Train AC fares dearer by more than 3% from Oct 1


With the exit of Trinamool Congress from UPA, Finance Ministry has decided to levy service tax on AC and freight services fares, which are set to increase by 3.7 per cent from October 1.

Fares of AC First Class, Executive Class, AC-2 tier, AC-3 tier, AC Chair Car will go up by 3.708 per cent from October 1 and a notification to this effect will be issued today, a senior Railway Ministry official said.

The decision for levying service tax on AC classes and freight and auxiliary services was taken yesterday at a meeting between Railway Minister CP Joshi and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

The service tax will apply to tickets issued in advance for journeys to commence on or after the date of its implementation. In case of tickets already issued excluding service tax, it will be ensured that the same is recovered either by TTEs in the train or by the booking offices before commencement of journey.

In case of cancellation of tickets by the passengers, service tax will not be refunded by railways, the official said. On concessional tickets, service charges will be 30 per cent of the total fare.

The service tax is 12.36 per cent but after the abetment of 70 per cent it will be 3.708 per cent on passenger fares in AC classes and freight.

Passengers traveling in AC classes were brought under service tax from July this year as per the Finance Bill 2012 but the levy had since been kept in abeyance because of opposition by the TMC.

Freight rate will also go up by 3.708 per cent from October. However, auxiliary services rendered at stations like catering and parking will have to bear the burden of 12.36 per cent as there will be no abetment on these services.




No charges on e-transfer up to Rs 1 lakh, banks told |


To promote cashless transactions, the finance ministry has asked public sector banks to take steps to reduce the fee to zero for electronic transfer of funds up to Rs one lakh.

Currently, most banks charge a maximum fee of Rs 5 per transfer of funds up to Rs 1 lakh from one account to another through National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) system.

Transfer of funds up to Rs 10,000 through NEFT system attract a maximum charge of Rs 2.50 per transaction.

In a recent communication to the state-owned banks, the ministry had asked them to "take action" to reduce the NEFT charges to zero for value up to Rs 1 lakh.

However, some banks are yet to intimate the ministry about the action taken by them to reduce the charges, sources said.

RBI has, however, retained maximum charges of Rs 15 per transaction for electronic transfer of funds beyond Rs 1 lakh to less than Rs 2 lakh,

The government has been asking banks to encourage transactions through e-payment channels so as to reduce the number of transactions through cheques and other expensive modes of transactions.

The public sector banks have also been asked to identify top 20 per cent branches in respect of business volumes to bring down the number of cheque based transactions by at least one-fifth in the current financial year.

The banks have also been asked to ensure that all payments and disbursements by them, except sundry payments, are made only electronically.

The RBI had recently said that it is "desirable" that the benefits accruing on account of increasing volume of transactions are passed on to the customers so as to incentivise greater use of the electronic payment system.


Samsung Galaxy S III, S II, Note go cheaper in India


Samsung has quietly reduced the prices of its top end phones in India by approximately Rs 2,000 to 3,000. The price cuts comes at a time when the South Korean manufacturer's chief rival Apple launched its latest device, the iPhone 5, which met with phenomenal success and looks set to break all sales records.

On Samsung India's official e-store, the current flagship Galaxy S III is now priced at Rs 35,499, a drop of Rs 3,500. This device has received rave reviews from critics and buyers alike and has performed well on various benchmark tests.

The Galaxy Note has also received a price cut in India, as it now costs Rs 29,990 on Samsung e-store in India. Previously, the 5.3-inch phablet cost Rs 32,990 in the country. Considering that the company has begun taking pre-orders for its successor, the Galaxy Note II, this price cut was expected by industry exper

Last year's flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S II, has also been subjected to a price cut and now costs Rs 25,900, down Rs 2,000 from Rs 27,900. The phone remains quite popular in India and comes with Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's Android operating system.

Prices of phones priced below Rs 20,000 remained unchanged on Samsung India's e-store.

Samsung phones on contract received similar price cuts ahead of the iPhone 5 launch in the US and UK, making them more appealing to buyers who do not wish to burn a hole in their pockets for a new high-end phone.

Considering that Samsung decided to slash the prices of its top end offerings just when the iPhone 5 was rolled out worldwide, it seems that the company is trying to gain buyers' attention through an aggressive pricing strategy.

However, it remains to be seen whether this move will bring some Apple loyalists to Samsung stores or not.


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