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After a decade, GST set for midnight launch in Parliament today

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New Delhi, June 29, 2017: After more than a decade-long journey, the biggest indirect tax reform since Independence — GST — is finally set for a midnight launch on Friday in Parliament’s Central Hall in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Members of Parliament, state finance ministers and chief ministers.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be launched on Friday midnight in an hour-long event that will evoke memories of the “Tryst with Destiny” moment of 1947.

Both the President and the Prime Minister will speak on the subject and two short films on GST will be screened in the Central Hall.

On the midnight of August 14-15, 1947, the country ushered in Independence from British rule with a special function in the Central Hall in which the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, made his now famous speech “Tryst with Destiny”.

Acknowledging the role of previous governments in readying the GST, the government has also invited former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H.D. Deve Gowda, though the Congress still appears undecided over attending the special midnight function in Parliament.

The opposition Congress and Trinamool Congress has already decided to boycott the midnight programme as a mark of protest against the “unnecessary disastrous hurry” to roll out the pan-India tax regime.

Meanwhile, amid continuing differences within Bihar’s ruling Grand Alliance, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has decided to attend the rollout of GST in Parliament, while Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) will not.

On Thursday, the issue was discussed informally among leaders of the opposition grouping which gathered here for filing the of nomination of their Presidential candidate Meira Kumar.

The leaders said there appeared to be a lot of confusion and apprehension among various sections of the trading and business community, some of whom are protesting against certain provisions of the new indirect taxation law.

Opposition leaders said they would like to keep away from the function which they feel was being planned by the government as a publicity gimmick. “It’s not a tryst with destiny but playing with the destiny of people,” one leader remarked.

GST, termed as the most radical tax reform since Independence, seeks to subsume all central indirect taxes like excise duty, countervailing duty and service tax, as also state levies like Value Added Tax, entry tax and luxury tax, to create a single, pan-India market.

So far, apart from Jammu and Kashmir, all the states have passed the State GST (SGST) law. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has written to J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to join the GST regime by July 1.

Going back in history, GST was first discussed in the Kelkar Task Force report on indirect taxes in 2003 and a proposal to introduce a national GST by April 1, 2010, was first mooted in the Budget Speech for the financial year 2006-07.

Decks were cleared for the GST regime with parliamentary approval to Central Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, Integrated GST Bill, Compensation GST Bill and Union Territory GST Bill 2017, on April 7.

Read More: Congress decides to boycott Midnight GST launch event

Wefornews Bureau

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Jammu and Kashmir: 3 killed in Pulwama Encounter

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Pulwama, April 24: Three persons, including two security personnel and a militant, were killed in an encounter in Lam village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Tral on Tuesday.

“The security personnel killed included an Indian Army soldier and a state policeman” news agency IANS reported citing police sources.

A joint operation was launched by the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Lam forest area of Tral following information about the presence of terrorists.

Sepoy Ajay Kumar of 42 RR, who was injured in the initial firing exchange, succumbed to his injuries at Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Badami Bagh Cantonment area here.

Latif Gujar of Jammu and Kashmir Police also succumbed to injuries, while the only militant killed in the gun battle has not been identified so far.

Reports claimed two-to-three militants were engaged in the gunfight with the security forces in the densely forested area.

The encounter comes a day after Pakistan Army violated ceasefire at Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district.

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Govt stays action against Maharashtra BJP MLC’s firm alleged tax evasion, human trafficking

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New Delhi, April 24: The central government has stayed Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) order denying security clearance to aviation services company promoted by a Maharashtra BJP MLC and his wife for its alleged involvement in tax evasion and human trafficking.

According to The Indian Express report, the order was passed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to BCAS (its own security wing) on April 4, which had denied clearance to Lad’s firm in connection with alleged involvement in evasion of tax and human trafficking.

The report claimed that Aviation Ministry’s order was signed by Under Secretary Staish Chander. The BCAS had alleged that Krystal Aviation Services Pvt Ltd had created ‘ghost employees’ to evade taxes. The BCAS said that the employees were shown in the payrolls of associate forms and cited a security report that accused Krystal Aviation Services of sending people to Dubai for jobs.

On April 9, the Maharashtra BJP MLC approached the Ministry seeking an intervention in the matter.

Following this, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on April 18 put a stay on the BCAS’s order and directed it to give a personal hearing to Lad’s company.

Besides, the Ministry asked its security wing to obtain a detailed report from the central security agencies and deliver a final order within two months.

As per BCAS order, their verdict was on the basis of central security agency’s findings that had carried out the background check of Lad’s firm.

“The central security agency had in its report dated 09/02/2018 mentioned that Lad’s aviation company had recruited people and sent them to Dubai for jobs in security, housekeeping and maintenance activities. It also raised fears that documents collected by Krystal Aviation Services for sending people abroad are being misused, particularly to create ghost employees to evade taxes. The group, it said, is involved in human trafficking”, the India Express reported citing BCAS order.

The BCAS further stated that since the central security agency’s report is ‘seriously adverse in nature’, it can be seen as allegations levelled against Krystal Aviation Services Pvt Ltd.

Apart from Kyrstal Aviation Service, Lad has six more companies, which include: Krystal Integrated Services Pvt Ltd, Krystal Techno-Engineering Services Pvt Ltd, Krystal Family Holdings Pvt Ltd, Ayushmati Infra Tech Pvt Ltd and Shoubham Cine Vision Pvt Ltd, Krystal Gourmet Pvt Ltd, Flame Facilities Pvt Ltd and Singapore-based Krystal Global Pte. Ltd.

The Indian Express report also said that Krystal Aviation Services was given security clearance by BCAS from 2010 to 2015. At present, it is involved in providing ground handling services to firms across five international airports in India.

In an interview to the daily, Lad described the charges levelled against him as ‘baseless and rubbish’. He stated that “the BCAS has not shown any single complaint against his companies. “So far, there is not a single complaint or FIR against any of my companies”.

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Supreme Court adjourns hearing in Tarun Tejpal rape case

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Tarun Tejpal

New Delhi, April 24: The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing in connection with a rape case involving former Tehelka magazine editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal.

The apex court fixed May 9 for next hearing.

Earlier, on April 9, the court had refused to stay proceedings pending against Tejpal.

The court was hearing Tejpal’s petition seeking suppressing of rape and other charges levelled against him.

In 2013, a female employee accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in coastal state Goa.

Tejpal has been charged under section 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe), 341 and 342 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

He was also framed with the allegation of rape and was held in November 2013. He was later released on a bail after six months of imprisonment.

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