Tag Archives: Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT)

Small Traders want penal norms delayed

With 60 per cent of the country’s small traders yet to be computerised, wholesalers and traders are demanding amnesty from penal provisions of GST for atleast nine months.

A large number of small traders are still not educated about GST and there are expected to be teething problem for them in the initial phase.

GST is expected to replace hand-written receipts as traders will need to maintain computerised records and file returns online. For that they will need to upgrade their existing business format and link digital payment with GST among other things.

“We are asking for interim period for general traders for whom so far no interaction has been initiated by the government and they are still unaware of nitty-gritty of GST. Since GST is a new thing for the trading community interim period will be best suited  to bring more people under GST net,” said Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, Confederation of All India Traders ( CAIT).

He said that when VAT was introduced there was around three years as transition period. Khandelwal said that during the trial period no penal action should be taken against any trader for procedural lapses.

As per the GST Council decision, traders in the country with revenue above Rs 20 lakh have to register for GST. “Till now GST rules have not been completely been framed. There are many things in pipeline. Trading community across country need to be informed about GST and GST is entirely different kind of taxation system against current tax regime. So it is obvious that during its operations there may be procedure lapse by the trading community,” he said.

“Still 60 per cent of the small businesses in the country  has not adopted computerisation which is a major challenge because GST is technology based taxation system,” he added.

Source: The Asian Age

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NIELIT to train small traders in digital payments

National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) today launched a programme to train small and medium traders in various modes of digital payments.

NIELIT, under the Ministry of IT and Electronics, would conduct the programme through five regional workshops, 30 state workshops and 100 Digi Dhan campaigns.

At the regional level, the programme will be rolled out in Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai.

“We need to recognise that this is the changing face of India. The country is undergoing a digital transformation backed by 108 crore mobile phones, 50 crore internet users and 111 crore Aadhaar holders,” IT and Electronics Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while launching the initiative.

This comes at a time when the government is pushing for increased adoption of digital transactions post demonetisation.

Prasad added that demonetisation should be seen as “transformative” and not a standalone programme, as it has been effective in clamping down on corruption, terror funding and money laundering.

He urged the trading and business community to turn digital transactions into a “national movement”.

The training programme is aimed at enabling adoption of digital payment mechanisms such as Unified Payments Interface, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, and Aadhaar-enabled payment system by the trading community.

About 13,500 small and medium unorganised/self organised businesses/ traders are targeted, an official release said.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) would be mobilising traders and trade union leaders for training on digital payment initiatives.

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All Abount Presumptive Tax Scheme – Compliance route eased for small biz

The Finance Act, 2016 includes various amendments that aim at helping professionals and small businesses. One of them is about presumptive taxation, the required paperwork for which was a matter of concern for many professionals such as doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants and others.

Corporation tax: FY17 might see 1-1.5% cut

The Finance Act has made things simpler for professionals by reducing the amount of effort needed to estimate the income for the year and also to file the return on this.

For taxation purpose, most businesses and professionals have to maintain books of accounts, which are then evaluated at end of each financial year. A profit and loss statement is prepared and tax on income, if any, is paid accordingly. However, there is a special scheme— Presumptive Taxation Scheme (PTS)—under which one can file the return and pay tax on the basis of ‘presumed income’.

Under PTS, eligible professionals and businesses can compute income on an estimated basis under section 44ADA and 44AD of the Income Tax Act, 1961, respectively, at a minimum prescribed rate. Businesses already had this provision, but from the current financial year, the threshold under PTS for eligible businesses has been raised from Rs.1 crore to Rs.2 crore. Professionals with less than Rs.50 lakh of gross receipts in a financial year are also now under the umbrella of PTS.

Eligible businesses

The scheme can be adopted by an eligible resident individual, a resident Hindu undivided family (HUF) and resident partnership firm. However, limited liability partnership (LLP) firms are not allowed to adopt this scheme. Also, those who claim benefits for their businesses on the basis of those being in free or special economic zones or in backward areas can’t avail of PTS. Even those who are earning income in the nature of commission or brokerage (such as insurance agents or mutual fund advisers) cannot adopt the scheme.

From the assessment year 2017-18, the scheme will cover businesses having a total turnover of less than Rs.2 crore during the financial year. “However, business of plying, hiring or leasing goods carriages referred to in another PTS under section 44AE, are not allowed to adopt this scheme,” .

