Archive | May, 2016

Compliance window for domestic black money opens tomorrow

Posted on 31 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 01st June 2016

New Delhi, May 31 (PTI) The 4-month disclosure window giving an opportunity to domestic black money holders to come clean by paying tax and penalty of 45 per cent on such assets will open tomorrow.

People who have made money through corrupt means will not be allowed to take advantage of the disclosure window.

Under the Income Declaration Scheme, persons making disclosure of unaccounted assets will be given time up to November 30 to pay taxes, penalty and surcharge totalling 45 per cent at the fair market value.

The Finance Ministry officials have also held an online ‘talkathon’ to create awareness about the disclosure window.

Earlier in the month, CBDT came out with a 14-Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and a circular to explain the provisions of the income disclosure window.

It was clarified that the declaration made under the scheme will not be used against the declarants under the Income-Tax Act or Wealth Tax (now abolished). There will also be an immunity from Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said yesterday that people with undisclosed assets should use the limited period income declaration window, beginning tomorrow, if they want to “sleep well”.

“Starting from day after tomorrow, the new window opens and I will advise all those who have any undisclosed asset to declare it and pay the tax and sleep well. Otherwise, the way the disclosures are becoming more and more public, they will run into serious trouble,” Jaitley had said. .

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Killing of Congo youth not a racial crime: Swaraj

Posted on 31 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 01st June 2016

New Delhi, May 31(PTI) Stepping up its outreach in the wake of string of attacks against African nationals, government today announced a slew of steps including a major sensitisation campaign even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the killing of a Congolese youth was not a “racial crime”.

Swaraj, along with her junior Minister V K Singh, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and other senior officials, met a group of African envoys and students who raised concerns over safety and security to which she assured that government was working on a “major strategy” under which an institutional mechanism will be put in place.

She also said that the government was committed to a fast-track trial in the case of killing of the Congolese national Masonda Ketada Oliver and “harshest possible punishment” for the culprits.

Terming the killing of Oliver “barbaric”, Swaraj, however, said, “it is not a case of racial crime as the CCTV footage shows that the local residents who tried to save Oliver were also attacked.”

“The ministry will be carrying out a sensitisation campaign across the country as such incidents are bad for the image of the country. An advisory will also be issued to the states to sensitise people in the areas where there is a big number of African nationals,” Swaraj said.

This was Swaraj’s first official engagement in the Ministry after being discharged from AIIMS on May 15 where she was admitted for three weeks due to pneumonia.

During the meeting she also thanked the African students for calling off their protest at Jantar Mantar today following assurances by the Ministry. She also appreciated the participation of African envoys at the India-hosted Africa Day celebration last week. .

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DNA test confirms Mansour’s death in US drone attack: Pak

Posted on 30 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 31st May 2016

Islamabad, May 30 (PTI) A DNA test has confirmed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s death in a US drone strike in the restive Pakistani province of Balochistan on May 21, the government here has said.

“The second man killed in the drone attack has been identified. It has been confirmed that the man killed in the attack was former Taliban chief Mullah Mansour. The exact identity was known through the DNA test which matched with a relative of Mansour who had come from Afghanistan to take the dead body,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Mansour, who was in his early 50s, and Muhammad Azam, a Pakistani driver, were killed on May 21 when US special forces targeted their vehicle in a drone strike in Noshki district of Balochistan while they were allegedly returning from Iran by road.

The US had announced soon after the attack that it had successfully targeted Mansour but Pakistan had said that DNA test would be performed to identify the victims.

The Interior Ministry said yesterday that the tests proved that Mansour was killed in the drone attack.

Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said on Thursday that all indicators confirmed that the person killed in the drone strike was Mansour.

However, he had said that the final announcement in this regard will made after the DNA tests.

Pakistan government has described the US drone strike as a violation of its sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the family of the driver killed in the drone attack registered a police case yesterday against the US government, demanding justice.

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Jaitley to ‘take India story forward’ with Japanese investors

Posted on 30 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 31st May 2016

Tokyo, May 30 (PTI) Eyeing investments from Asia’s second-biggest economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said his visit to Japan is aimed at taking India growth story forward with investors so as to make them invest in a host of sectors, including infrastructure.

“We already have over a thousand Japanese companies which have invested in India. (Japanese) Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe seeks to double it and therefore, I would be meeting individually as well as collectively a large number of investors,” said Jaitley, who arrived here yesterday on a 6-day tour.

Apart from investors, the minister will meet Abe and other Japanese government officials.

“The whole idea is to take the India story forward with them,” said Jaitley, who attended ‘The Future of Asia’ conference here today. He did not speak at the conference.

