BIG GST RELIEF Composition scheme for traders with annual turnover of up to `1.5 cr Scheme also available for service providers with `50 lakh turnover Under the scheme, firms need to file tax return only once a year, but pay taxes every quarter CHENNAI FRIDAY JANUARY 11, 2019 `5.00 PAGES 52 LATE CITY EDITION Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressing the media after the GST Council meeting in New Delhi on Thursday | PARVEEN NEGI 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. STERLITE SEEKS FRESH PERMISSION; VICTIMS SEETHE S V K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @ Chennai 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-year 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 homosexual acts and adultery cannot be allowed among the forces. “In the Army, it is not acceptable,” he said when asked about the Supreme Court’s verdicts decriminalising homosexuality and striking down a colonial-era adultery law. “We haven’t modernised. Neither have we westernised,” he explained. “We never thought this could happen.” On the LGBT community , he said, “We are still dealing with them under... the Army Act. We are certainly not above the country’s law. The SC has said something. We will have to see how to take a call.” WITH THIS ISSUE CHENNAI’S BEST WEEKEND GUIDE 52 PAGES, INCLUDING 32 OF INDULGE (TABLOID) 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 of 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 `2 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 n e w s p a p e r. T h e m a i n 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 were RAW intercepts, but “no direct evidence”.P11 EXPRESS READ Denied money for movie, fanboy burns dad In a shocking incident, a 20-year-old man allegedly poured kerosene over his 45-year-old dad and set him ablaze as the latter refused to give him money to watch Viswasam movie. The incident happened in Kalinjur near Vellore in the wee hours on Thursday. K Pandian, a labourer working in beedi factory, sustained 45 per cent burns. The accused, Ajith Kumar, did the act when his father was sound asleep. He was rescued by other family members who heard him scream in the middle of the night | P7 FREAKY FRIDAY Biker hit by car flung into lorry, body reaches Kurnool E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai IN a bizzare accident, the body of a biker hit by a speeding car near Pandur on the Chennai-Tirupati Highway was flung into a lorry coming from the opposite direction, which the lorry driver realised only after reaching Kurnool — 400 km away! The deceased has been identified as Sudhakar, a resident of Pandur working in a firm at Kakkalur SIPCOT. On Wednesday night, he left office by 11 pm and was nearing home when a speeding car which ran amok rammed him. In the impact, Sudhakar was thrown off and his body fell in the empty truck going to Andhra Pradesh. However, Sudhakar’s right leg was found near the ac- cident spot, a police officer said. On Thursday morning, locals at Pandur noticed the leg and informed Tiruvallur police who recovered it and found a motorbike nearby the officer said. , With the registration number, the victim was identified. Family members staged a protest demanding that the police trace the body and nab the car driver, who abandoned the vehicle and escaped. He was later detained for inquiry police said. , The truck driver reached a godown at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh and was shocked to see the body. He informed police who alerted their counterparts in Tamil Nadu and sent photos of the deceased. Tiruvallur police informed Sudhakar’s family members. ENERGISED by legal victories, Vedanta Ltd’s Sterlite Copper applied afresh for renewal of Consent to Operate, on Thursday CEO of the company P Ram. nath confirmed to Express that a letter had been submitted to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board seeking early renewal of permission. However, State pollution control board chairman Shambhu Kallolikar opined that the Supreme Court hadn’t “forced” the NGT order upon the State government. Family members of six out of the 13 people gunned down by the police during the Thoothukudi protest spoke out for the first time and held Sterlite directly accountable for the killings. Addressing a press meet in Chennai, they alleged that police had restricted their movement and did not allow them to speak freely They wanted the factory to be shut down . permanently . “We are holding this press conference in Chennai before there are unofficial prohibitory orders clamped in Thoothukudi,” said Stephen, whose 40-year-old brother K Glaston was shot in the chest during the protest on May 22. Autopsy report says Glaston was shot from a close range. “Glaston was P8 innocent...just an onlooker,” claims Stephen. TRIPLE TALAQ ORDINANCE AGAIN AFTER BILL WAS BLOCKED IN RAJYA SABHA With the ordinance set to expire on January 22, the Cabinet on Thursday agreed to a proposal to re-promulgate it, making the practice of instant triple talaq a criminal offence
Express Publications (Madurai) Limited publishes the prestigious English language newspaper The New Indian Express from 21 centres in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Orissa.
Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd. also publishes the Tamil daily Dinamani, Cinema Express (Tamil) and Malayalam Vaarika (Malayalam). Through a sister company, Kannada Prabha Publications Ltd., it publishes the Kannada daily Kannada Prabha.
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