Jaitley firm on 1 July GST roll out with a historic Parliamentary Session

Despite pressure from various fronts, the NDA brass has decided to stick to the deadline of 1 July 2017 to roll out Goods and Service Tax (GST) which has been in the spotlight since the last couple of months. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday stated that the inputs of various political parties will be given due recognition in a special function to be held at the historic central hall of the parliament on 30 June.

All the key constitutional dignitaries, members of Parliament,  along with the members of GST council are expected to be present at the function. President Pranab Mukherjee, during his term as a Finance Minister in the UPA regime, piloted the the first Constitutional Amendment Bill in 2011 to bring in GST. He, too, will be present for the function.

Jaitley reiterated the fact that the GST will provide long-term benefits to the economy by increasing the revenues, boosting overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and keeping a check on tax evasion. However, he sounded cautious over the short term challenges and expected some challenges in the near future. The finance minister also stated that the roll out date of 1

The finance minister also stated that the roll out date of 1 July was announced long back and all the stakeholders including the Medium and Small Enterprises (MSME ) sector were expected to prepare themselves for the roll out in the stipulated deadline. He also informed that the time frame for filing returns have been extended to provide relief to firms. Commenting on the anti-profiteering clause of the Bill, he stated that the mechanism has been inserted to be used on a situational basis and not be used as a regular practice.

News Sources- ANI, Business Standard 

Former Air Chief Arrested For His Alleged Role in VVIP Chopper Scam

Former Airforce Chief SP Tyagi was arrested by the CBI on December 9, 2016 in relation to his alleged role in the VVIP Chopper Scam. His connection with the case is based on the irregularities in the deal, which was worth Rs 3700 crore. Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi-based lawyer and SP Tyagi’s cousin, Julie Tyagi, were also arrested by the CBI. They were arrested on the charges of accepting illegal gratification for exercising influence through corrupt and illegal means during the deal.

According to Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had requested for helicopters that could fly higher altitudes. However, after investigations, it was discovered that the helicopters could reach only 4,572 feet and not 6000 m. This scam is considered the second biggest after the Bofors Scam in India.

The Former Air Marshall was repeatedly questioned about his role since he allegedly helped Augusta-Westland to win the contract and purchased 12 helicopters from the company. The Defence Ministry has alleged that the UPA Government and the Congress Party knew about the choppers in 2012 and did not say anything since only three more choppers were left to be delivered.

 

Sources: DNA India, Tribune India, First Post, The Indian Express

No cuts in MGNREGA allocations, says Jaitley

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday told that the central government has raised spending to a record high under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme, which was one of UPA government’s brainchild to improve employment opportunities in rural areas. Adding to this, he said that the government for the first time will provide funds above the budgeted amount for the scheme.

Talking at a function organised to mark the completion of 10 years of the scheme, Jaitley dismissed all doubts surrounding the fate of the MGNREGA. He stressed that the BJP government has not just taken the initiative forward, but has also increased the fund allocation for the same.

In a bid to push economic growth, the government has also decided not to cut Plan Expenditure in this fiscal year.

Highlighting how economic growth was affected due to cut in budget allocations and Plan Expenditure every year, he said that 2015-16 will be the first year when there would be no cuts in the funds allocated to developmental projects.

Also, he claimed that the BJP government has transformed the scheme, which was in a pitiable condition under the UPA government.

Source: The Hindu

Image Source: DNA

Rahul accuses PM Modi of being ignorant towards farmers

Image Source: Hindustan Times
Image Source: Hindustan Times

 

The blame game begins again on the farm crisis in the country when Rahul Gandhi said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi should focus on farmers instead of touring in different countries.

The reports revealed that 56 farmer suicide cases have been registered since April 2015. The Congress Vice President complains saying that farmer suicide, issue of MSP (Minimum Support price) or compensation for crop loss are of minimal priority for the central government. Knowing the sensitivity of government towards farmers, The Modi led Central Government is ignoring the BJP ruled States in supplying relief packages for its farmers whereas during the two term rule of Congress led UPA government, 70,000 crore of farm loans were issued and farmers were supported in large numbers.

“The farmers are treated differently according to the parties they support, and Rahul Gandhi visited only one farmer because the other was BJP supporter”, said by the protestors who were arrested after carrying a protest at Padakanahalli Village of Mandya. Supporting to this, farmer groups also protested against the State Government on Rahul’s visit to farmer’s house. The crises in the sugar bowl district were caused by the factories and state government supported the sugar factory lobby. Further complaints revealed that State government had not delivered poll time promises made by them to safeguard the lives and interests of the farmers.

