31082017-TT-01.qxd 8/30/2017 10:36 PM Page 1 13 established in 1881 thursday,august 31, 2017 jammu & kashmir chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 2 no. 240 | 16 pages | ~3.00 | regd. no. chd/0006/2015-2017 /thetribunechd /thetribunechd 99% of junked ~500-1,000 notes back in system: RBI DEMONETISATION FIGURES OUT Chidambaram ‘shames’ RBI for recommending Nov 8, 2016, move; Jaitley says objectives achieved Sanjeev Sharma Tribune News Service New Delhi, August 30 The government today defended the demonetisation exercise undertaken in November last year after the annual report of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revealed that as much as 99 per cent of the scrapped currency (around Rs 15.28 lakh crore) had come back to the banks, thereby putting a question mark on the gains accrued in the disruptive exercise. The RBI reported in annual accounts that specified bank notes (SBNs) of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 of the said amount have been deposited back as on June 30, 2017. The outstanding SBNs as on November 6, 2016, were worth Rs 15.44 lakh crore. This means only around Rs 16,000 crore has not been returned to the banks. Former Finance P Chidambaram attacked the government and the RBI after the figures came out. “99% notes legally exchanged! Was demonetisation a scheme designed to convert black money into white?” he said in a tweet. “Rs 16,000 crore out of demonetised notes of Rs 15,44,000 crore did not come back to the RBI. That is 1%. Shame on the RBI which recommended demonetisation,” he added. The quantum of the notes returned after demonetisation has been a much speculated subject with the RBI not having given figures till today, citing several factors. The figures given in the report today “are subject to future corrections WHAT GAINS? ■ An astronomical ~15.28 lakh crore, or 99 per cent of junked 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, have returned to the banking system ■ RBI had so far shied away from disclosing the actual number of junked currency deposited after Nov 8, 2016, decision ■ While counterfeit notes made up for minuscule number, RBI after DeMo spent ~7,965 crore on printing new ~500, 2,000, other denomina- based on the verification process when completed,” the RBI said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the demon- tion notes, more than double ~3,421 crore spent in previous year ■ While it was expected that those holding black money may not be able to deposit it, RBI said just 8.9 crore pieces of ~1,000 notes or 1.3 per cent of scrapped ones have not returned etisation exercise as it had gained on the objectives of flushing out black money, eliminating fake Indian currency notes (FICN), to strike at the root of financing of terrorism and Left wing extremism, to convert nonformal economy into a formal economy to expand tax base and employment and to give a big boost to digitalisation of payments to make India a less-cash economy. Countering the criticism of such quantum of notes returned, the Finance Ministry said the government had expected all SBNs to come back to the banking system to become effectively usable currency. “The fact that the bulk of SBNs have come back shows that the banking system and the RBI were able to effectively respond to the challenge of collecting such a large number of SBNs in a limited time,” it said. Jaitley pointed out that there was less cash in circulation today at only 83 per cent with full remonetisation having taken place. The total currency in circulation of all denominations as on November 8, 2016, was Rs 17.77 lakh crore, whereas the total currency in circulation as on August 4, 2017, was Rs 14.75 lakh crore. Jaitley said people with inadequate understanding of how to tackle black money linked note ban with money returned to system. He said it was unfortunate that those who had not taken a single step against black money while being in power were now criticising. He said the cash squeeze after the note ban in Chhattisgarh and J&K was evident from dip in terrorist and separatist activities. Some people had expected a very large shock to economic growth on account of demonetisation. Their expectations have been belied. Demonetisation and GST were two humongous measures that changed structural and ethical foundations of the Indian economy Was demonetisation designed to convert black money into white? ~16,000 cr of DeMo notes of ~1544,000 cr did not come back to RBI. That is 1%. Shame on RBI which ‘recommended’ DeMo. RBI ‘gained’ ~16,000 crore, but ‘lost’ ~21,000 crore in printing! Economists deserve Nobel Arun Jaitley, FINANCE MINISTER P Chidambaram, EX-FINANCE MINISTER Cess on GST hiked, Army rejig, 57,000 men to be redeployed luxury cars costlier Govt accepts 65 ‘far-reaching’ reforms; no call on key postings of officers with MoD Ajay Banerjee IMPLEMENTATION TO GO ON TILL 2019 Tribune News Service Ordinance cleared to increase ceiling