BIG GST RELIEF Composition scheme for traders with annual turnover of up to A1.5 cr Scheme also available for service providers with A50 lakh turnover Under the scheme, firms need to file tax return only once a year, but pay taxes every quarter Finance minister Arun Jaitley addressing the media after the GST Council meeting in New Delhi on Thursday | PARVEEN NEGI BELAGAVI FRIDAY JANUARY 11, 2019 `6.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION No decision on GST for real estate, lottery Time for MSMEs to crank up as govt does its part of the deal KERALA CAN LEVY 1% CALAMITY CESS The GST Council on Thursday allowed Kerala government to levy a one per cent calamity cess on intra-state sale of goods and services for a period of up to two years. Proceeds from the levy would be used to fund the cost of rehabilitation work in the state that was ravaged by floods last year S U N I T H A N AT T I AFTER trials and tribulations, the government decided to support the old saw, MSMEs, to spur jobs and growth. On Thursday the GST Coun, cil doubled the tax exemption threshold to `40 lakh from `20 lakh and extended the composition scheme to traders with turnover of `1.5 crore from `1 crore earlier. The Council also allowed service providers with turnover of up to `50 lakh to avail the scheme at 6 per cent. From tax exemptions to easing restructuring norms for MSME loans, federal authorities are breathing sighs of relief into small businesses strangled by totally unrelated events such as weak credit flow, demonetisation and GST. The focus on MSMEs ahead of elections may seem freshly urgent, but it isn’t. MSMEs have been in despair for a while, with banks favouring large borrowers following the high-growth periods starting 2011. As such, credit growth to MSMEs slackened, falling from 13.18 per cent in November 2013 to 5.84 per cent in September 2018. They account for just 14 per cent of the total bank credit now. Though access to credit picked up in 2015, note ban and GST rollout hit where it hurts the most. The recent liquidity crisis, the IL&FS fiasco that triggered an NBFC-default scare, further worsened the situation. Thursday’s move, just before policy-making gets into a donothing phase (read elections), gives a helping hand to both businesses and government. For one, MSMEs account for roughly 30 per cent of the GDP , K’taka forest staff to tackle KFD | P6 Quota Bill will win it for India, says Paswan | P7 US representative to Af visiting India | P7 2:1 panel decision chucks out Verma; PM, judge on same page; Rao back for now EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi TWO days after he was reinstated by the Supreme Court, CBI director Alok Verma was on Thursday removed unceremoniously by a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Verma is the first chief in the CBI’s 55 years history to face such a harsh action. His two-year tenure as CBI director was to end on January 31. The three-member panel, which included opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge and the CJI’s representative justice A K Sikri, transferred Verma as Director General — Fire Service, Civil Defence and Home Guards under the home ministry upon finding that Verma was not functioning with the kind of integrity expected of him. In a swift move, Odisha-cadre IPS officer M Nageshwar Rao replaced Verma as the interim head of the CBI. Rao had replaced Verma earlier as well when Verma was divested of his powers and sent on forced leave in October 2018. The move left Verma, who had joined back after being on forced leave for 77 days, with only a day’s relief. Kharge dissented with the decision by the PM and Justice Sikri to transfer Vema out. The majority decision was on the basis of the CVC report which had indicted Verma. Adultery, gay sex bar stays in the Army EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi CALLING the Indian Army a conservative organisation, Army Chief Bipin Rawat on Thursday said gay sex and adultery cannot be allowed among the forces. “In the Army it is not accept, able,” he said when asked about the Supreme Court’s verdicts decriminalising homosexuality and striking down a colonialera adultery law. “The Army is conservative. We haven’t modernised. Neither have we westernised,” he replied to a question on Article 370. “Why didn’t we have this in the Ar my Act? It was not thought of. In the Army we nev, er thought this could happen.” On the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community, he said, “We are still dealing with them under... the Army Act. We are certainly not above the country’s law. The Supreme Court has said something. We will have to see how we can take a call.” In his dissent note, Kharge demanded that Verma be restored with full tenure and powers and that he be given a chance to be heard by the panel. The Congress leader also wanted an independent probe conducted into the midnight drama that preceded his ouster on October 24, 2018. The trigger for Thursday’s decision could be the alacrity with which Verma was functioning upon his return. On Wednesday hours after taking , charge, Verma had reversed the transfer orders issued by interim CBI chief Rao. Sources said Verma’s