Ex-Chief Justice of India appointed Kerala Governor

New Delhi: In a controversial decision, a former Chief Justice of India, P. Sathasivam has been appointed as the Governor to the state of Kerala after former Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, stepped down recently.

All the governors who were appointed during the UPA regime were being sacked, or transferred by the newly elected Narendra Modi government. This led to eight governors resigning from their post so far.

The decision, however, has not gone down well with many, especially among the members of Bar association and Congress party. For the first time in the history of this country, a non-political individual has been appointed as the Governor of a state. Besides, it is usually expected that a Judge refrain observe a ‘quarantine period’ during which he does not take up any responsibilities except for that of Judicial Inquiry Commission.

The Congress party members while protesting his appointment, are of the opinion that Justice Sathasivam was given such a plum post owing to his involvement in acquitting Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. “Why was he made? This raises a question if he has done some work, for which they are pleased. Prime Minister Modi is pleased, Amit Shah is pleased and that is why he is being honoured?,” questioned Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma.

The 65-year-old who retired in April this year, will be appointed governor ‘with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office’ informed a communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan

Read more at: http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/ex-chief-justice-of-india-p-sathasivam-appointed-governor-of-kerala_1464577.html

Cabinet approves MoU with China for setting up Industrial Parks

The Indian Government on Wednesday has given a green signal to its northern neighbour China to set up industrial parks in the country. The Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and China to set up industrial parks in order to boost relations and pump up the manufacturing sector. According to Law and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Cabinet has signed a MoU with China that allows the establishment of industrial parks.

Picture Courtesy – www.firstbiz.co

Signing of the MoU with China will help India improve a $40 billion trade deficit and reduce imports of Chinese goods. The agreement may seem to aim to grow the manufacturing sector of India in order to revive the county’s economy. Earlier the UPA government had not cleared the MoU partly because of security concerns about Chinese firms setting up plants and industries inside the country. In 2013, during the fifth India-China strategic dialogue both nations had recognised five states – Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka where the parks could possibly be set up.

Read more at : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Govt-clears-MoU-with-China-for-industrial-parks/articleshow/37202878.cms

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/chinese-industrial-parks-get-approval-114062600119_1.html
http://profit.ndtv.com/news/economy/article-government-moves-to-set-up-industrial-parks-with-china-573651

RTI: The invisible thread uniting both government and opposition

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A great furore has been going on over the much talked about RTI Act which is to be implemented on the Indian political parties. The Right to Information Act sorts to bring all the political parties under the scanner of RTI. Thus, they could be questioned at any point of time over their various expenditures and the ways through which a representative is chosen by them.

This decision of including all the political parties in the gamut of the RTI Act was met with a lot of opposition, especially from the six parties, which were especially chosen by the Central Information Commission in an attempt to rid the Indian politics of the bad reputation it has acquired over the last few years. While the BJP has always demanded the ruling party, Congress, to be fair and transparent, it is the same BJP which has joined hands with Congress on the issue of rejecting the RTI Act to be implemented upon these parties.

Congress, on the other hand, which takes pride in saying that it’s absolutely diaphanous, has also been feeling jittery about the C.I.C.’s decision of devising this plan of including the political parties under the RTI Act. Mr. V. Narayanswamy, one of the ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office, was also quoted as saying, “Declaring a political party as public authority under the RTI Act would hamper its smooth internal working which is not the objective of the said Act and was not envisaged by Parliament under the RTI Act.”

Similarly, former BJP president advocates the same line of thought saying, “Political parties don’t function on the Government’s money. However, as a proverbial ray of hope, not all political parties have unequivocally rejected the decision. Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party both support the CIC’s decision. The latter has even set up an internal Lokpal right from the inclusion of the party, and has made sure to disclose all its donation sources and the procedures to elect its candidates which will be fighting on the party’s ticket. However, it is important to note that Aam Aadmi Party holds no current seats, either at the state or central level, and even though being transparent might be easy for a small organization with nothing to lose, it becomes increasingly harder as the size and influence of the party increases.

It is interesting to note that there are certain provisions whereby the sources of the party’s finances are divulged to the Income Tax department, but the rider is that the amount needs to exceed INR twenty thousand. Political experts believe that parties can easily split their incoming funds into smaller blocks, and generate fake names, which would not be easy to carry out once they will be under far greater scrutiny. Additionally, experts also believe that the IT department should be allowed to look into funds lying between the INR ten to twenty thousand bracket, as that will help uncover bogus sources and help unearth the real sources of funds.