Morning briefing: Uncertainty over GST Bill as online plea asks MPs to return to parliament

GN Bureau | August 12, 2015



With barely two days left for the Monsoon session of the Parliament to come to a close, the government's attempt to pass the much-anticipated GST seems unlikely in this session even as over 15,000 people, including top industrialists have signed online petition asking MPs to let Parliament function. The government on Tuesday had attempted to push through the GST Bill in Rajya Sabha, but was stalled by the Congress disrupting the House. It has been approved by Lok Sabha.

Congress gives adjournment notice for Vyapam Scam and Lalit Modi issue, in Lok Sabha. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said there is a proper procedure for adjournment. Rejecting Opposition demand for suspension of Question Hour to take up adjournment motion, she said she has no objection to allow adjournment motion after Question Hour.

Meanwhile, the online petition has been signed by more than 15,000 people, including industry captains like Sunil Munjal, Adi Godrej, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Rahul Bajaj, Anu Aga, Ajay Sriram, Sumit Mazumder and Kris Gopalakrishnan. The petition emphasizes that legislation like GST must not be stalled by the "perpetual disruptions" in Parliament "Important laws like the Constitution amendments in Goods and Services Tax which improves India's growth rate is held up. GST has taken a long time in coming and has taken years of consensus building," it said.

Massive traffic jams in Delhi due to movement of Kanwariyas
The movement of 'Kanwarias' or pilgrims has led to massive jams in Delhi and national capital region. People took to social media to vent their anger at the traffic mess throughout the capital. Groups of saffron-clad pilgrims have even been accused of holding up traffic with rowdy behaviour. Kanwariyas, in an annual ritual, take holy water from the river Ganga to various Shiv temples and mostly travel on foot.

Premji, Shiv Nadar in world's 20 richest people in tech
Wipro chairman Azim Premji and HCL founder Shiv Nadar are the only two Indian tycoons in the top 20 richest people in the world of technology, according to an inaugural list by Forbes. Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates is at the top of the list. Premji is ranked 13th on Forbes' first ever list of '100 Richest People In Tech', followed by Nadar on the 14th spot.

American billionaires dominate the list occupying 51 slots. Tech barons from Asia made a strong showing as well, with 33 people hailing from that region. Eight people from Europe made the cut - a minimum net worth $ 2 billion -- as did two from the Middle East and one from Latin America. Forty of the 100 live in California. Two Indian-origin technology czars Romesh Wadhwani and Bharat Desai are also in the list.

Cabinet may consider Coal India stake sale proposal
The Cabinet may consider today 5-10 per cent stake sale in Coal India that could fetch up to Rs 24,800 crore to the exchequer. The government currently holds 79.65 per cent stake in Coal India (CIL). At the current prices, a 10 per cent stake sale could fetch about Rs 24,800 crore. The government had last sold 10 per cent stake in the bluechip coal major in January this year and had then garnered Rs 22,557 crore to the exchequer.

After Maggi ban, govt hits Nestle with Rs 640-cr damage suit
More than a month after banning Maggi, the government on Tuesday slapped Nestle India with a Rs 640 crore damage suit, which is a first-of-its-kind “class action” complaint. The government complaint says the company had misled consumers with advertisements that claimed that the noodle was a healthy snack. The government accused the company of advertising the popular instant snack as “taste bhi, health bhi (it is tasty as well as healthy)” despite the product containing lead and MSG (monosodium glutamate). Nestle India violated consumers’ right to life by endangering their health, it said. The firm’s failure to disclose the presence of risk-increasing ingredients was deceptive and misleading, said the complaint filed in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) through advocates Mrinalini Sen and Prabhsahay Kaur, and cleared by additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain.

India wants patliamentary meet venue to be shifted from Pakistan
India has now asked the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to shift the venue of its annual conference from Islamabad, saying Pakistan has lost its right to host the meet by failing to invite the Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, violating the body’s constitution. Last week, India had decided to boycott the conference, to be held from September 30 to October 8, to protest against Pakistan not inviting the Jammu and Kashmir assembly Speaker. In a letter to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association chairperson, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan called for an immediate resolution of the matter and asked for an invite to be sent to Jammu and Kashmir, saying that India would boycott the annual conference otherwise.

Sack RK Pachauri, ensure fair probe: Woman urges PM Modi
The woman who filed a sexual harrasment case against TERI DG R K Pachauri has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack him from the green body apart from ensuring that the investigation is carried out in a "free and fair" manner. "Given the kind of influence and clout the accused enjoys, I feel very apprehensive and fear for how the investigations would unfold. I request you to take cognisance of my circumstances and of the facts so far to ensure that investigation is carried out in a fair and free manner," the woman said in her letter to the Prime Minister.

Sensex falls again after weak start
Sensex opened just a tad higher on Wednesday but soon fell over 125 points as sentiments remained glum over political resistance to reforms and the devaluation of the Chinese yuan. The Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) opened at 27,880.76 points against the previous close at 27,866.09 points. But some 10 minutes into trading, it was ruling at 27,768.28 points with a loss of 97.71 points or 0.35%.

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