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Budget 2018: Opportunity to fulfil housing expectations of millions
The "Housing for All by 2022" mission has set the stage for a robust recovery in the residential property market. In the past two years, we have seen an unprecedented focus on reforms channelised through the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act 2016, demonetisation, Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. So, this time, the Budget for FY2018-19 will be much more critical than ever. The provisions, if moved in positive directions, will have the power to continue the momentum and cement home buyers' confidence. While so many tough decisions have already been taken, it will be worthwhile to rationalise further the direct tax structures impacting home buyers. I believe that there is room for improvement in some of the prime income tax (IT) provisions meant to incentivise the home buyers. Deduction on home loan interest: The IT Act has provisions under which a home buyer can claim a deduction on home loan interest paid to...




India's wholesale price inflation eases to 3.58% in December
New Delhi, Jan 15: India's annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices eased to 3.58 per cent in December 2017, official data showed here on Monday.According to data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the wholesale price index (WPI), with the revised base year of 2011-12, was 3.93 per cent in November 2017.(IANS) 




Farmers protest in UP, throw potatoes outside CM's residence
Lucknow, Jan 6: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh faced an embarrassing situation on Saturday as quintals of potatoes were thrown by the farmers in front of the Vidhan Sabha building and outside Chief Minister's residence.The VIP and high-security zone in front of the state assembly building was strewn with potatoes in the morning.The scene was similar outside Raj Bhawan which houses Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and his family and outside the 5, Kalidas Marg high-security residence of Chief Minister Adityanath.The development sent the district administration and security officials in a tizzy as the act was carried out in high-security zones.Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Lucknow Deepak Kumar said the vehicles of the farmers, who were involved in throwing potatoes have been identified and that they would be acted upon.Farmers, however, said they have not done anything wrong as this was a symbolic protest against the government and its policies.Farmers are angry a...




Bill to protect consumers introduced in Lok Sabha
New Delhi, Jan 5: Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday introduced, in the Lok Sabha, a bill for the establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), an executive agency to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, was introduced after Paswan withdrew an older bill, The Consumer Protection Bill 2015. The bill would amend the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.The CCPA will make interventions when necessary to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices and to initiate class action including enforcing recall, refund and return of products."This fills an institutional void in the regulatory regime extant. Currently, the task of prevention of or acting against unfair trade practices is not vested in any authority. This has been provided for in a manner that the role envisaged for the CCPA complements that of the sector regulators and duplication, overlap or potential conflict is avoided," s...




Vyapam scam: Still in search of the mastermind
By Sundeep PouranikBhopal, Dec 30: This past year was expected to be crucial for moving ahead with the corruption charges involving the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), popularly known as Vyapam. The CBI did file two charge-sheets naming a staggering 1,082 accused -- but it is yet to name the mastermind of the entire scam.More importantly, the central investigative agency has given a clean chit to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.It has now been four years since the matter came to light and the CBI has been proving it for the past two years. The scam involved 13 different exams conducted for selecting medical students and state government employees (including food inspectors, transport constables, police personnel, school teachers, dairy supply officers and forest guards) in which the final results were rigged."If the mastermind of the Vyapam corruption is not known, then how are the other accused going to be punished? On the contrary, the ...




LS passes bill on changes in bankruptcy code
New Delhi, Dec 29: The Lok Sabha on Friday passed a Bill that seeks to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to plug potential loopholes and prohibit "certain persons", such as wilful defaulters, from submitting resolution plans to let them take charge of the company.The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was passed after a reply by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. It will replace an ordinance promulgated earlier.The IBC, being implemented by the Corporate Affairs Ministry, became operational in December 2016 and provides for a time-bound insolvency resolution process.The changes proposed are expected to help streamline the process of selecting buyers for stressed assets.For instance, currently the Code does not specify the type of buyers who can bid for stressed assets of companies that are undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.The Bill seeks to facilitate phased implementation of the provisions of the code to incorporate persons, individuals and partne...




BJP MP says elderly not getting pension due to Aadhaar link since last one year
New Delhi, Dec 29: Thousands of elderly persons whose biometrics do not match their records anymore are facing trouble in getting their pension as well as getting any other Aadhaar-linked work done, a BJP member of the Lok Sabha said on Friday.Bihar MP from Aurangabad Sushil Kumar Singh also mentioned the fraud where LPG subsidy belonging to different people worth Rs 190 crore was transferred in the account of telecom company Airtel, and demanded criminal action against the culprits."Old people are unable to get pensions since last one year as their thumb prints and retina scan do not match," Singh said.He also said that his mother could not get a sim card in her own name due to problem in matching of fingerprints.Mentioning the Airtel incident, he said: "It is a criminal act that someone's money is being transferred to other accounts without permission. Though the Petroleum Ministry has taken action, but there should be criminal proceedings against the culprits."Th...




