Archive | November, 2016

Govt ready for demonetisation discussion in Par’l, PM to take part: Naidu

Posted on 30 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 01st December 2016

New Delhi, Nov 30 (PTI) The government is ready for a discussion in Parliament on demonetisation and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in it, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said today as he appealed to the opposition parties not to disrupt proceedings.

He said the mood of the country was in favour of the move which is why the calls for strike and protests by opposition parties did not succeed.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of an awareness session on digital transactions for officials of his ministries, he said demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes “is a fact now” and there should be discussion on how it can be implemented smoothly.

“They (opposition parties) should come back to Parliament to discuss and debate and give valuable suggestions so that the country can move forward,” said Naidu, who holds Information and Broadcasting, Urban Development, and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Ministries.

He said that many opposition leaders were now trying to clarify that they were not against the war on black money and demonetisation.

“They are all saying this because the mood of the nation is dominantly in favour of the step taken by the Prime Minister,” he said.

The call for a bandh was a “total flop” and the nationwide protest programmes also failed, he said.

“They (opposition parties) tried to come together but there is now division as some people wanted rollback (of the move)…I just saw in newspapers that (RJD supremo) Laluji was saying that ‘in principle’ he is not opposed to the move but he has issues with implementation,” Naidu said.

The issues should be discussed in Parliament for which the government is ready. “The Prime Minister will also definitely and the Finance minister will also reply in the end,” he said.

Naidu said there are other issues and key legislations that should be discussed in Parliament.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore was also present at the event.

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Oppn protests on demonetisation in Rajya Sabha continues

Posted on 30 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 01st December 2016

New Delhi, Nov 30 (PTI) Opposition led by Congress and TMC on Wednesday forced two adjournments in Rajya Sabha over their demand that the House condoles the killing of 25 armymen since the surgical strikes and the death of 82 persons due to post-demonetisation hardships.

Rejecting the government’s offer for discussion on the situation along the border and resuming the debate on demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, Opposition members trooped into the Well shouting anti-government slogans, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the proceedings till noon.

When the House reassembled at noon, the uproar continued and the Question Hour could not be taken up, forcing Chairman Hamid Ansari to adjourn the proceedings till 1400 hours.

No sooner had the House assembled for the day, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said there should be an obituary reference for the seven army personnel including two officers in terrorist attack at Nagrota armybase near Jammu yesterday as well as for the 82 persons who died because of the “wrong policies of government.”

As other opposition members joined in, Kurien got listed papers laid on the table.

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said he had given a notice under rule 267 for an obituary resolution to mourn the martyrdom of 25 army personnel since the surgical strikes across the LoC, and the death of 82 people standing in queues io get valid currency after the ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Kurien, however, said the notice is not permitted.

Azad said it was a serious issue if “we are not ready to pay homage” to brave soldiers and those who died because of the “wrong policies” of the government.

Charging government with being insensitive, Mayawati (BSP) said demonetisation was done without preparation and a condolence message has to be brought before the House.

Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was ready for discussion on both the issues mentioned by the Opposition.

While the discussion on demonetisation should be resumed, the government is ready for a discussion on the situation along the border, he said.

When Sharad Yadav (JD-U) also spoke on the currency issue, Jaitley snapped at him asking him to first discuss demonetisation within his party and decide if it is against the move or for it.

His remark was apparent reference to JD-U Chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supporting demonetisation.

“We are not against demonetisation. We are against the restrictions that have been placed (on withdrawals from own accounts),” Yadav shot back.

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Oppn continue protest seeking PM’s presence in Rajya Sabha

Posted on 29 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 30th November 2016

New Delhi, Nov 29 (PTI) Vociferous protests by Opposition benches demanding the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the debate on demonetisation today led to the stalling of pre-noon proceedings in the Rajya Sabha.

Opposition Congress, TMC and BSP members trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans demanding Modi’s presence, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the proceedings till noon.

Soon after the listed papers were laid, Mayawati (BSP) said the government was adopting an adamant behaviour and the Prime Minister should come to the House and listen to the discussion on hardships caused due to ban on old 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

As Congress, SP, TMC and other opposition members joined the protests, Kurien said the discussion on the issue can be resumed immediately as the government too was ready.

Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the debate is not yet complete and the Prime Minister will come and intervene.

He questioned Opposition’s intentions by not debating and repeatedly stalling House.

