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BJP moves privilege motion against Rahul Gandhi over ‘Jaitlie’ remark

Irked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s tweet twisting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s name as ‘Jaitlie’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) moved a privilege motion against him in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.BJP member Bhupender Yadav took up the issue soon after the House endorsed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s statement on Kulbhushan Jadhav.Moving the motion under Rule 187, Yadav urged Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu to take notice of the alleged breach of Jaitley’s privilege, who is also the Leader of the House.”All the members of this House have dignity. The name of Leader of the House Arun Jaitley has been intentionally published by the Congress president with malafide intentions to defame this House,” Yadav said.”The way the name of Leader of the House has been tweeted by the Congress president, it comes in the category of (breach of) privilege. There are precedents such as that of NC Chatterjee in 1954. I request you to go to this precedent and issue notice to Rahul Gandhi,” Yadav said.Naidu said he would take a view after examining the motion.Referring to Jaitley’s statement on Wednesday that led to end the week-long logjam in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, “Dear Mr Jaitlie (sic) – thank you for reminding India that our PM never means what he says or says what he means.”In his statement Jaitley had clarified Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s position vis-à-vis his ‘conspiring with Pakistan’ comments made during Gujarat campaign against his predecessor Manmohan Singh.”The statement (by Modi) did not question nor did he mean to question the commitment to the nation of Manmohan Singh or Hamid Ansari, the former vice president. Any such perception is completely erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem as also their commitment to the nation,” Jaitley had said.The finance minister made the statement as part of an understanding with the Congress party reached after several rounds of back channel parleys, that had led to continues stalling of the Rajya Sabha and disruptions in Lok Sabha for several days.The Congress also reciprocated by disapproving Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “Neech” comment regarding PM Modi.TWEET GONE WRONG?Rahul Gandhi had tweeted hitting at Arun Jaitley over his clarification of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment against former PM Manmohan Singh.

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Modi’s Pak comment: How Vijay Goel’s meeting with Manmohan Singh broke ice between govt and opposition

It was a meeting between Union minister Vijay Goel and Manmohan Singh last week that initiated the process to break the government-opposition deadlock in the Rajya Sabha, a top government official said today.The proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament were disrupted for nearly two weeks over remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Gujarat Assembly election campaign.He had criticised his predecessor Singh for attending a secret” dinner with senior Pakistan officials at former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence. According to the official, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Goel reached out to the former prime minister and showed him the copy of Modi’s speech and convinced him that no derogatory references were made to him.Also readParliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanks”Singh then agreed to end the deadlock with a statement from the government,” the official claimed. Goel’s meeting with Singh was followed by a meeting of Leader of the Upper house Arun Jaitley and Goel with Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress leader Anand Sharma at Azad’s residence. The process culminated in a statement today by Jaitley, who said the prime minister has never questioned Singh’s integrity and commitment to the nation.However, ahead of Jaitley’s statement, there was a small disagreement between the two sides over its formulation that was resolved with the intervention of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. Naidu suggested to the government to drop the contentious word and the government relented, they said.Reacting to Jaitley’s statement, Azad said the Congress does not approve of any remarks made against the prime minister, apparently in a reference to the “neech” remark made by Aiyar.

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Parliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanks

Days after the bitter war of words between the Congress and the BJP during Gujarat Assembly Elections, it seems both parties have reached a truce in Parliament on Wednesday.Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while addressing the Rajya Sabha said that, ‘PM (Narendra Modi) in his speeches didn’t question, nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either former PM Manmohan Singh or Former Vice President Hamid Ansari, any such perception is erroneous, we hold these leaders in high esteem, as well as their commitment to India.’Jaitley’s statement in the Upper House comes after the continuous demand by the Congress lawmakers for an apology by the Prime Minister for his ‘Pakistan meddling in Gujarat polls’ remarks in which he had named his predecessor Manmohan Singh also.In a quick reply, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, ‘Thank leader of the house for clarification on what has been issue of contention. I,on behalf of my party, say that we disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity,also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future.’During an election rally on December 11, PM Modi had raised questions over a reported appeal by former director-general of the Pakistan Army Sardar Arshad Rafiq, that Congress leader Ahmed Patel be made Gujarat’s Chief Minister in case the Congress wins the elections.He had also said that, ‘There were media reports on Saturday about a three-hour closed-door meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice president Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.’He had also linked the ‘secret meeting’ with now-suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark.”The next day, Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi was ‘neech’. This is a serious matter,” he said.The Congress was demanding PM’s apology on the issue during the Winter Session of Parliament.”Either the government should prove the claim or the Prime Minister must apologise… Nothing short of an apology will satisfy us,” Congress leader Anand Sharma had said prior to the beginning of the Winter Session.

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UP Aadhaar Racket: Police bust gang that made fake identifications, one arrested

Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district on Sunday claimed to have busted a gang which made fake Aadhaar and PAN cards with the arrest of one person.The accused was arrested from a house in Khurgan village in Shamli’s Kairana during a police raid on Saturday, officials said.A car, a laptop, a camera and a large number of fake Aadhaar and permanent account number (PAN) cards were seized from the accused, Javed, station house officer (SHO), Kairana police station, Bhagwat Singh said.The SHO said two of Javed’s accomplices managed to give police the slip during the action and a hunt has been launched for them.Interrogation of the arrested accused was underway, Singh added.Also readAadhaar debate: Open to improving privacy framework, says JaitleyAadhaar is a 12 digit unique-identity number issued by the government to all residents based on their biometric and demographic data.

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Vijay Rupani to take oath as Gujarat CM on December 26; PM Modi, Amit Shah to attend ceremony

Incumbent Vijay Rupani will take oath as Gujarat Chief Mminister for a second term on December 26 at a ceremony which is likely to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharataiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah. His deputy Nitin Patel and the council of ministers will also take oath at the ceremony planned at 11 am at Gandhinagar Sachivalaya Ground.Chief Ministers of all the BJP ruled states have also been invited as guests to attend the swearing-in ceremony.Yesterday, BJP announced that Rupani, a confidante of party chief Amit Shah, would continue as the Gujarat chief minister for a second term.Also readAction will be taken against those who didn’t help party in Gujarat: Rahul Gandhi The announcement was made by Union minister Arun Jaitley, the party’s central observer, after a meeting of state BJP legislature party here.”A proposal to elect Rupani as leader of state BJP legislature party and Nitin Patel as deputy leader of state legislature party has been adopted,” Jaitley told a press conference. Patel is the incumbent deputy chief minister.Also readVijay Rupani’s journey from student leader to CM for second timeThough the BJP retained power in the key western state for a record sixth straight term, there was speculation about Rupani’s continuance due to the party’s narrow victory over challenger Congress.Rupani’s proximity to the top party leadership, his clean and caste neutral image apparently tilted the scales in his favour.Also readOld guard is new guard: Vijay Rupani-Nitin Patel to helm GujaratThe BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, the first time its tally slipped below hundred since 1995, while the Congress clocked its best in many years clinching 77. Together with its allies, the Congress has the backing of 80 MLAs.(With PTI inputs)

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Rajkot eagerly awaits Vijay Rupani’s return as CM

Chief minister Vijay Rupani resigned on Thursday and has been serving as caretaker of state, until the new CM is elected by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Rupani met the Governor with his ministers, and around 240km way from here in Rajkot, the BJP workers and supporters of Rupani are eagerly waiting for the announcement of the name of CM.The observers Arun Jaitley and Saroj Pandey will conduct the procedure on Friday. The Rajkot BJP workers are keeping their fingers crossed, with a hope that their leader Rupani becomes the CM again.A party worker from Rajkot said on condition of anonymity, “We believe that Rupani only will be the CM but we are also hearing that other leaders are also under consideration. Let us see what happens but I am keeping my finger crossed for Rupani.”On the other side, the Rajkot BJP is preparing for the grand celebration of victory of Rupani in city once he returns to hometown after the formality of oath taking. The leaders are also confident that Rupani only will become the CM of Gujarat.A BJP leader from Rajkot and very close friend of Rupani, Nitin Bhardwaj said, “I have no doubt that Vijay Rupani will be the CM of Gujarat again. Amit Shah had given clear indication during campaigning that Rupani will continue as CM. We are waiting for the announcement of his name as it is a formality only.””We had prepared a slogan during poll campaign here, Rajkot ka beta, Gujarat ka neta- meaning Rajkot’s son is to be leader of Gujarat. We will hold a grand celebration once his name is officially announced. We had celebrated for Narendra Modi, Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani when they came here after becoming the CM. We also offered grand welcome to Amit Shah when he came here after his appointment as BJP chief,” added Bhardwaj.BJP spokesperson Raju Dhruv said, “Rupani was in Gandhinagar as he is the CM and could not come to Rajkot due to regular courses, but we all celebrated his victory here in his absence. Once he comes again to Rajkot, we will celebrate it with more enthusiasm.”

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Who will be new Gujarat CM? BJP MLAs to meet tomorrow to decide

Newly elected BJP MLAs of Gujarat will meet in Gandhinagar on Friday to choose the next chief minister, a top party official said on Thursday.The BJP legislature party will meet to elect its leader in the presence of central observers for the exercise– Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and party general secretary Saroj Pandey, the party’s state chief Jitu Vaghani told reporters here.State BJP incharge Bhupender Yadav and co-incharge V Satish would also attend the meeting at party headquarters ‘Kamalam’ tomorrow afternoon.Also readGujarat CM Rupani files nomination, says Congress has outsourced election to three activists”All the MLAs along with party observers and in-charge leaders would meet tomorrow to select the leader of the ruling party (chief minister). All the MLAs have been intimated to remain present in tomorrow’s meeting,” Vaghani said.Earlier today, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and members of his council of ministers gave resigned. Rupani, a front-runner for the chief minister’s post, has been asked to continue as caretaker chief minister till a new government is sworn in.Governor O P Kohli had dissolved the Assembly yesterday following the declaration of election results.In the recently concluded polls, BJP retained power by winning 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, while the Congress bagged 77. Six seats were won by others.

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Congress taking 2G verdict as a badge of honour, zero loss theory already proven wrong: Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the Congress is treating 2G verdict as a “badge of honour”, but there is a need to recollect and check the facts that led to an investigation in the case. The party’s “zero loss theory” was proved to be wrong when the apex court squashed spectrum allocation in 2012, the minister said after a special court on Thursday acquitted all accused in the 2G spectrum scam allocation case.Though the trial court verdict says nobody was guilty of corruption, investigating agencies will study the case history and look into it, the minister asserted.Also read2G propaganda against UPA without any foundation: Manmohan Singh”The Congress is treating 2G verdict as a badge of honour, but its zero loss theory was proven wrong when the Supreme Court quashed spectrum allocation in February 2012,” Jaitley told reporters.”The fact that policy has caused loss was proven by subsequent auction. The policy was arbitrary to promote corruption which caused loss to the exchequer. Auctioning gave higher prices, look at the amount collected in auctions. The special court has said nobody is liable for this loss. The chargesheet was filed under the direction of the apex court, Jaitley added further. Former telecom minister A Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi were on Thursday acquitted by a special court in the 2G spectrum scam case. All other accused and three companies were also acquitted in the case.Also read2G spectrum verdict: All you must know about the case(With PTI inputs)

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2G propaganda against UPA without any foundation: Manmohan Singh

The “massive propaganda” against the UPA on the 2G spectrum was without any foundation, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said today after a special court acquitted all accused in the spectrum scam case. The judgment speaks for itself, Manmohan Singh said.”I do not want to boast (about) anything. The court’s judgment has to be respected. I am glad that the court has pronounced unambiguously. All the massive propaganda which was being done against the UPA was without any foundation. The judgment speaks for itself,” Singh said.Former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi were on Thursday acquitted by a special court in the 2G spectrum scam case.Also read2G verdict: Allegations were never true says Chidambaram; government should file appeal tweets SubramanianFifteen other accused in the case and three companies were also acquitted. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while reacting after the judgment, claimed that there was a loss in the auction of 2G spectrum carried by UPA.Also read2G spectrum verdict: All you must know about the case”The fact that the policy caused loss is clear from the fact that the subsequent auctions got a much higher price,” ANI quoted Arun Jaitley as saying.

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Venkaiah Naidu: Don’t make a mockery of House

The Winter Session of Parliament was again disrupted as the Opposition continued to ask for an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his allegations that former PM Manmohan Singh had conspired with Pakistani officials to influence the Gujarat elections.The PM was in the Lok Sabha that was adjourned temporarily. After the adjournment, the Lok Sabha passed two bills. The Opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day amid slogan-shouting.In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s said nobody will tender an apology because nothing happened in the House. “Don’t make a mockery of the House. Already wrong message is going out,” he said.”There was no mention of conspiracy as alleged by the Opposition in PM’s speech,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Opposition parties, which disrupted Parliament for two days, had finally allowed government business on Tuesday, after back-to-back hectic parleys. But the sword of disruptions remained.In the meetings outside the House on Tuesday, Opposition leaders had made it clear to Jaitley that the blockade would be resumed unless Modi regrets, clarifies and withdraws his insinuation.They however relented to an extent. “We understand the stature of the PM office. We will not insist on his apology. But he must clarify and regret,” said a top Opposition leader.

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Centre defends Special Court move to try politicians

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley supported the Supreme Court’s recent direction to the Centre to set up special courts to deal with criminal cases involving legislators and politicians, as Opposition MPs raised concerns on “singling out” elected representatives.Jaitley said “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion” and urged political parties to rise and set an example. As elected representatives, can lawmakers say that their trial should be delayed? he asked.”You are class apart… you are lawmakers. You should set the example,” he said, responding to Opposition parties led by the Congress and the Samajwadi Party on the issue.CM Ramesh from TDP also came out in support of fast-track courts. SP leader Naresh Agrawal was the first to express his concerns, stating that Article 14 of the Constitution provides for equality before the law, and that elected representatives are at par with other citizens.”While there are no special courts for criminals, setting up one for elected representatives would create misleading perception about politicians,” he said.He also questioned the government’s affidavit supporting setting up of fast-track courts.Congress leader Anand Sharma also joined in but clarified that there is no question of delaying prosecution of anyone. It would tantamount to profiling and excessive vilification of lawmakers if a perception is created that fast-track courts are needed for elected representatives alone, he said.The government, he said, should ensure that enough funds are allocated to set up enough courts for fast-track trial of all.”But singling out only elected representatives will create a public perception that would otherwise have an inherent potential of being abused by the government of the day,” he said.Majeed Memon from NCP said if a certain section is treated separately, it may be bordering on infringement of Article 14 of the Constitution that assures equality to all.Lawyer KTS Tulsi, a nominated member, asked who would do justice to undertrials languishing in jail for 10-15 years.Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) asked if the government would also set up special courts to prosecute those who have defrauded the country of Rs 8.5 lakh crore.Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he would give a ruling on the point of order at an appropriate time.

