Evening digest: No consensus on GST at all meeting, six other bills to be passed

GN Bureau | December 18, 2015



An all-party meeting convened by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari today failed to bring a consensus on the passage of the GST bill, but members of the upper house decided to pass six other pending bills - the SC ST (prevention of atrocities) amendment bill, the appropriation bills, the anti hijacking bill, the atomic energy amendment bill, the commercial courts ordinance bill and the arbitration and conciliation amendment bill - during the next week in the remaining period of three days of the winter session.After the hour-long deliberations, Ansari merely said the meeting was "good".

"There has been a very meaningful discussion in the meeting. A number of parties have expressed concern over Parliament not functioning. All of them decided that the House should function. It has been decided to pass the pending government bills even by sitting for late hours," minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters after the meeting.Asked about the crucial GST bill, Naqvi said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made an appeal to the opposition to pass the constitution bill as well in the conducive atmosphere that has emerged after the meeting."But, I don't think the main opposition party has an agreement on this. They have not cleared their position," he said.

Mother Teresa likely be declared saint next year, Pope recognises second miracle
Pope Francis has recognised a second miracle attributed to the late Mother Teresa, clearing the path for the beloved nun to be elevated to sainthood next year, the archbishop of Kolkata said Friday.Mother Teresa, celebrated for her work with the poor in the Indian city, is expected to be canonised on September 4 as part of the pope's Jubilee year of mercy, according to the Catholic newspaper Avvenire in Rome.Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D'Souza said the Vatican has recognised that Mother Teresa cured a Brazilian man suffering from multiple brain tumours in 2008.A panel of experts, convened three days ago by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, attributed the miraculous healing to Mother Teresa, Avvenire's Vatican expert Stefania Falasca reported on Thursday.

Judge says quota and corruption destroyed nation and faces threat of impeachment
Members of a Parliamentary panel on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, cutting across party lines, on Thursday assailed the alleged "anti-reservation" remarks of a Gujarat High Court Judge and warned of impeachment proceedings against him. The members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on SC/ST at a meeting in Parliament House "condemned" the remarks by Justice JP Pardiwala and resolved to stage a protest in front of BR Ambedkar's statue on December 23.The meeting was attended among others by Union Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Thawar Chand Gehlot.Justice Pardiwala, while declining to drop the charge of sedition against  Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel, had recently said, "If I am asked by anyone to name two things which have destroyed this country or rather has not allowed the country to progress in the right direction, then the same is reservation and corruption."

ATMs being installed in 1.25 lakh post-offices
Work is on to install ATMs and micro ATMs at over 1.25 lakh post offices across the country to help people living in far-flung areas to withdraw money, government said in Lok Sabha today.Responding to some members speaking about difficulties faced by people in distant places, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said that 'bank mitra', people hired temporarily at branches with inadequate staff, will also be of a big help in this regard.

PPP projects contributed 33% to total capacity of major ports:CAG
Indian ports achieved only 79.80 MTPA capacity addition during 2010-12 as against envisaged 315.23 MTPA, while PPP projects have contributed only 33 per cent to total capacity of major ports up to March 2014, thereby defeating the purpose of PPP model, CAG said."The PPP model was to ensure faster augmentation of infrastructure and better service quality for the user. However, out of capacity addition of 315.23 MTPA envisaged by the Maritime Agenda 2010-20, the ports achieved capacity addition of 79.80 MTPA (25.31 per cent) during the period", CAG said in its report which was tabled in Parliament today.

US to increase quota of unskilled foreign workers by over 400 per cent
US lawmakers have decided to increase by nearly 400 per cent the quota for H-2B visas meant for unskilled foreign workers, but will not affect Indians who do not opt for them.The year-end spending deal unveiled on Wednesday includes a provision that would increase the number of guest worker visas available to unskilled foreign nationals. The H-2B visa was designed to bring in low-skilled, temporary and seasonal workers.Indians do not opt for H-2B visas, which is mostly given to foreign workers seeking jobs at hotels, theme parks, ski resorts, golf courses, landscaping businesses, restaurants and bars.

Government plans to open 200 more Jan Aushadhi stores by fiscal-end
The government is planning to open 200 new 'Jan Aushadhi' generic drug stores across the country by the end of this fiscal, Parliament was informed today."The government is trying to start 200 new Jan Aushadhi stores by the end of the current financial year across the country," Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.There are currently 112 Jan Aushadhi stores operational in the country.

UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, wife stuck in lift for 30 minutes
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav were stuck in a VIP lift at the state Assembly building in Lucknow for nearly 30 minutes. The incident created panic in the building as both the chief minister and his MP wife failed to come out of the lift despite efforts by the CM's security staff. Officials in the assembly complex said the incident took place because of some technical problem and added that facts would come out only after a thorough investigation.As the couple could not come out even after 20-25 minutes of struggle, gas masks were requisitioned and an ambulance was kept ready in case of any exigency.

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