The last couple of months have seen unprecedented activity in the corridors of the Finance Ministry, the North Block, around the various meeting rooms of India Inc and on the Twitter feed of Dr. Subra...
It's been raining hallelujahs all over the country ever since Parliament passed the GST Bill on Wednesday. There is much exultation about a uniform tax platform which will be beneficial to growth, provide uniformity in compliance, and herald an all-round seamless structure in all matters tax. How much of this is actually true, though, lies in the finer points of the impact of the GST on the average consumer (that's us) and the GDP of the country.
Even if it is assumed that the GST Bill is passed in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, there are numerous obstacles in its final implementation. Much of the focus is on the stubborn Opposition digging in its heels in the Upper House, but there are other practical problems too that have not yet become a part of the popular GST narrative.
The government has released a Model Goods and Service Tax (GST) Law for consultation from public forums after the conclusion of the meeting of the Empowered Committee of the State Finance Ministers in Calcutta in June 2016. The draft takes significant steps in framing a law relating to the taxation of e-commerce in India.
The Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) has awarded a contract worth ₹1380 crore to Infosys Technologies to build a system which will be the IT interface for implementing the GST. This interface will take care of harnessing the entire input credit system, the Permanent Account Number (PAN)-based registrations, compliance requirements, tax payments etc and will be the nerve centre for the entire GST levy.
While Aadhaar promoters claim that database access will not be provided to any agency and will be secure from foreign intelligence agencies, the fact that UIDAI is itself contracted to receive technical support from American companies to build the database is a chink in this armour. This means that they can be called upon, by US law, to reveal information relevant to legitimate operations in the United States if asked to do so by the US government or its network of security agencies.
Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) has its genesis in dust, fumes, mist, smoke and in its deadlier cousin: smog. A major chemical component of SPM is lead. Other particularly harmful constituents include nickel, arsenic and sulphur. SPM has a major impact on lung and lung tissue, nose tissue and tear ducts; in fact, scientists believe that prolonged exposure to polluted air is more harmful than passive smoking.
Start small, like maybe discovering the story behind the broken temple in the neighbourhood park or visiting the local market that comes up mysteriously every Tuesday and disappears for the rest of the week. Look for the glint of stained glass in that rundown church to Instagram across the world or find that tea stall behind the tree line which has a collection of 87 varieties, all to be brewed right there on the footpath.
There is a concrete link between the degradation of the fragile ecosystem and the urban development that has taken place in the hills. Successive administrations have always ramped up efforts to extract the maximum out of the mountains. There are numerous hydropower projects; trees are uprooted to clear paths for tourists; hills are broken down to extract shale, the scrounging never stops.