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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

World

US embassy club delists non-diplomatic members
Jayanth Jacob , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 13, 2014
First Published: 10:04 IST(13/5/2014)
Last Updated: 10:06 IST(13/5/2014)

Nearly four months after the January 16 deadline set by the Indian government, the American community club has begun the process of delisting non-diplomatic members from its rolls.

While the move has hit many expatriates, it would also affect some Indians. What is pinching the expats even more is the recent decision of the American Embassy School to increase the tuition fee, in an apparent bid to comply with Indian tax rules.

The American club and school came in the line of Indian government’s fire in the wake of the arrest and ill-treatment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on charges of underpaying her nanny in New York in December.

New Delhi felt that the duty-free import facilities availed by the American Community Support Association (ACSA) were being misused by “non-diplomatic personnel”, including private firms and friends of the US embassy. During the discussions, New Delhi stuck to its position that if the ACSA was to run on the embassy premises, it could only have diplomats as members.

Now, the ACSA has written to the non-diplomat members. “It was a social club for many expatriates. And it makes little sense to me that by such actions countries address their so-called diplomatic issues,” said a club member who is set to lose his membership.

Many teachers at the American school were found to be dodging Indian laws. Some teachers, whose husbands were also employed by the school, were instructed to show themselves as housewives on their visa applications and their salaries were paid into their husbands’ accounts.

India in 1973, had granted to 16 teachers of the school the “tax exempted status”. However, as per information available with government, there were attempts to misuse this provision by showing two salaries as one. in some cases where both husbands and wives were working at the school

Neither the US embassy nor the American Embassy School responded to HT’s queries.


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