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Parliament functions finally, but threat of Opposition disruption hangs

Opposition parties, which disrupted Parliament for two days, seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apology for remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh, finally allowed government business on Tuesday, after back-to-back hectic parleys. But the sword of disruptions still hangs.Opposition leaders have decided not to disrupt Parliament till Friday, after Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu intervened on Tuesday, asking treasury and Opposition benches to sort out the issue outside the House.Among various proposals under consideration is also an idea that Modi and Singh could meet in the House to break the logjam. There are eight more sittings after Friday, from December 27 to 29 and from January 1 to 5, that may be hit if Opposition leaders resume protest next week.After Naidu’s directions, there was a series of meetings between Opposition leaders and members from the treasury benches.Earlier, Azad raised the issue of PM Modi’s insinuation against Singh, former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former Foreign Minister Natwar Singh, a retired Army Chief and a former Foreign Secretary, during electioneering in Gujarat.On his concern that Singh’s “loyalty to the country has been questioned” and it was also a case of breach of (his) privilege since he is a member of the House, Naidu intervened to state “he is the most respected person” and he had already met him to express his concern.Naidu said he has read a note on what exactly was said by Modi, and that he has also read how Modi was abused during the electioneering. He said that it was better to keep in mind that the PM and the ex-PM both deserve respect.He also pulled up Congress members and made them return to their seats without another protest in the Well, saying Azad has aired his grievances and it has gone on record. He also pulled up BJP MPs led by party general secretary Bhupender Yadav, raising their voice, sternly telling them not to disturb when he was trying to search for a solution to allow the House to function.In the meetings outside the House, Opposition leaders made it clear to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that the blockade would be resumed unless Modi regrets, clarifies and withdraws his insinuation.They however relented to an extent. “We understand the stature of the PM office. We will not insist on his apology. But he must clarify and regret,” said a top Opposition leader.Jaitley was conveyed the stand that in case no solution is found, the Opposition, which holds majority in the Rajya Sabha will be forced to protest. The Finance Minister, who is also Leader of the House, sought time to enable him to speak to Modi and get back to them.Temporary truceThe FM was told that if no solution is found, the Oppn, which holds majority in the RS, will be forced to protest Jaitley sought time to enable him to speak to Modi and get back to them

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After Naidu’s intervention, Rajya Sabha stalemate over PM’s remarks against Manmohan likely to end

The stalemate over the “conspiracy with Pakistan” charge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh seemed to be ending today in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition and the ruling party decided to form a panel after agreeing to the Chair’s suggestion for an amicable solution.As the Congress insisted on Modi coming to the House to clarify the statement he made during poll campaign in Gujarat and its members raised slogans and sought an apology, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urged the opposition and the government to talk and resolve the stalemate over the prime minister’s comments on his predecessor. Raising the issue, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the prime minister should come to the House and clarify on what he said, as his charges that his predecessor was “conspiring” with Pakistan was “a big issue.”Also readCongress to raise ‘Pakistan interference’ remark in ParliamentAzad said allegations are levelled during elections but some are not good for democracy, politics and the country. “Such allegations are deadly for those against whom they are made,” he said, adding that Manmohan Singh’s integrity and loyalty to the country has been questioned. “Is he the person who is conspiring against the Indian state? Is the former prime minister, former vice president not loyal to the country? These allegations are made by no less than the prime minister. “The prime minister of India should come to the House and explain his remarks and if the former prime minister and others are proved wrong, then action should be taken against them,” he told the House amid vociferous protests by Congress members who sought an apology from Modi.Naidu said he had held an “informal meeting” this morning “my suggestion was it is not good for the country to see that the House is not running properly. “I myself suggested, leaders of different parties were there. … To Parliamentary Affairs Minister to speak to Leader of House Arun Jaitley, the Leader of Opposition and other seniors also and then find a way out to end this impasse, which is in the interest of the country,” Naidu said. He also said that for democracy and parliamentary system to function, both sides should come to an understanding and move forward. “All things can be internally discussed and seen that the House functions properly and dignity of Parliament should be maintained,” he said.Agreeing to the suggestion, Azad said, “Let the meeting be held under chairmanship of Leader of the House with all leaders of other opposition parties.” He said it was not a question of Congress party, as other opposition party leaders are equally concerned. “It is a matter of privilege. It should also be to the satisfaction of Manmohan Singh,” he said. Jaitley said “we will try and explore a solution out of that. I will certainly have the privilege to invite leaders of all my colleagues including LoP and we will try and discuss and find solution for this. We will try and do it today” and suggested the formation of a committee for the purpose.Earlier, the chairman said Manmohan Singh had met him and expressed his concern, his feelings to him. “I have talked to him and have understood what he meant. I have also received a note of what exactly what he said and also what the prime minister was sad by others, calling of names,” he said, adding that the prime minister is the prime minister of the country and that has to be kept in mind by everybody. Deputy leader of Congress Anand Sharma said “We want the House to function and the dignity is also maintained. It is the PM’s responsibility.”

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‘FRDI Bill will take away people’s bank deposits’: Mamata writes to Jaitley for immediate withdrawal

Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley urging immediate withdrawal of the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI Bill) saying, it will take away people’s bank deposits.Terming the FRDI Bill as “draconian”, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has said it will oppose it tooth and nail in the Parliament and launch a massive campaign against it in the state.”People will lose faith in the banking system if the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill is not withdrawn. The FRDI Bill will completely shatter the age-old faith and trust reposed by the people in the banking system of the country,” Mamata Banerjee said in a letter to Jaitley, reported News18.com.A report said that Banerjee felt if the FRDI came into being, it would ‘forcibly’ take away the hard-earned life savings of common people entrusted to the banks, for ‘bailing out one section of vested interests, who have siphoned off the loans given to them by the banks”.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the government is working to protect the interest of bank customers and their deposits, in a bid to scotch rumours regarding the proposed Bill.Industry body Assocham has also said that experts felt the “bail-in” clause in the draft FRDI Bill, 2017 can potentially harm deposits in savings accounts.The FRDI Bill proposes to create a framework for overseeing financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, non-banking financial services companies and stock exchanges in case of insolvency.The Resolution Corporation, proposed in the draft bill, would look after the process and prevent the banks from going bankrupt. It would do this by “writing down of the liabilities”, a phrase some have interpreted as a “bail in”.The draft bill empowers Resolution Corporation to cancel the liability of a failing bank or convert the nature of the liability.

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Winter session of Parliament: Amit Shah gets royal welcome from BJP MPs on first day in Rajya Sabha

BJP president Amit Shah today made his parliamentary debut, occupying a front row seat in the Rajya Sabha on the opening day of the winter session.Shah, 53, who was elected to the Upper House of Parliament in August, walked in just minutes before the proceedings began. Members of the treasury benches, including several ministers, stood up to welcome him. Some thumped desks and others clapped as a smiling Shah greeted them with folded hands. He then went straight to his assigned seat in the front row.Shah has been allocated the aisle seat right next to the two-seat block were Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sit. Rajya Sabha members sit in a semi-circle, facing the Chair. The semi-circle is divided into six blocks of seats separated by aisles. The ruling side is seated on the one side of the semi- circle and the principal opposition party, Congress on the other. Other parties including allies of the ruling party or those in the opposition occupy the middle blocks.Also readWatch: Pained by falsehood and canards spread by PM Modi, says Manmohan; Amit Shah hits back Jaitley and Modi have seats in the front row of the first block. Shah has been allotted the seat in the next block where he has the company of Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan and Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot. When Shah walked in ministers including Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, HRD Minister Prakash Javedkar and I&B Minister Smriti Irani thumped and clapped to welcome him.After he was seated, some members walked up to him to greet him.Also readWinter Session of Parliament begins, Congress seeks PM Modi’s apology over Pakistan remarkThe seat allotted to Shah was previously occupied by M Venkaiah Naidu, who after being elected Vice President in August is now the Chairman of Rajya Sabha. The front row seats in the block next of his has AIADMK and TMC leaders.The seats in the next block used to be occupied by Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), rebel JD-U leader Sharad Yadav and BSP’s Mayawati till the last session. However, with the CPI(M) deciding against giving Yechury a third term, his seat is now occupied by his fellow-comrade T K Rangarajan. While JD-U members have moved near treasury benches since Nitish Kumar broke ranks with Lalu Prasad’s RJD and joined the NDA, its rebel leader Sharad Yadav has been disqualified. The BSP supremo quit the Rajya Sabha in July, complaining that her voice was being muzzled. After her resignation, her seat has been given her confidante and BSP leader Satish Mishra

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Defamation case: Delhi High Court rejects Kejriwal’s plea to trash Jaitley’s reply

The Delhi High Court today dismissed Arvind Kejriwal’s plea seeking striking down of Arun Jaitley’s reply in the second Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed against the Chief Minister, saying the additional issues raised by the Union Minister were “relevant”.The Delhi Chief Minister had sought that the replication (reply) filed by Jaitley in response to his written submission in the second defamation lawsuit be trashed on several grounds including that the usage of ‘scandalous’ words by his former counsel was based on hearsay.Justice Manmohan said the additional points raised by Jaitley in his replication to Kejriwal’s written submission were “relevant” as they “crystalise” the Union Minister’s stand and thus, “can neither be termed scandalous, nor frivolous or vexatious or unnecessary or abuse of process of law”.The court, however, gave Kejriwal four weeks to rebut the additional contentions of the BJP leader.The second suit had claimed that the then counsel of the Chief Minister, Ram Jethmalani, had made derogatory remarks against Jaitley in the proceedings of another defamation suit between the two and five other AAP leaders allegedly at the instance of Kejriwal.Kejriwal has denied that he had instructed Jethmalani to use the derogatory words, a claim which Jaitley has termed as false and for which he has also sought perjury action against the Delhi chief minister.In another reply, filed in response to Jaitley’s application seeking perjury action against him, Kejriwal has denied the allegation that he filed a false affidavit claiming he had not instructed his lawyer to use the derogatory words.The court has listed the perjury application for hearing on April 26.In his response filed through advocate Anupam Shrivastav, Kejriwal has denied that he has committed any perjury or made any false statement supported by an affidavit under oath.He has also said there were no instructions from him to Jethmalani to use objectionable remarks against Jaitley.The senior lawyer, however, had categorically stated before the joint registrar that he had received specific instruction from Kejriwal to use derogatory words against Jaitley.Jethmalani, who in September announced his retirement from over a seven-decade long career as an advocate, had used certain words while cross-examining the Union Minister in a separate Rs 10 crore defamation case filed by the BJP leader against the AAP convenor and five others of the party in 2015.The AAP leaders, including Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai, had in December 2015 levelled charges of corruption against Jaitley in connection with alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).Jaitley has denied all the allegations and also claimed that these had harmed his reputation.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Rahul Gandhi: If Congress is dead, why is PM Modi dedicating speeches to us?

Congress president designate Rahul Gandhi on Monday questioned the logic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating 50% of his speech to Congress when the latter in the same breath says it is a dead party.”These days 50% of Modiji’s speeches are about Congress. The rest are about himself. He keeps saying that Congress is a dead party, then why does he feel compelled to talk about the Congress so much,” said Gandhi.The Congress leader who was addressing his second public meeting of the day in Viramgam said the PM has moved on from Narmada water to OBC to Vikas and now only talks of himself and Congress. “This is because after 22 years of ruling Gujarat, the truth has finally caught up with him,” said Gandhi.He said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Modi have clearly said no to any farm loan waiver for farmers. “But if you come in a Mercedez Benz or fly by helicopter and wear a Rs10 lakh suit, they will listen to your demands to waive off loans. That is how 10 to 15 rich friends of Modiji had their loans waived off,” said Gandhi.RaGa slams BJPGandhi said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Modi have clearly said no to any farm loan waiver for farmers. “But if you come in a Mercedez Benz or fly by helicopter and wear a Rs10 lakh suit, they will listen to your demands to waive off loans. That is how 10 to 15 rich friends of Modiji had their loans waived off,” said Gandhi.

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Got assurance on resolution of tax notice issue: Nasscom

IT industry association Nasscom today said it has got an assurance from the government that the service tax notices served to several IT companies has been “corrected” and the issue has been resolved.However, it could not be confirmed from the tax department whether the government is withdrawing or amending the reported Rs 10,000 crore demand notices served to some 200 companies.”The kind of tax notices which had been issued recently to a few companies that actually do not recognise IT services as exports because of some interpretation… We were happy to note that the Government has clarified in today’s meeting that that situation has been corrected,” Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said.Chandrashekhar was speaking to reporters after a meeting between IT industry and the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today on pre-budget consultations.During the meeting, the apex software body also discussed issues related to Place of Effective Management (POEM) and refund of service tax, amongst others.On the tax notice issue, Chandrashekhar pointed out that the government has clarified that suitable advisories have been issued and that the “problem has been resolved”.”We have been informed that the clarification has already been issued and the matter stands resolved. We are waiting to get clarification,” he added.While Chandrashekhar did not divulge further details about the tax notices, reports suggest that many IT and IT enabled services companies had been sent notices by the tax department.These companies were reportedly asked to return export benefits claimed in the last five years on software provided to clients outside India, and also asked to cough up service tax along with penalty.Telecom Equipments Manufacturers Association Chairman Emeritus NK Goyal thanked the government for resolving the tax issue that had confronted the IT companies.”We appreciate the Government for withdrawing tax notices …That was served to IT companies,” said Goyal who was also part of the meeting.