Under PTS, if the above mentioned conditions are satisfied, the eligible businesses can estimate their income at the rate of 8% of the total turnover.

For instance, if the turnover of the business is Rs.1.75 crore in the financial year and the owner decides to compute income on an estimated basis for filing income tax returns, business income chargeable to tax so calculated would be Rs.14 lakh (8% of Rs.1.75 crore). However, the assessee is allowed to willingly declare income at a higher rate than the minimum of 8% of the total turnover. So, it is on the business owner’s discretion to declare that the profit margin in the business is more than the mandatory 8%. Tax will be paid accordingly. So, in the above example, an income of more than Rs.14 lakh on a total turnover of Rs.1.75 crore can be declared.
The Budget proposes to raise the turnover limit under Section 44AD of the Income Tax Act to Rs 2 crore, from Rs 1 crore, bringing big relief to a large number of assessees in the micro, small & medium enterprises category.

Eligible professionals

PTS has now been extended to professionals by inserting a new section—44ADA—in the Act. “Those who are governed or regulated by an institute or body such as doctors, lawyers, architects, interior designers and others can file returns under the scheme,”.

According to the new section, eligible professionals, whose gross receipts are below Rs.50 lakh against the rendered services in a financial year, can file tax returns under PTS. For this, 50% of the total receipts during the fiscal will be considered as profit and will get taxed under the income tax head of “profits and gains of business or profession”.

For instance, if the receipts of a professional during the year amount to Rs.40 lakh, and she chooses to files her tax return under PTS, her taxable income will be considered at a minimum of Rs.20 lakh. But she can voluntarily declare an income that’s more than the mandatory 50% of the total receipts.

What is considered turnover or receipt?

Under PTS, you can only take into consideration gross turnover or receipts. But it is not clear as to what should be considered as receipts and what should not be. “It depends more on what kind of accounting method you use,”.

“If you operate under the accrual system, take only those sales where you delivered the goods or completed the service within the specified time period you are considering. If you operate on cash basis, recognise only the sales where you received payment within the time period,” he explained.

That means that you can either take into account only the amount of goods or services delivered during the year, irrespective of whether the related payment has been received or not. In other case you can take into account only cash sales, accrued income (income earned but not received) can be taken into consideration in the year it is received.

“The term ‘gross receipts’ has not been defined in the Act, but it includes all receipts in cash or kind, arising from carrying on of business or profession, assessable as income under the Act,”.

Service tax and cess

Along with the fee charged for the service provided, professionals also collect service tax and cess as part of the bill. But will the service tax and cess components, which the professional has to pass on to the government, also be considered as receipts?

“Since gross receipts are not defined, there is not enough clarity on this. (But) as a matter of principle, service tax and cess should not be included in the gross receipts,”.

The argument here is that since service tax and applicable cess are payable to the government by the service provider, only the service fee should be treated as receipt.

Not allowed to claim

Professionals and businesses availing the benefits of PTS can’t claim tax deduction under sections 30 to 38 of the Act, which would include deduction on expenses such as rent of the shop or office, insurance premium of goods and machines, interest on borrowed capital, employer’s contribution to provident fund, depreciation on assets and machinery, and so on. Under PTS, it is deemed that deductions for such expenses have been factored in.

This means that if the receipts of a professional during the year amount to Rs.40 lakh, then Rs.20 lakh (50%) would be considered to cover cost of office, maintenance, travel, telephone and so on. The remaining Rs.20 lakh will get taxed at the applicable slab rate. In case of a firm, deduction can be claimed for salary and interest to partners.

No advance tax payment

All professionals and businesses generally have to adhere to advance tax payment rules. According to section 208 of the Act, if the total estimated tax on their incomes for the relevant financial year is expected to be more than Rs.10,000 per annum, advance tax has to be paid. One has to pay 15% of the estimated income tax by 15 June, 45% by 15 September, 75% by 15 December and the rest by 15 March of the relevant financial year.

However, with PTS, a professional assessee is exempt from paying advance tax. This means that she does not have to estimate her income four times a year and pay advance tax accordingly. Instead, she has to go through the exercise only once. However, businesses under PTS need to pay entire advance tax on the last instalment date, 15 March.

The main aim of PTS is to reduce tax compliance burden and cost of maintaining books of account for professionals and small businesses. While some points are still to be clarified, the scheme is a move forward.

