NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – SUNDAY, JULY 22, 2018
- GST RATES SLASHED ON 50 ITEMS
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council comprising the Centre and states on Saturday brought relief to the middle class consumers by reducing the rates on more than 50 goods and 100 items, if concessions on certain services are also included.
Among the 50 items where relief has been given are sanitary pads, washing machines, refrigerators, cosmetics, broom, mixers, paints, footwear, rakhis and handicrafts.
In addition, the 28th GST Council meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, eased the compliance burden on small traders and businesses by enhancing the threshold limit for quarterly returns to Rs 5 crore.
This would mean that 93 per cent of the taxpayers will now be filing returns on a quarterly basis but taxes on a monthly basis. Two new simpler return formats have also been approved.
In what appeared to be a mini-Budget announcement to create a feel good factor, the council announced significant reductions in many goods and services.
Goyal said “simplification, rationalisation and relief for common man” were the guiding principles. On the revenue loss from these cuts, he said with simplification of processes, compliance would improve which would in turn boost revenue.
Reverse charge mechanism, which was already on hold until September 30 this year, has been deferred to September 30, 2019. The Council also discussed the report of the committee on creating ecosystem for seamless road transport connectivity, as per which it has been decided to link RFID tags with the GST Network.
- AT A KISAN RALLY IN UP, PM MODI MOCKS OPPOSITION
A day after winning the no-confidence motion in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday mocked the Opposition’s attempts at unity, saying the various “dals (fronts)” were nothing but “dal-dal (quicksand)”. He also referred to Congress president Rahul Gandhi embracing him in the House on Friday, saying “woh gale pad gaye”
Addressing a ‘Kisan Kalyan Rally’ in Shahjahanpur near Lucknow during his third visit to Uttar Pradesh in a month’s time, Modi specifically referred to the coming together of the Samajwadi Party and BSP in the state, saying the unity of the “cycle” and “haathi (elephant)” was “sabse bada dhokha (biggest betrayal)” of the people.
The PM also called the no-trust motion brought against him a denial by the Opposition of the huge mandate given to his government by the people. “They don’t have trust in the government formed by you with a historic mandate at the Centre. “Yesterday in Parliament, we kept asking what is the reason for this no-trust. When they failed to answer, they piled on to us in a hug.”
- ONLY LOVE & COMPASSION CAN BUILD A NATION: RAGA
On a day PM Narendra Modi took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi for the ‘unwanted’ hug he gave him in Parliament, the Congress president declared on Twitter that the point of the debate — and probably also the theatrics — was to prove that nation building happens through “love and compassion”.
“The point of yesterday’s debate in Parliament…PM uses Hate, Fear and Anger in the hearts of some of our people to build his narrative. We are going to prove that Love and Compassion in the hearts of all Indians is the only way to build a nation,” Rahul said on Twitter.
Congress also threw its weight behind its leader, saying if Modi claimed Rahul Gandhi’s hug was ‘ gale padna’ (unwanted embrace), the real question was how he and BJP would describe the PM routinely hugging heads of states during his trips abroad. On comments that Rahul’s conduct was “inappropriate”, leaders also raked up PM’s unscheduled stopover in Pakistan in December 2015 to meet former Pak PM Nawaz Sharif and the embrace the two shared. “What shall we call those?” Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot asked.
- BJP IS LED BY ‘TALIBANI HINDUS’: MAMATA
A day after the Opposition’s motion of no-confidence was defeated in the Lok Sabha, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee claimed the government had no numbers outside Parliament, and that the BJP would be ousted from power next year.
“Yesterday, the BJP managed to defeat the no-confidence motion by 325 votes to 126. They got the numbers inside the House, but those were 2014 numbers. In 2019, they will be ousted,” Mamata told her party’s annual Martyrs’ Day rally.
