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Under Arun Jaitley corruption grew manifold in DDCA: Bishan Singh Bedi

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New Delhi: Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi on Monday minced no words in excoriating Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and Disctrict Cricket Association (DDCA), alleging that under the BJP leader’s tenure from 1999 to 2013 corruption in the cricket body grew manifold.

Absolutely! Let me spell it out explicitly – the corruption in DDCA was because of Jaitley’s connivance,” Bedi alleged in an interview with Scroll.

Bedi said documents were obtained under the Right to Information Act and it was quite self-explanatory how corruption grew, while pointed out a few charges against DDCA.

ALSO READ: Don’t try to intimidate us: AAP hits back at Jaitley on defamation suit

The Indian spinning great said the contract for the reconstruction of the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was awarded by DDCA to the Engineers Projects India Limited, a public sector undertaking, on May 12, 2003. It was supposed to have been completed in a year at a cost of Rs 24 crore. Subsequently, DDCA expanded the civil work to include construction of corporate boxes. The reconstruction was said to have been completed by December 15, 2008, at a revised cost of Rs 57 crore.

However, Bedi alleged, DDCA officials went on a contract-awarding spree – for supposedly more “civil work”, electric work, interiors and installing of generators. DDCA documents show that an amount of Rs 114 crore was spent on building the stadium till 2012. It was, however, alleged that another Rs 25 crore was spent between 2012 and 2015 on paying companies which had done little or no work.

“The question is: How did a stadium, envisaged to be built at a cost of Rs 24 crore, ended up costing Rs 140 crore?”

He further alleged that one of the companies which bagged lucrative contracts was Kaushnik Buildcast Private Ltd and a related entity, Kaushnik Fab. Both were given contracts worth Rs 11 crore for “data cabling” and “interior work”! Documents revealed that Kaushnik Buildcast Pvt Ltd was incorporated as a company on June 29, 2009 – that is, a good six months after DDCA officially declared that work on the stadium had been completed by Dec 15, 2008. Then again, Kaushnik Buildcast Pvt Ltd turned out to be a front company with a fake address. Contracts were awarded without calling for competing bids.

“The various inquiry reports have a plethora of information which suggests a web of financial transactions involving sham companies with fake names and even fake addresses. There are allegations of round-tripping, of contracts being awarded without tender, for work which allegedly did not work. Apart from these charges of fraud in the reconstruction of Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, nepotism in selection and corruption in DDCA had always been there.”

He rubbished Jaitley’s claim that he wasn’t involved in day-to-day functioning of the DDCA.

“Well, if he says he wasn’t involved, then he should tell us who was involved. Assume you are the boss of a media organisation. Can you claim you don’t know what kind of activities four-five journalists under you are involved in? The blame lies on you.”

“Absolutely! Let me spell it out explicitly – the corruption in DDCA was because of Jaitley’s connivance,” he said, adding that nepotism in selection of players was also rampant.

“There were plenty of examples of overage boys playing in Under-14 or Under-19 teams.”

When asked if people could get into a junior team by paying officials, he said, “Absolutely. Why do you think Nikhil Chopra resigned as chairman of junior cricket, and so did Sunil Valson?”

Be said he wrote as many as 200 letters to Jaitley complaining about the functioning of DDCA but the BJP leader never replied.

“In fact, last July, I wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I didn’t receive any reply.”

When asked what did Jaitley gain from allowing DDCA to become a cesspool of corruption, his reply was categorical.

“Tell me, what hasn’t he gained from it? On Thursday, December 18, he said he was president of DDCA till 2013. But even today, not a leaf stirs in DDCA without his permission, not even in BCCI. Who do you think has appointed Rajeev Shukla as chairman of the IPL [Indian Premier League] governing council? Do you know who are among the directors of Hockey India? The answer: Rajeev Shukla, Arun Jaitley and Narinder Batra. Could you tell me why? If there is nothing to gain from all this, then why do they indulge in so much of manipulation?”

Bedi said now the way the CBI raid was conducted (on Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary), Jaitley has ended up axing his own foot.