Stating that there are investors and companies that are keen to participate in the growth of Indian infrastructure, he said the SoftBank group is looking at one of the biggest investments in solar energy.

“They have made considerable headway already. They have identified the location and probably (it) will be one of the largest investments in those areas,” he said.

Jaitley had met SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son here yesterday.

“I think similarly there are other Japanese investors who are open to the idea of having individual projects,” he said.

“We are open to the idea of them joining the India Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) and this Indian flexibility provides them with more than one opportunity.”

NIIF is being set up with a corpus of Rs 40,000 crore, partly funded by private investors, to finance infrastructure projects, including stalled ones.

The government and public sector entities will hold 49 per cent, with the rest offered to multilateral development banks, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and other organisations.

NIIF will then buy shares in existing infrastructure lenders such as Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corporation, which will provide debt to selected projects.

While NIIF will have a quasi-sovereign status, external asset management companies will be in-charge of treasury operations. Boosting infrastructure investment by 1 per cent of GDP could add 3.4 million jobs.

Asked if Japanese investors have identified any project, Jaitley said, “Well, many of them have. For instance, SoftBank itself in Andhra Pradesh has identified the solar power project and there are many others who have identified and are talking and looking beyond solar power now.

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Assault on Africans: 8 held, HM asks police to ensure safety

Posted on 30 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Monday 30th May 2016

New Delhi, May 29 (PTI) Amid outrage over more attacks on Africans in the national capital, eight people were held today for their involvement, with Home Minister Rajnath Singh directing the police to take strict action against the attackers and step up patrolling in the areas inhabited by the community.

“Four accused identified as Babu, Om Prakash, Ajay and Rahul have been arrested and the fifth accused, who turned out to be a minor, has been apprehended on charges of causing hurt and wrongful confinement,” DCP (South) Ishwar Singh said about Thursday’s incident in South Delhi’s Mehrauli in which six Africans were injured.

Investigators said four more persons have been detained and were being interrogated in connection with the incident, which came close on the heels of killing of a Congolese national that had triggered angry reaction by all the African countries. Their envoys had unitedly threatened to boycott the Africa Day celebrations of the Indian government last week, before they were persuaded against it.

Police attributed two of Thursday’s incidents to a dispute over African nationals playing loud music and other to a scuffle over public drinking.

A police official denied that rods or bats were used in the assaults, saying the nature of injuries would have been different then. He said one woman had sustained an injury on her nose.

Earlier, the Home Minister condemned the attack and called Delhi Police chief Alok Kumar Verma to his residence to express concern over the attacks.

“Spoke to Commissioner of Police, Delhi regarding the incidents of physical assault against certain African nationals. Such incidents are condemnable,” Singh tweeted.

“Instructed CP Delhi to take strict action against the attackers and increase patrolling in these areas to ensure security of everyone,” he said in another tweet.

Prior to that, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that she had spoken to the Home Minister as well as Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung over the incident, telling them to ensure security of African nationals. She said a sensitisation campaign will also be carried out in the areas where African nationals reside.

“I have spoken to Shri Rajnath Singh ji and Lt Governor Delhi reg(arding) attack on African nationals in South Delhi yesterday. They assured me that the culprits will be arrested soon and sensitisation campaign will be launched in areas where African nationals reside.

“I have asked Gen V K Singh, MoS and Secretary Amar Sinha to meet# African students who have announce(d) demonstration at Jantar Mantar,” she added in another tweet.

Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the MEA has been in touch with African community following the attacks.

V K Singh, meanwhile, claimed that the attack on African nationals was a “minor scuffle” which the media was “blowing up” and questioned its motives. .

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Modi Govt’s 3rd year to see many more important legislations

Posted on 30 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Monday 30th May 2016

The NDA Government led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has completed its two years in office. It is normal for any Government which enters the middle of its tenure to consolidate its road map for the future. For the Modi Government, the first two years has also been like the slog-overs.

The Government was formed in a peculiar environment. The UPA had abandoned policy formulation. It was dubbed as an era of ‘policy paralysis’. Both global and domestic investors had started disregarding India. India was off their radar. The credibility of governance was marred with scams and scandals.

The Prime Minister’s Office was no longer the repository of the last word. The 2014 election verdict was aspirational. The decisive majority in the Lok Sabha made decision making easier for the new government. The Prime Minister, by instinct, is decisive. The character of governance has changed.

Prime Minister Modi and his team have presented India with a changed political and governance culture. That India can have a clean government at the Centre where files move on their own, middlemen are unemployed, discretions are eliminated, is a reality being presented before the country today. From ‘policy paralysis’, India has transformed into the fastest growing global economy for two years in a row.

