CHENNAI MONDAY JANUARY 07, 2019 `5.00 PAGES 36 LATE CITY EDITION ` HOUSE PANEL PUSH FOR BANK HIRES, WARNS OF APEX VACUUM Lawmakers have said public sector banks must step up hiring to make up for the retirement of several employees in the near future 95% GM-LEVEL STAFF TO RETIRE IN 2019-20 FIX DYSFUNCTIONAL ATMs, RBI TOLD While PSBs will see 95% of GM-level staff, 75% of Deputy GM-level staff, and 58% of Additional GM-level staff retire in 2019-20, the Standing Committee on Finance has observed that there has been “strangely a discernible” fall in the number of applicants for clerical, probationary-officer and specialist-officer positions at these banks ■ ■ Another parliamentary panel has asked the Reserve Bank to address the problem of perpetually dysfunctional ATMs so as to avoid any situation of forced cash crunch Sufficient ATMs aren’t being added to meet the rising demand for cash, even as more debit cards are being issued, it noted 2.2 lakh ATMs IN INDIA — OF THEM, 1.4 LAKH BELONG TO PSBs (AS OF SEPT 2018) CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Kerala calamity cess gets nod; MSME tax relief goes to Council E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi A ministerial panel under the GST Council on Sunday approved Kerala’s request to levy an additional 1 per cent calamity cess to fund the rehabilitation work in the state that was battered by unprecedented floods a few months ago. Kerala can levy the cess for up to two years, said Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, who heads the panel. Another panel on giving relief to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) discussed a proposal to lift the tax exemption cap for them, but could not arrive at a consensus on the quantum. At present, businesses with turnover of up to `20 lakh are out of the GST bracket. While Delhi suggested the exemption limit be raised to `40 lakh, BiMore sops har wanted it at `50 lakh. The matter for MSMEs will now be taken up by the GST Council itself, which will meet on GST of `5,000 for . MSMEs with `50- Thursday The meeting will also take a call on the Modi panel’s recom60 L turnover mendation on the Kerala cess. suggested; and “The GoM has recommended to `10,000- 15,000 the Council that Kerala be allowed to for firms with `60-75 L turnover levy 1 per cent cess for two years. Also the Centre and states will to Allow firms with gether decide on increasing the borturnover of up to rowing limit under FRBM for fund`1.5 crore to avail ing natural calamity said Modi. ,” composition Which all items would attract the scheme, up from cess would be decided by the Kerala `1 crore government, Modi added. As for any other state wanting to levy the calamity cess, it would have to route it through the GST Council, he clarified. The Group of Ministers (GoM) under Modi also suggested allowing additional borrowing over the permitted limit by states hit by natural calamities. The second GoM led by minister Shiv Pratap Shukla suggested extending the composition scheme to service providers with an annual turnover of up to `50 lakh. Such service providers can pay GST at 5%. HEIGHT OF COMMUNALISM, AS BJP MLA CITES AIMIM, WON’T TAKE OATH Telangana BJP MLA Raja Singh on Sunday said he would not take his oath in the presence of AIMIM legislator Mumtaz Ahmed Khan, who would be acting as pro-tem Speaker, because the AIMIM “speaks against Hindus” | P6 Remains of the van in which the pilgrims were travelling | EXPRESS 10 TS pilgrims killed in Pudukai accident E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Pudukkottai IN a gruesome road accident, 10 pilgrims from Telangana were killed on Sunday after a lorry rammed their van near Thirumayam in Pudukkottai. Five others were admitted to Thirumayam Government Hospital with injuries and later shifted to Pudukkottai Government College and Hospital. The accident happened around 2.30 pm Sunday noon. The pilgrims were on their way back from Sabarimala via Rameswaram, where they stopped for a holy dip. When their vehicle was crossing Thirumayam, on the Thanjavur-Karaikudi bye-pass, a lorry coming from the opposite direction — reportedly on the wrong side — collided head-on with the van. While the truck driver fled immediately the van driv, er and six others were killed on the spot. Three others were declared brought dead at the hospital. Health P5 Minister C Vijayabaskar visited the injured. WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 36 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) 4 OF CITY EXPRESS 9-10 phase LS polls jointly with Maha, Haryana, J&K? Simultaneous elections to Andhra, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh to reduce expenditure; schedule likely to mirror that of 2014 K U M A R V I K R A M @ New Delhi THE Lok Sabha polls this year might be held in nine or 10 phases as the Election Commission (EC) is likely to hold the Assembly polls of six or seven states along with the big political battle of 2019. The terms of four Assemblies — Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh — will end in May and June, 2019. Moreover, the Centre is prepared to hold the Jammu & Kashmir polls as well. Apart from these states, the elections in Maharashtra and Haryana may also be clubbed together. The terms of the Maharashtra and Haryana Assemblies end in the first week of November, and holding the polls together would save resources as there wouldn’t be any more elections this year, an EC official said. The