Morning briefing: Government agrees to some demands put forward by Congress on GST

GN Bureau | November 28, 2015


#Congress   #GST   #Prime Minister Narendra Modi   #PSU   #Anant Geete   #Kerala   #WhatsApp   #Bicycle   #Microsoft   #Bill Gates   #Suresh Prabhu   #Cabinet   #AAP   #MLAs  

In what could possibly thaw the ice between the Centre and Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday evening met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the Goods and Services Tax Bill. The meeting over tea at Modi's official residence 7 Race Course Road in New Delhi began at 7 PM on Friday and lasted for over an hour.Consensus was reached during the meeting on two of three demands put forward by the Congress party.  The government has indicated that it may agree to the 18% limit on GST. The government is also likely to agree to waive off 1% levy for manufacturing states. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who was present at the meeting along with parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu, said that both sides put forward their positions on GST and there is the possibility of more meetings in the future. Jaitley added that the leaders also discussed the smooth functioning of Parliament in the Winter Session during the meeting.

Government plans to wind up some sick PSUs: Anant Geete
The government is looking to wind up some sick public sector enterprises, minister of heavy industries and public enterprises Anant Geete said on Friday. "We are also thinking about closing down two more units, including a unit of HMT and Tyre Corporation of India Ltd. We are discussing these proposals," Geete said. The minister made it clear that the government has no plans for divestment of loss-making central public sector enterprises. The government has already circulated cabinet notes on closure of four CPSEs including three units of HMT and Tungabhadra Steel Products, while discussions are on with the defence ministry on Hindustan Cables.The government, which recently shut down BRPSE, an agency for revival and closure of loss making enterprises, has come up with new guidelines on restructuring of loss-making firms. Administrative ministries have been directed to classify their firms as weak, sick or incipient sick.

Kerala cop commits suicide after suspension over obscene WhatsApp picture
A 41-year-old police officer has allegedly committed suicide after being put on suspension over circulating pictures on WhatsApp. The officer, A P Shaji, was suspended after he posted an obscene picture on a WhatsApp group that had his senior officials as well as women. The officer had earlier explained to authorities that he sent the obscene picture accidentally, but the seniors felt that he should have been more careful as he himself was an officer. Hence, he was put under suspension for the alleged act.

Bicycle to generate power for houses unveiled
Indian-origin American billionaire Manoj Bhargava on Friday revealed a bicycle, the Free Electric bicycle, which produces electricity when pedalled. Priced at between Rs 12,000 - 15,000, Bhargava said that the cycles had the power to take the electricity to millions of homes in rural India where there was no electricity. One hour of pedalling can meet a rural household's electricity needs for 24 hours, including running lights, a small fan and charging a cell phone --- all without electricity bills, fuel costs or pollution. The stationary bicycle generates power. The pedalling turns a flywheel, which spins a generator that charges the attached battery.As part of State 2 Innovations, the inventions wing of his ventures, Bhargava has also produced a water purification machine that cleans even seawater to drinking water, and another project which uses graphene cables to harness earth's heat to produce electricity.

Microsoft's Bill Gates to start multi-billion-dollar clean tech initiative
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will launch a multi-billion-dollar clean energy research and development initiative with heads of state on Monday, the opening day of the UN climate change summit in Paris, the French government said Friday. Gates and a group of developing and developed countries will launch the Clean Tech Initiative, in which countries will commit to doubling their clean energy technology research and development budgets by 2020 and private investors will boost their own investments in the sector. Access to clean energy technology will play a key role in a global agreement to combat climate change. More than 190 countries will negotiate a new pact in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 at the 21st UN Conference of the Parties summit.

Woman passenger in distress gets help after her tweet to Suresh Prabhu
A woman passenger travelling alone on an outstation train in Maharashtra was immediately attended to by authorities after she sought help through a tweet directed to the Twitter handle of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.The commuter, identified as Namrata Mahajan, had posted the tweet, which was directed to Prabhu's handle @RailMinIndia, at 6.59 pm while she was passing through Shegaon railway station on Thursday."@RailMinIndia plz plz help in train no 18030. One male passenger harassing me at Shegaon. I am in train and terrified," she tweeted.Central Railway chief PRO, Narendra Patil said a senior officer, Ved Prakash, immediately noted the tweet and contacted him to do the needful to help the woman."But she (Mahajan) has not given full details of the train she was travelling in. So a reply seeking details of her train and her berth position was sent to her Twitter handle.She was also asked to contact security helpline number 182 which she did after sometime and also gave details about her position via twitter," said Patil.As the train reached Bhusaval railway station in 40 minutes, the woman was immediately attended by RPF jawans, he said.Relieved after getting the swift assistance, Ms Mahajan thanked the minister. "@RailMinIndia sir help reached to me. Thanks a lot sir," she tweeted.

Delhi Cabinet approves salary hike of MLAs
The AAP government has approved a hike in salary and allowances of Delhi MLAs. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence.In October, a three-member committee headed by former Secretary General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary had recommended two-and-half-fold hike in salary from current Rs 88,000 per month to Rs 2.10 lakh.The committee, which had submitted its report to Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, had favoured a 400 per cent hike in basic salary of MLAs from Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 per month.

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