to their members in cash up to Rs. 2 lakhs. This increased limit of Rs. 2 lakh also applies to the repayment of these loans or deposits.
  • The provisions for thin capitalization in Section 94B will not apply notified NBFCs.
  • The interest calculation for updated tax returns will be based on the difference between the assessed tax and the advance tax claimed in the earlier returns.
  • Double deductions by claiming interest on housing loan under Section 24 and including it as part of the cost of acquisition shall not be allowed.
  • The eligibility period for tax deductions for start-ups under Section 80-IAC is proposed to be increased by one year. The start-ups incorporated before 01-04-2024 shall be eligible for deduction.
  • The proposed amendment to Section 92D shortens the deadline for submitting information or documents in tax proceedings related to international or domestic transactions from 30 days to 10 days, with an option to extend by another 30 days.
  • Section 56(2)(viib) is amended to make it applicable to share application money/premium received from any person, regardless of their residential status. It means the angel tax may also be levied on receiving excess share application money or premium from non-resident investors.
  • Section 92BA is amended to include the transaction between the cooperative society (opting for an alternate tax regime under section 115BAE) and the other person with a close connection within the purview of ‘specified domestic transaction’.
  • Section 9 is amended to provide that gifts received by an RNOR shall also be deemed to accrue or arise in India.
  • Section 88 is abolished to simplify the act and remove redundant provisions. Consequential amendments have been proposed to sections 80C, 80CCC, 80CCD, 54EA, 54EB, 54EC, 54ED, 111A and 112.
  • The International Financial Services Centres Authority has made the International Financial Services Centres Authority (Fund Management) Regulations, 2022 to regulate fund management entities. A corresponding amendment is proposed in sections 115UB, 56(2)(viib), 47(viiad), 10(4D) to provide that the AIFs should be regulated under the said regulation.

Key Findings

  • 88% of the users reported that their interest in sports increased after participating in Online Fantasy Sports contests. 
  • 81% of the users agreed that by virtue of using Online Fantasy Sports platforms, they have become more aware of non-cricket sports like Kabaddi, Hockey, and Handball.
  • 85% of the users agreed that the option of participating in free contests allowed them to participate without fear of incurring any financial loss. 
  • Close to 90% of the users said that the terms of use for paid contests were easy to find and understand before they participated in paid contests. 
  • 73% of users spend over 30 minutes researching statistics and other information to make their Online Fantasy Sports teams before a match.

For the complete report, click here

Unauthorised use of Electricity’s defined by Supreme Court

Unauthorised use of Electricity’s defined by Supreme Court

Unauthorised use of Electricity’s defined by Supreme Court

Delegated legislation should not travel beyond the purview of the parent act. If it does, it is ultra vires and cannot be given any effect. Rules or regulations cannot be made to supplant the provisions of the enabling act but to supplement it.

                                                                                                      Dr Prem Lata

The SC ruled that Regulation 153(15) of the Code 2014 is invalid because it violates Section 126 of the Electricity Act 2003. The SC noted that there is a thin line between a rule and a regulation, and that if the delegate authority’s power to create such rules or regulations is upheld, ultra vires may result and delegated legislation may be in conflict with the Parent Act’s provisions.

Kerala State Electricity Board vs. Thomas Joseph Alias Thomas (SC) 16 Dec 2022

A long pending issue before the Hon’ble Supreme court was finally settled with a landmark judgement in the matter of U.P. Power Corporation Ltd & others vs Anis Ahmad & others in 2013 along with eight more cases of similar nature.

The issues before the court were-

  • Whether consumer complaints made against electricity boards can be brought before the consumer courts established under the Consumer Protection Act.
  • Whether the consumer forums have the jurisdiction to entertain a complaint filed by a consumer or a person against assessment made for unauthorized use of electricity under section 126 of the Electricity Act 2003 or action taken by billing with penal rates under sec. 135 to 140 of the Electricity Act 2003.

