President of India to visit West Bengal, Mizoram and Nagaland from November 28 to December 1, 2017


President of India to visit West Bengal, Mizoram and Nagaland from November 28 to December 1, 2017

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, will visit West Bengal, Mizoram and Nagaland from November 28 to December 1, 2017. This is his first visit to these states as the President of India.

On November 28, 2017, the President will attend a Civic Reception hosted in his honour at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata. On the same day, he will address a ‘Vigyan Chintan – Scientific Ecosystem in Kolkata’ event at Raj Bhavan, Kolkata.

On November 29, 2017, the President will visit the birthplace of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore at Jorasanko and Netaji Bhawan in Kolkata. He will also address the closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations of the Bose Institute in Kolkata and visit the Ramakrishna Mission and Math at Belur.

On the same day, at the Raj Bhavan, Aizawl, Mizoram, the President will inaugurate housing complexes for economically weaker sections under the ‘Basic Services to Urban Poor Scheme’. On November 30, 2017, the President will address a special session of the Mizoram Legislative Assembly.

On the same day, he will meet and interact with various prominent citizens and NGOs in Kohima, Nagaland. On December 1, 2017, the President will inaugurate the Hornbill Festival and State Formation Day celebrations of Nagaland in Kisama, before returning to Delhi.

National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Suggests NITI Ayog to Bring Some of The Welfare Schemes for Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers Under Its Purview


National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Suggests NITI Ayog to Bring Some of The Welfare Schemes for Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers Under Its Purview

National Commission for Safai Karamcharis has suggested to NITI Aayog that some of the welfare schemes for Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers may be brought under its purview. Shri Manhar Valji Bhai Zala, Chairman, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis along with the members of the Commission Smt. Manju Diler, Shri Dilip K. Hathibed and Shri Swami Sadanand Maharaj held a meeting with Sh. Rattan P. Wattal, Principal Advisor, NITI Aayog on 17th November, 2017 to share their views and concerns on various issues of Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers.

The Chairman raised the issue of empowering the Commission by making it a statutory or constitutional body and bestow it with the powers of a civil court so that it can discharge its mandate effectively. The Commission also expressed its dismay at the slow pace of implementation of “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” particularly the survey of Manual Scavengers. The Commission suggested the NITI Aayog for getting the survey of Manual Scavengers done through an independent third party having adequate representation of volunteers/activists from communities traditionally engaged in manual scavenging. Presently, the role of the Commission is merely of monitoring the implementation of the Central Government’s schemes for welfare of Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers. It has no scheme of its own. In this background, the Commission suggested that some of the welfare schemes for Safai Karamcharis and Manual Scavengers may be brought under its purview.

Shri Ratan P. Wattal-Principal Advisor, NITI Aayog took note of the suggestions given by the Commission and assured the Commission that it would shortly convene a meeting of all the stakeholders on the subject to discuss and finalise a roadmap to achieve the ultimate objective of ending the inhuman practice of manual scavenging in the country .

President of India to visit Jharkhand tomorrow


President of India to visit Jharkhand tomorrow

The President of India, Shri Ram NathKovind, will visit Jharkhand tomorrow (November 15, 2017). This will be his first visit to Jharkhand as President of India.

The President will commence his engagements by paying tributes to freedom fighter Birsa Munda at his statue at BirsaChowk, Ranchi. Later in the day, he will grace the foundation day celebrations of Jharkhand state and inaugurate or lay the foundation stones of various projects in Ranchi. He will also receive the first copy of the Hindi translation of a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita at a function organised by the YogodaSatsanga Society before leaving Ranchi.

Primer: Burial Ceremony of Two WW-I Martyred Indian Army Soldiers on 12 Nov at Military Cemetery, La Gorgue, France


Primer: Burial Ceremony of Two WW-I Martyred Indian Army Soldiers on 12 Nov at Military Cemetery, La Gorgue, France

On 20th Sep 2016, during an excavation work on southern side of the village of Richebourg near Laventie Military Cemetery approximately 230 Kms away from Paris, two human remains were found. On examining their belongings, they were identified as causalities of 39th ROYAL GARHWAL RIFLES. The office of Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWWGC), which is curator of the graves of these unsung heroes, in consultation with the French Government and the Indian Embassy in France decided to hold a burial ceremony at Laventie Military Cemetery, with full military honours for these martyrs alongside the Annual Memorial Service to commemorate the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in France and Belgium. On behalf of the Indian Army, a delegation comprising of the Commandant and the Subedar Major of the GARHWAL RIFLES Regimental Centre, two bagpipers from the GARHWAL RIFLES Regimental Pipe band and Colonel Nitin Negi, grandson of late Naik Darwan Singh Negi, Victoria Cross, the gallant hero in the battle of Festubert, were nominated to attend the Ceremony. In a symbolic gesture the soil from the graves of these soldiers would be brought back to their homeland.

