<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nileema Kulkarni didn’t remember that the newly lowered Goods and Services (GST) tax rate for restaurants was to be effective from Wednesday. “It’s only when the bill came that I realised that I was charged five per cent instead of 18 per cent,” said Kulkarni, who had just stepped out from her office in Nariman Point for lunch.Many like Kulkarni were happy that their food expenses did not pinch their pockets as much until a day before.”People like me who work have a certain budget in which we manage our expenses. With the new GST rate, it will certainly help save money,” said Kulkarni.She is not the only one. Kimaya Bhende, who regularly visits restaurants and coffee shops to discuss business dealing with her clients said that ever since the new GST rates had kicked in, “It was like having food with the government.””Though the effective increase in taxes after Value Added Tax (VAT) and Service Tax was over four per cent in some restaurants, I did feel the pinch of the 18 per cent. Over a period of time, it was like the profit I was earning from business dealings was less than the 18 per cent tax iI was paying. The reduction of 13 per cent is a welcome move,” she added.Restaurateurs who too were happy that the tax rate had reduced said that it will reflect in their balance sheets over a period of time. “Today is only the first day. People are not spending as much as they used to. With the reduction in tax, people can spend freely,” said Satish Shanbagh, Supervisor at Samrat restaurant near Churchgate station.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) top leaders on Tuesday targetted Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at his turf in Amethi. BJP chief Amit Shah accompanied by union minister Smriti Irani and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath accused the Congress of the “lack of development” in Amethi. Smriti Irani who led a high-voltage campaign against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi in 2014 tried to convince voters that she would upset the plan of Congress in Amethi in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In 2014, Rahul Gandhi secured 4,08,651 votes against Irani’s 3,00,748. Though Irani lost to the Congress vice president in Amethi, she managed to reduce his victory margin from around 3.70 lakh in 2009 to 1.07 lakh in 2014.Smriti Irani alleged that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation here had not returned land taken from farmers. Irani was addressing a public meeting in this constituency, seen as a bastion of the Congress, along with BJP president Amit Shah. “Rahul, who used to talk about relief to farmers, did not return their land taken by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation here,” the Union minister for information and broadcasting and textiles said. In a broadside against the Congress vice president and Amethi MP, Irani said she wanted to address those who saw Amethi just from the vote bank point of view. “There is no collector’s office here. If Rahul is hearing me today I want to say that you used to talk about development in the country and abroad. You make a mockery of development in Gujarat,” she said. Referring to the closure of a cycle factory called SamratBSE 2.22 %, she said, “… the country was surprised that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, headed by Rahul, which did not do any commercial activities has purchased it. The land should be freed and given back to the farmers.” Irani had created a stir in 2015 when she accused the top Congress leadership of usurping nearly 65 acres of land acquired from farmers for setting up a manufacturing unit, Samrat Cycle, a project that never materialised. Noting that the BJP won four out of five seats during the 2017 assembly polls when Shah had come here, Irani said, “In 2019 (Lok Sabha polls) BJP will win here.” (With PTI inputs)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Trinamool Congress today flayed the Manipur government and Centre for impasse over the three-month long economic blockade by United Naga Council (UNC) along the life line of the landlocked North Eastern state. TMC Observer Samrat Topadar and other key functionaries of the party said though the elections were supposed to be a festival of democracy, prevailing law and order situation, particularly in the hill areas “have made it a mockery of democracy”. Manipur TMC President Tongbram Robindro said the party will be fielding at least 35 candidates for the upcoming two-phase polls scheduled in early March. Party Observer Samrat, who arrived at Imphal today to oversee the election campaigns maintained “UNC is killing democracy” and “the state government is supporting it.” Quoting a senior official of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), whom Samrat said he had met earlier in the afternoon, the TMC leader said, “IOCL has sufficient fuel for the state but is unable to deliver the same.” This was because the state government has failed to provide enough security to the drivers who have to bring petroleum products by passing through national highways dominated by Nagas, who have been protesting the recent creation of seven districts, the TMC leader said. He also said the rise petrol prices to Rs 140 per litre in the black market is “unheard of in the entire country”. About TMC’s prospect, he said the party will have a key role to play in the Manipur polls and claimed that under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal has managed to make several strides in the field of medical care among others. Robindro asserted, under no circumstances will the party compromise on the issue of territorial integrity of the state though it appreciated any peace process and improvement of inter-state relationship. MORE(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)