• Corporate inversion is the strategy followed by MNCs in general and US companies in particular, to shift overseas so as to reduce their tax burden on income.
  • The global efforts to tackle corporate tax avoidance, inter alia includes:
    • This has been an agenda of the G20 meetings since a long time.
    • OECD has come up with BEPS [base erosion and profit shifting] project which includes:
      • VAT on digital economy (India has considered the idea of taxing the digital transactions)
      • Hybrid mismatch arrangements.
      • Improving transparency with country-by-country reporting( Example the US has signed the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act with a number of countries as per which these countries share the income generated by their citizens)
      • Eliminating Treaty shopping.
      • The UK has tried to prevent the MNCs to go divert their profits out of the UK by introducing ‘Diverted Profit Tax’ which ensures multinationals pay tax in the UK when Economic activities has taken place there.
      • Helping countries like Ghana to improve their tax rules and infrastructure. Recently India has considered helping Mauritius in improving its tax rules.

 

Thus, it is high time we must categorically assert that tax treaties are meant only with the purpose of avoiding Double Taxation and not for tax evasion or profit shifting. Countries must work in cooperation with each other with standardised taxation laws. BEPS project can certainly be a game changer.

 

 

 

Harsh Punishment for rapes/sexual offences against children below 10 years in age

Rising number of victims of rape under 10 years is a cause of serious concern.

 

  • The penalty for rape under the present law is seven years but may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POSCO) also provides for criminalising pornography involving children, fast trial process for rape cases etc.

 

The supreme court recently asked the parliament to enact a separate law to provide harsher punishment to criminals raping children below 10 years of age. Though it is a progressive move , it may not ensure safety of the minor. Here is why-

 

  1. Rape on an infant and children below 10 is a product of an excessive brutal perversion . These individuals are unlikely to be affected by a harsher law if present laws do not serve the purpose of deterrence for them.
  2. Recently the Law commission in its report stated that it is not severity of punishment that serves the purpose of deterrence but it is certainty of punishment that does so. Most people committing crimes believe they can get away with it.
  3. A harsher law also means more potential for its abuse. There have been cases where many women used rape as weapon to blackmail men.

 

Therefore, it is not that the laws are inadequate but it is its implementation that is.

What could be the probable solutions.-

  1. Certainty of punishment needs to be ensured hence focus should be on better prosecuting mechanisms and training of law enforcing agencies. Maximising the extent of CCTV coverage can be one such move. This must be incorporated in the upcoming Smart cities Scheme.
  2. Community participation: We can take the example of singapore where Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is implemented which encourages mutual care and help among neighbours, through residents keeping an eye out for each other’s premises.
  3. School Security Committees (SSCs) can be setup.
  4. Better implementation of POSCO ACT.

 

In the long run focussing on education to build a society of no criminals should be the goal. The ultimate role of law should be to reform the society and not to take revenge.