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No government interference in Start-Up India scheme, says Jaitley

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the new “Start-Up India” scheme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote and nurse entrepreneurship will ensure minimum interference from the government with attractive tax incentives.

“Start-Up India will change conventions. Government will merely be a facilitator for start-ups,” the finance minister told the inaugural session of the day-long event here which will see the prime minister formally unveil the scheme later in the evening.

“We ostensibly broke away from the license raj in 1991, conceived with idea that government will decide which businesses can run,” said Jaitley. “Our effort in last few years has been to restrict role of the state in policy domain,” he said, assuring Start-Up India scheme will follow that path.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister said he looked forward to the formal launch.

“Start-UpIndia movement begins today. This movement celebrates the energy and enterprising spirit of our youth,” he tweeted. “Will join the programme to commence the Start-Up India movement this evening. Looking forward to interacting with start-up entrepreneurs.”

The event at the Vigyan Bhavan official conference complex has been a top draw.

“There is seating capacity of 1,350 (at Vigyan Bhavan). Over 200,000 people have sought passes. Please sympathise with us. There is live relay,” Industries Secretary Amitabh Kant had tweeted ahead of the event.

Wefornews Bureau

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India

PM Modi to meet floor leaders at 11 am today

Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Pralhad Joshi, Nirmala Sitharaman among others will be present on behalf of the government along with PM Modi.

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New Delhi, April 8 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with Parliamentary floor leaders of different parties on Wednesday morning at 11 am through video conference, to decide the future course of action as far as coronavirus outbreak in India is concerned, among other key issues.

The primary point on the agenda will be whether to end the shutdown or extend it and if the government wishes to withdraw it, what should be the approach. The current shutdown is slated to end on April 14.

Another point of discussion will be the economic impact of the shutdown on India and how to deal with it. Money released to states, future of daily wage workers who are the worst hit due to total shutdown and scope if any possible economic package will be discussed in the meeting, say sources.

The government is expecting some opposition to the ordinance to suspend MPLADS for two years. Modi will hear their views and try to reason with them, the sources said.

Explaining the current food supply chain, and availability of essentials will definitely feature in the discussion in view of a extension of the ongoing shutdown. Government sources indicated on Tuesday that the government is ‘considering request’ by various Chief Minister against ending the current shutdown on April 14.

Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Pralhad Joshi, Nirmala Sitharaman among others will be present on behalf of the government along with PM Modi.

The Shiv Sena will be represented by Sanjay Raut, the Lok Janshakti Party by Chirag Paswan, the Samajwadi Party by Prof Ram Gopal Yadav, the Bahujan Samaj Party by Danish Ali and Satish Mishra and the Biju Janata Dal by Pinaki Misra.

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Business

Over 50% luxury homes launched in last 3 years stays unsold

In the Rs 3-5 crore price bracket, 56 per cent of the 8,503 units launched during this period are awaiting buyers.

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New Delhi, April 7 : Demand for luxury homes stays muted as more than half of the high-end units launched in the past three years in over nine prime Indian residential markets have remain unsold, according to a report by PropTiger.com.

The data, available with Elara Technologies-owned real estate portal, shows of the 1,131 housing units, priced over Rs 7 crore and launched between December 2016 and December 2019, 577 units or 51 per cent were unsold as of January 2020.

Similarly, of the 3,656 units, priced between Rs 5 crore and Rs 7 crore and launched in the past three years, nearly 55 per cent are unsold.

In the Rs 3-5 crore price bracket, 56 per cent of the 8,503 units launched during this period are awaiting buyers.

According to PropTiger.com report, Mumbai, the financial capital of India, has the highest number of unsold luxury units at 30,015, followed by Hyderabad (8,554) and Bengaluru (5,794).

Compared with 2017, new launches in the luxury segment declined in the most price brackets across the nine markets.

“In the Rs 1-3 crore price bracket, for example, 29,775 units were launched in 2019 against 29,996 homes in 2018. In the Rs 5-7 crore price bracket, only 859 units were launched last year against 1,536 homes in 2018,” it said.

Similarly, in the Rs 7 crore plus range, only 34 units were launched in 2019 against 542 homes in 2018. However, in the Rs 3-5 crore bracket, new launches increased from 2,675 in 2018 to 3,092 last year.

