Evening digest: Aadhaar to remain optional, larger SC bench to hear the case

GN Bureau | August 11, 2015



In an interim order till a Constitution Bench decides on the issue, a three-member bench of the supreme court on Tuesday ruled that Aadhaar should not be used for availing government welfare schemes other than PDS, food grain distribution, cooking fuel/LPG or for criminal investigation on a court’s direction.  No personal information of Aadhar card holders should be shared by the authorities concerned, it said. The centre has also been told to ensure wide publicity through print and electronic media that Aadhar card was not mandatory. Earlier in the day, the bench referred to a larger bench a batch of petitions to declare Aadhar scheme as an intrusion into privacy.

Govt tables GST Bill in Rajya Sabha amid protests
The Union government’s attempt to introduce the much awaited Goods and Services Tax Bill bill in the Rajya Sabha was thwarted by slogan shouting Congress members who ensured that the house was adjourned without any discussion on the subject. As soon as deputy chairman PJ Kurien asked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to move the motion for introducing Constitution’s 122 amendment bill that aims to bring in a uniform Goods and Services Tax across the country, the Congress members rushed to the well of the house shouting slogans.Kurien said he could not conduct business amidst the protests and adjourned the House till Wednesday. The GST bill has been approved by the Lok Sabha and is waiting for nod of Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA does not have a majority.

Maran moves SC seeking stay on bail cancellation
Former Union Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Madras High Court’s decision to cancel his bail and asking him to surrender in a case related to alleged installation of telephone exchange at his residence. A three-judge Bench comprising justices TS Thakur, V Gopala Gowda and R Banumathi allowed the plea for urgent hearing of the petition seeking anticipatory bail in the case.

India challenges Italy's move to take marines case to international tribunal
India has told an international tribunal that the case of two Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala's coast, comes under its jurisdiction and Italy's contentions in this regard were "misleading". In its submission before the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany, India said the story told by Italy is as "short and straightforward as it is misleading" as the incident took place in India's Exclusive Economic Zone, thus it has full jurisdiction.

India conveys disappointment to Australia over Adani mines issue
India has conveyed its disappointment to Australia over the derailing of mining giant Adani's controversial 16.5 billion dollar project in Queensland on issues relating to environment. Indian High Commissioner Navdeep Suri today said the matter was discussed with Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb during a trade and investment meeting held recently. The founder of Adani Mining Gautam Adani was among top Indian businessmen who travelled with prime minister Narendra Modi during his first official visit to Australia last year.

Government approves 17,000-crore highways upgradation projects
The government has approved a Rs 16,680-crore National Highways (NHs) upgradation project that will see construction of about 1,000 km expressways, covering eight NH stretches, Parliament was informed today. "Government has approved a plan for construction of about 1,000 km expressways at an estimated cost of Rs 16,680 crore on design, build, finance, operate and transfer mode under NHDP phase VI," Minister of State for Road Construction and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan told Rajya Sabha.

PF settlement to be quicker by 10 days
Looking to make settlement of claims quicker, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has revised from 30 days to 20 days, the timelines for settlement of PF, pension and insurance claims.

The Ministry of Labour & Employment in a release said that EPFO revised the timeline to 20 days in July. While taking stock of EPFO's performance, KK Jalan, Central PF Commissioner said on Monday that the EPFO settled 11.56 lakh claims in the month of July and of these 43% were settled ..

24 public sector companies functioning without full-time chief
As many as 24 central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) including NHPC, Oil India, SAIL, MTNL and HMT Watches do not have a full-time chief at present. "As per available information, there are 24 CPSEs which presently do not have regular Managing Director (MD)/ Chairman & Managing Director (CMD)/ Chairman," Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises G M Siddeshwara said today. Other CPSEs without a regular MD/CMD/Chairman include Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation; British India Corporation; Central Inland Water Transport Corporation; Eastern Coalfields Ltd; Hooghly Dock and Port Engineers Ltd; Hindustan Cables; ITI Ltd; Scooters India Ltd; Nagaland Pulp & Paper Company Ltd; HMT Machine Tools Ltd.

Indirect tax revenue surges 37% in April-July
Indirect tax revenue jumped over 37 per cent to over Rs 2.1 lakh crore during April-July period of current fiscal, on the back of higher excise collections. The indirect tax collections were at Rs 1.53 lakh crore during the similar period of the previous fiscal, a finance ministry statement said today. "Indirect tax revenue collections have increased from Rs 40,802 crore in July 2014 to Rs 56,739 crore during July, 2015.

GDP numbers not flawed, Central Statistics Office on right track
Clearing the air over the new GDP numbers, National Statistical Commission (NSC) chairman Pronab Sen today said that Central Statistics Office (CSO) is following the correct methodology for computing national accounts and is on the right track."As far as calculation of the GDP numbers is concerned, the CSO is on the right track," he said, dismissing the criticism about the method adopted by the CSO in calculating growth numbers.

Drought vulnerability a challenge to India ratings: Moody's
Moody's Investors Service today said India's future sovereign credit profile is more exposed to negative effect of drought, but the steps taken by the government, if sustained over the next 2-3 years, could have a mitigating influence.

"Although India may avoid drought this year, its economy remains vulnerable to future drought or fluctuations in rainfall, and its sovereign credit profile is more exposed to the negative effect of drought than those of most 'Baa' rated sovereigns,"  Moody's said in a report. It currently rates India at 'Baa3', the lowest investment grade -- just a notch above 'junk' status.

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