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May 30, 2012

Unsung Hero in War Againest Cancer

It is said that only God and a few good men and women run India. One such man is P H Kurien.

For readers unfamiliar with his name, Kurien was India’s Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks until March 12, 2012. On March 9, 2012, just three days before he left office, he issued the first-ever compulsory licence in India for the manufacture of a drug still under patent. The licence authorized Indian company Natco to manufacture drug Naxevar for which Bayer, a German multinational company, holds the patent. Being a Anti Cancer Drug This was an act of major significance for India’s health.

Since March 3, 2008, when it got the Indian patent, Bayer has imported Naxevar, selling its monthly dose at the whopping price of Rs 2,80,428 or $5,420. Unsurprisingly, only 2% of Indian patients have been able to afford it.
In its application for compulsory licence to the Controller General of Patents, Natco offered to sell the monthly dose at Rs. 8,800 ($170), a mere 3% of Bayer’s price. Kurien obliged the numerous patients suffering from liver and kidney cancer, by ruling in favour of Natco.

To explain why this was a heroic act, we must look at the history of drug patents in India beginning four decades ago. At the time, in what was one of her few wise economic policy decisions, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi replaced the then existing patent law, inherited from the British, by the Patent Act of 1970. The new Act entirely eschewed product patent, limiting patents in medicines to process. Henceforth, any company able to produce a drug via a process different from those patented by existing manufacturers could sell the drug in the Indian market.

Altering the process of production by reverse engineering in pharmaceuticals is a low-cost affair. The Patent Act of 1970 allowed Indian companies to manufacture and sell drugs at a fraction of the price charged by original patent holders, overwhelmingly foreign multinationals. That, in turn, spawned a substantial, low-cost pharmaceutical industry in India.

In 1959, a United States Senate Sub-committee headed by Senator Estes Kefauver had noted that when it came to drugs, India ranked ‘amongst the highest-priced nations of the world.’ Thanks to the Patent Act of 1970, drug prices rapidly tumbled, turning India into possibly the lowest priced country.
As early as the 1970s, American pharmaceutical companies had realised that as leaders in drug innovation, they stood to profit if they could get other countries to adopt the same high standards of patent protection as the United States. By the early 1980s, most developed countries had patent protection approaching those in the US. But since the developing countries continued to maintain low protection, American pharmaceutical companies began to lobby the US government to pressure them into implementing higher standards.

The Uruguay Round (UR) of trade negotiations provided the companies their big opportunity. They not only managed to place all intellectual property rights on the negotiating agenda but eventually succeeded in pushing the wide-ranging Agreement on Trade related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) as a part of the UR Agreements establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO). The TRIPs agreement required all WTO members to provide 20-year product and process patents on new medicines.

Its vilification as an obstructionist negotiator by the western press and governments notwithstanding, India fought hard against product patents on medicines. Though it lost that battle, it did score an important victory. It got inserted in the Agreement on TRIPs, a provision whereby member countries would retain the right to issue compulsory licence to domestic firms for a patented medicine if the patent holder did not provide the medicine at an affordable price.

In 2005, when India amended the Patent Act of 1970 to become TRIPs-compliant, it built this provision into the amended Act.
Natco applied to the Controller General of Patents for compulsory licence under this provision. This was the first such application, so Kurien was on unchartered territory. Luckily, earlier he had spent three years as a scholar at the Indian Institute of Science and appreciated the value of research. In addition to inviting Natco and Bayer to present arguments and evidence at a hearing that lasted 18 hours, spread over three days, he sifted through reams of articles by scholars and institutions globally.

Based on this investigation, Kurien produced a 62-page airtight judgment in favour of Natco. Bayer has appealed but it will take a miracle to overturn the judgment. Sensing the threat to future profits of its companies, the US has turned to pre-WTO pressure tactics, placing India on its latest “Priority Watch List.” But India’s commerce minister Anand Sharma has reacted coolly describing the US action as “unilateral, unfortunate and unjustified.”
In its defence, Bayer had argued that its high price of the drug was necessary to defray the cost of invention. This is a spurious argument. If drug companies counted on poor countries to recover the costs of their inventions, they would invest in research to treat tropical diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. They do not.

Kurien has sent a clear signal that the provision of compulsory licence in Indian patent law have teeth and that a patent holder selling medicine at unduly high prices faces real prospect of entry of low-cost competitors. And, for that, he is a hero...