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HIGHLIGHTS: Union Budget 2017-18

Softening the demonetisation blow, the Budget for 2017-18 on Wednesday halved the tax to 5 per cent on incomes up to Rs 500,000 but proposed a new surcharge of 10 per cent on incomes between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore and raised duties on cigarettes and pan masala while stepping up allocations for infrastructure, rural, agriculture and social sectors.Following are the highlights of Union Budget 2017-18, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament on February 1:

  • Tax rates halved to 5% for income of Rs 2.5-5 lakh, tax slabs unchanged
  • 10% surcharge on people earning between Rs 50 lakh-1 cr
  • 15% surcharge on annual income above Rs 1 cr to continue
  • Cash transactions above Rs 3 lakh to banned
  • Corporate tax for SMEs with turnover up to Rs 50 cr cut to 25%; 96% companies to benefit
  • Customs duty of LNG halved to 2.5%
  • Fiscal deficit pegged at 3.2% next year, 3% in FY’19
  • Political parties barred from accepting cash donation beyond Rs 2,000 per individual
  • They can receive donations via cheques, electronic mode; electoral bonds to be issued by RBI
  • Aadhaar-based health cards for senior citizens; a scheme for them to ensure 8 pc guaranteed returns
  • FIPB to be abolished; further FDI policy liberalisation
  • Government to have time-bound procedure for CPSE listing
  • Railway PSUs — IRCTC, IRFC, IRCON to be listed
  • Payment Regulatory Board to be set up within RBI to regulate digital payments
  • Negotiable instruments Act to be amended to deal with cheque bounce cases
  • Legislative changes to confiscate of assets of economic offenders who flee country
  • Demonetisation bold, decisive measure; to help GDP growth, taxes mop up to rise
  • Effect of demonetisation not to spill over to next year
  • GST, demonetisation ‘tectonic changes’ for economy
  • Service charges on e-tickets booked via IRCTC waived
  • Capital expenditure of Railway fixed at Rs 1.31 lakh cr
  • Rail safety fund of Rs 1 lakh cr over 5 years, unmanned level crossing to be eliminated by 2020
  • Budget based on 3 agenda — Transform, Energise, Clean India (TECIndia).
  • 3-year period for long-term capital gains tax on immovable property reduced to 2 years; base year indexation shifted from April 1, 1981 to April 1, 2001
  • Divestment target at Rs 72,500 cr, up from 56,500 cr
  • Gross market borrowing pegged at Rs 6.05 lakh cr
  • Duty exempted on POS machines and Iris readers for encouraging digital payments
  • Tax benefits for Start ups to be for 3 out of 7 yrs
  • FPI to be exempt from indirect transfer provision
  • Integrated public sector oil major to be created to match global giants
  • Direct Tax collection growth 15.8%, indirect tax 8.3%
  • Total expenditure pegged at Rs 21.47 lakh crore
  • Capital expenditure up 24%; to have multiplier effect
  • Allocation to states hiked to Rs 4.11 cr
  • FRBM Committee suggests Debt-GDP ratio of 60% by 2020
  • Retail inflation to remain within 2-6 pc
  • 2 new AIIMS to come up in Jharkhand, Gujarat
  • Highest ever allocation of Rs 48,000 cr to MNREGA
  • Farm sector to grow at 4.1% this fiscal, to double farm income in five years
  • Farm credit target for next fiscal at Rs 10 lakh crore
  • Fasal Bima yojana increased to 40% of crop area; raised to Rs 1.41 lakh crore in Kharif 2017 season
  • Infrastructure investment pegged at Rs 3.96 lakh cr
  • To double irrigation fund corpus to Rs 40,000 cr
  • Infrastructure status accorded affordable housing
  • Dairy processing fund with Rs 2000cr corpus to be set up
  • Rs 1.84 lakh cr allocated for women, child initiatives
  • Rs 1.87 lakh cr allocated to rural, agri, allied sectors, 1 crore houses by 2019 for homeless
  • PM Awas Yojana allocation up from Rs 15,000 cr to Rs 23,000 cr
  • 100% village electrification to be achieved by May 2018
  • Rs 31,920 cr allocated for Scheduled Tribes, Rs 4,195 cr minority affairs, outcome based budgeting to start
  • Road sector allocation hiked to Rs 64,000 cr
  • Innovation Fund to be created for Secondary Education
  • Allocation of Rs 2.41 lakh crore rail, road, shipping to create jobs, spur economic activity
  • New metro rail policy to be announced
  • New crude oil reserves proposed at Odisha and Rajasthan; to take strategic reserve capacity to 15.33 mmt
  • India on cusp of digital revolution
  • FDI increased 35 pc to Rs 1.45 lakh crore in H1 FY’17.
  • 2 new schemes — Referral Bonus for individuals, cashback for merchants — under BHIM app soon
  • Aadhaar enabled payment system for merchants shortly
  • Bill on curtailing menace of illicit deposit schemes in offing
  • Fiscal deficit for this fiscal at 3.2%, down from budget estimate of 3.5%
  • FRBM Committee recommends 3% fiscal deficit for 3 years
  • Rs 10,000 cr to be provided to banks for recapitalisation
  • Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) to be launched next fiscal
  • Simple 1 page form to be filled by individuals having taxable income of Rs 5 lakh
  • Excise duty on cigars, cheroots hiked to 12.5% or Rs 4006 per thousand
  • Excise duty on pan masala hiked to 9% from 6%; on raw tobacco raised to 8.3% from 4%
  • Parts used for manufacture of LED lights to attract basic customs duty of 5% and CVD of 6%
  • Solar tempered glass used for manufacture of solar cells/panels exempted from customs duty
  • Customs duty on printed circuit board for manufacture of mobile phones hiked to 2% from nil
  • Threshold for audit of businesses opting for presumptive income doubled to Rs 2 cr
  • Under presumptive taxation for professionals up to Rs 50 lakh advance tax can be paid in one instalment
  • Scope of domestic transfer pricing restricted to entities availing profit linked deduction
  • Presumptive tax would be 6% for SMEs with Rs 2 crore turnover opting for digital payment, 8% for others
  • MAT credit will be allowed to be carried forward for 15 years, as against 10 years at present
  • Lending target under Mudra Yojana set at Rs 2.44 lakh cr
  • Computer Emergency Response Team for Financial Sector to be established
  • Extensive reach out programme for GST to be launched on April 1.
  • India a bright spot in world economic landscape, to be engine of global growth.

