‘Ploy by Companies to Pressure Govt to Lower Taxes’: Bihar Minister Says There’s No Economic Slowdown

Source: news18.com

Patna: The country is not facing economic slowdown and big companies are trying pressurise the government to lower tax rates by showing a decline in manufacturing, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi claimed on Wednesday. His comment invited immediate ridicule from the opposition RJD.

Modi, who also holds the finance portfolio in the Nitish Kumar government, cited the example of Parle G biscuits and said its demand had, in fact, increased in Bihar.

He doubted the claim of its manufacturers that a fall in demand of the company’s biscuits could have been caused by developed states opting for expensive pastries instead of the cheap confectionary with a higher tax rate. But it did not appear to be so.

Parle, the manufacturers of Parle G biscuits had recently warned of a massive lay-off following a slump in production which they blamed on a fall in demand caused by an increase in prices.

The rise in prices, it said, is due to a rise in the cost of production resulting from higher tax rates payable for confectionery items under GST, which came into force two years ago.

There is no mandi (economic slowdown). All these reports one gets to see in the media about automobiles and other sectors suffering is actually a ploy by lobbies in the corporate world to put pressure on the government for lowering tax rates, the senior BJP leader said at a programme organized by a news channel in Ranchi.

Sushil Modi was heavily trolled on Twitter by opposition RJD for his comments. Veteran RJD leader Shivanand Tiwary charged him with “trying to wish away a financial crisis that is too stark”.

“Of late, Sushil Kumar Modi has begun sounding like the French monarch who said if people did not have bread, they should eat cakes,” Tiwary told PTI here.

The phrase is commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette supposedly uttered during one of the famines that occurred in France in 1789 during the reign of her husband

King Louis XVI ahead of the French Revolution.

Recently, he (Sushil Modi) said that the decline in automobiles was because people did not like to buy vehicles during the Pitri Paksha which in fact began only last week and continues for only a fortnight,” Tiwary, who was a member of the Rabri Devi cabinet, said.

“Before that he had scandalized all by claiming that economic slowdown was some sort of a seasonal phenomenon which occurred during monsoons and automatically got rectified later on. It all displays his utter ignorance about financial matters, though he is the minister in charge of the department, the RJD national vice-president said.

He said, the recent report by an international media house has stated that investors are withdrawing capital from the country and there are no fresh investments. Noted economists have time and again pointed out that the unimpressive GDP growth rate of five per cent too might be an exaggerated figure as it does not take into account the huge unorganized sector which is yet to recover from the impact of demonetization, Tiwary said.

Our Deputy CM seems to be in the same frame of mind as last year when he had hoped for less crime during a religious festival by cajoling criminals with folded hands to give up their activities for the period, he quipped.

At the inauguration of the Pitri Paksh fair at Gaya in 2018, Sushil Modi had urged those involved in anti-social activities to refrain from indulging in crimes during the fortnight-long congregation as visitors came from far and wide and they might return with a bad image of Bihar in mind. The deputy chief minister had invited severe ridicule from political opponents for it.

Enough evidence to show your ”Dadagiri”, SC tells ex-Jharkhand minister Sao

Source: outlookindia.com

New Delhi, Jul 26 The oral testimony of witnesses is enough “to show your Dadagiri (bullying tactics)”, the Supreme Court Friday told former Jharkhand minister Yogendra Sao, who has challenged his conviction and sentence in a 2011 extortion case.

The top court said this while agreeing to hear Sao”s plea challenging the April 26 order of Jharkhand High Court which dismissed his appeal against the conviction and two-and-a-half year sentence in the case.

A bench of Justices A M Sapre and Indu Malhotra issued notice and sought response from the Jharkhand government on the plea.

Senior advocate Rakesh Khanna, appearing for Sao, said the magisterial court did not have privilege to see entire call detail records (CDR) which included the period of alleged crime.

“Allegation is that I made a phone call and asked for money but the complete CDR was not filed. The CDR, which was filed before the trial court was till the month of March while the alleged occurrence of crime had taken place on April 24, 2011 and August 25, 2011,” he said.

Khanna said the trial court relied upon the testimony of prosecution witnesses and the informant who was an interested party.

“The oral testimony is enough to show your Dadagiri (bullying tactic). We cannot re-appreciate the whole evidence. There are concurrent findings against you by two courts,” the bench observed.

