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Willing to discuss changes in GST Bill with Congress: Jaitley

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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.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Government Prepares Comprehensive Plan For Revival of BSNL

It also noted that a Coordination Committee comprising senior officers of the DoT, BSNL management, and representatives of AUAB is already working in this regard

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BSNL is providing mobile services in Kashmir. Image Source: www.freejobsinfo.in

The government is making all efforts to make state-run BSNL robust and financially viable again and has prepared a comprehensive plan for its revival, an official said on Sunday, on the eve of a nationwide strike called by the employees unions over their demands.

BSNL employees and officers have given a three-day country-wide strike call from February 18 to highlight their long-pending issues, including allotment of 4G spectrum to the telecom major and wage revision for the workforce.

“All efforts are being made, and will continue to be made, to make BSNL robust and financially viable,” a Communications Ministry statement said.

“The main demands of the All India Unions and Associations of Bharat Sanchar Nigam (AUAB) include benefits to executives under the 3rd Pay Revision Committee (PRC) with 15 per cent fitment and to non-executives as per the 8th wage negotiations w.e.f. 1.1.2017, allotment of 4G spectrum to BSNL, revision of pension for BSNL retirees w.e.f. 1.1.2017 and delinking of same with pay revision for PRC implementation, and deduction of payment of pension contribution by BSNL on actual basic pay instead of on the highest level of the pay scale.

“Government wishes to re-emphasize that it will continue to engage with the BSNL management and representatives of the unions and associations, to support their reasonable demands, and to guide the organization towards a revival,” it said.

The SIM will now be available for employees of Patanjali only.
Comprehensive plan prepared for BSNL’s revival: Government.

Noting that the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) is taking “positive steps” regarding each of these demands, the ministry said the issue of alloting 4G spectrum to BSNL is being referred to telecom regulator TRAI “to recommend on the issue of administrative allocation, quantum, price and appropriate frequency band”.

“Further action will be taken on receipt of the said recommendation. In parallel, a comprehensive proposal for revival of BSNL has been prepared, which will be taken up for consideration by competent authorities very soon.”

It also noted that a Coordination Committee comprising senior officers of the DoT, BSNL management, and representatives of AUAB is already working in this regard.

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“Representatives of AUAB have also held meetings with the DOT Additional Secretary in which they have been duly apprised of the progress being made in relation to their demands,” the statement said.

It pointed out that the BSNL management has appealed to its employees not to resort to any agitation at this critical juncture when the organization is engaged in “sincere and serious efforts” to protect and enhance the company’s market share, “and when any disruption in services can only adversely impact the interests of BSNL and its customers, employees and other stakeholders.” (IANS)