Government plans to boost tourism in upcoming budget: Sources

Government sources have said that the Indian government plans to cut down on taxes on travel and tourism and offer more incentive to the sector in the upcoming annual budget. The tourism industry in India is worth more than $210 billion.

The step is being taken with hopes to increase economic development and generation of employment. The country has also recently seen a surge in air travel given that airports are coming up all across the nation. Currently, according to reports, the tourism sector employs more than 40 million people and could potentially add up to 10 million more in the upcoming decade.

Sources have disclosed that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley plans to decrease hotel tariff rates by 28% and reward incentives to private companies.

Hotel industries like Taj and the Oberoi or even airlines like Jet Airways and tour operators like Thomas Cook are all expected to gain from this move. Additionally, domestic travel is now done mostly via online players like MakeMyTrip who will also be affected.

The government is also preparing to increase expenditure on constructing roads for tourist destinations and trains. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also earlier said that plans to invest more in North-Eastern tourism are being ushered in.

Sources: Economic Times, Reuters

 

Jail for people selling bottled mineral water above the MRP

The new guideline by the central government to the Supreme Court of India states that the sale of mineral water higher than the maximum retail price (MRP) is an offence. Restaurants, hotels and multiplex owners will be fined or be jailed if they do not adhere to it.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs informed DNA that overpricing of packed water was against the Legal Metrology Act. This decision was made as an aftermath to the petition of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI). Increase in price has led to loss in income as service tax or excise duty for the government.  Ram Vilas Paswan, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister told the media that this offence would also include packed soft drinks.

CNN News 18 reports that as per section 36 of the act, people caught selling bottled water at dearer prices could be fined anything between 25, 000 to one lakh. They could also be jailed. Brands such as Bisleri, Kinley and Aquafina are known for their quality. Additionally consumers pay more money than other regular brands. This often adds to the revenue of hotels and restaurants, and does not justify the need to overcharge.  This was decided in consideration with the complaints received from the Members of Parliament, consumer organizations and general public.

Sources- News18, DNA India

Goa gov announces Common Minimum Programme

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar looks confident with his bag of promises from the Common Minimum Programme. Image source: PTI
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar looks confident with his bag of promises from the Common Minimum Programme. Image source: PTI

The BJP-led government in Goa has announced the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), bringing in a lot of policy changes, including the controversies besetting offshore casinos.

As reported by the Indian Express, the programme would include Rs 1 lakh waiver on agricultural loans to farmers. The government aims to setup ‘open markets’, alongside highways which is based on the American market model to provide a market for farmers to sell their produce. Additionally, the CMP states that coconut would be made the tree of the state to alter the previous regulation of it being called a grass.

There will be a relocation of Casinos from its Mandovi base and the housing will be reasonably priced through the state housing boards. However, no timeframe has been given for this yet. Also, the national highways which pass through the state would be widened as part of the CMP.

This policy was framed based on recommendations made by MLA and Minister for Town and Country Planning, Vijay Sardesai, states The Times of India. This was to promote the much discussed value of Goemkarponn (the way of the Goans).

 

Source: The Times of India, Indian Express

Government Announces Measures to Push for Digital Payments

On December 8, a month after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes was announced, the Finance Ministry has come out with a number of measures that are intended to promote digital payments. This is the latest effort by the government to move towards a cashless economy.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a total of eleven measures in a statement that was released today. According to The Times of India, the minister said that people using credit or debit cards, e-wallets and mobile wallets on purchases of petrol or diesel would be able to avail of a 0.75 per cent discount. Further, there will be a 0.5 per cent discount for those buying monthly seasonal tickets in suburban railway networks using digital modes.

This measure will come into effect on January 1, 2017, reported The Indian Express. Along similar lines, those buying railway tickets digitally will receive insurance cover worth Rs 10 lakh; there will be also be five per cent discount on digital payments for railway facilities like catering and retiring rooms.

According to Livemint, service tax on payments worth less than Rs 2000 will be waived off. The government departments will also be bearing the cost of all the discounts announced on transaction fees and merchant discount rates (MDR) charges. Jaitley also announced more measures to enable and ease digital transactions within rural areas.

Livemint reported that the Finance Minister has also said that there had been a visible switch to digital modes of payments since the government’s decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.

 

Sources: Times of India, The Indian Express, Live Mint

Chikungunya, dengue epidemic in the capital ; death toll rises to 30

The capital is under the cloud of diseases such as chikungunya and dengue over the past few weeks. With over 12,000 cases across the country, New Delhi has been the worst hit with death toll rising to 30 and 2,800 suffering.

The two vector borne diseases are fatally affecting the people over the age of 60 as they are more vulnerable to multiple organ failure during the affected period. Dengue, unlike chikungunya can itself cause death rather than organs failing to function. The endemic which started at the during August as a result of heavy rainfall has already affected wide range of population in different parts of New Delhi.

It is vital to know about the causes, symptoms and preventive measures that can be adopted to secure oneself.

Causes

Dengue

Transmitted through the bite of female Aedes mosquito, the dengue can be also be spread through blood transfusion from one human body to another. They prey during the night.

Chikungunya

The disease primarily affects the muscle cells of the body and is caused by the same female mosquito as the Aedes.

 

Treatment

Being viral diseases, there is no prescribed or immediate treatment for dengue and chikungunya.

“The treatment for dengue and chikungunya is symptomatic and therefore, doctors wait for the symptoms to become evident in the body,” says Dr Dalal, a gastroenterologist at Primus Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi.

Paracetamol is provided to the affected patients after three days for the fever to subside and subsequently the patients are asked to consume more fluids.

 

Prevention

To put it in simple terms, Dr. Dalal says, “Avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes,” justifying it as there no vaccination or medication that can prevent a certain disease. Cover yourself and apply mosquito repellent creams. As the mosquitos thrive of fresh water, make sure there is no stagnant or affected water lying around.

 

Measures adopted by the Delhi Government

Although receiving a lot of criticism for being unable to tackle the chikungunya, dengue outbreak in the capital, the Aam Aadmi Party is putting in their best efforts to meet the demands of patients and doctors. With 1,000 extra beds in all government hospitals for the affected patients, the Delhi government has asked all the hospitals in the capital to reserve 10 percent of the beds for chikungunya and dengue cases.

“In the meeting, I demanded reservation of 10 per cent beds at all Centre-run hospitals including AIIMS, RML and Safdurjung for treatment of dengue and chikungunya patients.” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said after his meeting Union Health Minister J P Nadda.

Arvind Kejriwal has also requested to set up fever clinics across Delhi so that people can be clarified about their disease before they get themselves admitted to the hospitals. He has also asked other state governments to set up the same as lack of good medical facilities is extending the pressure on Delhi Hospitals. Apart from this, Kejriwal has ordered to buy as many fogging machines required and also asked for cooperation from centre and different political parties in these testing times when the capital is ailing under the intense threat of dengue and chikungunya.

 

Sources: Indian Express, NDTV, PTI

West Bengal Fighting its toughest battle this year

Kolkata, 31st August 2016: The deadliest fever of the season has grasped the city of Kolkata again this year. Claiming more and more lives every day the city’s civic bodies are facing a huge challenge to bring the situation under control.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had issued instructions to remove the stagnant water in urban areas as one of the preventive measures. However, the situation on ground in many cities doesn’t substantiate the claims.

Moving on from the city from the suburbs the situations are even worse. Lack of proper sanitation management coupled with improper medical facilities have become a challenge for the state to deal with the degrading situation. Adding to the already worrisome situation the 312 new dengue cases reported this week has heightened the panic for the city.

The common people have raised questions about the lack of proper medical facilities available in the suburbs of Kolkata, not only leading to more numbers of death but also this is why the patients are travelling to the city hospitals to get the proper medical facilities and thus causing a huge crowd in the city hospitals. Some of the hospitals do not even have the required number of beds. Even there are hardly any hospitals which have any separate rooms or cabins available to keep the malign and benign dengue patients separately. “My mother has been diagnosed with benign dengue, but the hospital authorities has said that due to lack of beds and unavailability of separate cabins, she has been shifted to the bed next to a patient who has been diagnosed with malign dengue, this is a cause of worry for us as this can affect my mother’s health as well,” said, Ritwika Mondal,resident of Shibpur.

Added to this the unavailability of medicines for the patients is another phase of struggle which the city is fighting this year. With the administration not doing enough to bring the situation under control the medicinal conditions of the hospitals are getting worse each passing day. Accompanied by this, the scarcity of blood in the blood banks has boosted the situation to become more tough challenge to tackle.

Recently the city has also witnessed the worst cases of blood transfusion in many private hospitals. Some of these have even led to the death of the patients and this has triggered the fear of the disease more into the people’s mind.

The state administration is ultimately fighting its toughest battle this year to save the life of its people. Most of the areas near the hospitals are also not well maintained in terms of garbage and other waste disposals. The civic bodies are claiming that they are doing enough to bring the situation under control. However, the city and people await for improvement in the situation.

Source: Indian Express Times of India

Delhi government has introduced Green diktat for government owned vehicle

In a recent development for controlling pollution, the Delhi government has made the PUC certificates compulsory for all the central government ministers to run their vehicles on road.
On Monday, government declared that under the scheme all the central government ministers have to undergo a compulsory pollution check for their vehicles in order to receive a PUC certificates.

According to the sources, this new scheme was introduced by the AAP government after it received several complaints alleging that none of the government vehicles are complying with the odd-even vehicle rules that has been introduced in Delhi from Jan 1, 2016.

The letter has already been sent by the pollution control division of transport department to all the central government offices and other government departments. Sources say that this step by the AAP government has come up at a very crucial time when the city is dealing with a high level of air pollution. Recently to control this distressingly growing air pollution government has also introduced the Motor Vehicle Act which came into force in the early Jan, 2016.

The Delhi government has also made a strong comment that all the government officials are charged to ensure that all the vehicles are undergoing the mandatory pollution check. Added to this the central has also asked all the vehicles to go under emission checks on a regular basis and get their certificates renewed.
Sources have also confirmed that, there will be 388 centres for the CNG vehicles and 273 centres for the diesel-driven vehicles to issue PUC certificates across the capital.

 

Source: India today: http://m.indiatoday.in/story/green-diktat-for-government-vehicles-in-city/1/566535.html