In yet another embarrassment for the “ousted” Peoples Democratic Party, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has been asked to evict her official residence in New Delhi. Sources said a formal evacuation notice was served to Mehbooba Mufti with a notice of one week to take away her personal belongings from the villa. 5 Akbar Road in the plush capital happens to be the official residence of the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Sources said in the wake of notice served to her, the PDP President has called a meeting of her close aides to decide future course of action. Insiders said Mehbooba was never expecting the central government to send her such a notice. The development has allegedly shocked Mehbooba barely two days after the Bharatiya Janta Party President Amit Shah during his visit to Jammu launched a scathing attack on the former Chief Minister and her PDP saying the party was responsible for corruption and underdevelopment in the state. According to sources,The central government has decided to seek strict compliance of the orders seeking evacuation of the government accommodation. A top official in New Delhi said the one week notice means that if Mehbooba doesn’t evacuate her belongings could be “thrown out.” “But we are hopeful that she won’t create any drama but will leave the place at an earliest,” the official sources said. Interestingly on June 19, when the right wing party pulled out of the alliance in the state, the PDP had remained silent on BJP.
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Senior BJP leader and Member of Rajya Sabha, Subramanian Swamy on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring Jammu & Kashmir under Governor’s rule and give the army the necessary orders to shoot terrorists in Kashmir.
“Situation in Kashmir is alarming. Ruling PDP is hand-in-glove with terrorists. It would be dangerous to allow it to remain at the helm of affairs in Jammu & Kashmir. I have been saying since long that Jammu & Kashmir be brought under the Governor’s rule.
The present Governor should be changed. A military-minded Governor should be immediately appointed in the state. The whole state should be brought under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act,” said BJP leader while reacting to the killings of Rising Kashmir Editor-in-Chief Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar and an army man of 44 RR Aurangzeb in Pulwama on the eve of Eid on Thursday.
Without criticizing the Narendra Modi Government’s policy towards the scourge of terror in the state, Swamy said that “Israel has mastered the art of tackling terrorists”, that “it is time for New Delhi to follow the Israeli model” and that the “army must be given the power to shoot terrorists, as they only understand the language of the bullet”.
“If the cult of terror has to be ended, New Delhi has to imitate Israel,” he said, adding that “what happened in Kashmir, and what had been happening in Kashmir for quite sometime now, was bound to happen as the policy adopted by New Delhi is not like that of Israel”.
Besides, senior BJP leader has also rejected the suggestion that ceasefire should be extended beyond Eid, saying “it must not be extended as the Ramzan ceasefire didn’t produce the desired results”.
Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday criticised the Centre for the fuel price hike and claimed that the rate can be reduced by Rs 25 per litre but the government is not doing it.
“It is possible to cut upto Rs 25 per litre, but the government will not. They will cheat the people by cutting price by Re 1 or Rs 2 per litre of petrol,” he said over Twitter.
Across the four metropolitan cities, prices rose around 30 paise on Tuesday. In Delhi and Mumbai, the fuel was sold at Rs 76.87 and Rs 84.70 per litre, up from Rs Rs 76.57 and Rs 84.40 respectively on Monday.
“Bonanza to central government is Rs 25 on every litre of petrol. This money rightfully belongs to the average consumer.
“Central government saves Rs 15 on every litre of petrol due to fall in crude oil prices. It also puts additional tax of Rs 10 on every litre of petrol,” he added.
Reliance Jio on Thursday announced a new postpaid plan, offering for its users with more benefits. Jio’s new postpaid service will be available for subscription from May 15.
At present, Jio has launched one new postpaid plan, and three international roaming packs. Jio has also introduced low tariff rates for international roaming and calling.
With the new Jio postpaid, international calling will be pre-activated and doesn’t require any security deposit. Interested users can opt to pre-activate international roaming without any additional monthly charge or security deposit either.
Reliance Jio’s postpaid plans come with auto-pay option for users.
E-bills will be emailed to users by the end of every month. Jio postpaid international calling offers International calling on Jio postpaid will start at 50 paise per minute. International roaming will start at Rs 2 for voice, data and SMS each. These rates will be applicable for countries like UAE, US, Canada, UK, Austria, Belgium, among others. As for countries like Afghanistan, Australia, Russia, and South Korea, international roaming charges will be set at Rs 10 for voice, data and SMS each.