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Gujarat elections 2017 | New finance regulation bill on the cards: Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley threw light on a likely finance regulation bill at BJP’s media centre in Ahmedabad on Saturday. He said that the bill aimed at giving more strength to people’s deposits in financial institutions.Jaitley said, “For the past few days, a controversy has been raised by some people through social media that the standing committee of Parliament was mulling to form an act on economic health of a financial institution. I would like to make it clear that there was not any act or law in the nation which deals with it. Naturally, the government will consider, if any act or law is to be formed and what parliamentary committee suggests on that.””Financial institution’s economic health is the core of the act, that is being considered by the parliamentary standing committee. The depositors in banks and financial institutions have very limited protection in the conventional system that has been running for 70 years in this nation. There is an insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh only against the deposits of people, in whatever amount it is deposited. The government’s idea is to give strength to this protection and the existing situation in this context does not suffice the demand,” Jaitley added.When elections are going on in Gujarat, the issue had become a serious concern for the people as most people deposit their money and savings with the banking and financial sectors. The campaign on social media which has been running with the messages of adverse impact of the act, could have a great effect over the psyche of Gujarati voters, and the finance minister made this statement on this juncture.”The campaign is totally wrong. The government wishes to make protection covers to the deposit stronger and improvise them. The government will think about that and is committed to enhance the protection of the deposits of common people in financial institutions across the nation,” the finance minister added.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: How the manifestos of Congress and BJP match up

With a day to go for the Gujarat elections, BJP released its manifesto on Friday. Its main opponent Congress had published its manifesto couple of days ago. Even a cursory glance at both the manifestos show the difference in agenda and the election plank both the parties are taking in this poll.For BJP, it is more of a consolidation of the work it has done in the past two decades. It has shunned the temptation of making extravagant promises or holding any carrot for the agitating Patidar community. As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at the press conference, main goal of BJP will be to improve on the impressive 10% growth rate achieved by the state. Whereas Congress, which has been languishing in wilderness in Gujarat politics for a very long time has made some extravagant promises in its manifesto, something its voters will held themselves accountable to, if and when they get power.Let’s see how the manifesto of the two parties match up in some major issues:Also readGujarat elections phase 1: BJP will look to grab early initiative in South Gujarat and Saurashtra Patidar quota:Also readGujarat Elections 2017: BJP released manifesto after we raised questions about it, says Rahul GandhiCongress has promised to award reservation to Patels by creating a special category and granting them all benefits of the OBC quota. BJP despite massive pushback from the Patidars have refused to take the bait and hasn’t declared any quota for Patidars. Jaitley brushed it off claiming ‘constitutional impossibility’ as it would breach the 50% upper limit. Loan waive-off: Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | A storm is brewing as Congress will win the elections, says Rahul GandhiRahul Gandhi in his election speech has promised that Congress will waive off loan of poor farmers in 10 days. The manifesto promises scrapping of amended Land Acquisition Bill and giving 16-hours of electricity to farmers. BJP manifesto on the other hand, promises to double “double farmers’ income through various means, such as cheap fertilisers and seeds, better irrigation, proper Minimum Support Prices and (access to) food processing”.Women rights: BJP has promised to increase the pension for widows at regular intervals. On the other hand, Congress has pledged awarding ownership of LIG (Low Income Group) houses to women. For girl students, Congress manifesto pledges 100 per cent free education will be provided from primary to higher education, whereas families availing the Centre’s Ujjwala gas connection will also be provided kerosene.For lesser privileged: Congress has planned to start Indira Canteens to provide ‘affordable nutritious and delicious food’ for the labour class at Rs 10 per plate. Rahul Gandhi in his poll speech said that it is looking to emulate the Karnataka model in Gujarat. Incidentally state like Tamil Nadu also have similar schemes. It has also promised to set up Economically Backward Classes Commission (EBCS) for educational and economic development of “deprived people among the upper castes”. The Congress said it will ensure “equal work equal pay” as well as the increase in minimum wages for labourers. BJP on the other hand has promised pucca houses for poor families” , affordable healthcare for poor workers from the unorganised sector. Healthcare:BJP has promised that it will open more generic medicine shops and introduce mobile clinics and laboratories, apart from making Gujarat free of vector-borne diseases. The Congress plans to introduce ‘Sardar Patel Universal Healthcare Card’ for healthcare at government hospitals and free medicines through ‘Rajiv Gandhi Pharmacy’ chains.Job-creation and sops for unemployed: The Congress party manifesto tries to outdo the projects already existing in Gujarat. It has promised to give allowance up to Rs 4000 per month for educated unemployed youth till they get placed. Youth who want to set up industry will be given 250-500 sq metre plots at competitive rates and provided loans up to Rs 5 lakh at 5 per cent interest,” it said. The party will also set up ‘Swami Vivekanand Education Foundation’ to provide scholarships for students of modest means for their education from pre-primary level to PhD. The Congress also promised to slash fee burden of self-financed courses in government and aided institutions by 80%. The party is looking to fill all vacant government positions and cancellation of outsourcing of jobs as well as contract and fixed salary systems.Special schemes for SC/ST, OBCs and minorities: BJP is looking to bolster the existing schemes already in place. Additionally, it has promised to set up district-level “Tribal Welfare Boards” and an “Adivasi University”. BJP manifesto also mentions new hostels for Scheduled Caste students and doubling of grant given to the Thakor and Koli Development Board.Congress is looking to earmark development packages for areas dominated by OBCs and also establish funds for fully funding self-employment of artisans and OBC youth.The party in its manifesto has pledged to set up a minority commission to look at their needs. It also plans to provide ‘Babasaheb Ambedkar Samajik Suraksha Card’ for unorganised workers.Congress populist promises: Congress has promised to slash diesel and petrol prices by up to Rs 10 by cutting down state taxes. It is also looking to slash property tax and electricity rates by 50 per cent if elected to power. The manifesto promises to provide electricity at only Rs 2 unit for up to 200 units on household power consumption. It also assured financial assistance and pension to widows, senior citizens and the differently-abled.For infrastructure development of urban and rural centres: BJP manifesto promises to covert villages into ‘smart villages’. For urban centres, the BJP is looking to implement the Smart City projects and construction of It has also promised new tourism circuits, development of ports. BJP hopes to construct toilers for all rural houses in next five years. The Congress plans to adopt a Smart Village Policy to stop migration and make provision of ponds, playgrounds, sanitation and drinking water supply to villages. It also promised to construct 25 lakh houses in the next five years under various schemes like Indira Aawas Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi Aawas Yojana and Ambedkar Aawas Yojana.With PTI inputs

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Gujarat Election 2017: BJP releases its manifesto; attacks Congress for making ‘false promises’

Ahead of the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections, BJP on Friday released its manifesto or ‘sankalp patra’.The cover of the BJP’s vision document has Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture along with chief Amit Shah and a slogan that reads “Darek Gujarati no ekaj aavaj; hun chu vikaas, hun chu Gujarat (Each Gujarati speaks in a single voice; I am development, I am Gujarat).” Jaitley also said that the release does not violate any ‘Model Code of Conduct’ as it does not carry any image of contesting candidates.Upon its release, BJP said they will ensure every district in Gujarat will have a medical college.Also readPM Modi blasts Mani Shankar Aiyar again, asks Congress to remove Kapil Sibal While releasing the document, Jaitley attacked Congress, saying they were making fictitious statements. “Congress’s vision for Gujarat is based on constitutional impossibility and financial improbability,” Jaitley said. Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | A storm is brewing as Congress will win the elections, says Rahul Gandhi”Gujarat’s GSDP growth is highest in India. In the last 5 years Gujarat grew at an average rate of 10% amongst large states,” Jaitley said.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Still under 25, but age is no bar for these two candidatesThe releases comes a day before the first phase of polling and at a time when Congress has criticised BJP for delaying its release. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said delaying the release of manifesto is an “insult” to the people, while, Hardik Patel said BJP delayed its release as they were too busy “making CDs”.While earlier on Thursday, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi: “The BJP has shown unbelievable disrespect towards the people of Gujarat. Campaign is over and STILL no mention of a manifesto for the people, no vision and no ideas presented for Gujarat’s future. #BJPDisrespectsGujarat”Gujarat will see its first phase of polling on December 9 and the next on December 14.

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Rs 9,046-crore nutrition mission gets go-ahead

The Cabinet on Friday approved the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), giving nod to a funding of over Rs 9,046 crore, till 2020, to combat malnutrition in the country.According to the government, the policy aims at bringing down the incidence of undernutrition and low birth weight by 2 per cent every year, and reduce stunting from 38.4 per cent, as per the National Family Health Survey, to 25 per cent by 2022. Currently, 43 per cent of children under five years of age in India are underweight, while 48 per cent suffer from stunting due to undernutrition. The policy will affect over 10 crore beneficiaries, the government stated.The policy is a part of the government’s efforts to end malnutrition by 2022. Last week, in a high-level meeting, PM Narendra Modi called for a comprehensive movement to end malnutrition and said that with such high incidence of malnutrition, India’s image of growth and development was tarnished.The mission will first be rolled out in 315 districts this year, and will be extended to 235 more districts in 2018-19. The remaining districts will be covered in 2019-20. The Rs 9,046 crore budget will be funded in a 50:50 ratio, by the Centre and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).The policy will be implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Minsitry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and government think-tank NITI Aayog. A technical committee, formed by the NITI Aayog and comprising dieticians, doctors, and experts will decide on the delivery system, WCD minister Maneka Gandhi said.Finance minister Arun Jaitley said infection and malnutrition were deeply connected. “Since the incidence of stunting in India is high, we need inter-ministerial cooperation. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, including the nine months of pregnancy, are crucial,” Jaitley said.As part of the policy, there will be real-time monitoring of take-home rations and the updates of health parameters of beneficiaries through smartphones given to anganwadi workers. The Android smartphones will be given to over 10 lakh anganwadi workers. They will have an operating system version of 4.4 or above, which will support 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi connectivity, with a screen size of 5 inch, and a RAM of 1GB.Ministry officials said the mission beneficiaries will need Aadhaar cards, and those without Aadhaar cards will be assisted by anganwadi workers, who will get Rs 500 as incentive. WCD officials said they were trying to ensure over 85 per cent enrollment by December 31, including that of six-month children. When pointed out that Aadhar guidelines prohibit children below five years of age, officials said their cards will be linked to their mothers’.Policy goalsAims at bringing down undernutrition and low birth weight by 2% per yearReduce stunting from 38.4% to 25% by the year 2022
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UP civic polls result reaffirms people’s support for note ban, GST: Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the results of Uttar Pradesh civic polls reaffirmed people’s support for the GST which has made doing business “easier” for traders.At a media briefing, he also recalled his party’s unprecedented win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly polls following the demonetisation decision and noted that it had swept “trading hubs” in UP to underline popular support to note ban.”Today’s results (in UP) have only reaffirmed it,” he said.The ruling BJP today forged ahead of its rivals, leading on 14 of the 16 mayoral seats in Uttar Pradesh where the civic bodies polls were held in three phases, according to trends from these seats in the first four hours of counting of votes.The Congress has used GST glitches and note ban to attack the BJP in Gujarat polls.”GST has made doing business and trade very easy. The market size for every trader has grown. Now the whole country is his market,” Jaitley said.He declined to comment on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s ‘dharam ki dalali’ barb at the BJP. “There is no need to answer to this,” Jaitley said.
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Indian economy back on track, GDP expands 6.3% in July-Sep quarter: Who said what

Bouncing back from a three-year low, Indian economy has reversed a five-quarter slide in GDP growth to expand by 6.3 % in July-September quarter. According to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the GDP for Q2 stood at Rs 31.66 lakh crore, registering a growth of 6.3%, up from 5.7% reported during the first quarter of 2017-18. Chief Statistician T C A Anant hinted that the GDP numbers could be revised upwards as businesses uncertain of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime may have accounted for lesser taxes. While the government was upbeat with the positive growth which came just ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls, Opposition leaders said this was too early to arrive at a conclusion and government should wait longer to beat its chest. Here is how people across the country have reacted to the GDP numbers: Also readImpact of demonetization and GST behind us: Arun Jaitley on Q2 GDP figuresArun Jaitley, Union Finance MinisterGovernment’s reforms to push economic growth are working can be seen from that manufacturing has shown robust growth of 7% in Q2 and services at 7.1%. Gross fixed capital formation has increased from 1.6% in Q1 to 4.7% in Q2.Also readAhead of Gujarat polls, GDP brings cheers for PM Narendra Modi, grows at 6.3% in Q2Amit Shah, BJP PresidentToday’s GDP numbers reiterate the #IndiaUnstoppable story under PM Narendra Modi. The strong rebound in growth is a reflection of solid economic management by the Modi Government. The reforms by Modi Govt is leading to faster growth as well as creating a strong and stable economy with increased formalisation and increased opportunities for the poor and middle class.Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for RailwaysTransformational reforms under PM Narendra Modi ji bearing fruit through faster growth and prosperity for all. Quarterly GDP growth accelerates to 6.3% vs 5.7% in the previous quarter.P Chidambaram, Congress leader and former Union MinisterHappy that the July-Sep quarter has registered a growth rate of 6.3%. This a PAUSE in the declining trend of the last five quarters. But we cannot say now whether this will mark an upward trend in the growth rate. We should wait for the growth rates over the next 3-4 quarters before we can reach a definite conclusion. 6.3% is far below the PROMISE of the Modi government and far below the POTENTIAL of a well-managed Indian economy.Randeep S Surjewala, Congress spokespersonImprovement of GDP numbers is an encouraging sign, but it is just a ‘Temporary Pause’ from the ‘Downward Trend’. India’s Economic Stress continues; #GDP far below at 6.3% compared to 7.5% of Q2 of last year! -A close scrutiny reveals the Real Picture. No amount of ‘Spinning’,‘Sugar Coating’ and ‘Bloating on figures; will alter the Ground Reality that has hit us hard! Agriculture Sector Growth is Abysmal & Core Sector Growth is Stagnant & Manufacturing Down – What is the Modi Government celebrating.Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CMGDP figures out. Again no growth. No jobs.Effects of note ban scam & unplanned GST continue to damage economy. Only talking. No performance. Last year Q2 GDP growth was 7.5% and this year it is 6.3%. This Govt only bhashan, no action.Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CIIThe rebound in GDP growth to 6.3% is noteworthy and a great confidence booster. The revival of the #GDP growth print reinforces the perception that economy is on a robust recovery phase and the short-term disruptions caused by demonetisation and GST are behind us. CII believes that eco performance wd be better in the 2nd half as companies move to execute projects on the back of improved demand.
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Congress’ student wing to demand reduction in GST for educational institutes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nationalist Student Congress (NSC), student wing of the NCP, will soon submit a memorandum to the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley to reduce the GST on higher educations and its auxiliary services.Many higher educational institutions boast sprawling campuses, some of which host residential students as well. These institutions are likely to incur additional heavy expenditures on some of the services, like security, housekeeping, or catering, as these services will be charged 18% GST. In such a scenario, in all probability, these institutions will pass this tax burden on to the students, thus making higher education more expensive.The NSC students’ wing will be launching an agitation to demand a reduction in the steep GST on students’ hostel facilities including services, like security, housekeeping, or catering, which has made higher education more expensive.“The students are required to pay more for laundry, food in the hostel mess, medicines, stationery, and other services and products that they buy on the campus. ”All such services attract a levy of 18 per cent,” said Amol Matele, President of the Nationalist Student Congress (NSC), student wing of the NCP. “The NSC will soon submit a memorandum to the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley and if the centre fails to reduce the GST, we will be left with no alternative but to launch a state wide agitation” he further added.

