Daily Bulletin: GST Council to hold meeting; Congress set to name 50 candidates for Maharashtra polls; day's top stories
Here are today's top stories: GST Council to meet today, expected to take call on tax rate cut amid slowdown; Amit Shah to chair meeting of Northern Zonal Council in Chandigarh on today; day's top stories and more
GST Council to meet today, expected to take call on tax rate cut amid slowdown
The GST Council, headed by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and comprising representatives of all states and Union Territories (UTs), will have its 37th meeting in Goa on Friday (20 September) in the backdrop of economic growth hitting a six-year low of 5 percent for the first quarter of the current fiscal.
There have been demands pouring in from various sectors—from biscuits to automobiles and FMCG to hotels—to reduce tax rates in the wake of the economic slowdown.
The argument propagated has been to boost the consumption and domestic demand by reducing Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates further.
However, many of the states are of the view that it would not be tax prudent to allow GST rate reduction at this stage, as the compensation cess fund, which is utilised to compensate the states under the GST Act in case the revenue is below the targeted growth rate, has turned negative.
Meanwhile, according to sources, the GST Council's Fitment Committee, which comprises revenue officials of both Centre and States, has rejected demands for a cut in tax rate on items ranging from biscuits to car, owing to tight revenue position.
The GST Council may consider introduction of a special composition scheme for taxpayers supplying brick kilns, sand mining activities and stone crushers with an increased rate, sources said.
It is expected to discuss amendments in GST laws to accommodate the creation of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh as UTs and will also discuss the proposal moved by Kerala on introducing e-way bill system for movement of gold and precious stones, sources said.
It is likely to deliberate on the proposal of linking new GST registration with Aadhar and take the quarterly review of cases at National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA), sources added.
Fitment panel in its report, which will be placed before the GST Council, has some good news for the hotel industry as it has recommended raising tariff ceiling to up to Rs 12,000 per night under 18 percent GST slab. At present, the 18 percent GST rate is applicable for hotel tariff up to Rs 7,500 per night.
Congress likely to announce first list of 50 candidates for Maharashtra polls today
Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat has said the party may announce its first list of 50 candidates for the Assembly polls by 20 September.
The party's screening committee met in Delhi on Wednesday to finalise the list.
"We are well prepared to face the polls as good and meritorious candidates have been chosen. We are confident that we will do well. The first list of 50 candidates is expected to be announced in two days," Thorat told reporters in the national capital.
Of the 288 Assembly seats, the Congress and NCP have decided to contest 125 each, leaving the rest for smaller allies. The Election Commission of India is in Mumbai to take stock of poll preparations.
Amit Shah to chair meeting of Northern Zonal Council in Chandigarh on today
Union Home Minister Amit Shah will chair the 29th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council here on 20 September. The grouping comprises states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan besides union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The Haryana chief minister is the vice-chairman and host of the meeting. Chief ministers from the member states, along two ministers each; administrators of union territories, chief secretaries and senior officials would attend the meeting, an official release said on Wednesday.
The meeting of the zonal council was last held in Chandigarh on 12 May 2017. Five zonal councils were set up in 1957 under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956.
The Union home minister is the chairman of each of these five councils. The chief minister of the host state is the vice-chairman.
Two more ministers from each state are nominated to the council by the governor. “The councils take up issues involving the Centre and states or one/many states falling in the zone. The zonal councils, thus, provide a forum for resolving disputes,” the official release said.
The zonal councils discuss a broad range of issues, including boundary disputes, security, infrastructure-related matters such as roads, transport, industries, water and power besides matters pertaining to forests and environment, housing, education, food security, tourism and transport.
Amit Panghal, Manish Kaushik chase history at the World Men's Boxing Championship
India will be aiming to improve upon their best return at the World Boxing Championships on Friday when Amit Panghal (52kg) and Manish Kaushik (63kg) face Saken Bibossinov and Andy Gomez Cruz in their respective semi-finals. Prior to this edition of the tournament, India had never had two semi-finalists at marquee event, and if either were to qualify for the finals and win their bouts, it would be a landmark moment in the history of Indian boxing.
First Jammu International Film Festival to kick off from 26 September, will screen 37 short films from 11 countries
Thirty-seven short films and documentaries from 11 countries will be screened at the inaugural edition of Jammu International Film Festival, starting from 26 September. "The first-ever international film festival in Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, will commence from September 26", said writer-producer and festival director Rakesh Roshan Bhat. Rakesh and his brother Rohit, who run one of biggest theatre groups of the state, Vomedh, have curated the two-day-long festival.
Huawei launches Android-powered Mate 30 flagship smartphones without Google software
At a grand event held at Munich, Chinese smartphone maker and telecom giant Huawei announced its brand new range of smartphones. The new range includes the Mate 30, the Mate 30 Pro, a Mate 30 Pro 5G and the Porsche Design Mate 30 RS. While the launch showcased plenty of new and innovative features along with new hardware, the last announcement by Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO, Richard Yu gave out the news that the new smartphones will not support Google Mobile Services, meaning it won’t be able to run Google apps like YouTube, Gmail and more.
The move comes after Congress MP Kirti Azad and ex-JD(U) general secretary Pawan Varma joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party
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'There's no UPA', says Mamata after meeting Sharad Pawar; both pitch for united Opposition against BJP
Mamata has not yet met any Congress leader in Maharashtra. It is believed to be an indication that the TMC would like to play the leading role in bringing the Opposition parties together in a possible national coalition against the BJP