orders are likely to be reversed when Rao joins office. The government also initiated the process appointing the next full term chief for the country’s premier investigation agency and the name would be announced soon, sources added. Congress leader Anand Sharma questioned the CVC wondering whether the anticorruption institution was truly independent as it seemed to be taking instructions from the PMO. “The high powered panel failed to do justice… The SC would have acted if it thought the CVC report was significant,” said Sharma. He also questioned the PM’s hurry in the matter. “What is it that he does not want the CBI to look into? The manner of removal, midnight raid.. all should be probed,” he added. Congress attacks Modi, says he wants a pliable CBI director PROBE AGAINST ASTHANA Hours before he was removed on Thursday, Verma had appointed 2006 batch IPS officer Mohit Gupta to probe the corruption charges against his colleague Rakesh Asthana. The CBI had filed a case against Asthana under the Prevention of Corruption Act, based on the claims of businessman Satish Sana, who had said that he had paid A2 cr bribe to Asthana The continuance of Shri Alok Verma as Director, CBI, is not appropriate and is not in the interest of the integrity and reputation of the CBI.... Some of the allegations require further detailed investigation, which will not be possible with (Verma) heading the same organisation CVC report Fake papers to CVC hurt credibility S A N A S H A K I L @ New Delhi THE report by the Central Vi g i l a n c e C o m m i s s i o n (CVC), which was the basis of the CBI chief ’s sacking, recommended Alok Verma’s removal for several reasons, including alleged production of a “fabricated” document before the CVC. The commission also accused Verma of not cooperating with its probe, and said the “grave” allegations against him required a “detailed investigation”, which would not be possible with Verma heading the CBI. The CVC found merit in several allegations of misconduct CBI Joint Director Rakesh Asthana levelled against Verma, according to the report, accessed by this newspaper. The main charge was tampering with the probe into two high-profile corruption cases involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi and former Union minister Lalu Yadav. On the allegations of Verma taking a `2 crore bribe in the Qureshi case, the CVC said there was “no direct evidence”. 102 cities ACTION PLAN LAUNCHED The Centre on Thursday launched the National Clean Air Action Plan with a target of reducing particulate matter in 102 cities P7 but will continue to do so only if they thrive. Also, with roughly 633.88 lakh unincorporated non-agriculture units, the sector is one of the largest employers, employing over 11 crore. A slowdown will see a spike in the unemployment rate. Historically, over 90 per cent of the corporate (direct) taxes are from large firms and Thursday’s tweaks in GST tax threshold, which is an indirect tax, will likely help small businesses retain more profits. Higher profits reckon higher direct tax revenue, if not this fiscal, but in the long-run. “The government is striving hard to ease the compliance burden of (small) businesses increasing threshold limits, extending due dates and simplifying the processes,” said Suresh Nandlal Rohira, partner, Grant Thornton India. BJP looks to pitch Ratnaprabha against Kharge, retain most MPs N A U S H A D B I J A P U R @ Belagavi LOOKING to give sitting senior Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge a run for his money from Kalaburagi parliamentary constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the state BJP is planning to field retired Chief Secretary K Ratnaprabha against him. Dr Tejaswini, wife of former Union Minister H N Ananth Kumar, is tipped to be the canditate from Bengaluru South while all other 15 sitting MPs have been shortlisted as probables in their respective constituencies. In the light of its recent losses in the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, BJP has decided to play its cards extremely cautiously in the 2019 LS polls. Sources said list of probables drawn up by state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa after his recent tour of all LS constituencies, is expected to be passed on to the BJP national leadership shortly. However, the top brass is likely to make several changes in the list before taking a final call. “After the party’s loss in the recent assembly polls in different states, BJP bosses in New Delhi will not take a final call on state’s party candidates in haste. The final list of candidates will be declared only after a prolonged exercise which includes getting reports about the probable candidates from people and party workers at the grassroots. Opinions at all levels will be gathered prior to finally selecting the candidates,’’ sources added. Apart from recommending sitting MPs in their respective seats, names of some other party leaders have also been suggested in constituencies as alternative candidates. P6 PROBABLES BENGALURU SOUTH: Dr Tejaswini, wife of former Union Minister H N Ananth Kumar DHARWAD: Prahlad Joshi (sitting MP) SHIVAMOGGA: BY Raghavendra (sitting MP) UTTARA