The Bihar Assembly on Monday passed amendments to the prohibition law to curb its misuse, amid a walkout by the opposition. Speaking on the need for the Bihar Prohibition and Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said: "The main objective is to save innocent people from punishment." According to the bill, the amendments would "...stop misuse of provisions of the law against the innocent and bring the punishment in proportion to the crime". The Bill contains 16 amendments that offer relief to people found violating the various draconian provisions of the law. However, Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav is not pleased. He has termed the amendments as "discount for the rich" to drink in dry Bihar.
In a hilarious move to avoid arrest, Gitanjali Gems promoter Mehul Choksi, a key accused in the multi-crore PNB scam, moved a special court here seeking cancellation of non-bailable warrants issued against him, claiming that he apprehends mob lynching if he is brought to India. A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court had in March and July this year issued non-bailable warrants against Choksi after it took cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case. Choksi, in his application moved before the special PMLA court, claimed he faces a threat to his life not only from his former employees and debtors but also from jail staff and inmates (where he would be launched if he returns).
A number of road projects related to the $52 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are said to be in the doldrums as Pakistan's National Highway Authority (NHA) faces a financial crisis, the media reported on Monday.
The spectre of drought is looming large in Bihar after poor rainfall during the current monsoon. After reviewing the drought like situation, the Nitish Kumar government is contemplating to declare drought in the state if things don not improve over the next 10 days. "If there is no rainfall till 31st July in Bihar, we will declare drought in the state," said Bihar Agriculture MinisterPrem Kumar. On Sunday, the Bihar government had hiked subsidy on diesel by Rs 10 a litre to Rs 50 that will be given to farmers for irrigation purpose in view of the drought-like situation prevailing in the state. Delayed onset of monsoon in Bihar has led to a 48 per cent rainfall deficit so far, officials said. The decision was taken today at a high-level meeting of ministers and officials chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The benchmark BSE Sensex hit a fresh all-time high of 36,749.69 points towards the fag end of trade on Monday led by healthy buying in banking, FMCG and consumer durable stocks. Investor sentiments were boosted after Goods and Services Tax on many items including electronic appliances were slashed on Saturday, analysts said. At 3.30 p.m., the BSE Sensex provisionally closed at 36,718.60 points -- higher by 222.23 points and 0.61 per cent -- from the previous close of 36,496.37 points.
A leading jewellery chain has withdrawn a one-and-a-half minute-long advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter after it came under attack from a bank union which said it was aimed at creating 'distrust' in the banking system.
Gmail users have been alerted about a new Google Mail feature which could be leveraged by online crooks to carry out a wave of scams, media reported. The company, in April, unveiled its brand new design which introduced a clean new user interface and a swathe of new features including the ability to snooze a message, auto-generate smart replies and self-destruct emails in the brand new "Confidential Mode". "It's the Confidential Mode which is at the centre of security fears," Express.co.uk reported on Saturday.
Women politicians, cutting across party lines, have welcomed the government's decision on scrapping GST on sanitary napkins. Reactions flowed in from many women politicians after Finance minister Piyush Goyal announced that sanitary pads are now 100 percent exempt from tax. "In a remarkable move, Piyush Goyal during the 28th GST Council Meet announced to exempt Sanitary Napkins from the GST. Indeed, this will give the required thrust to our Menstrual Hygiene initiatives and will transform lives of many Women," Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi tweeted. Sanitary pads, which were initially taxed at 18 per cent, were brought down to 12 per cent under GST that was launched in July 2017. Gandhi, however earlier had justified the imposed tax saying that scrapping it would kill the indigenous pad makers.
Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday said that the decision to slash GST rates on 100 mass-use items was taken keeping upcoming assembly elections in mind. "When elections are around the corner, government cuts rates. I suppose that makes a good case for frequent elections in different state!" he said on Twitter. Terming the decision "belated wisdom", he questioned why it was not taken earlier.
The GST Council today cut tax rates on 88 items, including footwear, refrigerator, washing machine and small screen TV, while the widely demanded sanitary napkins have been exempted from the levy.