Federalism has been respected as never before. The Prime Minister, with his hands-on approach, has presented India with a Government that projects itself as different from its predecessor.

India needed investment. Investment is the starting point of all economic activity. Both the banks and the private sector had over stretched themselves during the UPA Government. Thus, a bulk of investment in the last two years came by way of enhanced public expenditure and Foreign Direct Investment. The emphasis of the investment has been India’s infrastructure, rural sector and India’s social sector. The highways sector is booming all over again. The expenditure this year on India’s rural roads will be three times what it was earlier.

Twenty five more regional airports will be added. The Railways are being strengthened. With the re-development of four hundred major railways stations, the face of Indian Railways will be changed. There is more power available than what India needs. The port capacity is being strengthened with additional investments. Game changing initiatives in the oil and gas sector have been taken.

Electrification of all un-electrified villages, expansion of rural roads, rural sanitation, housing for all, enhanced expenditure on irrigation, more money for the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, more money for interest subvention to make cheaper capital available for the farmer, are all instrumentalities of funding rural India. .

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Lanka north council aborts motion to congratulate Jayalalithaa

Posted on 28 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Sunday 29th May 2016

Colombo, May 28 (PTI) Sri Lanka’s Tamil-controlled Northern Provincial Council’s attempt to adopt a motion to congratulate J Jayalalithaa for becoming the Tamil Nadu chief minister has been aborted.

Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran yesterday presented the motion, which was opposed by the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance councillor V Jayathilake.

The councillor cited last week’s floods disaster in Sri Lanka and said it was inappropriate for the NPC to adopt congratulatory motions for Indian politicians when the country had faced a natural disaster.

Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Vice Chairman Anton Jeganathan of Wigneswaran’s own Tamil National Alliance backed Jayathilake, who is a Sinhalese.

Jeganathan said the NPC was “wrong to debate” Jayalalithaa when foreign countries have come forward to help flood victims and the council must first debate the floods situation, he argued.

“The Chief Minister was acting outside the agenda for the day and his own members supported me when I said the council needed to consider the floods disaster,” Jayathilake said.

As other TNA councillors also opposed the motion, the move was aborted.

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Committed to bringing back Kashmiri Pandits: Mehbooba

Posted on 28 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Sunday 29th May 2016

Srinagar, May 28 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today asserted that her government was committed to bringing back Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants to the Valley and would set up transit accommodations for them till they feel safe to return to their native places.

Rejecting claims of opposition parties and separatists that the government was setting up separate colonies for Kashmiri Pandits, she told the Assembly that the construction of transit accommodation was among recommendations made by the Prime Minister’s Working Group, formed in 2005, and it will be for Muslim and Sikh migrants too.

She wondered how migrants can be asked “to return to their native places when our political workers — be it from PDP, Congress, National Conference or any other party — are living under security in hotels in Srinagar”.

“Why don’t we tell them to return to their places? Because they don’t feel secure. No body raises questions why we have made a colony for them,” Mehbooba said.

She said her government was committed to setting up composite transit accommodation with basic facilities.

“This is a facility for migrants. Don’t we have Muslim migrants? Don’t we have migrants in Jammu? Are not there Sikhs and other people among them? If we are saying 50 per cent will be Kashmiri Pandits and the rest others, you are saying it is Israel-like situation,” she said.

Mehbooba said the migrants can return to their native places only when they feel secure enough. “They can go to Ganderbal, Pulwama or Baramulla after that,” she said.

The Chief Minister said it cannot be expected that the people who have left the Valley 25 years ago will straight away go back to their places.

“Some of them have forgotten the way to their homes. Some don’t even remember their homes. What kind of humanity is this? We all agree that migrants are part of our Kashmiriyat and they should return with dignity,” she said.

She said the state needs the Kashmiri Pandit migrants to fill the void in various sectors.

“I would request them to come back. They have such IQ. We have an AIIMS coming up. I would appeal to all Kashmiris — Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs — who are working in different hospitals outside the state to come back,” she said.

On the establishment of Sainik Colony in Kashmir, Mehbooba said her government has not issued any direction in this regard.

“No land has been identified yet for establishing Sainik Colony. No direction has been issued for establishing it. The Sainik Board which is registered under an Act (of state assembly) has by-laws which say that land can only be alloted to state subjects. How can you (opposition) even talk about bringing in non-state subjects,” she said.

Mehbooba said the position of the government is that it does not have any land available in Srinagar, Pulwama and Budgam districts for setting up such a colony.

