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Artificial Intelligence will create a new work force

H. P. Ranina /Dubai
Filed on November 10, 2019

Q: Everybody is worried that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will result in job losses. It will particularly hurt the less educated. On the other hand, I am told that additional jobs are being created. Where does the truth lie?

A: Data labelling work is now becoming a vocation in countries which have a reasonably good internet infrastructure. It involves uploading images and marks for developing artificial intelligence algorithms. Companies in the United States and elsewhere are using the labour force in India, Malaysia, Philippines, Kenya, etc. Many women are being employed as they can work from their homes and have the flexibility to devote time at their convenience. Most of the employees are in the age group of 21 to 30. They are first trained in using image annotation tools for two months.
Though they are freshers, with proper training they can give their services without having any specialised technical knowledge. Data labelling and annotation are increasingly used in the agricultural sector as well as in the medical field, like for MRI scans. These are also used in e-commerce and sports analytics. Data labelling centres are coming up in India in emerging cities like Shillong, Ranchi and Vishakapatnam. Therefore, Artificial Intelligence will not lead to unemployment but create a new work force especially of women and persons from underprivileged backgrounds.


Q: When I was in India recently, I found that many persons, some from my own family, have become self-employed by getting on to the digital platform of Uber and Ola. However, I advised them to look for other full time employment opportunities so that they get some security of job and retirement benefits. These persons are however quite happy with what they are doing. Are any benefits available for the security of their families?

A: Labour law legislation is proposed in India to benefit gig workers. Under this law, a gig worker is defined to mean a person who performs work or participates in a work arrangement and earns income from such activities outside of a traditional employer-employee relationship. The proposed legislation will also cover a platform worker who is defined to be a person being part of an organisation that uses an online platform to access other organisations to solve specific problems or to provide services. The size of the workforce in the gig economy is ballooning in every country of the world as a result of mobile application based services being offered. The proposed Code on Social Security will entitle gig and platform workers to avail of life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, and old age protection. However, since gig and platform workers are not part of the organized sector, they will not be eligible for benefits like provident fund and gratuity. The reason for this is that gig and platform workers are not bound to an organisation and can choose to work only so long as they want to, having no fixed hours of duty.

Q: I have purchased a residential house in Lucknow. Funds for purchase of the property were partly used from my Non-Resident (Ordinary) account and the remaining part came from a loan which I took from a friend. The tax officer wanted details pertaining to the loan taken from my friend. He has not been able to provide satisfactory information about the source of funds out of which he gave the loan to me. As a result, the Assessing Officer has treated the amount of the loan as my concealed income. Is this justified legally? I am told that a higher rate of tax will be applicable in respect of such amount.

A: A: Under section 68 of the Income-tax Act, a loan amount received by a tax payer has to be explained by giving particulars of the person from whom the loan is received as well as his credit worthiness. The tax department, therefore, requires details of the name, address and permanent account number of the person giving the loan. Such person's bank statements of atleast one year prior to the date of giving the loan would also be called for. This is done by the Assessing Officer so that he is satisfied that the person who has given the loan to the tax payer is genuine and that he has sufficient funds in his own right to advance the loan. Courts in India have upheld time and again this requirement of the tax department for establishing that the loan given by a third party to a tax payer is genuine. If the information called for is not provided by the person giving the loan, such amount would be treated as a cash credit taxable under section 68 in the hands of the tax payer who has received such loan. In short, Courts have emphasized the need for proper documentation and furnishing of information regarding the credit worthiness of the person giving the loan. In your case, since your friend has not been able to give the required information to the tax authorities, the loan amount would be taxable under section 68 in your hands. This amount would be taxable at the flat rate of 60% which is a special rate prescribed for taxing income which is deemed to be concealed under section 68 of the Act.

H. P. Ranina is a practicing lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India.

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