 

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What Budget 2017 meant for startups and MSMEs

Budget 2017 left much to be desired for the startups. The budget which focussed more on propelling the digital economy of the country gave some concessions to the startups while holding out on some of the major demands of the startup community.

Here are the top announcements concerning startups and Micro Small and Medium
Enterprises (MSMEs) made by the Finance Minister (FM) Arun Jaitley in Budget 2017:

Tax break
Partially conceding to the demands of the startups, the Finance Minister has increased the
period of profitlinked deductions available to the startups to seven years from the current
five years. However, the tax breaks is still only available on the profits made by startups for three years. Notably, this tax sop is only available to those startups which are recognised by the DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion).

Minimum Alternative Tax
Although refusing to remove the Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT), as requested by the
startups, FM Arun Jaitley has allowed the companies to carry forward their MAT to 15 years
from the present period of five years. This provides the companies an additional five years before they become liable to pay their MAT.

Income Tax benefit to MSMEs
In order to give the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises a breather, the FM proposed to reduce the Income Tax for those companies with an annual turnover of upto Rs 50 crore to 25%. This gives the MSMEs a reduction of 5% from the current applicable rate of 30%.
This will benefit 96 percent (6.67 lakh) of companies in India at the expense of the government forgoing Rs 7,200 crore of revenue. The concession, hoped the FM, will give a platform for MSMEs to become more competitive vis a vis larger companies and will also enable firms to migrate to a company’s format.

Carry forward of losses For the purpose of carry forward of losses in respect of startups,
the condition of continuous holding of 51% of voting rights has been relaxed subject to the condition that the holding of the original promoter/promoters continues.

Asserting that the Budget provides a ‘big relief’ to the MSME sector, Union
Minister Kalraj Mishra today said announcements like the lowering of income tax for smaller firms and doubling the lending target under MUDRA Yojana will benefit small entrepreneurs in the country.

Observing that smaller firms had “faced difficulties” post demonetisation, Mishra told PTI that the move to slash income tax for firms having turnover up to Rs 50 crore will provide a “big relief to the MSME sector”.

