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Bengal’s musical instrument makers unhappy with GST slab

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Kolkata, Aug 1: The 28 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on musical instruments has struck a discordant note with their manufacturers and dealers in West Bengal, whose capital Kolkata is a traditional hub of the industry.

Upset over revenue loss with sales hitting rock bottom post the steep tax burden, they have written to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to remedy the situation.

“In just one month, the market has crashed. In one month, if a shop used to sell instruments worth Rs 1 lakh, that has come down to Rs 20,000,” Ajit Kumar Mondal, secretary of West Bengal Musical Instruments Dealers and Manufacturers Association, told IANS.

The devoted makers and dealers of these instruments – sitars, sarods, violins, tablas and harmoniums – scattered mainly across Lalbazar in central and Chitpore Road in north Kolkata, have sought exemption from the tax slab. In their workshops, one can see the workers whittling out string or wind instruments out of scratch from a mix of metal and woodA

Mondal said while in Kolkata alone, over a lakh persons are directly or indirectly involved in the business, at least five times more are linked to it in the entire state. In Lalbazar’s narrow alleys, 50 shops ply their trade.

“Our key clientele include music schools, schools and other educational establishments as well as enthusiasts. Since traditional music is a big part of our cultural heritage, the business was doing well up until GST came. We have also written to the Union Finance Ministry,” Mondal said.

Maestro Ravi Shankar used to buy his instruments in the city. In 1952, Yehudi Menuhin’s violin was repaired by craftsmen in Chitpore Road, during his India tour.

One of the major blows has come from the sale in other states.

“Kolkata is the major hub of wholesale musical instruments in the country. We supply our products all over India. Now our customers are not keen to purchase them because of the escalating costs,” he said.

The instruments most hit due to GST are the ever popular guitar and harmonium — emblematic of the British legacy as in the 1800s the foot-bellow harmonium was in vogue in the city as also the French touch — French-made instruments were brought to the city by missionaries in the 19th century).

IANS

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Sonia, Priyanka meet Rahul

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Rahul Gandhi, File Photo

New Delhi, Dec 18: Amid the BJP’s election victories in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, former Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi met Congress President Rahul Gandhi here on Monday.

Rahul Gandhi had campaigned in Gujarat extensively before assuming the charge of party President on December 16. After Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka left, Rahul Gandhi went to attend Parliament.

The BJP retained power in Gujarat and ousted the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.

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Balochistan: 8 killed, several injured in Quetta Church blast

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Quetta Blast (Photo- Dawn)

A blast in Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta of Balochistan claimed 8 lives. Meanwhile almost 44 people are injured.

According to pakistani media Gunshots were also heard at the site, where the explosion took place.

All casualties were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta.

Pakistani news paper Dawn confirmed that Four suicide attackers struck while church service was ongoing. Initial reports suggested an explosion took place, which was followed by a sustained gunfight.

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Parliament winter session adjourned till 18th December

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Parliament of India

New Delhi, 15th December: Rajyasabha adjourned till 11 am on 18th December after MLAs kept shouting and sloganeering. Before adjourning the house the Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien asked all MLAs if they don’t want private Members’ Bills. Replying to the deputy chairman the members said ‘no.’

Private Bills to be introduced in Rajyasabha 

Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe (BJP) to introduce The Educational Innovations Commission Bill, 2017.

V. Vijaysai Reddy (YSR Congress) introduces The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (insertion of new article 21B), The Prevention of Enforced Disappearance Bill, 2017 and The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017.

T. Subbarami Reddy(Congress) introduces The Flood and Drought Control Bill, 2017 and The Play Schools (Regulation) Bill, 2017.

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (Trinamool Congress) introduces The Bail Bill, 2017 and The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (amendment of article 366).

Narayan Lal Panchariya (BJP) The Vedic Education (Compulsory Teaching in Educational Institutions) Bill, 2017, The Solar Power (Development, Promotion and Mandatory Use) Bill, 2017 and The Judicial Statistics Bill, 2017

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raises the issue of PM Modi’s allegations against former PM (Manmohan Singh) & others of conspiring with Pakistan for Gujarat Election 2017, says, ‘ye sadharan aarop nahi hai.’ House adjourned till 2:30 pm.

Members of Rajyasabha on the first day of Winter session raised issue of Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar’s disqualification. ‘Taanashahi nahin chalegi’ slogans raised by opposition, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said ‘All in Well, not well!’. House adjourned till 12 noon.

Vijay Goel of the BJP makes a statement on government business from December 18, 2017. He lists the Bills the government has had passed by the Lok Sabha, pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduces the newly inducted Cabinet Ministers, in Rajya Sabha. Earlier today, he introduced them in Lok Sabha.

Lok Sabha adjourned till 18th December 11 AM, after obituary references.

Vice chairman of Rajyasabha and Loksabha speaker read obituary references after the start of parilament session with National anthem.

Earlier Prime minister Narendra Modi has hoped for productive outcomes from the session . Talking to media PM Modi said, “I have faith & all-party meeting y’day shared same idea that this Parliament session should be held with positive approach to move the country forward. I also hope that country will be benefited & democracy will be strengthened from the session: PM Modi ahead of winter session.”

Meanwhile after a meeting on Thursday(14th December) the opposition discussed startegy to encirlce the government over various issues like Rafael Deal, GST, Iflation etc.

Amit Shah is also making his first parliament debut through Rajyasabha from this winter session. This session will also  be the first full-fledged session chaired by the recently-elected Vice President M. Venkiah Naidu.

This partliament session is the shortest of all winter sessions from last 2 decades. Opposition parties also criticised the government for compromising with parliament session for political gain.

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