LS passes bill extending deadline for protection of unauthorised Delhi colonies
New Delhi, Dec 28: A bill to extend the deadline of a law to protect slums and unauthorised colonies in the national capital till 2020 was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri urging officials governing the city to assume a more responsible role.The Bill was passed amid protest by Congress members over controversial remarks by Union Minister Anant Hegde that the ruling BJP was "here to change the Constitution" and also demands by the TRS members for a separate High Court for Telangana.The Bill will extend the validity of the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011 for three years from January 1, 2018 -- the current deadline for relocation and rehabilitation of slums and other unauthorised colonies in Delhi.Puri said the Bill provides protection against punitive action on a number of categories and unless it was passed, "Delhi will witness unprecedented chaos"."Some...




Water use beyond 20,000 litres to cost 20% more in Delhi
New Delhi, Dec 26: The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Tuesday announced a 20 per cent increase in combined water and sewer tariff in the city for those consuming water beyond 20,000 litres per month.Jal Board Vice Chairman Dinesh Mohaniya told a press conference that the 135th board meeting on Tuesday decided this "marginal" combined water-sewer price hike, which would come into force from February 1."This decision has been taken keeping in view the expenditure incurred due to implementation of Seventh Pay Commission and GST (Goods & Services Tax)," he said.He further said that in the past, the DJB had been following the practice of hiking water charges by 10 per cent every year."The last such hike was in January 2015. There was no hike in 2016 and 2017. "This hike is for the year 2018 -- only hike in the past three years (2016, 2017 and 2018)," he noted.Explaining the new water rates, Mohaniya said: "Consuming 23,000 litres of water per month earl...




Reliance to be amongst the top 20 companies in the world: Mukesh Ambani
Navi Mumbai, Dec 23: On Reliance Industries Ltd's 40th anniversary (1977-2017), Chairman Mukesh Ambani said the company which owed all its progress to its founder Dhirubhai Ambani has the potential to be amongst the top 20 global companies in the world. "Today, Reliance is a global leader in energy and materials, where operating safely is an obsession and with Jio and retail -- where we have established a leadership position in India -- we are customer obsessed," Ambani said during his address to employees on "Reliance family day". "As we enter our golden decade, we at Reliance are in a unique position to accomplish what very few companies in the world can even dream of," he said before asking: "Can Reliance be amongst the top 20 companies in the world?" To which the gathering replied in a chorus, as Amabani said: "Yes we can, and yes we will."  His address was conveyed to employees and their families on social ...




Rajasthan govt. employees plan massive protest over 7th Pay Commission implementation
Jaipur, Dec 4: Angry Rajasthan state government employees have planned massive protests in district headquarters across the state on December 13, when the Vasundhara Raje government celebrates four years in office, to press their demands, including implementing recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission from January 1, 2016 instead of January 2017.The state government had on December 2 this year announced that it would provide benefits to its nearly 12.5 lakh employees and pensioners with effect from January 1 this year under the Seventh Pay Panel recommendations.Protesting against this announcement, a large number of state government employees gathered at Ram Niwas Garden here on Sunday to take out a protest rally to the Civil Lines area. The employees plan to stage protests under the banner of Akhil Rajasthan Rajya Karamchari Sankyukt Sangarsh Samiti.According to Gajendra Rathore, convener of the samiti, the state employees will stage a phase-wise protest. On December 8, they will...




Order banning cattle sale for slaughter withdrawn
New Delhi, Dec 2: The centre on Saturday withdrew the controversial order banning the sale of cattle for slaughter in markets.The order, issued in May this year, sought to curb cruelty to animals but sparked off a nation-wide row with several states objecting to the centre's action.(IANS) 




Yechury attacks government on 'bail-in' clause in FRDI Bill
New Delhi, Dec 1: CPI-M on Friday attacked the Modi government on the proposed "bail-in" clause in a financial legisation and alleged it will be used to pay the written-off loans of rich defaulters "by stealing small savers' money".CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted that the bail-in clause -- under which creditors and depositors absorb some of the losses if a financial institution fails -- would limit the amount of the "hard-earned" money depositors can get back from banks and will have serious consequences on those with bank savings."Government planning a 'bail-in', to limit amount of own hard earned money that depositors can get back from banks. This will have serious consequences on those with bank savings," Yechury said."After writing off over Rs 2 lakh crore for rich defaulters, with a 'bail-in' clause, small savers money will now be stolen (to) pay for it? The jumla was of Rs 15 lakh in each account, and now this," he...




SC notice to Centre on plea for nationwide ban on firecrackers
New Delhi, Dec 1: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the central government on a plea seeking a country-wide ban on possession, sale and bursting of firecrackers, including burning of stubble by farmers.A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan gave the Centre four weeks' time to respond to the plea by a child, Arjun Gopal, represented by lawyer Gopal Shankarnarayan.Petitioner Arjun Gopal has also sought a ban on possession of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR).The court has also issued notice to the Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments on the plea to curb the burning of stubble post harvesting.The plea for country-wide ban on the manufacture and bursting of firecrackers assumes significance as the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and NCR has been restored since November 1.The sale of firecrackers was prohibited in Delhi and NCR during the Diwali festival.The petitioner has also sought direction to the police commissioners of the NCR to su...




