- Executive Vice- Chairman of renowned Intra Group and Director of many more companies, hotels, industries etc. both in India Dubai (U.A.E.) and elsewhere in the world.
- One of India's most successful overseas businessmen and a pillar of the Indian community in the United Arab Emirates
New Delhi, Jan 04, 2011: At 9th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi, Dr. Ram Buxani Executive Chairman of World renowned company I.T.L. (Dubai) raised NRI issues:
- I am keen to raise the issue of voting rights for NRIs which has been agreed upon in principle. However, there is a hesitation to implement
- Registration process may be left with Indian Missions abroad and voting can be exercised in person
- The government should consider a more liberal visa policy for Arab visitors, especially for business and tourism purposes.
- Our brethren in Western countries are covered by social security laws. We don't have such facilities in the Gulf countries. I strongly suggest Gulf resident Indians should be excluded from this law although it is advisable that clause 4 (1)b should be totally deleted.
Gulf NRIs seek differential tax treatment
New Delhi, Jan 11, 2011
The proposed changes in the new direct tax code, which makes NRIs liable to pay tax if they stay in India for over 60 days a year, has led to some distress among the Indian diaspora in the Gulf region as they tend to spend a longer time in India due to their different socio-economic background, prominent NRIs from that region say.”NRIs in the Gulf cannot be considered at par with the NRIs in the rich Western countries. They should be given differential tax treatment,” Ram Buxani, president of Dubai-based Cosmos-ITL Group, told IANS. Buxani, like nearly 1600 non-resident Indians (NRIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs), were here to attend the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Jan 7-9.
The new direct tax code (DTC) proposes to make NRIs liable to pay tax if they reside in India for more than 60 days in a particular year, down from the current provision of 182 days in the existing Income Tax Act.“NRIs who are in the Gulf tend to visit India for a longer period. They do it for various purposes like long-term medical treatment, children’s marriages and education,” said Buxani, adding the proposed tax regulation had created unrest among Indians in the Gulf region as a majority of them visit their homeland for more than 60 days in a year.
Buxani, founder of the erstwhile Overseas Indians Economic Forum that was later merged with Indian Business and Professional Council, said the Gulf region should be given differential treatment under the new direct tax regulation in line with the Customs Act that gives special treatment to neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
“Our demand is that the current provision of 182 days should stay. If it is brought down to 60 days, the Gulf region should be exempted,” said Buxani.He said prominent NRIs from the Gulf region were lobbying against proposed changes and had already raised their concern with the Indian government.M.A. Yusuffali, managing director of EMKE Group that runs the LuLu hypermarket chain in the Gulf region, said the proposed regulation would hurt low-paid workers.
“Many people take two-three months’ long vacation after working for two-three years. The new law will be a big problem for them,” Yusuffali, who is also a member of the prime minister’s global advisory council, told IANS.Yusuffali pointed out that the over five million NRIs in the Gulf countries are a very important source of foreign remittance for India and they should be given fair treatment.
The Direct Tax Code (DTC) Bill was tabled in parliament in the monsoon session last year. The new rule is aimed to replace the archaic Income Tax Act from April 1, 2012. According to the draft bill, NRIs become Indian residents for the purpose of taxation if he/she stays in India for 60 days or more in a financial year and also stayed for 365 days or more in the preceding four financial years.Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the government was aware of the concerns of the Indian diaspora and had not yet taken any final decision on the issue.
“It is still in the formulation stage - under scrutiny of relevant parliamentary committees, no final decision is taken yet,” Mukherjee said at the PBD.Non-resident Indians in the Gulf countries contribute nearly one-third of foreign remittance flow to India. According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, India received $55 billion remittance during the last fiscal, which constitutes nearly four percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)......ians/NRIpress
More than a million Sindhis who fled south Pakistan -- Buxani's family was reduced to penury and refugee status during the partition of the subcontinent, wandering the new India in search of a new beginning.
He was 18, when came to Dubai.
- There was no water, no airport, no electricity, no roads, no telephone, and there was no oil. Even flour for bread from the market had ants moving in it, and you had to live in heat of 50 degrees
Indians were taking advantage of import-export openings in Dubai, a British protectorate which used the Indian rupee as legal tender. One firm, run by Sindhis, offered him a job. After a five-day boat trip from Bombay he arrived in the Gulf.
Arabs have made themselves a minority in their own country, about 15% of a population of some four million. If you go to market districts of Deira or Bur Dubai, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in downtown Bombay or Calcutta. Even shop names are written in Urdu or Hindi, which rank alongside Arabic and English as the major tongues of the UAE's grand multicultural experiment.
But you must understand that
Even long-term residents have no voting rights in the UAE, a federation of Gulf emirates set up in 1971.
- I feel that I belong here, but on the other side, whether the country thinks it too is a different story
- Alarmed by the rising ratio of expatriates, who are attracted by tax-free salaries, clean living and urban order, the authorities started an "Emiratisation" drive to employ UAE nationals and encourage them not to marry foreigners.
- There have been certain compromises, such as that we cannot express many things very openly, but that goes with the policy of the country...It's give and take," Buxani said, referring to the desire of long-term foreign residents for nationality.
- The fact they have opened the place to so many expatriates who outnumber the local people -- that in itself is showing a lot of tolerance
- Dubai's liberal economy gained from India's failed post-colonial socialism
- I admires the UAE model of attracting local and foreign private investment.
- I came to make my living. At that time people did not come to share the prosperity because that prosperity was not there,
- Now people who come are attached to the prosperity and if they feel there is a shaky situation they may leave.
- I worried about the future of Indian Sindhi language and culture, Dubai remains the refugee's home.
We have no place we can say is our own. We are refugees and continue to be refugees," he said. "I feel I belong here...this country has given everything any country would give.