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BJP, AAP all set for 2017 high-stakes Delhi municipal poll

New Delhi: The high-stakes municipal poll is likely to set the tone for the political battle in the national capital in 2017 in which BJP will seek to retain its turf facing an upbeat AAP which aims to replicate its stunning performance of 2015 in its civic polls debut.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led party had swept the Delhi Assembly elections in 2015 reducing BJP to just three seats while Congress failed to open its account.

The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in 2012 into North, South and East Corporations.

BJP has been ruling the MCD and the subsequent three civic bodies for nearly 10 years.

The last municipal elections were held in 2012 in which BJP was voted back to power. The civic bye-polls in May saw AAP bagging 5 of the 13 seats, while Congress had made a spirited comeback by winning 4 seats, pushing BJP to third spot.

The three civic bodies, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation constitute 272 seats, with NDMC and SDMC accounting for 104 seats each while 64 seats fall under EDMC.

File photo. PTI

File photo. PTI

The BJP, which dominates the civic bodies, was left with only three seats in the bypolls, signalling that the municipal elections next year could be a keenly-fought contest.

All three parties are gearing up to put their best foot forward, with BJP hoping to retain its turf amid changed political scenario while AAP seeks to replicate its performance, banking on the loyalty and support it earned from the assembly election.

Sanitation, education and health would be some of the major factors that would be weighing on voters mind during the polls.

AAP and BJP have already been at loggerheads over the sanitation and garbage disposal issue in the city, with one side blaming the other for lack of cleanliness in the city.

The Kejriwal-led party aims to target the BJP on sanitation grounds and conditions in unauthorised colonies, where a considerable chunk of voters in the city reside.

Delimitation will change the geography of many wards and AAP, BJP and Congress think that redrawing of the municipal limits could affect the outcome of the civic elections. Civic polls would be considered the litmus test for AAP in Delhi and the contest would be a keenly-watched one.

Besides, urban issues becoming poll planks, 2017 is also set to see Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) launching its new Housing Scheme with 12,000 flats on offer. The scheme was earlier slated to be launched this Diwali.

Out of the total number of flats, most of them are in Rohini, Dwarka, Narela, Vasant Kunj and Jasola. Ten thousand unoccupied flats are from the 2014 scheme, while 2,000 are other flats which have been lying vacant.

Sources said most of the flats are one-bedroom LIG flats from the last housing scheme and no new flat is on offer this time.

“About 10,000 are LIG flats from 2014 DDA scheme. Unlike EWS (Economically Weaker Section) last time, in 2016 scheme there would be no such category,” a DDA official said.

From application to refund, the DDA this time has planned to make the scheme an online affair to reduce the long queues of flat buyers at its headquarters.

“Yes, plans are underway to make the process completely online,” a source said.

“We are in talks with certain vendors for upgrading our infrastructure to handle the expected increase in traffic. But, we are technologically capable of handling the online rush,” the source said.

The flagship Housing Scheme 2014 offered 25,040 flats across categories, with prices ranging between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 1.2 crore.

The online response had been so massive that the DDA’s official website crashed soon after the launch. The one-bedroom flats were offered in Dwarka, Rohini, Narela and Siraspur areas.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 16:09 IST

Centre wants states to nominate more women, SC, STs for central deputation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre has asked state governments to nominate more women and SC and ST officers for central deputation under the Central Staffing Scheme for 2017 with an aim to provide them adequate representation. In a letter to chief secretaries of the states, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said movement of officers from states to the Centre and back is crucial for building capabilities at the state-level and contributing towards developing national perspectives at the decision- making levels in the government.”It would, therefore, be appropriate if a conscious attempt is made to forward the names of officers for deputation under the Government of India in such a manner that every eligible officer has an opportunity to serve at the Centre at least once at the middle management level,” it said.It further stated that there was a general shortage of IAS officers at Deputy Secretary or Director level and the state may like to recommend a sufficiently large number of officers for appointment to posts at these positions at the Centre at least in proportion to actual strength so as to share the shortage appropriately between the Centre and the states.Asking the state governments to pay particular attention while recommending the names of officers under the Central Staffing Scheme (CSS), the DoPT said, “Sufficient names of women, SC and ST officers may be sponsored so that adequate representation can be provided to them on posts under the CSS.” It asked the state governments to ensure that an officer once placed on the offer list for central deputation continues to be available for consideration throughout the year.It said that very often the Cadre Controlling Authorities CCAs withdraw the names of officers at later stage which results in undue delay in placement of officers. An officer being nominated should be willing to serve anywhere in India and his preference, if any, be explicitly indicated. The names of officers, who have been debarred from being taken on central deputation, should not be considered and those whose names have been offered should have completed the necessary “cooling off”. The names has to be sent by January 31, 2017.

Demonetisation: Govt allows use of old notes for tax payment under PMGKY

New Delhi: The government today allowed use of junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes till 30 December for paying tax on disclosures made under the tax evasion amnesty scheme.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

After the shock demonetisation of high value notes on 8 November, the government allowed the banned currency to be deposited in bank accounts.

Those with unaccounted cash were offered a chance to come clean by paying 50 percent of it as tax, penalty and surcharge, while parking an additional 25 percent in a
non-interest bearing deposit for four years.

“An opportunity has been given to the public to make the payments towards tax, penalty, cess/surcharge and deposit under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) 2016 with the old bank notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination up to December 30, 2016,” an official statement said.

Explaining the provision, an official said a holder of unaccounted cash in Rs 500/1000 notes can now deposit half of it in any of the 29 scheduled bank that are entitled to accept income tax on behalf of the government.

A quarter of the amount can be deposited in cash in the non-interest rate bearing PMGK Deposit Scheme 2016. The remaining 25 percent can then be deposited in individual bank account.

After 30 December, tax as well as the deposit will have to be made through cheque or RTGS transfer.

The government has allowed holders of the scrapped notes to deposit them in their bank accounts till 30 December. No scheduled bank will accept them after that date.

The official said the tax authorities are collating information about deposits made in banks post demonetisation and will send notices if any unaccounted income holder does not make disclosures under the amnesty scheme.

While some 3,000 tax notices have already been issued, more will be sent next month after the deposit deadline of 30 December closes.

Those whose bank deposits do not match their income would be asked to explain and offered a chance to come clean under the amnesty scheme, which closes on March 31.

Tax at the rate of 30 per cent of the undisclosed income, surcharge of 33 percent of tax and penalty of 10 percent of such income is payable besides mandatory deposit of 25 percent of the undisclosed income in the PMGK Deposit Scheme.

Income declared under the Scheme will not be included in the total income of the declarant under the Income Tax Act for any assessment year.

Not declaring the black money under the scheme now but showing it as income in the tax return form would lead to a total levy of 77.25 percent in taxes and penalty. In case the disclosure is not made either using the scheme or in return, a further 10 per cent penalty on tax will be levied followed by prosecution, he added.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 17:48 IST

Child born out of rape entitled to compensation: Delhi HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A child born out of rape is entitled to compensation, independent of any such relief granted to the mother, the Delhi High Court has ruled.The verdict to this effect, in which a man has been sent to jail for his entire “natural life” for raping his minor step-daughter, was delivered after the court noted that there was no such provision under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act or under the Delhi government’s victim compensation scheme. Ironically, the high court, which had earlier laid down a law in this regard, reduced the amount of compensation to the rape victim from Rs 15 lakh awarded by the trial court to Rs 7.5 lakh, saying the higher amount went against the 2011 compensation scheme formulated by the Delhi government.It also faulted the trial court by giving a go-by to the guidelines for maintaining confidentiality of the rape victim. However, a bench of Justices Gita Mittal and R K Gauba said a child born out of rape, either of a minor or a woman who is an adult, “is clearly a victim of the act of the offender and entitled to compensation independent of the amount of compensation paid to his/her mother”. This “vacuum” in the law came to the court’s attention when it was hearing the appeal of a man convicted and awarded life term for raping his minor step-daughter who, as a result of the crime, gave birth at the tender age of 14 years.Noting the “sordid scenario” in the instant case, where “the trust and confidence reposed in the man by his wife and step-daughter, was abused by him to bring about, out of sheer lust, untold miseries on the body, mind and psyche of the prosecutrix child leaving scars which would not ever heal”, the court upheld his conviction and sentence. It also clarified that the man shall remain behind bars for the remainder of his natural life, saying “we see no scope for any ruth (pity) in the matter of punishment”.While upholding the sentence, the bench also expressed displeasure over the manner in which the trial court “gave a go-by” to the precaution mandated under POCSO to keep the minor victim’s identity confidential. The high court also reiterated its earlier direction to all trial courts not to disclose the identity of minor victims in POCSO cases. Apart from the lack of provisions under the POCSO Rules and the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme 2011 for children born out of rape, the court noted the absence of any provision in the scheme for child victims of sexual offences.It also observed that no victim compensation fund has been set up under the 2011 scheme despite directions in this regard by the high court in a PIL. The high court noted this while examining how the trial court awarded a compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the victim. The bench said under the existing scheme, the maximum compensation that can be paid was Rs three lakh and under the proposed new scheme of 2015, it would be enhanced to Rs 7.5 lakh.Setting aside the compensation awarded by the trial court, the bench awarded a total amount of Rs 7.5 lakh to the victim, saying “given the nature of loss, pain and suffering which she undoubtedly would have undergone, we find this to be a fit case where the state must pay compensation for the minimum sum of Rs 7.5 lakh (which would be the compensation awardable under the proposed scheme of 2015, as and when brought in force)”.

Promoting electronic transactions: NITI Aayog asks NPCI to incentivise digital payment makers

New Delhi: In a bid to promote electronic transactions, NITI Aayog has asked National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to frame an award scheme to incentivise people using digital mode for making payments through weekly and quarterly lucky draws.

NITI Aayog has requested National Payments Corporation of India to conceptualise and launch a new scheme to incentivise digital payments. NPCI is a not for profit company which is charged with a responsibility of guiding India towards being a cashless society.

According to a NITI Aayog statement, there has been a remarkable increase in both volume and amount of digital payment transactions since 9 November, when government demonetised high value notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.

File photo. PTI

File photo. PTI

It is necessary to ensure that electronic payments are adopted by all sections of the society, it said.

“We need to encourage electronic payments and nudge the society to move from digital to digi-dhan,” NITI Aayog said.

Under the proposal all consumers and merchants using digital payments shall be eligible.

There will be two levels of incentive amounts available under the scheme. First, weekly lucky draw of the transaction IDs generated in that week. The contours of which are being finalised, it said.

NITI Aayog has also proposed quarterly draw for grand prizes and asked NPCI that while designing the scheme the focus will be on poor, lower middle class and small businesses.

All modes of digital payments – USSD, AEPS, UPI and RuPay Cards – will be eligible under the scheme. For merchants, transactions made on the POS machines installed at their locations would be considered, it said

NITI Aayog said that the detailed guideline of the scheme shall be unveiled soon. However, it would be ensured that all those who have                                                                                                               used digital payment systems after 8 November shall be eligible to participate in the scheme.

The scheme would also provide for recognition of state governments, their undertakings, districts and urban & rural local bodies who innovate for promoting electronic payment in their respective jurisdictions.

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 19:25 IST

Rs 13,860 cr not mine, belongs to politicians, bureaucrats: Gujarat businessman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mahesh Shah, the city-based realtor who vanished after disclosing Rs 13,860 crore in cash under the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS), resurfaced in the studio of a regional TV news channel on Saturday evening. If Shah’s reappearance wasn’t dramatic enough, Income-Tax (I-T) sleuths filled any shortcoming by barging into the studio and taking him into custody live on television.Before taxmen whisked him off to the Sarkhej police station, Shah clarified on TV that the astronomical amount he disclosed before the I-T department belongs to politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats. However, he said he will disclose their names only before I-T officials and that truth will be out soon.Accepting what he did was against the law, Shah claimed he had acted out of compulsion and accepted getting intimidated by the handsome commission.”Those whose money was disclosed under IDS backed out at the last moment, so I could not pay the first installment of the tax to the I-T department,” he said.Shah claimed he was out of Ahmedabad for the past 10 days and had just returned from Mumbai. Earlier, there were speculations that he would appear before I-T or Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials, but he chose to go public on a TV channel.”I am innocent and haven’t done anything wrong. The public will appreciate me when the truth comes out,” he said. During the course of the interview, which lasted more than an hour, Shah said that there is threat to his life. The news channel spoke with the police, requesting them to provide adequate security to Shah.When Shah’s interview was on, police personnel, along with I-T officers, arrived at the studio and escorted him out. They took Shah to the Sarkhej police station, where he was handed over to officials from the I-T department and ED.

Missing Gujarat realtor detained after declaring Rs 13,680 crore undisclosed income

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a dramatic turn of events, Gujarat real estate businessman Mahesh Shah who went missing after declaring Rs. 13,860 crore under the Centre’s Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS), was detained on Saturday by the Income Tax department.The arrest took place barely minutes after he “mysteriously” appeared and interacted with a media channel. The 67-year-old Ahmedabad businessman, as per the scheme, was supposed to pay 45% tax, which comes to Rs. 6,237 crore, before he disappeared from the IT department’s radar.Before the arrest, the department also conducted various raids at his residence, but did not yield any significant leads. In October, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced a total of 64,275 disclosures were made under the scheme which collectively amounts to Rs. 65,250 crore.

Gujarat man declares Rs 13,860 cr cash, but whose money is it?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All that the Income-Tax (I-T) Department could unearth from the residence and office of Mahesh Shah, a land dealer in Jodhpur Cross Roads, Ahmedabad, was some documents on land deals, though Shah had declared Rs 13,860 crore in cash under the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS).The I-T department on Friday claimed to have recovered Rs 40 lakh in cash and jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh from Shah’s business associates, besides seizing six bank lockers from them and his chartered accountant (CA).The search operations were carried out two days before November 30, the last day for Shah to pay the first tax installment of Rs 1,560 crore. Shah had declared cash of Rs 13,860 crore on September 30 – the last day for disclosure under the scheme.Shah not only missed the deadline but went missing as well, leaving many questions unanswered. His CA Tehmul Sethna said that he first met Shah in 2013 in connection with a land deal.”I gave him some advice on his undisclosed income that time and won his trust. He later met me for advice on IDS. I told him it would be a win-win situation for both him and the I-T department,” said Sethna. “I did not have doubts about his credentials because I knew of his networks and land deals. In the last week of September, we met an Income-Tax Commissioner to discuss the disclosure. On September 30, following his advice, Shah disclosed an income Rs 13,860 crore,” added Sethna.”We cannot rule out the possibility that some part of what he declared may belong to some bigwigs,” said SethnaHe said that the I-T department then checked Shah’s credibility and worthiness, and, on October 14, issued him the IDS Form 2 (the form to disclose income). Under the scheme, he was to pay 45 per cent income tax on the declared amount, and the first installment (Rs 1,560 crore) was to be paid by November 30.”But, for some reason, the I-T department began to doubt his ability to pay. On November 28, for unknown reasons, they cancelled his IDS Form 2,” said Sethna.”They searched the offices and residences of Shah and his associates, including mine. What I learned during the search at my residence and office is that the I-T department suspected that some money-laundering may be done through the payment of Rs 6,240 crore tax (45 per cent on the declared IDS) and so cancelled the IDS,” said Sethna.Interestingly, I-T officials said the investigation wing of the department (which carries out search operations) had no clue about Shah’s declaration under the IDS scheme. “Each wing of the department maintains confidentiality. o one wing does not know what the other is up to,” said an official.According to an official, the investigation department had information that Shah and his associates were helping in currency exchange (exchanging banned currency notes with acceptable ones for a commission). “We searched 12 places in the city, including the residences of Shah, his business associates and CA. It is just a coincidence that, on November 28, Shah’s IDS form got cancelled and on November 29 the search operations began,” said the official.According to I-T department records, Shah’s tax returns for the past few years showed his annual income between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh. Sethna said that Shah is a big investor in land and has land parcels in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and its suburbs.Who is Mahesh Shah?The 67-year-old is a heart patient who has undergone a surgery. He has a wife and two children, a son who is unemployed, and lives with him at his residence in Jodhpur, and a daughter who is married and lives in Prahaladnagar. His wife is a cancer patient and is bedridden. For 59 days, after he first made the declaration under the IDS scheme on September 30, the I-T department thought of him as a ‘genuine’ assessee and waited for him to pay tax. “He lived in a 3 BHK, but otherwise he lived a luxurious life. When on tour, he would check in only to five-star hotels but whenever he visits me, he would take an auto,” said Sethna.