The study covered cities like Ahmedabad, including Gandhinagar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram (including Bhiwadi, Dharuhera and Sohna), Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai (including Navi Mumbai and Thane), Pune and Noida (including Greater Noida, Noida Extension and Yamuna Expressway).

“The demand for luxury homes fell post-demonetisation, and the trend has not changed much. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to further impact demand across the residential realty sector in the first half of FY21, including luxury housing,” said Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, PropTiger.com.

He, however, expects renewed interest from NRIs in the luxury housing segment if the value of the Indian rupee continues to fall.

“The Indian currency recently fell beyond Rs 77 against the US dollar. This puts NRI homebuyers in an advantageous position as they would find buying luxury homes a relatively more attractive investment option than before,” he said.

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Disaster

Covid19: Sonia Gandhi has 5 suggestions for PM Modi

She also targeted the PM CARES-fund and demanded that all money under ‘PM Cares’ fund should be transferred to ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ (PM-NRF).

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Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

New Delhi, April 7 : A day after her telephonic conversation with the Prime Minister on the fight against Covid-19, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting five measures to curb government “expenditure” and to divert money in fighting the deadly virus.

Sonia Gandhi has 5 suggestions for PM Modi #Covid19

🔴 Suspend all govt, PSU ads

🔴 Suspend Central Vista project

🔴 30% reduction in Expenditure Budget (not salaries) to use as economic safety net

🔴 Put all foreign visits on hold

🔴 Transfer money from PM CARES to PMNRF

Sonia Gandhi in her letter suggested to Scrap Central Vista project of approximately Rs 20000 crore, suspension of government advertisements and foreign visits of ministers and other dignitaries, and asked to divert the money to PMNRF from PM-CARES fund.

Sonia Gandhi in her letter wrote to convey her support to the decision taken by the Union Cabinet to reduce salaries for Members of Parliament by 30 per cent. Austerity measures which can be used to divert much needed funds to the fight against Covid-19 are the need of the hour, she said.

“In this spirit, I am writing to offer five concrete suggestions. I am certain you will find value in them.”

The first suggestion Sonia Gandhi made was to impose a complete ban on media advertisements – television, print and online – by the Government and Public Sectors Undertakings (PSUs) for a period of two years.

“The only exceptions should be advisories for Covid-19 or for issues relating to public health. Given that the Central Government currently spends an average of Rs 1250 crore per year on media advertisements (not including an equal or greater amount spent by PSUs and Government companies), this will free up a substantial amount to alleviate the economic and social impacts of Covid-19.” wrote Sonia Gandhi

The Congress President suggested to suspend Rs 20,000 crore ‘Central Vista’ beautification and construction project forthwith. “At a time like this, such an outlay seems self-indulgent to say the least. I am certain that Parliament can function comfortably within the existing historical building and this sum could instead be allocated towards constructing new hospital infrastructure and diagnostics along with equipping our frontline workers with Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) and better facilities.”

Proportionate reduction of 30 per cent in the expenditure budget (other than Salaries, Pensions and Central Sector Schemes) should be done for the Government of India as well. This 30 per cent (i.e. Rs 2.5 lakh crore per year approximately) can then be allocated towards establishing an economic safety net for migrant workers, labourers, farmers, MSMEs and those in the unorganised sector, wrote Sonia Gandhi

“All foreign visits including that of the President, the Prime Minister, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, State Ministers and Bureaucrats must be put on hold in a similar fashion,” she said.

The Exceptions can be made in case of special emergency or exigencies in national interest to be cleared by the PM. This amount (which is around Rs 393 crore for just the Prime Minister and Union Cabinet’s trips in the last five years) can be utilised extensively in measures to combat Covid-19, Sonia Gandhi added.

She also targeted the PM CARES-fund and demanded that all money under ‘PM Cares’ fund should be transferred to ‘Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund’ (PM-NRF).

“This will ensure efficiency, transparency, accountability and audit in the manner in which these funds are allocated and spent. It seems like a waste of effort and resources to have and create two separate silos for the distribution of funds. I understand that Rs 3800 crore approximately are lying unutilised in the PM-NRF (at the end of FY2019). These funds, plus the amount in ‘PM-Cares’, can be utilised to ensure an immediate food security net for those at the very margins of society.” wrote Sonia Gandhi.

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