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Centre to issue advisory against service charge on food, drink bills: Paswan

New Delhi: The government plans to issue an advisory to states asking them to crack down against unfair imposition of service charge on food and drink bills, food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Friday.

“Service charge does not exist. It is being wrongly charged. We have prepared an advisory on this issue. We have sent it to the PMO for approval,” Paswan told reporters. A senior ministry official said the advisory, once approved by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), will be issued to all states and union territories.

The advisory will also be useful for Voluntary Consumer Organisations (VCOs) fighting for consumer right, he said. “No customer should be forced to pay service charge. If customers want they can pay a tip to waiters or give their consent to levy the charge in the bill,” the official said while explaining the nature of proposed advisory.

The levying of service charge without seeking customer consent will be considered as unfair trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act, he added. The minister said consumers should be informed about service charge in the menu card itself.

Earlier too, on several occasions, Paswan spoke against unfair imposition of service charge on food bill and had even sought explanation from hotels and restaurants’ bodies. In January, the department of consumer affairs stated that service charge on food bills is not compulsory and a customer can choose to have it waived if not satisfied with experience.

Kejriwal on EVMs: ‘I am an IIT engineer, I can tell you 10 ways to tamper with them’

Once again raising the voice against ‘rigged’ EVMs, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that charges that electronic voting machines may have been tampered cannot be denied.

“I am an engineer from IIT, I can tell you 10 ways to tamper with EVMs,” he told NDTV in an interview.
Kejriwal has been raising his voice against the use of EVMs along with several other leaders from different political parties. “When an independent candidate in Pune, who got zero votes, is asking where his vote has gone, why shouldn’t we question EVM? We cannot shut our eyes,” he added.

Playing down the humiliating defeat in Rajouri Garden bypoll, Kejriwal said BJP is using its full force to break the Aam Aadmi Party. “BJP’s sole aim is to defeat AAP. They want to break us. We break five corruption nexus in the city-power bills, tanker mafia, school fees and corruption in health facilities and providing medicines. Had I taken money, they wouldn’t have targeted us. In the 10 year rule, BJP has done nothing in MCDs,” Kejriwal said.

Claiming that AAP government has worked for public, Kejriwal said that their ministers and MLAs are being targeted because they tried to break nexus of corruption in the city.

MCD elections in Delhi are on April 23, and Kejriwal said his party’s performance will prove his party’s good work in the city. Earlier, on Friday, he also admitted that the defeat in the Rajouri Garden bypoll was because people were angry with the sitting party MLA for leaving the seat. However, he said it won’t affect the party in the civic polls.

On the charge that Kejriwal had hired expensive lawyers to defend him in a defamation case, he said that there was nothing wrong with it. He said the case was filed against him because of his statement as the CM.

7th pay commission: HRA to be revised under 7 CPC, Lavasa committee recommendations; Key highlights

New Delhi, April 14: Major changes are could be made to the salaries of central government employees, with the Ashok Lavasa committee all set to submit its recommendations for changes in allowances under the seventh pay commission. While the committee is looking at abolishing or subsuming various allowances, it is particularly focused on revising the current rates of the House Rent Allowance (HRA).
The House Rent Allowance (HRA) is paid by the government to all the employees as a fixed amount that goes towards their accommodation needs. With central government employees often having to move around the country due to transfers, the HRA plays a crucial role. However, the sum is given even if the employee is living in his/her own house.

The HRA forms a significant amount of an employees’ salary and currently constitutes about 30 percent of the same i metro cities. However, the Lavasa committee is looking at reducing the rate to 24 percent in metros, a move that has not particularly gone well.
The seventh pay commission has recommended that the HRA be extended according to the type of city an employee is living in. As per the classification, cities have been segregated into three classes; X, Y and Z. Here is the complete list of cities and the class under which they belong:

Art of Living’s ‘scientific’ report claims no damage to Yamuna floodplains

A parallel ‘scientific’ report prepared by a team of environmentalists roped in by Art of Living has claimed that no damage was done to the Yamuna floodplains in Delhi in 2016.

On Wednesday, the National Green Tribunal-appointed panel claimed that the three-day event organised by Art of Living had caused extensive damage to the food plains in 2016. The report suggested that it would take at least 10 years and more than Rs42 crores to fix the damage.

“We have submitted a separate scientific report to the green tribunal which says that no damage has been done to the flood plains which could be attributed to the Art of Living event in 2016,” Jaideep Nath, spokesman of Art of Living told HT on Thursday.