May 23, 2012

Pi Pa Pi Pa Ho gaya

O mainu tere naal tere naal..
O mainu tere naal tere naal
Love ho gaya

Ho Punjab ya ho pardes mein
Jeeta hai jatt saari race mein
Peeta hai par do Hi case mein
Ishq howe ya na ishq howe
Ho Punjab ya ho pardes mein
Jeeta hai jatt saari race mein
Peeta hai par do Hi case mein
Ishq howe ya na ishq howe

Jab tallk mein tha mann mauji
Ab tu general aur main fauji
Ankhein botal rab di soh ji
Apoon syrandar kita ke main
Pee pa pee pa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya
Pee pa pee pa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya

Pee pa pee pa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya
Pee pa pee pa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya…. aaha haa
O mainu tere naal naal love ho gaya
O mainu tere naal naal love ho gaya
Haan Ji
Haan haa haan ji (Haan Ji)
Hanji han mainu chad gayi oye
Gal gadi vich vad gayi hoyyye
Hanji han mainu chad gayi oye
Main toh phas gaya phas gaya phas gaya phas geya

Mac da makeup laa ke haaye
Maar gi akh tika ke haye haye haye
Mac da makeup laa ke haaye
Main toh
Mar gaya mar gaya mar gaya
Mar gaya mar gaya mar gaya mar gaya
Phas gaya phas gaya phas gaya phas gaya phas gaya
Mar gaya mar gaya mar gayaa
Dil dhuaan Chimney da ki main tann
Pee pa pee pa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya
Pee pa pee pa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya…
Haan ji
Haan haa haan ji (Haan Ji)
Hanji Han ye naye aye he
Aaj sapne sang laye he
Hanji han ye naye aye he
Ruk ja ruk ja ruk ja ruk ja
Jukthe karle peri pena
ha ye teri parjai he
Jukthe karle peri pena
Juk ja juk ja juk ja juk ja
Juk ja juk ja juk ja
Ruk ja ruk ja ruk ja ruk ja juk ja juk ja juk ja juk jaa
Juktha he vo jeethak rehtha
Pee pa pee pa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya
Pee pa pee pa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya…
Pee pa pee pa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya
Peepa peepa ho gaya
Ho jat pee ke peepa ho gaya…

May 21, 2012

Antaryami Maharaj

Santa Ek Jyotish Ke Paas Kundli Dikhane Gaya.

Jyotish: Tera Naam Santa Singh Hai?

Santa: Ji Maharaj

Jyotish: Tujhe Do Ladki & Ek Ladka Hai?

Santa: ji Maharaj

Jyotish: Tune Abhi 10 Kilo Chawal Kharide Hai?

Santa: Haan, Oye Aap To Antaryami Ho

Jyotish: Bete Agli Baar Aana, To Kundli Lana Ration Card Nahi

May 11, 2012

Love for Dogs

(Scene : A farewell dinner party and everyone is enjoying the drinks, Our DGM (Aged around 50 yrs) who is having a bear mug)

DGM: I have this dog with me for around 9 years and he has been a good pup.

Me: Sir how did you develop this love for dogs?

DGM: LOVE !!!! Are yaar i used to Bloody hate dogs.... Ek baar chote hote i was bitten by a dog since then i used to hate dogs....

Me: Kya baat kar rahe ho sir...

DGM: Aur Kya !!!!! Yeh to woh bacchon mein hota hai na... Papa hume dog rakhna hai papa humen dog rakhna hai... Fir shuru shuru mein ek do saal to khela fer.... Papa Sambhale...

Ab phone kar k puch lete hain.. Aapne use aise khilaya.. Aapne use waise kiya.. Sambhale ki liye kaun PAPA... (taking a long sip from his bear mug).......

Chahe raat ko mein kitne baje bhi soun, yeh bhai sahab subah 5 baje mujhe utha deta hai....

May 9, 2012

26-28 Not a great Age for Man

Your ex-gfs/crushes are getting married...

Your career has just started....

 You know that whatever you have been taught about the world in schools has been sheer waste of time....

You can be denied a job even after passing the test and you could be given a job if you know someone placed high enough.....
Elders/parents treat you as unproven theorems.....

College guys feel that you are too old to have in their group...

You seem to enjoy both cartoon and news..... 

You can no longer eat whatever you wish without putting on weight. ....

Every Aunt you meet asks ‘Shaadi kab kar rahe ho beta!!......

While uncle asks ‘Career/Job kaise chal raha hai…?’

You have all the confidence in the world but little achievements to show....

 You already have the first hand experience of the life......

 Politics till now was a dirty word but now you feel it everywhere.....

You know now love is not that blind and that friendship has its terms and conditions......

May 7, 2012

TDS on out of pocket expenses, Service Tax

There are 18 Sections in Income Tax Act, 1961 that provides for Deduction of Tax at Source. Out of these 18, only 3 sections [194C, 194J and 194L] use that phrase “on income comprised therein”. Further these words appear at the end of the taxing provision and naturally can not be ignored. All the other 15 do not contain this phrase.
Now the question that arises is WHY only for these 3 sections [194C, 194J and 194L] and not for other 15. It is very very simple, because in the case of the remaining 15 sections the question of “income and non income does not and can not arise.” The very fact that this phrase “on income comprised therein” has been used naturally means that there can be non income component also being part of a payment. Further payments situation covered under these three sections alone can have both income and non-income component.
If the legislatures’ intention was to tax on the whole payment this phrase “on income comprised therein” has no place in these sections / entire Income Tax Act, 1961.

