New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the government is prepared to discuss changes in the proposed goods and services tax (GST) Bill with the Congress, but urged the latter to reconsider its suggestions that had the potential to “damage” the system.
“We are reaching out to them, we are willing to discuss with them because some of these suggestions may not necessarily be in the larger interest of the GST structure,” he said here while addressing the annual general session of industry chamber Assocham.
The wisdom which dawned on my friends in the Congress party had not dawned on them when Pranab Mukherjee introduced the GST (in 2011). It did not dawn on them when (the then finance minister) P. Chidambaram accepted the Standing Committee recommendations,
The finance minister said it would be “extremely unfair if we try to impose in the name of political compromise, a GST with a defective architecture”.
“But to come out with the preposterous suggestion that tariff must be mentioned in the Constitution document so that in a given exigency if tariff has to be altered you need a two-third majority in both houses of Parliament and has to go to each of the states,” he added.
And when the tariff rate has to be mentioned in the Constitution itself, it is a flawed architecture because the GST with flawed architecture can actually damage the system much more than it can benefit,
The Congress had thwarted the passage of the GST Bill in the monsoon session of parliament over its demand that a revenue-neutral rate not higher than 18 percent be mentioned in the constitution amendment bill.
India will seek the Malaysian government’s help in extraditing televangelist Zakir Naik who faces charges of money laundering and inciting hatred through his sermons broadcast on Peace TV, the foreign ministry said Friday.
Zakir Naik obtained permanent residency in Malaysia
Officials will approach their Malaysian counterparts with the extradition request sometime within the next two weeks, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told a weekly news briefing in New Delhi.
“Any formal request seeking the assistance of a foreign government in cases of extradition requires a completion of the internal legal process involving consultation with other ministries involved in the case,” Kumar said.
“At this stage, we are nearing the completion of this process and as soon as this process is complete we will be making an official request to the Malaysian government in this matter,” Kumar said. “It could be a couple of days or a couple of weeks. But it would be soon and the nature of our request would also be clear.”
Naik fled India a month before terrorist carried out a massacre at a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in July 2016. This week, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said the Islamic preacher legally obtained permanent residency in the country, and that Malaysian authorities would arrest him only if he broke local laws or was found to be involved in terrorist activities.
Naik’s speeches allegedly inspired some of the militants who carried out the siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Dhaka, where 29 people, including 20 hostages and five gunmen, were killed.
In November 2016, the Indian government banned Naik’s Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation, which partly funded the Peace TV channel that is banned in India, Bangladesh and several other countries.
Kumar said because the Indian government had knowledge of Naik’s whereabouts, the legal procedures would be tailored to requirements between the two countries in their extradition treaty.
Advocate challenges charges
“Naik is being hounded because he hails from a minority community. The charges that the investigating agencies are trying to frame are all stale and are hardly incriminating,” advocate S. Hariharan told BenarNews in a phone interview from Delhi.
“The charges lack veracity and would not stand scrutiny in the court of law. We will be challenging the extradition and deportation.”
Last week, the Indian government filed a 61-page charge sheet against Naik alleging he was involved in a criminal conspiracy by lauding terrorist organizations. In April, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him in an alleged case of money laundering through his NGO and a shell company.
In Malaysia meanwhile, the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has urged the government to ignore any request from India to extradite Zakir Naik, Reuters reported.
“For Muslim individuals, even when they won by using arguments and not weapons, like Dr. Zakir Naik, they are considered terrorists because their arguments cannot be countered,” PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang wrote last week in an opinion piece published in Harakah Daily.(BenarNews)
The government on Thursday said that it has approved foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals worth Rs 24.56 crore, including one from Sterling Commerce Solutions India.
“During the month of October, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance has disposed off three FDI proposals aggregating to foreign investment of Rs 24.56 crore,” an official statement said.
The proposal of Sterling Commerce Solutions India, worth Rs 24.56 crore of FDI, has been approved that seeks to issue shares to the shareholders of three wholly owned subsidiaries of IBM India upon their merger with the company.
Another proposal from Arval India, which does not require any additional FDI, has been approved to undertake the activity of financial lease in addition to the current activity of operating lease, the statement said.
The ministry said that a proposal from Ivanhoe India Equities Inc to provide investment advisory services to overseas entities by a yet to be incorporated Indian investee company has been returned as it was premature.(IANS)
The Hindu refugees, who fled to Bangladesh, have placed their hopes on the Modi government
The Hindu refugees are scared of moving back to the Buddhist majority Myanmar’s Rakhine state
The Indian government was waiting for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the home ministry’s plans of deporting Rohingya Muslims from the country
New Delhi, September 21, 2017: The crossfire between Rohingya insurgents and Myanmar’s military has left hundreds of Hindus, who fled to Bangladesh, placing their hopes on the Indian government.
Around 500 Hindus have taken shelter in a cleared-out chicken farm, in a Hindu hamlet in the southeast of Bangladesh. The place is situated at a distance of a couple of miles, where most of the 421,000 Rohingya Muslims, who also fled violence in Myanmar since August 25, have taken abode, mentions the Reuters report.
The Hindu refugees are scared of moving back to their villages in the Buddhist majority Myanmar’s restless Rakhine state. Modi government, meanwhile, is working to make things easier for Hindus, christians, Buddhists, and other minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh to gain access to Indian citizenship.
“India is also known as Hindustan, the land of the Hindus,” said a Hindu refugee, Niranjan Rudra, “We just want a peaceful life in India, not much. We may not get that in Myanmar or here.”
The fellow refugees agreed and shared their desire of getting this message received by the Indian government through media.
The Indian government, however, has declined to comment on hopes of Hindu refugees. it was waiting for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the home ministry’s plans of deporting around 40,000 Rohingya Muslims from India.
Achintya Biswas, a senior member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also called the World Hindu Council, on the other hand, stated India as the natural destination for the Hindus fleeing Myanmar.
“Hindu families must be allowed to enter India by the government,” Biswas said, according to a report by Reuters, “Where else will they go? This is their place of origin.”
Biswas said the VHP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, would be submitting a report to the home ministry demanding a new policy that would be allowing Hindu refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh to seek asylum in India.
While India’s Home Ministry spokesman, K.S. Dhatwalia declined to comment, a senior home ministry official in New Delhi, on the condition of anonymity, mentioned that no Hindu in Myanmar or Bangladesh affected by the violence had approached Indian authorities.
“At this juncture we have no SOS calls from Hindus,” the official said.
“Also, the Supreme Court is yet to decide whether India should deport Rohingya Muslims or not. The matter is sub-judice and any policy decision will be taken only after the court’s order.”
Hindus form a small but an established minority in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Rudra along with other Hindu refugees talked about how they fled soon after Rohingya insurgents attacked 30 Myanmar police posts, instigating a fierce military counterattack.
“Our village in Myanmar was surrounded by hundreds of men in black masks on the morning of Aug. 25,” said Veena Sheel, a mother-of-two whose husband works in Malaysia.
“They called some men out and asked them to fight the security forces … a few hours after we heard gunshots,” she added.
Soon after taking office in 2014, the Modi government issued orders stating that no Hindu, or refugees of other minority from Bangladesh and Pakistan would be deemed as illegal immigrants even if they had entered the country without having the required documents, on or before December 31, 2014.
India, indeed, is in a tough situation, where it can’t compromise with the principles it holds being a Secular nation that is always engaged in humanitarian activities, but will also need to keep in mind the potential security threats that might come along with such an act of acceptance.
-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha