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Upcoming Events - in the next 3 days
Sunday, 2 January 2011 - Monday, 17 January 2011
Viklang Melo 2010 - 11
Sunday, 2 January 2011
Yuvak Yuvati Parichay Sammelan (get-together of boys and girls who wish to
Monday, 3 January 2011 - Sunday, 9 January 2011
14th Annual Mega Free Jaipur Foot Camp by Rotary Bangalore Peenyais
Monday, 3 January 2011 - Monday, 28 February 2011
CERTIFICATE COURSE IN PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELLING IN MUMBAI
Monday, 3 January 2011 - Friday, 7 January 2011
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18 Discourses
Tuesday, 4 January 2011 - Wednesday, 5 January 2011
Come Explore the Wisdom of Your Body using the Principles of InterPlay
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
Talk by Helen Longino on Feminist Science Studies
Consumers’ Money lying unclaimed and unremitted for decades, why not claim the refund now?
It is to point out that here the issue is of refunding consumers’ personal moneys running into trillions of rupees that some of the regulators like RBI, IRDA, and NPPA have appropriated to themselves, while others are waiting in the wings, making the government and the corporate indirect beneficiaries of accumulating unclaimed money. It does not touch the government revenue or public money of any other hue, or, investors’ or shareholders’ money. When looked through the magnifying glass, these monies will clearly show their individual colour different from the one the consumers’ use for making purchase of goods and services. Some of the instances are:
1. According to the reply of RBI vide its letter No DAPM.CO.RIA.1792/07.50.01/2008-07 DATED 27.09.06 to Binty, the money lying in the Unclaimed Deposit Account is as follows:
a) Urban Co-operative Banks ... ... Rs.19,294.23 lakhs. Or, Rs19,294.23
b) SB I & |Associataes ... ... Rs.1,40,26,81,242.2
c) 19 Nationalised Banks ... ... Rs.6,95,47,87,668.96
(Private Sector Banks may also be having similar un-refunded deposits with them. Figures from them are not forthcoming. IDBI, HFDC & ICICI are totally silent.)
2. Life Insurance Corporation quoted the figure of more than Rs.500 crores.
3. National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)a sum of Rs.98 crores approximately out of more than Rs.600 crores. Instead of crediting this amount to Consumer Welfare Fund established in the Department of Consumer Affairs under the Central Excise & Salt Act, 1944 (now called, “The Central Excise Act, 1944”), the amount of Rs.98 crores was deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI).
(Reference may made to communications No.21(530)/2006/Div.IV/NPPA dated 23.05.2006 from NPPA to G. C. Mathur and Office Memo Nr 5/31/2006-P1.1)
4. a) Against an enquiry under RTI in October 2006, the office of Commissioner of Trade & Taxes, Delhi Government, had informed Binty that since 1997-98 till 2006 (September) -2007 the total refundable amount stood at Rs.102.82 crores.
(There is interesting twist to this story; The Sunday Hindustan Times of 24.09.2006 reported in its Thumbnails column that the All India Tax Advocates Forum had demanded the setting up of a mechanism to ensure VAT refund to Delhi’s Traders. My question was, why to refund to traders when the money belonged to consumers from whom the Sales Tax was received by the traders? Since the consumers were not identifiable, the refund should be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund.)
b) On Feb 27, 2017, The Times of India reports that the Delhi government, in a first-of-its-kind drive, has cleared 72,000 cases of refund to dealers registered with the value-added tax (VAT) department in a span of around six months. These cases involve clearance of dues amounting to Rs 850 crore, which also includes the interest amount accrued over the years due to delays in refund. In many cases, the delay in redressing the refund cases is up to 17 years. This clean-up is part of the process to prune and prepare the system for the transition to the GST regime.
“Another 68,000-odd cases are still to be dealt with and the VAT department is trying to expedite the process before switching to the GST regime.VAT commissioner H Rajesh Prasad told TOI, ”There were a total of 1.4 lakh cases, which were pending for refund with the VAT department with the pendency dating back to 2005.”
On my enquiry, the Policy Branch of the Delhi Department of Trade and Taxes informs me vide its letter No.F.3(539)/Policy/Misc/2015/59 dated 07.04.2017 that the Department envisages a provision for refund of excess tax paid by the dealer than what was lawfully due from him. This excess tax is refunded to the dealer after due verifications.(I REMIND THE DELHI GOVERNMENT THAT THE VAT IS AN INDIRECT TAX ON CONSUMERS, UNIDENTIFIABLE, AND THAT IT IS COLLECTED THROUGH THE DEALER, AND WHEN ASSESSED IT IS OUGHT TO BE REFUNDED TO THE CONSUMERS, AND, BECAUSE THEY ARE UNIDENTIFIABLE THE REFUND SHOULD GO TO THE CONSUMER WELFARE FUND AND NOT THE DEALERS WHO WILL RETAIN THE SAME INTO THEIR KITTY MAKING THEM UNDULY ENRICHED. I DO NOT KNOW WHETHER THE INCOME TAX DEPARTMENT WILL TREAT SUCH AN AMOUNT AS AN INCOME OR WILL JUST BE TREATAED AS ‘SUSPENDED ACCOUNT’.)
The Trade and Taxes Deptt of Delhi further refers me to the Sections 11 & 38 of the Delhi VAT 2004 that speak about the refund to dealers, not realising that these are the provisions suggested by the Department officials interested in enriching the dealers at the cost of consumers, at the time of writing of the Act – for obvious reasons. I have not talked about other mentions by the media just for keeping the text to the minimum.
I have no doubt that similar must be the situation in other States of India the news from whom is not reaching the media in Delhi beyond which I do not have access.
5. I am particularly not writing the entire details of the consumers’ money cited above lying idle and unclaimed in the hands of the regulators because of the shortage of space in the print, but do hope that this gist of the consumers’ issue would attract the attention of the print and audio visual media, for the honourable Supreme Court to take suo moto action. It is a continuous process of indirect enriching the government, the trade, industry and advocates in courts in direct proportion to making the consumers poor, which, the Supreme Court of India alone can resolve the issue and provide justice to consumers.
I am willing to assist the Hon’ble SC in being the petitioner representing consumer interest and providing the required evidence to the extent possible. However, I do not have funds to invest in litigation.
G. C. Mathur
Convenor-Trustee Treasurer, Binty,
H. Nr 9-B/9, F.F., Kishangarh,
Vasant Kunj P.O.,