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MoHUA launches field assessment of Swachh Survekshan 2021

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Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Housing Affairs (MoHUA) launched the field assessment of Swachh Survekshan (SS) 2021, the sixth edition of the annual cleanliness survey conducted by the Government of India, at a web event in New Delhi today. SS was introduced by MoHUA in 2016 as a competitive framework to encourage cities to improve the status of urban sanitation while encouraging large scale citizen participation.

Speaking at the webinar, Mishra said, “SS has led to a spirit of healthy competition among cities and towns of India. The journey that started in 2016 with only 73 cities with million plus population has grown manifold, with 434 cities in 2017, 4,203 cities in 2018, 4,237 cities in 2019 and 4,242 cities in SS 2020, including 62 Cantonment Boards. Cities have been regularly filling in their data, updating their progress in the MIS along with running several citizen centric campaigns in preparation of SS 2021. Today, we are happy to formally kick off the survey as more than 2,000 assessors get ready to go on the field to assess the performance of cities”.

Every year, the on-field assessments for SS takes place between January 4-31. However, the same had been delayed by two months due to the COVID pandemic and will now be conducted between 1-28 March 2021. The Swachh Survekshan framework is redesigned innovatively every year, to ensure that the process becomes more robust. Keeping in mind the Ministry’s efforts towards ensuring sustainability of the sanitation value chain, the SS 2021 indicators focus on parameters pertaining to wastewater treatment and reuse along with faecal sludge. Similarly, the crucial issues of legacy waste management and remediation of landfills have also been brought to the fore in this edition of Survekshan.

Mishra also touched upon how SS has become a tool for citizen engagement in the spirit of a true ‘Jan Andolan’. Elaborating on the same, Shri Mishra said, “I am happy to share that the SS 2021 has already garnered over 3 crore citizen feedback through a variety of platforms such as the Vote for Your City App, Swachhata App and Swachh Survekshan portal, amongst others”. The Ministry further announced that apart from ranking cities and States, this year, SS would also be ranking districts (basis the performance of their cities).

Since its launch in 2014, Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) has made significant progress in the area of both sanitation and solid waste management. 4360 Urban ULBs have been declared ODF, 2158 cities certified ODF+ and 551 cities certified ODF++.  Moreover, 66 lakhs individual household toilets and over 6 lakhs community/ public toilets have been constructed/ or are under construction. Additionally, nearly 60,000 toilets across 2900+ cities have been made live on Google Maps. In the area of solid waste management, 97% of wards have 100% door-to door collection while 68% of the total waste generated is being processed. A total of six cities have been certified as 5 Star, 86 as 3 star and 65 as 1 star under the Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities.

The second phase of SBM-U for a period of 5 years (2021-26) has recently been announced in the union budget of 2021. The next phase of the Mission will focus extensively on aspects of sustainable sanitation including faecal sludge and wastewater management, along with holistic solid waste management with a focus on curbing and ultimately eliminating the use of single-use plastic (SUP), reducing air pollution through effective  management of construction & demolition waste, and reducing soil pollution through remediation of legacy dumpsites.

Source: PIB

DGGI Gurugram officials arrest man for defrauding exchequer in excess of Rs 3.76 cr

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The Gurugram Zonal Unit of Directorate General of GST Intelligence has arrested a person, namely Mr. Pradeep Jain, resident of Muzaffarnagar, UP who is Director of M/s PSR Metals Pvt Ltd, Muzaffarnagar.

An investigation was conducted against M/s PSR Metals Pvt Ltd located at Khasra No 362/2, Near Begrajpur Industrial Area, Village HussainpurBopada, Muzaffarnagar, UP-251001 by way of visits conducted at the registered address of the said company. During the investigation, Mr. Pradeep Jain, Director of M/s PSR Metals Pvt Ltd. claimed to procure both old and non-guarantee batteries from various registered and unregistered dealers and also claimed to manufacture lead from old batteries and doing trading of new batteries (termed non-guarantee batteries). It is pertinent to mention here that in GST regime, old/scrap batteries are taxed at 18% GST rate and new/fresh batteries are taxed at 28% GST rate. However, verification with their suppliers revealed that they had sold only fresh batteries to M/s PSR Metals Pvt Ltd.