Demonetization carried out in ‘haphazard’ manner, alleges former PM Deve Gowda

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who had implemented a Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) to unearth black money during his tenure, today said the present government had carried out demonetization in a “haphazard” manner causing “unimaginable sufferings” to the people.The JD(S) chief said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have spoken on demonetization in Parliament “so that we could reply”. “The best thing would have been that the Prime Minister should have made a statement in the House on the very first day of the ongoing Winter session” regarding the decision which he had already announced on November 8 when Parliament was not in session, Gowda told PTI here. “We are not against efforts to curb black money. But in my opinion, the Prime Minister announced demonetization without any preparation. It was done in a haphazard manner,” said the Lok Sabha member who has been waiting to speak on the issue in the House but could not due to its non-functioning.Gowda said 22 days have already passed since the announcement was made by Modi in a nationally-televised address but people, particularly the farmers and the labourers, continue to go through “unimaginable sufferings”. Noting that the Prime Minister had asked people to “tolerate” the difficulties for 50 days, he questioned, “How long does this government want the people to suffer?” The senior leader from Karnataka said in his state, banks do not have enough cash and they close down as early as noon, leaving people high and dry.”It was a hasty decision by the Prime Minister without proper assessment which has put the country in an awkward situation,” he emphasised. 83-year-old Gowda, who was Prime Minister from June 1996 to April 1997, recalled the VDS implemented by him during his tenure which had unearthed Rs 96,000 crore rpt Rs 96,000 crore of undisclosed money. Referring to the regular alterations being made in the implementation of demonetization scheme with regard to withdrawal caps and other aspects, Gowda asked, “How many amendments, modifications, changes have been made every day? Changes are still going on.” Finding faults with the government, he said it had first introduced gold bonds, which “did not yield any results”.Then it brought Income Declaration Scheme during which about Rs 65,000 crore were disclosed, Gowda said, even then the government failed to recover the “so-called black money” entirely. “Now suddenly another idea flashed the Prime Minister’s mind…Who gave him the advice? Did he consult any colleague,” he questioned. “Now the government has pushed the Income Tax amendment bill also,” he added.Talking about problems being faced by the people, he criticised the cap on withdrawals, questioning why should even a salaried person not be able to take out as much money as he requires. “I have salaried account but I cannot withdraw money as there is a cap of Rs 24,000 on withdrawals per month,” he said.Turning to Modi’s comment that he wants to unearth black money amassed during last 70 years, the former Prime Minister said he was “hurt” by the remark which painted all former governments negatively. “Who created this black money? Are we all included? Is Atal Bihari Vajpayee also included? Are we all responsible for this creation of black money? This remark hurt me,” he said.He said the Prime Minister should not have made a general remark against all those who have run the country with regard to black money generation. On Modi’s campaign to make India a cashless society, Gowda said, “I don’t know whether the dream of the PM will come true.

Former PM Deve Gowda hurt by PM Modi’s remarks on black money

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, who had implemented a Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) to unearth black money during his tenure, said on Thursday the present government had carried out demonetization in a “haphazard” manner causing “unimaginable sufferings” to the people. The JD(S) chief said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have spoken on demonetization in Parliament “so that we could reply”.”The best thing would have been that the Prime Minister should have made a statement in the House on the very first day of the ongoing Winter session” regarding the decision which he had already announced on November 8 when Parliament was not in session, Gowda said in Delhi. “We are not against efforts to curb black money. But in my opinion, the Prime Minister announced demonetization without any preparation. It was done in a haphazard manner,” said the Lok Sabha member who has been waiting to speak on the issue in the House but could not due to its non-functioning.Gowda said 22 days have already passed since the announcement was made by Modi in a nationally-televised address but people, particularly the farmers and the labourers, continue to go through “unimaginable sufferings”. Noting that the Prime Minister had asked people to “tolerate” the difficulties for 50 days, he questioned, “How long does this government want the people to suffer?” The senior leader from Karnataka said in his state, banks do not have enough cash and they close down as early as noon, leaving people high and dry.
ALSO READ Demonetization bitter pill, will have healthy impact: Ramdev Babav”It was a hasty decision by the Prime Minister without proper assessment which has put the country in an awkward situation,” he emphasised.83-year-old Gowda, who was Prime Minister from June 1996 to April 1997, recalled the VDS implemented by him during his tenure which had unearthed Rs 10,000 crore of undisclosed money. Referring to the regular alterations being made in the implementation of demonetization scheme with regard to withdrawal caps and other aspects, Gowda asked, “How many amendments, modifications, changes have been made every day? Changes are still going on.”
ALSO READ Make public all financial & land dealings of BJP & RSS in last 6 months: Congress to PM ModiFinding faults with the government, he said it had first introduced gold bonds, which “did not yield any results”. Then it brought Income Declaration Scheme during which about Rs 65,000 crore were disclosed, Gowda said, even then the government failed to recover the “so-called black money” entirely. “Now suddenly another idea flashed the Prime Minister’s mind…Who gave him the advice? Did he consult any colleague,” he questioned. “Now the government has pushed the Income Tax amendment bill also,” he added.Talking about problems being faced by the people, he criticised the cap on withdrawals, questioning why should even a salaried person not be able to take out as much money as he requires. “I have salaried account but I cannot withdraw money as there is a cap of Rs 24,000 on withdrawals per month,” he said.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Upset over lack of money at banks, villagers block traffic in UPTurning to Modi’s comment that he wants to unearth black money amassed during last 70 years, the former Prime Minister said he was “hurt” by the remark which painted all former governments negatively. “Who created this black money? Are we all included? Is Atal Bihari Vajpayee also included? Are we all responsible for this creation of black money? This remark hurt me,” he said.He said the Prime Minister should not have made a general remark against all those who have run the country with regard to black money generation. On Modi’s campaign to make India a cashless society, Gowda said, “I don’t know whether the dream of the PM will come true.”

Note ban: 50% tax, 4-year lock-in period for unaccounted deposits up to Dec 30 on the cards

New Delhi: A minimum of 50 percent tax may be levied on unexplained bank deposits made using the banned currency notes up to 30 December along with a 4-year lock in period for half of the remaining amount under the amendments to tax law the government plans to bring in parliament shortly.

However, a higher 90 percent tax and penalty could be imposed if assessees do not declare the unaccounted cash voluntarily.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Cash deposits made using the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes above a threshold that are declared to Income Tax authorities may attract 50 percent tax, as per the amendment to the Income Tax Act approved by the Cabinet last night.

Half of remaining deposits, or 25 percent of the original deposit, will not be allowed to be withdrawn for four years, top sources said.

In case such deposits are not declared and are detected by tax authorities, a total of 90 percent tax and penalty would be charged, they said.

The government had after the shock demonetisation, given a 50-day window beginning 10 November for either depositing the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation or exchanging them for new currency.

While the exchange, which was limited to a maximum of Rs 2,000 per person, has been withdrawn, all old notes without any ceiling can be deposited in bank accounts.

This, sources said, had led to a surge in bank deposits, particularly in zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts that swelled by over Rs 21,000 crore in just two weeks, raising suspicion that these accounts may have been used to launder black money.

While the tax authorities had talked of levying a peak rate of tax and 200 percent penalty on top of it for any unexplained deposit above Rs 2.5 lakh during 10 November to 30 December period, it was felt that such a move may not have legal backing.

To plug those loopholes, the cabinet is believed to have on Thursday approved amending the Income Tax Act by adding a clause in one of the sections to provide for the tax on an unexplained income during the window, sources said.

The government plans to bring the amendment for approval during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

Sources said the demonetisation was a big step to uproot black money and corruption but its very purpose would have been defeated if the ill-gotten wealth made way into the system through benami deposits.

And taxing them was a way to punish dishonest people.

The tax rate however cannot be the same as charged to honest tax payers. It also could not be the 45 percent tax and penalty charged on hereto undisclosed wealth brought to books using a one-time compliance window under the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS) that ended on 30 September.

Sources said since the black money holder did not utilise the government offer to declare his ill-gotten wealth, he should pay a higher rate of tax now and curbs placed on use of that money.

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 11:37 IST

President Mukherjee hands out Indira Gandhi National Service Scheme Awards

Sat, 19 Nov 2016-03:22pm , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday presented Indira Gandhi National Service Scheme Awards for 2015-2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday.The Awards were instituted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports during 1992-93 for giving recognition to outstanding work done under the National Service Scheme (NSS).The NSS, one of the flagship programmes of the government, aims at developing of personality and character of students through voluntary community service.

War on black money: This Chartered Accountant wrote a detailed response to Arvind Kejriwal’s criticism of demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a sudden move, announced the demonetization of the currency notes of value Rs 500 and Rs 1000 and introducing new notes of Rs 2000. While some took well to the decision, many expressed their criticism about the implementation and the resultant inconvenience that followed.The decision drew flak from political parties in opposition as well. After Arvind Kejriwal’s comments on the issue, a Chartered Accountant from Surat, CA Mehul Shah, wrote an open letter that was published as blog on TaxOrigin.Read the letter here: Sir, I am a practising Chartered Accountant aged 28 in Surat and I was very hopeful that you would support the Notification for Demonetization of Currency and was very eager for your reaction because your very entry into politics was for supporting any small move to reduce Black money and Corruption and after all, this was indeed a very big and bold move!But after going through the video released yesterday, my expectations from AAP as a common man were shattered once again because I believed that a person of such stature and designation as you would spread positivity all around without any ifs and buts to make this Mega Clean-up Drive possible and rather help the common men in mitigating the problems rather than nagging about the same and hence, I would like to bring to your knowledge the following Points.Point 1As you have stated in your Video that it took full 2 days for you to understand the various aspects of the Scheme and even after consultation with various Experts , you could not basically understand the Logic of why 2000 Rupee Notes were released instead of 1000 Rupee Note, I would like to make an attempt to tender my best possible logic ( Please enlighten me if I am wrong somewhere) as follows:Sir, let us Simply take 2 Scenarios to understand the funda!Scenario A : If as per your suggestion , Rs. 2000 Note are not issued but only New Rs. 1000 Notes are issued.Lets say , for example Mr. X has Rs. 1,00,000/- black money in 100 Old Notes of Rs. 1000 each.Mr. X divides those Rs. 1,00,000/- into 10 Equal Bundles, each comprising of 10 Old Notes of Rs. 1000 each and puts each Stack on a Table.On Day 1 , in the morning Mr. X would deposit the first Bundle i.e. 10 Old Notes of Rs. 1000 valued at Rs. 10,000 into the bank and on same Day 1 in the Evening he would withdraw 10 New Notes of Rs. 1000 again valued at Rs. 10,000 and put it in the Locker in his house.Now the real Game starts.On Day 2 : Morning , Mr. X would deposit the second bundle of 10 Old Notes of Rs. 1000 valued at Rs. 10,000 kept on the Table. However in his books of accounts submitted to Income Tax Department, he will show that he has deposited the same 10 New Notes which was withdrawn on Day 1 : Evening ( which is actually still lying in the Locker of House )On Day 2 : Evening , Mr. X would again withdraw 10 New Notes of Rs. 1000 valued at Rs. 10,000/- and keep the same in Locker . So at the end of Day 2, Mr. X has Rs. 80,000 on Table in Old Notes and Rs. 20,000/- in New Notes in Locker.Now Day 3 will come in next week as for the limit of Rs 20000 per weekThe same exercise shall continue till Day 10 and by the end of Day 10, Mr. X shall have no Old Notes and Rs. 1,00,000 in 100 New 1000 Rupee Note in the Locker.However, to the Income Tax Department, Mr. X has shown that he was having only Rs. 10,000/- as black money initially ( i.e. one bundle of 10 Notes of Rs. 1000 ) and he has rotated the same Rs. 10,000/- by depositing it into Bank account in the morning and withdrawing it in the evening and again redepositing the same on next day and so on.Thus, Mr. X has paid tax only on initial Rs. 10,000 whereas he has managed to convert all his Black money of Rs. 1,00,000 into new Notes.This Modus operandi is called Peak theory i.e. theory of rotation of same money which is accepted by most of the High Courts and Tribunals. Revenue is also helpless to catch Mr. X because the above scenario can also occur in genuine cases where you withdraw money from bank to purchase something and then when you think that no good deal is available, you may again deposit the same money into your bank account and are not required to pay tax again.Scenario B : Watch what happens when PM issues New 2000 Rupee Note instead of 1000….!Mr. X deposits first bundle of 10 Old Notes lying on Table in the Bank on Day 1 : Morning and then he withdraws 5 New Notes of Rs. 2000 on Day 1: Evening and keeps it in locker.Now on Day 2 : Morning when he goes to deposit second bundle of 10 Old Notes of Rs. 1000 each and wrongly shows the Income Tax Department that he has redeposited the same money which was withdrawn on Day 1:Evening – Bingo !!!He is caught red handed !! because the Bank slip on Day 2 submitted to bank shows deposition of 10 Notes of Rs. 1000 each whereas the Govt knows that Mr. X could never have withdrawn on Day 1 any note of Rs. 1000 because they were never Printed !!!!Now isn’t it really a masterstroke by Mr Narendra Modi, the beloved Prime Minister of our country ?!Sir, you have stated in the Video that if Someone gives you the logic of issuing New notes of Rs. 2000 instead of Rs. 1000, you will Salute the PM and support him in his endeavour. I hope this explanations finds you in good health and I am waiting for the support in full sense.Even if the above explanation is not completely true, we should rely on and respect the PM of our country who is elected through clear democratic majority.Further, the fact that when someone is holding the new Rs. 2000 Rupee Note , he is psychologically getting a sense of freshness that the country is in the growth phase. Messages are being circulated not to write anything on New Notes. Imagine if the Government would have never issued new higher denominations notes with inflation and growth we would still be dealing with Annas and Pavlis!!Sir, the above example also gives you an explanation as to why the withdrawal limit is kept so low because the above modus operandi can still be done with Rs. 500 note however, the incentive would be less because Mr. X cannot withdraw more than Rs. 10000/- in a day and even if he withdraws Rs. 10,000/-, there is every possibility that Banks shall give Mr. X, 2000 Rupee note. So Mr. X cannot follow the above modus operandi.And believe me Sir, each and every condition in the Notification is seen to take care of the problems likely to be faced by Citizens and at the same time making sure that such Sophisticated theories are not resorted to by Black money hoarders, but questioning everything in the name of Freedom of Expression may create Panic situations or bring out Loopholes and hamper the success of reforms.Point 2Sir, you have again criticised and stated in the Video that printing Rs. 2000 rupee note will help to increase Corruption because Stacking those Rs. 2000 Rupee Notes would require lesser Space as compared to Stacking Rs1000 Notes.In this regard, I would like to ask that Sir, have you come across any case where the “Babus” have not taken any bribe and done work honestly because they had a small Bag which could not be fitted with Rs 1000 Notes ?!Or have you come across any Businessman who has declared unaccounted money solely because there was no space to keep those Rs. 1000 Notes !!Point 3As stated in the Video by you, it is true that in spite of PM efforts, there shall be dubious commission agents and unaccounted Investment in gold through jewellers, but as far as I remember when the jewellers were on strike for 45 days when our PM levied excise duty on gold in month of April 2016, it was you who supported their strike. It shows that whenever some changes are suggested to regulate a particular Market, AAP opposes them and then now you nag that the Gold market is unregulated.In fact I believe that the PM had a full blue print for the development of our country right from Day 1 of his being elected if I recall my last 3 years as a Professional.Firstly they asked for all the bank account number in your Return of Income.Then they linked your PAN with Aadhar.They linked all the subsidies, pension and other benefits directly to your bank account through Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme.Then they gave opportunity to all the common men to open an account with bank through Jan Dhan Yojna.They entered into revised treaty with most of the countries in which unaccounted money goes through HAWALA eg Mauritius and thus the route of black money coming from Mauritius which everyone knew is stopped.They passed few strict laws to overcome the evil of black money such as Benami Transaction Act and Foreign Black Money ActThey levied Excise duty on Gold.They also made TCS compulsory for Cash transactions above 2 lakhs.They withdrew lakhs of pending income tax and service tax litigations where Common men had won at Appeal level and Department had gone further.They also entered into information exchange agreement with such countries.Then they gave last opportunity to all black money hoarders through Income Declaration Scheme, 2016.Now they have a Scheme for Dispute Resolution Panel again to reduce Litigation till December 2016.Now the masterstroke, that they have banned Rs500 & Rs1000 denominations.Not only the destination of this whole process is commendable but even the journey or the chronology of these events is interesting which explains the ultimate destination and who knows , may be the journey is still not over and the ultimate destination may still be the Swiss Account holders!!Point 4Further, you have stated in your Video that penalty would be levied at the rate of 200%. The said statement has created a panic and people have stated discounting their own hard earned cash.Being in Income tax Department in the past , you ought to know that as per the present Income Tax Act,1961 penalty is never levied on Cash deposits but on “concealed income”. Hence when the common men is depositing Cash in hand which is duly accounted or out of his past savings and even out of unaccounted current years income whose return is yet to be filed, there shall not be any penalty if there is no mismatch between returned income and assessed income. Even the Government Officials in their statement used the words “underreporting” or “mismatch”. To understand the definition of “underreporting”, Sir please refer Section 270A of the Income Tax Act or go through the following article:Instead you could have encouraged the citizens to pay appropriate Tax.Point 5Nowhere in the Video have you stated anything relating to Fake currency or Counterfeit Notes because you know that the issue of Existing Fake Currency is solved foolproof.Which situation would be better ?Scenario A:A Labourer standing in queue to exchange Notes from bank for a Short term.Scenario B :A Labourer working hard whole day to get a Fake Note at the end of the day?!The issue of Terrorist Funding is also tackled but you chose to remain silent on the same.You have stated that Modiji should have infused Rs 100 Note from before and it would have been you only to have said in this video that “Arre ATM se do din pehle se hi Sirf Rs. 100 ki Note bahar aa rahi thi toh sab ko pata tha, yek koi Secret nahi tha”ConclusionNow Sir, if I am to believe that you really don’t understand these simple concepts even after consulting with Experts for 2 days as already described by you, I am deeply saddened because the common men believe that you are an IITian and have spent considerable time in Income Tax Department also.Contrary to the same, If I am to believe that you already know the benefits of demonetization which I first learnt in Standard 8 when subject of economics was introduced to me and the concept of Peak Theory which is described by me above and which I learnt with my very limited experience while pursuing my profession of Chartered Accountancy , then I am more saddened and feel AAP Party as more dangerous because I believe that above any religion, politics or reservations in any caste or creed, it will always be education which shall uplift the common men and it is the common men who have elevated you to a position where you are looked by millions as their Idol and it is your duty to educate them and spread knowledge and not keep them in ignorance to preserve your vote bank.I am grateful to all my Teachers who have selflessly shared their knowledge and some fellow members of CA fraternity who are playing an active role in creating awareness and educating Commonmen about the positive consequences of Demonetization true to the Jewel crowned to the profession as “Partner in Nation Building” and I would therefore like to advise the citizens not to sell the notes at discounted prices or deposit the cash into bank accounts of other benami persons in fear of penalty. Further, do not claim any bogus expenses or bogus loss to gain more trouble. Do not manipulate accounts by creating bogus cash on hand. Be sporty and pay tax honestly to buy peace of building capital.Jai Hind.Regards,CA Mehul Shah

