Bangalore Current Affairs - 2019
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The GST council has decided to slash the tax rate on under-construction residential properties and the affordable housing projects category.
Decision of GST council
- The GST council has reduced the GST rate for under construction from the present 12 per cent to 5 per cent.
- The GST rate for affordable housing category is now 1 per cent compared to the present 8 per cent.
- The new rates will be applicable from April 2019.
- For both under construction and affordable housing category the builders would not be able to claim the input tax credit (ITC) which they used to get when the tax slabs of 8 per cent and 12 per cent were applicable.
- To ensure that the benefits of tax reduction are passed on to the consumers the government has created more conditions, especially for the affordable housing category.
- Houses under the affordable housing category.are divided into two categories metro and non-metro.
- In metro areas of Delhi NCR (limited to Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad), Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, the eligibility for affordable housing would be properties worth Rs 45 lakh and 60 sq metre carpet area and in non-metro cities it would be Rs 45 lakh and 90 sq metre.
- The law committee has been mandated to frame the transition rules for those already in construction.
- The government has created a safety net to ensure that the removal of input tax credit doesn’t drive the sector to the cash-based one, especially in black by mandating the builders selling houses under the normal and affordable category to procure a large percentage of their inputs from GST registered suppliers.
This decision of the GST council is expected to push demand and increase sales of under-construction properties. The new norms may even bring many more properties, even in the premium segment, into the affordable category.
The High Court of Karnataka has denied bail to Jayalalitha in the disproportionate assets case. The Special Public Prosecutor raised no objection to granting of bail to Jayalalitha. The lawyer for the defense, Ram Jethmalani, argued vehemently for the release of Jayalalitha, calling it a case of political vendetta. He cited the case of Lalu Prasad Yadav being granted bail by the SC (after being convicted in the fodder scam) as a precedent to take into consideration while deciding whether bail must be granted to Jayalalitha.
Jethmalani also prayed for the suspension of the sentence pending appeal.
Rationale behind judgment
Justice Chandrasekhara refused to grant bail saying that there were no grounds for the Court to grant bail. Citing SC judgments, he opined that corruption amounted to violation of basic human rights, and that it led to economic imbalances in society. The judge also said that the SC had made it clear that cases relating to corruption must be fast-tracked.
He also refused to consider the Lalu Yadav case as a precedent, because he had been granted bail by the SC on an appeal from the HC judgment that denied him bail. Also, he had spent 10 months in jail already when the SC granted him bail. Jayalalitha, on the other hand, has not been in jail even for a month.
The judge also refused to suspend the judgment of the Special Court. He cited several cases of the SC under the Prevention of Corruption Act to validate his ruling that the case was not fit for granting either bail or suspension of sentence.
Future course of action
Jayalalitha’s legal team is likely to appeal the judgment denying bail in the SC. It is also expected that she will ask for a suspension of the four year sentence awarded by the Special Court Judge.
Disproportionate Assets Case
Jayalalitha was the first serving CM to be convicted in a corruption case when a Special Court convicted her of holding assets disproportionate to her income. She was sentenced to four years prison and a fine of Rs. 100 crore. Also, she has been disqualified from contesting elections for the next 10 years under the Representation of People’s Act.