Gandhi vows to re­form ‘sales tax’ as poll nears

IS com­man­der killed: US


NEW DELHI, Jan 13, (Agen­cies): In­dia’s main op­po­si­tion Con­gress party will sim­plify the goods and ser­vices tax (GST) and take “ra­tio­nal eco­nomic de­ci­sions” to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment if voted back to power in a gen­eral elec­tion due by May, its leader Rahul Gandhi said on Satur­day.

Launched in 2017, the GST was ini­tially hailed as Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s big­gest eco­nomic re­form as it re­placed more than a dozen fed­eral and state levies and uni­fied Asia’s third largest econ­omy.

But its chaotic im­ple­men­ta­tion and com­plex­i­ties months after a shock ban by Modi on high value bank cur­rency aimed at un­earthing un­taxed wealth – badly hurt small busi­nesses and led to mil­lions of job losses in the cash-driven econ­omy, pre­sent­ing the big­gest chal­lenge to Modi’s re-elec­tion chances.

Gandhi, scion of In­dia’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, said dur­ing a visit to Dubai that for­eign in­vest­ment was at a multi-year low in In­dia due to the “ill-ad­vised and badly thought out eco­nomic moves” such as the cur­rency ban and a “poorly de­signed GST”.

“We will take some ra­tio­nal eco­nomic de­ci­sions,” he told a press con­fer­ence, which was broad­cast live on Twit­ter. “We will re­struc­ture the GST and we will em­brace in­vest­ments from the Mid­dle East and other parts of the world. We are the party of (In­dia’s eco­nomic) lib­er­al­i­sa­tion, we are the party that gave the fastest eco­nomic growth in the first decade of the cen­tury, and will do that again.”

He said his main pri­or­ity would be to cre­ate jobs, sim­plify the GST, re­build con­fi­dence in in­sti­tu­tions such as the Re­serve Bank of In­dia – whose gover­nor re­signed re­cently after a fight over au­ton­omy with the gov­ern­ment, and the Supreme Court.

Four Supreme Court judges held a rare press con­fer­ence early last year say­ing that “un­less this in­sti­tu­tion is pre­served and it main­tains its equa­nim­ity, democ­racy will not sur­vive in this coun­try”. (RTRS)


16 in­jured in Kash­mir protests:

Mas­sive anti-In­dia protests and clashes erupted in dis­puted Kash­mir on Sun­day, lead­ing to in­juries to at least 16 peo­ple after a gun-bat­tle be­tween mil­i­tants and gov­ern­ment forces overnight killed two rebels, po­lice and res­i­dents said.

The clashes erupted after gov­ern­ment forces in the south­ern Shopian area tried to stop mourn­ers from at­tend­ing the fu­neral of one of In­dia’s most wanted rebels in the Hi­malayan re­gion, po­lice said.

Rebel com­man­der Zeenatul Is­lam was killed along with his as­so­ci­ate late Satur­day in a gun-bat­tle with In­dian troops. (AP)

‘IS com­man­der killed in Afghanistan’:

A se­nior com­man­der of the Is­lamic State mil­i­tant group was killed in Afghanistan in a raid, US Forces Afghanistan said on Satur­day.

Khetab Emir was killed in the raid on Jan 10 in the east­ern area of Nan­garhar prov­ince, said Lt Ubon Mendie, a spokesman for the US forces based in Afghanistan.

Emir, who was known by mul­ti­ple names, fa­cil­i­tated high-pro­file at­tacks and sup­plied Is­lamic State fight­ers with weapons and ma­te­ri­als to make ex­plo­sives, Mendie said in a state­ment. (RTRS)

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