Not 100, NREGA gives only 49 days of employment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ambitious National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) which seeks to guarantee 100 days of jobs to every rural household in India offered an average of 48.8 days of employment in 2015-16.In fact, this was the best deal which an average rural household in the country got from the government since 2012. Last year, the average was merely 40 days, while in the preceding two years it touched 46 days, reveals an analysis of the scheme introduced in 2005 to provide livelihood to rural unskilled population.Some states offered even less than 48 days. For instance, Uttar Pradesh could give only 33 days of average work in last fiscal. Over 12.69 crore households are registered under NREGA at present. However, active households are less than half that means approximately 7.13 crore.Of them, less than 49 lakh households (7%) got 100 days of wage employment in the year ending March 2016 which explains the scarcity of the work and livelihood opportunities in the country.In Gujarat, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand, merely 3-5 per cent households have got 100 days of work. The average number of work days may decline further this year as the wage budget this year has seen a 10% cut from previous year of Rs 30,800 crore. Total annual allocation for the scheme by the Centre, including expenses on resource generation, is Rs 43,000 crore.The job days could have been on much higher side, had the states spent the full amount at their disposal. Statistics say, not a single state in the country utilizes full labor budget. The average unspent amount ranges from 30 per cent to 50 per cent, apparently due to poorly conceived schemes and misplaced targets.Kerala is exception as it spent 95 per cent of the budget in the last fiscal, highest in the country. Still it could provide an average 48 days of work to needy households indicating need for higher allocation.Maharashtra though offered highest average days of work (58) in the country but it merely spent two-third of the amount even as drought continued to haunt the farmers driving 3,200 of them to commit suicide in 2015 alone, highest in 14 years. Considering the unspent amount of the states, it is estimated that the country needs at least 75 per cent more allocation in the wages budget to offer 100 days of job to every aspirant, say sector experts.When asked about skewed job availability under the scheme, Aparajita Sarangi, Joint Secretary, Department of Rural Development (NREGA), in an email response told DNA, “MGNREGA is a demand driven programme. All 12.69 crore households do not come for work for 100 days each. On an average, over five crore households come for the job. We work very closely with the states to implement the ACT in the best possible manner.”The daily wage of NREGA ranges from Rs 150 – Rs 175 a day. The wages differ from state to state and are revised time to time as per the Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labour.Under the scheme, 14 types of jobs are carried out including water conservation and harvesting, drought-proofing among many others.

More seats on offer, but less eligible takers for Centre’s SC-ST overseas scholarship

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For fourth consecutive year in a row, the centre has failed to find enough takers for its overseas scholarship scheme. The scheme allows students from the marginalised community including Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes to travel abroad for pursuing masters and PhD level courses. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment that runs the scheme blames it on the weak primary and elementary education system which fails to produce enough competent students to face competition abroad. Academicians working in the sector, however, feel that it is because of the lack of coordination between the ministries that the scheme has failed to reach the beneficiaries.Under National Overseas Scholarship Scheme, the ministry every year funds students to pursue higher education in universities abroad. In the year 2012-13, the scheme was to benefit 30 applicants, for which it could find only 23 takers. In 2013-14, the number of beneficiaries were increased to 60, for which only 39 candidates were found eligible. For 2014-15, while the number of beneficiaries rose to 100, it could find only 59 eligible takers. In 2015-16, again for 100 seats there were only 53 eligible takers.For the scheme that is fully funded by the ministry, it has over the years failed to get suitable candidates, as a result the funds for the scheme remain largely underutilised. “The scheme is very well advertised and we do receive a lot of applications. But most of the students who apply fail to meet the desired standards of the foreign universities. As a result their applications get rejected,” said a senior ministry official.The official also blamed it on the education system which allows these students to sail through primary, elementary and higher education in the Indian system. Indian universities offer relaxation in marks for the SC/ST and OBC category. “No such relaxation is provided in foreign universities. We have seen over the years, that these students fail to face the global competition,” added the official.To ensure that more students get the benefit of the scheme, the ministry, in 2014, brought some changes in the guidelines. Earlier the scheme opened annually, from 2014 the ministry allows students to apply all year round. The permanent selection committee has been put in place that meets every three months to scan through the applications. Any student who gets an offer from abroad can apply immediately.To ensure that the slots gets filled, the ministry has also started preparing an assured list of candidates. “If a student comes with an assurance letter from the university, for admission in the next academic session, we accept their applications and begin the process,” added the ministry sources. This too has failed to draw enough takers.The academicians working in the sector blame it on the poor coordination. The scheme is funded by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and is facilitated through the Ministry of External Affairs. The universities and the higher education system which report to the Human Resource Development Ministry do not have any role to play. “It is a very good scheme and there is no dearth of talented and competent students but the problem is who owns this baby. Many a times students do not get to know about the scheme. The universities need to play a proactive role in promoting the scheme,” said Professor Sukumar of Delhi University who works on students and higher education inclusion issues.

DNA Morning Must Reads: SC questions use of religion for vote; Rs 5000 cr black money declared; Karwa Chauth; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Is using religion for votes corruption, asks Supreme CourtIs seeking vote in the name of religion a “corrupt” practice? Or will an appeal by a priest or a cleric to voters of his own community to support a candidate come under the ambit of corrupt practice under the election law? Read more here2. Modi compares Indian Army to Israel; signals end of strategic restraint daysDrawing comparisons between the Indian Army’s surgical strikes to Israel’s actions against its enemies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday gave loud indications that India’s conventional policy of “strategic restraint” is over. Read more here3. Rs 5,000 cr penny stock black money declaredPromoters of penny stock companies and investors who routinely traded in such stocks have declared around Rs 5,000 crore in the recently-concluded Income Declaration Scheme (IDS). Read more here4. Karwa Chauth, the KJo-fied festivalThe age old tradition of viewing your husband through a sieve on Karwa Chauth is fast being replaced by a more glamorous version. Read more here5. Umesh has set benchmark for fast bowlers’ fielding: R SridharGone are the days when the pace bowlers would relay the ball under-arm from the deep in order to protect their injury-prone shoulders. Also a thing of the past is the myth that fast bowlers are poor fielders. Read more here6. This new US Navy destroyer could carry a railgunResembling something that would be more at home in a James Bond movie, The USS Zumwalt is the latest–and largest–destroyer to be inducted into the US Navy. Read more here

Food Security Act to be implemented in Kerala in 2017: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A pilot project to supply ration food articles at the doorstep as part of implementing the Food Security Act would be launched in Kerala on November 1. Initially, the scheme would be launched at Kollam in the next month, a release from the State Food Minister P Thilothaman’s office said.The government plans to implement the scheme to supply ration food articles at doorsteps across the state by April 2017, the release said. The draft list of beneficiaries would be published by October 20 and ‘file list’ was expected to be ready by January next, it said.The new ration cards would be distributed by February and the process is planned to be completed by March, the release said.

Blackmoney issue: Naidu-Jagan take political slugfest to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Leader of Opposition YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Thursday sought to take their bitter political war to the Prime Minister by writing separate letters to Narendra Modi on the black money issue.Jagan’s letter came a day after Chandrababu indirectly sought to imply that the YSRC leader declared an income of Rs 10,000 crore under the Income Declaration Scheme.While Chandrababu wanted the Centre to “demonitise” currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination to “curb” proliferation of parallel economy, Jagan wanted publication of “entire list of IDS-2016″ and also initiate a thorough inquiry into the corruption charges against the Chief Minister.”Out of the Rs 65,000 crore disclosed across the country, Rs 13,000 crore was declared in Hyderabad and, out of it, Rs 10,000 crore by a single individual.”Who is that, we can’t know as per law. Is it possible for a businessman to declare such huge money,” he wondered yesterday, indirectly seeking to imply it was the YSRC president.Separately, a couple of ministers and Telugu Desam legislators directly named Jagan as the one who made the Rs 10,000 crore disclosure, a charge the lone opposition party stoutly denied.”How is that Mr Chandrababu Naidu alone is privy to this information ? If true, then the person declared should have been a ‘benami’ of Chandrababu Naidu. Otherwise, how can he be so specific on the numbers,” the YSRC chief asked in his letter to the Prime Minister.”If this information is true, then we people of Andhra Pradesh should also be aware of this information. Hence, we request your office to kindly let us know as it is also an irony that AP under Naidu has been ranked as the most corrupt state in the country by NCAER (National Council for Applied Economic Research) just recently,” the Leader of Opposition said.Chandrababu, on the other hand, praised Narendra Modi saying “the country is fortunate to have you as Prime Minister at this opportune and inspiring time. Opportunity for transformational change arises rarely and even rarer when such opportunities are actually seized for national transformation.”Lauding the Income Declaration Scheme, the Chief Minister said it has reportedly resulted in pan-India declaration of undisclosed income exceeding Rs 65,000 crore, implying a tax earning of Rs 30,000 crore.

Mumbai: National Service Scheme teams take up work for registration of new voters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If you receive a call from your college on your 18th birthday for wishes, its time to enrol yourself for voter ID. The Mumbai University affiliated colleges National Service Scheme (NSS) units team have decided to take up a work of registration of new voter ID. ‘Fresh adults’ planning to make a new voter id can just visit the nearest college NSS unit to acquire the same.After the state election commission asked Mumbai University colleges to take up the work of registering new voter ID, the NSS unit teams have been asked to target the students turning 18 in their respective college. They have also been asked to register those who are above 18 and are yet to avail a card. The students are also collecting relevant data from their housing societies about those who have not registered. The NSS units are also raising awareness about the issue through rallies, street plays etc.Dr Babasaheb Bidve, Program Coordinator, NSS, Mumbai University, said, “The NSS units of 350 colleges have taken up the work of registering the voters and helping them in making their voter IDs. NSS units of the colleges have registered approximately 200 to 250 people each, so far. Three colleges with the best results will be felicitated by the Mumbai University. The work of registration started from September 14 and the last date for it is October 16. The awareness program began last year and was continued this year by the NSS units. This is first time NSS units have taken up registration work for voter ID.”Dr Vijendra Shekhawat, National College NSS area coordinator, Mumbai University, said, “Students of National College have decided to make a database of all new comers in their college on whom they will keep a track and wish them happy birthday on their 18th birthday and also encourage them to register for upcoming elections. The students have also been asked to inform their housing societies and spread the word about the program.”Deepak Yadav, SYBSc student of National College, NSS unit, said, “Till now we have successfully registered more than 300 people. We are even collecting data of our own societies and registering them.”

Black money worth Rs 2,700 cr declared by Punjab, Haryana and other north-west regions under IDS

Three days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday disclosed consolidated black money assets worth Rs 65,250 crore by 64,275 declarants countrywide, region-specific numbers are now on the anvil.

PTIPTI

PTI

Under the Modi-government’s one-time compliance window of Income Declaration Scheme, the income tax department revealed that the North-West region comprising states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and the Union territory of Chandigarh declared undisclosed assets worth around Rs 2,700 crore, The Tribune report said.

The government is expected to earn taxes of Rs 1,215 crore from this disclosure, according to the Tribune.

Citing senior officials, Punjab reported that the scheme netted black money worth Rs 1,300 crore, while Haryana registered undisclosed assets of Rs 800 crore and Jammu and Kashmir Rs 250 crore. Chandigarh reported undisclosed assets of Rs 200 crore and Himachal Pradesh Rs 150 crore.

In Punjab state, maximum disclosures came in from the cities of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar, the report added.

“The figures cannot be disclosed as categorically said by the finance minister. However, the scheme has been an overwhelming success. We congratulate and thank all taxpayers of Punjab for taking advantage of this Scheme and making it a success,” the Times of India report said quoting chief commissioner of income tax (CCIT), Punjab Binay K Jha.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana together declared Rs 19,000 crore, reported the The Times of India. The I-T department of Mumbai and Delhi region said disclosures to the tune of Rs 8,500 crore and Rs 8,300 crore respectively were made, while the states of Gujarat, Pune, West Bengal and Sikkim each yielded black money worth Rs 4,000 crore, the ToI report said.

On Saturday, Jaitley said that Rs 65,250 crore of undisclosed assets declared in the one-time compliance window will yield Rs 29,362 crore in taxes to the government. Of this, half or Rs 14,681.25 crore will be accrued to this fiscal.

“Some disclosures have not been tabulated… This figure could be revised upward once the final tabulation is done,” he had said at a news conference.

Last year, under a similar scheme for foreign black money holders, 644 declarations of undisclosed foreign income and assets were received, and just Rs 2,428 crore was collected in taxes.