The top court, however, said that it will examine the matter and sought response from the state government in two weeks.

On April 26, the Jharkhand High Court had refused to interfere with trial court”s January 28, 2015 order convicting and sentencing Sao for two-and-a-half year rigorous imprisonment.

Sao was booked by the police on the charges of extortion on a complaint from a manager of Ramgarh Sponge Iron Private Limited and a case was registered against him on August 25, 2011.

The manager of the company has alleged that Sao threatened him on phone and demanded Rs 5 lakh.

Sao was then an MLA of Congress party and a member of the Committee of Jharkhand Legislative Assembly on Pollution Control.

Sao is lodged in jail after the apex court on April 12 ordered him to surrender before a court in Ranchi in cases related to rioting and inciting of violence.

The apex court had on April 4, trashed Sao”s plea seeking to campaign for the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls and cancelled his bail, saying he has violated the bail conditions.

Sao became a minister in the Hemant Soren-led UPA government in Jharkhand in 2013. He is named as an accused in over a dozen cases of rioting and instigation of violence.

The top court had then refused to cancel the bail of Sao”s wife Nirmala Devi. It had transferred the trial of 18 cases against Sao and Devi to Ranchi from Hazaribagh district in Jharkhand.

Both Devi and Sao are accused in a case relating to violent clashes between villagers and police in 2016 in which four persons were killed.

Devi, a Congress MLA, had led an agitation against NTPC authorities for their alleged attempt to forcibly evacuate villagers from Barkagaon without giving them due compensation or rehabilitation, according to police.

Jharkhand MLA resigns over minister’s reply

Source: telegraphindia.com

BSP’s only Jharkhand MLA resigned from the Assembly on Friday, protesting against an ambiguous reply of a minister to his question on reviving a cement plant that he said reflected the casual approach of the BJP-led state government while addressing legislators’ concerns.

“I am fed up. I moved a resolution for the revival of the Japla cement factory. I got upset as urban development minister C.P. Singh replied casually to my concerns, saying that I should search for investors if I was keen on reviving the factory,” said Kushwaha Shivpujan Mehta.

The MLA said the state government was not bothered about the industrial development of Palamau. “Am I running the government? Am I the minister? The factory was auctioned and its machinery sold. In the coming years, even the land of the factory will be auctioned,” he said, adding that he had held demonstrations during every House session to raise the issue.

“In the last four and half years, I have seen that the government takes questions raised by MLAs very casually,” Mehta said, referring to his private member’s resolution that was ultimately rejected by the House by voice-vote.

The Japla cement factory was set up in 1917 by Martin Burn Company. It continued production till 1984 when operations were stopped. In 1985, then Bihar chief minister Bindeshwari Dubey persuaded Dalmia group of companies to run the factory, promising Rs 5 crore as financial assistance.

But the state government only released Rs 2.5 crore. The Dalmias were unable to run the factory and it was shut down in 1991.

Last year, the factory machinery was auctioned off for around Rs 12 crore under the supervision of Patna High Court after it rejected Jharkhand government’s intervention petition seeking to stop the auction.

Mehta handed over a typed resignation letter to Speaker Dinesh Oraon during the second half of the day’s session. But an Assembly official, citing technicalities and the circumstances of his decision, said the letter would not be considered by the Speaker.

“He submitted a typed resignation letter when the session was going on. But after that he stayed back and took part in proceedings because many MLAs asked him to. So his resignation has automatically turned infructuous. Had he left the House immediately, then the matter could have been considered,” said a senior Assembly official.

Asked whether he was serious about quitting the House, Mehta admitted he did not know the nitty-gritty of House procedures.

“Today I submitted my resignation to the Speaker. Now the ball is in his court. But I am fed up,” he said, adding that the state government had never taken his concerns seriously.

“I had raised the issue of district-level reservations in government jobs and displacement of local residents due to the Batane water reservoir. But none of these were taken seriously by the government. HRD minister Neera Yadav virtually scolded me on one occasion,” he claimed.

IT Minister Inaugurates Tata Consultancy Office in Patna

Source: patnadaily.com

Built at the cost of Rs. 20 crore, the center is expected to hire 400 employees working in software development and business processing side of the information and technology industry, Prasad said.

Urging private industries to invest in Bihar, the Central Information and Technology (IT) and Law Minister said that TCS was India’s largest IT company that employed over 4 lakh people worldwide. Nearly 36% of its workforce is made up of women, he said.