Delhi government approves Rs 442 cr for sanitation workers
New Delhi, Dec 1: The Delhi government on Thursday decided to release around Rs 442 crore to three BJP-ruled municipal corporations (MCDs), to be used to pay salaries and other money to santitation workers.The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal."Approving additional funds, the Cabinet said the money released should be used only to make payments to safai karamcharis, including their salaries," an official statement said.On Wednesday, Kejriwal met a delegation of safai karamcharis and asked the three MCDs to explain what they were doing with funds allocated to them by the Delhi government, following complaints over unpaid wages.Kejriwal had said that the Delhi government was paying the three MCDs more money than what was paid by previous governments and it was surprising to know that the safai karamcharis were facing problems."In 2013-14, the East Delhi MC got Rs 287.72 crore compared with Rs 948 crore in 2016-17. Similarly, t...




Vyapam scam: CBI chargesheet names 592 in 2012 PMT test case
New Delhi, Nov 24: The CBI on Thursday filed a chargesheet against 592 persons in the multi-crore Vyapam examination scam linked with 2012 Pre Medical Test (PMT) case.Of the total persons named in the chargesheet filed in a Bhopal court, 245 are new names while remaining 347 are those who have already been named as accused in the CBI's October 31 Vyapam chargesheet on the probe related to the 2013 PMT case.Those named in the Central Bureau of Investigation chargesheet include four Vyapam officials; 26 officials, including chairmen, of four medical colleges based at Bhopal and Indore, 22 middlemen, 46 invigilators of examination centres, 155 guardians of beneficiary candidates, three racketeers, 334 paper solvers and beneficiary candidates and two former officers of the states' Medical Education Department.Former Medical Education Director S.C. Tiwari and ex-Joint Director Medical Education M.N. Srivastava are among the prominent persons, while four former Vyapam officials named are for...




President approves bankruptcy code ordinance
New Delhi, Nov 23: The ordinance to amend the insolvency and bankruptcy code that will bar defaulters from bidding for the stressed assets has got the President's approval.President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday signed the ordinance that was sent to him by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.Breaking the news at a meeting of select editors, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: "The ordinance disentitles the big defaulters and makes it difficult for them to bid for distressed assets which was of their own making."He said the ordinance does not ban them from bidding for the stressed assets but would make it difficult for them and disentitles them from doing it.Giving an example he said: "You can't say my account is NPA (non performing asset) but I have to bid. This is ethically completely unacceptable to the Indian political system."I also have a political cost to pay. You can't be a stressed asset and you want to join the process for bidding."He said one solution could ...




Jharkhand ex-Chief Secretary jailed for 5 years in fodder scam
Ranchi, Nov 22: A CBI court here on Wednesday sentenced former Chief Secretary of Jharkhand Sajjal Chakravarty to five years' imprisonment in a multi-million Animal Husbandry Department (AHD) scam, popularly known as fodder scam.Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Court judge Shambhulal Sahu pronounced the quantum of sentence after hearing the arguments of the CBI and Chakravarty's counsel. The court also fined him Rs 4 lakh.The court had on November 14 convicted Chakravarty in the case related to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37 crore from Jharkhand's Chaibasa treasury.As per the charge, Chakravarty was the Deputy Commissioner of West Singhbhum (Chaibasa) when the fraudulent withdrawal took place and he did nothing to prevent it.He accepted a laptop from fodder suppliers to maintain silence over the withdrawal.Chakravarty was appointed the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand in October 2014 and removed from his post in January 2015.The Rs 950-crore fodder scam surfaced in 1996 in...




Kisan Mukti Sansad: Farmers hold protest march, mock Parliament session in Delhi
New Delhi, Nov 20: Thousands of farmers from across the country held a protest march here on Monday and organised a 'Kisan Mukti Sansad' or mock Parliament session to present two bills on crop loans waiver and remunerative prices for farm produce.The protest march organised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) -- an umbrella body of 184 farmers organisations -- started from the Ramlila Maidan and ended on Parliament Street near Jantar Mantar."We want Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh to visit the Kisan Sansad and hold discussion with farmers," Kirankumar Vissa, a farmer activist from Telangana, said, The bills will be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.All members in the mock session were women, who spoke about their sufferings due to the "wrong and anti-farmer policies" of the government.Lok Sabha member and farmer leader Raju Shetti tabled the bills, which were then discussed."We will pass these bills in the evening af...




Centre should waive agricultural loans in all states: Yogendra Yadav
New Delhi, Nov 20: Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav on Monday demanded that the central government should waive loans of all farmers across states, addressing a farmers' rally in the national capital."We have two demands, one that the remunerative prices should be production cost plus 50 per cent, which was recommended by the Swaminathan Commission and promised by Mr. Modi," Yadav said."And second demand is one-time waiver of all agricultural loans. Most steps in the last few years have been taken by state governments, but the experience shows unless the central government steps in, loans cannot be waived," he said."So we urge the central government to waive all agricultural loans in all states, not just election bound states," he said.Around 180 farmers organisations have come together at the Ramlila ground, and will be taking out a march to Parliament Street raising their demands. The protest is being organized under the banner of All India Kisan Sangh...




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