At this point, Opposition members trooped into the Well raising slogans like “Modi sadan mein aao (Modi, come to the House)” and “Modi manmaani band karo (Modi, stop arbitrariness)”.

Treasury benches countered them with slogans of Modi Zindabad (Hail Modi).

Kurien asked members to go back to their places and start discussion. “Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is here and it has been promised the Prime Minister will intervene,” he told the protesting members who remained unrelenting.

“Actually you dont want discussion,” he said. “Why are you doing this? What is the benefit (of this),” he said before adjourning the proceedings till noon.

Earlier, the nearly empty treasury benches led the Opposition to create a ruckus.

As Kurien called the House to order and called for tabling of listed papers, Opposition benches protested while pointing to the empty BJP benches.

Only Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Faggan Singh Kulaste were present.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad pointed to the empty benches as Kurien called ministers to lay papers.

Kurien said there was enough quorum to run the House and the Chair is not concerned about presence of treasury or opposition benches.

“There are enough members to conduct the proceedings,” he said. “Why are you worried about treasury benches,” he asked protesting opposition members.

First Sitharaman and then Naidu explained that the members were a bit delayed because of the BJP parliamentary party meeting.

“You are not bound to explain,” Kurien told Naidu. “Your members have right to be present or not present as the Opposition members. That is within your right.”

Soon members from the ruling party started trooping in.

There were protests again when Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was not present to lay a paper on behalf of Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel. Amid protests, Sitharaman did that on behalf of Naqvi.

Kurien said Goel had taken leave of absence and Naqvi was permitted to lay the papers on his behalf. And in absence of Naqvi, he had permitted Sitharaman to do it. Soon, Naqvi came into the House and all the listed papers were laid.

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Parrikar to visit B’desh, first by an Indian defence minister

Posted on 29 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 30th November 2016

New Delhi, Nov 29 (PTI) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will tomorrow embark on a two-day visit to Bangladesh during which he will call on the top leadership there and firm up defence cooperation initiatives ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s trip here next month.

Parrikar, who will be the first Indian Defence Minister to visit Bangladesh, will call on President Abdul Hamid in Dhaka tomorrow and hold talks with the Security Advisor to Prime Minister, officials said.

On December 1, the Minister, who will be accompanied by the Vice Chiefs of the Army and Air Force, Deputy Chief of Navy besides Coast Guard chief, will visit the military academy in Chittagong and meet Hasina, who also holds the defence portfolio.

Top Defence Ministry officials said the focus of the trip was to deepen security ties and firm up a defence cooperation agreement that is likely to be signed when Hasina visits here around December 17.

They said that Parrikar was originally scheduled to travel to Bangladesh much earlier this month but the visit was delayed.

They also ruled out any link between the visit and the sale of two submarines by China to Bangladesh.

Hasina announced the plan to purchase two submarines in 2013 as part of her government’s move to build a modern navy.

When Bangladesh Navy chief Muhammad Farid Habib had visited India in November last year, he had said Bangladesh is going to buy two used submarines from China for “training” its surface crew and Sonar crew in anti-submarine warfare.

“Since the delimitation of maritime border problem has been solved, we are now trying to cooperate. We are trying to patrol in our areas. So in our sea, we also expect lot of gas and oil,” Habib had said then.

He also said Bangladesh wants to work with the Indian Navy as there are many “non-traditional threats” in sea, a reference to piracy, floating armouries among others.

“We cannot tackle those threats alone. It requires cooperation so that we can together fight non-traditional threats and make the area peaceful,” the visiting Navy chief had said.

Areas of naval cooperation that are proposed include option of coordinated patrolling along International Maritime Boundary Line(IMBL), bilateral exercises between both navies, joint surveillance of Exclusive Economic Zone and cooperation in hydrography.

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Normal life disrupted in Kashmir

Posted on 28 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 29th November 2016

Srinagar, Nov 28 (PTI) After two days of normalcy over the weekend, life in Kashmir was affected again today due to the separatist-sponsored agitation.

Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut once again today after two days of relaxation announced by the separatists.

There was less traffic on the roads in the Valley, except in Srinagar the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, as compared to the last two days, officials said.

They said public transport was plying in some areas of the city which also witnessed traffic snarls at few places as private cars were plying in increased numbers.

Few shops were also open in some areas in Civil Lines as well as in the outskirts of the city, the officials said, adding many vendors put up their stalls along TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis through Lal Chowk city centre.