KANNADA: Ananth Kumar Hegde (sitting MP) BENGALURU NORTH D V Sadananda Gowda (sitting MP) TRIPLE TALAQ ORDINANCE AGAIN AFTER BILL WAS BLOCKED IN RS With the ordinance set to expire on January 22, the Cabinet on Thursday agreed to a proposal to repromulgate it, making the practice of instant triple talaq a criminal offence SANIA IN NAMMA OORU Tennis ace Sania Mirza at a private event in Bengaluru on Thursday | VINOD KUMAR T Bus misses train by a whisker, lucky escape for 40 70-yr-old Yadgir woman EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Dharwad As many as 40 passengers had a narrow escape when the bus they were travelling in narrowly missed being hit by a train at a manned level crossing near Srinagar Circle here on Thursday The South West. ern Railway (SWR) has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident. The driver’s courageous act in saving passengers has been hailed by locals. As the gate at the manned level crossing was kept open, the bus which was moving towards Karnatak University passed through it. But the driver was shocked to see a train hurtling down the tracks. He did not lose his presence of mind and accelerated the bus despite the presence of road breakers. In doing so, he managed to save 40 lives.Completely shaken by the experience, the bus passengers expressed deep anguish over the negligence of the railway staff. They even went to Dharwad Railway Station and registered a complaint, demanding immediate action against the “negligent” staff. However, the staffer at the railway crossing said he had Youths and BJP leaders facilitating bus driver Shabir near Srinagar Circle not received any signal about the arrival of the train. As soon as he saw a train approaching, he tried to stop the bus signalling with his hands. Fortunately, the bus moved past the level crossing before the train arrived there. It was the first such incident that he faced in his service, he said. Bus driver Shabbir Mattesavwale said, “I was shocked to see a train heading towards the bus. As there are humps, drivers usually drive slowly in the area. I had no other option and I just floored the accelerator of the bus. The train crossed just a foot away He .” was later felicitated by passengers and other locals. SWR Chief PRO E Vijaya said non-interlocking work for upgradation of interlocking was in pro g ress at Kyarkop station. P4 EXPRESS READ Sheila Dikshit back as Delhi Cong chief Hampi is 2nd in global list of must-visit places Ballari: Hampi has emerged at the second spot in the list of ‘52 places to go in 2019’ published by The New York Times. Hampi figures behind Puerto Rico, which has grabbed the top place for its recovery from Hurricane Maria to rebound as a tourist destination. 10% quota bill for poor challenged in SC New Delhi: Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was appointed the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president on Thursday, days after Ajay Maken resigned from the post citing ill-health. She will be assisted by three working presidents -Devender Yadav, Haroon Yusuf and Rajesh Lilotia. A plea was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday challenging the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 that gives 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the economically weaker sections of the general category. The petition, NGO Youth for Equality and Kaushal Kant Mishra, sought the quashing of the bill dies after drinking water, endo poisoning suspected She suspected that the water was mixed with Endosulfan. A 70-year-old woman died after The water was being supplied consuming water suspected to to Teggelli village through a have been laced with the pipeline from an open well lobanned pesticide Endosulfan, cated at Mudnur village. She at Teggelli village in Shorapur added that Endosulfan may taluk of the district. The vic- have been mixed through a tim is Honamma (70). valve attached to the pipe and Five women had complained thereby mixed with the drinkof vomiting after coning water. “It is still suming drinking wanot clear if the banned ter supplied by the pesticide was mixed in Mudanur gram panthe open well or the There is no clarity chayat on Wednesday storage tank. Water on poisoning or evening and were adsamples from the pipe, where the water mitted to a hospital at was contaminated. open well and storage Kembhavi village. Aftank have been sent A probe will be conducted ter her condition for testing,” she said. worsened, Honamma “There is no clarity Kurma Rao, DC was referred to the on poisoning or where government hospital the water was contamin Kalaburagi. However, she inated. I have visited the vilsuccumbed on the way Honam- lage. A probe will be conduct. ma’s son is a GP member. ed,” Deputy Commissioner The others admitted are Kurma Rao told TNIE. Rangamma, Kallemma, HalHowever, when the DC visitlemma and Nagamma. ed the village, the residents exZP CEO Kavita Mannikeri pressed anger against the PDO told TNIE that water samples and demanded that he be sushave been sent to a lab for tests. pended for the “blunder.” E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Yadgir
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