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Below The Line

Our Bureaus | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 04, 2017

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Star economy

To infuse some fun into its economic analysis, the World Bank in its presentation on the India Development Update also included a picture of Tamil superstar Rajnikanth. Needless to say, the sudden surprise lifted the mood of those present, given that the next slide was on the depressing issue of weak private investments!

Undecided?

It is quite well known that the Centre is weighing the pros and cons of changing the financial year. Committees were set up to go into the matter. But nothing seems to have come out of it all. When a hack quizzed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, pat came a reply: “We will let you know if we take a decision on the matter”. A slippery slope this?

Modi scores 93/108

Prime Minister Narenda Modi has appeared in 93 out of 108 pages in a booklet listing the achievements of the Government under the National Democratic Alliance-II. The booklet has been published by MyGov, a ‘citizen-centric platform’ that ‘empowers people to connect with the Government’. The booklet titled Bold Leadership, Billion Aspirations, Ushering in a New India calls itself a holistic view of three years. The only pages that have not been graced by the Prime Minister are the index. Nine blank pages, two pages with a transitional design, and one page each dedicated to government schemes for fishermen, spectrum auction and the health of young mothers.

Get the full picture

When asked about concerns raised by various industry representatives on the seemingly inappropriate GST fitment for their sectors, the Finance Minister had this advice for mediapersons: “Whenever industry comes to you (media) with their sob story on GST rates and how they have been disadvantaged, make sure you get the full picture of their entire tax structure. They are telling you only one side of the story! The input tax credit side of the story is in most occasions missing.”

Cattle clarity

Emotions have been running high ever since the Centre stepped in with new regulations around “animal markets”. The purported aim, according to critics, is to introduce a countrywide ban on cow slaughter through a back-door route. Here’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s take on this. The only effect, according to Jaitley, of the Centre’s recent move is to address the issue of “whether the animal markets are meant for those involved in the slaughter trade or not”. (The regulations have clearly conveyed — it’s not.) Jaitley said this has nothing to do about whether you can slaughter or not slaughter. That (whether you can slaughter or not) is for the State legislations to take care of, according to Jaitley.

Now the bigger question this country wants to know is whether any off-“animal market” cattle trades (transactions outside animal markets) for slaughter continues to be legal or not? Clearly, the States hold sway on this.

Centre of attraction

A hack representing a regional Tamil publication wanted to know the Finance Minister’s views on the recent trend of several Tamil Nadu ministers paying frequent visits to the Centre. This scribe particularly wanted to know whether this trend confirms the perception among people in Tamil Nadu that the State is virtually ruled by the Centre, and not by AIADMK.

Jaitley came up with a gem: “As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, we (the BJP) don’t even have a single MLA in the Assembly. There is nothing unusual about Tamil Nadu ministers coming here (Delhi). The Centre and States are supposed to have a relationship. Several TN ministers met me for some money that should come TN’s way under centrally sponsored schemes.”



Published on June 04, 2017
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