Question No. 30 of Board's Circular No. 715, dt. 8th Aug., 1995, which is reproduced below :
"Q. No. 30. Whether the deduction of tax at source under Sections 194C and 194J has to be made out of the gross amount of the bill including reimbursements or excluding reimbursement for actual expenses ?
Ans. Sections. 194C and 194J refer to any sum paid obviously, reimbursements cannot be deducted out of the bill amount for the purpose of tax deduction at source."

The departmental circular “715 of 08-08-1995” makes this phrase “on income comprised therein” redundant [or unwanted; useless], and this can not be intention of the legislature. Otherwise they could have simply said “on such payment” instead of using the phrase “on income comprised therein”
Said clarification i.e Question No. 30 as per Circular No. 715, dt. 8th Aug., 1995, applies only if there is a composite bill which does not differentiate between the reimbursement and other sum. if there was no composite bill but separate bills had been raised for fee for technical services and reimbursement of actual expenses. There being no income included in the amount of reimbursement which was on the basis of actual expenses incurred by the consultant on petrol and maintenance of the car, the same cannot be subject to TDS as part of gross bill under Section 194J.
Now the question is why only these 3 sections have this phrase “on income comprised therein”
Let us take an example (as amended by Finance Act 2010):
A CA raises a bill on his client Rs. 24,000 as Prof Fee + Rs. 4,000 towards hotel bill [bill produced as proof for reimbursement] + Rs. 2,472 towards service Tax Totalling to: Rs. 30,472.00. Then TDS is deductible. But the hotel bill which is a reimbursement and service tax can under no stretch of imagination be treated as income. Hence the TDS is to be made on Rs. 24,000.00 only (even though this alone does not exceed the threshold limit) which is the “income component” of the total bill.

But there is a case decided in favour of revenue also i.e Associated Cement Co. Limited. vs CIT(SC)
Supreme Court Decision dt.23-03-1993

In which it was observed by the court that
“It is neither possible nor permissible for the payer to determine what part of the amount paid by him to the contractor constitutes the income of the latter. It is not also possible to think that Parliament could have intended to cast such impossible burden upon the payer nor could it be attributed with the intention of enacting such an impractical and unworkable provision. Hence, on the express language employed in the sub-section, it is impossible to hold that the amount of two per cent. required to be deducted by the payer out of the sum credited to the account of or paid to the contractor has to be confined to his income component out of that sum”.

It is true that it is not the intention of the legislature to thrust on the deductor the task of finding the income component in general but any layman can say that a reimbursement that is supported with document and the indirect TAX component are not, repeat not, and can never constitute an income.

However, Currently Department insist on deduction of TDS on Gross amount which includes Service tax except in the case of Rent. In case of Rent Assessee need to deduct TDS only on Rent amount,not on service tax component (as per CIRCULAR NO. 4/2008, DATED 28-4-2008) but in case of other expenses  Assessee need to deduct TDS on service tax component also.

May 1, 2012

Taxablity of Honorarium

Honorarium to employee’s
Honorarium is the part of salary for income tax purpose in India.
As held in Sri Vardarajswami Transports P Ltd V/s RPF Commissioner AIR 1966 Mad 466 and
AAR (New Delhi) No. 597 of 2002 in case of Max Muller Bhuvan

Max Mueller Bhavan, In re (2004) 268 ITR 31, 32, 35 – 36 (AAR)
However Govt employees may invoke exemption u.s 10 (17A)
U/s 10 [(17A)   any payment made, whether in cash or in kind,—
       (i)  in pursuance of any award instituted in the public interest by the Central Government or any State Government or instituted by any other body and approved 77 by the Central Government in this behalf; or
      (ii)  as a reward by the Central Government or any State Government for such purposes as may be approved77 by the Central Government in this behalf in the public interest;]

Honorarium to Professional’s
On other hand honorarium is not for any services rendered on request and authorization to do work or as per agreement- the work as well as honorarium both are voluntarily. An author submit article without any obligation, the same may be published or not. The publisher may or may not pay honorarium even after publication of article. The honorarium is not mutually decided. It is paid as an honor or regard and not as consideration for service or goods, provided voluntarily. Therefore, honorarium e.g. to author of articles, is not in nature of porfessional or technical fees to which provisions of S. 194J apply.

Honorarium to netiher Professional’s nor employee
If the person receiving the honorarium is neither employee nor professional then payee is not liable to deduct TDS u/s 192 nor u/s 194J. However the person receiving the Honorarium will have to show it as income from other sources.