Mishra said the announcement to double the lending target to Rs 2.44 lakh crore under the
Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana for 2017-18 will immensely benefit the small entrepreneurs.
The minister said the government’s thrust on skilling youth and enhancing their employability potential will provide a skilled workforce to the micro, small and medium enterprises.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today reduced the income tax for smaller companies with
annual turnover up to Rs 50 crore to 25 per cent, to make MSME companies more viable
and also to encourage firms to migrate to company format.

Unveiling the budgetary proposals for 2017-18, Jaitley said: “As per the data of assessment year 2015-16, there are 6.94 lakh companies filing returns, out of which 6.67 lakh companies fall in this category. Therefore percentage wise, the 96 per cent companies will get the benefit of this lower taxation”.

Observing that the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana has contributed significantly to funding the unfunded and the underfunded, Jaitley said:

“Last year, the target of Rs 1.22 lakh crores was exceeded. For 2017-18, I propose to double the lending target of 2015-16 and set it at Rs 2.44 lakh crores. Priority will be given to Dalits, Tribals, Backward Classes, Minorities and Women”.

According to the Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise’s (MSME) Annual Report
2015-16, the sector has shown an impressive growth of 18.74% during 2015 (April to
September).

The ‘Startup India’ initiative announced by the government on 15 August 2015
is aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and promoting innovation by creating an ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of startups, in the country. The initiative is expected to provide momentum to the growth of MSMEs in India.

While the government has made significant efforts to push MSMEs in the forefront, there are few development areas which require immediate attention. The MSMEs today continue to deal with core business challenges including high interest costs, ability to raise adequate working capital (specially new age businesses), and most importantly ease of doing business in the context of administrative complexities. Further, multifold
regulatory compliances take significant entrepreneur time away from businesses.
Here are key focus areas that can support the MSME sector to focus on business:

Simple compliance procedures
The country’s complex tax and regulatory compliance norms do not support the growth of MSMEs. These regulations require substantial time and efforts along with increased compliance costs being incurred by startups and MSMEs. The focus should be on simplifying regulatory compliances relating to various filings pertaining to direct and indirect taxes and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) filings along with various state specific compliances. Further, compliance norms should aim at reducing the need for interactions with regulators and administrative machinery.

Ease working capital lockup in taxes An exemption for payment of advance taxes and flexibility to pay taxes once a year could be an alternative which the government may
consider for MSME sector. Faster completion of tax assessments and refunds could also be a great initiative to boost working capital requirements.
It is time that tax rates are aligned to global developments; significant reduction in tax rates and increase in tax slabs could ease cash
flows and help reduce burden of interest costs on SMEs.

Encouraging investments
It is important for SMEs to stay agile and upbeat with technological advancements. This will require them to invest in new markets, technologies, research and development, and training for skill development. The Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched with an aim to boost industrial growth and make the country a global manufacturing hub.
The SME sector can support the nation’s need to generate significant employment across sectors and provide necessary growth in GDP.

Enabling entrepreneurship is key and above changes can energise the sector tremendously.

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Taxmen can reopen up to 10-yr old cases in big transactions

Income tax officers can now reopen tax cases for up to 10 years if search operations reveal undisclosed income and assets of over Rs 50 lakh.

Currently, I-T officers can go back up to 6 years to scrutinise the books of accounts of assesses.According to the memorandum to the Finance Bill 2017, the amendment to the Income Tax Act will take effect from April 1, 2017. This means that the books of accounts of an assessee can be reopened by taxmen back till 2007.


The amendment seeks to check tax evasion where “tangible evidences” in the form of undisclosed investment in assets are found during a search or seizure operation.

It empowers tax officials to issue notices to such assessees up to the 10th assessment year, beyond the 6th assessment year already provided for in the I-T Act.

As per the amendment, notices can be issued if the assessing officer has in his possession books of accounts or other documents or evidence which reveal that the income that has escaped assessment amounts to Rs 50 lakh or more in a year or in aggregate of four assessment years.

The notices can also be issued if the income which escaped assessment is in the form of assets.

“The amended provision of Section 153A shall apply where search under Section 132 is initiated or requisition under Section 132A is made on or after April 1, 2017,” the memorandum said.

In case of undisclosed foreign assets, the government had allowed tax authorities to reopen cases up to 16 years.

The move to extend the period for reopening of tax cases is part of the overall exercise of the government to unearth black money through a host of initiatives.