Prasad then went on to the obligatory praise of Narendra Modi saying because of the immense trust the people of Bihar had posed in the Prime Minister, the TCS was an early gift to the state by him.

“This is an early gift from the Prime Minister and more is yet to come. We also plan to turn 5000 villages in Bihar into ‘Digital Village’. Nationwide, more than one lakh villages are part of this ambitious plan. Patna is going to be an ‘IT Hub’ in the coming days,” Prasad said.

Prasad’s vision of Patna being the IT hub of the nation is reminiscent of similar promises made by Chief Minister who has, in his 14 years of rule in Bihar, has pledged to turn Patna, or Bihar, into a ‘Tourism hub’, an ‘IT hub’, a ‘Healthcare Destination’, an ‘Education Mecca’, and an ‘Agricultural powerhouse’, among other ‘hubs’.

Relying on the number of cell phone users in Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said that out of 130 crore people of Bihar, 123 had Adhaar card and out of 121 crore users of mobile phones, about 70 crores were the owners of smart phones.

“This all means that Bihar is ripe for a ‘digital revolution’ and e-governance. With the presence of TCS, Patna will become the IT hub of eastern India,” he said.

The event was attended by a number of BJP leaders including Sanjeev Chaurasia, Nitin Navin, and TCS Global head Milind Lakkad.

Jharkhand HC Stays Proceeding Against Union Agriculture Minister

Source: livelaw.in

In a relief to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the Jharkhand High Court (HC) has granted a stay in proceeding against him in lower court in a case related to alleged insult and provocation knowing that it would cause break of public peace.

Justice AK Gupta granted the stay on the ground that the complainant failed to appear before HC after a notice was issued to him in 2017 while he was trying to proceed in lower court, said Tomar’s lawyer Saumitra Baroi. The HC had issued notice to the complainant while granting stay in proceeding in the case in lower court.

It may be noted here that the case was lodged by Congress worker MK Azad at Dhanbad civil court after Tomar allegedly said that a few people compare Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi adding that the hair a moustache and that of a tail cannot be compared. The statement was allegedly made by Tomar while addressing a public rally in 2016.

Meanwhile, as per guidelines issued by Supreme Court, the lower court recently re-opened proceeding against Tomar after lapse of six months of stay. It issued a bailable warrant and directed Tomar to appear before the court in July. Tomar, however, moved the HC again to secure the stay. The hearing in the case would be in September.

Jharkhand Food Minister Orders Exhumation of 65-year-old’s Body to Probe Starvation Charge


Latehar: Jharkhand Food Minister Saryu Rai on Saturday directed the Latehar administration to exhume the body of a 65-year-old man for post-mortem in the wake of allegations that he died of starvation three days ago.

Reports published in a section of the local media have claimed that Ramcharan Munda, a resident of Lurgumi Kala village in the district, died of starvation on Wednesday after being denied ration over the past two months, a charge denied by the administration.

Talking to reporters here, Rai said he has taken a serious note of the allegation and directed the administration to follow strict protocol while carrying out an investigation into the case.

“If the reports are true and anybody is found guilty, he or she will be punished as per norms,” the minister said, adding the probe would cover all aspects in the case, including the allegation that Munda did not receive ration for two months.

He appealed to the opposition parties to refrain from politicising the issue.

Meanwhile, the sub-divisional magistrate of Mahuadand block in the district, Sudhir Kumar Das, asserted that Munda did not die of starvation and that his family gets all facilities entitled to it.

He also said the local ration dealer died three months ago, and his wife had taken charge of the public distribution system in the village.

“The administration had issued instructions to maintain offline records for distribution of ration following reports that poor internet connectivity is hampering transactions over point-of-sale machines. Munda and his family were given Rs 2,000 and 50 kg rice,” he added.

Several political leaders have reached out to Munda’s family after reports of his death surfaced in the local media.

Sources said local members of the Shibu Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha have given the family 50-kg rice and Rs 5,000 in cash.

Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) general secretary Bandhu Tirkey, who met the bereaved family on Saturday, expressed hope that the government will take necessary action in the case.

“The food minister takes such issues seriously. I expect he will take action soon,” he added.

