In Pics: On Army day, three service Chiefs pay tribute to martyred soldiers

Army Day is celebrated annually on January 15

army day

On the 70th Army Day, Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Naval Staff Sunil Lanba, and Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa paid tribute at Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi on Monday.

The day commemorates the valiant soldiers for their sacrifice to the nation and its citizens.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to extend greetings to the soldiers and their families and paid salute to the army.

army day

“On  Army Day, I convey greetings to the soldiers, veterans and their families. Every citizen of India has unwavering trust and pride in our Army, which protects the nation and is also at the forefront of humanitarian efforts during times of natural disasters and other accidents,” Modi wrote on Twitter.

In another tweet, he said, “Our Army always puts the nation first. I salute all those great individuals who sacrificed their lives while serving the nation. India will never forget our valiant heroes.” | Today’s Paper

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also honoured the courage and bravery of the soldiers.

“On #ArmyDay we remember the indomitable courage and supreme sacrifices of our soldiers & salute their exemplary dedication & bravery. #ArmyDay2018,” Jaitley wrote on Twitter.

Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore posted, “Salute to band of brothers.

Nation first, always and every time. #ArmyDay.”

Paying tribute to the soldiers, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi wrote, “We salute the valour, courage and sacrifice of our brave jawans on #ArmyDay. Your perseverance defends our freedom; your dedication shields our liberty. It’s because of your sacrifices a billion hopes and dreams can take shape.”

Union Minister Smriti Irani posted, “On Army Day, a grateful Nation salutes the courage and spirit of selfless service of our armed forces personnel.”

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also took to Twitter and wrote, “Let’s salute our real heroes for their indomitable courage, valour, ultimate sacrifice and dedication towards the NATION. #ArmyDay.”

Army Day is celebrated annually on January 15.

Black day vs anti-black money day: BJP, Opposition face off over note ban

Manmohan Singh said if anyone benefited demonetisation, GST, it was China whose imports to India grew by 23% in just 1 year

Demonetisation, currency, notes

A year into demonetisation – Anti-Black Money Day, the opposition and the government on Tuesday exchanged verbal blows over the action with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling it disastrous while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rejected the charge saying there was an ethical and moral rationale behind the decision which had given a “new direction” to the economy.

Jaitley, however, acknowledged that the “benefits may not be immediately visible” but would make future generations proud.

Fielded by the party in poll-bound Gujarat, Manmohan Singh said the measure had failed its ostensible purpose of curbing wealth accumulated through tax evasion as it was known by now that none of the stated objectives of eliminating black money, terror financing and counterfeit currency have been met.

ALSO READ: War of words: It’s govt’s ‘anti-black money day’ vs Oppn’s ‘black day’

“The fact that more more than 99 per cent of the (spiked) currency came back into the banking system has punctured the government’s claim. There are also widespread reports of the rich converting their black money into white while the poor have undergone immense suffering,” he said, “invoking the memory of more than a hundred people who lost their lives last year in the wake of the demonetisation”.

Calling the withdrawing of 86 per cent of legal tender in one single stroke as undemocratic and a coercive move, the former Prime Minister said “the demonetisation was clearly not the solution” to end the menace of black money and tax evasion in India.

“Demonetisation has proved to be a mere bluster to reap political dividends while the real offenders have escaped,” he said, again calling it “an organised loot and legalised plunder”. | READ MORE

Excise duty on petrol, diesel cut by Rs 2/L; Govt may suffer Rs 26k-cr loss

This comes at a time when diesel in Delhi scaled an all-time high of Rs 59.14 per litre


Today’s Paper : Facing public resentment over the recent spike in fuel prices, the government on Tuesday cut the excise duty on both branded and unbranded petrol and diesel by Rs 2 a litre from Wednesday. According to sources, the finance ministry was initially reluctant to reduce the duty due to revenue concerns, but relented after discussions with the petroleum ministry on implementing steps to bring down petrol prices to Rs 60-65 a litre.

While this would hit the revenues of the exchequer by Rs 13,000 crore in the second half of the current financial year at a time when the fiscal deficit has already touched 96 per cent of the Budget Estimates, consumers will get relief as the move would reduce the consumer price index (CPI)-based inflation rate by 9 basis points as a first round impact.