During World War I, the GARHWAL Brigade comprising of 1st/39th and 2nd /39th ROYAL GARHWAL RIFLES showed unparalleled bravery in those treacherous trenches of France and Flanders. The British and the Indian soldiers fought shoulder to shoulder and attained martyrdom in the call of duty. The GARHWAL Brigade earned six Battle Honours and two Victoria Cross in France and Flanders Theatre.

On the solemn occasion, homage will also be paid to the martyrs of Indian Meerut Division at Nueve Chapelle War Memorial by laying wreaths on behalf of the Chief of the Army Staff, Indian Army by Brigadier Indrajit Chatterjee, Commandant and Subedar Major Trilok Singh Negi of the GARHWAL RIFLES Regimental Centre.

Award of President’s Standard and Colours to 223 Squadron and 117 Helicopter Unit


ward of President’s Standard and Colours to 223 Squadron and 117 Helicopter Unit

The Hon’ble President of India and the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces, Shri Ram Nath Kovind would be awarding the prestigious President’s standard to 223 Squadron and 117 Helicopter Unit during a ceremonial parade scheduled to be held at Air Force Station Adampur on 16 Nov 17. The commanding Officer of 223 Squadron, Group Captain Prabhat Malik and Commanding Officer of 117 Helicopter Unit, Wg Cdr N Batra will receive the President’s Standard. The President will also release a First Day Cover of 223 Squadron and 117 Helicopter Unit during the ceremony.

Operational outfits of IAF become eligible for award of President’s standard on completion of 18 years. The selection is based on their performance and achievements, both during peace and hostilities. This honour is and acknowledgement of the meritorious service rendered by the selected units. The President’s Standard is a visible symbol of excellence has been earned by these Units through their dedication and worthy contribution both during peace and war. The Presidential Award marks and epitomizes the hard work, valour and sacrifice of all the personnel posted to these Units since their inception. It is a befitting recognition of their selfless service dedicated to the nation.

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal C Hari Kumar, AVSM VM VSM ADC Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Air Command along with other dignitaries would also witness the ceremony. Retired Air warriors and previous Commanding Officers of both the recipient units are also invited for the occasion.

Various dignitaries expected to grace the President’s standard Presentation Ceremony on 16 Nov17, are the Governor of Punjab, Chief Minister of Punjab and senior Government Officers from Punjab Government.

PM’s statement prior to his departure to Philippines


PM’s statement prior to his departure to Philippines

Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s departure statement prior to his visit to Philippines.

“I will be in Manila on a three-day visit starting 12th November. This will be my first bilateral visit to the Philippines where I will also participate in the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits. My participation in them symbolises India’s commitment to continue deepening relationship with ASEAN Member States, in particular, and with the Indo-Pacific region, in general, within the framework of my Government’s Act East Policy.

Besides these Summits, I would also participate in Special Celebrations of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leaders’ Meeting and ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.

The ASEAN Business and Investment Summit will boost our close cooperation to further enhance our trade ties with ASEAN member-states, which constitutes a significant 10.85% of our overall trade.

During my first visit to the Philippines, I look forward to have a bilateral meeting with President of the Philippines HE Mr. Rodrigo Duterte. I will also have interactions with other ASEAN and East Asia Summit Leaders.

I also look forward to connecting with the Indian community in Philippines. During my stay in Manila, I shall also visit the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Mahavir Philippines Foundation Inc. (MPFI).

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) through Scientific Research and Development has developed better quality of rice seed and helped the global community in addressing food scarcity issues. A large number of Indian scientists are working in IRRI and contributing to R&D in this field. My cabinet approved on 12 July 2017 a proposal for IRRI to set up its South Asia Regional Centre at Varanasi. This will be the first Research Centre by IRRI outside its headquarters in the Philippines. The Varanasi Centre would help increase farmers’ income by enhancing and supporting rice productivity, reducing cost of production, value addition, diversification and enhancement of farmers’ skills.