Inter-district cabs, connecting the city here with other districts of the Valley, were also plying, the officials said.

They said reports of comparatively less traffic were received from most other district headquarters of the Valley, where other facets of life remained affected due to the strike.

Schools and other educational institutions were closed again today after two days, the officials said.

The separatists, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation, have been issuing weekly protest programmes. They had announced two full days of relaxation on the weekend in the agitation programme.However, there is no relaxation today.

As many as 86 people, including two cops, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley.

Around 5000 security forces personnel have also been injured in the clashes.

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Opposition MPs protests outside Parliament

Posted on 28 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 29th November 2016

New Delhi, Nov 28 (PTI) Expressing concern over the plight of common man, MPs of various opposition parties led by Rahul Gandhi today staged a protest against the government on the demonetization issue in front of Parliament as part of the ‘Jan Aakrosh Divas’ observed across the country.

However, no MP from Trinamool Congress, JD(U), SP and BSP, BJD were seen at the joint Opposition dharna outside Parliament though they raised their voices against the move in the House.

Besides the Congress vice-president, many senior party leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Veerappa Moily along with JP Yadav of RJD, Supriya Sule of NCP, Kanimozhi of DMK and Mohd Salim of CPI(M) participated in the protest near Gandhi statute.

Raising slogans, the MPs demanded steps to ease the problems being faced by the people due to the demonetization drive.

“There is anger against demonetization which is reflecting from Parliament to street. In the name of fighting black money, poor have been made to suffer while rich people have been let off,” RJD MP JP Yadav alleged.

Congress leader Moily termed the Modi government’s move was a “fake fight and not a genuine fight against black money.”

“Black money is a cause of corruption. But where is the fight against corruption? What happened to Lokpal?” he asked and added the money in circulation cannot be called black money.

“We are interested in discussion. PM must come to the House to explain,” he said.

Scindia said, “It has happened for the first time in the world that one cannot draw one’s own money. So we are raising the common man’s voice outside and inside Parliament.”

Asked about parties holding protests separately, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, “There is no division among opposition. All parties may march separately but they are striking together. Parliament is not functioning because PM is no coming to the House.

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LF-sponsored bandh begins in West Bengal

Posted on 28 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Monday 28th November 2016

Kolkata, Nov 28 (PTI) The state-wide 12-hour strike called by the Left Parties to protest the demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes began in West Bengal today, with normal life visibly unaffected in the first few hours.

Government buses and other private vehicles were seen plying on the road.

“So far there has been no major incident, except a few small ones in the districts,” a senior police official said.

The strike call by the Left Front has been opposed by the ruling TMC in West Bengal.

“We oppose bandhs. We will take out a protest march (against demonetisation) on Monday,” state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said.

The TMC said it was against putting people to more hardship when they are “already facing a lot of problems owing to the scarcity of cash”.

Instead, the TMC will take out a rally from College Square to Esplanade today to protest against demonetisation, TMC general secretary Subrata Bakshi had said.

The state government has ordered all its employees to attend offices today and tomorrow.

Exceptions would be made only in case of bereavement, maternity leave, hospitalisation and other ‘genuine reasons’, a circular issued by the state finance department said.

Over 3,000 police personnel have been deployed in the metropolis to tackle any untoward incident, Kolkata Police Additional Commissioner of Police (III) Supratim Sarkar had said.

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Committed to easing citizens’ pain at earliest: RBI Governor

Posted on 28 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Monday 28th November 2016

Mumbai, Nov 27 (PTI) Terming demonetisation as a “once in a lifetime event” that requires mammoth logistics, Governor Urjit Patel today said RBI is taking all necessary actions to “ease the genuine pain of citizens who are honest and who have been hurt” and hoped things will normalise at the earliest.

Speaking for the first time after the decision to withdraw old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Patel who has been facing criticism for keeping silent, also said the situation is being monitored on a daily basis while printing presses have started to rebalance the production of new notes towards Rs 100 and Rs 500 bills.

Giving details of the steps being taken by RBI, he said, “Both RBI and government have been getting the printing presses to work at capacity to get the new notes available to meet demand.

“RBI is interacting with the banks every day. They are telling us that the situation is gradually easing. The queues in branches and ATMs are shorter and the markets are starting to function, and there are no reported shortages of daily items of consumption.