Patna Durbar: How Nitish Kumar-Sushil Modi’s bond keeps BJP-JDU alliance afloat

Source: .indiatoday.in

A June 4 tweet from Union Minister Giriraj Singh, wherein he apparently taunted key ally Nitish Kumar for attending iftar events just “for a show” followed by Sushil Modi’s somewhat ambassadorial defence of Bihar chief minister has once again highlighted the case of the two cozy, but somewhat mismatched, allies in Bihar.

Sushil Modi’s BJP and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JDU) are clearly bound by a common vision and purpose in Bihar, yet also pushed apart by their political teammates and their temperaments.

It’s not for nothing that Giriraj Singh’s tweet has once again brought the irony behind the electoral friendship of Kumar and Sushil Modi, the tallest BJP leader in Bihar and one of the strongest supporters of Nitish-BJP alliance, to the fore. Kumar and Sushil Modi, in their contemporaneous careers, often symbolise the prisoner’s dilemma that circumstances had thrust upon them.

The two have somehow seen through the bitterness and understood that they were better off collaborating than confronting. But there are spoilers galore. Singh was clearly one of them.

Fresh from his promotion to the Union Cabinet in the new Narendra Modi government, the senior BJP leader, for whom Nitish Kumar had campaigned during the Lok Sabha elections to ensure his victory, on Tuesday morning tweeted four pictures from three different iftars, saying: “How beautiful the pictures could have been had falahaar (fruit feast) been organised with similar fervour during Navratri. We fall behind in our own rituals and religion but are ahead in showing off.”

These pictures were from iftar parties organised by the JD-U, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Opposition alliance member Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) (HAMS). Since Nitish Kumar was the only leader present in all the four pictures, the man and the target behind Singh’s tweet was not lost on anyone.

Not only this, Singh’s tweet was uploaded on the eve of Eid ul-Fitr and its underlying message seemed to be confronting the inclusive outreach of Prime Minister Modi and the secular fabric of the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar.

Though there are suggestions that BJP President Amit Shah has advised Singh against making such comments, the Union minister has not withdrawn his tweet, which was still visible till the time of filing this report.

A section of JD-U leaders, however, refused to accept Giriraj’s tweet as a coincidence. They see a purpose in the tweet, as Singh’s quip has come at a time when relations with the BJP have turned frosty after Nitish Kumar refused to accept a “symbolic representation in the Union Cabinet.”

The BJP had offered a solitary Cabinet berth to Nitish Kumar’s JD-U in the Union Cabinet, describing it as a “symbolic representation.”

The Bihar chief minister, who heads a party of 16 Lok Sabha and six Rajya Sabha MPs, promptly shot down the saffron proposal on the ground that it should have been proportionate and not symbolic.

In what seemed like a return riposte, Nitish expanded his ministry on June 2 by inducting as many as eight JD-U members while offering just one berth to the BJP, which was not accepted by the latter. “Giriraj Singh is not alone to have taken potshots at the NDA alliance in Bihar.

In 2017, when JD-U rejoined NDA, our former National President Sharad Yadav had defied the decision. While JD-U quickly showed the door to our former national president, the BJP has failed to force Giriraj to make amends,” said a senior JD-U leader.

JD-U chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh has described Giriraj Singh’s tweet as a clear manifestation of the fact that BJP has no control over such leaders. “It is time for the BJP to take the comments of Giriraj seriously and take action,” he said.

They say momentous eras are appreciated only in retrospect, but in this case, where Nitish Kumar accepted BJP as an alliance partner, the two have together delivered magic.

A landmark Lok Sabha election victory in 2019 where the NDA won 39 of Bihar’s 40 seats looks both unprecedented and unrepeatable. The combined magic of BJP and JD-U made a spectacular start in 2005 when the two parties together unseated Lalu Prasad who seemed invincible then.

Since then, the two parties have prospered and gone from strength to strength, evolving a relationship that was to be the making of modern Bihar.

When the BJP and JD-U separated in 2013 and fought two elections against each other, the BJP won the 2014 Lok Sabha poll while Nitish Kumar won the 2015 assembly polls. The two once again came together in 2017 to deliver a watershed result in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Today, however, with Bihar Assembly polls scheduled in 2020, the two parties, JD-U and BJP, need to unthaw their relationship to fill up the fissures, which have come up after the BJP refused to let Nitish have more than one representation in the Union Cabinet.Giriraj Singh or his tweets can make the process a painful one for NDA in Bihar.