Maan ki Baat, Chai ke Saath: Amit Shah and other BJP leaders have tea with people across Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to counter a Congress’ meme mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘chaiwala’ past, BJP leaders, including Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley, today tuned in to his radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ while having tea with people across poll-bound Gujarat.The BJP organised ‘Mann ki Baat, Chai ke Saath’, at all the 50,128 polling booths in 182 Assembly seats.BJP president Shah listened to the programme at a tea stall in the city’s Muslim-dominated Dariyapur area in the presence of hundreds of locals and party workers.Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was present at a booth in Adajan area of Surat-West Assembly constituency, said a party release.Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani listened to Modi’s monthly programme while having tea at Mora village in Panchmahal district, while Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was present at a booth in his constituency in Mehsana.The other party leaders who joined the programme at various places included Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Uma Bharti, Smriti Irani, Jual Oram and Parshottam Rupala, Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani and several state ministers, MLAs and some MPs.Irani, who was in Junagadh to take part in the party’s event, told media persons that the people of Gujarat will “teach a stern lesson to Congress in this Assembly election for having an anti-poor and anti-Gujarat mindset.” The event was organised ahead of Modi’s tour of Gujarat on November 27 and 29 during which he will address eight rallies in Saurashtra and south Gujarat, where polling will be held on December 9.
ALSO READ Ayushmann Khurrana collaborates with ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ makers once again for ‘Bhadhai Ho’!The official Twitter handle of the Youth Congress’ online magazine “Yuva Desh” had last week kicked up a row by mocking Modi’s “chaiwala” past and English speaking skills through a photograph.Soon after the controversy, the Youth Congress had tendered an apology and removed the controversial tweet.Chief minister Rupani had dubbed the tweet as “blatantly classist and anti-poor”.Earlier, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections said Modi would never become the prime minister, and that if he wanted, the party can give him a place at its convention to sell tea.The BJP had leveraged the remark to launch its then prime ministerial candidate Modi’s famous ‘chai pe charcha’ sessions, to connect with voters around the country.

NTA to hold NEET, JEE from Dec 2018

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Testing Agency (NTA) — Centre’s one-point agency for conducting all entrance examinations — will conduct first tests from December 2018, for the academic year 2019. The task of setting up the agency has been assigned to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur which has already begun work on hiring subject experts.To begin with, they will conduct NEET and JEE next year, the entrance exams that were so far conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). After the formation of NTA , JEE will be conducted twice a year.The Union Cabinet recently gave its nod to setting up of the agency which was announced in this year’s budget by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.”IIT Kanpur has already been assigned the task of setting up the agency and they have started with forming a team of subject experts in various fields and technical experts to design the question papers. The agency will be able to conduct first examination in December next year,” said a senior official.According to sources in the ministry, the agency will have people from the private sector as well including experts in particular subjects and IT experts to make sure that the tests are conducted online, in a hassle-free manner.Subject experts will create a question bank that will be used for the exam. “Creating a question bank, ideating and managing the online system are the key points that we are will be done by NTA,” the official added.

When will Parliament’s Winter Session begin? Cabinet Committee to fix dates on Friday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid reports of the Winter Session of Parliament beginning from December 15, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs is set to meet tomorrow.The Committee will meet at 10 AM on Friday to finalise the schedule and agenda of the upcoming Winter Session.This would put end to all speculations over the dates of the last Parliament session of the year.Earlier on Wednesday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the schedule of the Winter Session and the Assembly Elections won’t overlap.“We are going to ensure that a regular Winter Session is held but we will make sure that the Parliament session and (Assembly) election dates don’t overlap,” Jaitley said while addressing media on the cabinet decisions.The Opposition, especially the Congress has been attacking the government for delaying the Winter Session. The party says in view of the Gujarat Assembly Elections, the Centre is trying to evade discussion on issues the Opposition want to raise during Winter Session like scams of ministers, Rafale deal, GST and note ban.On Thursday, Sitaram Yechury, the Marxist leader, while speaking at an event also attacked the government for delaying the Winter Session of Parliament.”The BJP does not want to hold the session as they know the opposition will raise issues related to the business activities of Jay Shah and Shaurya Doval and the Rafale deal for this can cost them in the Gujarat assembly polls,” he said.Yechury accused the government of “playing with parliamentary democracy for the sake of victory in a state assembly election”.(With PTI input)

Gujarat CM Rupani files nomination, says Congress has outsourced election to three activists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who filed his nomination for the next month’s polls, today attacked the Congress, saying the opposition party has “outsourced” itself to three prominent activists in the state as it has “nothing” of its own.With the “son of Gujarat” Narendra Modi helming the central government, the state will scale new heights under the BJP, he said at a gathering here, adding “we will have to ensure that our pride is not hurt”. The BJP leader, accompanied by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, filed his nomination from Rajkot (West) Assembly seat at 12:39 pm, described as “vijay muhurat” (auspicious time) by party leaders. Rupani is the sitting MLA from the constituency where voting will be held in the first phase on December 9.Rajkot BJP president Kamlesh Mirani and cooperative sector leader Jyotindrabhai Mehta along with a group of supporters accompanied Rupani to the office of the district election officer, where he submitted his papers.Before filing his nomination, Rupani addressed the gathering where he slammed the Congress, saying the party is relying on three activists to save itself in the BJP-ruled state. The chief minister did not name anybody, but he was apparently referring to caste and community leaders Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani.”The Congress is outsourcing as it has nothing of its own. Three people have come out to save the Congress, such is the condition of the party. The Congress is broken, and a Congress-mukt India means an India free of poverty, corruption and joblessness,” he told the gathering. He said if the BJP wins 150-plus seats in Gujarat, the state will achieve new peak in growth with the help from the central government.”We will have to ensure that our pride is not hurt, and our development is stabilised. The Congress did injustice to Gujarat during 10 years of the UPA rule. Now, in Delhi, a son of Gujarat, Narendrabhai, has given a lot to Gujarat.”Under a BJP government with 150-plus seats, Gujarat will achieve new heights of development with the help of the central government,” he said.Jaitley said the BJP has emerged as a symbol of “development and stability,” while the Congress represented “anarchy”.”The BJP has emerged as a symbol of development and stability. In more than two decades of its rule in Gujarat, the party brought progress and development, and the state was put on the (investment) map of the country and the world,” Jaitley told reporters. He said the upcoming election is a battle between “growth and anarchy”.”The forces against us in this election are working to divide the state, its people and they symbolise anarchy. So this election is between stability, growth and progress represented by the BJP, and anarchy symbolised by the other side,” the Union minister said. He expressed confidence that the BJP will emerge victorious with a “huge” majority. The election to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will take place in two phases — December 9 and 14 — and votes will be counted on December 18.

Modi, Moody failed to gauge mood: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the BJP went to town after US-based rating agency Moody’s gave thumbs up to India’s rating soon after a similar report by PEW, Congress ridiculed the findings saying Modi and Moody are not able to gauge the mood of the nation.Raising questions over BJP’s elation over the reports, party spokesperson Rajeev Shukla said, “it seems BJP is fighting all elections this time from Washington. After destroying India’s economy, Modi government is clutching at straws to claim lost credibility. Whether Modi or Moody, they are not able to gauge or understand the mood of the nation. No indigenous agency has given any such report. All this is coming only from foreign agencies.”Congress Communication chief Randeep Surjewala said hunger deaths, agri distress, job losses, lowest credit ratings, rising prices, plunging exports, flawed GST, demonetisation disaster, stagnant growth are the real indices to measure it.Taking a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Surjewala said, “Mr Jaitley, do remember that Moody’, S&P and other rating agencies defaulted in rating American sub-prime mortgages…before the economic meltdown.” Surjewala also put out a rhyme, “Aarthik Haalat Se Bekhabar Bhajpa Sarkar; Bas Videshi agenciyon ke certificate ka ambaar Par kisan, naujawan, vyapari dukandar to kar raha haahaakaar Kab jagega ahankari dilli sarkaar” (BJP government is unaware of the economic scenario and has just piled certificates from foreign agencies. But farmers, youths, traders and shopkeepers are harassed. When will the arrogant government of Delhi wake up).

Moody’s upgrade: Amit Shah says growth rate will soon touch 7.5%

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Moody’s upgradation of India’s sovereign credit rating vindicates the Modi government’s “hard work and reform process”, BJP chief Amit Shah said today, exuding confidence that the country’s growth rate will soon touch 7.5 per cent.For the first time in 13 years, the US-based rating agency upped India’s credit rating, showing that the economic structure, ruined during the UPA’s 10-year rule, is now being strengthened by the Modi government, a BJP press release quoting Shah said.”The Modi government s good governance and reforms receive yet another vindication. Moody s upgrades India s sovereign ratings for the 1st time since 2004,” Shah said in a tweet.India, which was once seen as one of the five fragile nations that posed a hurdle to global economic recovery, became the fastest growing major economy under the Modi government, he added.Citing Moody’s, the BJP chief said the reforms initiated by the government yielded positive results in all segments of the economy.”Moody’s believes that the Modi government’s reforms will improve the business climate, enhance productivity, attract more investment and put India on a higher growth trajectory,” he said, adding “the country will soon achieve 7.5 per cent growth rate”.Referring to India’s recent jump in the ease of doing business index of the World Bank and findings of Pew research on Modi’s popularity, Shah said these are the reflection of the government’s hard work.”Prime Minister Modi has laid the foundation of new India so that the country can again become ‘Vishwa Guru’,” he said.Later talking to reporters, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said the government will continue with reforms and the model of good governance adopted by it.The Congress today accused the Modi government of “clutching at straws” to reclaim the lost credibility, and said it and rating agency Moody’s have failed to gauge the mood of the nation.Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala also sought to downplay Moody’s rating upgrade of India, saying the same agency had miscalculated US subprime mortgages before the economic meltdown.”After destroying India’s economy, the Modi government is clutching at straws to claim lost credibility,” he said on Twitter.”Modiji and Moody’s ‘jodi’ (duo) have failed to gauge the mood of the nation,” he said, adding that hunger deaths, agri distress, job losses, lowest credit ratings, rising prices, plunging exports, flawed GST, demonetisation disaster, stagnant growth are the real indices to measure it.At the AICC briefing, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said the government relied upon a World Bank report of Delhi and Mumbai to claim that “all is well” and quoted a PEW survey of only 2,464 people to claim victory.”At this pace, it looks like the BJP and Modi will contest the next election from Washington,” he said taking a dig at the prime minister.”Are these reports only meant for clapping?” Shukla asked, while noting that GDP growth rate was on a constant decline.Surjewala also said, “At this pace, Modiji should be fighting next election abroad.”Taking a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Surjewala said, “Mr Jaitley, do remember that Moody s, S&P and other rating agencies defaulted in rating American sub-prime mortgages…before the economic meltdown.” “Lesson is stop acting and get your act together. Shun arrogance and listen to the trade and industry,” he told the finance minister.”Mr Jaitley, history teaches us valuable lessons. You ignore them at your peril! As greed, collusion and crony capitalism sank banks and Wall Street, please read who contributed to wiping away people’s money.”Hope you are not following the same trajectory!” he said.Shukla also accused the Modi government of relying on reports of international agencies to “divert attention from the poor state of the Indian economy”.

Modiji and Moody’s jodi failed to to gauge mood of the nation: Congress reacts to India’s credit rating upgrade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress accused the Modi government of “clutching at straws” to reclaim the lost credibility, and said it and rating agency Moody’s have failed to gauge the mood of the nation.Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala also sought to downplay Moody’s rating upgrade of India, saying the same agency had miscalculated US subprime mortgages before the economic meltdown.”After destroying India’s economy, the Modi government is clutching at straws to claim lost credibility,” he said on Twitter.”Modiji and Moody’s ‘jodi’ (duo) have failed to gauge the mood of the nation,” he said, adding that hunger deaths, agri distress, job losses, lowest credit ratings, rising prices, plunging exports, flawed GST, demonetisation disaster, stagnant growth are the real indices to measure it.Taking a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Surjewala said, “Mr Jaitley, do remember that Moody’s, S&P and other rating agencies defaulted in rating American sub-prime mortgages…before the economic meltdown.” “Lesson is stop acting and get your act together. Shun arrogance and listen to the trade and industry,” he told the finance minister.The Congress leader said the Modi government relied upon a World Bank report of Delhi/Mumbai to claim all is well and quoted a PEW survey of 2,464 people to claim victory.”At this pace, Modiji should be fighting next election abroad,” he said, taking a dig at the prime minister.”Mr Jaitley, history teaches us valuable lessons. You ignore them at your peril! As greed, collusion and crony capitalism sank banks and Wall Street, please read who contributed to wiping away people’s money.”Hope you are not following the same trajectory!,” he said. Moody’s Investors Service today raised India’s sovereign rating for the first time in 13 years, saying growth prospects have improved with continued progress on economic and institutional reforms.The US-based agency changed its rating outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘positive’, saying the reforms will help stabilise rising levels of debt. Top ministers and officials of the government hailed the rating upgrade by Moody’s as “long overdue” and hoped others such as S&P and Fitch will follow suit as it presses ahead with steps to ratchet up growth. India’s rating upgrade reflects growth story: NITI Aayog India’s credit rating upgrade by Moody’s is a reflection of the country’s growth story, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said today and expressed hope that other global agencies such as S&P and Fitch would follow suit.The US-based Moody’s upgraded India’s sovereign rating after a gap of 13 years to Baa2, with ‘stable’ outlook, from Baa3 earlier, citing improved growth prospects driven by economic and institutional reforms.”Moody’s upgrading India’s Ratings is a reflection of India growth story and sound economic principles for a #NewIndia. Hoping others will follow,” Kumar said in a tweet.Former Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said in a tweet: “Moody s upgrade India’s credit rating after 13 years. A clear recognition of economic & institutional reforms; well paced shift towards formalisation of the economy; improvement in business climate;positive growth outlook.”In 2015, the rating outlook was changed to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’.The ‘Baa3’ rating was the lowest investment grade — just a notch above ‘junk’ status.In a statement this morning, the credit ratings agency said: “The decision to upgrade the ratings is underpinned by Moody’s expectation that continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhanceIndia’s high growth potential and its large and stable financing base for government debt, and will likely contribute to a gradual decline in the general government debt burden over the medium term.”It cautioned however that high debt burden remains a constraint on the country’s credit profile.

Defamation case: Jaitley opposes Kejriwal’s plea against summoning order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Arun Jaitley opposed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s petition in the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of a trial court’s order summoning him as an accused in a criminal defamation complaint filed by the BJP leader.Jaitley sought dismissal of Kejriwal’s plea on the ground that he and five other AAP leaders, who were also summoned as accused in the case, since the beginning of the case had tried to “stall” the proceedings and had filed various petitions and applications to “impede” the trial.The finance minister made the submissions in his written arguments filed before Justice A K Pathak, who was hearing the chief minister’s plea against a trial court’s March 9, 2016 order summoning him and others in the matter.Taking note of the submissions filed before it, the court fixed the matter for arguments on January 11 next year.It also asked Kejriwal’s counsel to file their written arguments in the matter.Senior counsel Sidharth Luthra and advocate Manik Dogra, representing Jaitley, said that the present petition ought to be dismissed on the ground of delay and latches.”The petition has been filed on May 3, 2017, almost 14 months after the summoning order was passed on March 9, 2016,” the counsel said.They said that the petition, which raises fallacious and baseless contentions, has only been filed with an ulterior motive to delay the trial.Kejriwal’s lawyers Nitya Ramakrishnan and Shadan Farasat said that none of the statements attributed to their client was defamatory in nature, as they do not satisfy any of the ingredients provided in Section 499 (defamation) of IPC and its explanations.Kejriwal has said that the trial court, prior to summoning him, did not test the allegations made in the complaint and pre-summoning evidence.Besides Kejriwal, the trial court had also summoned Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai, observing that the allegations levelled by them against Jaitley were “not only insulting but jeeringly taunting and provocative”.After they appeared in the matter, they were granted bail by the trial court.Jaitley had filed the criminal defamation complaint alleging that the accused had defamed him in a controversy regarding the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when he headed it for over a decade.The AAP leaders had accused the BJP leader of corruption while he was the president of the DDCA from 2000 to 2013. The charges have been denied by the Union minister during his cross-examination by Kejriwal’s counsel before the Delhi High Court.A civil defamation suit has also been filed by Jaitley against them in the Delhi High Court in the matter seeking Rs 10 crore as damages.The Union minister also contended that a perusal of the summoning order reveals that the trail court has clearly applied his judicial mind before issuing summons to all the accused.