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Modi govt ‘decisive’, will fulfil all promises by 2019: Shah

Posted on 27 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Saturday 28th May 2016

New Delhi, May 27 (PTI) Asserting that the Modi government had infused hope across all sectors with its “decisive” rule, BJP President Amit Shah today said it had laid a strong foundation in its two years and will fulfil all its promises before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“In two years it has laid a strong foundation. In next three years a strong building of development will be raised. I am sure when we go the people again for votes in 2019, we would have fulfilled all our promises,” he said.

Presenting the government’s two-year report card at a press conference here, Shah also pitched the party’s “good” performance in the Assembly polls as the people’s mandate on rows over Rohith Vemula suicide and JNU issue and took on Congress, saying those who raised them are “nowhere”.

Asked if the party had decided to put a stop to controversial issues like ones seen weeks ago over Rohith Vehumla’s death and the JNU incident, he said, “People have already done it”.

He noted that the assembly polls were held in the wake of these rows and targeted Congress. “Those who raised these issues are nowhere,” he said, a reference to its poor show.

Referring to a number of assembly polls the party fought under him since it came to power, Shah said people put their stamp of approval on the central government’s performance whenever they got a chance as he noted that it formed governments in five states for the first time and preformed better than earlier everywhere.

The Modi government had infused hope across all sectors after, he alleged, the UPA’s 10-year-rule left behind empty treasury, policy paralysis, demoralised bureaucracy, despondent masses and a state of hopelessness.

The government has struck a balance between reforms and public welfare and got success, he said.

He cited a string of figures, including the highest ever urea and power production, highways construction, FDI inflow, forex reserve in 2015-16, besides pro-poor and farmers schemes to underline his point.

Starting tomorrow, 30 BJP teams, comprising ministers and party office-bearers, will travel across more than 200 destinations to hold events to publicise the government’s “achievements”.

“We have given a decisive government. A government that can take decisions and has the political will to execute them.

After a long time, there is a government like this,” he said, adding that it was also a responsive government and cited the NEET’s ordinance as an example.

“Modi government has assumed power after the ten years rule of UPA in which scams and scandals ruled the roost. After two years in government, even our opponents have not been able to level any allegation of corruption on us,” Shah said.

He also appealed to all parties to support legislations and measures related to the “agenda of nation’s development”.

Amid speculation over a reshuffle in the Union Council of Ministry, he said a decision in this regard will be taken later. When pressed on whether vacancy caused by the exit of Sarbananda Sonowal will be filled, he added that it will be done but date has not been decided.

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Have broken middlemen-Defence Ministry nexus: Parrikar

Posted on 27 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Saturday 28th May 2016

New Delhi, May 27 (PTI) The nexus between the middlemen, arms agents and Defence Ministry officials has been broken, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said today and termed it as one of the “biggest achievement” of the NDA government.

He also asserted that he had inherited the ministry with “fear psychosis and frozen mindset” in the department where no one was ready to take any decision and changing that system was a challenge.

The minister highlighted transparency, fast decision- making process and ease of doing business among his other successes.

“Under our tenure, we have broken the nexus that the middlemen and arms agents had with officials in Defence Ministry,” Parrikar told PTI in an interview.

He said things have come to such a change that officers are not afraid of putting negative views on a file which they avoided earlier.

“The crux of the achievement is change in mindset. The Ministry was in a fear psychosis and was stuck up in a frozen mindset. I have managed to break this barrier of fear and create atmosphere of trust, if not full but partial that is good enough for the Ministry to start moving,” he said.

Parrikar, who assumed charge of the Ministry in November 2014 from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, talked about wide- ranging issues concerning his Ministry including Rafale deal, AgustaWestland scam and acquisition programmes.

On AgustaWestland probe, he said the investigators are hot on the trail of people, including journalists, who are linked to the VVIP chopper scam and the effort is to unravel the money trail with evidence.

He said many in the Ministry knew “hera pheri (wrong doing)” was happening to ensure that the Italian firm is shortlisted for the VVIP chopper contract.

“They did not have courage to talk about the wrongdoings as key bureaucrats concerned with the deal were close to the power centre. And that close contact is proved by the fact that most of them got coveted posts after their retirement or even after the job was done,” he said, adding that six people linked to the deal got rewarding positions.

These people are favoured people, Parrikar said adding, “I am not alleging but favourite means powers thought of them as own guys who will do the job”.

Asserting that “no one can influence me”, the Defence Minister said his decisions are based on merit and what is there on file.

“To be the best of my ability, I will make a judgement on that. And my judgement, on most occasions, are judgements which are beneficial to the government. May be once or twice, erroneous judgements can be made but judgements are based on information available and to the best of my ability to interpret,” he said. .

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