Supreme Court in its final verdict held as hereunder stated

  • In case of any inconsistency between the Electricity Act 2003 and the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the provisions of Consumer Protection Act will prevail with regard to the matters of services defined under Section 2(1) (o) or complaint under Section 2(1) (c) of the Consumer Protection Act 1986.
  • A complaint against the assessment made for unauthorized use of electricity under Section 126 of the Electricity Act or action taken by billing with penal rates under Section 135 to 140 cannot be challenged before the consumer courts established under Consumer Protection Act.
  • The Electricity Act 2003 and Consumer Protection Act runs parallel for giving redressal to consumers who fall within the definition of consumer and complainant under the Consumer Protection Act under sections 2(1 )(c)&(d) of the act .

According to the aforementioned ruling, complaints against assessments made under Section 126 of the Electricity Act or actions taken under Sections 135 to 140 are categorically prohibited in all situations, but if a service provider has charged a price that is higher than the price set by any law, it is open to challenge before the consumer court. This means that a consumer can file a complaint before the forum for excessive billing even if he has not been charged with using electricity without authorization or the like.

But there is twist and turn in the latest Judgment by SC on the issue of unauthorised consumption of electricity in case of Kerala State Electricity Board V/S Thomas Joseph Alias Thomas 2022 (SC) decided on 16 December 2022. The Supreme Court held that the consumption of electricity in excess of the connected load/contracted load would amount to ‘unauthorised use of electricity’ under explanation (b) to Section 126(6) of the Electricity Act, 2003 and also declared Regulation 153(15) of the Kerala Electricity Supply Code, 2014 as invalid for being inconsistent with the provision of Section 126 of Electricity Act 2003.

Facts Leading to Dispute

An appeal was filed by Kerala State Electricity Board against the Kerala HC judgment which had held that ‘unauthorised additional load’ in the same premises and under the same tariff shall not be reckoned as ‘unauthorised use of electricity’.

In its appeal, the KSEB cited a decision by a three-judge panel in the case of Executive Engineer, Southern Electricity Supply Company of Orissa Limited and Another vs. Sri Seetaram Rice Mill (2012) 2 SCC 108, which determined that cases of excess load consumption other than the connected load would fall under Explanation (b) (iv) to Section 126. The bench summed up the guidelines established in the aforementioned ruling with reference to this instance.

(1) The provisions of Section 126, read with Section 127 of the Act 2003 become a Code in themselves. It specifically provides the method of computation of the amount that a consumer would be liable to pay for excessive consumption of electricity and for the manner of conducting assessment proceeding. Section 126 of the Act 2003 has been enacted with a purpose to achieve i.e., to put an implied restriction on such unauthorised consumption of electricity.
(2) The purpose of Section 126 of the Act 2003 is to provide safeguards to check the misuse of powers by unscrupulous elements. The provisions of Section 126 of the Act 2003 are self-explanatory. They are intended to cover 46 situations, other than, the situations specifically covered under Section 135 of the Act 2003. In such circumstances, the Court should adopt an interpretation which should help in attaining the legislative intent.
(3) The purpose sought to be achieved with the aid of the provisions of Section 126 of the Act 2003 is to ensure stoppage of misuse/unauthorised use of the electricity as well as to ensure prevention of revenue loss.
(4) The overdrawal of electricity is prejudicial to the public at large, as it is likely to throw out of gear the entire supply system, undermining its efficiency, efficacy and even-increasing voltage fluctuations.
(5) The expression ‘unauthorised use of electricity’ means as it appears in Section 126 of the Act 2003. It is an expression of wider connotation and principle construed purposively in contrast to contextual interpretation, while keeping in mind the object and purpose of the Act 2003.

The bench, therefore, observed:

“In view of para 72 of Seetaram Rice Mill (supra) referred to above, the High Court could be said to have erred in coming to the conclusion that the consumer cannot be charged twice the energy charges if the consumer uses in excess of the sanctioned/connected load in the very same premises and for the very same purpose, which do not involve any change in the tariff. Para 87(2) in Seetaram Rice Mill (supra) categorically holds that consumption in cases of the connected load would fall in Explanation (b) (iv) to Section 126 of the Act 2003.”

Statutory Provision in the Act

As per explanation (b) to Section 126(6), the “unauthorised use of electricity” means the usage of electricity─ (i) by any artificial means; or (ii) by a means not authorised by the concerned person or authority or licensee; or (iii) through a tampered meter; or (iv) for the purpose other than for which the usage of electricity was authorised; or (v) for the premises or areas other than those for which the supply of electricity was authorised.

