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No schemes for poll-bound states in Budget, EC tells govt

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New Delhi, January 24: The Election Commission on Monday barred the Central government from announcing any schemes for the five poll-bound states while clearing deck for presenting the Union Budget 2017 on February 1. 

The poll panel specifically made it clear that Finance Minister’s speech should not refer to Modi government’s achievements in these states either.

In a letter addressed to the Cabinet Secretary, the election commission said that “in the interest of free and fair elections” and in order to maintain “level playing field”, no state-specific schemes shall be announced “in the union budget as it may have the effect of “influencing the electors” in five poll-bound states.

The Modi government has advanced the presentation of the annual budget 2017 to February 1, a month before the usual budget day on 28 February. Assembly elections in the five states– Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur are scheduled to be held between February 4 and March 8.

Just a few hours before the direction from EC was out, the Supreme Court (SC) had rejected a plea for deferring the Union Budget 2017-18, in view of assembly polls in five states. The court accepted that the presentation has to be done before the start of the financial year (FY) 2017 and not during the FY.

Rejecting the plea, the SC observed: “If there is something that the Centre does that affects elections in the states then the Election Commission would come into the picture.”

Wefornews Bureau

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Govt to levy interest on late payment to MSMEs for GeM purchase

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, July 3 : Government departments and agencies will have to pay interest on late payment to vendors, largely MSMEs, for products procured through the Government e-Martketplace (GeM), starting October 1.

Through an office memorandum, the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance on Friday said that if the payment is not made within 10 days of the Consignee Receipt and Acceptance Certificate (CRAC) being auto generated or issued by the buyer, the concerned department will have to pay interest at the rate of one per cent per month for the delayed payment.

However, this very interest will not go to the MSMEs concerned and instead, will deposited in an account maintained by the GeM, which will be used only for the education of buyers and sellers or public procurement with the prior approval of the Department of Expenditure, said the office memorandum.

“ln order to promote greater discipline and timeliness in payment to vendors, especially #MSMEs, the government has issued an order to levy interest on late payment to vendors on the government e-marketplace. #AatmaNirbharBharat,” said a tweet by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman”s office.

The order will be effective on orders made from October 1, 2020.

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Tomato prices skyrocket to Rs 70/kg in Delhi-NCR

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

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Tomato

New Delhi, July 3 : With the onset of the monsoon tomato prices soared to Rs 70 per kg in New Delhi and its surrounding areas on Friday.

Crop failure in the rainy season and the late arrival of tomatoes in the mandis (wholesale markets) have led to the price hike. However, the prices are expected to fall after the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh next week.

A month ago, the price of tomatoes in Delhi’s Azadpur mandi was between Rs 1.25 and Rs 4.75 per kg, while the wholesale price on Friday was Rs 6.44 per kg.

The model rate of tomato was Rs 3 per kg in Azadpur mandi on June 3, which has increased by 10 times to Rs 29 per kg. On July 2, the wholesale price of tomatoes rose to Rs 52 per kg in the mandi, which means there has been an increase of about 995% in the last one month. Due to the rise in wholesale prices, tomatoes were sold at Rs 80 per kg on Thursday in Delhi-NCR and Rs 50.70 per kg in Greater Noida.

Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) chairman Adil Ahmad Khan said prices have gone up due to late arrival of tomatoes. The quantity of tomatoes received at Azadpur mandi was 528.2 tonne on June 3 while on July 3 it was 281.6 tonne. The quantity has thus been reduced by nearly 50 per cent in a month. Only 241.9 tonne were received on July 2 due to which the wholesale price was Rs 6.52 per kg while the model rate was Rs 32 per kg, Khan added.

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

From next week, the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh will lead to a decline in the prices of tomatoes. He said at present 90 per cent of the tomatoes in Delhi arrive from Himachal Pradesh while only 10 per cent are received from Haryana and Karnataka.

The consumption of all green vegetables, tomatoes and onions has declined during the past few months because of the shutdown of hotels, restaurants, canteens and dhabas following the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the corona pandemic. This led to a marked fall in prices. The wholesale price of tomatoes had come down to less than one rupee per kg.

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JioMeet takes on Zoom, can support up to 100 participants

JioMeet offers unlimited meetings per day and each meeting can go uninterrupted up to 24 hours.

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New Delhi, July 2 : Amid growing calls for ”Made in India” digital tools, Reliance Jio has launched a free video-conferencing application called JioMeet, taking on US-based Zoom platform.

According to the JioMeet description on Google Play Store, the application can be used for 1:1 video calls and hosting meetings with up to 100 participants with enterprise-grade host controls.

Other highlights include easy sign up with either mobile number or email ID, meeting in HD audio and video quality.

The application can be used for creating instant meetings to chat with friends and also to schedule a meeting in advance and share meeting details with invitees.

JioMeet offers unlimited meetings per day and each meeting can go uninterrupted up to 24 hours.

The application can be used on Android, Windows, iOS, Mac, SIP/H.323 systems.

JioMeet has already been downloaded for over 10,000 times from Google Play Store.

Each meeting is password protected and the host can enable a “Waiting Room” to ensure no participant joins without permission, JioMeet said.

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