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NEWS

Mizo civil society group threatens indefinite strike against SBI

NGO Co-ordination Committee’s announcement comes following bank’s decision to deduct TDS from all eligible deposits, commencing from quarter ending March 2019

Henry L Khojol

Aizawl: The NGO Co-ordination Committee, a conglomerate of all major civil society and student organisations in Mizoram, has threatened to stage an indefinite strike to protest against State Bank of India (SBI)‘s decision to deduct tax deduction at source (TDS) amounts from all eligible bank deposits, commencing from the quarter ending March 2019 of the current fiscal 2018-2019.

The committee has decided to stage an indefinite strike by preventing bank officials and staff from their daily work or duties from Wednesday (March 20) unless the order is revoked, committee chairman Vanlalruata said on Sunday.

He said that the civil society groups had earlier asked SBI officials to withdraw the decision, which has not been attended to till date.

The NGO Co-ordination Committee has instructed all its branches and units across the state to prepare for the strike starting from Wednesday, he said.

Vanlalruata added that bank officials and workers would not be allowed to attend office to perform their daily duties. He added that the committee has strongly opposed the decision to levy income tax on Mizo tribal in the form of TDS.

SBI, the largest commercial bank in the country, has recently issued a notification stating the bank has decided to deduct TDS amount from all eligible bank deposits as directed by the Centre under TDS rules of Income Tax Act, 1961.

TDS will be deducted at the rate of 10% if annual interest income on all bank deposits held by the individual crosses Rs 10,000 for general public and Rs 50,000 for senior citizens, commencing from the quarter ending March this year, the notification said.

It said that income tax exemption for scheduled tribes under section 10(26) of IT act 1961 has no bearing in the issue of TDS on bank deposits.

However, TDS deduction can be exempted on production of tax exemption certificate issued by income tax department, the notification added.

Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) legislature party leader Lalduhoma has alleged that the Centre was trying to levy income tax from the scheduled tribe people in the state.

Moving a call attention motion during zero hour in the state assembly last week, Lalduhoma said that the ST in Northeast are exempted from paying income tax under Section 10 (26) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Although TDS deduction is exempt-able on production of tax exemption certificate, people will face inconvenience in obtaining tax exemption certificate because the nearest Income Tax office is located at Silchar in Assam, about 180 km from Aizawl, he said.