Confronted with these facts, Mr. Pradeep Jain now claimed that they were also manufacturing lead from these new batteries, whereas earlier he claimed only trading of the same. Investigation showed that it was not economically viable to manufacture lead from destroying and breaking down fresh batteries to pick miniscule lead therein. It appeared that they were actually using bazaar scrap to manufacture such lead and was using the ITC of fresh batteries while clearing these new batteries without issuance of invoices.

Thus, Mr. Pradeep Jain, was found to have defrauded the exchequer in excess of ₹ 13.76 crore. by clearance of goods without issue of invoices. He was therefore arrested on 27.02.2021 under section 69 of the CGST Act, 2017. The Magistrate sent him to Tihar Jail for 10 days’ Judicial Custody. Further investigation in the matter is under progress.

Source: PIB

Spectrum Auction: 2021- Bid amount exceeds Rs 77,000 crore on Day 1

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Pursuant to the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA), auction of spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands commenced at 10 AM today. Four rounds of bidding took place till 6 PM. Another one or two rounds are expected tomorrow. Three bidders – Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd, and Reliance Jio Infocomm – are participating in the auction.

The value of the spectrum for which there are provisional winning bids is Rs. 77,146 crore. This has already substantially exceeded pre-bid estimates of Rs. 45,000 crore. Bidder-wise details of quantity won and amounts payable will be available only after conclusion of the auction.

The e-auction is based on Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending Auction (SMRA) methodology. Available spectrum in all bands is simultaneously put to auction in all the Licensed Service Areas (LSAs).

Bidding has taken place for spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands. The participants did not bid in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.

A total of 2308.80 MHz spectrum is being put to auction, out of which there have been bids for 849.20 MHz so far. Excluding spectrum in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands, this is almost 60% of the spectrum put to auction. In the 2016 spectrum auction, where there were 7 bidders, the spectrum sold was 41% by quantity and 12% by value of the total spectrum put to auction. The corresponding figures in the 2021 spectrum auction so far are 37% and 19% respectively, with 3 participants.

Spectrum which will be assigned to the successful bidders is valid for 20 years. In 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz bands, bidders are required to pay 25% of the final bid amount as upfront payment. In the rest of the bands, bidders are required to make payment of 50% of final bid amount upfront. The balance amount (after upfront payment) will be payable in 16 equated annual instalments after a moratorium of 2 years. The auction will resume tomorrow morning, and is expected to conclude tomorrow.

Source: PIB

Due date for furnishing of GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C for 2019-20 extended upto 31.03.2021

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It may be noted that the due date for furnishing of the Annual returns (GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C) specified under section 44 of the CGST Act read with rule 80 of the CGST rules for the financial year 2019-20 was earlier extended from 31.12.2020 to 28.02.2021 vide Notification No. 95/2020- Central Tax dated 30.12.2020. In view of the difficulties expressed by the taxpayers in meeting this time limit, Government has decided to further extend the due date for furnishing of GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C for the financial year 2019-20 to 31.03.2021 with the approval of Election Commission of India. This press note is being issued to keep taxpayers informed so that they may plan their return filing accordingly. Suitable notification to give effect to this decision is being issued.

Source: PIB

Pvt. hospitals functioning as Covid Vaccination Centres may charge max. Rs. 250 per dose

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Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary today interacted with Health Secretaries and MDs (NHM) of States and UTs on the vaccination of age-appropriate groups through a video conference (VC) today. The nationwide COVID-19 Vaccination drive was launched on 16thJanuary, 2021. From this date onwards, Health Care Workers (HCWs) were given the first dose of the COVID vaccine while Front Line Workers (FLWs) were included from 2nd February, 2021. So far, more than 1.5 core vaccinations have been done.