My visit to Mahavir Philippines Foundation Inc. (MPFI) will demonstrate India’s support for its activities in distributing free prosthesis “Jaipur Foot” among the needy amputees. Since its establishment in 1989, MPFI has fitted nearly 15,000 amputees in the Philippines with Jaipur Foot making them capable of living a new life. Government of India is making a modest contribution to the Foundation to support its noble humanitarian activities.

I am confident that my visit to Manila will give a new boost to India’s bilateral relations with the Philippines and also further strengthen the politico-security, economic and socio-cultural pillars of our engagement with ASEAN.”

Recommendations made On GST Rate changes by the GST Council as per discussions in its 23rd Meeting on 10th November, 2017 held at Guwahati


Recommendations made On GST Rate changes by the GST Council as per discussions in its 23rd Meeting on 10th November, 2017 held at Guwahati

  1. a)In the meeting held today, that is 10th November, 2017, the Council has recommended major relief in GST rates on certain goods and services. These recommendations spread across many sectors and across commodities.
  2. b)As per these recommendations, the list of 28% GST rated goods is recommended to be pruned substantially, from 224 tariff headings [about 18.5% of total tariff headings at 4-digit] to only 50 tariff headings including 4 headings which have been partially reduced to 18% [about 4% of total tariff headings at 4-digit].
  3. c)Further, the Council has recommended changes in GST rates on a number of goods, so as to rationalise the rate structure with a view to minimise classification disputes.
  4. d)The Council has also recommended issuance of certain clarifications to address the grievance of trade on issues relating to GST rates and taxability of certain goods and services.
  5. e)On the services side also, the Council recommended changes in GST rates to provide relief to aviation & handicraft sectors and restaurants.
  6. Major recommendations of the Council are summarised below.

(I)      Pruning of list of 28% rated goods:  The Council has recommended reduction in GST rate from 28% to 18% on goods falling in 178 headings at 4-digit level (including 4 tariff heading that are partially pruned). After these changes, only 50 items will attract GST rate of 28%.

  1. a)Goods on which the Council has recommended reduction in GST rate from 28% to 18% include:

v  Wire, cables, insulated conductors, electrical insulators, electrical plugs, switches, sockets, fuses, relays, electrical connectors

v   Electrical boards, panels, consoles, cabinets etc for electric control or distribution

v  Particle/fibre boards and ply wood. Article of wood, wooden frame, paving block

v  Furniture, mattress, bedding and similar furnishing

v  Trunk, suitcase, vanity cases, brief cases, travelling bags and other hand bags, cases

v  Detergents, washing and cleaning preparations

v  Liquid or cream for washing the skin

v  Shampoos; Hair cream, Hair dyes (natural, herbal or synthetic) and similar other goods; henna powder or paste, not mixed with any other ingredient;

v  Pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations, personal deodorants, bath preparations, perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations, room deodorisers

v  Perfumes and toilet waters

v  Beauty or make-up preparations

v  Fans, pumps, compressors

v  Lamp and light fitting

v  Primary cell and primary batteries

v  Sanitary ware and parts thereof of all kind

v  Articles of plastic, floor covering, baths, shower, sinks, washbasins, seats, sanitary ware of plastic

v  Slabs of marbles and granite

v  Goods of marble and granite such as tiles

v  Ceramic tiles of all kinds

v  Miscellaneous articles such as vacuum flasks, lighters,

v  Wrist watches, clocks, watch movement, watch cases, straps, parts

v  Article of apparel & clothing accessories of leather, guts, furskin, artificial fur and other articles such as saddlery and harness for any animal

v  Articles of cutlery, stoves, cookers and similar non electric domestic appliances

v  Razor and razor blades

v  Multi-functional printers, cartridges

v  Office or desk equipment

v  Door, windows and frames of aluminium.