“Also, about 40-50,000 people were deployed to refit the ATMs. Currency is available and banks are working in a mission mode to lift currency and take them to their branches and ATMs. The staff members of all banks have worked very hard, and we all owe them our gratitude,” Patel told PTI in an interview.

On why there have been long queues and a reduction in trade and business, Patel said, “This is a once in a lifetime event. It is very rare to remove 86 per cent of the currency in circulation in one go. The logistics of such an operation is mammoth.”

“And yet for withdrawal of legal tender status to be effective, complete secrecy was required. So, it is difficult to get all banks ready and fully prepared in 24 hours for a big step like this. Obviously, this has caused some dislocation. That is why we request support from all Indians for the larger cause of fighting tax evasion and the black economy,” he said.

Against the backdrop of criticism directed against Patel, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier today said it is an “unfair attack” and politicians should refrain from making comments on those who cannot defend themselves.

“An unfair attack by Jairam Ramesh on the RBI Governor.

Must politicians attack those who can’t defend themselves in the same tone?” Jaitley said in a tweet.

Congress spokesperson Ramesh had alleged that Patel is either guilty of misleading the nation about RBI’s preparedness on demonetisation or has sacrificed the autonomy of RBI. “Either way, he should resign,” Ramesh had said.

On Saturday, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the decision to scrap Rs 500/1,000 notes was taken by the government on the recommendation of RBI. .

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Unaccounted deposits to attract 50% tax, 4 yr lock-in period

Posted on 26 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Sunday 27th November 2016

New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) A minimum of 50 per cent tax may be levied on unexplained bank deposits made using the banned currency notes up to December 30 along with a 4-year lock in period for half of the remaining amount under the amendments to tax law the government plans to bring in Parliament shortly.

However, a higher 90 per cent tax and penalty could be imposed if assessees do not declare the unaccounted cash voluntarily.

Cash deposits made using the scrapped 500 and 1000 rupee notes above a threshold that are declared to Income Tax authorities may attract 50 per cent tax, as per the amendment to the Income Tax Act approved by the Cabinet last night.

Half of remaining deposits, or 25 per cent of the original deposit, will not be allowed to be withdrawn for four years, top sources said.

In case such deposits are not declared and are detected by tax authorities, a total of 90 per cent tax and penalty would be charged, they said.

The government had after the shock demonetisation, given a 50-day window beginning November 10 for either depositing the 500 and 1000 rupee notes in circulation or exchanging them for new currency.

While the exchange, which was limited to a maximum of Rs 2,000 per person, has been withdrawn, all old notes without any ceiling can be deposited in bank accounts.

This, sources said, had led to a surge in bank deposits, particularly in zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts that swelled by over Rs 21,000 crore in just two weeks, raising suspicion that these accounts may have been used to launder black money.

While the tax authorities had talked of levying a peak rate of tax and 200 per cent penalty on top of it for any unexplained deposit above Rs 2.5 lakh during November 10 to December 30 period, it was felt that such a move may not have legal backing.

To plug those loopholes, the Cabinet is believed to have yesterday approved amending the Income Tax Act by adding a clause in one of the sections to provide for the tax on an unexplained income during the window, sources said.

The government plans to bring the amendment for approval during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

Sources said the demonetisation was a big step to uproot black money and corruption but its very purpose would have been defeated if the ill-gotten wealth made way into the system through benami deposits.

And taxing them was a way to punish dishonest people.

The tax rate however cannot be the same as charged to honest tax payers. It also could not be the 45 per cent tax and penalty charged on hereto undisclosed wealth brought to books using a one-time compliance window under the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS) that ended on September 30.

Sources said since the black money holder did not utilise the government offer to declare his ill-gotten wealth, he should pay a higher rate of tax now and curbs placed on use of that money. .

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Militants attack security convoy, BSF jawan injured

Posted on 26 November 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Sunday 27th November 2016

Srinagar, Nov 26 (PTI) A BSF jawan was injured on Saturday when militants opened fire on a security forces’ convoy in Handwara area of Kupwara district in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir

“One jawan has sustained bullet injuries in the attack by militants on a convoy at Handwara this morning,” a BSF official said here

He said the injured jawan has been hospitalised and his condition is stated to be stable

This is second attack on security forces in Handwara area in the past 36 hours

Militants on Thursday night opened fire on a police station in Handwara but there was no damage in the incident as the ultras fled from the scene following retaliation by the cops.

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