Ut­tarak­hand spots Chi­nese troops on bor­der, Cen­tre says no vi­o­la­tion Cabi­net ap­proves key changes to GST bill

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ra­jesh Ahuja and Arvind Moudgil let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com Saub­hadra Chat­terji let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Chi­nese troops al­legedly turned away an In­dian team from a dis­puted area along the in­ter­na­tional bor­der in Ut­tarak­hand ear­lier this month, of­fi­cials said on Wed­nes­day, frac­tur­ing a pact to keep the mil­i­tary away from the ter­ri­tory.

Three days later, on July 25, In­dian se­cu­rity forces also re­ported an air in­tru­sion by a Chi­nese chop­per in the same area. How­ever, the Cen­tre on Wed­nes­day down­played the in­ci­dents amid con­fu­sion over the date when the face­off took place.

In­dia inched a step closer to a na­tion­wide Goods and Ser­vices Tax (GST) with the gov­ern­ment agree­ing on Wed­nes­day to drop the con­tentious 1% man­u­fac­tur­ing tax and to fully com­pen­sate states for five years for po­ten­tial rev­enue losses after the new sys­tem kicks in.

The Union Cabi­net, headed by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, ap­proved th­ese changes a day after fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley met state fi­nance min­is­ters to iron out glitches in the tax re­form mea­sure that has re­mained stuck in Par­lia­ment for want of po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus.

“The amend­ments to the GST Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ment Bill have been cleared,” a top of­fi­cial said after the meet­ing of the Cabi­net meet­ing.

In the Bill passed in the Lok Sabha in May last year, the Cen­tre had pro­posed 100% com­pen­sa­tion for first three years, 75% and 50% for the next two years. How­ever, the select com­mit­tee of the Ra­jya Sabha has rec­om­mended 100% com­pen­sa­tion for prob­a­ble loss of rev­enue for five years.

Delhi chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal said on Wed­nes­day he could be killed by a “frus­trated” Naren­dra Modi as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader launched a vit­ri­olic at­tack on the Prime Min­is­ter whom he per­ceives as his big­gest po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­sary. “He [Modi] can go to any ex­tent and may get us killed. He may get me killed as well,” Ke­jri­wal said in a video mes­sage in Hindi posted on the party’s of­fi­cial YouTube chan­nel.

Ever since storm­ing back to power in Delhi with a brute ma­jor­ity last year, Ke­jri­wal has re­peat­edly at­tacked Modi and the BJP-led gov­ern­ment at the Cen­tre, ac­cus­ing them of po­lit­i­cal vendetta to avenge the elec­toral de­feat in the cap­i­tal.

In the video mes­sage for AAP mem­bers, leg­is­la­tors and the “com­mon man”, the AAP na­tional con­venor ad­vises party work­ers to be ready for the “ultimate sac­ri­fice” in the wake of un­prece­dented crack­down by the BJP gov­ern­ment, re­fer­ring to a se­ries of ar­rests of AAP MLAs and work­ers in the last one-and-a-half years.

The BJP hit back at the “patho­log­i­cally ob­ses­sive” Ke­jri­wal over the video, ask­ing him to “go for an­other de­tox­i­fi­ca­tion ther­apy for the body and mind”.

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