v  Articles of plaster such as board, sheet,

v  Articles of cement or concrete or stone and artificial stone,

v  Articles of asphalt or slate,

v  Articles of mica

v  Ceramic flooring blocks, pipes, conduit, pipe fitting

v  Wall paper and wall covering

v  Glass of all kinds and articles thereof such as mirror, safety glass, sheets, glassware

v  Electrical, electronic weighing machinery

v  Fire extinguishers and fire extinguishing charge

v  Fork lifts, lifting and handling equipment,

v  Bull dozers, excavators, loaders, road rollers,

v  Earth moving and levelling machinery,

v  Escalators,

v  Cooling towers, pressure vessels, reactors

v  Crankshaft for sewing machine, tailor’s dummies, bearing housings, gears and gearing; ball or roller screws; gaskets

v  Electrical apparatus for radio and television broadcasting

v  Sound recording or reproducing apparatus

v  Signalling, safety or traffic control equipment for transports

v  Physical exercise equipment, festival and carnival equipment, swings, shooting galleries, roundabouts, gymnastic and athletic equipment

v  All musical instruments and their parts

v  Artificial flowers, foliage and artificial fruits

v  Explosive, anti-knocking preparation, fireworks

v  Cocoa butter, fat, oil powder,

v  Extract, essence ad concentrates of coffee, miscellaneous food preparations

v  Chocolates, Chewing gum / bubble gum

v  Malt extract and food preparations of flour, groats, meal, starch or malt extract

v  Waffles and wafers coated with chocolate or containing chocolate

v  Rubber tubes and miscellaneous articles of rubber

v  Goggles, binoculars, telescope,

v  Cinematographic cameras and projectors, image projector,

v  Microscope, specified laboratory equipment, specified scientific equipment such as for meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, geology

v  Solvent, thinners, hydraulic fluids, anti-freezing preparation

  1. b)Goods on which the Council has recommended reduction in GST rate from 28% to 12% are:

v Wet grinders consisting of stone as grinder

v Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles

(II)        Other changes/rationalisation of GST rates on goods:


  1. a)18% to 12%
  2.          Condensed milk
  3.          Refined sugar and sugar cubes

                                        iii.         Pasta

  1.          Curry paste, mayonnaise and salad dressings, mixed condiments and mixed seasoning
  2.          Diabetic food
  3.          Medicinal grade oxygen

                                      vii.         Printing ink

                                    viii.         Hand bags and shopping bags of jute and cotton

  1.          Hats (knitted or crocheted)
  2.          Parts of specified agricultural, horticultural, forestry, harvesting or threshing machinery
  3.          Specified parts of sewing machine

                                      xii.         Spectacles frames

                                    xiii.         Furniture wholly made of bamboo or cane

  1. b)  18% to 5%
  2.             Puffed rice chikki, peanut chikki, sesame chikki, revdi, tilrevdi, khaza, kazuali, groundnut sweets gatta, kuliya
  3.             Flour of potatoes put up in unit container bearing a brand name

                                     iii.            Chutney powder

  1.             Fly ash
  2.             Sulphur recovered in refining of crude
  3.             Fly ash aggregate with 90% or more fly ash content

  1. c) 12% to 5%
  2.             Desiccated coconut
  3.             Narrow woven fabric including cotton newar [with no refund of unutilised input tax credit]

                                     iii.            Idli, dosa batter

  1.             Finished leather, chamois and composition leather
  2.             Coir cordage and ropes, jute twine, coir products
  3.             Fishing net and fishing hooks

                                   vii.            Worn clothing

                                 viii.            Fly ash brick

  1. d) 5% to nil
  2.             Guar meal
  3.             Hop cone (other than grounded, powdered or in pellet form)

                                        iii.            Certain dried vegetables such as sweet potatoes, maniac

  1.             Unworked coconut shell
  2.             Fish frozen or dried (not put up in unit container bearing a brand name)
  3.             Khandsari sugar
  4. e)Miscellaneous
  5.             GST rates on aircraft engines from 28%/18% to 5%, aircraft tyres from 28% to 5% and aircraft seats from 28% to 5%.
  6.             GST rate on bangles of lac/shellac from 3% GST rate to Nil.

(III)Exemption from IGST/GST in certain specified cases:

  1.             Exemption from IGST on imports of lifesaving medicine supplied free of cost by overseas supplier for patients, subject to certification by DGHS of Centre or State and certain other conditions
  2.             Exemption from IGST on imports of goods (other than motor vehicles) under a lease agreement if IGST is paid on the lease amount.

                  iii.            To extend IGST exemption presently applicable to skimmed milk powder or concentrated milk, when supplied to distinct person under section 25(4) for use in production of milk for distribution through dairy cooperatives to where such milk is distributed through companies registered under the Companies Act.

