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FM to table Chit Fund Amendment Bill in LS

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, Nov 18: Parliament will take up the Chit Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on the first day of the session, which is aimed at putting in place a mechanism to ensure transparency in chit fund schemes and protect subscribers and regulate the industry. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will table the bill.

The government wants the legislation — Chit Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2019 — to sail through. The bill has been through a Standing Committee for scrutiny.

The bill is a pending legislation to put in place a mechanism to ensure transparency in chit fund schemes and protect subscribers. The government had earlier in 2018 introduced a bill to regulate the chit fund industry but it had lapsed. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2018 and later referred to the standing committee on finance for scrutiny.

The parliamentary panel had suggested the government to incorporate elements of insurance coverage for subscribers, among others. It also noted that mobilising short-term funds to meet various personal needs has been a chronic problem faced by the general public in developing countries like India.

The bill was brought in the wake of a number of such schemes blowing up in the recent past, leaving several subscribers penniless.

During the Budget session in August, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur had introduced the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The amendments have been proposed to facilitate orderly growth of the chit fund sector, to remove bottlenecks and enable greater financial access to people, as per the bill.

With the amendments, the prescribed ceiling of aggregate chit fund amount for individuals would be raised to Rs 3 lakh from Rs 1 lakh and Rs 18 lakh from Rs 6 lakh for firms.

Besides, words ‘gross chit amount’, ‘share of discount’ and ‘net chit amount’ would be substituted with ‘chit amount’, ‘dividend’ and ‘prize amount’, respectively, in the Act.

Another change proposed would confer powers upon the state government concerned to specify the amount up to which any chit fund shall be exempted under the Act.

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India

Bombay HC confirms life sentence for mafia don Arun Gawli

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Arun Gawli

Mumbai, Dec 9 : The Bombay High Court has confirmed the life imprisonment awarded to mafia don Arun G. Gawli under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) by a trial court in 2012 for the murder of a Shiv Sena municipal corporator, here on Monday.

A division bench comprising Justice B.P. Dharmadhikari and Justice Swapna Joshi confirmed the sentence on Gawli – a former MLA – and some other associates involved in the crime.

In a sensational operation, some assailants sent by Gawli had barged into the Ghatkopar home of the Sena corporator, Kamlakar Jamsandekar in March 2008 and killed him.

After two months, Gawli – who had taken the contract to kill Jamsandekar – was arrested and a Special Court awarded him a life sentence in 2012, which has now been confirmed by the Bombay High Court.

The mafia don has been imprisoned since then and is currently lodged in Nagpur Central Jail.

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India

Delhi police shuts all JNU gates to stop students’ march

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Delhi Police JNU Gate

New Delhi, Dec 9 : With barricadings set up and security forces deployed on every gate of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the students’ planned march to the President’s house has been contained in the varsity.

The students are though trying to convince the security forces to let them go ahead with the march.

A march from JNU to President’s house was called by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) after their month long protest failed to bear fruits as the administration rejected their demand of complete rollback of proposed hike in hostel charges.

The JNUSU has though emailed a letter of their demands to the President.

In the letter, the students have demanded complete rollback of proposed fee hike, resignation of the Vice-Chancellor, withdrawal of police cases on the agitating students.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi police along with other security forces sealed all gates of the varsity which could have been used by students to march to the President’s house to present their demands.

Heavy deployment of forces was seen outside the varsity gates as water cannons, forces with lathi and tear gases guarded the roads outside.

Meanwhile inside the campus, students scuffled with a section of teachers who the students alleged were supporting the university administration on the proposed fee hike issue.

A hostel draft manual, introduced by the varsity, has become a bone of contention between students and varsity administration since October 28 when the administration didn’t allow the JNUSU to attend the IHA committee meeting that was to clear it.

The varsity administration argued the JNUSU had not been notified due to flouting of election rules. The draft hostel manual proposed to hike hostel charges from Rs 10 for double occupancy to Rs 300, and Rs 600 for single occupancy from the earlier Rs 20.

However, after student protests, the varsity administration announced a 50 per cent concession for the BPL category students, but it failed to pacify students. The issue is being handled by a MHRD’s high-powered committee, which has given its recommendations to the varsity administration after several meetings with students and their representatives.

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Onion prices ease in Delhi amid increased arrivals

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People buy onion

New Delhi, Dec 9 : Wholesale prices of onion eased in Delhi on Monday after an increase in local produce arrivals as well as the bulb sourced from the overseas.

“Around 24,000 bags of onion, each containing 55 kg of the crop, arrived at the Azadpur Mandi that brought down the prices as compared to the previous week,” Rajendra Sharma, President Onion Merchant Association told IANS.

Azadpur Mandi is the biggest vegetable market in the country.

Apart from domestic produce, around 200 tonnes of imported onion also arrived at the Mandi on Monday, he added.

Wholesale prices of onion were quoted in between Rs 50-75 per kg at the mandi on Monday. Hence, prices were down by Rs 5 per kg against the previous week, a source said.

Onion from Afghanistan and Turkey was also arrived here, the source said.

“Over 80 trucks of onion came from Afghanistan in past two days. A large quantity of Afghani onion is being supplied in the border state of Punjab,” the source said.

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