However Regulation 153(15) of Supply Code 2014 provides that an unauthorised additional load in the same premises and under the same tariff shall not be reckoned as ‘unauthorised use of electricity’ except in cases of consumers billed on the basis of connected load. On Regulation 153(15), the bench observed that a delegated legislation should not travel beyond the purview of the parent Act and if it does it is ultra vires and cannot be given any effect. It observed:

“If we have to set right the impugned judgment and order of the High Court and bring in tune with the principles embodied in the decision of this Court in the case of Seetaram Rice Mill then we have no other option but to declare that Regulation 153(15) of the Code 2014 framed by the Commission is inconsistent with Section 126 of the Act 2003. If the Regulation 153(15) is to be given effect, then the same would frustrate the very object of Section 126 of the Act 2003. The High Court in its impugned judgment says that Regulation 153(15) does not lead to any loss of revenue. The stance of the Commission also is that there is no loss of revenue if the Regulation 153(15) is permitted to be operated. However, we are of the view that it is not just the question of loss of revenue. At the cost of repetition, we emphasis on the fact that overdrawal of electricity is prejudicial to the public at large as it may throw out of gear the entire supply system, undermining its efficiency, efficacy and even-increasing voltage fluctuations.”

In light of the foregoing considerations and the most recent Supreme Court ruling, the following principle is established:

  • Cases of excess load consumption other than the connected load would amount to ‘Unauthorised use of Electricity’.
  • Delegated legislation should not travel beyond the purview of the parent act. If it does, it is ultra vires and cannot be given any effect. Rules or regulation cannot be made to supplant the provisions of the enabling act but to supplement it.
  • Regulation 153(15) of the Code 2014 to be invalid, being inconsistent with the provisions of Section 126 of the Electricity Act 2003.

A few sections of Electricity Act dealing with the subject

  • Sec 175 of Electricity Act and section 3 of CP Act – both these acts are additional remedy and not in derogation to other laws.
  • Sec-173,174 &175 of the act have overriding effect qua provisions of any other law (The Atomic Energy Act 1962 and Railways Act 1989) except that of the provisions of CP Act 1986.
  • Sec 42(8), this provision of the Electricity Act provides that the remedies provided under these provisions are without prejudice to the rights of consumers which they may have apart from these provisions.
  • Sec 45 bars the jurisdiction of civil courts and other authority but not the Consumer forums constituted under quasi-judicial system.

U.P. Power Corporation Ltd.& others V/s Anis Ahmad & others SC 2013

 ‘India: Growing by leaps and bounds’.

 ‘India: Growing by leaps and bounds’.

 ‘India: Growing by leaps and bounds’.

Let’s start off on a positive note, shall we? An International Monetary Fund (IMF) official predicted that India would contribute 15% to world growth in 2023. In the approaching year, it is anticipated that China and India will each contribute 50% to global growth (2023). Krishna Srinivasan, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department (APD), stated at a roundtable with journalists from south Asian nations that India is likely to contribute roughly 15% to global growth.

Let’s talk about another very significant development. The Union Budget was recently presented on 1 February. It received a mixed response from different sections of people. Let us know your views on the budget!

For individual income tax payers, the Union Budget 2023 has offered significant gains. The highest income tax rate under the new tax system has been lowered from 42.74% to 39%, while the maximum surcharge has been dropped from 37% to 25%. Because of this, everyone will pay less in taxes.

There have also been some very significant advances. 220 crore people were immunised, totalling 102 crore. PM Suraksha Bima and PM Jeevan Jyoti Yojana will provide insurance coverage for 44.6 crore people. Under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, cash transfers of 2.2 lakh crore will be made to over 11.4 crore farmers.

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. 4.0 will be introduced to train tens of thousands of young people in the next three years in modern skills for Industry 4.0, including coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills. To prepare young people for opportunities abroad, 30 Skill India International Centres would be established in various States.

The lengthening of the highways by 25,000 km will result in improved multimodal connectivity. 2,000 kilometres of rail infrastructure will be part of it as well, all powered by local technology. Eight ropeway projects and 100 cargo terminals will be constructed in total to improve connectivity. All in all, exciting times ahead!