“It has backfired on him. I find it funny. But it was waiting to happen. The mess in cricket is simply enormous. This is happening in Delhi, mind you. Imagine what is happening in Hyderabad, Goa and such other places. The BCCI is registered under the Societies Act, but its affiliates – Punjab Cricket Association, Himachal Cricket Association, Haryana Cricket Association – are registered as companies.”

He specifically mentioned about a toilet in Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on which Rs 4.5 crore was allegedly spent.

“You should see it. The whole bloody place stinks. In his blog Arun Jaitely has written that the Commonwealth stadium was constructed for Rs 900 crore. Well, I’d want to tell him that the person (Suresh Kalmadi) who was responsible for constructing the stadium has many cases pending against him.”

Bedi said the way forward was to abolish “this company called DDCA”.

“It has to be registered under the Societies Act. You have to introduce secret ballot voting by the members or the clubs. They do it in Karnataka, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu. It is not that people don’t perpetuate their rule there. But they do care about cricket.”

He said he was was grateful to Kejriwal and company for their efforts in this regard.

“If the nation today has sat up and taken notice, it is only because Kejriwal has jumped into the fray… It has never happened before that the chief minister of Delhi would get so involved in finding out the happenings in DDCA.” (Image: Newstracklive)

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Food processing will be a main industry in future: Jaitley

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Food processing will be a main industry in future: Jaitley

New Delhi: The entire Indian agriculture value chain is set to change drastically and food processing is going to be one of the main industries of the country in the future, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.

“The farm to kitchen chain is going to change in India, like elsewhere, with increased agricultural production, better storage facilities, more food processing and changing consumer food preference,” Jaitley said at the inaugural session of the World Food India 2017 here.

 “Food processing is going to be one of the principal industries of India in future, and an entrepreneur in 2017 should think of the industry from the perspective of where it will be in 2040, 2050,” he said.

In terms of market size, the Indian food market was worth $193 billion in 2016 and is expected to cross $540 billion in 2020, officials said here. The sector has been growing at the rate of 12 per cent annually.

“There is a silent revolution ongoing in India. There is an expanding middle class and below that there is a growing aspirational class, which is building up reasonable purchasing power,” the Finance Minister said, noting that this provided an enormous potential market for food products in the country.

About the potential, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that only about 10 per cent of agricultural produce is processed in the country, leading to a lot of wastage.

The industry enjoys many fiscal incentives, including preferential credit under priority sector lending, she said.

“There is 100 per cent FDI (foreign direct investment) allowed into the sector through the automatic route and we have seen inflows increase 40 per cent over the last year,” she said.

“The proposal for a Food Processing Bank is also under active consideration.”

In the presence of delegates from many countries, the event was inaugurated earlier by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who pointed out that India is the biggest producer of milk in the world and the second in rice, wheat, fish and vegetable output.(IANS)

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Decoding the Indian Agrarian Crisis and Fake Farmers Facade

Gaurav Tyagi believes half baked measures like loan waivers just make people lazy parasites.

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An increasing number of farmers in India are committing suicide due to debt pressure. To tackle the issue, the government has come up with farm loan waivers. (VOA)

– By Gaurav Tyagi


New Delhi, September 18, 2017 : 
Indian and International media is full of articles regarding large number of farmers in India committing suicide due to debt pressure.

Instead of going to the root of the problem and analyzing the reasons for this phenomenon, Indian politicians have come up with an absurd idea of farm loan waivers.

Majority of Indian farmers under debt trap own very little land. Farming on such small piece of land is not economically feasible. This sector is highly unorganized. Most of the time, no planning is involved in cultivation, irrigation and harvesting.

Middlemen exploit farmers by buying their produce at a very low price and then selling it at a premium to the end consumers.

The irony is that a large number of Indian politicians claim huge incomes from agriculture while farmers starve.

In the province of Madhya Pradesh 24 farmers committed suicide this year over crop loss and failure to repay loans but 18 of the 20 cabinet ministers of the state have shown ‘agriculture’ as their main source of huge incomes.

How come politicians are earning in Billions through farming while the real farmers are struggling to make both ends meet?