poll panel might announce the election schedule around the last week of February, and polling may start from April 8 or the next convenient date, sources said, adding, “The template would be the schedule of the 2014 polls, when voting began on April 7, and over nine phases, going on till May 12”. Officials claimed clubbing of the Haryana and Maharashtra polls would depend on the political situation. “States and the rul- IN ONE GO? The 2019 Lok Sabha polls could follow the 2014 scheduling template. Polling could kick off on April 7-8 and over nine phases ending midMay With terms of four Assemblies ending in MayJune, it’s almost decided that simultaneous polls for them will be taken up with the LS polls Polling for Haryana and Maharashtra Assemblies, the terms of which end in November, could be advanced, should the govts agree on their dissolution earlier 22.3 lakh ballot units, 16.3 lakh control units and 17.3 lakh VVPATs or paper trail machines needed in 2019 LS polls across 10.6 lakh polling stations The EC might announce the schedule around the last week of Feb. The template would be the schedule of the 2014 polls, when voting began on April 7, and over 9 phases, going on till May 12 Source ing parties have to be allowed to take a call. Both states are ruled by the BJP If the party thinks it . could be beneficial, the two governments can take a call on seeking dissolution of the Assemblies six months before the scheduled end of term.” Meanwhile, an EC official said the poll panel has sufficient resources to hold the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls of the seven states together. Deployment of security forces would also not be a big issue if elections are held together, said a government official. While the Sikkim Assembly term ends on May 27, 2019, the terms of the Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh Assemblies end on June 18, June 11 and June 1 respectively. The terms of the Maharashtra and Haryana Assemblies end on November 9 and November 2 respectively A call on polls for the J&K . Assembly is yet to be taken. According to the EC, 22.3 lakh ballot units, 16.3 lakh control units and nearly 17.3 lakh VVPATs or paper-trail machines will be used for the 2019 LS polls. The number of machines include the buffer stock for training as well as replacements. These would be deployed at the nearly 10.6 lakh polling stations across India in the next parliamentary elections. 9L Cong booth teams to raise `22,000 each for LS poll fund A M I T A G N I H O T R I @ New Delhi In an attempt to overcome the funds crunch ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Congress has launched a nationwide drive to localise the mop-up, directing its 9 lakh-plus polling booth teams across India to raise `22,000 each. The drive also aims at boosting booth-level teams, which will do the spade work and help revive the party’s connect with the voters, said a Congress insider. As per the plan being monitored by AICC treasurer Ahmed Patel, 50% of the mopped up funds would go to the AICC while state, district and block level committees would get 25%, 15% and 10% share, respectively . “The Congress is a mass-based party. But over the past decades the vital voter connect gradually diminished, which played a role in the 2014 poll debacle,” a senior AICC functionary admitted. Party insiders said the Congress has been battling paucity of funds after losing the 2014 LS polls and a series of Assembly elections P7 thereafter. Woman molested by 3 MRTS staff at Taramani station ‘Security will be beefed at MRTS stations’ Railways has ordered an internal probe into the incident. Senior Divisional Security Commissioner Louis Amuthan said surveillance would be tightened at MRTS stations. The trio were charged with robbery, criminal intimidation and use of crimial force with the intent of outraging the modesty of a woman B A N B U S E LV A N @ Chennai MRTS stations continue to be a nightmare for women. On Saturday, a 21-year-old woman was allegedly molested at the Taramani station by three men working with the MRTS — one as railway commercial clerk and two others in contractual positions. Police have arrested two suspects. The incident happened at around 9 pm Saturday, when the woman was found talking to her male friend at the ground floor of the railway station. Railway contract workers Lukas (22) and Sriram (23) caught them and accused them of misbehaving in public place. When the couple objected, the workers took them to the on-duty commercial staff, Logeshwaran (28) under the pretext of an inquiry . Logeshwaran held an ‘inquiry’ in his cabin and demanded `5,000 in return for not informing their parents and police. “As the woman refused to pay money, the trio allegedly threatened the boy to leave the station and then took her to a dark room on the second floor where they abused her,” said an investigation officer quoting the victim. The woman managed to escape from the place and informed RPF through their helpline. The Egmore Government Railway police registered a case, which subsequently led to the arrest of Logeshwaran and Lukas, who works as an elevator operator. They are searching for Sriram. Police suspect the trio could have extorted money from several other couples. A senior railway official said the staff would be suspended after due procedures. “Except railway staff, no other person can be taken inside the commercial cabin,” he said.
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