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GST: Anti-profiteering Panel to be set up

The GST Council headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley comprising of state finance ministers as members have decided to set up a five-member anti-profiteering authority to decide on levying the penalty if businesses do not pass on the benefit of price reduction to consumers under GST regime. The GST Council has also approved the anti-profiteering rules.

Salient Highlights

The anti-profiteering committee would be headed by a retired secretary-level officer. The authority would ask the businesses to pass on the benefit of price reduction on a proportionate basis to consumers. Apart from the chairman, the other members of the committee will be joint secretary-level officers who have been commissioners in central excise and service tax either at the Centre or states.

The government will constitute a search-cum-selection committee for finalising the members of the anti-profiteering authority.

In cases where consumers cannot be identified, the amount would be credited to the consumer welfare fund.

The committee would be given powers to take Suo Motu action, besides acting on complaints of profiteering. The complaints of profiteering will initially come to the Standing Committee constituting of tax officials from states and the Centre. Then the complaint will be forwarded to the  Directorate of Safeguards (DGS) for investigation, which will take about 2-3 months to complete the inquiry. After the investigation, the report would be submitted to the anti-profiteering authority which will take a decision on the penalty.

The anti-profiteering authority will have a sunset date of two years and will decide on the penalty to be levied.

Section 171 of the Central GST Act provides that reduction in tax rate has to be passed on to the customers by way of commensurate reduction in prices.

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Fact Box: Ram Nath Kovind

Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind has been chosen by the National Democratic Alliance as its Presidential Candidate.

Facts

The 71-year-old lawyer turned politician Ram Nath Kovind is a commerce graduate and LLB from the Kanpur University in Uttar Pradesh. Kovind practised law in Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court for 16 years. He practised in the Delhi high court from 1977 to 1979 and became an Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978. He was also the central government’s standing counsel in the Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. Kovind stepped into politics in 1984 after elected to Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh. He had served for two consecutive terms till March 2006. During his parliamentary tenure,

Kovind stepped into politics in 1984 after elected to Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh. He had served for two consecutive terms till March 2006. During his parliamentary tenure, Kovind has served in several parliamentary committees including the Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Parliamentary Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, among others.

Kovind has represented India in the United Nations and addressed United Nations General Assembly in October, 2002.

On August 8, 2015, Kovind was appointed as the governor of Bihar. He had also served as the member of the Board of Management of Dr. B.R Ambedkar University, Lucknow and the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.

Presidential Election-Facts

For the election of the President, the electoral college comprises of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and elected members of the legislative assemblies of all states, besides Delhi and Puducherry. In a total, 4,896 voters will vote in the election.

Nominated members of the Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies will not have voting rights in the presidential election.

Polling for Presidential elections will take place in Parliament House and on the premises of legislative assemblies. The election shall be by secret ballot.

For the presidential elections, political parties cannot issue any whip to their MPs and MLAs.

The nomination paper of a candidate has to be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and another 50 electors as seconders.

MPs and MLAs do not have one vote each but their votes are equal to the average number of people they represent. Since MPs represent the whole country they have more votes, and MLAs have fewer votes than MPs as they represent only the people in their states. This is called “proportional representation”.

The president is elected for a term of 5 years. He may terminate his own term by writing a resignation addressed to Vice President. He can be removed from the office ONLY by impeachment. He is eligible to re-elected for the same office for unlimited times.  

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External Affairs Minister inaugurates KIP for Young Overseas Indians

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has inaugurated Know India Programme (KIP) for NRI and PIO youth with a view to provide them with an exposure to the country of their origin so that they can understand India better and more closely. External Affairs Minister has also launched a portal for the Know India Programme (KIP).

The government has also announced the openings of 149 new post office passport seva kendras in the country (POPSK). The Ministry has announced that it is taking measures to open more passport seva kendras so that a person need not travel more than 50 kilometeres to get his/her passport. POPSKs is an initiative undertaken jointly by the MEA and the Department of Post.

Know India Programme (KIP)

Know India Programme is an initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs for the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) between the age group of 18 to 30 years.

The Know India Programme is a three-week orientation programme which is aimed at promoting awareness on different facets of life in India as well as the progress made by the country in fields such as economic and education.

The KIP offers a platform for the young PIOs to visit India share their views, expectations and experiences and forge closer bonds with the India of present times.

The scheme was launched in 2004 and has so far had 40 editions in which some 1,293 PIO youths have participated.

In the year 2016, the scheme was revamped to extend the number of days from 21 to 25 days including a 10-day visit to one or two states. Also from 2016, six KIPs are being organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in a year.

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