GAAR amendments finalised: Chidambaram

Nov 19 2012, 01:43 IST
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SummaryAmendments to GAAR, the controversial law against tax avoidance through foreign investments, have been finalised, finance minister P Chidambaram disclosed on Sunday.

aviation FDI tweak

Government may be open to tweaking FDI norms in the aviation sector to attract investment, for which there has to be "willing buyer and a willing seller", Chidambaram said.

"What is there to tweak, we have allowed 49%. Let us see whether there are potential investors. These are executive decisions, they can always be tweaked," he said.

"See, merely because you raise it (the 49% limit) to 51% does not mean somebody is going to come. There may be a willing buyer, there has to be a willing seller also. The Indian company must be willing to yield control. And (there is) no evidence of that. There are only half a dozen players in the sector," Chidambaram said.

He was asked whether there was a possibility of tweaking the FDI norms for the aviation sector due to the lack of response so far.

‘Coal scam loss figure will turn out to be mythical’

After terming CAG's estimate of R1.76 lakh crore loss in 2G spectrum allocation as a "myth", Chidambaram said the projected R1.86 lakh crore loss in coal blocks allocation would also turn out to be a "mythical" and "fancy" number.

Fresh from the just-concluded auction of 2G mobile phone airwaves that tested if the government could actually get what the official auditor had projected as loss from allocating the spectrum on first-come-first-serve basis, Chidambaram said the loss estimated in coal block allocation was "another fancy number".

"One (well respected) business house told me that they were allotted a coal block some seven-eight years ago. (But) he has not been able to enter that area yet for a variety of reasons. His officers (have) not entered the area yet. Now what's the point in saying that some loss is there. What isthe loss?," he asked.

"Yes, if there is any irregularity in allocating the block then that's a different matter. But where is the loss," he asked.

‘It is for oilmin to consider raising LPG cylinder cap’

Amidst demands from within theCongress party to increase the limit on supply of subsidised LPG cylinders, Chidambaram said it was for the petroleum ministry to bring a proposal for raisingthe cap if it feels so.

"(Supply of) six (subsidised) cylinders (per household in a year) was decided by the Cabinet based on the proposal that came from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. (Now it is) for them to rework it, if they feel it needs to be reworked,"

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