Tax Relief for Indian Seafarers
Indian seafarers serving on Indian flagged vessel are forced to pay income tax if their vessel touches two Indian ports during a voyage whereas Indians serving on foreign flag vessels were exempted from paying such a tax. This had cast a burden not only on the seafarers but Indian shipping companies which, as a result, have been seeing flight of good talent to foreign shipping companies. The National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) has been consistently persuing the matter with the Government of India demanding grant of parity to Indian seafarers serviing on Indian vessels with those on foreign flagged vessel and have now finally found success.
NUSI informed that the Government has accepted thier demand for Income Tax relief to Indian seafarers working on Indian flag ships. The announcement came following the meeting last week between Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping in New Delhi and Abdulgani Y. Serang, General Secretary of NUSi, Shantaram Dhamapurkar, Organising Secretary of the NUSI and S.S. Khan, General Secretary of the Maritime Union of India (MUI).
Abdulgani Y. Serang stated, "The Government of India has accepted our demand. We are also persuing with the government that the period of time the ship is in Indian coastal waters should also be taken for non-resident status as when the Indian flagship is going in the foreign waters. This is a big victory and has brought relief and joy to thousands of seafarers throughout India working on the Indian flagships. We have been pursuing the income tax matter for the last twenty years and today it has become a reality in the best interest of the seafarers. We will continue to pursue for total exemption exclusively for coastal ships."
On his felicitation by NUSI and MUI, Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping stated that “It was a fair and justified demand of the seafarers which was long pending. The same has now been considered which will bring relief to our seafarers.”
On this occasion, on the initiatives of the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), an amount of Rs. 10,00,000/- (Rs. Ten Lakhs) was handed over to Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister towards the Prime Minister National Relief Fund for the flood affected brothers and sisters from the State of Jammu & Kashmir.