BELOW THE LINE | Business Line


Midnight gong

The Government may be getting ready for a grand launch of the ambitious Goods and Services Tax at midnight June 30-July 1, but some sections of trade and industry do not seem very happy with the rollout. In fact, many consider the event at Parliament’s Central Hall a party! “The Government is set to have a party on June 30 as their work is done. From July 1, we will be suffering!”, pops a common refrain.

Pumping the ego

It’s an open secret that no one is into ‘marketing’ like the Modi government. The Cabinet usually acknowledges contributions, but a detailed statement does not always follow.

However, GST was different. A statement on a recent Cabinet meeting said: “Cabinet expresses Gratitude to State CMs and others for their cooperation in the introduction of GST”.

While reiterating the advantages of GST it went on to say: “The Cabinet… acknowledged the contribution made by all State governments, by all Chief Ministers and State Finance Ministers and by all political parties which made it possible for GST to be implemented in the country from July 1, 2017. The Union Cabinet expresses its gratitude to… the GST Council, to Heads of all national level and state level recognised political parties, to all MPs, to all Members of State Legislatures and to all sections of society including trade and industry associations.” Wow!

GST, Yoga and Modi

This connect is interesting — GST, Yoga and Modi. Piyush Goyal, commonly known as India’s energy minister, is no less regarded for his facility for speech. On International Yoga Day, Goyal was addressing a town hall on GST at Visakhapatnam.

And he said, “I am actually very delighted to be in Visakhapatnam for more reasons than one. One, of course, we are today celebrating the International Yoga Day. The third International Yoga Day, which to my mind is a matter of pride for each and every one of us in this room. It was India who has finally arrived on the international stage with the advent of Yoga. The second good reason is that Visakhapatnam has been elected, not selected, elected as the third most clean city in the country. And, of course, the third important reason why I believe I am delighted to be here is that I am getting to meet all of you to discuss the GST tax regime.”

He didn’t end there: “And in all of these three, the common thread is the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has brought the International Yoga Day to India… Swachh Bharat is his campaign… And GST is to my mind, the greatest reform that India has seen in 70 years of independence” We get it right!

Aadhaar post upgraded

Aadhaar is an issue of prestige for the Modi government. Still, it came as a surprise when the Government in its latest reshuffle of the bureaucracy made the CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) a secretary rank officer. Given the speed and the scale of the Aadhaar programme, the post of the present CEO of UIDAI Ajay Bhushan Pandey has been upgraded. Pandey, a 1984-batch IAS officer from Maharashtra cadre, would under normal circumstances have been appointed as a secretary in one of the ministries at the Centre. Instead the Government has decided to upgrade this additional secretary-level post.

Jaipur Traffic Police’s sixer!

You must give it to Jaipur Traffic Police for its latest advertisement. It has used the now infamous ICC Champions Trophy finals’ no-ball of Jasprit Bumrah to highlight how crossing the line can be costly. In a billboard, the Jaipur Traffic Police has used the picture of Bumrah overstepping the crease when he got Fakhar Zaman caught behind, only to be no-balled.

The text read, “Don’t cross the line. You know it can be costly”. Zaman, whose score then was in single digits, went on to put Pakistan on a match winning position.

(This article was published on June 25, 2017)

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