BIG GST RELIEF l Composition scheme for traders with annual turnover of up to `1.5 cr l Scheme also available for service providers with `50 lakh turnover l Under the scheme, firms need to file tax return only once a year, but pay taxes every quarter THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l FRIDAY l JANUARY 11, 2019 l `7.00 l PAGES 20 l LATE CITY EDITION Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressing the media after the GST Council meeting in New Delhi on Thursday | PARVEEN NEGI l 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 , 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. CM, that illegal bullbar on your car puts lives at risk More than a year after the rule banning bullbars came into effect, state pays scant regard S O V I V I D YA D H A R A N @Kozhikode 2:1 panel decision chucks out Verma; PM, judge on same page; Rao back for now 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 C2 cr bribe to Asthana FAKE PAPERS TO CVC HURT CREDIBILITY New Delhi : The report by the Central Vigilance Commission (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”. Congress attacks Modi, says he wants a pliable CBI director E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi TWO days after he was reinstated by the Supreme Court, CBI director Alok Verma was on Thursday removed unceremoniously by a highpowered 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. 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 tak, ing charge, Verma had reversed the transfer orders issued by interim CBI chief Rao. New post: Addl DGP law and order S H A N A S @ T’Puram THE Police Department will scrap the post of Zonal Additional Director Generals (ADGP) in two weeks’ time and create a new post of ADGP (Law & Order). The decision is in line with the police’s perspective that the zones should come under the control of Inspector Generals (IGs). The post of ADGP North Zone has been lying vacant since Rajesh Diwan retired last May. The ADGP EXPRESS READ High Speed Rail Corp to be wound up T’Puram: The state has decided to wind up operations of the Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation. Instead, the focus will be on the semi high speed rail project. P6 Kerala women spikers triumph Chennai: Kerala women regained the national volleyball championship title after a 10-year gap on Thursday. In the final, Kerala shocked formidable Railways 20-25, 25-17, 17-25, 25-19 and 15-8. Thantris to hold key meeting on Jan 22 Sabarimala: A crucial meeting of the thantris of prominent temples across the country will be held in Kochi on January 22, the day when the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a series of petitions in connection with the Sabarimala temple. 20 PAGES, INCLUDING 4 PAGES OF THIRUVANANTHAPURAM EXPRESS Express had reported on the move on June 2. (Law & Order) will function from the Police Headquarters. Highly placed sources said Armed Battalions ADGP Manoj Abraham is tipped to be the favourite for the post. In that case, incumbent South Zone ADGP Anilkant will replace Manoj as Battalion ADGP. Sources said the current ruling dispensation also has a favourable opinion regarding Manoj. The practice of posting ADGP is being annulled after it was assessed the state now has enough IGs to man the zones. “During the reign of Atal Bihari Vajyapee, the cadre strength was reduced. At that time there was ● More on P6 a shortage of DIGs.” YOU may perhaps be knowing that our Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is the most protected VIP in the state. But not many including the CM himself, may , be aware that his safety is at risk while travelling in his official car. At equal risk are the pedestrians. The culprit: A menacing crash guard fitted in front of ‘Kerala State No 1’ Innova Crysta car. This, despite the Union Government directing the states more than a year ago that such unauthorised fitments be removed from vehicles. In the event of a collision, the air bags of a car fitted with the crash guard — also known as bull bar — will fail to deploy and secure the occupants from injuries. It will also interfere with vital shock absorp- tion systems designed on the vehicle’s front. Besides, a bullbar-fitted vehicle can fatally injure a pedestrian when compared to one without the fitment, show studies. It was precisely due to these safety concerns the Centre had asked states in December 2017 to take stern action against unauthorised fitment of crash guards or bullbars in ve● More on P4 hicles. CM’s report to Guv: Sangh Parivar trying to polarise society T’Puram: In his report to Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there were attempts by the Sangh Parivar outfits to communally polarise society following the Supreme Court judgment allowing women of all ages to enter Sabarimala. The CM said there was an unprecedented violence carried out by Parivar. He said strict action would be taken against those indulged in violence related to Sabarimala protests. P6
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