Let’s examine the issue in-depth.

The income earned from agricultural land is exempt from income tax under section 10 (1) of the Income Tax Act 1961. Politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen in India launder their money misusing the above income tax clause.

Normally, one cannot own agricultural land in India unless their forefathers have been agriculturists. Rich and influential people in the country obtain agriculturist certificates by ‘greasing the palms’ of the local land officials.

Farmers are not required to maintain detailed records in India. This provides an excellent loophole to pass off unaccounted and undeclared cash as agricultural income. It is done by showing fake sales cash receipts of agricultural produce, which like other certificates can be purchased in India through bribes.

Approximately 800,000 tax declarants in India state exorbitant amounts as agricultural incomes while filing their annual income tax returns.

This income, a whopping INR. 874 Lakh Crores was eight times more than the cumulative GDP of India for the financial years 2011 and 2012.

The average annual income declared by these assesses comes out to be anywhere between Rs. 30-80 Crores, on which they don’t pay any taxes.

It’s obvious that the aforesaid is not agricultural earning instead it’s declared as agricultural income by these assesses just to avoid paying taxes.

According to National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Delhi, with hardly any farming land has more farmers indulging in agriculture than Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal provinces.

Delhi’s so called ‘farmers’ received Rs. 22,077 Crores in agricultural loans during 2009. In reality, these ‘self proclaimed farmers’ are the owners of big farm houses on the outskirts of the capital.

The authorities are well aware of this malpractice. The Tax Administration Reform Committee in its report in November 2014 said, “Agricultural income of non-agriculturists is being increasingly used as a conduit to avoid tax and for laundering funds, resulting in leakage to the tune of Crores in revenue annually”

The Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley on 26th April said that the government of India does not plan to tax the farm income.

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Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley, wikimedia

It reveals that Indian politicians cutting across party lines indulge in this malpractice, 27% of the winning Lok Sabha M.P’s in 2014 elections have declared wealth of over Rs. 1 Crore, majority of which has been mentioned as agricultural income.

Indian opposition politicians blackmail the political party in power by indulging in spurious farmer agitations.

If there is a bumper crop then the opposition parties start shouting that prices have crashed due to over-supply in the market. When farming cultivation fails due to the vagaries of nature, then they start throwing statistics about farmers suicide.

A group of ‘self proclaimed’ farmers from Tamil Nadu province camped at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, the Indian capital city during March this year and indulged in cheap theatrics to draw attention to their protests.

The leader of this group, P. Ayyakannu is demanding that all farmers should be given loan waivers from banks and quoted highly inflated figures of farmers suicides in Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu government on 28th April, 2017 conveyed to the Supreme Court of India that no famers committed suicide in the state and clarified that a few, who took this extreme measure did it due to personal reasons.

Many farmers died due to old age and other medical issues. Ayyakannu clubbed all of them together to gather national as well as international attention.

ALSO READ Farmers welfare: What Indian agricultural sector needs to learn from Denmark?

Ayyakannu called off this whole play in Delhi on 23rd April after 40 days, when the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu came to meet these protestors.
He said that their group is giving a one month’s time-frame to the government in order to fulfill their demands otherwise, they would resume their protests in the national capital from May 25 on a bigger scale.

This impostor farmer leader Ayyakannu again came back to Delhi again on 16th July with his gang of ruffians to continue their drama.

Ayakannu as per media reports is not even a farmer, but a lawyer, who makes huge amounts of money through out of court settlements and personally owns hundreds of acres of land.

He and his bunch of hooligans all look quite healthy and well-fed. They don’t appear like destitute farmers as claimed by them.

Fake farmers like the aforementioned Ayyakannu are just the front faces of this façade in the name of farmers.

The remote controls of such characters remain in the hands of politicians, who use them for their narrow, selfish, corrupt agendas depending on the political situation at the state and national level.

The governments of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan & U.P. provinces have waived off agricultural loans worth Billions. This has set up a very bad precedent for the rest of the country.

ALSO READ Exclusive: Angry Farmers and Distressed Leaders

There are no ‘free lunches’ in this world. These half baked measures like loan waivers just make people lazy parasites.

