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Budget 2018-19: What’s costlier and what’s cheaper? Check here



New Delhi, Feb 1: In last full budget before the general elections in 2019, Narendra Modi led government hiked the customs duty on items such as cars and motorcycles, mobile phones, vegetable and fruit juices, and perfumes making them more expensive.

At the same time, the import duty on certain items like raw cashew nuts and solar tempered glass were slashed.

Here’s the list of imported items that will become costlier are:

— Specified parts/accessories of motor vehicles, motor cars, motor cycles

— Cellular mobile phones

— Cut and polished coloured gemstones, diamonds, imitation jewellery

— Vegetable and fruit juices like orange and cranberry

— Perfumes and toilet waters

— Sunscreen, suntan, manicure, pedicure preparations; pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations

— Silk Fabrics

— Footwear

— Wrist watches, smart watches/wearable devices

— LCD/LED/OLED panels and other parts of LCD/LED/OLED TVs

— Miscellaneous items like candles, tapers, kites, sunglasses, cigarette and other lighters, and refined edible vegetable oils.

The imported items that will become cheaper:

— Raw cashew nuts

— Select capital goods and electronics like ball screws and linear motion guides

— Solar tempered glass or solar tempered glass used for manufacture of solar cells/panels/modules

— Raw materials, parts or accessories for the manufacture of cochlear implants



Steps taken by Delhi govt to provide aid to widows: HC




Delhi High Court

 The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that the state government has taken adequate steps to provide financial assistance to widows through pensions and other schemes.

“Looking at the Delhi government’s affidavit, it appears that adequate steps have been taken by it to provide funds to the widows. We see no reason to further monitor this case,” said a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.

The Department of Social Welfare had filed the affidavit in response to a petition by social activist Harpal Singh Rana through advocate Akhil Rana and Utkarsh Sharma, claiming that pensions to around 12,000 widows had been discontinued during the COVID-19 lockdown by the Ministry of Women and Child Development without any valid reason.

The AAP government said in the affidavit, filed through advocate Anjum Javed, that it is remitting monthly pensions to beneficiaries so that they did not face any financial hardship during the pandemic.

“… the Department of Social Welfare has not withheld or discontinued pensions in respect of any beneficiary on imaginary grounds,” the affidavit said.

“The whole process of filing applications for all pension schemes, that is, old-age and disability pensions as well as financial assistance under the Delhi Family Benefit Scheme of the Department is online only.”

It said the money given under the Head “Financial Assistance to Widows for Performing Marriages of their Daughters” has been increased to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 60,000.

Rana told the court in his petition that as per a Right to Information reply, pensions of around 12,000 widows had been discontinued by the Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government also told the court that the status of the online applications is sent by the portal on the mobile numbers of the applicants. In offline cases, the status (acceptance/rejection) is conveyed by district offices through anganwadi/ASHA workers and displayed on the e-district portal.

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Farm bills Modi govt’s ‘death warrant’ for farmers: Rahul Gandhi on Farm Bill

The Parliament on Sunday witnessed a lot of drama and uproar. Calling the farm bills introduced by the government as “black laws”, Congress party hit out at the government and raised the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP).



Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the farm bills that were passed in the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) on Sunday, saying that the ‘democracy is ashamed’ by the decision.

“The farmer who grows gold forom earth, Modi government’s pride is making that farmer cry tears of blood,” the Congress leader wrote on Twitter in Hindi.

Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, which the government says will help boost the farming sector through private investments, were approved in Rajya Sabha today, inviting a lot of criticism from opposition parties.

“Democracy is ashamed of the way this government issued a death warrant against farmers through these bills in Rajya Sabha,” Rahul Gandhi further wrote on Twitter.


The Parliament on Sunday witnessed a lot of drama and uproar. Calling the farm bills introduced by the government as “black laws”, Congress party hit out at the government and raised the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

“Why the government is running away from providing legal obligation for MSP. Who will take a guarantee of MSP outside ‘Mandi’,” Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

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No restriction on accessing any website in Jammu and Kashmir: Centre

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the mobile data services are presently restricted to 2G speed in all but two districts of the Union territory.



Postpaid Mobile in Kashmir

There is no restriction on accessing any website, including social media sites, in Jammu and Kashmir, the Lok Sabha was informed on Sunday.

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the mobile data services are presently restricted to 2G speed in all but two districts of the Union territory. “There is no restriction on accessing any sites, including the social media sites,” he said in a written reply. Reddy said the internet services are already available in Kashmir on fixed line (without any speed-related restrictions) as well as mobile data services (at 2G speed) since January 24, 2020.

He said restrictions on accessing social media sites were also lifted on March 4, 2020. Further, high speed mobile data services too have been commenced in the districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir Division) and Udhampur (Jammu Division) with effect from August 16, 2020. The minister said fixed line internet connectivity is available without any speed-related restrictions, with Mac-binding.

He said the businesses have had access to internet through fixed line connectivity and internet kiosks opened in large numbers across the Valley without any speed restrictions.

Reddy also informed the Lower House that 2G mobile internet speed is not an impediment in Covid control measures, including dissemination of information to the general public as well as health workers.

Also, he said, e-learning apps and education/e-learning websites of the Government of India, Government of J&K are accessible over 2G internet for downloading e-books and other study material.

“Further, the restriction on high speed mobile internet services has not been an impediment in the administration of justice and the courts have taken special measures to conduct their proceedings during the pandemic by providing video links/URLs to lawyers and the litigants,” the minister said.

“Considering the overall security scenario and in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir issues orders from time to time regulating telecom and internet services in terms of the applicable rules and the principles laid down and directions contained in the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India..,” he added.

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