This nationwide vaccination program is now to be exponentially expanded to the following age-groups from 1st March, 2021:

i) all citizens above 60 years of age, and

ii) those within the age bracket of 45 to 59 years with specified co-morbidities

To ramp up the COVID vaccination capacity manifold, significantly large number of private facilities is being involving. Around 10,000 private hospitals empanelled under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY, more than 600 hospitals empanelled under CGHS and other private hospitals empanelled under State Govts. Health Insurance Schemes can participate as COVID Vaccination Centers (CVCs). Health Departments of State Governments have already initiated dialogue with these private hospitals so that they can be encouraged to participate in this drive as CVCs. A list of all these private hospitals has been uploaded on the website of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and National Health Authority. These can be accessed at:          

 a) https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/CGHSEmphospitals.xlsx           

b) https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/PMJAYPRIVATEHOSPITALSCONSOLIDATED.xlsx

In addition, there would be Govt. health facilities which will be used as CVCs such as medical college hospitals, district hospitals, sub divisional hospitals, CHCs, PHCs, Health Sub Centers and Health and Wellness Centers. Geo reference maps with GPS coordinates of all these health facilities have been prepared that will serve as CVCs and these Geo referenced maps are being shared with the States.

The Government COVID Vaccination Centers will offer free vaccination for all with the Central Government bearing the full cost of the vaccination.

All the private health facilities which will serve as Government COVID Vaccination Centers must follow strict norms of due process, quality and safety including integration with the National Co-Win technology platform. All private health facilities must also have adequate space, adequate cold chain arrangements, adequate number of vaccinators and support staff and adequate arrangements for addressing Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI).

States were explained the 3 (three) methods of registration i.e. Advance Self Registration, Onsite Registration and Facilitated Cohort Registration.

States have been explained that the private hospitals functioning as CVCs can charge subject to a ceiling of Rs. 250 per person per dose along with the electronic and financial management mechanism in this regard. User Names and Passwords to be provided to the private facilities to facilitate effective use of CoWIN 2.0, were also discussed during the meeting.

In addition, mapping of private facilities with the nearest cold chain points to ensure seamless flow of vaccines to them was explained to the States. 

The simplified system of certifying people with 20 co-morbidities within the 45-59 years age group was also explained to the States. The simplified one page certificate to be signed by any registered medical practitioner is at annexure-1. The certificate can either be uploaded on Co-WIN2.0 by the beneficiary while self registering or a hard copy can be carried by the beneficiary to the CVC.

Source: PIB

India must leverage growing air traffic to establish robust aircraft leasing industry: Hardeep S Puri

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Hardeep S Puri, MoS, I/C, Civil Aviation has stated that India must leverage its growing air traffic to establish a robust aircraft leasing industry, which would finance new aircraft deliveries through its own policies and products. Addressing the India Aircraft Leasing Summit 2021- Rupee Raftaarheld here today, Puri said that it is vital to develop this new line of business in India for financial services and add India on the map of global financial centers for international financial services. Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister was the Chief Guest and graced the event with virtual presence. Hardeep S Puri, was the Guest of Honour at the summit. Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Injeti Srinivas, Chairperson, International Financial Services Centre Authority, Vandana Aggarwal, Senior Economic Advisor, M/o Civil Aviation, Uday Shankar, President, FICCI, Remi Maillard, Head of Airbus India, and stakeholders from the Indian civil aviation sector and industry members attended the event.

Hardeep S Puri said that the COVID-19 pandemic has stagnated the economic activities globally, but Indian aviation sector, has shown resilience, recalibration and resurgence despite the cascading impact of various aspects of world trade. He added that the Indian Aviation sector is on a path to recovery and has exhibited significant recovery to pre-Covid levels in terms of passenger movement and cargo operation. Concerted efforts are being made to attract new business into India, such as through aircraft leasing, financing, and MRO operations.

