Indian seamen may get I-T waiver in next budget
Giving some relief to the Indian seamen who are posted on Indian ships, the National Shipping Board (NSB) has decided to recommend waiver of income tax on their earnings.
The NSB's suggestion to the Central government, if implemented, will benefit around 50,000 seamen in the country. According to S B Agnihotri, director general of shipping, NSB decided to take up the matter with the Centre within one month, so that it could be considered in the next budget. NSB, an advisory board to the shipping ministry, made this decision at its 117th meeting which was held in Kochi on Saturday. If the finance ministry allows the tax waiver, it could have a positive impact on the shipping industry in the country, says a highly placed source in the shipping ministry.
"Right now seafarers working on Indian ships are taxed at 30%, while those working on foreign ships don't have to pay tax as they have NRI status. This, in fact, resulted in the drain of highly qualified seamen from the country," sources said.
NSB also discussed the matter of upgrading the existing Marine Mercantile Department offices and to establish new field offices. "We have to augment the strength of the directorate of shipping as there is a shortage of manpower. Moreover, we have to expand as the number of ports and the number of ships coming to the country is increasing," explains Agnihotri. "We need to open more offices and in the last meeting I demanded principal maritime office to be set up in Vizag, to help the job seekers to take exams for maritime job," Sandeep Chandra, a member of NSB says.
"Kochi may become a major bunkering hub, to refuel the ships plying in the international trade routes and Kochi already has the infrastructure to do this,"Agnihotri commented on the future role of the town in the global maritime industry.
Date: September 26,2011 Source: IndiaTimes