With PTI inputs

Admit 536 students in nearby colleges under RTE: Edu dept to north zone schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the survey conducted by the students from National Service Scheme (NSS) and school teachers in north zone, 536 students were found to be not admitted in schools. The education department of north zone have made a list of these students and has asked schools to admit students nearby their schools in the grades appropriate to their age as per the Right to Education (RTE) rule.According to a north zone official, the process is ongoing and the school principals have been informed to trace students, who have migrated in their area so that they can be admitted in their schools as per the RTE act.Anil Sable, education inspector of north zone, said, “Till 8th grade, students can be given admission in any point of time during the whole year, and the school should admit the child in grade in accordance to their age.”The directions were given to all the north zone schools on 30 September, and the schools had been asked to submit the detailed report on the same by October 7 to north zone education department.

dna Evening Must Reads: Rs 65,250 crore of black money recovered, ISL starts and more…

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1) Rs 65,250 crore of black money recovered under Income Declaration Scheme: Arun JaitleyAs much as Rs 65,250 crore of black money was declared during the four-month compliance window — the Income Declaration Scheme — that ended on September 30, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday. Jaitley said 64,275 declarations were made in the four- month window and this figure could go up once all the declarations filed online and manually are compiled. The money declared totals Rs 65,250 crore, of which 45% would accrue to the government as tax and penalty. Read more…2) Aftermath of surgical strike: Pakistan bans Indian TV channelsPakistan’s media regulator has asked all channels in the country to “immediately” stop broadcast of illegal Indian content amid the ongoing tension between the two nations. Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in a statement said it has been receiving complaints that several local private channels were showing Indian talk shows, reality programmes and dramas without permission. Read more…3) China blocks tributary of Brahmaputra in Tibet to build damChina has blocked a tributary of the Brahmaputra river in Tibet as part of the construction of its “most expensive” hydro project which could cause concern in India as it may impact water flows into the lower riparian countries. The Lalho project on Xiabuqu river, a tributary of Yarlung Zangbo (the Tibetan name for Brahmaputra), in Xigaze in Tibet involves an investment of 4.95 billion yuan (USD 740 million), Zhang Yunbao, head of the project’s administration bureau was quoted as saying by Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency today. Read more… 4) Tamil Nadu: CM Jayalalithaa is healthy, asserts AIADMK; UK doctor reportedly flown inAIADMK on saturday asserted that its hospitalised party supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is “healthy” even as a doctor from the UK has reportedly been flown in to examine the 68-year-old leader. “Amma (Jayalalithaa) is healthy. She needs rest as per doctors’ advice and will return in good health,” senior AIADMK leader and former Minister P Valaramathi told reporters. Read more…5) SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya gets one year extensionArundhati Bhattacharya’s term as State Bank of India’s (SBI) chairperson has been extended for another year, according to reports. Her tenure as the chairperson was ending on October 6. However, it has been extended in order for her to oversee the merger of six smaller commercial banks into the country’s largest lender. Read more…6) Indian Super League: Stage set for gala opening as Northeast United, Kerala Blasters ready to kick offA carnival atmosphere will fill the air when the opening ceremony of India Super League 3 celebrates the cultural diversity and spirit of the eight sisters before familiar foes Northeast United FC and Kerala Blasters resume their rivalry on the pitch on Saturday. For long the hub for producing and nurturing talent who ply their trade in the ISL, the I-League and the Indian national sides, the region has been rewarded with the opening ceremony by the tournament organisers. Read more…

Govt mops up blackmoney worth Rs 65,250 cr under Income Tax disclosure scheme, says Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Assets worth Rs 65,250 crore have been declared by 64,275 people under the latest Income Tax Disclosure Scheme, with scope for some marginal upward revision once the full tabulation is completed, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced on Saturday.

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According to a NDTV report, the current black money figure could well go on to beat the previous best of Rs 33,000 crore declared under the 1997 Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) launched by P Chidambaram. Nearly two decades back, the voluntary black money was declared by over 4 lakh entities the, the report said.

Given the tax rate and penalty of 45 percent now, this can potentially fetch the government a little under Rs 30,000 crore.

Briefing reporters on the scheme, which was available from 1 June till the midnight of 30 September, the finance minister said the tax authorities were still tabulating the declarations, both in physical and electronic form.

“So this (declarations) could be revised upward once the full tabulation takes place,” Jaitley said, adding that the money collected would go into the Consolidated Fund of India and will be used for social security purposes.

“So this (declarations) could be revised upward once the full tabulation takes place,” Jaitley said, adding that the money collected would go into the Consolidated Fund of India and will be used for social security purposes.

“Roughly, the declarations work out to Rs 1 crore per declarant. Some will be higher, some will be lower,” he said, but ruled out any revelation of the names of the people who have availed of the scheme.

“We won’t give any specific information on tax declarants.”

Arvind Kejriwal targets PM Modi over ‘failure’ of Income Declaration Scheme

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday alleged that the Centre was targeting the country’s small traders following the “failure” of its Income Declaration Scheme (IDS).In his two-page letter to the Prime Minister, Kejriwal claimed that Centre has “failed” to take action against black money holders and it is now targeting country’s small traders to complete the target under the scheme.”All the small shopkeepers and businessmen of country are afraid of new campaign launched by your Income Tax (IT) department. “There is news that small stalls of roadside like jalebi and vada pav sellers are being raided by IT officials and you have given orders to raid country’s one lakh small traders from October,” the CM said in the letter.The Union Budget for 2016-17 had announced a 4-month compliance window, allowing domestic black money holders to declare their unaccounted wealth, pay a tax and penalty of 45 per cent and escape prosecution and harsher punishment. The window under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) 2016 opened on June 1 and will close on September 30.

PM Modi fulfills his Independence day promise, hikes pension of freedom fighters by 20%

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The monthly pension of freedom fighters, including those who were incarcerated in Cellular jail in Andaman Islands or suffered outside British India, was hiked on Wednesday by around Rs 5,000 each. The decision to give 20% enhanced pension to all categories of freedom fighters, their spouses and dependents was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The revised scale of pension has taken effect from August 15, 2016 and the revised total amount of pension will be taken as basic pension for the respective categories of freedom fighter pensioners for calculating Dearness Relief, an official statement said. The existing Dearness Relief system based on All India Consumer Price Index for Industrial workers, which was so far applicable to freedom fighter pensioners on annual basis, is being discontinued and replaced by the Dearness Allowance system applicable to central government employees twice a year.This will be termed as “Dearness Relief”, the appropriate term in case of pensioners, it said. Pension for freedom fighters in the category of ex-Andaman political prisoners and their spouses has been enhanced from Rs 24,775 to Rs 30,000 per month. Pension of freedom fighters, who suffered outside British India, has been raised from Rs 23,085 to Rs 28,000 per month. Pension of other freedom fighters, including those who were members of Indian National Army (INA), has been raised from Rs 21,395 to Rs 26,000 per month.
ALSO READ PM Modi keeps his words, Home Ministry hikes monthly pension of freedom fightersAddressing the nation on the 70th Independence Day from the Red Fort, the Prime Minister had announced a 20% hike in the pension for freedom fighters. Central freedom fighter pensioners and eligible dependents under ‘Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension’ will get enhanced pension with effect from August 15, 2016.All freedom fighters and spouses and dependent parents, eligible daughter pensioners of deceased freedom fighters drawing pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 would be benefited by the decision. So far, 1,71,605 freedom fighters and their eligible dependents have been sanctioned pension under the scheme.
ALSO READ Independence Day gift for freedom fighters, BPL families as PM Modi announces benefitsAt present 37,981 freedom fighters and their eligible dependent pensioners are covered under the scheme. Of these, 11,690 are freedom fighters themselves, 24,792 are spouses (widows/widowers) and 1,490 are daughter pensioners.

‘Fair and Lovely’ scheme launched by Modi govt for industrialists: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Income Declaration Scheme, saying he has launched the ‘fair and lovely’ scheme to enable industrialists to convert their black money into white.”Modi has brought a fair and lovely scheme to wash off the sins of his industrialist friends,” he said, during a road show organised in Bundelkhand as part of his ‘Deoria to Dilli Kisan Yatra’.The Congress vice president said there should have been a scheme for the benefit of the poor and the farmers. “Some needy farmers took away charpoys from my ‘Khaat Sabha’. They are being dubbed as thieves. But, those who have swindled thousands of crores of rupees, they are treated as defaulters,” he said.Rahul said Modi would have done better had he taken selfie with the poor back home rather than taking such snaps abroad. Attacking NDA government over petroleum prices, he said when the UPA was in power, the price of crude oil in the international market was USD 140 whereas now it is USD 40. “A lot of surplus money is now lying with the exchequer…I want to ask Modi where is all the money going?”

32 delhi hospitals to give concessions to students and private sector employees from the northeast

Ensuring that students and people working low wage jobs from the north east living in New Delhi get adequate medical attention, the Delhi Police has brought on board 32 hospitals to give such vulnerable people concessions for treatment. Delhi police nodal officer for people from the north east, Robin Hibu, has spent the past few weeks in talks with the top hospitals in Delhi to bring about such an arrangement under their CSR initiative.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These hospitals include various branches of Fortis Hospital including the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, Holy Family Hospital, Medanta The Medicity, Moolchand Medcity, various branches of Max Healthcare, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital among others.According to a statement made by Hibu on the facebook page Delhi Police for North East Folks, this scheme is aimed at those who end up working low-paying private sector jobs in the capital and have no state-backed insurance such as the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). In a copy of the letter he sent to Dr. Naresh Trehan of Medanta, posted online, Hibu gave examples of some of these jobs; BPOs, malls, hospitals, hotels, security guards etc, saying that because of their “paltry earnings” “high cost of living and high rents”, “many have died, many are struggling due to poverty back home.””As a nodal officer for the North East people at Delhi many youth are approaching me for help in case of medical emergency/treatment. I have no resources to help them,” reads Hibu’s letter.In his statement announcing this scheme, he says that there are 11 lakh such vulnerable people from the north east in Delhi.All hospitals all have agreed to give concessions ranging from “30 percent to 15 percent… for medical treatment for our people,” says the statement, and that they have appointed nodal officers to be in constant touch with Hibu. Patients will get referral letters from Hibu based on their id cards.The hospitals that dna spoke to did not wish to give an official statement on the matter yet, though MoUs are ready and Hibu claims in his statement to have received approval letters from all the hospitals. However, they did acknowledge their role in the scheme.Max Hospital, however, told dna, “This is a positive initiative towards making healthcare more accessible and we are happy to be a part of it. At Max Healthcare, our constant endeavor is to provide quality and best-in-class healthcare services to patients. This initiative will make quality healthcare accessible to the thousands of students and working professionals from the North East in Delhi.”

Brexit makes government fix to Tata steel pension plan elusive | Reuters

LONDON/BRUSSELS A government overhaul of the British Steel Pension Scheme – crucial to convincing anyone to buy Tata’s British assets – is in jeopardy after Britons’ vote to leave the European Union deepened the fund’s debts and depleted its assets, analysts and industry sources said.

Pension trustees said they were in talks to assess the impact of last week’s decision, which sources said already raised the risk Tata Steel’s giant Port Talbot plant would be closed, destroying thousands of jobs.

Britain’s government has been trying to overhaul the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS), one of the nation’s largest defined benefit plans, with 130,000 members.

Even before last week’s referendum, its 14 billion pounds ($18.79 billion) of liabilities exceeded its assets by roughly 700 million pounds.

Tata Steel inherited the pension scheme when it bought Corus, formerly British Steel, for $12 billion in 2007.

“The trustee and its advisers are working with stakeholders to understand what, if any, impact the outcome of last week’s referendum might have on the discussions regarding the future of the scheme,” the trustees said in a statement.

Hymans Robertson, which advises firms that sponsor schemes such as BSPS, estimated British pension liabilities had gone up by about 5 percent — or several hundred million pounds in the case of the steel pension fund — since close of business on Thursday, because of the falls on stockmarkets and predicted fall in interest rates triggered by the British referendum.

A spokesman for Tata said he couldn’t comment on the latest funding for the BSPS, but like all pension funds, asset values moved up and down. The FTSE rose around 2 percent on Wednesday, partly recovering from heavy losses.

At least three of the seven bidders are still interested in buying Tata’s British operations, industrial sources said, but they have also said Tata might decide to shut its loss-making Port Talbot plant in Wales and focus resources on its more successful Dutch plant at IJmuiden.

On Tuesday, Dutch union leaders said Tata was investing between 200 million euros ($221.7 million) and 300 million euros in IJmuiden. Tata Steel has not disclosed financial details.

In an emailed statement, it said the Dutch spending was part of its long-term strategy drawn up several years ago to invest in equipment to supply, especially to car manufacturers, higher-strength steels with improved surface quality.

“This significant investment will further improve IJmuiden’s competitive position as a manufacturer of world-class products for our most demanding customers,” it said.

Tata Steel says it has invested 1.5 million pounds in Britain and a similar amount in the Netherlands since 2007.

But the climate for investment in Britain is now stormy, analysts say, and steel pension liabilities are the least of the government’s worries.

“The Port Talbot operation has never been further from viability. Due to current uncertainty, private investment in Port Talbot is unlikely,” Ben Orhan, senior economist at IHS Global Insight Pricing and Purchasing, said.

“The future of the steelworks is critical to those around Port Talbot and the wider UK steel industry. But the ‘Out’ result means it is at the bottom of the priorities of those, who were working hard to save it.”

($1 = 0.7451 pounds)

($1 = 0.9020 euros)

(Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Arun Jaitley in mission mode as Modi goes after black money

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi goaded black money holders to use the one-time compliance window to declare their ill-gotten wealth or face consequences, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, along with other senior ministers and bureaucrats, met industry representatives, tax experts and accountants to drive it into “mission mode”.The government has come out with the Income Declaration Scheme or IDS under which people would not be prosecuted if they declared their illegal money and paid 45% tax and penalty on it.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The scheme, opened on June 1, will close on September 30.Neeru Ahuja, senior direct taxes council member of ASSOCHAM, who was part of the meeting, said the government was clear that it wanted to make the scheme a success and wanted feedback and suggestions from stakeholders.”One thing was clear (in the meeting), that they wanted to make it a success,” she said.She said the three main issues that were extensively discussed at the meeting were confidentiality of the information disclosed by wealth declarants, easy payment mode of tax and penalty and extension of the compliance window period by a quarter or two.”There was a concern that the information declared could go to other agencies. Cash flow issue was also discussed where people who owned immovable assets wanted the option of paying in installments. We also asked for the compliance window to be extended to December or March (2017),” she said.After the meeting, Jaitley told the media that there would be no extension of window period. “People who have (undisclosed) income and have stayed outside the income tax net, this is the last chance to declare them and sleep peacefully,” he told reporters.He warned that people who did not take advantage of the opportunity offered by the government would be shown “consequences” of doing so.He assured that the declaration made under the law would be protected. “That information is not to be shared with any other authority. It won’t be made public, it won’t be shared with anybody.”The minister clarified that IDS was not an immunity scheme as declarants would be penalised.To bring about more awareness on the scheme, the Central Board of Direct Tax (CBDT) has suggested putting up posters about it at places frequented by potential declarants, like club houses, posh markets, showrooms of high-end products.The government had undertaken a similar effort last year to unearth unaccounted black money stashed abroad, where those who declared their hidden wealth were let off on payment of 30% tax and 30% penalty.During the three-month compliance window, a total of Rs 4.147 crore of undisclosed income was declared, from which government got a net tax income of Rs 2,500 crore.(with inputs from agencies)

MTDC now a facilitator of employment scheme for youths

State’s tourism promotion body Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has been selected as a facilitator for the ‘Hunar Se Rojgar Tak’ scheme, launched by the Ministry of Tourism, government of India, to impart valuable courses in the hospitality sector at the state level.Officials said the MTDC has associated with identified hospitality institutions in Maharashtra for the scheme, which primarily focuses on economic empowerment of the youth in the remote parts of the state.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The programmes running under the scheme are free of cost for students. The aim is to empower the under-privileged youth of the country, ensure economic benefit through employment generation, reduce the skill gap that affects the hospitality sector,” a MTDC spokesperson said.As per the official, the scheme will target youths who are minimum Std VIII pass and in the age group of 18-28 years. It intends to generate self-employment opportunities at a local level and enable the youths to achieve a competent place in the industry with their own skills. The courses offered under the scheme will provide these students a chance to develop their skills and enhance their knowledge, making them more confident about their work.Commenting on the scheme, Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary of cultural and tourism affairs (Maharashtra) said, “Knowledge imparted through this scheme will hone the youths’ skills and develop their work ethic, which will make them ready to face the challenges of this industry with more confidence. Hunar Se Rojgar Tak is a double benefit programme, as it improves the standard of living of these students, as well as provides a sound resource to serve in the hospitality sector.”Elaborating further, MTDC MD Dr K H Govind Raj said, “MTDC has conducted various courses in Pune, Nashik, Baramati and Nagpur regions under the Hunar Se Rozgar Tak scheme, which has benefitted thousands of students belonging to the low economic strata.”

Will create urban forests in 200 cities to increase green cover, says Javadekar

Mumbai: Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said that urban forestry will be the new thrust area of the government and steps will be taken to create “urban jungles (forests)” across 200 cities and towns across the country.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar. Reuters

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar. Reuters

“We will be taking up massive tree plantation drive in as many as 200 cities and towns across the country,” he said at a commemorative function organized at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali here.

The environment ministry will launch the “Urban Forestry Scheme” in Pune, where 6,000 saplings will be planted to create an urban jungle on about 80 acres of land, said an official release.

The minister also released a pamphlet “Living With Leopards” containing practical ways to reduce man-animal conflict in the vicinity of Sanjay Gandhi National Park Area.