Arun Jaitley denies govt lowered GST on over 200 goods due to electoral compulsions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today debunked Congress’ claim that it forced the government to lower tax on over 200 goods, saying rationalisation of rates was in works for 3-4 months and it is “juvenile politics” to link it to any election or political demand.Rejecting Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s demand for a single rate of tax, he said there is scope for further rationalisation of rate but the course will be decided by revenues that accrue from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was implemented from July this year. “This rationalisation is 3-4 month exercise,” he said, adding that the GST Council decided on the rate cut on the recommendation of a Fitment Committee.The decisions in the GST Council are “all consensus decisions,” he said. “This is really juvenile politics to link it with either elections or political demands”. The GST Council, which Jaitley heads, had last week brought down tax rate on 178 products from 28 per cent to 18 per cent and pushed down several others in lower bracket. Congress, which has made high tax rates and increased compliance burden in the GST regime an election issue in the run up to the assembly elections in Gujarat, claimed credit for the move.Its vice president Rahul Gandhi had demanded a single rate of up to 18 per cent GST tax as against 0, 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent slabs currently. Explaining the rationale for the rationalisation in rates of goods and services that have been done after the launch of the GST in July, Jaitley said the principle objective is that the transition has to be smooth and not abrupt. He said almost every item is better off than it was in July 1.”Those who are speaking of a single rate GST have no understanding of the tariff structure. Food items have to be taxed at Nil. Common man items have to be taxed at the lowest range of 5 per cent. “Luxury goods, sin products and products hazardous to environment and health cant be taxed at the same rate as aam admi (common man) product. So, wheat, rice, sugar cant be taxed at the rate as Mercedes car or yacht or tobacco,” he said. Without taking any names, he said those who speak of single rate have “no elementary understanding” of GST.He, however, said there is a scope for rationalisation of rate.”In 4 months we have rationalised the 28 per cent slab. Such rationalisation (will happen in future) depending on revenue buoyancy will take place,” he said. He went on to reel out the benefits of GST saying there is a single rate for products across the country, all inter- state barriers have gone and inspectors have disappeared. “You only have to address software (issue with filing of tax return). I think there is already a net advantage in medium and long term, smooth and a larger market and revenue buoyancy,” he said.Jaitley said the government expects all the tax rate benefit to be passed on to consumers, helping bring down inflation. “This is the advantage of an efficient tax system.” “Rationalisation process in the transition will always continue. So, wherever there is scope for improvement and procedural simplification will always continue,” he said. As the transition from over a dozen central and state levies to a single GST, the Council has been very pragmatic and flexible. “It has not been rigid. We react to market realities,” he added. On the decision of lowering tax on food bill in restaurants to 5 per cent from 18 per cent previously, the finance minister said the Council has taken a tough decision to deny the restaurant owners the right to set off tax paid on inputs from the tax on products as they had “unfairly” “pocketed” tax credit and did not pass on the credit to consumers.After the November 10 decision of the GST Council, Gandhi said the Congress will continue to fight for a lower 18 per cent tax for all products. “India need a simple GST, not a Gabbar Singh Tax. People of India and the Congress fought to bring down the rates of many items under the 28 per cent slab. Our struggle will continue to have a single rate and an 18 per cent cap. If the BJP doesn’t do it, Congress will show how to do it,” he tweeted on November 11.Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, “Ministry of Finance must be complimented for ‘improving’ macro-economic situation in 4 months and 10 days! This is the time taken for common sense to germinate, flower and ripen into a fruit”. He said on November 10 that “Gujarat elections did what Parliament and common sense could not do”. Jaitley said the Council has simplified the return filing process till March because GST is in its early days and it was important to get people into the habit of filing regular returns. Last week the Council decided to simplify return filing till March 31, 2018, to bring down compliance burden. When asked about anti-GST sentiment, Jaitley said “there is an initial reluctance whenever there is a change. But, I have no doubt that in medium and long term businesses will realise that this is a change for better

You looked away when organised plunder was happening: Nirmala Sitharaman attacks Manmohan Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nirmala Sitharaman joined the bandwagon of top BJP leaders who have led a blistering attack against former PM Manmohan Singh for criticising GST and demonetization. It was the time of Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday, who had attacked Manmohan Singh for staying silent during the scam ridden UPA years. Expressing anguish over Singh dubbing demonetisation as an “organised loot and legalised plunder”, Sitharaman on demonetization anniversary deplored usage of such “strong words” by him against the move, which was aimed at strengthening the economy and held no personal gain for anyone. “Actually organised plunder and legalised loot kept happening when he was the Prime Minister,” she told reporters at Tamil Nadu BJP party headquarters ‘Kamalalayam’ here.Referring to scams, including the 2G spectrum and the cases related to it in courts, she said though these happened during Manmohan Singh’s regime, “he did not talk about it and …(it appeared) as if he looked elsewhere”.
ALSO READ From monumental blunder to 2G, CWG loot: Manmohan Singh and Arun Jaitley spar over state of economy She said “he (Singh) was only a tool (nimitha matra) and somebody was directing him from behind.” “I have nothing but anguish, it is very anguishing…. I am unable to describe him by using strong words that he used (to comment on note ban),” the minister, who was here to take part in Tamil Nadu BJP’s anti-black money day events, said. She said Singh had not even constituted a Special Investigation Team to probe black money as directed by the Supreme Court.The BJP government’s first step was to constitute the SIT after assuming power at the centre, she said. “Where is legalised plunder happening? Dr Manmohan Singh, I am very disappointed,” she said. The Defence Minister said the government has been very transparent and has also explained why demonetisation was done. On Congress asking if demonetisation was a success, she said, “All the money that was deposited (in banks following note ban) was not white money.”
ALSO READ Manmohan Singh, like Rahul, reading scripts written by someone else: RS PrasadAbout Rs 2,000 crore were deposited even in accounts that had a negative balance and such cash was withdrawn too and action was taken in this regard to battle black money, she claimed. Sitharaman claimed that note ban resulted in stone- pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir coming down to 600 last year from more than 4,000 before demonetisation. Bereft of black money, terror elements were trying to rob banks in Jammu and Kashmir to get cash, she said.With agency inputs

Modi has damaged India, anger might have brought him to power but it will never create jobs: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the first-anniversary of demonetization, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi strongly criticised Prime-Minister Narendra Modi saying, anger might have brought him to power but it will never create jobs.”Demonetisation is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians, whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act,” said Rahul Gandhi in a tweet.Hitting-out at Modi, in an article written in Financial Times, Rahul said that twelve months after note-ban, the only thing Narendra Modi has wiped out is confidence in our once-booming economy.Stating that Modi has damaged India by converting anger created by joblessness and lack of economic opportunity into communal hatred, Rahul said, “He (Modi) has chosen to hide behind a shallow, hate-filled political narrative. Anger might have brought Mr Modi to power but it will never create jobs or fix India’s institutions.” ALSO READ Demonetization Anniversary: In seven minutes long video, PM Modi highlighting benefits of note-banThe rise of democratically elected autocrats, such as Modi, is driven by two factors: a massive increase in connectivity and its profound impact on institutions; and, second, China’s dominance of the global job market, he added.The Congress leader also took on the government over Goods and Service Tax (GST) saying, a hastily imposed and poorly conceptualised goods and services tax dealt another blow to our economy.”Bureaucratic and complex, it has devastated livelihoods, creating a modern-day ‘Licence Raj’ that imposes rigid controls and gives vast powers to government officials,” Rahul wrote in the article.The Congress and other Opposition parties have also planned countrywide protests in the form of processions, rallies, and candle-light marches to mark the first demonetization anniversary on Wednesday, as their leaders would observe it as ‘black day’The Congress, which described the note ban decision as the ‘biggest scam’ and ‘the largest government-abetted money laundering scheme’, has asked all its state units to organise protests, processions and marches to mark the day.It has also asked all its leaders to participate in such protests and ‘strongly’ highlight the demerits of the decision, which it said is a ‘colossal and completely avoidable failure’. ALSO READ Demonetization: Antidote to corruption, benefits are clearer than ever, writes Ravi Shankar PrasadThe Congress, on its website, also put out an article on demonetization, dubbing it as a “Modi-Made Disaster”.”Even the undeclared emergency in India’s newsrooms have failed to contain the news spreading like wildfire through India. Demonetisation was a colossal and completely avoidable failure and the largest government-abetted money laundering scheme in history,” the article said.It further alleged that demonetization failed to curb black money as 99% of banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were returned. This was expected as black money is not usually stored in currency, but property, bullion and more easily convertible currency like dollars.Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley contested Congress leader Manmohan Singh for calling demonetization an ‘organized loot’, insisting the exercise was an ‘ethical drive and a moral step’ that made corruption difficult.The loot is what happened in 2G scam, Commonwealth games and allocation of coal blocks, whereas demonetization was an economic exercise based on ethical and moral rationales, Jaitley told reporters here.”An anti-black money drive is (an) ethical drive, a moral step. And what is morally and ethically correct has to be politically correct,” the minister said, targeting the former prime minister. ALSO READ Demonetization Debate: Monumental disaster led to job losses, fall in growth, writes Randeep Singh Surjewala

Demonetization Anniversary: Rahul Gandhi attacks Modi, says PM’s ‘thoughtless act’ destroyed livelihoods of honest Indians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On demonetization’s first-anniversary, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi hit-out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, livelihoods of millions of Indians were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act.”Demonetisation is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians, whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed by PM’s thoughtless act,” said Rahul Gandhi in a tweet.The Congress and other Opposition parties have also planned countrywide protests in the form of processions, rallies, and candle-light marches to mark the first demonetization anniversary on Wednesday, as their leaders would observe it as ‘black day’The Congress, which described the note ban decision as the ‘biggest scam’ and ‘the largest government-abetted money laundering scheme’, has asked all its state units to organise protests, processions and marches to mark the day.It has also asked all its leaders to participate in such protests and ‘strongly’ highlight the demerits of the decision, which it said is a ‘colossal and completely avoidable failure’.The Congress, on its website, also put out an article on demonetization, dubbing it as a “Modi-Made Disaster”.”Even the undeclared emergency in India’s newsrooms have failed to contain the news spreading like wildfire through India. Demonetisation was a colossal and completely avoidable failure and the largest government-abetted money laundering scheme in history,” the article said.It further alleged that demonetization failed to curb black money as 99% of banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were returned. This was expected as black money is not usually stored in currency, but property, bullion and more easily convertible currency like dollars.Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley contested Congress leader Manmohan Singh for calling demonetization an ‘organized loot’, insisting the exercise was an ‘ethical drive and a moral step’ that made corruption difficult.The loot is what happened in 2G scam, Commonwealth games and allocation of coal blocks, whereas demonetization was an economic exercise based on ethical and moral rationales, Jaitley told reporters here.”An anti-black money drive is (an) ethical drive, a moral step. And what is moraly and ethically correct has to be politically correct,” the minister said, targeting the former prime minister.

Arun Jaitley’s lawsuit based on hearsay, says Delhi High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today told the Delhi High Court that Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s second defamation suit against him over the usage of ‘scandalous’ words by his former counsel was based on hearsay and thus was inadmissible as evidence for fresh action.Jaitley’s counsel, however, termed as “belated” the chief minister’s denial that he had not instructed his former lawyer Ram Jethmalani to use defamatory words against the BJP leader.The submissions were made by Kejriwal in the court of Justice Manmohan who is hearing his separate application which sought Jaitley’s response to his defamation suit of Rs 10 crore to be struck down after the latter’s counsel confirmed that the words against the union minister were used following instructions.Appearing for Kejriwal, senior counsel Anoop George Chaudhari and advocate Anupam Srivastava, told the court that the “averments in the plaint (filed by Jaitley) in regards to the use of defamatory words…said to be uttered, as stated by the senior counsel for the defendant (Kejriwal), are nothing but hearsay.”Senior counsel Rajiv Nayar and advocate Manik Dogra, appearing for the union minister, contended that the Aam Aadmi Party leader has neither substantiated his claim that he did not instruct his former lawyer to use such words, nor did he initiate any action against Jethmalani for using scandalous words without his permission.The CM said that the objectionable words were used by Jethamalani and he was not present in the court on the date of the incident. The court has fixed the application for further hearing on December 14 after the counsel for Jaitley said he does not wish to file a reply to it.Jethmalani, who in September announced his retirement from over seven-decade-long career as an advocate, had used the words while cross-examining the Union Minister in a separate Rs 10 crore defamation case filed by the BJP leader against the AAP convenor and five others of the party in 2015.THE PLEAIn Jaitley’s counsel, however, termed as “belated” the chief minister’s denial that he had not instructed his former lawyer Ram Jethmalani to use defamatory words against the BJP leader. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the objectionable words were used by Jethamalani and he was not present in the court on the date of the incident.

DeMo turns 1: Loot was during UPA, noteban right step – FM Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reacted sharply to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s criticism of demonetization and called the government move a watershed moment. Jaitley said demonetization was “an ethical drive and a moral step” that made corruption difficult in the country, besides increasing formal economy and widening the tax net.”The loot is what happened in 2G scam, commonwealth games and allocation of coal blocks, whereas demonetization was an anti-black money drive — an ethical drive and a moral step. And what is morally and ethically correct has to be politically correct,” said Jaitley.He said while the 10 years of the UPA government were characterised by policy paralysis, the Modi government introduced structural reforms to make India a developed nation and give it a cleaner economy.Jaitley said the BJP believes that status quo in economy needed to be shaken up to end corruption.Elaborating on the benefits of demonetization, the minister said it was aimed at making India a more formal economy with a broader tax base and less cash in the system.”Less cash in the system may not end corruption but makes corruption difficult,” said Jaitley stressing that terror funding got squeezed post-demonetization.He said, with a shift to less-cash economy, India has taken a big leap in digital payments during 2016-17 as the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) handled 160 crore transactions valued at Rs120 lakh crore, up from around 130 crore transactions for Rs 83 lakh crore in the previous year.”Based on big data analytics, cash seizure by the I-T Department has more than doubled in 2016-17 when compared to the previous year. During search and seizure by the Department, Rs 15,497 crore of undisclosed income has been admitted which is 38% higher than the undisclosed amount admitted during 2015-16,” said Jaitley.The Finance Minister further said that the exercise to remove the anonymity with currency has further yielded results in the form of 56 lakh new individual tax payers filing their returns till August 5, 2017 which was the last date for filing returns for this category whereas last year this number was about 22 lakh.

