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Modi, Hasina jointly inaugurate oil pipeline, railway projects

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Narendra Modi Sheikh Hasina

New Delhi/Dhaka, Sep 18 : Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday jointly e-inaugurated the construction work of a cross-border oil pipeline and a railway project, with the former describing the two countries as members of the same family.

Hasina and Modi joined the event in the evening via video-conferencing from Dhaka and New Delhi, respectively.

The 129 km India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline connecting Siliguri in India with Parbatipur in Bangladesh will transport petroleum products from Numaligarh Refinery in Assam. Of the total length, 124 km will be constructed in Bangladesh and 5 km in India.

“Geographically we may be neighbours, but emotionally we are members of the same family,” Modi said while addressing the programme.

“Our mutual cooperation in the last few years has shown the world that when two neighbouring countries strive to work together, what all can be achieved,” he said.

“Whether it be a decades-old border problem or development aid cooperation project, we have made unprecedented progress on all issues.”

At the same event, the ground-breaking ceremony of a rail project to improve Dhaka’s connectivity with Tongi and Joydebpur, two towns on the outskirts of the capital city, was also held.

Officials said 48.80 km of the two new dual gauge rail lines would be constructed on the Dhaka-Tongi route and a 12.28 km new dual gauge railway double line on the Tongi-Joydebpur route.

Tuesday’s inauguration of the two projects came a little over a week after both the Prime Ministers inaugurated two railway projects and an electricity project on September 10.

Stating that the pipeline will further boost bilateral cooperation, Modi said that energy was the cornerstone of any country’s development.

“The pipeline will help in the development of the northern Bangladesh. Though it is being done with grant-financing from India, the project will be dedicated to the people and government of Bangladesh once completed,” he said.

Modi said the railway project will not only bring relief to road traffic in Dhaka, but also boost freight revenues.

Speaking from Dhaka, Hasina said that ever since she formed her government in Bangladesh in 2009, she has been working relentlessly to deepen ties with India.

She thanked Modi for the new projects which she said will help in Bangladesh’s development.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan joined the video conference from Delhi and Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali from Dhaka.

India

Early procurement of Paddy / Rice in Haryana and Punjab in KMS 2020-21

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procurement Paddy Rice

New Delhi: The Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2020-21 for paddy / rice is already scheduled to commence in all the procuring States w.e.f. 1st of October, 2020 and State Procuring Agencies including FCI are in a state of readiness for smoothly undertaking procurement operations.

However, in view of early arrival of paddy in the ‘mandies’ of Haryana and Punjab, Government of India has approved the commencement of procurement operations for paddy / rice immediately in both these States from today i.e. with effect from 26th September, 2020 to ensure that farmers are facilitated in selling their produce at Minimum Support Price (MSP) expeditiously.

Orders for commencement of procurement operations for paddy /rice from 26th September, 2020 in Haryana and Punjab have been issued.

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Business

GST E-Invoicing Mandatory From October

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GST Collection Down

New Delhi: No further relaxation is likely in terms of e-invoicing as the Centre is set to go ahead with the decision to make GST e-invoicing mandatory for companies with annual turnover of over Rs 500 crore for their business-to-business transactions starting October 1.

Industry representatives, however, have urged the government to not make it mandatory and rather allow voluntary compliance.

The relief, however, would be there for relatively smaller businesses, as the threshold for mandatory e-invoicing, a step to improve tax compliance, was earlier planned to be kept at Rs 100 crore, is set to be raised to Rs 500 crore on the recommendations of an empowered panel of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council.

The initial date for its roll out was April 1, 2020, but the Centre notified October 1, 2020, as revised date for implementation of e-invoicing.

As per the website of the Good and Service Network ‘e-invoicing’ has many advantages for businesses such as standardisation, interoperability, auto-population of invoice details into GST return and other forms (like e-way bill), reduction in processing costs, reduction in disputes, improvement in payment cycles and thereby improving overall business efficiency.

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India

India walks out of UN General Assembly as Imran begins attack

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Imran Khan at UNGA

United Nations, Sep 26 : The Indian delegate at the United Nations General Assembly session on Friday walked out in protest when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan began attacking India in his speech at the high-level meeting.

First Secretary Mijito Vinito, who was sitting on the second seat in the first row of the Assembly chamber, stood up and left as soon as Khan turned on India by focusing on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

In a tweet, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, T.S. Tirumurti decried Khan’s attacks as “warmongering and obfuscation”.

Khan’s pre-recorded speech was screened at the General Assembly chamber during the annual meeting stymied this year by the Covid-19 precautions.

A new element tucked into Khan’s 34-minute speech, more than a third of which was devoted to India, was a call for the Security Council to send its peacekeeping force to Kashmir by drawing a parallel to East Timor, now known as Timor-Leste.

“The Security Council must prevent a disaster conflict (in Kashmir) and secure the implementation of its own resolutions, as it did in the case of East Timor,” Khan said.

The Security Council authorised international intervention and sent peacekeepers in the aftermath of the Indonesian invasion of the former Portuguese colony, but a parallel would require such a force to clear Pakistanis in Kashmir in defiance of its resolution demanding their withdrawal.

Khan also declared a thinly veiled support for the attacks on India by the militants.

“The government and the people of Pakistan are committed to standing by and supporting the Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their legitimate struggle for self-determination,” he said.

To preemptively deny the involvement in any Pakistan-sponsored attacks on India, Khan said, “We have consistently sensitised the world community about a false flag operation.”

Khan alleged, “India is playing a dangerous game of upping the ante against Pakistan in a nuclearised environment.”

In his tweet, Tirumurti said, “PM of Pakistan’s statement a new diplomatic low at 75th UN General Assembly. Another litany of vicious falsehood, personal attacks, warmongering and obfuscation of Pakistan’s persecution of its own minorities and of its cross-border terrorism. Befitting Right of Reply awaits.”

At the start of his speech with religious platitudes, Khan declared his commitment to an even more stringent theocratic state before accusing India of moving away from secularism.

“We envisage Naya Pakistan to be modelled on the principles of the state of Medina, established by the Holy Prophet Mohammed,” he declared.

Later, the premier of the Islamic republic, which constitutionally denies full citizenship rights to non-Muslims as well as Muslims of the Ahmadiyya sect, asserted that India is giving up on the secularism of Mahatma Gandhi and is moving towards a “Hindutva” state.

“The secularism of Gandhi and Nehru has been replaced by the dream of creating a Hindu Rashtra,” he asserted.

Khan’s attacks on the RSS is to try to build up support for his cause, which has so far seen only Turkish support, by linking it to Nazism as his attacks on India have not found any backing.

Khan was silent on the persecution of the Uighur minority in China, Pakistan’s patron, and Beijing’s verified creation of camps for internment of the Muslim minority and campaign to eradicate their cultural and religious identity.

But he claimed that according to “reports”, there were camps in India filled with Muslims.

He also accused India of changing the demography of Kashmir and suppressing its cultural identity.

He invoked the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and said the Council should enforce them.

However, the main resolution on Kashmir — No. 47 — demands that Pakistan should withdraw its troops and personnel from Kashmir.

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