Lok Sabha Passes Two Bills Amid Protests By Congress And TDP
The Lok Sabha on Thursday managed to pass two bills before adjourning for the day amid protests by Opposition parties including Congress and TDP on various issues.
Amid the uproar, the two bills which were passed were – the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 and the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill, 2018. Earlier, the proceedings were adjourned amid sparring between members from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the issue of the proposal to build a dam on the Cauvery River. While members from Congress were demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka entered the well holding placards over the Cauvery issue. TDP leaders demanded special category status for Andhra Pradesh and setting up of a steel plant in the state.
UPSC Civil Services Exam: NITI Aayog for reducing upper age limit to 27 years
The Niti Aayog has suggested that the upper age limit for entry into the civil services be brought down to 27 years from the present 30 years for general category candidates in a phased manner by 2022-23. In the ‘Strategy for New India @75’ document released on Wednesday, the government think-tank also pitched for an integrated exam for all civil services. “The upper age limit for the civil services should be brought down to 27 years for the general category in a phased manner by 2022-23,” the document said. It also said the existing 60-plus separate civil services at the central and state level need to be reduced through rationalization and harmonization of services. “Recruits should be placed in a central talent pool, which would then allocate candidates by matching their competencies and the job description of the post,” it said.\
Average GST rate will soon be at 15%: NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman
The average rate of Goods and Services Tax (GST) will soon be around 15 percent, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Wednesday, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his Government’s commitment to reduce GST on many more items. The GST Council is expected to meet soon to further prune down the list of items in the 28 percent slab. At present, 1,211 goods categories have been clubbed into six rates — 0.25 percent (un-worked diamond), 3 percent (gold and silver mainly), 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent, and 28 percent. Earlier, over 200 goods categories were placed under the 28 percent slab, but now this number is just 39 comprising of motor cars, AC, large TV and cement, besides others. The GST Council is scheduled to meet on December 22 and is likely to review rates on many items, including large TV and AC.
Agencies Can Snoop On Any Computer, Says Centre’s Order, Triggering Alarm
Investigating agencies will have sweeping powers to intercept and monitor data on computers after a new home ministry order put out on Thursday. Ten central agencies have been equipped with powers of “interception, monitoring, and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer,” in the order signed by Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba. Earlier, only the home ministry could scan calls and emails of people. The new order gives that power to the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (Research and Analysis Wing), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and the Delhi Police Commissioner.
‘No Privacy?’: People react to MHA order allowing 10 agencies to snoop on any computer
The conversation around data security and privacy has been gaining momentum in the past few years, especially with concerns about data leaks. On Friday, however, news of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allowing ten surveillance and intelligence agencies to snoop on and monitor any computer came to light. According to an MHA order, a copy of which was shared on Twitter by news agency ANI, ten agencies are now authorized to intercept, monitor and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Three-way amalgamation of BOB, Dena Bank, Vijaya Bank takes wings
The proposed amalgamation of Bank of Baroda (BoB), Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank has moved a step forward with the Alternative Mechanism (AM) headed by Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, giving its in-principal approval for the structure of the amalgamation. As per the in-principle approval, BoB will be the ‘transferee bank’ and Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will both be ‘transferor banks’. This would mean that the amalgamation process, which would lead to the formation of the country’s third-largest bank, would not involve the creation of fourth entity where the assets of the three banks would get transferred, said banking industry observers. It would also mean that BOB will retain its brand identity while the other two Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will cease to be separate legal entities.
Single slab GST argued by Rahul Gandhi a ‘stupid idea’: Arun Jaitley
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday hit back at Rahul Gandhi over his GST remarks and said that a single slab GST argued by the Congress president is indeed a “stupid idea”. Jaitley’s comments were in response to Rahul Gandhi’s tweet earlier in the day taking a dig at PM Modi over his recent remark that the government was trying to bring ’99 percent things’ under sub-18 percent GST slab. “The Congress Party has finally jolted Narendra Ji from his deep slumber on Gabbar Singh Tax. Though still drowsy, he (PM Modi) now wants to implement what he had earlier called the Congress Party’s, ‘Grand Stupid Thought'” Rahul had tweeted. Countering Rahul’s comments, Jaitley said, “The UPA had left behind a legacy of 31% indirect tax on most items. The GST has already reduced 334 items to 12% and 18% slab. Wasn’t the 31% Tax an oppressive idea- a stupid one at that.”