THRISSUR l FRIDAY l AUGUST 28, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION GOVT TO BAN IMPORT OF MORE DEFENCE ITEMS, SAYS MODI The Prime Minister said on Thursday the Centre will further restrict import of defence items to boost domestic industry ‘SELF-RELIANCE WILL BOOST INDIA’S STANDING’ K20,000 CR TO BE INVESTED OVER 5 YEARS Addressing the defence industry outreach seminar, Narendra Modi said, attaining self-reliance in defence will help India become a net security provider in the Indian Ocean and make it a defence supplier for many friendly countries. He said ‘Atmnirbhar Bharat’ is not an inward looking idea. Rather, its aim is to enable India work towards attaining world peace ■ ■ Modi said India is working on developing new technologies, and the private sector companies will be given a big role to play He said work on building defence corridors is on at a rapid pace in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and an investment of C20,000 crore would be made on them over the next five years | P7 Modi ALLEGED THAT PREVIOUS GOVTS IGNORED INDIA’S DEFENCE INDUSTRY 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 STATES STARE AT L2.35 LAKH-CR GST REVENUE BLACKHOLE Centre gives two options for States to meet revenue shortfall, offers to arrange borrowing from RBI at ‘reasonable rates’; FM terms economic distress ‘act of God’ ‘Borrow entire sum and distribute among states’ Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairing the 41st GST Council meeting via video-conferencing, in New Delhi | PTI A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi FACING heat from States over non-payment of GST compensation, the Centre on Thursday said Union government is also affected by the shortfall in GST collections. At the GST Council meeting, the Centre told states that the coronavirus-induced lockdown has severely impacted mop-up, leaving a gap of `2.35 lakh crore for the Centre to compensate states this year. “As per the Centre’s calculation, the compensation requirement by states in the current fiscal would be `3 lakh crore, of which `65,000 crore is expected to be met from the cess levied in the GST regime. Hence, the total shortfall is estimated at `2.35 lakh crore,”said Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan. Calling the pandemic an Act of God, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Centre has less headroom to meet the gap. The Union government can also not dip into the Consolidated Fund of India to pay off states, she said referring to the Attorney General’s advice. “The A-G’s clear opinion was that the compensation gap cannot be met from the Consolidat- ed Fund of India. He suggested the compensation cess levy can be extended beyond five years to meet the shortfall.” Briefing reporters, the finance minister said two options were suggested in the meeting. The first option is a special window for the states, in consultation with the RBI, to borrow `97,000 crore at a reasonable interest rate. The amount can be repaid by 2022 from the cess collection. The second one is to borrow the entire `2.35 lakh crore short- There is a shortfall in revenue as we are facing an Act of God, which might even result in a contraction of the economy — Nirmala Sitharaman, Union finance minister Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the bifurcation of compensation amount as ‘normal’ and ‘due to Covid-19 pandemic ’ is not legal. Isaac said the Union government should borrow the entire sum and distribute among states, as it can easily mobilise funds at a lesser interest rate than states. P4 fall under the special window. The finance minister disclosed that states have asked for a detailed draft of the two options and sought a week’s time to study both options and come back to meet again. Sitharaman said the options are only for this year. Meanwhile, experts warn the revenue shortfall will be steeper than the government’s estimate. According to Jayanta Roy group , head, corporate sector ratings at ICRA, SGST collections are likely to fall 21% to `4,01,100 crore in FY21 from `5,05,800 crore in FY20, which will push compensation amount above `2.35 lakh crore. SECRETARIAT FIRE Don’t rush, wait for probe report: CM to Opposition E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @T’Puram ON a day the Governor referred a letter from the Opposition to him for action, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan cited preliminary probe findings to stress that no important files were destroyed in the fire at the Secretariat protocol section. Some files were partially gutted, he said, and urged the Opposition to wait till the investigation report is out to gain more clarity in the matter. “A detailed investigation will be carried out. Let them probe. It’s better not to rush. Let’s wait for the report,” the CM said. He said the fire was reported near the protocol 2(A) and 5 sections. While a special police team under ADGP Manoj Abraham is probing the matter, the technical aspects of the incident are being looked into by a team led by Disaster Management Commissioner A Kowsigan. The latter will look into the reason for the fire and the precautions to be taken. While the report will be out within a week, it has been decided to strengthen security at the Secretariat, he said. Reiterating the government stand that it is ready to give all files that NIA had asked for, the CM criticised political activists entering Secretariat premises without adhering to security norms, especially those required during the ● More on P5 Covid times. EXPRESS READ UAE funding: Nod not sought from Centre T’Puram: The state has not obtained the Centre’s permission before Life Mission and UAE Red Crescent entered into an agreement for the Wadakkancherry project, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan admitted on Thursday. "As far as I understand, special permission (from the Centre) is not required,” he said. P4 Ensure spl quota for differently-abled: HC Kochi: The Kerala High Court has directed state government to ensure 4% job reservation in all aided educational institutions for differently-abled persons. The court observed that the authority of the managers of aided schools to appoint teachers is not absolute. P5 Onam ‘GIFT’: Biz city to come up in Aluva E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @Kochi THE northern suburbs of Kochi are set to witness a drastic makeover with around 220 hectares in Aluva getting converted into a Global Industrial Finance and Trade (GIFT) City, bringing in an investment of more than `18,000 crore. The project -- similar to the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City -- is expected to generate 1.2 lakh direct and 3.36 lakh indirect employment opportunities. The National Industrial Corridor Development and Implementation Trust (NICDIT) announced the development of GIFT City as an early-bird project under the Kochi-Bengaluru Industrial Cor ridor. The project is planned with the financial/ business centre as an integral part. It will be a growth driver for city complemented with knowledge-based industries. It will provide an integrated ecosystem for development of globally competitive hi-tech ● More on P5 services.
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