She announced a mega “federal front” rally in Kolkata on January 19, to which all opposition leaders would be invited. Within hours, the BJP announced a counter rally at the same venue on January 23, to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mamata blamed the hatred that the BJP was allegedly promoting for the spate of lynchings in the country over the past few months. She described the leadership of the BJP as “Talibani Hindus”, and attacked Modi directly, saying he had the “blood of riots on his hands”, and thought of himself as “a bigger dictator than Hitler and Mussolini”.
Journalist Chandan Mitra, BJP member of Rajya Sabha for two terms from 2003 to 2009 and 2010 to 2016, was present at the rally.
- I WAS CM IN 1995, MODI CAME ALONG ONLY IN 2002: CHANDRABABU NAIDU
Narendra Modi is blaming the Congress for the situation in Andhra Pradesh following the bifurcation, but he has forgotten his own promises, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said Saturday. After the TDP’s reply to the Prime Minister’s speech during the no-confidence motion was cut short in Lok Sabha, Naidu flew into Delhi Saturday to explain his party’s position to reporters. Modi wants to humiliate the people of Andhra by not keeping the promises made (by the previous government) on the floor of the House, and during his own election rallies in the state, Naidu alleged. But the TDP would continue to fight for the rights of the state, and would play a role in national politics in 2019, he predicted.
Naidu also responded to Modi’s jibe in Parliament that he was “immature”, by reminding the PM that his political experience was far longer. “PM is saying that KCR is mature and I am not. PM shouldn’t say that. I became CM in 1995. He came only in 2002,” Naidu said.
- PENTAGON WANTS SANCTIONS WAIVER FOR INDIA, BUT US STATE DEPT DIFFERS
The American state department and the Pentagon appeared to take differing stands on Saturday on the Donald Trump administration’s controversial Caatsa legislation (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), which aims to target countries entering into significant defence and intelligence tie-ups with Russia.
A day after defence secretary Jim Mattis sought a waiver from sanctions under the law for countries making a transition from their military dependence on Russia, the state department said on Saturday that it is working with partner countries, including India, to help them identify and “avoid engaging in potentially sanctionable activity” under the Act.
“The fundamental question we must ask ourselves is do we wish to strengthen our partners in key regions or leave them with no other option than to turn to Russia, thereby undermining a once in a generation opportunity to more closely align nations with the US vision for global security and stability,” Mattis had said.
But on Saturday, the state department asserted that it was fully committed to implementing Caatsa under which sanctions kick in against countries that purchase significant military equipment from Russia.
- ISI FORCING COURTS TO PASS FAVOURABLE VERDICTS: HC JUDGE
A Pakistani high court judge on Saturday alleged that the country’s powerful ISI spy agency is pressuring the chief justice and other judges to get favourable verdicts in different cases, including against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Speaking at the Rawalpindi Bar Association, Islamabad high court judge Shaukat Siddiqui openly lashed out at the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) for “controlling” the judiciary and media.
“Today the judiciary and media have come in the control of ‘Bandookwala’ (army). Judiciary is not independent. Even the media is getting directions from the military. The media is not speaking the truth because it is under pressure and has its interests,” he said.
He said, “In different cases, the ISI forms benches of its choice to get desired results. The ISI had asked the chief justice to make sure Nawaz and his daughter Maryam should not come out of jail before the July 25 election. It also had asked him not to include me in the bench hearing the appeal of Sharifs in the Avenfield case. The CJ told ISI he would make a bench of its choice.”
Meanwhile, several Pakistani lawmakers on Saturday expressed concerns over candidates having links with banned outfits being allowed to run in the elections, saying terrorists would enter the parliament.
“Terrorists were being brought inside the parliament and parliamentarians were being sent to jails,” Senator Pervaiz Rashid of PML-N said, in an apparent reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to allow some candidates having affiliation to banned groups in the July 25 elections, while former premier and party chief Nawaz Sharif was sent to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
- TRUMP DENIES WRONGDOING, SAYS COHEN’S TAPE ‘ILLEGAL’
US President Trump on Saturday denied any wrongdoing a day after reports that his onetime attorney had recorded them both discussing buying the rights to a story by a woman who said she had an affair with Trump.