Jio postpaid international roaming plans
International roaming plans start at RS 575 which offers unlimited voice and SMS, with up to 250MB of data with validity of 1 day. The second plan is priced at Rs 2,875 with the same offer but with validity of 7 days.
The most expensive plan of the lot is available at Rs 5,751 with 5GB of 4G data and validity of 30 days.
New Jio postpaid plan
Under its new postpaid offering, Jio has announced one plan which is priced at Rs 199 and comes with validity of 28 days.
Under this plan users get 25GB of 4G data, and free voice calls in addition with unlimited SMS and subscription to Jio apps.
This also includes pre-activated international calling with option to activate international roaming.
Govt may introduce ‘no fee’ policy in summer vacations for private schools
In a bid to relieve parents of burden of fee structure, Jammu and Kashmir Government may soon introduce a policy of ‘no fee’ especially in the months of summer vacations.
According to sources in the Education Department, the State Board of School Education is planning to direct schools not to charge fee in the months of June and July in view of summer vacations in the Winter Capital.
“To prevent burden of fee in the summer vacations, which is of around two months, the government may bring in the policy of ‘no fees’ to be deposited by the parents of wards studying in the private schools,” sources here told UNI.
They said that many parents previously had also approached the authorities concerned and the School Board Education members with a plea of not charging school fee for June-July months in view of summer vacation.
“The matter is under consideration but so far no final decision has been taken on this,” Rakesh Sarangal, Director, Board of School Education here, told UNI.
He said that sooner some positive decision will be taken to relieve the parents.
“It will be a good decision if implemented in toto by the government,” a parent said.
He said that if there are no regular classes for two months, then what is the point in depositing fees? adding, “government should seriously think on it and come out with an appropriate measure so that parents coffers do not go dry.”
When the government schools are charging one-time fee on annual basis from the students then why cannot the private schools exempt two month period of summer vacation from fees?, he wondered.
GST officers have started sending scrutiny notices to companies whose tax payment did not match the final sales return after revenue authorities detected underpayment of GST by about 34 percent, a source said. As per an analysis was done by the revenue department in March, 34 percent of businesses paid Rs 34,400 crore less tax between July-December while filing an initial summary return (GSTR-3B).
These 34 percent of the businesses have paid Rs 8.16 lakh crore to the exchequer by filing GSTR-3B, whereas analysis of their GSTR-1 data show that their tax liability should have been Rs 8.50 lakh crore.
In one notice issued by Gujarat GST commissionerate on May 4, taxpayers have been asked to explain the reason for “discrepancies” in return GSTR-3B and GSTR-1 for October-December period by May 14.
Tax experts said that GST law provides for 30 days time to be given to taxpayers for replying to scrutiny notices, however, in the said case only 10 days time has been granted.
EY Partner Abhishek Jain said the activity of data analytics at the end of revenue authorities has commenced with various players receiving notices, seeking clarifications on differences between GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B as well as GSTR-2A and GSTR-3B.
The government has collected over Rs 7.41 lakh crore as GST in last fiscal. However, there were concerns that due to the absence of anti-evasion measures there might have been leakages in tax revenue.
The revenue department has analyzed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns data filed by over 51.96 lakh businesses during July-December, 2017. The indirect tax reform GST was rolled out from July 1, 2017.
The data analysis showed only 16 percent of the summary sales returns under GST matched with the final returns till December 2017.
It also showed that there was excess tax payment of Rs 91,072 crore by 49.36 percent of businesses registered under GST between July-December. While they have paid Rs 6.50 lakh crore as GST, the GSTR-1 filed by them shows that their liability should have been Rs 5.59 lakh crore.
Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Jio could end your hunt for jobs. Reliance Jio has been reportedly planning to hire 80,000 employees during the current financial year. “About 1,57,000 people are on the rolls today..I will say another 75,000 to 80,000 people,” company’s Chief Human Resources Officer Sanjay Jog told reporters on sidelines of an event organised by the Society of Human Resources Management.
On attrition rate in Reliance Jio, he said it was about 32 per cent in the sales and technical areas related to constructions sites.
“If it is taken at the headquarter level, it is just 2 per cent. Average if you go it will come down to 18 per cent,” he explained. Jog said the company was having partnership with about 6,000 colleges, including technical institutions, across the country.
According to him, there are some embedded courses offered in these institutions and students who clear these are “Reliance ready”.
He said hiring would also be done through referrals and now with the help of social media platforms.
Recruitments through referrals now accounted for about 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the hirings, he said adding college and employees” referrals “are the two major contributors for our hiring plans.”