I hope you have loved reading the editorial and will continue to support us in bringing the best, interesting and informative articles for your perusal. In the meantime, keep reading the articles we have brought you this month. We discuss Women’s Health and Nutritional Needs, Home Loan by NBFCs and many more. Do share your thoughts at info@consumer-voice.org.

Until then, happy reading!

Pallabi Boruah


World Consumer Rights Day – Shifting to Clean Energy for a Greener and Cleaner World

World Consumer Rights Day – Shifting to Clean Energy for a Greener and Cleaner World

World Consumer Rights Day – Shifting to Clean Energy for a Greener and Cleaner World


World Consumer Rights Day was inspired by John F Kennedy, who was the first leader to send a special message on 15 March 1962 to the US Congress in which he formally discussed consumer rights concerns. In 1983, it was first marked by the consumer revolution and now mobilizes every year because of important issues and campaigns which is now celebrated every year on March 15 as World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) raising global awareness of consumer rights, consumer protection and empowerment.

This year the theme of WCRD 2023 will be: Empowering Consumers Through Clean Energy Transitions. In India too the day is being celebrated by the Department of Consumer Affairs and other organizations.

Global energy crisis is looming large with energy shortages, increased prices of oil and other economic factors especially after the pandemic. However, the energy crisis deepened following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This had an untold impact on vulnerable consumers and also on climate change. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said the world faces its first “truly global energy crisis” in addition to unaffordable energy bills. It added that unaffordable energy bills remain a huge problem, driven up as the exports of oil and gas have been restricted.

Why is Clean Energy Transition the need of the hour?

Currently most of the global energy is depended on excessive use of non-renewable sources of energy like coal and gas which in turn puts a strain on our water and oxygen resources by causing pollution. Fossil fuels contribute to almost 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions. It is therefore imperative to prevent deadliest impact of climate change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost half by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.This should be seen as a turning point for speeding up the world’s transition to green energy.

The clean energy transition means shifting energy production away from sources that release a lot of greenhouse gases, such as fossil fuels, to those that release little to no greenhouse gases. Nuclear power, hydro, wind and solar are some of these clean sources.

One must realize that the shift to clean and sustainable energy resources will involve shift of resources between industrial sectors and local governments. Governments must quickly adapt to the use and disbursing of renewable energy as availability and quality of renewable resources vary.

Stakeholders in this process have varying degrees of political and economic power, and understanding how political economic factors influence clean energy transitions is crucial to effective policy formulation and facilitating transitions to sustainable energy systems.  A ‘clean energy transition’ refers broadly to a substitution of technologies and associated fuel inputs across the full set of energy subsectors and consumers of energy, both as intermediates and final goods.

India’s clean energy transition

No one needs a net zero world more than the world’s largest and oldest democracy- India. India has huge potential for green transition investments such as solar, hydro or wind.

However, a clean energy transition is highly unlikely to occur on its own.  Political economy considerations take a leading role. India and China are cases in point. In 2009, it is fair to say that India’s negotiation strategy aimed to position climate change as a developed country problem. In contrast, India’s INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) offers serious attempts to reduce the carbon intensity of its GDP. China has gone further, offering to peak emissions by 2030 with declines thereafter.

However in 2019 India announced that it would take up its installed capacity of renewable energy to 450 GW by 2030. The Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) scheme is another initiative of the Government of India with respect to enhancing the manufacturing sector for the production of raw materials for renewable energy. Offshore wind too has been given a new lease of life through recent government reforms and targets. With a coastline of about 7,600 km, offering the potential to install ~195GW of offshore wind capacity, the segment can contribute to India’s clean energy target.

A latest report of Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, India’s renewable energy capacity is projected to grow rapidly with 35-40 GW added annually through to the fiscal year 2029/30. Installed renewable energy capacity (including large hydro) rose from a few megawatts (MW) in 2010 to ~163 gigawatts (GW) as of August 2022. India’s ambitious renewable energy targets and the associated policy and reform framework have been an important tailwind for the sector’s development.

“The good news is that the lifeline is right in front of us,” says UN Secretary-General António Guterres, stressing that renewable energy technologies like wind and solar already exist today, and in most cases, are cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels.  We now need to put them to work, urgently, at scale and speed.