The president said it was “perhaps illegal” for a lawyer to record a client. “Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) — almost unheard of,” Trump tweeted, in an apparent reference to an FBI raid on the office of his former lawyer Michael Cohen in April.
“Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client — totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favourite President did nothing wrong!” Trump added.
Trump’s onetime personal attorney Michael Cohen recorded a conversation with Trump two months before the 2016 election in which they discussed buying the rights to a story by a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump.
Before the election, the Trump campaign denied any knowledge of payment, but the taped conversation could undermine those denials.
- ALWAR AGAIN: MOB LYNCHES 28-YR-OLD
Akbar Khan alias Rakbar, 28, a native of Haryana’s Ferozepur Jhirka tehsil in Nuh district, Mewat, was allegedly beaten to death in Lalaawandi village in Ramgarh, Alwar district, in the wee hours of Saturday on the suspicion of being a bovine smuggler.
Akbar and his associate Aslam were on their way home with two cows when they were attacked by a mob carrying lathis and sharp-edged weapons. Aslam managed to flee.
The incident comes a little more than a year after dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was lynched by cow vigilantes in Alwar district on April 1 while he was transporting cattle to his village in Haryana.
Alwar Additional DG Hement Priyadarshi said two suspects, Dharmendra Yadav and Paramjeet Singh, had been arrested.
CM Vasundhara Raje condemned the incident. “The alleged lynching of a person transporting bovines in Alwar district is condemnable. Strictest possible action shall be taken against the perpetrators,” she tweeted.
State Home Minister GC Kataria said the police were verifying if the cows were being smuggled. “It not, the guilty will not be spared,” he warned.
Arjun Ram Meghwal, minister of state for parliamentary affairs, appeared to insinuate on Saturday that the lynchings were being orchestrated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s critics.
“The more popular Modiji becomes, the more such incidents will happen. In Bihar elections, it was ‘award wapsi’. In Uttar Pradesh elections, it was again mob lynching. In 2019 elections, it will be something else,” Meghwal said.
- COMMERCIAL & CLASSIFIED INFO DIFFERENT: CONG ON RAFALE DEAL
A day after Rahul Gandhi claimed in Parliament that there was no secrecy pact in the Rafale deal and subsequent clarification from the French government, Congress stood its ground on Saturday, drawing a distinction between ‘classified’ and ‘commercial’ information and said aircraft pricing was not covered under confidentiality clause.
During the debate on the no-confidence motion, the Congress president had cited a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron to claim there was no secrecy clause in the Rafale deal. However, Congress maintained that Macron had clearly said during the meeting with Rahul that there was “no condition” related to disclosure of the aircraft price. Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “During the meeting with French President, where I and Manmohan Singhji were present, on a specific query from Rahul Gandhiji if there was any objection on the part of the French to disclose the price of the aircraft, the French President clearly said there is no condition on their part.”
Sharma also sought to differentiate between “classified” and “commercial” information about the fighter planes and said while the Congress president did not ask Macron for “classified information”, the pricing of the aircraft did not come under the purview of classified information.
- SHIV SENA’S SOCCER PUNCH TO BIG BROTHER BJP
Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have trumped the no-confidence vote like France won the Fifa World Cup but Rahul Gandhi has won hearts like runners-up Croatia did, the Shiv Sena said on Saturday seeking to provoke ally BJP some more.
Sena MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut delivered the latest punch to the bigger partner a day after his party had stayed away from the House, refusing to back the government against the no-confidence motion.
“France won the football World Cup final but Croatia is remembered for the way in which they played. Rahul is being talked about in the same way,” Raut said in Mumbai, indicating the Sena was spoiling for a showdown with the BJP.
- AAP BACKS RAHUL ON HUG
After the BJP termed Rahul Gandhi’s hugging Narendra Modi as “childish” and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan reprimanded him for disrespecting the Prime Minister, the Aam Aadmi Party backed him.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said on Friday: “Policies and not individuals should be opposed in democracy’s biggest temple, but BJP likes to abuse and not hug. The BJP mentality is not good for democracy.”