Noting that in most cities there are gardens and parks but no forests, he said: “There are many cities where the forest department has its land but there are no forests on it or are degraded. In these places through people’s participation, we will establish urban forestry.”

He said the government has also initiated proactive measures for protection of wildlife and ‘shoot at sight’ orders given to armed guards at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam had resulted in the death of 24 poachers.

He appealed to the people not to buy any product made from wild animal body parts. “If there is no market for the products, poaching will end automatically,” he contended.

Tamil Nadu govt to continue to supply free rice to mosques

Tamil Nadu government ordered supply of rice free of cost to mosques across the state for preparation of porridge during the holy month of Ramzan beginning next week following requests from members of the Muslim community. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in an official release said orders had been issued for distribution of 4,600 tonnes of rice to about 3,000 mosques.”The scheme (introduced in 2001) has been largely welcomed by the members of Muslim community. As I have received requests for continuation of distribution of rice this year too, I have issued orders for distribution of rice to the mosques,” she said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>District Collectors have been directed to release sufficient quantity of rice to the mosques, she added. The scheme would benefit about 3,000 mosques and cost the exchequer Rs 2.14 crore, the release added.

dna exclusive: Maharashtra to review rape rehabilitation scheme

It’s final. The women and child development department’s ambitious Manodhariya scheme – launched to give financial assistance to victims of rape and child abuse, and was found to be gravely misused – has gone for a review.According to the sources in the know, as per the new draft of the scheme, only emergency funds needed for medical purposes will be issued to the victim on filing of the FIR while the remaining funds will be released only on completion of the trial, and if the accused is convicted.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The current scheme gives an amount ranging between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh to the victim, depending upon the severity of the case, with separate funds of up to Rs50,000 for injuries and incidental costs such as travel and medical expenditure. Of the sanctioned money, 25% is released immediately on registration of an FIR whereas the remaining 75% is put in a fixed deposit with a lock in period of three years.In April this year, the department, flooded with complaints of connivance between the victim and the accused to avail the compensation money, had written to the district administrations to verify claims and submit a detail report on the number and nature of such complaints. The alarm was also raised by the finance department which was shocked to receive regular demands from the department for more and more funds. In May, the commissioner office in Pune recommended review of the scheme after verifying the complaints.“Although we are yet to receive report from every district, prime facie it appears that the scheme needs a review and there is some misuse on the ground level. The new draft will be more on the lines of the Centre’s rehab scheme. It is expected to be placed before the cabinet this month,” said a senior officer.The scheme was launched barely three years ago and over Rs 50 crore has already been disbursed under the scheme. In last one year the department has sanctioned Rs 36 crore for rehabilitation purpose whereas when the scheme was launched in September 2013 it had a sanctioned limit of Rs 8 crore.Since the inception of the scheme the government has received 4,809 cases for disbursal of compensation of which 3,714 cases received a sanction after verification.Meanwhile, the Bombay high court time and again pulled up the state government over its halfhearted implementation of the scheme. In February 2015, the court had directed the government to spell out its efforts towards publicising the scheme among the survivors, as well as the police and investigating authorities.

Jung v/s AAP: Lt Guv refuses to give go-ahead to AAP’s app-based bus service scheme

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has refused to give a go-ahead to the AAP government’s ambitious ‘app-based premium bus service’ which was to be rolled out from June 1 and sought explanation from Transport Commissioner Sanjay Kumar for “misusing” his name while issuing a notification in this regard.A senior Delhi government official, however, said the Lt Governor has asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to give a re-look into the proposed scheme. The move may trigger another round of confrontation between the LG’s office and the Kejriwal government which have been at loggerheads over a range of issues.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Lt Governor has refused to give go-ahead to the government’s notified app-based premium bus scheme which was not introduced as per laid down rules. The LG has also sought explanation from the transport commissioner and asked him to file his reply within three days,” a source said.Earlier this month, the Delhi Cabinet had approved the scheme to allow app-based bus service in the national capital on the lines of app-based taxis services. Sources further said Kumar was also asked by the LG why he did not apprise the Cabinet that the scheme is in violation of rules.Earlier this week, Delhi government had notified app-based premium bus scheme through which Delhiites would be able to book their seat in a bus through their smart phones on the lines of app-based taxi services. Three days ago, Jung had, however, sought the file pertaining to the scheme from the Delhi government.The AAP dispensation did not seek prior approval from the LG to notify the scheme with government officials claiming that there is no need to do the same before rolling out the scheme.Since the Aam Aadmi Party came to power in Delhi, Lt Governor and Delhi Government have sparred over a number of issues including transfer and postings of bureaucrats, formation of Commission of Inquiry. In March, the AAP government had alleged that the Lt Governor had turned down its proposal to create bus lanes in the city streets and imposition of Rs 2,000 against the violators of the rules.However, the LG office refuted the charges, saying it had only sought clarification from the government on the proposal. In the past, Kejriwal had also slammed Jung for annulling his government orders on several occasions.

Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Highlight govt’s work, expose DMK-Cong alliance- Jayalalithaa asks cadres

AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday exhorted her partymen to explain the development work and welfare schemes of her government, the party’s electoral promises including freebies and remind people of the “unholy” alliance between the DMK and Congress.”I have successfully implemented a host of schemes, both short-term and long-term to benefit all the families in Tamil Nadu,” she said in a letter to her party workers. AIADMK regime had implemented various schemes including freebies like 20 kg rice for ration card holders, mixers, grinders and milch cows and goats. However, several of these schemes had attracted opposition flak with allegations of corruption.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Highlighting her regime’s performance she cited “achievements” like creation of 1.5 crore new job opportunities and setting up of the “highest number” of small and micro industries in India.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: This ‘grandmom’ stars in campaign videos for both DMK and AIADMK!”Tamil Nadu people are living happily, protected by rule of law,” she said. On the AIADMK manifesto, she reiterated that women would get 50 per cent subsidy for buying scooters or mopeds, waiver of farm loans, 100 units power free of cost, increasing allocation of gold (four to eight grams of gold) under ‘Thallikku Thangam Scheme’ (Gold for Mangalsutra Scheme).Referring to the DMK-Congress alliance as “unholy,” she asked her party workers to tell voters that this combine would jeopardies the efforts of Tamil people who are striving hard to win back their rights in Sri Lanka. Hitting out at DMK, she said “remind voters that if the poison tree of family politics is going to strengthen itself, it will be dangerous for individual freedom and also tell them how all industrial ventures went into the control of one family till 2011.” DMK was in power between 2006-11.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Jayalalithaa promises to enact law against NEET if voted to power

Mumbai: BMC provisions four FSI for Dharavi redevelopment project

The BMC has made provisions four FSI for Dharavi Redevelopment Project as requested by Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada).As per the Urban Renewal Scheme under Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP), areas undertaken by Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) under DRP for renewal and redevelopment of buildings/chawls, including cessed buildings situated on non-slum areas within Dharavi Notified Area, will be a part of the entire DRP area which will have an overall FSI of 4.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The entitlement of FSI on that particular plot shall be 4 or the FSI required for rehabilitation of existing tenants/occupiers plus incentive FSI and would be in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the revised DCR of Development Plan 2014-2034.Meanwhile, BMC has uploaded Revised Draft Development Control Regulations 2014-34 (Part V, VI, VII(PT), VIII, X(PT), Annexures /Appendices) pertaining to additional FSI, Open spaces, Land Use classification, general building requirements and special provisions. BMC has requested the citizens to submit their suggestions and objections by May 17 by hand delivery at BMC headquarters or on [email protected]

Over 20,000 forest fire cases witnessed in last 4 months: Govt

The first four months of 2016 have witnessed over 20,000 incidents of forest fire compared to nearly 16,000 such cases entire last year, Rajya Sabha was told on Monday.”Till April 21 this year, a total of 20,667 incidents of forest fires have taken place. In 2015, the total number of forest fire incidents were 15,937,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in a written reply.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Javadekar said the Centre has formulated a contingency plan for dealing with such crises.The reply comes in the backdrop of raging fires in Uttarakhand forests which have destroyed 2,269 hectares of forested area across the state and claimed seven lives. Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag and Tehri are among the worst-hit districts.He said that this year, 291 forest fires have occurred in Uttarakhand, 2,422 in Chhattisgarh and 2,349 in Odisha. Madhya Pradesh reported 2,238 forest fires this year against 294 such incidents last year.Maharashtra reported 1,638 forest fires in 2016 while the figure stood at 1,719 for Assam. 1,416 fire forest incidents took place in Andhra Pradesh, the minister said quoting the figures of Forest Survey of India.In 2014, 19,054 forest fire incidents were reported, while 18,451 forest fire incidents took place in 2013.”Environment Ministry has formulated a contingency plan for dealing with forest fires which details the mechanism for coordination during the crisis situation of a major forest fire.”The plan provides for crisis groups at the Centre, state and local levels which take appropriate action to mitigate any crisis arising out of forest fires,” Javadekar said.He said that the government provides funds to states and union territories under the centrally-sponsored scheme ‘Intensification of Forest Management Scheme’ to supplement their efforts.”Under the scheme, various activities such as creation and maintenance of fire lines, construction of watch towers, engagement of fire watchers, assistance to joint forest management committees…””…construction of water storage structures, setting up of fire fighting cells, procurement of fire fighting equipment, fire mapping, preparation of fire management plan and training and awareness are supported,” Javadekar said.

Third phase of odd-even scheme only after analysing reports and surveys: Gopal Rai

Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai on Friday said the government will implement the third edition of odd-even scheme only after analysing report of its six-member committee and surveys of media organisations on the ongoing second phase of the car-rationing plan. Rai said that after analysing surveys and reports, Delhi Cabinet will take a final decision on introducing the next phase of the car-rationing plan in the national capital.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government’s move came a day after the Transport minister appealed to newspapers and news channels to conduct an open survey on the existing odd-even scheme, alleging conspiracy is being hatched to “sabotage” the scheme.Last week, government had constituted a six-member committee, headed by Special Transport Commissioner K K Dahiya, to study the impact of the opening of schools and hot weather during the scheme and also suggest when the government should implement the next edition of the scheme.”We have decided to analyse surveys of media organisations which have been appealed by the government to conduct open surveys on second phase of odd-even scheme through various modes like SMS, field survey and others. Besides, we recently constituted the six-member committee to study the impact of opening of schools and hot weather in its second edition. We will analyse both surveys of media organisations and our committee’s report. Thereafter, Delhi Cabinet will decide the fate of third phase of the scheme,” Rai told PTI.The minister said Delhi government is strengthening public transport system by introducing new buses so that people won’t have to face problems in the next phase of odd-even scheme. On Thursday, Rai had claimed that many people are following odd-even scheme.He had said that some TV channels are telecasting seven videos on traffic-congestion and seeing them, it seems that due to odd-even scheme, people are “facing a lot of difficulties”, but the real picture is different.”When we meet people, they say that odd-even scheme is good, but TV channels are showing different pictures,” Rai had said on Thursday.

Odd-even 2.0: MPs want themselves to be ‘exempted’, Delhi govt says ‘not happening’

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s pet odd-even scheme came for a scathing attack in Parliament on Monday with members alleging it would “generate corruption” and was aimed at “insulting” MPs as they sought exemption from the scheme to attend Parliament.Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav contended that the scheme would not help CNG companies and companies manufacturing buses and cars and would hardly reduce pollution. He said Kejriwal had introduced the scheme to gain “cheap popularity”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai said that since only 4 days are left for the phase 2 to end, the MPs won’t be exempted from it. “Only 4 days are left for phase 2 of Odd-Even to end, so MPs won’t be exempted. MPs who stay far away and those who don’t have car pooling arrangement, we’re ready to make public transport arrangements for them,” Rai said. Citing an IIT-Kanpur study, he said the pollution from cars was a mere five per cent and the Delhi government had failed to address other issues which contribute to the remaining 95 per cent of pollution. While this was strongly contested by AAP member Bhagwant Mann, some BJP members were seen supporting Ranjan’s plea.In the Rajya Sabha, Naresh Agrawal from (SP) made a strong pitch for exempting MPs from the scheme as has been done for some other sections, a view that found reasonance among most of parties as well as Deputy Chairman of the House P J Kurien.Going hammer and tongs against Delhi government over the move, Agrawal alleged it has done so to “insult” the MPs and wondered why the Centre was “silent” on the issue.Ridiculing the AAP government of Delhi over the scheme which he said was an outcome of its penchant for new rules, Agrawal said days were not far when rules will be framed to prescribe “A and B will walk on the road on a particular day and C and D some other day. Only women will use the road one day and the next day only men.”Congress demands MPs to be exempted from the schemeCongress member Rajiv Shukla said MPs should be “exempted” from the scheme. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress Deputy Leader Anand Sharma backed the views saying the scheme was coming in the way of discharing their duties.Kurien also supported the sentiments noting that the government’s duty was to help MPs discharge their duty in Parliament and asked why did the Parliamentary Affairs Minister not take up the matter with the Delhi government.”Or going by the suggestion of Shukla, MPs’ vehicles should be exempted from the scheme,” he said.Agrawal wondered what will happen if the elected government of Delhi starts interfering in Lutyens’ Delhi.”The Delhi government did not exempt the MPs deliberately in order to insult them even as many others were exempted. Ever since the odd-even scheme has been launched, we are facing problems.MPs get only one sticker of Parliament which they can put on their vehicles. There should be some alternative arrangement,” he said referring to the recent incident of a BJP MP violating the scheme in protest and paying a fine of Rs 3,500.Congress leader Anand Sharma said the scheme was coming in the way of MPs discharging their duties and not being able to attend the meetings of Parliamentary Committees due to it. Wondering how the scheme could be implemented when Parliament was in session, Sharma urged the Centre to take a call and insisted that “this issue needs to be addressed”.His party college Rajiv Shukla said “the only solution is that MP-labelled cars should be exempted.” JD(U)’s K C Tyagi, while supported the demand for exemption of MPs’ vehicles, said that criticising the scheme or Delhi government on this pretext was not correct as it had indeed brought down pollution and has been commended even by some foreign countries. Azad said many MPs have told him about inconvenience they were facing due to the scheme.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in a lighter vein that the Opposition should first allow working in Parliament, at which Kurien quipped “even if they have to disrupt, they will have to come here”.Taking the sentiments of members into account, Kurien said he thinks this matter needed to be taken up and asked Naqvi to take it up immediately. At an all-party convened here ahead of the session, some MPs had yesterday sought relief from the Speaker saying some members were facing inconvenience due to it.Raising the issue at the meeting, TRS leader A P Jithender Reddy said even Parliamentarians like him were facing problems in commuting in Delhi due to the scheme as they had only one car here and only one sticker was issued to them by the Lok Sabha exempting them. His request found some favour from the Speaker who later said she has asked the Lok Sabha secretariat to work out ways so that MPs do not suffer while commuting. The second phase of the scheme began on April 15 and will go on till April 30.

Odd-even an insult: Parliamentarians demand exemption

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal‘s pet odd-even scheme came for a scathing attack in Parliament on Monday with members alleging it would “generate corruption” and was aimed at “insulting” MPs as they sought exemption from the scheme to attend Parliament.

Representational image. ANI

Representational image. ANI

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav contended that the scheme would not help CNG companies and companies manufacturing buses and cars and would hardly reduce pollution.

He said Kejriwal had introduced the scheme to gain “cheap popularity”.

Citing an IIT-Kanpur study, he said the pollution from cars was a mere five per cent and the Delhi government had failed to address other issues which contribute to the remaining 95 per cent of pollution.

While this was strongly contested by AAP member Bhagwant Mann, some BJP members were seen supporting Ranjan’s plea.

In the Rajya Sabha, Naresh Agrawal from (SP) made a strong pitch for exempting MPs from the scheme as has been done for some other sections, a view that found reasonance among most of parties as well as Deputy Chairman of the House P J Kurien.

Going hammer and tongs against Delhi government over the move, Agrawal alleged it has done so to “insult” the MPs and wondered why the Centre was “silent” on the issue.

Ridiculing the AAP government of Delhi over the scheme which he said was an outcome of its penchant for new rules, Agrawal said days were not far when rules will be framed to prescribe “A and B will walk on the road on a particular day and C and D some other day. Only women will use the road one day and the next day only men.”

Congress member Rajiv Shukla said MPs should be “exempted” from the scheme.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress Deputy Leader Anand Sharma backed the views saying the scheme was coming in the way of discharing their duties.

Kurien also supported the sentiments noting that the government’s duty was to help MPs discharge their duty in Parliament and asked why did the Parliamentary Affairs Minister not take up the matter with the Delhi government.