Kejriwal denies asking Jethmalani to use scandalous words to describe Jaitley, calls it hearsay

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today told the Delhi High Court that Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s second defamation suit against him over the usage of ‘scandalous’ words by his former counsel was based on hearsay and thus was inadmissible as evidence for fresh action.Jaitley’s counsel, however, termed as “belated” the chief minister’s denial that he had not instructed his former lawyer Ram Jethmalani to use defamatory words against the BJP leader.Kejriwal made the submission before Justice Manmohan, who is also hearing his separate application urging the court to strike down Jaitley’s response to his defamation suit of Rs 10 crore after the latter’s counsel confirmed that the words against the union minister were used following instructions.
ALSO READ Jaitley defamation case: Delhi HC rejects Arvind Kejriwal’s plea for summoning witnesses, documents of DDCAThe court reserved its order on this application.
ALSO READ Foes turned friends? P Chidambaram to argue Arvind Kejriwal govt’s case against Centre Kejriwal’s lawyer, senior counsel Anoop George Chaudhari and advocate Anupam Srivastava, told the court that the “averments in the plaint (filed by Jaitley) in regards to the use of defamatory words…Said to be uttered, as stated by the senior counsel for the defendant (Kejriwal), are nothing but hearsay.”Under the Indian Evidence Act hearsay evidence is inadmissible, therefore the plaint is liable be rejected as entirely based upon inadmissible hearsay evidence, as disclosed in the plaint,” he added.Senior counsel Rajiv Nayar and advocate Manik Dogra, appearing for the union minister, contended that the Aam Aadmi Party leader has neither substantiated his claim that he did not instruct his former lawyer to use such words, nor did he initiate any action against Jethmalani for using scandalous words without his permission.Kejriwal also said the objectionable words were used by Jethmalani on his own.The chief minister in his application also said that he was not present in the court on the said date of hearing.”Thus in regard to the use of words… No cause of action arises and thus no cause of action has been disclosed,” the application said.The court has fixed the application for further hearing on December 14 after the counsel for Jaitley said he does not wish to file a reply to it.Jethmalani, who in September announced his retirement from over seven-decade long career as an advocate, had used the words while cross-examining the Union Minister in a separate Rs 10 crore defamation case filed by the BJP leader against the AAP convenor and five others of the party in 2015.The AAP leaders in December 2015 had levelled charges of corruption against Jaitley in connection with alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).Jaitley has denied all the allegations and also claimed that these had harmed his reputation.In response to Kejriwal’s denial, the BJP leader had termed as an “afterthought” and “a belated attempt” the July 20 letter written by Kejriwal to Jethmalani stating that he had not instructed him to use defamatory words against Jaitley.With regard to Kejriwal’s claim that the “statements made during judicial proceedings are even otherwise protected by absolute privilege”, Jaitley has said no such privilege can be claimed by a person who instructed his lawyer to insult or use defamatory language against a witness.Jaitley has claimed he is entitled to the relief sought by him and the suit be decreed in his favour.

Cash has its own cost, India moving towards digital transactions: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the first anniversary of demonetisation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today that excessive cash in the economy has “its own cost” and India is gradually moving towards digital transactions.Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 last year the scrapping of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as part of the government’s efforts to fight black money and corruption.Following that, the Centre has been pushing for digital payments and transactions through the banking channel so as to promote a ‘less-cash’ economy.Jaitley said some people have problem in accepting the fact that transactions through the digital mode and banking instruments are going to witness a rapid growth as compared to cash dealings.At the inauguration of the new building of Punjab National Bank (PNB) head office here, Jaitley said: “Excessive dependence on cash has its own cost.”It is not just cost but there is a curse of cash. It has impact on both society and economy.”He said there is a clear change taking place as to how India and Indians are spending money and the change is only in one direction.It will not happen abruptly but the movement towards a less-cash economy is very clear, he said, adding that it will lead to more deposits with banks, increasing their lending ability at affordable rates.Banking is the life line of the economy and it will gain further importance in the coming days, he said.A healthy banking system will help support growth of the economy, he added.Jaitley also launched two products of the PNB — Rupay Credit Card and e-Rupaya.Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla asked banks to focus on rural India and work towards improving customer experience.He also said that managements of banks should focus on welfare of their employees.

Will take more meaures to ease problems faced by small businesses due to GST: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Promising more measures to ease problems faced by small businesses due to GST, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a committee of state ministers has accepted most of the suggestions made by them and an announcement is likely in the GST Council meet next week.The GST Council had announced several measures to ease problems faced by businesses last month.The next meeting of the Council headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state finance ministers is scheduled to meet on November 9 and 10 in Guwahati.Speaking at an event to mark massive jump by India in World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking, Modi said the GST Council had set up panels of state ministers and officials as some of the states had expressed reservation on certain issues.Modi said a group of state ministers was constituted to look into the issues raised by businesses and small traders, and they have “positively accepted” most of the suggestions.The recommendations of the panel will be accepted at the next meeting of the GST Council on November 9 and 10 if no state raises objections.Referring to the the World Bank’s ranking, the Prime Minister said the latest report did not take into account implementation of GST.”As you all know, GST is the biggest tax reform in the Indian economy. And it impacts many aspects of doing business.With GST, we are moving towards a modern tax regime, which is transparent, stable and predictable,” he said.There are many other reforms which have already happened, but need gestation and stabilisation time, before they are taken into account by the World Bank, he said.”There are a few other reforms where our team and the World Bank team need to find common ground. All this, combined with our conviction to do even better, gives me the confidence that India will occupy a place of pride in the World Bank report next year and in the years thereafter.Modi said efforts are on to create a NEW INDIA, where opportunities are created and harnessed to the advantage of the needy.

Arun Jaitley, Rahul Gandhi spar over ‘ease of doing business’ rankings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a World Bank report on ‘ease of doing business’ showed India’s leap from the 130th spot last year to 100 in 2017, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley engaged in a slugfest on Wednesday.Rahul said, “The entire country will shout to say that there is no ease of doing business in India.” Hitting back Jaitley said the United Progressive Alliance’s “ease of doing corruption” has been replaced by National Democratic Alliance’s “ease of doing business”.Resuming his campaign from Jambusar town of Bharuch district in Gujarat, Rahul said demonetization and GST have ruined ease of doing business. “Yesterday Arun Jaitley ji said some foreign organisation has certified that India has considerably improved in ease of doing business. He sits in his office and believes what foreigners say,” said the Congress leader. He asked Jaitley to meet small and mid-sized businessmen for 5-10 minutes and ask if ease of doing business has really improved. “The entire country will shout and say ease of doing business is absent, you have destroyed it, your demonetization and GST have ruined it,” Rahul said.Earlier in the day, Rahul with his new and humorous avatar on social media put out a tweet in Hindi, taking off from a famous Ghalib verse to say that Jaitley was deluding himself.”Sabko maloom hai ‘ease of doing business’ ki haqeeqat, lekin khud ko khush rakhne ke liye ‘Dr Jaitley’ ye khayal achha hai (everybody knows the reality of ease of doing business, but this thought is good Dr Jaitley to keep yourself happy).”Jaitley had earlier said, “Historically India has been in the rage of 130-140. In the last two years, we made it to 131, 130. This year, we have jumped 30 points to 100. This is the highest jump any country has made in World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings.””In 2014, we were 142nd and then in the last two years, we improved to 131st and 130th. These are not generalised rankings. It happened in specific areas and they take tough parameters for that ranking,” he had said.Commenting on the India’s performance in ease of doing business, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “The Government has undertaken an extensive exercise of stakeholder consultations, identification of user needs, government processes re-engineering to match government rules and procedures with user expectations and streamline them to create a more conducive business environment.”The Congress also questioned the World Bank report, saying countries were now hiring consultants to raise their rankings and numbers which are vulnerable to political manipulation and marketing.”In 2012, President Vladimir Putin set a goal of raising Russia’s rank for ‘ease of doing business’ from 120 to top 20 within six years, and he soon saw results. By 2015, Russia was ranked at 51, more than thirty places ahead of China, and sixty places ahead of Brazil and India,” said party spokesperson Rajeev Shukla.

Note ban, GST ruined ease of doing business in India; Arun Jaitley, PM Modi have failed: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today dismissed a World Bank report on India’s improved ‘ease of doing business’ ranking, saying the country does not require a certificate from a “foreign institution”.On the first day of his three-day campaign tour of south Gujarat, Gandhi stepped up his attack on the Centre and the state’s BJP government targeting them over a host of issues, including the GST, caste politics, alleged favouritism shown to corporate entities, and the Vibrant Gujarat summits.Targeting the Union Finance Minister, a day after the World Bank report came out, he said, “Yesterday Arun Jaitley- ji said some foreign institution has certified that India has considerably improved in the ease of doing business.” The finance minister should meet small and mid-sized businessmen for 5-10 minutes and ask them if the situation has really improved, Gandhi said.”The entire country will shout and say that ease of doing business is absent, you have destroyed it, your demonetisation and GST have ruined it,” Gandhi said.”The country does not require a certificate from a foreign institution. People of the country know that Arun Jaitley ji and Narendra Modi ji have failed,” Gandhi told reporters.Replying to a question on Jaitley’s tweet the UPA’s “ease of doing corruption” has been replaced by NDA’s “ease of doing business”, apparently to hit back at Gandhi, the Congress leader said, “See brother, you know the name of Jay Amit Shah. They will not speak about him.” Jay is BJP chief Amit Shah’s son. News portal ‘The Wire’ recently wrote an article claiming the turnover of a company linked to him grew exponentially after the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014. Jay has filed a criminal defamation case against the portal.Gandhi, using a famous Mirza Ghalib couplet, said Jaitley was deluding himself.”Sabko maloom hai ‘ease of doing business’ ki haqeeqat, lekin khud ko khush rakhne ke liye ‘Dr Jaitley’ ye khayal achha hai (everybody knows the reality of ease of doing business, but this thought, Dr Jaitley, is good to keep yourself happy),” he tweeted earlier in the day.According to the World Bank, India’s rank on the ‘ease of doing business’ index has risen from 130 to 100 this year, helped by a slew of reforms in taxation, licensing, investor protection and bankruptcy resolution.Gandhi, while addressing a series of public meetings, spoke about black money, claiming Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to understand that a major chunk of tainted money was in the form of gold, land or parked in Swiss banks.”On November 8 last year, Modi ji banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Small traders, shop keepers and farmers, they all deal in cash. They are not thieves. Their cash was not black money. But Modi ji failed to understand that all the cash is not black money and all the black money is not in cash.”They (BJP) talked a lot about Swiss bank accounts.Now they are in power for the last three years. You tell me, how many Swiss bank account holders are in jail? Give me the name of one person Modi ji has sent to jail,” he said.Demonetisation, Gandhi said, had hit small traders, workers, farmers and small businesses as they deal in cash.”This decision destroyed our economy. Note ban reduced our GDP by 2 per cent,” he said.He also attacked Modi over the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), reiterating that he calls it “Gabbar Singh Tax” because it snatched away the hard earned money of poor citizens.Addressing a cheering crowd, the Congress vice president said Gujarat was the only state where no community was happy, and named OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani.Thakor, who recently joined the Congress, shared the dais with Gandhi.”Not a single community in Gujarat is happy. Be it Alpesh, Hardik or Jignesh, all sections of the society are angry. The only ones who are not complaining are five or ten influential industrialists… They are the only ones who are supporting Modi ji and the BJP,” Gandhi said.The money spent on giving loan to Tata Motors for Nano plant was enough to waive the loans of state’s farmers, he claimed.”The farmers in Gujarat are crying for help, as they want farm loan waiver. Modi ji (as then Gujarat CM) gave loans of Rs 33,000 crore for Tata Nano. He even gave your land to the company. I want to tell you that the government could have waived all your farm loans with that Rs 33,000 crore,” the Congress vice president said.”Though Modi ji gave that much money to the company, you will hardly see any Nano car on roads. This is Modi ji’s Gujarat model, where you do not get anything back despite giving so much money to corporates.”He also attacked Modi over employment generation.”While China provides employment to 50,000 youth every day, India provides jobs to just 450 people per day under Modi ji’s ‘Make in India’ drive,” he said.Later, hitting back at the Congress vice president, BJP in-charge for Gujarat Bhupender Yadav said speaking truth is not in the nature of Congress leaders.”While addressing rallies in Himachal Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi gives figures of Gujarat. But he does not give those figures when he speaks here. Instead, he gives figures of China when he visits Gujarat,” Yadav told press conference.

Jaitley defamation case: Delhi HC rejects Arvind Kejriwal’s plea for summoning witnesses, documents of DDCA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea for summoning witnesses, documents of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) in a defamation case by Arun Jaitley.On May 22, Jaitley had filed a fresh defamation suit of Rs 10 crore against Arvind Kejriwal over the use of an ‘objectionable’ word by Delhi Chief Minister’s lawyer Ram Jethmalani in the court.Jaitley, 64, has filed a civil defamation against Kejriwal and five AAP leaders — Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai — for accusing him of financial irregularities in the DDCA of which he was the President from 1999 to 2013.The allegations were denied by the union minister.Jaitley, who denied all the allegations levelled by the AAP leaders in December 2015, had claimed that they made ‘false and defamatory’ statements in the case involving the DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.In September, the court also imposes Rs 5,000 cost on Arvind Kejriwal for delay in filing reply.The court had on August 25 rapped the Delhi Chief Minister for questioning a single judge’s decision to expedite the hearing of a defamation suit filed by Jaitley.It had said that the court had to answer the apex court on delay in trials.The AAP leaders had allegedly attacked Jaitley and his family members in various fora including social media over the alleged irregularities and financial bungling in the DDCA.