Bad News : Government drops plan to raise salary threshold to Rs 21,000 for mandatory PF coverage, Details here
The Narendra Modi-led government has dropped a plan to enlarge the social security net for nearly six million organised sector employees in an attempt to ease the burden on the government exchequer. The labour ministry has decided not to act on a proposal approved by the central board of Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) – India’s state pension fund – to increase the salary threshold from up to Rs 15,000 to Rs 21,000 per month to bring more workers under mandatory EPF coverage and give them PF and pension benefits, reported the Mint on Monday.
The report further highlighted that the decision of not raising the wage level may not go down well with workers’ unions at a time of rising anti-government protests across the country. The newspaper quoted Union Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Gangwar as saying, “It has not moved . right now there is no proposal from our-side . I cannot comment anything more on this.” At present, all workers drawing a monthly salary up to Rs 15,000 are covered mandatorily under EPF and the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) social security benefits.
Last year, the central board of EPFO had okayed a plan to increase the salary cap from Rs 15,000 to Rs 21,000. However, the increase in the salary cap would have cost the Modi government up to Rs 3,000 crore per year. The EPFO hiked the salary threshold from Rs 6,500 to Rs 15,000 in August 2014.
“Yes, the central board had recommended hiking the salary threshold,” V P Joy, the central PF commissioner without elaborating on why the plan has been shelved, told the financial daily.
The Centre pays 1.16 per cent of the basic wages to each EPFO subscriber earning less than Rs 15,000 a month towards employees’ pensions.
Meanwhile, Gangwar has said that there is no disagreement with the North Block on providing 8.55 per cent rate of interest for 2017-18 to over five crore subscribers of retirement fund body EPFO.
In February, the EPFO cut the interest rate for the financial year 2017-18 to a five-year low of 8.55 per cent. The rate was trimmed by 10 basis points from last year’s rate of 8.65 per cent. This is the third straight year that the provident fund organisation has cut the interest rate. The EPFO manages a corpus of over Rs 11 lakh crore.
Consumers using natural gas to run their vehicles (CNG, or compressed natural gas) and cooking gas (PNG, or piped natural gas) look set to pay more from next month as the benchmark price for natural gas produced from domestic fields is expected to hit a two-year high during the six-monthly revision due on April 1.
Government sources said the benchmark price is expected to go up to $3.06 per unit (million British thermal unit, or mBtu) from $2.89 at present. This will be the highest gas price since $3.82 for the six months ended March 2016.
The revision will raise the cost of manufacturing urea, which uses domestic gas as feedstock just like companies providing CNG and PNG services. But the impact on power tariffs will hardly be felt as less than 8% of total electricity comes from gas-fired plants.
The price increase will, however, shore up the fortunes of producers such as Reliance Industries from the private sector as well as state-run ONGC and OIL at a time when they are altogether investing more than $10 billion into new gas fields.
All these companies have been grumbling since October 2014, when the new gas pricing regime was introduced. Since the new pricing formula soon saw benchmark gas prices sliding every six months in tune with the fall in rates at global gas trading hubs, the companies maintained that such low prices made their gas field operations unviable.
State-run ONGC will be the biggest gainer. Back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that at its current volume of production, the company’s annual revenue goes up by Rs 4,100 crore and post-tax profit rises by Rs 2,700 crore on every dollar increase in domestic gas price.
The benchmark price was raised for the first time in nearly three years to $2.89 per unit in October last year after five rounds of reductions. Under the new pricing regime introduced by the NDA government, gas prices are to be revised every six months, based on average rates in gas-surplus markets like the US, Russia, FSU (former the Soviet Union) countries and Canada.
The new formula considers the weighted average price at Henry Hub of the US, National Balancing Point of the UK, rates in Alberta (Canada) and Russia with a lag of one quarter to work out a domestic benchmark.
Dearness allowance for lakhs of central government employees and pensioners is likely to be hiked by 2 per cent, government sources told.
The proposed hike is expected to come up for the approval of the Union Cabinet soon.
It will benefit 50 lakh government employees and 61 lakh pensioners of the central government and will come into effect from 1 January 2018.
Dearness allowance and dearness relief are provided to employees and pensioners to neutralise the impact of inflation on their earnings.
The existing dearness allowance – paid as proportion of the basic pay of central government employees or pension – is 5%.
According to the government, the increase in dearness allowance is made in accordance with the formula based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.