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Temple Money from ‘Hundis’ not to come under Tax Scanner, says Central Government

Golden Temple in Amritsar announced on Thursday that they would no longer accept such currency notes from devotees

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Donation box, Jagannath Temple, Puri. Wikimedia
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New Delhi, November 11, 2016: The cash deposited by temples from the offerings placed by devotees in donation boxes or ‘hundis’ will not come under the tax scanner, a Finance Ministry official said on Thursday.

“For temples, there is an exemption that if the money is from the donation boxes, we will not ask questions. There is no limit on that (deposits),” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told IANS on the sidelines of the two-day Economic Editors’s Conference here.

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He added that charitable trusts of temples will, however, not be exempt as they have to maintain records of devotees giving donations.

“In temples there are trusts. One is charitable trusts… For them, there is restriction that if any donation is taken in cash, they have to show the name and address of the person. This is true for all charitable trusts,” Adhia told IANS.

Following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes by the government, the authorities at the Golden Temple in Amritsar announced on Thursday that they would no longer accept such currency notes from devotees.

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Over 100,000 devotees visit the Golden Temple every day and the cash offerings run into lakhs of rupees.

“We have instructed our employees not to accept demonetised currency notes at the ‘prasad’ and offering counters,” a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) official told IANS, but added they cannot stop devotees from putting the banned currency notes into the ‘golak’ or chest.

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He said all SGPC-run institutions in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have been instructed to deposit old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on priority basis with the respective banks.

The government announced demonetisation of high denomination notes on November 8 midnight. The Finance Ministry has said that small cash deposits up to Rs 2.5 lakh in individual accounts will not call for any inquiry by the tax department. (IANS)

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393