“Or going by the suggestion of Shukla, MPs’ vehicles should be exempted from the scheme,” he said.

Agrawal wondered what will happen if the elected government of Delhi starts interfering in Lutyens’ Delhi.

“The Delhi government did not exempt the MPs deliberately in order to insult them even as many others were exempted. Ever since the odd-even scheme has been launched, we are facing problems.

“MPs get only one sticker of Parliament which they can put on their vehicles. There should be some alternative arrangement,” he said referring to the recent incident of a BJP MP violating the scheme in protest and paying a fine of Rs 3,500.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said the scheme was coming in the way of MPs discharging their duties and not being able to attend the meetings of Parliamentary Committees due to it.

Wondering how the scheme could be implemented when Parliament was in session, Sharma urged the Centre to take a call and insisted that “this issue needs to be addressed”.

His party college Rajiv Shukla said “the only solution is that MP-labelled cars should be exempted.”

JD(U)’s K C Tyagi, while supported the demand for exemption of MPs’ vehicles, said that criticising the scheme or Delhi government on this pretext was not correct as it had indeed brought down pollution and has been commended even by some foreign countries.

Azad said many MPs have told him about inconvenience they were facing due to the scheme.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in a lighter vein that the Opposition should first allow working in Parliament, at which Kurien quipped “even if
they have to disrupt, they will have to come here”.

Taking the sentiments of members into account, Kurien said he thinks this matter needed to be taken up and asked Naqvi to take it up immediately.

At an all-party convened here ahead of the session, some MPs had yesterday sought relief from the Speaker saying some members were facing inconvenience due to it.

Raising the issue at the meeting, TRS leader AP Jithender Reddy said even Parliamentarians like him were facing problems in commuting in Delhi due to the scheme as they had only one car here and only one sticker was issued to them by the Lok Sabha exempting them.

His request found some favour from the Speaker who later said she has asked the Lok Sabha secretariat to work out ways so that MPs do not suffer while commuting.

The second phase of the scheme began on 15 April and will go on till 30 April.

Odd-even 2.0 loses fizz halfway through

A little over a week since it started, the second phase of Delhi’s odd even formula for private cars has lost steam already. There has been little impact on the toxic air pollution levels of the city and no significant change is visible as yet in Delhi’s usual traffic scenario. The latter, clubbed with high compliance levels to the rule, is something that the Aam Aadmi Party government had considered a measure of the scheme’s success in both its phases.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>City residents, who supported the scheme in its first round, are disappointed. An unfavourable weather in Delhi, little presence of civil defence volunteers on the roads, violators going unnoticed, have largely rendered the scheme ineffective this time. Other measures promised by the government last year to curb pollution –such as such as vacuum cleaning of roads, planting grass along roads, shutting ofBadarpur and Dadri power plants and adequate action on garbage and debris burning –are yet to kick off. Problems like fire at Delhi’s municipal dumping grounds have only added to the existing problems on ground.South Delhi’s Malviya Nagar resident Mukesh Singh, who travels to Noida everyday for work, says he has failed to find any reduction in traffic snarls in the city.”For the first three days, the traffic was smooth, but fourth day onwards, the congestions were as usual. I saw several violators on my way to office, but didn’t see anyone being stopped,” said Singh. Singh’s CNG car is exempt from the scheme.Unlike January, where many volunteered to use the metro and bus services for their daily commute, a scorching April heat in the capital has prompted many to avail cab services this time, a factor that has led to more cars on the city streets.Debesh Pal, a Ghaziabad resident, who travels to North Delhi every day, said he is using app-based cab services this time. “Last time, I used to take an auto till Vaishali metro station, from where I took the metro to my destination. This time, I have decided to take cabs because of the weather. Not only am I paying at least Rs700 for my one-way commute, but my cab frequently gets stuck in traffic jams. Breaking the rule is easier in such a case,” says Pal, who owns an odd-numbered car.Commuters say there has been a significant lack of civil defence volunteers on the roads this time has encouraged violators.”While I was commuting to sector 15 of Noida from sector 62 on Saturday, using my GPS, I realised that the route was taking me through east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar. I was in an even-numbered car and breaking the rule was unintentional. But nobody stopped me. There were no traffic cops or civil defence volunteers even at the Delhi-Noida border on Saturday afternoon,” said Deepesh Mishra, a Noida resident.Not only commuters, the Delhi government also seems to have realised that the part two of the scheme is not working, even though chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had pegged it as ‘success’ within its first few days.Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai has alleged conspiracy in the recent fire at the Bhalswa and the Ghazipur landfill sites and in the forested portion of Yamuna floodplains behind Raj Ghat Power station, which added to the air pollution due to burning of garbage. Rai claimed that the acts were deliberate attempts to sabotage the second phase of the odd even scheme.While the police have registered a case against unknown persons on the Bhalswa landfill site fire, the Delhi Government has also formed a four-member committee to enquire into the reasons behind the fire incidents at the two landfill sites and the forested portion of Yamuna floodplains behind Rajghat power station.Rai had said that the committee has been set up to study if school-related traffic and the heat, because of which more people are opting for cabs, have increased the traffic volume on roads. He admitted that during the last odd-even phase, all schools were closed, people walked short distances or take buses or autos.”More people are taking AC cabs this time, which is increasing volume of car-congestion on the roads. During the last odd-even phase, roads were without congestion-free and there was smooth traffic, unlike this time,” he had said in a recent press conference. He had given out a number for people to report traffic congestion.The government has also promised an additional 3,000 buses in Delhi by this year end to bolster the existing public transport. Environmentalists, too, admitted the odd even scheme has not been very effective this time, both in terms of the primary goal of controlling pollution or even reducing congestion.Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director of the Centre for Science and Environment said that odd even being an emergency action, its impact will depend on its stringency. “In cities like Beijing, implementation of the odd even scheme is more stringent. There are fewer exemptions. Here, the list of exemptions is long, including two-wheelers and government vehicles,” she said.Roy Chowdhury added that the other reason why the scheme has not been very effective is that it is being used in isolation for pollution control. “Short and medium term measures like imposing congestion charges, delimiting legal parking area, imposing higher taxes on cars and restraining too much of car usage would help,” she said, adding that the odd even move has somehow managed to involve car owners in the process of controlling pollution.The number of fines, however, continued to remain low. A total of 580 motorists and over 400 auto-rickshaw drivers were penalised for violating the rule on Saturday.

New PF withdrawal norms put on hold until July 31 after protests

New Delhi: Facing protest, the government today kept in abeyance for three more months the proposed move
to bar withdrawal of employer’s contribution to the provident fund corpus until the employee attains the age of 58 years.

PensionThinkstockPensionThinkstock“The notification (tightening PF withdrawal norms) will be kept in abeyance for three months till July 31, 2016. We will discuss this issue with the stakeholders,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told reporters.

His announcement comes in the midst of protest by labour unions in several parts of the country against the bar on withdrawing employer’s contribution from the PF money.

People have also launched online campaign against the decision, which was to be implemented from February 10 but was later put on hold till April 30.

Police yesterday lathicharged a crowd of garment factory workers protesting against the amendment to the EPF Act.

Dattatreya said a meeting of the Central Board of Trustee would be called “to see how best the employers’ contribution to EPF (3.67 per cent of basic wages) can be utilised for workers.”

The Labour Ministry is also contemplating permitting withdrawal of all accumulations by Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s (EPFO) subscribers on grounds like purchase of house, serious illness, marriage and professional education of
children. The matter has been referred to Law Ministry for clearance.

In February, the ministry had issued a notification restricting 100 per cent withdrawal of provident fund by members after unemployment of more than two months, among others.

Following the concerns raised by trade unions and other stakeholders, the ministry decided to keep the notification in abeyance till April 30. Its implementation has been again deferred till July 31, as per a Labour Ministry statement.

Now, the EPFO subscribers who are out of job for more than two months can file for full and final settlement of provident fund till July end.

“On the direction of Labour Minister, the said provision will now come into effect from August 1, 2016 by issue of an
amended notification,” the statement said.

The proposal to amend the scheme to allow all accumulations on different grounds like purchase of house, serious illness, marriage and professional education of children, has been sent for vetting by the Law Ministry.

The proposal also allows withdrawal of all accumulation by EPFO members who have joined an establishment or firm of central or state government and became the member of contributory provident fund or old age pension under any scheme frame by them.

The unions have been demanding complete rollback of the decision tightening the PF withdrawal norms.

Earlier in February, the EPFO had amended the EPF Scheme 1952 to tighten the various norms for withdrawal of provident fund including increasing age limit for filing such claims by retiring employees to 58 years from 54 years.

Besides, the EPFO had also restricted withdrawal of PF to own contribution of subscribers and interest earned on that, if the claimant has remained unemployed for more than two months. The member would be able to withdraw employer’s contribution on maturity.

It was stipulated that the requirement of two months’ unemployment will not apply in cases of women members resigning from the services for the purpose of getting married, on account of pregnancy or child birth.

According to the new norms, subscribers will not be able to claim withdrawal of PF after attaining 54 years of age. They would have to wait till attaining the age 57 years.

As per the earlier norms, subscribers were allowed to claim 90 per cent of their accumulations in their PF account at the age of 54 years and their claims were settled just one year before their retirement.

As per experts, the earlier clause was relevant because there were establishments where retirement age was 55 years or 56 years. But this will create a problem in private as well as public sector where people opt for voluntary retirement.

In another change, EPFO had made it mandatory to wait till attaining the age of 57 for claiming PF withdrawal for transferring that to the Life Insurance Corporation of India for investment in Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana.

Earlier norms used to allow subscribers to claim 90 per cent of their accumulations for investing in the scheme after attaining the age of 55 years.

Odd-even: Sheila Dikshit accuses Kejriwal of hyper-publicising scheme, causing inconvenience to commuters

Asserting that the odd-even scheme by the Delhi government was doing nothing but causing inconvenience to the commuters, Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday accused her successor Arvind Kejriwal of heavily publicising the scheme in a blatant attempt to fool the public into believing that the formula was a raging success.”I really don’t see any benefit here. This is nothing but convenience. They should have gone ahead with the programme only if they honestly thought it was a success. They should also ensure adequate transportation to people, which is not there right now. Half the buses are broken down, how are people supposed to travel now,” Dikshit told ANI here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She further accused Kejriwal of going out of his way to publicise the scheme saying that the Chief Minister was trying to make the scheme sound like a one of a kind, never heard before formula.
ALSO READ Even I worked with limitation, Delhi suffering because of Kejriwal’s mentality: Sheila Dixit “They have publicised this to make it sound like it is out of this world and they have tried to create such an impression, but it’s clearly not working,” Dikshit added.Echoing similar sentiments, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Vijender Gupta told ANI that the Delhi government was not proving anything by implementing the formula only for 15 days and asserted that the odd-even scheme was not a permanent solution to the national capital’s traffic woes.
ALSO READ First quench Delhiites thirst then talk of Latur: Sheila Dikshit tells Kejriwal”The government’s aim through this programme is not clear. This is all just a waste of effort and time and it’s not even a permanent solution. It’s just time pass by the government. People are saying that they might have to buy another vehicle if this continues,” Gupta said.Meanwhile, with the second phase of the odd-even scheme having begun in the national capital from Friday, Kejriwal called on the people to ensure that the formula is a resounding success.
ALSO READ Odd even significantly reduced traffic congestion: Arvind Kejriwal”Odd even starts today. Let’s all join hands and resolve to make it a success,” Kejriwal Tweeted.Delhi Metro and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) have announced extra trains and buses to cope up with the rise in commuters opting for public transport.According to the scheme, cars whose registration numbers end with even numbers would be off roads on even dates, while those cars with odd registration numbers would be off roads on odd dates.The scheme will be in operation from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening, however, the scheme will not apply on Sundays.The VIPs, women drivers, CNG-certified vehicles, two-wheelers and those carrying the differently-abled are exempted from the scheme.However, the exemption will not apply to Delhi Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues as they have decided to abide by the rule.Those found violating the scheme will be penalised with a fine of Rs. 2,000. About 5000 civil defence volunteers will be at various traffic intersections carrying placards explaining the rules to motorists.

In J&K, Centre’s scholarship scheme produces much heartburn

Following the 2010 street protests in Kashmir, that claimed over 100 young lives, the Central government came out with an innovative idea to integrate restless youth with the rest of the country. The UPA government with much fanfare announced 5,000 scholarships every year, to encourage students to study outside Kashmir in different technical and educational institutions across the country, so they would see and experience the softer face of India and return with happy experiences. But six years down the line, dna has found the scheme has not only failed to achieve the desired results, but has even worked negatively.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Farhad Shakeel Wani completed his Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) from a management institute in Ballabhgarh on the outskirts of Delhi. He had left his home at Phulwama near Srinagar hoping for a better future in India.A year-and-a-half after the completion of his course at the Sheela Devi Institute of Management and Technology, the institution from where he passed out continues to hold back his degree. He now helps his father in the fields to support his family of eight.Wani was one of the several beneficiaries of the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme for Jammu and Kashmir providing scholarships to the marginalised community. “Our Class 10 and Class 12 marksheets and certificates are with the college. We cannot even apply for jobs that are open for Class 10 or 12 pass outs, nor can we take fresh admission in a graduation course,” he says.Wani says that there are 22 more boys from his batch who are facing the same fate. Most of them have picked up odd jobs in and around their hometown. They are now feeling cheated by the Indian government.These boys were admitted under the scholarship scheme. But the scholarship amount never reached their bank accounts and they could not pay the fees. Wani now regrets taking admission under the scholarship. “Had we done our graduation from our district college, at least there would have been a degree to show. But the Indian government took that away from us,” he says, with no hesitation of exhibiting a degree of anti-India sentiment.The scheme that was to create a bond between Kashmiris and non-Kashmiri students has done more harm than good. “The fact that there are 50 cases against colleges and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in Jammu and Kashmir High Court is an indication of how the scheme has not worked for the state,” said Malik Imtiyaz, social activist and chairman of the People’s Forum. The Forum is now fighting for the rights of these displaced students.While Wani has gone back to his village after losing even those certificates that he had acquired before coming to Delhi, the vicious circle continues for other Kashmiri youth.A group of Kashmiri boys studying at Noida International University work at call centres or departmental stores to pay for their hostel fees.”We have requested our college to allow us to continue with the academics. We have been allowed to attend classes, but we have to pay for our accommodation and food,” said a third year student, who did not want to be named. With his father having a small piece of land to till and an annual income of less than a lakh, he now has arrange for Rs 8,000 every month to pay for his expenses.The Kashmiri boys have been constantly pursuing their case with AICTE. Their fear is that like their older batchmates, they will also not have any degrees to show two years down the line.Taking note of the harassment faced by these students, the evaluation report prepared by National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) observes, “The scholarship amount along with incidental charges was not received by the students for several successive years. In theevent of delay in scholarships, students had to regularly visit the AICTE office and they were also threatened by the college authorities in the form of imposing fines and not allowing them to sit for exams which amounted to mental harassment.”The AICTE however says that the scholarship amount is released within six months of applying and that the students who are being denied scholarships are those who have been duped by the local agents in the state and are not eligible.”Students who have been duped by agents are facing trouble. These students do not have clearances from AICTE and so there is no scholarship for them,” said Professor Pradeep Kumar, Chairman Delhi College of Technology and Management. Kumar is also the president of association of self-financed private institutions in Haryana.Explaining the modus operandi of the agents, Kumar said that soon after the announcement of the scheme in 2012-13, agents approached students promising them admission in certain colleges. They took away the school certificates from these students. However when the students could not make it through the cut offs of the promised college, they were pushed to those institutions which do not find enough takers. These lesser known colleges, who do not even have adequate infrastructure, admitted students hoping that scholarship amount will reach them in due course of time.Taking note of these malpractices by the colleges, NUEPA’s evaluation report has recommended that instead of listing all the approved institutions, AICTE should allot only ‘A ‘ grade institutions having course-specific infrastructure and hostel facilities to students.AICTE officials also agree that there had been initial flaws in disbursing this scholarship. “In the first two years, students went on to take admission in colleges and applied for the scholarship later. The number of applicants went much above 5,000 and many did not meet the AICTE guidelines. AICTE could not award them scholarships,” said an AICTE officer.The decision to rope in NGOs and consultants to promote the scheme in rural area has also backfired for the Centre. “While applying for admission in colleges they had to pay a good amount of money to NGOs and middlemen. Some of the students complained that wrong institutions were mentioned in the AICTE webportal against their names and also that their original certificate/documents were not being given back by college authorities,” observes NUEPA’s report.Now with another Rs1,200 crore awarded for the scheme this year, AICTE is involving state education board and Central Board of Secondary Education to promote the scheme. “The two boards will create an awareness about the scheme and AICTE will conduct its counselling in Srinagar and Jammu, to grant admission. The student must know that there is no other route,” explained the officer.To make the system transparent, AICTE is switching to online mode. However NEUPA’s report has been critical of the online system since those residing in rural areas and not having access to the internet will be left out yet again.

