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Even the Trinity can’t help meet GST Deadline,says Anand Sharma

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Congress leader Anand Sharma said Even if the trinity of gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh – descend on Earth the April 1 deadline for rolling out Goods and Service Tax will not be met as the government has not yet completed the preparatory work for the new indirect tax regime,

“Even if the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition have a duet together and all of us work overtime, the so called April 1 (2016 deadline) cannot be achieved,” he said at the industry body Ficci’s AGM.
The Constitution Amendment bill to roll out Goods and Services Tax is stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not have a majority.

“In our mythology we talk about Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Even if the three (Gods) come together, (we require) 50 per cent states ratification, three more laws (State GST, Centre GST and IGST) to be enacted,” he added.

Being touted as the most comprehensive reform of indirect taxes since Independence, GST will subsume most of the levies including central excise, service tax and sales tax.

The bill is being opposed by Congress although many other opposition parties are on board.

Sharma, who is Deputy Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha said: “It (the Constitution amendment) will pave the way for enactment of the legislation. Even if it has to pass tomorrow it has to be ratified by 50 per cent state assemblies. Then the real bills will come. Three legislation are to be enacted (for GST) — Centre GST, State GST and Inter-state GST.”

The government is not ready with the three bills which would have to be passed by Centre and state before GST roll out in the entire country, he said.

He accused the government of trying to “trying shift (focus from) bad management of Indian economy to just one GST bill.

Sharma said, “We have been the real authors of GST and we have put across some very genuine concerns. The Opposition is ready to debate with the government on this. The country will have a GST and there is no doubt about that.”

He said that at this juncture there is a need for policies that reflect continuity, predictability and stability, which at present is being threatened.

“Merely rebranding and repackaging of policies would not help the economy which at present is sputtering,” he added

The present government, Sharma said, needs to decentralise and delegate in order to meet its claim of improving the governance situation.

India

COVID-19: Sanitisation drive taken up at Parliament

After an inspection by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Parliament House, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had previously conducted a similar exercise on March 21.

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New Delhi, May 30 : In the face of six novel coronavirus cases reported in Parliament so far, different civic agencies on Saturday undertook a sanitization drive in all buildings of the British-era complex.

Central Public Works Department (CPWD), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and other agencies participated in the drive that included sanitization of all indoor and outdoor areas, individual offices, restrooms, and all common areas.

After an inspection by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Parliament House, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had previously conducted a similar exercise on March 21.

On that occasion, Birla said that awareness and restraint are key to corona prevention.

Thereafter, several such exercises were undertaken on a periodic basis.

In the exercise held on Saturday, CPWD, NDMC and other allied agencies, working within the Parliament, used specialized equipment and strong chemical disinfectants like Sodium Hydrochloride to ensure sanitation in and around Parliament.

The sanitation drive was conducted as a precautionary measure and to minimize contact between officials working within the complex. Currently, as per Lok Sabha Secretariat orders, a certain number of officers and staff are required to work from home.

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India

Govt in lockdown exit mode limits curbs to containment zones till June 30

Night Curfew shall continue to remain in force on the movement of individuals for all non-essential activities. However, the revised timings of the curfew will be from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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New Delhi, May 30 : The Centre on Saturday took an exit step from the 68-day nationwide lockdown, declaring that the restrictions will be limited only to containment zones up to June 30 and that the prohibited activities will be opened in a phased manner in areas outside these zones, allowing restaurants, malls, religious places and education sectors to open in a phased manner.

Applicable from Monday, June 1, the fresh order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spoke of the expanded fresh guidelines a day ahead of the end of lockdown 4.0.

“In exercise of powers under section 6 (2) (i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has directed the undersigned to issue an order to extend the lockdown in containment zones up to June 30, and reopen prohibited activities in a phased manner in areas outside the containment zones,” the order read.

“Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under section 10 (2)(l) of the Disaster Management Act 2005, it is directed that the guidelines will remain in force up to June 30. With effect from June 1 to June 30, the lockdown 5.0 will be limited only to containment zones and only a elimited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country'”, it added.

As per the order, international air travel, operation of Metro Rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls, and political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions, and other large congregations will remain prohibited.

Based on extensive consultations held with the states and Union Territories (UTs), the guidelines have allowed all activities that were prohibited earlier in areas outside the containment zones in a phased manner, with the stipulation of following the standard operating procedures (SOPs), to be prescribed by the Health Ministry.

The Covid-19 pandemic has so far infected over 1.73 lakh people in India, claiming the lives of 4,971 people across the country.

During lockdown 5.0, in Phase I, religious places and places of worship, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, and shopping malls will be permitted to open from June 8. The Health Ministry will issue SOPs for the above activities, in consultation with the Central ministries, the concerned departments and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing.

In Phase II, schools, colleges, educational, training and coaching institutions will be opened after consultations with the states and UTs.

As per the MHA order, state governments and UT administrations have been advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in July.

In Phase III, dates for their opening will be decided based on the assessment of the situation.

The lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones. These will be demarcated by the state and UT governments, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry.

Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities will be allowed. There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods.

No separate permission, approval or e-permit will be required for such movements. However, if a state or UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate movement of persons, it will give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movements.

Night Curfew shall continue to remain in force on the movement of individuals for all non-essential activities. However, the revised timings of the curfew will be from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the containment zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.

Vulnerable persons such as persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes, the order said.

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Cities

20 new containment zones formed in Delhi; 122 total

Covid cases in the national capital crossed the 18,000 mark on Saturday.

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New Delhi, May 30 : The number of Containment Zones in the national capital rose to 122 on Saturday with 20 new being formed in the last 24 hours, according to Delhi Government.

Among the 20 new containment zones, one is in East, three in North, three in south-east and 13 in West zone.

The highest 24 containment zones are in the North district. The South East has 17 containment zones while the South district has 12 zones.

Among those having the least zones is the New Delhi district with three zones.

The South West has 12 such zones while the North West districts has 13 containment zones.

The Central district has seven zones and the North East district has four zones while Shahdara district has eight zones.

Six containment zones are in the East district.

So far, total 53 zones have been de-contained, as per the data shared by the Delhi government on Saturday — the highest 12 from the West district. On Saturday, three zones were freed — two in the south-east district and one in the South district.

Covid cases in the national capital crossed the 18,000 mark on Saturday.

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