AAP voted for the TDP’s no-confidence motion and its MP from Punjab Bhagwant Mann even recited a poem that punched holes into Modi’s claims of ” achchhe din.”
However, the party is wary of Rahul who had condemned party leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for his 9-day dharna in lieutenant governor Anil Baijal’s office last month.
AAP MLA and Delhi unit secretary Saurabh Bharadwaj said yesterday: “The Congress and the BJP are two sides of the same coin. Both support crony capitalism and both have subverted institutions like the Election Commission, police, CBI and so on. But in the current scenario, it is important to defeat Modi.”
- MILITANTS KILL COP VACATIONING AT HOME
A police constable vacationing at home in a south Kashmir village has been abducted and shot dead, the second such incident in a fortnight highlighting the dangers of cops visiting their families.
An officer said militants had barged into constable Mohammad Salim Sheikh’s home at Muthahama village in Kulgam on Friday night and kidnapped him “despite resistance from the family”. A hunt was launched immediately but Salim’s bullet-riddled body was found in Qaimoh village on Saturday afternoon.
A fortnight ago, constable Javeed Ahmad Dar was abducted from his home at Vehil in Shopian district and killed a few kilometres away.
Last month, rifleman Aurangzeb, an army soldier, was abducted from a private vehicle in Shopian while he was travelling home to Poonch, Jammu, to spend his Id holidays. His body was found in a village in Pulwama.
Police sources said the militants, who seemed able to kidnap cops with ease, killed them brutally to spread panic in their ranks.
- CALL CENTRE SCAM: 21 INDIANS GET UP TO 20-YR PRISON IN US
Twenty-one Indian-origin persons have been sentenced up to 20 years in prison in the US for their involvement in a multimillion-dollar India-based call centre scam that defrauded thousands of American citizens of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The prison sentences announced this week range from 4 to 20 years. “The stiff sentences imposed represent the culmination of the first-ever large scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call centre scam industry,” US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Several of the convicted will be deported to India after the completion of their sentence.
According to various admissions made in connection with the guilty pleas, between 2012 and 2016, the defendants and their conspirators perpetrated a complex fraud and money laundering scheme in which individuals from call centres located in Ahmedabad frequently impersonated officials from the Internal Revenue Service or US Immigration Services to defraud Americans.
- WOMEN’S HOCKEY WORLD CUP KICKS OFF: INDIAN DRAW 1-1 AGAINST ENGLAND
India produced an impressive display before conceding a late goal to play out a 1-1 draw against world No. 2 England in their opening match at the women’s hockey World Cup in London yesterday. Neha Goyal gave India the lead in the 25th minute before Lily Owsley equalised from a penalty corner in the 54th minute.
World No. 10 India punched above their weight and gave England a run for their money in the keenly-contested duel. India matched the higher-ranked England in the opening two quarters, even though the hosts had more scoring chances with five penalty corners coming their way. But the Indian defence was up to the mark with goalkeeper Savita Punia stealing the limelight with some brilliant saves. While India looked promising in open play, the home team kept on earning penalty corners.
There are 16 teams in this World cup, divided in 4 pools of 4 teams each. India are in Pool B along with England, Ireland and US.
India next play Ireland on July 26 and against US on July 29.
- THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good Character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece…by thought, choice, courage, and determination. – John Luther
- OFF TRACK
An off-duty police officer, familiar with radar guns, drove through a school zone within the legal speed limit when the flash of a camera went off, taking a picture of his license plate.
The officer, thinking the radar was in error, drove by again; even more slowly…. another flash.
He did it again for a third time, at an even slower speed. Same result. So, he made a note to himself to contact the traffic department and tell them that their machine was messed up.
A few weeks later, the off duty police officer received an envelope from the police department containing three traffic citations, each of them were for not wearing a seat belt.