Tuesday November 19, 2019
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Israel Takes Back Its Name From Security Council Election

Israel has never held a Council seat and would have been difficult for Israel to win against those to European nations, but it would have won by default if it was unopposed in the group.

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Israel Flag, Pixabay

Israel has withdrawn from the election for a two-year term on the Security Council that pitted it against Germany and Belgium.

Israel’s UN Mission announced the decision shortly before a debate between the three candidates was due to start at the UN on Friday afternoon.

“After consulting with our partners, including our good friends, the State of Israel has decided to postpone its candidacy for a seat on the Security Council,” the mission said.

The non-permanent seats in the Council are distributed regionally and Israel, which is in the Western European and Other Group (WEOG), had planned to contest one of the group’s two seats for the 2019-2020 term.

The failure to run unopposed for the WEOG seat is a diplomatic setback for Israel, which has never had a seat the Council, and, according to the US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, a broken promise by West European countries.

Israel has withdrawn from the election for a two-year term on the Security Council that pitted it against Germany and Belgium.
UN Security Council Chamber, wikimedia commons

He asserted in a tweet in March that Washington, which had brokered a deal for Israel to run unopposed for one of the WEOG seats, must ensure that the European nations kept their word.

Grenell said that the late Richard Holbrooke, a former assistant secretary of state, had arranged the deal..

Although Middle Eastern nations are in the Asia-Pacific Group, Israel has faced opposition from some members of the group and was taken in by the WEOG.

Israel has never held a Council seat and would have been difficult for Israel to win against those to European nations, but it would have won by default if it was unopposed in the group.

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There is one vacancy for the Asia-Pacific Group for 2019-2020 term and Indonesia and Maldives are contesting it.

They will participate in a candidates’ debate for the region organised by the World Federation of United Nations Associations on May 14.

All the 193 members of the UN will, however, vote for the non-permanent members of the Council, even though the seats are distributed by region.

The elections are scheduled for June 8. (IANS)

 

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GST Council Lowers Tax on Number of Goods and Services to Spur Demand

The hotel rooms costing between Rs 1,000 and Rs 7,500 would attract 12 per cent GST

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GST, Council, Tax
Announcing the rate cuts following the GST Council meeting here, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that hotels room with tariff of Rs 7,500 crore would now attract 18 per cent GST from 28 per cent earlier. Pixabay

Friday proved to be a big day for India Inc. After a slew of tax concessions including reduction in corporate tax from 30 per cent to 22 per cent, the GST Council has lowered tax on a number of goods and services to spur demand.

The key sectors which would benefit from GST rate cuts are hotels, gems & jewellery, defence and automobiles.

Announcing the rate cuts following the GST Council meeting here, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that hotels room with tariff of Rs 7,500 crore would now attract 18 per cent GST from 28 per cent earlier. The hotel rooms costing between Rs 1,000 and Rs 7,500 would attract 12 per cent GST. No tax would be levied on hotel rooms with rental upto Rs 1,000.

Among other rate changes, the Council has reduced rates for cups and plates made from leaves and hides to nil. The GST on caffeinated beverages has, however, been increased from 18 per cent to 28 per cent plus additional 12 per cent cess.

GST, Council, Tax
Friday proved to be a big day for India Inc. After a slew of tax concessions including reduction in corporate tax from 30 per cent to 22 per cent, the GST Council has lowered tax. Pixabay

The Council has exempted specified defence items from GST to promote this key sector.

Among other major items, the Council has reduced compensation cess on passenger vehicles with seating capacity of 10-13 persons by 1-3 per cent, thus making them cheaper.

Railway wagons, coaches and rolling stocks would, however, now attract higher GST of 12 per cent from 5 per cent earlier.

The revised GST rates would become effective from October 1, 2019.

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In a major boost to gems and jewellery sector, the Council recommended to reduce GST on cut and polished semi-precious items to 0.25 per cent from 3 per cent now.

The two back-to-back announcements are set to boost growth and investment.

With most engines of growth stuttering and GDP declining to six-year low of 5 per cent in the April-June quarter, pressure has been mounting on the government to revive the economy. Some external factors like US-China trade war has added to the woes.

GST, Council, Tax
The key sectors which would benefit from GST rate cuts are hotels, gems & jewellery, defence and automobiles. Pixabay

In the wake of domestic and external headwinds, the Reserve Bank of India recently lowered its GDP forecast and pegged it at 6.9 per cent in 2019-20. Several rating agencies and research firms expect the growth to be in the range of 6.5-7 per cent.

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The poor show in the first quarter of the current fiscal has prompted the Modi government to take measures to boost growth and lift business sentiment. Starting August 23, Finance Minister Sitharaman has announced four set of measures to put economy on fast track. (IANS)