Himachal Assembly Elections: Congress has turned ‘dev bhoomi’ into ‘apraadh bhoomi’, says Yogi Adityanath

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has slammed the Virbhadra government in Himachal Pradesh, accusing it of turning “dev bhoomi” into “apraadh bhoomi”. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been constantly targetting Congress government in the state for “indulging in corruption and crime”. Unveiling the vision document of the BJP on Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the present government’s lack of integrity has left the people of Himachal Pradesh hopeless. A ‘hoshiyar helpline’ to curb corruption and cartels in the state, a 24/7 helpline women’s security, a force of ex-servicemen to rein in the drug mafia, and inclusion of temples in the state’s religious tourism circuit are some of the key promises the BJP has made has made to the voters in Himachal Pradesh ahead of the Assembly elections.Canvassing for BJP candidates at Arki and Haroli on Sunday, Yogi Adityanath charged that only crime and corruption has increased under Congress rule in Himachal and urged the people of Himachal Pradesh to vote for the BJP.”The Congress has turned the “dev bhoomi” (land of Gods) into “apraadh bhoomi” (land of crime). It has sullied the name of the state, which is now known for wine forests and mining mafia, and illegal activities,” he charged.The drug mafia is in its prime in the state but the government has been keeping mum, Adityanath charged.People showed the door to the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and several other states and now it is the turn of Himachal Pradesh, he said.The state will go to polls on November 9. (With ANI inputs)

Himachal Pradesh: BJP releases party vision document for the next five years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday released the BJP’s vision document ahead of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, which will be held on November 9.Himachal Pradesh will be the second state, after Goa, with 100% VVPAT (paper trail of votes) coverage. The paper trail machines will be deployed along with EVMs in all the 7,521 polling stations, including 42 auxiliary polling stations at remote locations.Results for the elections will be declared on December 18 – the same day Gujarat election results would also be declared.

‘Jammu & Kashmir integral part of India’: Congress distances itself from P Chidambaram’s remark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After P Chidambaram pitched for greater autonomy for the restive Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress party sought to distance itself from the remarks of senior party leader.Reacting to Chidambaram’s comment, Congress said that the ‘opinion of an individual is not necessarily the opinion of the party’.Chidambaram pitched for greater autonomy for the restive valley, drawing stinging criticism from the BJP, with Union minister Smriti Irani calling it ‘shocking and shameful’.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also slammed Chidambaram, saying Congress’ position over the issue goes directly contrary to India’s national interest.”The position that the Congress party has taken goes directly contrary to India’s national interest. It was the flawed policy of the Congress party right since 1947 which is responsible for the Kashmir problem. Historically Kashmir problem is a Congress party legacy. Instead of learning from its past mistake the Congress wants to precipitate a crisis further for this country,” Jaitley told ANI. ALSO READ Time for Azadi from Congress: Piyush Goyal hits out at Chidambaram’s ‘autonomy for Kashmir’ commentHowever, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters, “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so unquestionably.”The opinion of an individual is not necessarily the opinion of the Indian National Congress. In our democracy, individuals are entitled to their opinion,” Surjewala said when asked about Chidambaram’s remarks.He said the party had constituted a policy-planning group under the chairmanship of former prime minister Manmohan Singh to carry forward the peace initiative in the state.The group will visit Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Kargil and Ladakh regions, between November 10 and 12.Once the group concludes its deliberations, it will submit a report and share feedback and experience with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he said. ALSO READ P Chidambaram’s statement on Kashmir reflection of Congress mentality to divide India: Smriti IraniThe Congress spokesperson hit out at the governments at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir over their handling of the situation in the state and asked the ruling parties “to introspect” on the issue.He recalled “how terrorist Masood Azhar was released and taken to Kandahar” in Afghanistan after an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.Whereas 10 years of the Congress-led UPA government proved to be a watershed in restoring normalcy, promoting economic activity, tourism and infrastructural development, engaging with the people within the framework of the Constitution and fighting terrorism and militancy decisively, he said.Surjewala also asked the BJP government to list the steps it has taken to restore normalcy and peace in the state and its roadmap to ensure development there.(With PTI Inputs)

Defamation case: AAP leader’s plea dismissed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party leader Deepak Bajpai. The petition had challenged the summoning and framing of notice in a criminal defamation case filed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley against Bajpai and other AAP leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.Justice I S Mehta observed that Bajpai had failed to give a valid explanation of the delay in filing the revision petition and hence his plea “lacks justifiable and bonafide grounds”.Sources also said that the plea was rejected citing “misuse of process of law” and “consequently the revision petition is also dismissed”.The court’s order came on a plea which challenged the lower court’s separate orders summoning and framing notice against him for the alleged offence of defamation case filed by Jaitley in a controversy surrounding the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).Bajpai had also challenged another order by which his application seeking to be heard on the point of notice was also rejected.In an 18-page order, the court said that Bajpai had not challenged the lower court’s order initially. But later he challenged them just to avail a fresh process under the garb of his application under the Limitation Act which “factually is misuse of process of law”.”The court noted in its order that while Bajpai had received certified copies of documents in the trial court on April 25 this year, he claimed in his application for condonation of delay that he had got the copies in June.Bajpai’s contention that he was not heard by the trial court before framing of notice against him was opposed by Jaitley’s counsel who had submitted that in a summons case, there was no concept of hearing an accused at the stage of framing of notice or before that.Advocate Prashant Mendiratta, appearing for Bajpai, had said the AAP leader resides outside the jurisdiction of the trial court and cannot be summoned by it without an inquiry under the CrPC, which was not done in this case.However, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Jaitley, had said there was a gross delay in filing the petition and the application for condonation of delay does not comply with the proposition of law under the Limitation Act which says that each day’s delay must be explained.HC’s observationsThe court noted in its order that while Bajpai had received certified copies of documents in the trial court on April 25 this year, he claimed in his application for condonation of delay that he had got the copies in June.

How much does he know and when will he know: Arun Jaitley questions Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of GST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi over his “Gabbar Singh Tax” jibe, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today asked “how much does he know and when will he know”.Jaitley also asked whether the Congress vice president was satisfied with 17 taxes and 23 cesses which the Nehruvian era gave to the country and wants a system whereby there is no free flow of goods throughout the country.”If somebody chooses to call it ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, then all I can say is how much does he know and when will he know,” the finance minister told a news channel in an interview.Jaitley said when one does things, one is bound to be praised by people who appreciate it and “criticised by those who either don’t understand it or are at the receiving end of reforms”.Asked if he means that Gandhi does not understand economy, the Finance Minister said, “from the quality and the kind of statements which have come, I am sure he could have done much better”.”Today it is those frivolous tweets at 7 in the morning and politics is really around that,” he said in response to Gandhi’s tweets targeting him.Jaitley said Gandhi does understand that all Congress chief ministers are a party to each of the decisions taken at the GST Council.”Is he more satisfied with 17 taxes and 23 cesses which the Nehruvian legacy gave to the country and that is a legacy that hangs around his neck.”Does he want to go back to a system where every 20 km there is a checkpost checking goods in trucks and where free flow of goods and services are not allowed throughout the country,” he asked.Gandhi while campaigning in Gujarat had earlier this week dubbed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the “Gabbar Singh Tax” and has been mocking Jaitley with his one-liner tweets everyday.The Congress has criticised the government for introducing the GST in the present form, saying it is “unacceptable” to it and is causing hardship to small and medium businesses.Gandhi had yesterday said the GST was “flawed” and it had unleashed a “tsunami of tax terrorism”.

DDCA audit finds fraud, but whitewashes Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A forensic audit, ordered by the Delhi High Court-appointed administrator Justice (retd) Vikramjit Sen, has unearthed a Rs 14-crore fraud in the functioning of the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) between 2012 and 2015.Auditors have found double entries, fictitious payments, unauthorised loans, nepotism and favouritism — among other reasons — for the massive financial embezzlement.The report has indicted former DDCA president Sneh Bansal and former secretary Anil Khanna for purchasing match tickets with cheques from the association without the knowledge of the Executive Committee. But there is no mention of Arun Jaitley, who remained DDCA president between 1999 and 2013.This has led former India skipper Bishan Singh Bedi and 1983 World Cup winning team member Kirti Azad to call for a forensic audit of his tenure, which included the construction period of Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium between 2002 and 2008, and also when subvention money along with TV rights money of IPL were received from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), between 2008 and 2012.Jaitley had washed his hands of the issue during a probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Organisation (SFIO) by saying, “I was a mere non-executive president of DDCA and I had nothing to do with the day-to-day functioning of DDCA”.DNA, in its report on January 15, 2016, had cited minutes of various DDCA meetings which went on to show that during his tenure Jaitley not only was in control of DDCA affairs, but also attended the meetings held at various venues, including his office premises at Udyog Bhawan (during his tenure as Minister of Commerce & Industry and Law & Justice in the NDA government).”Public should know how its money is being spent so lavishly on building a lousy stadium in the Indian capital,” said Azad.”Kotla stadium was started with an estimate of Rs 24 crore which first went up to Rs 57 crore before finishing at Rs 141 crore or even more,” Azad added.The BCCI has not been releasing DDCA’s share of subvention money, Rs 100 crore approximately, for the last three years amid complaints by Delhi cricketers’ body. The reason given for this was that DDCA had not been filing its balance sheets with the Registrar of Companies.”We are waiting for the CBI or Delhi Police to act on our complaints. Hopefully, this forensic report will nail these officials who have ripped DDCA apart. It hurts to see talented boys sweating it out in the heat and cold, whereas the administrators are busy lining their pockets,” said Azad.Audit FindingsThe forensic audit report found that at DDCA’s expense, officials purchased tickets worth Rs 2.3 crores, of Rs 130 each. Out of this, Rs 75 lakh of IPL tickets were shown to be issued to government officials and DDCA Executive Committee members and tickets of Rs 1.01 crore during an India vs West Indies ODI. Another instance shows how, between April 30 and June 8, 2012, a sum of Rs 44 lakh was withdrawn and used for purchase of IPL tickets despite the fact that DDCA receives complimentary tickets from ticket vendors such as GMR.

GST unleashed a tsunami of tax terrorism: Top quotes from Rahul Gandhi’s speech at PHD Chamber of Commerce

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing the annual general meeting of the Punjab-Haryana-Delhi Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi, Rahul Gandhi attacked PM Modi and the Centre over a host of issues including GST and demonetization. He said that PM Modi had a very big chest but a small heart and that not all ‘cash was black’ but the PM failed to grasp that.Here are his top quotes from the event:1) Business are drowning, but Mr. Jaitley has the nerve to go on TV every other day saying things are just fine.2) Business runs on a psyche of trust. Trust in this govt is dead. PM and govt are convinced every single person is a thief.3) GST as this Govt has formulated it, has already unleashed a tsunami of tax terrorism and it is only going to get worse.4) Modi ji and his Govt have fired a double tap at the heart of our economy – notebandi and then GST – has crippled our economy.5) In a couple of weeks from now, we’ll observe the death anniversary of Rs 500 & Rs 1000 notes; Nov 8 is the Barsi of Notebandi.6) All cash is not black, all black is not cash. PM unleashed his powers from his very big chest & very small heart.7) Globally India is being asked again and again if it still believes in its values of compassion and non-violence.8) People once looked up to us for our values and leadership, today they laugh as we’re busy debating whether Taj Mahal was actually built by Indians.9) Marriage will happen, when it is bound to happen. I believe in destiny.10) I am admitting that there were shortcomings in our Govt towards its closing days.

Anti-black money day: 5 damning statements Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made against Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If Opposition planned to stump Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by celebrating “black day” on November 8, it appears Narendra Modi government is ready with counter-offensive in the form of “anti-black money day”. “November 8 will complete one year of demonetisation. The party has decided to celebrate the day as anti-black money day,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, while addressing the media on Wednesday. Finance Minister launched a no holds barred attack on Congress.Here are some of the barbed statements finance minister made against Congress:* Congress had adequate opportunity to be in power, and I can’t recollect a single significant step that they ever took against black money.* Congress had reconciled to India living with a shadow economy. It is understandable this would never be on political agenda of Cong leadership. I understand their discomfort when steps are being taken against black-money. * Weighing in on the bank recapitalisation decision, Arun Jaitley said that bank’s accounts were completely destroyed between 2008 and 2012 (during UPA II second rule), and later attempts were made to fool the world. * While responding to the delay in announcing Gujarat Assembly Elections dates and allegations levelled by the Congress party, Arun Jaitley said: Election commission can’t be browbeaten by a disgruntled political party. * Those who destroyed the nation are now preaching BJP.Finance minister said that till November 8, BJP leaders will carry out campaigns across the nation and highlight the steps taken by the government against black money. The Opposition parties had earlier decided to observe November 8 – the first anniversary of demonetisation – as ”black day”. The leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told the media here, “Possibly, this is the first time that a decision announced by the Prime Minister had to be changed 135 times. It just shows how ill-conceived it was.”Azad was speaking in the presence of Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav and Trinamool Congress leader Derek O. Brien, besides others. He claimed that 18 parties would be protesting in their own respective ways in all states. O’Brien described demonetisation as a “big scam” and added that TMC leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was the first leader to point this out.On Monday, the opposition formed a coordination committee and met for the first time in parliament. The meeting was attended by Azad, O Brien, Yadav, CPI MP D. Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and BSP MP Satish Mishra.On November 8, 2016, the Centre announced to demonetise 500- and 1000-rupee banknotes.The government also introduced new Rs.200, Rs. 500 and Rs. 2000 notes. The government had then said that the action would curtail the shadow economy and crack down on the use of illicit and counterfeit cash to fund illegal activity and terrorism.(With ANI inputs)

Govt unveils Rs 9 lakh cr package to boost growth, Cong calls it ‘shoddy attempt’ to defend ‘decimation of economy’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying “Modinomics” has destroyed India’s growth story.The main opposition party also termed as a “shoddy attempt” by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to defend the “decimation” of the economy after he reeled out economic indicators to support the government’s contention that GDP growth slowdown has bottomed out and economy is turning around.”‘Modinomics’ has destroyed India’s growth story. A shoddy attempt of a desperate finance minister Arun Jaitley to defend the decimation of economy has failed to impress either the Indian industry or common people. The growth as projected by the government is only on paper,” Congress’ communications department incharge Randeep Surjewala said.
ALSO READ Those used to 2G, coal scam will have trouble with genuine taxes: Jaitley on Rahul’s Gabbar remarkSurjewala said decisions like noteban and “poor” implementation of GST hurt the core of macro and micro economic fundamentals, and expressed concern over growing NPAs of public sector banks. The bank recapitalisation plan announced by the finance minister neither has a roadmap nor a timeframe, he said, asking the government to do a reality check and share a targeted framework of bank recapitalisation rather than engage in “hyperbole and high-sounding syllables”.On Jaitley’s claim that the macro economic fundamentals of economy are very strong, he said, “On the contrary, mindless and unsound decisions like demonetisation and the poor implementation of GST has hurt the core of the fundamentals of macro and micro economic fundamentals.” The Congress leader alleged common people were being made to suffer, jobs were in peril, and medium and small industries in dire straits, as economy stuttered due to demonetisation and GST roll out. “Time has come to travel from empty jumlas (rhetoric) to meaningful governance,” he said in a statement.
ALSO READ Government plans to revive ailing banking sector as FM Arun Jaitley announces Rs 2.11 lakh crore bank recapitalisation planCongress spokesperson Sushmita Dev said if the prime minister or the finance minister were claiming “all is well”, they should go to Gujarat and listen to what the people were saying. “Today, if the economy is turning around, then why is there ‘no feel good factor among the people. I will tell the prime minister and the finance minister that all is not well,” she said. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said on Twitter, “If Economy was a wish-horse Arun Jaitley could have ridden it. Fact- in 41 months he created a new bumper sticker ‘Hey honey I sunk the Economy’.”Surjewala said the NPAs of public sector banks jumped from 36 per cent in March 2014 to 82 per cent in June 2017– from Rs 36,000 crore to Rs 8.35 lakh crore. Noting that the money given for recapitalisation of banks will increase the fiscal deficit, he said, “This is a desperate move by a finance minister groping in the dark as demonetization and GST failed to bring in the promised Rs 4-5 lakh crore.”Jaitley today announced a Rs 2.11 lakh crore bank recapitalisation plan to revive investment and growth.Accusing the government of waiving loans worth Rs 1,88,287 crore of wilful defaulters in the last three years, the Congress leader asked, “Is the government risking taxpayers’ money for more such loan waivers without commitment to MSME and agrarian sectors?” On Bharatmala project, he said it is completely debt driven with the burden falling on people of India. Bharatmala is an umbrella programme under which 34,800 km of highways will be constructed at a cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crore Seeking to boost note ban and GST-hit economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced a massive Rs 6.92 lakh crore infrastructure spending and another Rs 2.11 lakh crore for bank recapitalisation to revive investments as well as growth. Flanked by all his five secretaries and Chief Economic Advisor, Jaitley reeled out economic indicators to support government contention that GDP growth slowdown has bottomed out and economy is turning around.To boost job creation, the government granted enhanced access of funds for MSMEs, including by way of customising Mudra loans. A presentation was made at a briefing titled ‘The India Story: Speeding Up For Take Off!’ which highlighted that the economy grew by 7.5 per cent per annum in the three years of BJP-rule since 2014. For last three years India has been fastest growing major economy in the world, Jaitley said. “And our intention is that the high growth economy that India has become, we continue to maintain that position.”Economy slowed to 5.7 per cent in the April-June quarter of the current, the weakest pace since 2014 as demonetisation sucked out 86 per cent of the currency in circulation throwing cash-dependent businesses in disarray and the implementation of GST from July 1 hit small and medium enterprises. “There was a temporary slippage in growth in the last two quarters thanks to transitional effect of demonetisation (of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes) and GST,” an official statement issued at the briefing said.That effect, it said, is now over with all indicators – industrial production, core sector, automobile and consumer spending — pointing towards “a strong growth pick up”. “There is expectation of very good growth from second quarter of current year itself.” The Finance Minister said it is natural that when structural reforms happen there is some impact for limited time. “But medium to long term, there is huge benefit.” The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today approved a Rs 6.92 lakh crore investment in building 83,677-km of road over the next five years, which will create 14.2 crore mandays of jobs.With this, the total infrastructure spending cleared by the government touched Rs 14 lakh crore, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said.Also, a massive bank recapitalisation programme has been approved. Of the Rs 2.11 lakh crore, recapitalisation bonds will account for Rs 1.35 lakh crore and another Rs 76,000 crore will come from budgetary support and equity issuance. Jaitley said the recapitalisation of PSU banks would be followed by a series of reforms. He, however, did not elaborate. “When you give such a big push to infrastructure, it helps in job creation. And job creation is the intention to push private sector investment and MSME funding,” he said. Public sector banks, which remain the main source of funding, have seen NPAs or bad loans swell from Rs 2.78 lakh crore as of March 2015 to Rs 7.33 lakh crore in June this year, primarily because of reclassification of loan, Department of Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said.Of that, Rs 1.75 lakh crore relates to just 12 cases which have been referred to NCLT. The recapitalisation besides repairing their balance sheets would help banks meet the Basel III banking rules. “The net impact of all these is, private investment will be further strengthened. Infrastructure instantaneously creates job, lending to small and medium enterprises creates job,” Jaitley said. Macro economic fundamentals are strong, he said, adding that there was a need to increase public spending. “Infrastructure expenditure is unprecedented in the country.Efforts are on to increase public expenditure in various sectors of economy — rural roads, highways, Bharat Mala, housing, railways.” Also, the intention is to increase private investment in economy. “It was one area which had its own challenges. So far we believed that public sector banks have done indiscriminate lending at one stake. Between 2008-2014, because of indiscriminate lending, a bigger chunk is NPAs,” he said. On reforms that will follow in banking sector, he said, “I’m only indicating that more reforms will happen so as to ensure that there is no repetition of the situation that was there in 2014 where in you lend indiscriminately while hiding the real conditions of those loans. Its only after March 2015 the actual position of banks became clear.” Asked if the bank recapitalisation plan will impact fiscal deficit, he said: “It will depend on the nature of bonds and the manner in which it is dealt with.”The money which has been deposited in banks post demonetisation that is available for lending, but availability of money doesn’t ensure that it can be lent. For that capital adequacy is needed. And that capital adequacy was eroded because of excessive NPAs and because of situation of banks between 2008-2014.”Jaitley said the Cabinet decided that a “bold step” should be taken by the government to address this problem through Rs 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation. “This will be accompanied by a series of banking reforms which you will hear from us in the course of next few months.” “Of this money, part of money will come from banks raising their own capital where government equity can come down to 52 per cent,” he said. “There is another Rs 18,000 crore from budgetary resources which will be put into banks under Indradhanush. So that makes it a total of Rs 76,000 crore.”In a presentation made at the briefing, Economic Affairs Secretary S C Garg said inflation has consistently come down since 2014 and will remain below 4 per cent this fiscal. Detailing macro-economic fundamentals, he said that current account deficit will be less than 2 per cent this year and foreign exchange reserves have crossed USD 400 billion. On fiscal deficit, he said the government is committed to sticking to the target of 3.2 per cent of GDP for the current fiscal but a review would be done in December.Stating that the GDP growth slowdown has bottomed out and the economy is turning around, he said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had recently projected that the country would achieve a 8 per cent growth rate soon.

Sharad Pawar shown blag flags in Pune

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was shown black flags by BJP supporters during an event in Baramati on Friday evening. The supporters claimed that the NCP had deliberately not mentioned the names of the Chief Minister and the guardian minister of Pune in the invitation card for the event.Baramati is Pawar’s hometown and is considered as an NCP’s bastion. In the same town, Pawar had hosted senior BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Arun Jaitley. However, now he had to face the black flags.Pawar was attending an inauguration ceremony of the newly constructed vegetable market and parking facility in Baramati on Friday evening. The BJP suppporters gathered there and started protesting.According to the local police, soon after Pawar began his speech, a group of BJP supporters got up and started showing black flags. “There were around 20 to 25 protesters who were immediately evicted from the venue. They were arrested under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and later, released on bail,” said Additional Superintendent of Police Sandeep Pakhale.

Nitish Kumar supports Arun Jaitley’s proposal for bringing real estate under GST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today endorsed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks that he saw a “strong case” for bringing the real-estate sector under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).Speaking on the sidelines of his weekly public interaction programme, Kumar said Bihar was among the first states to have raised this demand at a GST Council meeting. “We have always supported the GST and other measures that targeted black money holders. In fact, Bihar was among the first states to have raised such a demand,” Kumar, flanked by deputy chief minister Sushil Modi, told reporters.Sushil Modi is a member of a technical committee on the GST.At a programme at Harvard University two days ago, Jaitley had said that real estate was one sector that has witnessed maximum tax evasion and cash generation. “The one sector in India where maximum amount of tax evasion and cash generation takes place is real estate which is still outside the GST. Some of the states have been pressing for it. I personally believe that there is a strong case to bring real estate into the GST,” Jaitley had said while delivering a lecture at the university.

Manish Sisodia urges Arun Jaitley to bring realty sector under GST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday wrote to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, demanding that the real estate sector be brought under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST).In a letter to Jaitley, Sisodia said if real estate comes under the new indirect tax regime, exorbitant hike in land prices could be checked and the flow of black money curbed.Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, said he has no hesitation in stating that “extraordinary political willpower will be required to take this step”.In the letter dated October 15, Sisodia has further stated that the move will also lead to availability of accurate record of every transaction and the input tax credit (ITC) drawn.The minister has demanded that the matter of bringing the real estate sector under the GST regime be included in the agenda for the next GST Council meeting, to be held in Guwahati on November 9.”My view is that if GST is implemented in all steps involved in development of real estate, then every recorded transaction will lead to tax input credit and exorbitant hike in land prices will be checked. The entire chain will remain intact and flow of black money in real estate could be curbed,” Sisodia stated in the letter.Since the implementation of GST in July, the Delhi Deputy CM has been demanding that the real estate sector be brought under it.Delivering a lecture on India’s tax reforms at the prestigious Harvard University in Washington, Jaitley had said that the one sector in India where maximum amount of tax evasion and cash generation takes place and which is still outside the GST was real estate.”Some of the states have been pressing for it. I personally believe that there is a strong case to bring real estate under the GST,” Jaitely added.

When you hire a rickshawala as your social media manager: Twitter full of jokes after GST handle tweets ‘No’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>GST jokes have been doing the rounds on social media ever since the government introduced the new tax regime. One of the bigger problems was people’s inability to understand the complicated rules, which led to the government setting up a Twitter handle @askGST_GoI to answer queries.However, a tweet on Saturday morning left tweeple in splits when the GST handle tweeted a simple ‘No’. Even though the tweet was deleted, eagle-eyed Twitterati noted the effect and the handle became the butt of jokes on Twitter.A little time later, the handle tweeted to no one in particular: “No, it is not permissible. Pl see Rule 117(1) of CGST Rules.”
ALSO READ Changes announced by GST Council not ‘Diwali gift’: Uddhav ThackeraySection 117(1) deals with tax carried forward. Read the complete rule here.Here’s how Twitter reacted to the ‘No’:
ALSO READ Diwali has come early for citizens due to GST Council’s decisions: PM Narendra ModiBuckling under pressure, just three months after the rollout, the GST Council last evening made sweeping changes to give relief to small and medium businesses on filing and payment of taxes, eased rules for exporters and cut tax rates on as many as 27 items.Businesses with annual turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore, which constitute 90 per cent of the taxpayer base but pay only 5-6 per cent of total tax, have been allowed to file quarterly income returns and pay tax instead of the current provision of monthly filings.Also, the turnover threshold for businesses to avail of the composition scheme that allows them to pay 1-5 per cent tax without going through tedious formalities, was raised to Rs 1 crore from current Rs 75 lakh.”The GST Council has considered the implementation experience of the last three months and gave relief to small traders… Compliance burden of medium and small taxpayers in GST has been reduced,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the 22nd meeting of the Council last evening.The Council also cut tax rates on 27 common use items.Tax on unbranded namkeen, unbranded ayurvedic medicines, sliced dried mango and khakra has been cut to 5 per cent from 12 per cent while the same on man-made yarn is reduced from 18 per cent to 12 per cent. “I am happy that it has been welcomed in one voice across the country,” Modi said.With inputs from PTI

Demonetization ‘largest money-laundering scheme’ by govt: Arun Shourie

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha lashed out at Modi government over the economic slowdown, former Union Minister Arun Shourie has said that note ban was largest money-laundering scheme ever.Blaming the demonetization move for the economic slowdown, in an interview to NDTV, Arun Shourie said that it was the largest money-laundering scheme ever, conceived and implemented entirely by the government.Stating that it was an ‘idiotic jolt’ and everyone who had black converted it into white, he said, “The RBI has said that nearly 99% of the banned currency has been returned to banks, which suggests that black or untaxed money was not destroyed by the giant move.”Shourie also said that he agrees with Yashwant Sinha’s assessment that others in the BJP share their concern over the government’s economic policies but are either prevented from or scared to raise questions. ALSO READ Demonetization, GST have dealt heavy blow to economy: Sharad PawarEarlier, in a newspaper article headlined, ‘I need to speak up now’, Yashwant had criticised Jaitley over what he called the ‘mess the finance minister has made of the economy’ and flayed demonetization and the way the GST had been rolled out.Sinha, a member of the BJP s ‘margdarshak mandal’ that was set up in 2014 to guide the party, has also said a revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha elections due in 2019 was ‘highly unlikely’ and a ‘hard landing’ appeared inevitable.”The demonetization has proved to be an unmitigated economic disaster, a badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them and countless millions have lost their jobs with hardly any new opportunities coming the way of the new entrants to the labour market,” Sinha said.However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley struck back at Yashwant Sinha by calling him a job applicant at the age of 80 who has forgotten his own record while heading the critical ministry.He also charged Sinha with acting in tandem with a fellow former FM and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, saying the two seemed to have forgotten the barbs they have used for each other. ALSO READ Economy isn’t paralysed, but demonetization, GST were ill-timed: Yashwant Sinha

Arun Jaitley calls Sinha job applicant at 80

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday struck back at Yashwant Sinha, a former finance minister and a BJP party leader, by calling him a job applicant at the age of 80 who has forgotten his own record while heading the critical ministry.He also charged Sinha with acting in tandem with a fellow former FM and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, saying the two seemed to have forgotten the barbs they have used for each other.Jaitley, however, refrained from naming Sinha while speaking at an event of release of a book titled ‘India @70 Modi @3.5’ in the national capital, instead choosing to take an indirect swipe.”Acting in tandem itself won’t change the facts…Probably, a more appropriate title for the book would have been ‘India @70, Modi @3.5 and a job applicant @ 80,” he said.”I must confess that I do not have the luxury as yet of being a former finance minister nor do I have the luxury of being a former finance minister who has turned a columnist,” he said in a barely-concealed jibe at Sinha and Chidambaram, respectively.Jaitley also invoked both his predecessors’ records, saying “I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis (during UPA-II).I can conveniently forget the 15 per cent NPAs of 1998 and 2002 (during Sinha’s term as finance minister). I can conveniently forget the $4 billion reserve left in 1991 and I can switch over and change the narrative.”Sinha in an article on Wednesday criticised Jaitley over the “mess the finance minister has made of the economy” and went on to slam the government over decisions like note ban and the GST, the new universal tax regime.Recalling Sinha and Chidambaram’s running down of each other, Jaitley said “One said of the other ‘Chidambaram will have to be born again to match my record as finance minister’. He then linked Finance MinisterChidambaram to an incompetent doctor for failing to curb India’s alarming fiscal deficit.”Sinha, Jaitley recounted, had also accused Chidambaram of running the economy into the ground, and of bugging his phones.In the same vein, he also recounted how Chidambaram had called Sinha’s tenure during the Vajpayee government as the “worst years since liberalisation”.In defence of the current National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, Jaitley said it is making incremental changes in the economy.”Changing the old normal of black money and shadow economy was never the agenda of those who are criticising government’s economic policies. Our government took decisive steps and we changed the normal with demonetisation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a very strong agenda on creating a new normal as far as India shadow economy was concerned,” he said.”A new ideological polarisation is taking place in the country,” Jaitley asserted, adding that “Demonetization was intended to make sure that this anonymous tender (money) get identified to its owner. Shadow economy was playing under the old normal and those who opposed it were the ones under whom shadow economy was operating,” the minister said.

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