Friday February 23, 2018
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RS panel okays GST bill, suggests five-year central compensation

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New Delhi The Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on the Goods and Services Tax Bill has advised changes in provisions relating to compensation for states and on levy of one percent additional tax by states on the inter-state supply of goods.

The suggestions were made on Wednesday as the committee submitted its report to the Rajya Sabha, the upper parliamenthouse of parliament. The report, which by majority endorsed almost all the GST bill provisions is, however, marked by dissent notes from the Congress, AIADMK and Left parties.

According to the committee, the provision in the bill provides that the central government “may” compensate states for a period up to five years for any revenue loss. The report has suggested this be substituted with a commitment to compensate for five years.

In case of the provision for levying 1 percent additional tax by states to cover their losses due to abolition of local levies, owing to implementation of GST, the committee has suggested the levy should only apply to “all forms of supply made for a consideration”.

According to the bill, when goods move from one state to another, an additional one percent tax would be levied, but the opposition said it would lead to a cascading effect.

The committee, headed by BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav, however, retained the representation of the Centre and states in the GST Council at the proposed level at one-third and two-thirds, despite demands to reduce the centre’s representation to one-fourth.

“Administratively, we are taking all steps for both the Centre and states to meet the April 2016 deadline,” Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das told reporters here.

The union government has set the target to reform India’s indirect tax regime from April next year, and had earlier proposed 100 percent compensation to states for first three years.

The GST is seen as the key to facilitate industrial growth and improve the country’s business climate.

By subsuming most indirect taxes levied by the central and state governments, such as excise duty, service tax, VAT and sales tax, the new regime proposes to facilitate a common market across the country, leading to economies of scale and reducing inflation through an efficient supply chain.

The passage of the bill to become a law is a lengthy process.

Being a constitution amendment bill, passed by the Lok Sabha, it needs to be passed by the Rajya Sabha with a two-thirds majority and then be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before being sent to the President for his assent.

IANS

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Saw AAP MLAs Assaulting Chief Secretary, CM’s Advisor Tells Police

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement

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The AAP had denied the charges of assault and said that the Chief Secretary was making allegations at the behest of the BJP. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s adviser V. K. Jain on Thursday told police that he saw AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal “physically assaulting” Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, according to Jain’s statement recorded by the Delhi Police.

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement.

On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary had alleged that he was beaten up by the two AAP MLAs in the presence of Kejriwal at the Chief Minister’s residence on Monday night, where he had been called for an emergency meeting.

ALSO READ: The assault on Chief Secretary exposes the double standards of AAP government

Police later arrested Khan and Jarwal and they were sent to judicial custody till Thursday.

According to the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister’s adviser had called him over the phone and asked him to come to the Chief Minister’s residence for the meeting and Jain was also present there.

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According to the statement, Jain also saw that the Chief Secretary’s spectacles had fallen to the ground and the Chief Secretary picked them up and left the room. Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, the Delhi Police submitted Jain’s statement at a city court, which said that Jain had gone to the washroom during the meeting and as he came out he saw the two AAP MLAs “physically assaulting” the Chief Secretary.

The statement was recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, which means that it was recorded in front of the police and not a magistrate.

Sources told IANS that Jain later recorded his statement in front of a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC.

“The statement under section 164 was later recorded with the magistrate in front a camera, without the presence of police. In that statement also he (Jain) has said that he saw the two MLAs physically assaulting the Chief Secretary,” a police officer privy to the case told IANS.

The officer said that the statement under section 164 has also been submitted to the court.

Jain was first questioned on Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday and his statement was recorded on Thursday.

The change in Jain’s statement that the AAP was referring to was from a “question and answer” with Jain recorded by police after questioning him on Wednesday.

According to a copy of Wednesday’s “question and answer” recorded by police, when asked whether Jain saw the Chief Secretary being manhandled, he replied that he had gone to the washroom in between the meeting and he could not say what happened during that time.

“By putting pressure on him (Jain) throughout the day (Thursday) and by threatening him, police has forced him to change his statement,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh told the media here on Thursday.

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Singh said that the whole issue was a conspiracy to “bring down the Delhi government” and to “defame the AAP”. Wikimedia Commons

 

“How is it that the same Jain who emphatically said yesterday that he witnessed no assault during the entire time that he was present there has now claimed otherwise?” he asked.

Singh said that AAP MLAs were being arrested over an alleged assault of which there was no proof.

“But on the other hand, despite there being video footage of officials assaulting Delhi Cabinet Minister Imran Hussain, there is no action taken against the guilty by the Delhi Police,” the AAP MP said.

The court on Thursday sent the two AAP MLAs, arrested on charges of assaulting the Chief Secretary, to judicial custody for 14 days.

ALSO READ: Delhi Chief Secretary row: AAP MLA arrested

Orders on the bail pleas of the two AAP MLAs and also on their police custody will be pronounced on Friday.

Meanwhile, scores of Delhi government employees across the city observed a five-minute silence outside their respective offices as a protest against the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary.

The IAS Association said that officers would continue the protest every day, till steps are taken to “ensure safety and dignity” of government staff in the city.

The AAP also hit out at Lt Governor Anil Baijal by stating that he was “working as a BJP agent” and demanded action against those involved in “manhandling and beating up” Hussain and his aide at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday. (IANS)