“(The) government has reduced the basic excise duty on petrol and diesel (both branded and unbranded) by Rs 2 a litre with effect from October 4, 2017. The revenue loss on account of these reductions will be about Rs 26,000 crore in a full year and Rs 13,000 crore in the remaining part of the current financial year,” the finance ministry announced on Twitter.

This comes at a time when diesel in Delhi scaled an all-time high of Rs 59.14 a litre, while other cities, too, saw a considerable increase in prices. The price of petrol in Delhi was at a two-year high of Rs 70.88 a litre on Tuesday. Currently, taxes constitute the excise duty of Rs 21.48 a litre, 30 per cent of the price of petrol, and Rs 17.33 a litre, 29 per cent, of the price of diesel. | Readmore…

After GST rollout, cleaning up political funding next big reform: Jaitley

Jaitley termed the passage of the GST resolution by the J&K Assembly a victory for consumers

Arun Jaitley

After rolling out goods and services tax, the government will take up “cleansing” of political funding as its top priority, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday.

“In the immediate future, after GST process is complete …We are looking forward for some major steps to be announced by which we want to cleanse the whole process of political funding,” the minister said.

Noting that the current system of political funding, which has prevailed for over 70 years, does not bring any credit to the world’s largest democracy, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been insisting on this reform and it will be taken as a “top priority” as there is “strong public support” for it.

In the Budget, Jaitley had announced electoral bonds as a form of making donations to political parties instead of cash. A media report yesterday said government was through with the drafting of the rules in this regard and would begin consultations soon.

The outgoing Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had, however, raised concern over the move, saying such bonds would have a negative impact on efforts to bring about transparency in political funding.

Meanwhile, Jaitley termed the passage of the GST resolution by the J&K Assembly a victory for consumers despite opposition from separatists elements. | read more…

GST launch mock drill today: Know how Team Jaitley is preparing for July 1

GST war room is an important element in the government’s launch effort

GST, tax, economy, currency

Today’s Paper : With three more days to go before India’s biggest tax reform in decades is implemented, the Narendra Modi-led government is all geared up to ensure that nothing goes amiss on July 1. For this, a mega rehearsal has been planned today in the Central Hall of Parliament. The rehearsal, scheduled to be held at 10 PM, may be supervised by either Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, his deputies Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and S S Ahluwalia, or Secretary Rajiv Yadav, official sources told Firstpost.

Officers from various departments including those from the finance ministry will be part of the rehearsal event, they said.

The GST Feedback and Action Room set up by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) is keeping a close watch to ensure all processes are in place for a smooth rollout.

“A special war room has been created to address doubts arising over GST, beforehand,” a senior government official told The Economics Times.

It will operate from eight in the morning to 10 in the evening, providing a single window for the resolution of any GST-related issue. | Read Full Article


Just two days left: Aadhaar-PAN linking mandatory from July 1 for taxpayers

As many as 2.07 crore taxpayers have already linked their Aadhaar with PAN

Aadhaar, aadhaar card

Today’s Paper : The government has made it mandatory to link existing Aadhaar numbers with PAN of taxpayers with effect from July 1.

Amending income tax rules and notifying the same, the government has made quoting of the 12-digit biometric Aadhaar or the enrolment ID a must at the time of application of permanent account number (PAN).

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley through an amendment to tax proposals in the Finance Bill for 2017-18 had made Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and provided for linking of PAN with Aadhaar to check tax evasion through use of multiple PAN cards.

The revenue department said “every person who has been allotted PAN as on July 1, 2017, and who in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 139AA is required to intimate his Aadhaar number, shall intimate his Aadhaar number to the principal director general of income tax (systems) or DGIT (systems)”.

Besides, it entrusted principal DGIT (systems) or DGIT (systems) with specifying the formats and standards along with procedure for verification of documents filed with PAN application or intimation of Aadhaar number.

The rules will come into force from July 1, 2017, the revenue department said while amending Rule 114 of the I-T Act, which deals in application for allotment of PAN.

As many as 2.07 crore taxpayers have already linked their Aadhaar with PAN.

