Evening digest: No extended monsoon session, GST may be delayed

GN Bureau | September 9, 2015



The government has finally given up its agenda to pass GST bill. It has decided to request president Pranab Mukherjee to prorogue the monsoon session, which means that there won’t be an extended session to pass the constitutional amendment bill to roll out the goods and service tax (GST). The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) on Wednesday even as it was reported that senior leaders of the government have been trying to convince several political parties to support crucial legislation. The roll out of GST, India’s most ambitious tax reforms, was set for 1 April 2016, but that is now unlikely to happen. GST aims to remove barriers among states and unify the country into a common national market. It will subsume all indirect taxes levied by the centre and the states.

DA for govt staff raised to 119% of basic pay, gold bond okayed
The Cabinet on Wednesday raised dearness allowance to 119%, up 6 percentage points, a move which will benefit over 10 million government employees and pensioners.“The proposal to increase dearness allowance by 6 percentage points (from 113%) to 119% was approved by Union Cabinet today (on Wednesday),” Arun Jaitley said at a press conference in New Delhi. The DA hike will take effect from 1 July.

Meanwhile, the cabinet on Wednesday cleared the launch of gold bonds as an alternative to buying the yellow metal, a move that seeks to trim demand for the metal that the country imports heavily. The cabinet also approved the gold monetization plan to mobilize tonnes of the metal stored in households and temples.

Policy to put up offshore wind farms cleared. With this approval, Centre will bolster offshore wind energy plans and also carry out allocation of offshore wind energy blocks, coordination and allied functions with related ministries and agencies. The approval paves way for offshore wind energy development including, setting up of offshore wind power projects and research and development activities, in waters, in or adjacent to the country, up to the seaward distance of 200 Nautical Miles. The Cabinet okayed FDI, of up to 100 per cent, under the automatic route, in the activity of White Label ATM (WLA) Operations. This decision will ease and expedite foreign investment inflows in the activity and thus give a fillip to Centre's effort to promote financial inclusion in the country, including the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

In a boost for the road sector in J&K, the Cabinet approved the revised cost estimate for the sub-project Ramban to Banihal Section for the development four-laning of National Highways under National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase II on Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) Mode.

Kerala Sunni federation calls for restrictive use of loudspeakers at mosques
The Kerala Sunni Mahallu Federation  has called for the restricted use of loudspeakers at mosques.It has 8,000-odd mosque committees affiliated to it. The federation has said that use of loudspeakers should not cause nuisance to the public. Its use should be limited for announcements and call to prayer. The faithful should keep away from actions that would affect the communal harmony, said the federation general secretary and Muslim League supremo Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal. The directive was welcomed by various Muslim leaders.

Sensex, Nifty close nearly 1.5% up
The S&P BSE Sensex closed 401.71 points, or 1.59 %, higher at 25,719.58, while the 50-share CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed up 130.35 points, or 1.70%, at 7,818.60. Telecom stocks extend rally after the cabinet approves spectrum-trading norms. Jewellery stocks rose in the range of 2-5% after the Cabinet approves gold monetization and gold bonds programmes.

Jayalalithaa woos investors, targets $250 billion infrastructure investment
Inviting global investors to take advantage of industry-friendly policies of Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today said the state had set an investment target of $250 billion in the infrastructure sector in the coming years."Investment in Tamil Nadu is a sound investment", she said while inaugurating the 'Global Investors Meet' and an exhibition showcasing,

MEA on Yemen air strike: 13 Indian crew members safe, 7 missing
The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said that reports about killing of 20 Indians in a Saudi-led alliance in air strikes on fuel smugglers at a Yemeni port on Tuesday are untrue."Out of 20 crew members, 13 are alive and 7 are reported to be missing," Vikas Swarup, MEA spokesperson said. "We've seen media reports about the death of Indian nationals in Yemen. The Indian embassy in Djibouti is in touch with local contacts. We have ascertained that two boats came under aerial attack, boats were carrying a total of 20 Indian crew members," Swarup said.

Pak violates ceasefire in Kupwara, Poonch; 2 BSF men  injured
Two Border Security Force (BSF) jawans were injured in fresh incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch and Kupwara districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan on Wednesday resorted to unprovoked firing on the forward Indian positions in Nowgam sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, injuring two BSF jawans.

Journalist sacked after being caught on camera kicking immigrants
A Hungarian TV camerawoman was fired Tuesday after footage appeared to show her kicking migrants, including children, as they ran from a police line during disturbances at Roszke, southern Hungary. The woman, later named as Petra Laszlo, can be seen tripping a man sprinting with a child in his arms, and kicking another running child in two separate incidents. Footage of the incident from the camerawoman's perspective later appeared on N1TV, an internet-based TV station close to Hungary's far-right Jobbik party.

Pakistani journalist shot dead in Karachi
Senior Pakistani journalist Aftab Alam was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi today. He was a former employee of Geo TV and other local channels.This is the second killing of a journalist in Karachi in a span of 24 hours. On Tuesday, a satellite engineer, Arshad Ali Jafri, was killed when a GEO TV van was attacked in Karachi. Alam was shot outside his home in north Karachi just minutes after he had dropped his children home from school. He was shot in the head.

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