  1.             Exemption from IGST on imports of specified goods by a sports person of outstanding eminence, subject to specified conditions
  2.             Exemption from GST on specified goods, such as scientific or technical instruments, software, prototype supplied to public funded research institution or a university or IISc, or IITs or NIT.
  3.             Coverage of more items, such as temporary import of professional equipment by accredited press persons visiting India to cover certain events, broadcasting equipments, sports items, testing equipment, under ATA carnet system. These goods are to be re-exported after the specified use is over.

(IV)Other changes for simplification and harmonisation or clarification of issues

  1.             To clarify that inter-state movement of goods like rigs, tools, spares and goods on wheel like cranes, not being in the course of furtherance of supply of such goods, does not constitute a supply. This clarification gives major compliance relief to industry as there are frequent inter-state movement of such kind in the course of providing services to customers or for the purposes of getting such goods repaired or refurbished or for any self-use.  Service provided using such goods would in any case attract applicable tax.
  2.             To prescribe that GST on supply of raw cotton by agriculturist will be liable to be paid by the recipient of such supply under reverse charge.

                  iii.            Supply of e-waste attracts 5% GST rate. Concerned notification to be amended to make it amply clear that this rate applies only to e-waste discarded as waste by the consumer or bulk consumer.

(V)             Changes relating to GST rates on certain services

(A)        Exemptions / Changes in GST Rates / ITC Eligibility Criteria

  1.             All stand-alone restaurants irrespective of air conditioned or otherwise, will attract 5% without ITC. Food parcels (or takeaways) will also attract 5% GST without ITC.
  2.             Restaurants in hotel premises having room tariff of less than Rs 7500 per unit per day will attract GST of 5% without ITC.

                  iii.            Restaurants in hotel premises having room tariff of Rs 7500 and above per unit per day (even for a single room) will attract GST of 18% with full ITC.

  1.             Outdoor catering will continue to be at 18% with full ITC.
  2.             GST on services by way of admission to “protected monuments” to be exempted.
  3.             GST rate on job work services in relation to manufacture of those handicraft goods in respect of which the casual taxable person has been exempted from obtaining registration, to be reduced to 5% with full input tax credit.

(B)    Rationalization of certain exemption entries

  1.             The existing exemption entries with respect to services provided by Fair Price Shops to the Central Government, State Governments or Union Territories by way of sale of food grains, kerosene, sugar, edible oil, etc. under Public Distribution System (PDS) against consideration in the form of commission or margin, is being rationalized so as to remove ambiguity regarding list of items and the category of recipients to whom the exemption is available.
  2.             In order to maintain consistency, entry at item (vi) of Sr. No.3 of notification No. 11/2017-CT(R) will be aligned with the entries at items (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v) of SI.No.3. [The word “services” in entry (vi) will be replaced with “Composite supply of Works contract as defined in clause 119 of Section 2 of CGST Act, 2017”].

                  iii.            In order to obviate dispute and litigation, it is proposed that irrespective of whether permanent transfer of Intellectual Property is a supply of goods or service.-

(i) permanent transfer of Intellectual Property other than Information Technology software attracts GST at the rate of 12%; and

(ii) permanent transfer of Intellectual Property in respect of Information Technology software attracts GST at the rate of 18%.

(C)    Clarifications

  1.             It is being clarified that credit of GST paid on aircraft engines, parts & accessories will be available for discharging GST on inter–state supply of such aircraft engines, parts & accessories by way of inter-state stock transfers between distinct persons as specified in section 25 of the CGST Act.
  2.             A Circular will be issued clarifying that processed products such as tea (i.e. black tea, white tea etc.), processed coffee beans or powder, pulses (de-husked or split), jaggery, processed spices, processed dry fruits & cashew nuts etc. fall outside the definition of agricultural produce given in notification No. 11/2017-CT(R) and 12/2017-CT(R) and therefore the exemption from GST is not available to their loading, packing, warehousing etc.

                  iii.            A suitable clarification will be issued that (i) services provided to the Central Government, State Government, Union territory under any insurance scheme for which total premium is paid by the Central Government, State Government, Union territory are exempt from GST under Sl. No. 40 of notification No. 12/2017-Central Tax (Rate);  (ii) services provided by State Government by way of general insurance (managed by government) to employees of the State government/ Police personnel, employees of Electricity Department or students are exempt vide entry 6 of notification No. 12/2017-CT(R) which exempts Services by Central Government, State Government, Union territory or local authority to individuals.

  1. It is proposed to issue notifications [giving effect to these recommendations of the Council] on 14th/15thNovember, 2017, to be effective from 00hrs on 15th of November, 2017
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