There are over 25 crore PAN card holders in the country while Aadhaar has been issued to 111 crore people.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had upheld the validity of an I-T Act provision making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN cards and ITR filing, but had put a partial stay on its implementation till a Constitution bench addressed the issue of right to privacy.

Pursuant to this, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had said the linking of Aadhaar and PAN will be a “must” for filing of income tax returns (ITR) and obtaining PAN from July 1.

While Aadhaar is a biometric authentication issued by the UIDAI, PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number alloted by the I-T department to individuals and entities.

Indian Army weighs fitting reply to LoC beheading. Here are its options

The options: attacks by ground forces on Pak posts, strikes by aircraft, missiles or artillery guns


The army has begun weighing its options to retaliate against Pakistani forces on the Line of Control (LoC), after their troops, employing jihadi extremists, killed and beheaded two Indian soldiers near Poonch on Monday, top generals said.

Business Standard learns the incident took place when an Indian patrol of 8-10 soldiers was checking the border fence, a perilous task involving physically moving along the fence, very close to the LoC, to check that it has not been cut or its electronic sensors damaged.

According to the modus operandi of Pakistani troops on forward LoC posts, the exposed patrol first came under intense fire from automatic weapons, which Pakistani soldiers had stealthily deployed in temporary positions, just across the LoC.

With two Indian jawans injured in the firing, a “border action team (BAT)”, comprising jihadi fighters, darted across the LoC to the border fence. Covered by the Pakistan army’s firing, the jihadis killed the two jawans, beheaded them, and returned to their side of the LoC, bearing the heads as trophies.

The employment of a BAT is a well-rehearsed Pakistani tactic that creates deniability by using jihadis to cross into the Indian side. If any jihadis are killed or captured, the Pakistan army disowns it as an infiltration attempt. Regular soldiers remain on their side of the LoC, firing on Indian posts and patrols to cover the BAT’s move.

A range of retaliatory measures are being weighed by India’s generals, including attacks by ground forces on Pakistani posts, or strikes by aircraft, missiles or massed artillery guns.

Army vice-chief, Lieutenant General Sarath Chand, on Tuesday said, “Humko kya karna hai voh hum yahaan bataana nahin chahte hain. Apni karyavahi hum apne aap karenge, at a time and place of our choice” (I don’t want to give out here what we intend to do. We will take action at a time and place of our choice). | READMORE…

ALSO READ : Press Freedom Day: PM Modi pitches for ‘free’ press, hails social media

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ALSO READ : Pakistan warns India against any misadventure

Modi govt plan on generic drugs makes pharma companies, doctors jittery

The Narendra Modi govt is planning to bring law to make doctors compulsorily prescribe generic drugs


To make health care affordable in the country, the Narendra Modi-led central government is looking to make it mandatory for doctors to prescribe generic drugs. As reported earlier, the health ministry, in line with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget announcement, has started work on amending the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

ALSO READ: Budget impact: Drug firms may be forced to market generics, not brands

After the Act has been amended, doctors will not be allowed to mention brand names in their prescriptions. Instead, they will have to mention the generic name of a drug. The prime minister’s Monday announcement on this has made the pharmaceutical industry jittery. Generic drugs’ share of the market, 80 per cent at present (20 per cent is accounted for by branded and patented drugs), is expected to go up to 90 per cent in the next three years.

The managing director of a domestic pharmaceutical company who does not wish to be named says the move is a serious one and will shift the thrust from quality to price.

Some industry veterans view this from the angle of marketing ethics. Veeramani, formerly the president of the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), says the move will keep a check on doctors and ensure the medical fraternity doesn’t favour any company. However, he fears the problem will now shift from the doctor’s desk to the chemist’s. “Now, (since the doctor will mention only the generic name of a drug on the prescription), the chemist might sell medicines that suit him the best. He might push those that yield him better profits.” There are over 800,000 chemists in India.

The pharma industry, meanwhile, does not seem enthused. Industry players believe the idea will complicate things for doctors and be very difficult to implement. Doctors may face difficulty in prescribing combination drugs or medicines with multiple ingredients, analysts say. (readmore…)