Election Commission lends helping hand to candidates

In a novel move, hundreds of specially trained Return Preparers deputed by the Election Commission will assist prospective contestants in filling up affidavits and expenditure statements accurately along with their application for the candidature.”It is being done to help candidates who are not well versed with the application format and its requirements and at times face rejection of their candidature for wrongly filling up affidavits and expenditure details despite not having the intention to do so,” said an EC official.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This scheme of ECRPs will be available in each district of the four states -West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and the UT of Puducherry – that are going to polls from April 4.While a total of 111 such ECRPs have been deployed in West Bengal, in Kerala a private institute which had trained TRPs for the tax department has been tasked with the job, while similar arrangements are being made in Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.Their exclusive task is to assist candidates in e-filing of affidavits and abstract statements of expenditure made during polls. To popularise the scheme and make it easy for contestants, the EC has decided to bear all expenses for the services rendered by the preparers.”The scheme is aimed to ensure quick and error-free filing of affidavits and post-poll expenditure statements,” an official said.The election commission will pay Rs 1,200 per candidate to the ECRPs for services rendered by them.The scheme has been borrowed from a similar mechanism developed by the IT department in 2006-7 called the Tax Return Preparer Scheme (TRPS) to assist small and marginal taxpayers in preparing and filing their IT returns complicated due to multiple documentation by charging a nominal fee.

JNU incidents are disturbing: DCW chief Swati Maliwal

DCW chief Swati Maliwal on Sunday termed the recent developments in JNU as “disturbing” and claimed a true “patriot” is one who deeply empathises with the poor, women and the marginalised sections.”The recent developments in JNU are disturbing….In my life I have come across many hardcore Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and even Deshbhakts (patriots) but have come across few hardcore humans,” Maliwal said while speaking at a programme organized by National Service Scheme in JNU.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”To be a true Deshbhakt one has to be a good human being first and have deep empathy for the poor, women and the marginalized section of this country and work towards their uplift,” she said.Addressing the students on “Role of youth especially women in nation building”, she also highlighted the challenges faced by women in the national capital including the issue of their safety.JNU was mired in a row over an event on campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.

Nandan Nilekani says NDA’s Aadhaar Bill stronger than UPA’s on privacy

Infosys co-founder and former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani has said that the NDA government’s Aadhaar Bill is probably the most stringent law on privacy till date in India. Speaking to Indian Express, Nilekani said that NDA government’s Aadhaar Bill has enough safeguards.“In fact, this (the Bill on privacy) is stronger than the original Bill. The Bill has very robust privacy protection beyond what any other legislation has ever provided in India. It is as good as it gets,” he told the daily. He also called it a “big leap forward in the quality of legislation India has seen”. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting the Rajya Sabha’s five amendments and the opposition’s appeal not to make ‘haste’, the Lok Sabha had on Wednesday passed the legislation that aims at better targeting of subsidies through the Aadhar unique identity number, within hours of the Upper Housing returning it.The bank accounts of 24.89 crore out of nearly 25 crore families have already been linked with Aadhaar to pass on the benefits in these accounts, ensuring “zero” leakage.
ALSO READ Aadhaar Bill passage a landmark development: NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind PanagariyaThe Aadhaar card can be uses for PDS, Mid Day Meals, Integrated Child Development Scheme, MGNREGA, Indira Awaaz Yojana, Prime Minister’s Employment Guarantee Program, Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyaan, Janani SurakshaYojana, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, Janashri Bima Yojana, Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana, property transactions, Voter ID, PAN card etc.Passed by voice vote
ALSO READ Aadhaar to help expand banking system, provide easy access to loans: Raghuram RajanJust moments before it was adjourned for more than a month-long recess for scrutiny of budget, the Lok Sabha adopted the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Bill, 2016, by a voice vote after rejecting the recommendations for five amendments made by the Upper House.Congress doesn’t rule out legal actionCongress did not rule out approaching courts against a move to turn the Aadhaar Bill as a money bill to bypass the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks majority. “We reserve the right to take recourse to all available alternatives including a court challenge,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters asserting that “by no stretch of imagination, the Aadhaar bill is a money bill”.

Aadhaar Bill gets Lok Sabha approval, government hopes to save crores

A day after the Rajya Sabha passed the Real Estate Bill, the government secured the approval of the Lok Sabha on Friday for the Aadhaar Bill, making the current Budget session the most productive since the Modi government took over.The Aadhaar Bill gives statuory backing to the Unique Identification Number (UIN) in vogue since 2009.While Thursday, in the words of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, brought “great news for homebuyers”, finance minister Arun Jaitley, who piloted the Aadhaar Bill, said it would help save thousands of crores of rupees in subsidies, scholarships and other handouts, ensuring that they go only to the deserving.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last week, parliamentary affairs minister Venkiah Naidu said the Bill would save Rs 20,000 crore by negating subsidies taken by the undeserving. The government intends to notify it as a law from April 1.Though, over the past 22 months, the NDA government has been able to seek the passage of 25 legislations, due to forced adjournments and disruptions, it received parliamentary approval for just three major financial reform laws – the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015, the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015.Jaitley rejected the Opposition demand to send the Aadhaar Bill to the parliamentary standing committee. He also defended the move to convert it to a money bill to circumvent the Opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha.He said the Bill will certainly go to the Rajya Sabha. It is already listed in the government’s business in the Upper House for next week when it sits for three days up to Wednesday before going for a month-long recess.Though the Rajya Sabha can examine a money bill and send its recommendations, they may or may not be accepted by the Lok Sabha. Other bills require passage by both the Houses.Article 111 of the Indian Constitution also prevents the President from returning a money bill to Parliament for reconsideration.The 2010 National Identification Authority of India (NIAI) Bill of the previous UPA government, pending in the Rajya Sabha, which was withdrawn by the government last week, only provided for the UIN while the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill is an ‘entitlement bill’ and becomes a money bill since it provides for expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, Jaitley said.He said that members cannot fathom how much money the government will be able to save by clubbing all entitlements to the Aadhaar card. Linking it to LPG saved over Rs 15,000 crore to the government, while Rs 2,300 crore was saved in PDS (public distribution system) delivery in four states on a pilot basis, as it automatically eliminated bogus ration card holders.The bank accounts of 24.89 crore out of nearly 25 crore families have already been linked with Aadhaar to pass on the benefits in these accounts, ensuring “zero” leakage.Pointing out that the discussions on Aadhaar for the past seven years have helped the government in making the Bill much better, Jaitley said the Aadhaar card won’t give any right of citizenship as it has been specifically laid down in the Bill.On the Opposition’s concern over privacy, he said the Bill has in-built protection, laying down that no Aadhaar data will be shared with anybody without the consent of the concerned citizen while even his consent won’t allow access of core biometrics to anybody.Citing the differences between the earlier by the UPA and the latest one, Jaitley said that the former provided for the establishment of an authority and gave the idea of UIN but failed to define its purpose.”Learning from that experience, we have improved upon the idea and the focus of the Bill is shifted,” he said. The NIDAI Bill, 2010, was introduced by the previous UPA government to provide statutory backing to the UIDAI.Where Aadhaar can be usedPDS, Mid Day Meals, Integrated Child Development Scheme, MGNREGA, Indira Awaaz Yojana, Prime Minister’s Employment Guarantee Program, Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyaan, Janani SurakshaYojana, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, Janashri Bima Yojana, Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana, property transactions, Voter ID, PAN card etc.

Andhra devotee offers Rs 1 crore to Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala

An ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara has made a donation of Rs 1 crore to the famous hill shrine at Tirumala on Friday.T Srinivasa Rao, a businessman from the port city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, handed over a demand draft of Rs 1 crore to the temple authorities at a Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) guest house on the hills, an official said.TTD Board, which administers the cash-rich temple, Chairman Chadalavada Krishnamurthy told PTI that the devotee requested the temple management to use the money for the pilgrim Free Meal Scheme.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under the scheme, more than one crore devotees were offered free lunch annually for the last three decades, he added.

Drought dominates Governor’s address as Maharashtra Budget session begins

Facing heat from Opposition over the agrarian distress, Maharahstra government on Wednesday said that bringing solace to drought-hit farmers is of primary concern to it and revealed that it has already disbursed Rs 2,536 crore for their relief. “The state is facing drought for the fourth successive year and nearly 15,750 villages are adversely affected in the current Kharif season,” Governor C Vidyasagar Rao said in his address to the joint sitting of the state legislature on the commencement of the budget session, even as the opposition slammed the BJP-led Government over the issue.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Central Government has approved relief assistance of Rs 3,049 crore, which is the highest-ever central assistance given to Maharashtra,” he said, adding till date the state government has disbursed Rs 2,536 crore to drought-affected farmers.As soon as Rao reached the Vidhan Bhavan to deliver his address, the opposition Congress and NCP members were on their feet, attacking the government for “ignoring farmers’ plight and favouring dance bar owners instead”.As he began the speech enumerating several development measures taken by the state government, opposition members sought to disrupt him, with the refrain “talk about farmers”. “We want loan waiver for farmers. Down with the government which has ignored farmers,” they said. “We want a legislation banning dance bars.”The Governor said the government has decided to extend relief assistance to the people who suffered crop loss, house damage due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm in 2015. The Centre has revised the norms of relief assistance under State Disaster Relief Fund.Accordingly, the state government has adopted the enhanced financial assistance norms with effect from April 1, 2015, he said. He also said that the government has decided to waive three months’ interest on loans availed by farmers who lost their crop due to natural calamities during November-December 2014 and February-March 2015.To help drought-hit farmers, 33 per cent of the current electricity bills have been waived. On the lines of ‘Krishi Sanjeevani Scheme’, the ‘Paani Sanjeevani Scheme’ has been started which will benefit 50,000 drinking water schemes of local bodies, Rao said.Earlier, setting a new precedent, the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena accorded a Guard of Honour to the Governor as he arrived in the Vidhan Bhavan’s forecourt for his joint address to both Houses of the Legislature. As Rao arrived, he was greeted by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade, Council Chairman Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat, with a bouquet.Later, a contingent of Mumbai Police gave him the Guard of Honour and police band played the national anthem.

International Women’s Day: Why Women’s Day

(SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya was dna’s guest editor on the eve of International Women’s Day today. All stories appearing on this page are her choice. Those stories selected by her and appearing inside carry a special logo. Appearing below is her thoughts about the day.)In this day and age, do we still need Women’s Day? This is a question asked every year. The answer: look around and see whether women who form 50% of the population also account for or close to 50% in all walks of life.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If it’s not so, we still have a long road to traverse and it is important to have this day, so that we can refocus our energies into assessing what the obstacles are and challenges that stand in the way of achieving our goals.Who should be the enablers here? I am a great believer in self-help. So, in this case, I would say “every woman herself”. How, one can ask.Well, first of all, let us not short-change ourselves. The sky is the limit and we must truly believe so. Let’s challenge ourselves and be fully confident that it is within our powers to achieve. Let’s learn to have a sense of true self-worth.It’s often said that others’ words and opinions can hurt us only if we “let them”. This is very true. So often we depend on the mirrors others hold up to us to understand what we can do or even what we are. We must try to reduce this dependence on others.Easy to say, but can we really achieve such an equable frame of mind? The answer is the same for anything difficult to achieve – practice. Practice makes one perfect. So, if we remind ourselves daily that we are not dependent on what others think we are, it will happen.Second, never refuse a challenge. If life doesn’t present you any, create some for yourself. So many friends of mine grumble that they can’t leave home on account of various responsibilities. I also have friends who have turned these very difficulties into opportunities — maybe by writing columns, setting up catering services, running successful coaching classes, designing dresses/ furniture/ jewellery, grooming their talent and becoming regular painters, or even doing school projects on demand.There is no bar to what we can do. Today, many of these friends of mine who persevered disbelief and derision of people around them are mentioned with pride by the very same people. These stories swell my heart with joy and I reaffirm my faith that should we dare, all is possible.Last but not least, let each one of us pledge to help at least one woman less fortunate than ourselves. Many will say, “We lead busy lives. Where is the time?” We don’t need a great deal of time really. For example, we have maids who work for us. Can we ensure they have a bank account, some insurance and a National Pension Scheme account? This doesn’t take much time. We can also mentor juniors at work. Or, if housebound, tutor two kids unable to afford tuition. Give some classes in spoken English or teach some fancy cooking.I once had a maid in Kharagpur who used to clean our house and collect cow dung on the way home in order to create cow dung patties to sell for fuel and make money. By the time I left Kharagpur, she had graduated to being the mohalla cook with excellent skills ranging from making biriyani to mayonnaise.She became the cook of choice for all mohalla functions, including marriages. I remember her with gratitude because she never missed a day’ s work. She was worried that I would go to work without food if she failed to turn up!On this Women’s Day, I salute the many many such women out there – for their courage, perseverance and faith.Happy Women’s Day!

5-6 crisis centres to help women in distress every month: Maneka Gandhi

The Women and Child Development Ministry has decided to launch 5-6 One Stop Crisis Centres every month to help women victims of violence.Three such centres will be launched on International Women’s Day on March 8, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said. There are six such centres in the country.”The One Stop Centres for providing safety to women affected by violence will be significantly expanded this year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>We are launching three more One Stop Crisis Centres in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Foundation stone will also be laid in Nagaland,” Gandhi said.”We will come up with five to six centres every month this year,” she said.Currently six One Stop Centres are functional in Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Vijayawada City (Andhra Pradesh), Karnal (Haryana), Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Chandigarh.The ministry has also released funds to more than 30 states for building the facility.Initially, these centres were proposed to be established at 660 locations covering all the districts across the country.After receiving feedback from public and stakeholders and inter-ministerial consultations, it was decided to build them in a phased manner.”The scheme envisages establishment of one centre in each State/UT in the first phase and further expansion depends upon the performance of these centres,” a senior ministry official said.”The centres are at the nascent stage of operationalization at the field level. The One Stop Centre Scheme is being monitored by the Ministry on a regular basis,” the official said.The centres will extend medical help, counselling, legal and police assistance to women in distress, while ensuring anonymity of the victim.The facility was one of the key recommendations of Justice J S Verma committee that was set up in the aftermath of the public uproar against the December 16 gangrape in Delhi.

EPF taxation: PM Modi hints at full rollback; PMO asks finance ministry to explore other options

After drawing flak from all corners, finance minister Arun Jaitley is all set to roll back his Budget proposal to tax 60% corpus of the employees’ provident fund (EPF) at the time of withdrawal, at least partially.A clear indication of a rethink on the part of the government came when Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly told Jaitley to “explore ways to review” it.Jaitley’s announcement to tax EPF in the Budget speech had led to a lot of confusion, after which the government clarified that the tax will apply only to the interest component and that too for voluntary contributors.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is learnt that the issue was discussed at a high-level meeting between officials of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and finance ministry on March 3. Jaitley is now expected to make an official statement in the House outlining the revised proposal.The finance minister, while announcing the proposal, had stated that the change in rule is aimed at reducing litigation and increasing transparency. However, the proposed tax provision didn’t find favour with the salaried middle class, employees’ unions, opposition parties and others. Gujarat chief minister and party ally Shiv Sena had voiced concern over the proposal.Senior BJP ministers and party MPs also counseled the government, fearing that the decision could prove politically costly. The RS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh too wrote to the government against this step. It also didn’t rule out a joint front with other trade unions agitate against the move.It’s believed that Modi’s intervention at this point is aimed at stemming the uproar and not to share the credit of rollback with opposition parties.However, a highly-placed source told dna that the government may not go in for a full rollback and may consider other options to cushion the impact of the proposal.Sonu Iyer, tax partner & national leader – people advisory services, EY India, too, expects the ministry to balance between its “cause of pensioned society” and the interest of the salaried middle class.”Actually, there should be some sort of balance between the cause of pensioned society they have in mind (and demand of salaried class). I don’t think it will be a total rollback,” she said.The new norm proposes to tax 60% of the contribution to an employee’s EPF corpus from April, even as it has kept the remaining 40% tax-free. Simultaneously, it has increased the age of retirement to 58 years from 55 years.In a clarification by the ministry after initial protests, the government said that if the 60% corpus is invested in an annuity plan, it would be exempted from tax.However, Iyer said an employee would still end up paying tax, not in lump-sum, but at the time of receiving the annuity every month.”If you put your money in annuity, every month you get an annuity payment. It is taxable. It is just deferral (of tax payment),” she said.She said the ministry was trying to bring tax neutrality between EPF and National Pension Scheme (NPS), which has not been affected by the proposed rule. Even private-sector employees, with salaries less than Rs 15,000 per month, have been kept out.