The government had earlier come out with disclosure schemes for foreign and domestic black money holders. In November, it demonetised high-value bank notes and provided black money holders one last opportunity to disclose unaccounted cash holding in Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).

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A Bengaluru Startup Saving Thousands of Newborns in India To Receive Millions in Funding From The US

Bangalore-based Bempu Health Private Limited has made its home country proud by being the only Indian company to have been selected among 12 global innovators who will be receiving millions in funding from United States and its partners for their brilliant concept of saving the lives of the newborn babies in developing countries.

The 12 innovators have managed to win their spot by outdoing 650 other applicants from all across the globe. The selected 12 will be awarded with a whopping USD 3.4 million in funding from Saving Lives at Birth, which is focused at preventing newborn, maternal deaths and stillbirths in the remotest of the areas around the world.

Bempu received the honour of being among the 12 innovators for developing a boot-shaped foot monitor called APNEBOOT that alerts parents/ doctors while stimulating the baby to prevent potential health consequences during an apnea event.

Apneas and temporary cessation of breathing are often occurring symptoms in premature newborns. Under conditions, where the babies are not under 24×7 vigilance, these apneas can be detected very late or go completely unnoticed, which can cause the babies irreversible injuries.

Prior to APNEBOOT, the Bangalore-based medical device social enterprise Bempu Health Private Limited has received applause all over the world for setting on a mission to make hypothermic newborn deaths a thing of the past by inventing Bempu, a continuous temperature monitoring bracelet combined with an inbuilt thermometer.

Around 92% of newborns in India become hypothermic and many of these unfortunate newborns end up bidding the world an early goodbye. The sad reality is, that this can be totally prevented with early intervention and regular temperature monitoring techniques.

What is Hypothermia?

An amalgamation of the word hypo meaning “below”, and the word thermia (thermē in Greek) meaning “heat,” hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below 36.5ºC (97.7ºF).

Bempu was developed with a sole aim of ensuring that a premature and low birthweight newborn maintains a healthy temperature. The bracelet device is capable of working non-stop for four whole weeks and can be replaced if baby’s health still requires it.

bempu_bracelet

Bempu has a built-in algorithm that lets the parents know if the newborn baby is hypothermic or is at the stage of slipping into a state of hypothermia. The device is quite simple to use and comprehend. All one has to do is place Bempu on the baby’s wrist and then wait for a duration of five minutes. If a blue light starts blinking from the bracelet at an interval of 30 seconds, that means the baby is warm. If an orange light blinks and an alarm sound is set off, that means the baby is cold and is entering hypothermia’s first stage. This gives the parents enough time to jump into action and inform the doctors while in the meanwhile, keeping the newborn warm by swaddling him/her with warm clothes or holding them close to their skin.

bempu_bracelet-pack

Ratul Narain, a graduate in Biomechanical Engineering and post-graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford, founded Bempu in 2013. After working for over eight years with some 80 paediatricians and neonatologists all across India, Ratul could identify several problems with the system. But, the one which caught his eye and touched his heart was how several newborn babies were dying a premature death because of the unavailability of something as basic as temperature monitoring in the hospitals and homes. His intention to do something about the issue grew even more when a neonatologist narrated an incident to him about how once a newborn baby was brought to her in early morning for an emergency but it had already died sometime ago. The most likely cause of the baby’s death could have been that the baby suffered from hypothermia at night at home and due to unavailability of immediate attention and medication, it couldn’t make it.

The journey of Bempu-the device began with full force in November 2014, when its founder Ratul landed a grant from the prestigious Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to build a hypothermia alert device. The device was meticulously prototyped and clinically tested within a year of its funding and was launched at Rs. 2,000 in October last year. It was made commercially available to doctors, who prescribe it to their patients, in January this year.

Besides Bempu Health Private Limited, other awardees whose names were announced at the sixth annual DevelopmentXChange in Washington included Australia’s Monash University for making rapid adoption of inhaled oxytocin possible by providing an evidence base, Yale University for validating a cost efficient breathing aid, PremieBreathe, for infants suffering from respiratory distress.

Launched five years ago in 2011, the Saving Lives at Birth partnership includes US Agency for International Development, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.K’s Department for International Development, Grand Challenges Canada, and the Korea International Cooperation Agency. It is a worldwide shout-out for scalable, out-of-the box solutions to put a full stop to infant and maternal mortality around birth time.