Puri informed that to commensurate with the growth potential of Indian aviation sector, in the next 20 years, India will need 1,750-2,100 aircraft valued at over ₹20,40,000 crore (~USD 290 billion), with an estimated 100 deliveries each year, i.e. about ₹35,000 crore or USD 5 billion of financing each year as per predictions of Airbus and Boeing. He added that the share of aircraft on lease globally has increased dramatically over the last few decades. It has escalated from 2 per cent in 1980 to over 41 per cent in 2018, and is estimated to have reached 50% in 2020.

Civil Aviation Minister highlighted that aircraft financing is the most profitable segment of the aviation value chain and currently, foreign financiers and lessors are the biggest beneficiaries of India’s growing opportunity.He informed that several initiatives have been taken by the Government to develop Aviation leasing and Financing Hub in India which included Financing, MRO, manufacturing etc. to rapidly expand this business in India.

Puri said that as dynamic nature of business in IFSCs requires high inter-regulatory coordination, IFSCA (International Financial Services Centre Authority) has been established as unified regulator to promote ease of doing business in IFSC and to provide world class regulatory environment.

Puri shared that the Rupee Raftaar working group on aircraft leasing and financing therefore has holistically taken the 360 degree review of existing and foreseeable barriers to Aircraft Financing by local Indian financiers in India after extensive consultations with RBI, Banks, NBFCs – Asset financing / leasing companies, Airlines, Airports public and Private corporations and other stakeholders. He added that in anticipation of the long-term requirements of the country’s aviation industry, the government envisages to create an eco-system through Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) city which is an IFSC in India, wherein the flexibility of regulations needed in the industry will not affect the mainland regulations.

India has created a highly effective system for aircraft leasing and financing which is comparable to that of Ireland, China, HongKong, Singapore and elsewhere.The purpose is to grow India’s financing market which is critical to the development of aviation industry, creating high aspirational jobs in the sector and in turn propelling India’s growth. The initiative has the potential to deliver following key benefits:

  • Develop new line of business in India for International Financial Services
  • Create additional high-end jobs opportunity in India
  • Retain International Financial Services business in India and general additional business for Banks, NBFCs, Credit Guarantors, Insurance companies, other ancillary business etc.
  • Add India on the map of global financial centres for International financial services
  • Generate additional revenues through collection of taxes from ancillary industries and eventually through aircraft financing
  • Bring various Foreign lessors in India
  • Reduce foreign exchange outgo
  • Foster an aviation financing system that supports financing of airport development as well as the Make-in India initiative for manufacturing of aircraft, helicopters, drones, air taxis etc, beside component and parts suppliers for manufacturing of carriers as also global OEMs.

Source: PIB

Govt. notifies IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021

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Amidst growing concerns around lack of transparency, accountability and rights of users related to digital media and after elaborate consultation with the public and stakeholders, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 has been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011.

While finalizing these Rules, both the Ministries of Electronics and Information Technology and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting undertook elaborate consultations among themselves in order to have a harmonious, soft-touch oversight mechanism in relation to social media platform as well as digital media and OTT platforms etc.

Part- II of these Rules shall be administered by Ministry of Electronics and IT, while Part-III relating to Code of Ethics and procedure and safeguards in relation to digital media shall be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Source: PIB

Cabinet approves Production Linked Incentive Scheme for IT Hardware

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The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi has approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for IT Hardware. The scheme proposes production linked incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the value chain of IT Hardware. The Target Segments under the proposed Scheme include Laptops, Tablets, All-in-One PCs and Servers.

The Scheme shall, extend an incentive of 4% to 2% / 1% on net incremental sales (over base year i.e. 2019-20) of goods manufactured in India and covered under the target segment, to eligible companies, for a period of four (4) years. The scheme is likely to benefit 5 major global players and 10 domestic champions in the field of IT Hardware manufacturing including Laptops, Tablets, All-in-One PCs, and Servers. This is an important segment to promote manufacturing under AtmaNirbhar Bharat as there is huge import reliance for these items at present.