The following steps would go a long way in helping the real distressed farmers;

  • Scientific soil and climate testing should be done across all farming regions in India. Farmers can then be educated about which crops to grow profitably, in how many cycles; depending on the soil conditions and climate of the region.
  • Implement agricultural reforms like farming co-operatives, where farmers having small agricultural land holdings can be encouraged to come together and pool their land plus resources together.
  • Crop storage infrastructure should be built and maintained in every village so, that farmer can store their surplus produce rather than sell it desperately at a low price.
  • Crop insurance must be compulsorily introduced all over the country wherein, farmers by paying a nominal amount need not bother about their crops getting destroyed through excessive rain or drought.
  • Organic farming needs to be encouraged instead of over-reliance on chemical fertilizers. The food waste produced by an entire village can be easily turned into biodegradable compost, through innovative schemes like Vermicomposting.
  • Vermicast can replace fertilizers in the agriculture fields. This would save money for the farmer and provide high quality chemical free crops.
  • The APMC’s (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees) have created a coterie of middlemen, who along with the complicity of these committees, form a virtual barrier between the farmer and the consumer, paying the former a pittance for his produce and charging the latter exorbitant amounts for fruits and vegetables.
    Vegetables are purchased at Rs. 2 or 3 a kg from farmers and then sold at 30 to 40 rupees per kg to urban consumers.
    This setup has been going on for decades in every town and city of India. Millions of urban Indians pay artificially higher prices and majority of farmers are underpaid due to this flawed system.
    The profits are made by middlemen, who do not pay taxes on these huge earnings. It is a common practice for them to store money in cash and not in banks.

These APMC’s must therefore be abolished immediately. Farmers should get direct access to the end consumer through the elimination of middlemen. This would ensure a better monetary return for farmers.

  • Private moneylenders in and around the villages charge a very high rate of interest from farmers. This unscrupulous sector should be bought under government regulation by bringing down the rate of interest to a rational level.
  • Government schools in villages are in shambles. They need to be upgraded so, that quality education at an affordable price is available to every child in the village.
    This would uplift farmers children through educational empowerment. It will enable them to make a transition to non-agricultural professions in future and enhance their family earnings considerably.

The aforementioned steps would cost the government far less than what it is losing in the absurd loan waiver schemes, which anyways don’t help the poor marginal farmer at all.
As regard dealing with the fake farmers of India.

The solution entails; no farm loan waivers and bringing the agricultural income above a certain threshold under the tax bracket.

The aforesaid measures would prevent the fake farmers façade spreading rapidly all over the country, while resolving the agrarian crisis of India by assisting needy farmers of the country.

The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China. 


 

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Rapped by Delhi High Court for Questioning Judge’s Decision

Arun Jaitley, represented by advocates Rajiv Nayar and Sandeep Sethi, filed a defamation suit against Kejriwal

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Arvind Kejriwal
Arun Jaitley filed a defamation suit against Kejriwal and other AAP leaders. Wikimedia

August 26, 2017: Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister, was rapped by the Delhi High Court today for questioning a judge’s decision to expedite defamation case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Also Read: Kapil Mishra Questions Arvind Kejriwal’s Absence in the Assembly Meet as Delhi CM skips Fourth Day in a row

Arun Jaitley accuses the AAP leaders of going against DDCA irregularities and disparaging Jaitley and his family on social media. Jaitley alleges that the AAP leaders have harmed his reputation and made defamatory statements.

The accused are Arvind Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai. The five AAP leaders had accused Jaitley of corruption charges as President of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

Arun Jaitley, represented by advocates Rajiv Nayar and Sandeep Sethi, filed a defamation suit against Kejriwal.

On 26th July, the joint registrar was directed by the court to expedite the civil defamation suit.

Arvind Kejriwal’s advocate Anoop George Chaudhary was asked by the Judges why Arvind Kejriwal would file such a plea.

The bench comprising of Justice C Hari Shankar and Justice Gita Mittal explained that the high court was answerable to the Supreme Court about the delay of the case.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.

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