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Venkaiah Naidu is next Vice President of India

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Venkaiya Naidu

New Delhi, Aug 5 : NDA nominee M. Venkaiah Naidu was on Saturday elected the next Vice President of India, defeating opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi by a margin of 272 votes.

Naidu secured 516 votes while Gandhi got 244 votes. Of the 771 votes polled, 11 votes were declared invalid.

“As M. Venkaiah Naidu secured greater than the requisite quota of votes, I declare him as duly elected to the office of the Vice President of India,” Secretary General of Rajya Sabha and Returning Officer, Shumsher K. Sheriff, told reporters.

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With 90% tax on petrol & diesel, bringing them under GST impractical: NITI Aayog VC

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Rajiv Kumar

New Delhi, June 25: Petroleum is the taxation milch cow for the central and the state governments and it is unlikely to be brought under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) any time soon.

That’s also the view of the Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog, Rajiv Kumar. Several senior ministers have demanded that petroleum products — basically petrol and diesel — be brought under the new taxation regime.

But says Kumar: “It (oil) can’t be brought under GST. That’s because the total state and central taxes on petrol put together are around 90 per cent right now.”

He told IANS in an interview here: “I can’t see how any state will take a cut so huge as the highest rate under the GST is 28 per cent. A new GST band will have to be opened up — and that will be an enormous exercise.”

While supporting “in principle” the idea of bringing all items under the new indirect tax system, he said those talking about doing it now have not thought this through.

“The better way to do this is to first start reducing taxes (on petroleum products) as I have said many times in public. States impose ad-valorem tax on oil and so they all had a windfall gain (when prices rose). There is a need to rationalise it,” he said, adding “states should especially cut taxes.”

Kumar said that both the central and the state governments should start the process of weaning themselves away from their dependence on oil taxation.

According to him, the Central government collects Rs 2.5 lakh crore as tax on oil while almost Rs 2 lakh crore is collected by the states. “From where will they compensate it?” he asks adding that if the taxes are reduced gradually, the burden on the economy will get reduced.

“Higher oil prices are like a tax on the economy. If oil prices are brought down, economic activity will also improve,” Kumar said.

“Once that is achieved, once the revenues have gone up from other sources and the economy has picked up, then you can think of bringing oil under GST. It’s not that easy,” he added.

Ever since the new tax legislation was rolled out on July 1 last year, there had been talk of bringing it under the GST with top government officials and ministers supporting the need for such a move. The Opposition parties, of course, have been clamouring for it.

In December last year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had told the Rajya Sabha that the Central government was in favour of bringing petroleum products under the ambit of GST after building a consensus with states.

More recently, in April, when the international crude oil prices were going up sharply, pushing the domestic petrol prices to record levels, BJP President Amit Shah told a rally in Mumbai that efforts were on to bring petrol and diesel under the GST.

From Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari to Petroleum and Naural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, almost every senior BJP minister has favoured bringing petroleum products under the GST.

Among states, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has also expressed willingness to bring petrol and diesel under GST in his state if a consensus was brought about on it.

Kumar says he was in favour of such a change, but it has to be thought through in practical terms.

“I am just simply saying that let’s not try to hurry it because you would only run into problems as there is a huge dependence on oil,” he said.

“Even electricity should be brought under GST. Everything should be under GST. But I am not sure whether it is worked out yet. Let’s agree to bring it under GST but over a period of time as is practical,” he said.

IANS

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Live: India, Seychelles Sign Six MoUs after PM Modi’s talks with Faure

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New Delhi, June 25 : Following talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Danny Faure on Monday, , India and Seychelles signed six Memorandums of Understanding at Hyderabad House.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Welcoming the esteemed guest at Hyderabad House! PM @narendramodi received the President of Seychelles Danny Antoine Rollen Faure for bilateral talks. Special ties with a maritime neighbour.” Faure, who is on his first bilateral visit to India, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Modi this morning.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also called on the visiting leader and discussed with him expanding bilateral cooperation in key areas, including capacity building and human resource development.

Sushma Swaraj met President  and termed the relationship between both the countries as deep-rooted & historical.

“The relationship which is deep-rooted & historical! EAM @SushmaSwaraj calls on President of #Seychelles Danny Faure in New Delhi. Good discussion on expanding bilateral cooperation in all areas, specially capacity building, human resource development and people-to-people contacts,” Kumar said in a tweet.

 

President of the Republic of Seychelles Danny Faure received ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi on Monday. He was received by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival at Rashtrapati Bhawan, to hold bilateral talks soon.

Seychelles President Danny Faure, who is on six-day visit to India, will hold crucial bilateral talks focussing on defence and security issues with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday.

Mutually beneficial relationship based on shared values and commitment to the ideals of democracy and development! President of Seychelles Danny Antoine Rollen Faure was accorded a ceremonial welcome @Rashtrapatibhvn by President Ram Nath Kovind and PM @narendramodi, tweets MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

His visit to India comes days after Faure government rejected India’s plan to  develop a naval base jointly at Assumption Island in his country. Seychelles signed an agreement with India in 2015 to develop a naval facility at the island which would have given New Delhi a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean Region.

Faure, who landed in Gujarat on Friday, has arrived in Delhi on Monday after visiting Ahmedabad and Goa, was received by Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar.

“Connected by ‘SAGAR’ – Security and Growth for All in the Region”! President of Seychelles Danny Antoine Rollen Faure warmly received by MoS @mjakbar at Delhi airport on his first bilateral visit to India,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

He visited the Sabarmati Ashram on Saturday, where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1930.

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Bukhari killing: Online hate campaign targets Kashmiris Journalists

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Online hate campaign has now started targeting other Kashmiri journalists eleven days after Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari was gunned down by unidentified people.

Kashmiri journalist Ahmed Ali Fayyaz said that unidentified people who had run a online smear campaign against Shujaat Bukhari, are now targeting him and journalist Iftikhar Gilani.

“They have posted our photographs on the same portal with a vitriolic heap of text which vilifies and denigrates us both as ‘dubious characters’, men of ‘hypocritical approach’ et al,” Fayyaz wrote in a Facebook post.

Unidentified people has been carrying out a vilification campaign via blog post titled “Touts who are betraying the Kashmir struggle” and are targeting journalists, businessmen, politicians and activists engaged in so-called Track-II diplomacy as “betrayers” of the “struggle of Kashmir” and for carrying out the “dirty work of defaming (the) Kashmir cause”.

Track-II diplomacy involves consultations between non-governmental entities, individuals and groups seeking to build trust and to keep backchannel communication links open.

The journalist denied that he had ever taken part in a Track-2 diplomatic initiative. “I have never ever claimed to be the ‘saviour of Kashmiri cause’ or someone ‘finding a solution to the Kashmir problem’, he wrote. “I believe this is not a proscribed activity for a journalist but I have been holding the opinion that this job should be left to other organs of the civil society.”

The above said blog had targeted Shujaat Bukhari, eleven days before he was assassinated by three unidentified gunmen in Press Enclave. Meanwhile, security agencies are investigating the blog.

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