World Consumer Rights Day 2023

World Consumer Rights Day 2023

World Consumer Rights Day 2023

Every year 15th March is celebrated as World Consumer Rights Day. The goal of this day is to increase public awareness of the demands and rights of consumers worldwide. By commemorating the day, we have the opportunity to call for the respect and protection of all consumer rights as well as to voice our opposition to social injustices and market practises that violate those rights.

The United Nations has officially recognised and endorsed World Consumer Rights Day. Consumers International has been running the campaign for 40 years, bringing the entire consumer movement together to celebrate. Each year, members of Consumers International contribute to choosing the campaign theme in order to encourage international action on critical consumer concerns.

“Clean Energy Transitions” is the theme this year. The term “energy transition” describes the change occurring within the global energy sector from fossil-based energy production and consumption systems, such as oil, natural gas, and coal, to renewable energy sources like wind and solar as well as lithium-ion batteries.

The United Nations has officially recognised and endorsed World Consumer Rights Day. Consumers International has been running the campaign for 40 years, bringing the entire consumer movement together to celebrate. Each year, members of Consumers International contribute to choosing the campaign theme in order to encourage international action on critical consumer concerns.

“Clean Energy Transitions” is the theme this year. The term “energy transition” describes the change occurring within the global energy sector from fossil-based energy production and consumption systems, such as oil, natural gas, and coal, to renewable energy sources like wind and solar as well as lithium-ion batteries.


World Consumer Rights Day – Shifting to Clean Energy for a Greener and Cleaner World

The transition to clean energy entails moving energy production away from sources that emit a lot of greenhouse gases, such as fossil fuels, and toward sources that emit very little or no greenhouse emissions. Among these clean sources are nuclear power, hydropower, wind power, and solar electricity. According to the International Energy Agency(IEA), in order to meet these climate targets by 2050, at least 80% of the world’s electricity must be switched to low-carbon sources, with roughly two thirds of it still coming from burning fossil fuels.

The world’s fight against climate change has never been more important than it is now, thanks to India’s announcement that it intends to achieve net zero emissions by 2070 and to fulfil 50% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030. India is setting the bar for new economic development models that could sidestep the carbon-intensive strategies many nations have previously taken and serve as a model for other emerging economies.

Expressions – School children on clean energy

Challenges to India’s energy sector

  • India has a serious access to energy problem, and there are wide access disparities throughout the nation. In India, kerosene is still used for lighting in about 77 million homes. Up to 44% of homes lack access to power in rural India, making the issue considerably worse there. India has implemented a number of projects and programmes to combat energy poverty, but they have encountered logistical challenges and insufficient local implementation.
  • In the first half of 2022–2023, India’s import expenditure for crude oil jumped by 76% to USD 90.3 billion, while the overall volume of imports rose by 15%. India’s energy security is severely threatened by its rising reliance on imported oil, and the present global supply chain disruption caused by unrest in geopolitics is making matters worse.
  • In terms of renewable energy, India is also heavily reliant on other nations like China for solar panels. India lacks the capacity to manufacture solar wafers and polysilicon, which is impeding the shift to clean energy.
  • The availability of fuel, the amount of energy needed, and the physical durability of the present and future energy infrastructure are all directly impacted by climate change. It is even more crucial to cut fossil fuel emissions because heatwaves and a disrupted monsoon due to climate change are already straining the capacity of current energy production.

The Way Forward

  • India can support breakthroughs at the university level that assist India in pursuing an economically feasible clean energy transition. Thus, it is possible to take advantage of India’s demographic dividend and encourage students to pursue research and innovation rather than traditional education. For instance, the unit cost of LED lights was reduced by almost 75% as a result of the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) programme.
  • Public transportation needs to be reassessed in order to regain public trust. This includes buying more buses, implementing e-bus technology, building bus corridors, and implementing BRT systems.
  • As well as replacing fossil fuels with biofuels, emission standards should be tightened. Gaining the advantages of electric vehicles also requires the creation of multiple electric freight lanes to encourage electrification.
  • Through the use of distributed energy systems and the encouragement of home production, India can gradually cut down on its reliance on foreign supply chains and commodity imports.

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