Financial Implications:

The total cost of the proposed scheme is approximately Rs.7,350 crore over 4 years, which includes an incentive outlay of Rs.7,325 crore and administrative charges of Rs.25 crore.

Benefits:

The scheme will enhance the development of electronics ecosystem in the country. India will be well positioned as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) on account of integration with global value chains, thereby becoming a destination for IT Hardware exports.

The scheme has an employment generation potential of over 1,80,000 (direct and indirect) over 4 years. The Scheme will provide impetus to Domestic Value Addition for IT Hardware which is expected to rise to 20% – 25% by 2025.

Background:

The vision of National Policy on Electronics 2019 notified on 25.02.2019 is to position India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) by encouraging and driving capabilities in the country for developing core components, including chipsets, and creating an enabling environment for the industry to compete globally.

Currently, the laptop and tablet demand in India is largely met through imports valued at USD 4.21 billion and USD 0.41 billion respectively in 2019-20. The market for IT Hardware is dominated by 6-7 companies globally which account for about 70% of the world’s market share. These companies are able to exploit large economies of scale to compete in global markets. It is imperative that these companies expand their operations in India and make it a major destination for manufacturing of IT Hardware.

Given the current global scenario, the world of manufacturing is undergoing a paradigm shift. Manufacturing companies across the globe are looking to diversify their manufacturing locations to mitigate the risk involved in depending on a single market.

Source: PIB

CCI approves acquisition of Tata Communications Ltd by Panatone Finvest Limited

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves acquisition by Panatone Finvest Limited (“Acquirer”) of Tata Communications Limited (“TCL”) under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002, today. The Proposed Combination envisages the proposed acquisition of such shareholding not exceeding 26.12% by the Acquirer in the Target (“Proposed Combination”). As a result of the Proposed Combination, the Acquirer Group / Tata Group would increase its shareholding from 48.87% to such shareholding not exceeding 74.99%.

The Acquirer is a Systemically Important Non-Deposit Taking Core Investment Company (“CIC-ND-SI”) registered with the Reserved Bank of India and is a subsidiary of Tata Sons and belongs to the Tata Group.

TCL is part of the Tata group and is a facilities-based service provider of a broad range of integrated communications services. It generates revenue from three business segments – wholesale voice, enterprise and carrier data and others. In India, TCL is, directly and indirectly through its subsidiaries, engaged in the following activities:

  1. International Long-Distance services (“ILD”) – voice;
  2. National Long-Distance services (“NLD”) – voice;
  3. Undersea cable systems (“UCS”);
  4. Internet Service Provider (“ISP”), offering connectivity, messaging, Internet telephony; and
  5. Enterprise business providing valued added services

A detailed order of the CCI will follow.

Source: PIB

Jasmeet Singh and Amit Bansal appointed as judges of Delhi HC

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The President of India, in exercise of the power conferred by clause (1) of Article 217 of the Constitution of India, appointed Jasmeet Singh and Amit Bansal as the Judges of the Delhi High Court from the date they assume charge. A notification in this regard was issued today by Department of Justice.

Jasmeet Singh, B.Com (Hons), LL.B, has 27 years of experience, practicing Delhi High Court and Subordinate Courts from 1992 onwards. He has been practising in Constitutional, Civil, Labour, Service, and Matrimonial covering all branches of Law. He has specialization in Service and Civil Law.

Amit Bansal, B.Com. (Hons), LL.B, LL.M, has specialization in Education Laws, Arbitration Laws, Indirect Taxes Law, Service Law. He served as Senior Standing Counsel, Central Board of indirect Taxes and Customs, Standing Counsel and Legal Advisor, Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) from 2004, National Testing Agency (NTA), Additional Standing Counsel, University of Delhi, in the Delhi High Court from 2008 and Additional Standing Counsel, NDMC from 1999-2005.

Source: PIB

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