One In­dia mar­ket soon as Ra­jya Sabha clears GST Bridge falls, ve­hi­cles swept away in river at Ma­had; 29 feared dead

CON­SEN­SUS WINS Na­tion’s big­gest-ever tax re­form may be in place next year 2 BUSES, OTHER VE­HI­CLES MISS­ING; RES­CUE OPS ON

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Saub­hadra Chat­terji and Gau­rav Choudhury let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dents ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com MA­HA­RASH­TRA

In­dia’s plan for a uni­fied mar­ket un­der the goods and ser­vices tax (GST) moved closer to the fin­ish line on Wed­nes­day as the Ra­jya Sabha passed the 122nd Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ment Bill, even as a few dis­putes re­mained un­set­tled.

At the end of a seven-hour de­bate, there was no clear pic­ture on the tax rates. The Congress bat­ted for a cap on the GST, but fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley main­tained that the gov­ern­ment will try to keep the rate “mod­er­ate”. Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi took to Twit­ter to thank lead­ers of all par­ties on the “truly his­toric oc­ca­sion of the pas­sage of the GST bill in the Ra­jya Sabha”.

“We con­tinue to work with all par­ties and states to in­tro­duce a sys­tem that ben­e­fits all In­di­ans and pro­motes a vi­brant and uni­fied na­tional mar­ket. This re­form will pro­mote (Make in In­dia), help ex­ports and thus boost em­ploy­ment while pro­vid­ing en­hanced rev­enue,” he said in a series of tweets.

The land­mark leg­is­la­tion — first in­tro­duced by for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter P Chi­dambaram in his 2006-07 bud­get speech — will give fur­ther im­pe­tus to ease of do­ing busi­ness in the world’s fastest grow­ing ma­jor economy.

“The GST regime will be a mod­ern, bet­ter sys­tem that will help tax­pay­ers, seam­less trans­fer of goods and ser­vices across (the) coun­try and check eva­sion. Some economists be­lieve it will also give boost growth rate,” Jait­ley said.

Dur­ing the de­bate, Chi­dambaram said there is a broad con­sen­sus among op­po­si­tion Union fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley out­side the Par­lia­ment af­ter the Ra­jya Sabha cleared the GST bill. par­ties that the stan­dard rate of 18% would be an “ap­pro­pri­ate rate”, it would be non-in­fla­tion­ary, and it would be “some­thing that could be sold to the peo­ple of In­dia and it would be some­thing that would not lead to tax eva­sion”. The rates will likely be spec­i­fied in the sub-or­di­nate leg­is­la­tions that will have to be passed af­ter the cen­tral law is en­acted. These in­clude the state GST law, the cen­tral GST law and the in­ter-state GST law.

At least 29 peo­ple are miss­ing and feared dead af­ter the rain-swollen Savithri river washed away a 100-yearold bridge on the Mum­bai-Goa high­way at Ma­had 170 km south of Mum­bai on Tues­day night, tak­ing with it two buses and at least one SUV. Nearly 24 hours af­ter the in­ci­dent, there was no sign of ei­ther peo­ple or ve­hi­cles.

The dan­ger was first spot­ted by a man who works in a garage nearby who saw the bridge dis­ap­pear with two buses on it around 11.30 pm. He called up his em­ployer who alerted the po­lice.

Heavy and in­ces­sant rain and the moon­less night ham­pered search ef­forts that had to wait till day broke nearly six hours later, by when three teams of the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Re­lief Force (NDRF) and squads from the Navy and the Coast Guard reached the scene.

They used he­li­copters and boats and rafts to scour the area all along the river’s course till Har­i­haresh­war, where it emp­ties into the Ara­bian Sea, but found no trace of peo­ple or ve­hi­cles till late on Wed­nes­day, when op­er­a­tions were scaled back as night fell. The navy and the coast guard have sta­tioned ships off Harharesh­war to try and spot any sur­vivors who may have been washed out to sea.

Of­fi­cials said the heavy rain in the catch­ment area at Ma­ha­balesh­war (309 mm in the 24 hours ended 8.30 am on Wed­nes­day) and all along its course up­stream of Ma­had (230 mm in the same pe­riod) had turned the river into a rag­ing tor­rent of muddy wa­ter. This The colo­nial-era bridge near Ma­had on the Mum­bai-Goa na­tional high­way col­lapsed on Tues­day night. was ham­per­ing the search and res­cue op­er­a­tions. The ex­perts on the scene said they were at a loss to ex­plain why there was no sign of at least the two big buses. They even used mag­nets in a bid to home in on the metal bod­ies of the ve­hi­cles.

The state had cer­ti­fied the bridge as safe in the in­spec­tion un­der­taken in May. There was re­port­edly also pres­sure from lo­cals not to de­mol­ish it, though a new bridge had been Mum­bai MA­HAD built just a few feet away in 2000. This new bridge too has been closed to traf­fic as a pre­cau­tion. The traf­fic along the high­way has been di­verted along smaller roads in the area.

SATISH BATE/HT

AJAY AG­GAR­WAL/HT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.