Rahul Gandhi tears into Modi, government on black money, Pakistan

After forcing wash out of the last two Parliament sessions, a new reality is dawning to the Congress to allow functioning of both the Houses, in order to floor the government on various issues. Waiting since Tuesday, to speak on the motion of thanks, derailed by the AIADMK protests, a belligerent Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of not listening to own colleagues and ignoring the voice of the people. A confident looking Rahul also accused Modi of destroying thousands of hours of diplomacy” of UPA government, that had put Pakistan in a diplomatic cage. Senior Congress leaders believe that there was a tacit understanding between the treasury benches and the AIADMK to force adjournments, in order to disallow Congress to raise burning issues. “We now feel, raising issues on the floor of Parliament gets wider attention and is best tool to floor the government,”a top leader told dna.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon after the AIADMK forced discussion on Aircell-Maxis ended, and discussion of president’s address resumed, Rahul took the floor, accused the government of letting Pakistan off the hook. In his 30-minute speech full of sarcasm he repeatedly referred to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), provoking the BJP MPs to rise in protest when he also mentioned Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar a few times. “We convinced the world that Pakistan is the global supporter of terror. But in one move, he let Pakistan out of the cage we had forced it into by gifting them a status equal to ours,” he said. He flayed the prime minister for dropping in Lahore in December just to greet Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif on his birthday. He also taunted finance minister Arun Jaitley for announcing an amnesty scheme for those having black money. “Arun Jaitleyji has launched a new scheme, Fair and Lovely Scheme to turn black money white. Nobody will be jailed under the Fair and Lovely Scheme. Go to Jaitley Ji and your money will become white,” said Rahul.In Rajya Sabha, however, leader of Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad was cautious, choosing words carefully to ensure there was no ruckus in the House. He also made several references to speeches made by the PM. He said Modi before becoming the prime minister was criticising the Congress for not taking a strong stand against Pakistan. “Now the prime minister goes and attends wedding feasts in Pakistan,” said Azad.In contrast to Azad’s caution, Rahul was combative blaming the prime minister for not listening to anybody. “Listen to those around you –to Rajnathji, Advaniji, Sushma ji.” Accusing Modi of not listening to anybody and doing whatever he thinks right, Rahul said: “The Prime Minister cannot run the country on only his opinion. The country is not the Prime minister. The Prime Minister is not the country.” A snide shout from the BJP benches: “What about India is Indira and Indira is India?” Asking whose opinion does the PM respect except his own, Rahul taunted: “You have been taught by your teachers in the RSS that there is only one truth – Yours.”He also mentioned his trip to the JNU to address the students after Kanhaiya’s arrest, Rahul said: “When I went to JNU, your ABVP workers waved black flags in my face, they taunted and abused me. I felt no anger, I felt proud that I lived in an India where it was possible for me to be confronted by people who held a different opinion than me. A nation is the relationship between its people. It is nothing but the conversation between its citizens. You cannot defend the Indian flag by destroying the relationships between Indians.”Rahul also chided Modi on the so-called “historic” Naga accord he signed in August whose details are not made public even today. “You have been taught by your teachers in RSS that there is only one truth in universe – your own – and that nobody else’s opinion matters,” he said.

MGNREGA: Govt hits back at Congress, questions its implementation

Accused of making a ‘U-turn’ on its stand on MGNREGA, the Centre on Tuesday hit back at Congress, raising questions on implementation of the flagship rural job scheme during the UPA rule, and dismissed as “misinformation” the charge that it wanted to “close down” the programme.Announcing that 186 crore person days’ work was created under MGNREGA in the just concluded financial year, the government said there would be no dearth of funds for the scheme.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Beneficiaries of MGNREGA felt cheated due to the manner in which the UPA implemented the scheme. We have tried to alleviate that. People are now coming forward for MGNREGA,” Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said.Referring to enhanced allocation of funds for the scheme under the NDA government, Singh, who joined BJP in August last year, said since he had been in Congress, he can see the difference between implementation of the scheme under the previous and the present governments.”At that time when the allocation was Rs 40,000 crore, the expenditure was around Rs 25,000 crore. This is the first year that the entire allocated sum has been spent. This year work worth more than Rs 43,000 crore has been done under MGNEGA. We have removed many lacunaues.”It was this government that thought of spending 60 per cent on agriculture. We have actually succeeded in spending over 64 per cent of MGNREGA fund on it. MGNREGA is not limited to 100-day job creation but asset creation. Maintaining the 60:40 ratio, Rs 16,000 crore has been spent through convergence in MGNREGA and created quality assets. We devised new ways to implement MGNREGA in a proper manner,” Singh said.He was speaking to the media a day after the Union budget allocated Rs 38,500 crore for MGNREGA in 2016-17, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying if the total amount was spent, it will be the highest budget spending on MGNREGA.”As far as the budget is concerned, it is the highest. As far expenditure is concerned, it is the highest,” Singh asserted.Regarding the demand to link MGNREGA wages to market rate and the constitution of Narendra Dev Committee on the wage issue, the minister said the committee has given its report, which has already been accepted by the ministry and it has written to the Finance Ministry.”The report recommends that MGNREGA wage should be at par with the existing agricultural wage in the state. This will entail an additional expenditure of Rs 2,000 crore for which I have made a demand from the Finance Ministry,” Singh said.Sources in the ministry said the committee wants the MGNREGA wage to be linked to rural Consumer Price Index. If it is accepted, the state wages and MGNREGA wages will be the same, the sources said.

Budget 2016: Will amnesty for tax evaders demoralise the honest tax payers?

Reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to remove black money from the economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a voluntary disclosure of income scheme in the Union Budget 2016-17 on Monday for unearthing undisclosed income.

It may be an opportunity for those who didn’t disclose their income and pay tax to voluntarily come forward and compensate, but the experts on black money and taxation are apprehensive about the success rate of the scheme meant to bring out undisclosed income in the mainstream.

Let’s take the foreign assets’ declaration scheme announced in Budget 2015-16. While the present one is meant for the domestic taxpayers, the last year’s scheme, which was for foreign assets, failed to bear desirable result apparently due to high tax rate and penalty (60 percent).

The voluntary scheme:
The FM in his budget speech on Monday proposed a limited period compliance window for domestic taxpayers to declare undisclosed income and clear their past tax transgressions. As per the scheme, the tax rate is 30 percent, surcharge 7.5 percent and penalty 7.5 percent, which is a total of 45 percent of the undisclosed income. The surcharge levied at 7.5 percent of undisclosed income will be called ‘Krishi Kalyan surcharge’ which will be used for agriculture and rural economy. A window of four months has been given—from 1 June to 30 September — with an option to pay amount due within two months of declaration.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

There will be no scrutiny or inquiry under the Income Tax Act or the Wealth Tax Act. The declarants will have immunity from prosecution. Immunity from Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988 is also proposed subject to certain conditions.

Jaitley said once this opportunity for evaded income to be declared was given, the government would further focus on bringing people with black money to book.

Will it work?
Experts strongly feel that given the amnesty nature of the scheme announced on Monday, the success rate might be low as many who evaded disclosing their incomes and didn’t pay taxes in the first place are not going to respond to this call either.

“Though it has not been called an amnesty scheme, this income disclosure scheme is amnesty by nature, because the government — except collecting 45 percent tax (with surcharge and penalty) — is lenient towards tax evaders,” said economist Arun Kuma. “The same people may not respond to pay 45 percent tax, as it’ll be convenient for them not to pay at all. Why should they pay, if they can get away with it?”

Prior to Monday’s announcement, earlier successive governments had introduced six Voluntary Disclosure of Income Schemes (VDIS) till 1997 to bring undisclosed income or black money into the mainstream. The Supreme Court in 1997 took an undertaking from the government that no ‘amnesty scheme’ should be announced, as it demoralises honest taxpayers and gives tax evaders an opportunity to get away by paying a penalty.

“The foreign assets declaration scheme announced in the last budget didn’t do well due to high tax rate of 60 percent,” said Riaz Thingna, director, Grant Thornton Advisory. Last time the government had said that it wouldn’t come up with any kind of amnesty scheme because earlier, whenever the amnesty schemes were announced by any name, they attracted lot of criticism. Because people felt that they benefitted dishonest taxpayers and simultaneously demoralised honest taxpayers. It’s a tough call for the government, as large chunk of money is in a parallel economy.”

Opined chartered accountant Abhishek Aneja, “Last year’s scheme didn’t do well because in case of black money stashed abroad, the money is normally routed through a planned strategy and is channeled from different jurisdictions through the trusts and companies registered or incorporated outside India. In such a case it becomes difficult for the tax authorities to identify the tax evaders and impose the liability on them. But it is not so difficult in case of undisclosed money in India, which is much easier to track by the government. So, the scheme announced in this budget may help the government to bring undisclosed income in the mainstream.”

Government optimistic
Probably going by the success of the 1997 VDIS and the Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme (VCES) pertaining to Service Tax announced by the UPA government in 2013, the Modi government seems optimistic with this scheme.

While, the government had received more than Rs 9,000 crore from 1997 VDIS scheme, VCES reportedly yielded Rs 7,700 crore from service tax defaulters.

“This disclosure scheme is different from the previous VDIS,” said Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia. “The most popular scheme announced in 1997 yielded more than Rs 9,000 crore to government exchequer. This scheme will do well and the government has projected 18 percent growth in personal income tax.”

Carrot and Stick approach
Herve Falciani, the French-Italian whistleblower and the person behind the ‘Lagarde list’ that revealed the identity of 2000 potential tax evaders, suggested the Indian government adopt a tough approach when dealing with tax evaders.

“Large sums of money worth lakhs of crores is illegally flowing out of India and stashed abroad. In some countries, some of the banks are operating like brokers and respective government are safeguarding the banks due to financial interests. If India doesn’t work hard to stop the flow of money, it would be devastating. Tough measures are needed,” Falciani had remarked.

“Unless the government comes down heavily with tough measures, it’s very difficult to tackle tax evaders and black money issue. A lenient approach in the form of amnesty scheme gives a message that the government is ‘pro-business’ and doesn’t want to act tough. This demoralises honest taxpayers,” added Kumar.

“This scheme is good, but government has to adopt a carrot-and-stick approach. A mere scheme is not enough, unless stringent measures are taken against tax evaders,” added Thingna.

Referring to the success of VCES, Aneja added, “In the case of VCES, the government later cracked whip on tax evaders by giving arrest powers to its officers. This yielded result. The scheme will add to the revenues of the government and help many taxpayers who have missed out in declaring their taxable income due to any reason or have failed to submit their return of income for any year. However, stringent measures are required to stop the practice of non-payment of taxes”.

Jayalalithaa announces slew of concessions for Tamil Nadu state govt employees

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today announced a slew of concessions, including hike in assistance under Family Welfare Fund, for state government employees amid protests by some sections among them.

Other concessions announced included increase in pension for nutritious meal workers, relaxation in norms for promotions and a rise in honorarium for guest lecturers.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFPTamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

In a suo motu statement in the Assembly, Ms Jayalalithaa said the assistance under the Family Welfare Fund for the kin of government employees, if they die in harness, would be increased to Rs. three lakh from the present Rs. 1.5 lakh accepting the request of several employees associations.

According to the plan, the employees’ contribution would be Rs. 60 from the previous Rs. 30, she said. As of now, the government subsidy for the scheme is Rs. 6.18 crore, and the increase in assistance would entail an additional expenditure of Rs. six crore and it will be borne by the state government.

Amid stir by sections of government employees pressing for several demands since February 10, she said government employees “are the face, foundation, and backbone of the government” who take government welfare schemes to the people.

She said government employees had given several demands and representations over which senior ministers and officials held talks with them. “My government has decided to give them various concessions,” she said.

On the demand of several government employees unions for scrapping the Contributory Pension Scheme and reverting to the Old Pension Scheme, she said, “the demand should be thoroughly scrutinised. Hence, an expert committee will be set up to go into the demand and make recommendations to government. An appropriate decision will be taken based on the report of the panel.”

For those who joined government service on or after April 1, 2003, the Contributory Pension Scheme is applicable under which employees and the state both contribute for the Pension Plan.

Under Group Insurance Scheme for employees including those in local-bodies, government aided educational institutions, and nutritious meal programme, the sum insured would be increased to Rs. three lakh from the present Rs. 1.50 lakh. It would mean an additional expenditure of Rs. 20 crore for the government over and above the Rs. 22 crore per annum being spent now, she said.

Jobs under compassionate grounds would be regularised through a common government order to avoid delay, Ms Jayalalithaa said.

Those appointed under compassionate grounds could get employment benefits like increment only after regularisation.

For posts that need relaxation in norms, nod of TNPSC would be obtained and government orders would be issued relaxing norms, she said.

Till such time TNPSC approval is received, such employees would be treated as temporary government employees and they would be given annual increment.

The pension for retired nutritious meal employees would be increased to Rs. 1,500 from the present Rs. 1000 benefiting 86,873 employees and it would cost an additional Rs. 51.13 crore for the government.

Similarly, cash benefits would be increased to Rs. 60,000 from the present Rs. 50,000 for nutritious meal workers. Also, cash benefits for chef and cooking assistants would also be increased to Rs. 25,000 from Rs. 20,000, she said.

She also announced relaxation in service norms covering eligibility for promotion. In the Rural Development

Department, eligibility for supervisors for getting promoted to the post of Junior Engineer would now be reduced to seven years from ten years, she said.

A total of 157 associate professors serving in Government Medical College Hospitals would be promoted as professors.

Bringing 1,500 nurses under time-scale of pay, promotion for 605 village sanitary nurses, hike of Rs. 5000 in honorarium for guest lecturers –from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per month, setting up an administrative tribunal were among other announcements, she made.

On representations related to pay, issues like bringing those under consolidated pay into the time-scale bracket and parity will be examined by the pay commission, she said.

“I believe that the new announcements will pave the way for government employees work with a new vigour,” she said,

Legislators, including CK Thamizharasan (RPI) and Jawahirullah (Manithaneya Makkal Katchi), praised and welcomed the new announcements.

PTI

Not for public interest, but for publicity interest only, says Delhi HC: Rejects plea against exemption to women in odd-even formula

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Friday rejected a plea against exemptions granted to women and two-wheelers in the odd-even car rationing scheme, scheduled to resume from 15 April, terming it “premature”.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath observed that the plea was not for public interest but for “publicity interest only”. “This writ petition is premature. We cannot say this is for public interest. It is for publicity interest only,” the bench said, adding, “the petition is premature so we are not inclined to entertain it at this stage.”

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for petitioner Karuna Chhatwal referred to media reports and said the Delhi Government has not considered the suggestions on not exempting two-wheelers and women in the odd-even scheme.

Representative image. Image courtesy: Tarique Anwar/FirstpostRepresentative image. Image courtesy: Tarique Anwar/Firstpost

Representative image. Image courtesy: Tarique Anwar/Firstpost

“These are all newspapers reports. May be they (Delhi government) are considering it,” the bench said.

When the counsel urged that the petition be heard, the bench observed, “Sorry, not at this stage. We are only saying that this writ petition is premature. If this was really a public interest litigation, we would not have done this.”

Delhi-resident Chhatwal has approached the high court contending that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, in the second phase of the scheme, has exempted women and two wheelers which they should not have done.

She submitted that two-wheelers emit pollutants and account for almost 60 per cent of air pollution while cars constitute a part of the remaining air pollution. She said the scheme was introduced to control air pollution and exempting women drivers will defeat the very objective.

The AAP government had announced that the second phase of the 15 days odd-even scheme will start for a fortnight from 15 April. During the first phase of the scheme in January this year, the vehicles exempted from odd-even scheme included the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Union Ministers and Governors and Chief Ministers, barring Delhi. Besides, women drivers, CNG vehicles, two-wheelers, ambulances, defence and embassy vehicles were also exempted.

Chhatwal had said there was no constitutional provision to grant such exemption and the scheme was “infringing Right to Life of public at large, which is violation of fundamental right provided under Article 21 of Constitution of India”.

She said the scheme was introduced to control air pollution and exempting women drivers will defeat the very objective.

PTI