on levy by 10% New Delhi, August 30 Luxury cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are set to become dearer with the government today clearing an ordinance to increase the ceiling on cess to 25 per cent from the present 15 per cent over the peak rate of 28 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on such vehicles. The approval came at a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi. According to the proposed ordinance that seeks to amend the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017, the maximum compensation cess can be raised to 25 per cent. The decision to increase the cess on mid-size and large vehicles would be taken by the GST Council, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. Earlier this month, the GST Council had recommended an amendment to increase the cess on all passenger vehicles with length above 4 m and engine capacity of 1,500 cc and above. Such vehicles currently Date call on Sept 9 ■ The compensation cess on luxury cars and SUVs has been raised from 15 to 25 per cent ■ The GST Council is expected to decide on September 9 from when the increased cess will become applicable attract GST of 28 per cent, besides a 15 per cent cess. The council is expected to take the final decision on September 9 and also decide the date from when the increased cess will be applicable. The move will adversely impact Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota and luxury car makers such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi and JLR, the managements of which have already opposed such a move. The decision is also likely to impact the growth plans of the luxury car industry, which saw a flat performance in 2016, due to demonetisation and a ban on 2,000 cc diesel cars in the National Capital Region for the first eight months of the year. Most such vehicles had turned significantly cheaper after the introduction of GST on July 1. Toyota’s Fortuner turned cheaper by Rs 2.17 lakh and Innova by Rs 1 lakh. Most luxury cars had also turned cheaper by as much as 8-10 per cent. “The objective cannot be such that luxury items become cheaper,” the minister said. He said the issue of increase in effective rate of compensation cess on motor vehicles would be examined by the council in due course. The highest pre-GST tax incidence on motor vehicles worked out to about 52-54.72 per cent, to which 2.5 per cent was added on account of Central Sales Tax, octroi, etc. Against this, the total tax incidence came to 43 per cent after GST implementation. — TNS Main suspect in irrigation probe goes missing, with ~100-cr cash Sanjeev Singh Bariana Tribune News Service Chandigarh, August 30 Construction contractor Gurinder Singh, main suspect in the ongoing Vigilance Bureau investigation into the suspected favours and illegal tendering in projects of the Punjab Irrigation Department, has absconded, but not before withdrawing more than Rs 100 crore from his bank accounts. According to sources, he was seen a day before registration of a case against him and three former chief engineers on August 18. “He has not offered to cooperate. His phone is switched off, and his whereabouts are not known,” an official said. Some people among his personal staff, including drivers and accountants, also seem to have gone off the radar. In what may add a new dimension to the case, Vigilance officials say they have discovered unaccounted for heavy cash withdrawals amounting to more than Rs 100 crore from Gurinder Singh’s personal bank accounts (HDFC and Punjab and Sind Bank), made after the investigation became public in May. VB, an anti-corruption investigation wing of the state, has booked eight persons — including Gurinder Singh, three retired chief engineers, two serving executive engineers and a subdivisional officer of the Irrigation Department. They have been charged with causing loss worth crores. Wrongful awarding of public works is suspected to have taken place under the previous SAD-BJP regime. The bureau has prepared a list of Gurinder Singh’s properties with an estimated worth of more than Rs 100 crore, and acquired during the past 10 years. Documents show purchases of residential property in Sectors 18 and 19 of Chandigarh, as well as a micro-brewery. Gurinder Singh has also been found to have at least eight properties in Mohali, besides those in Patiala, Ludhiana and Noida, all purchased during the period under question. Several documents supposed to have been only in the custody of the Irrigation Department were also seized from his possession. Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of irrigation engineers has called an emergency meeting on Thursday to chalk out a “plan of action” to demand a fresh inquiry into the case by a “team of professionals”. JAC head BPS Brar said: “We are only demanding an inquiry by technical experts, an assurance given by Secretary VK Singh on August 8, following which we called off our stir.” But if the current course of action continued, “we will be forced to resort to an indefinite agitation”. New Delhi, August 30 The Ministry of Defence today announced a major restructuring of the Indian Army, while leaving out key recommendations of its own appointed committee to integrate the Army with the ministry on certain select posts. A total of 57,000 personnel, including officers, men and defence civilians, will be redeployed and moved away from units that are no more needed. Over the last decade, India’s armed forces have absorbed a fair amount of technological developments. This is the first restructuring in several decades though a small downsizing was started in 1997 and then halted two years later. Defence Minister Arun ■ The measures suggested by a panel headed by Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (retd) are aimed at enhancing combat capability and rebalancing defence expenditure of the armed forces ■ These include optimisation of signals establishments and closure of all military farms and Army postal establishments in peace locations ■ Reforms will be implemented till 2019 ■ In 1997, Army had ordered downsizing by 50,000 over a period of three years. It was done for two years but was stopped in 1999 following the Kargil skirmish ■ Indian Army is third largest in the world with over 38,000 offi- cers (sanctioned strength 49,631) and 11.38 lakh soldiers Jaitley announced this after a meeting of Union Council of Ministers here. He termed the changes as “far reaching” and said these would be implemented by 2019. Jaitley said a committee headed by Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (retd) suggested 99 points for structural changes in the Army involv- ing cutting down flab and reducing revenue (maintenance) expenditure. Of these, 65 suggestions were accepted by the MoD yesterday. Among the major changes is the reorganisation of Signals Corps. Army base repair workshops in peace stations will outsource part of their work, while base repair for- mations in forward areas will continue. Ordnance and transport will get better inventory mechanisms. Army postal establishments in peace locations will close down. All 39 military farms will be shut down, freeing about 20,000 acres. Twelve of these have been closed down before August 15. The MoD has, however, not touched upon the crucial aspect of posting Army officers with the ministry on certain select posts. The committee had also suggested that Army officers be posted to Ordnance Factory Boards and the Department of Defence Production. Both have not been accepted yet. The Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA), which plays a key role in maintaining quality, was supposed to be brought under the Army. The committee was set up in May last year by then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The MoD had ordered restructuring in the wake of growing expenditure on manpower that left less than 20 per cent of the defence budget for weapons and equipment modernisation. OBC quota benefit now in PSUs, PSBs too Khattar meets BJP chief, no resignation Tribune News Service New Delhi, August 30 Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar met BJP chief Amit Shah in New Delhi today and submitted a verbal “report” on the violence witnessed after the conviction of Sirsa dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. While the party leadership had already appreciated him for the “excellent” handling of a tricky situation, Khattar also claimed that his government acted in the most befitting manner. Sources said Shah may now brief PM New Delhi, August 30 The government today approved the norms for establishing equivalence of posts in government and public sector undertakings and public sector banks for claiming benefit of OBC reservations. The approval came at the meeting of the Union Cabinet. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it addresses the issue which has been pending for nearly 24 years. “This will ensure that the children of those serving in lower categories in PSUs and other institutions can get the benefit of OBC reservations, on a par with children of people serving in lower categories in the government,” an official statement said. This will also prevent children of those in senior positions in such institutions — who, owing to absence of equivalence of posts, may have been treated as noncreamy layer by virtue of wrong interpretation of income standards — from cornering government posts reserved for OBCs. The Cabinet also approved the increase in the income criterion of Rs 6 lakh per annum to Rs 8 lakh for applying the creamy layer restriction throughout the country. Vibha Sharma & Ravi S Singh Satisfied with our response: Haryana CM Tribune News Service ❝ We acted with restraint to execute the court orders and succeeded in achieving our objective... we are satisfied with our response. We did whatever was right and there is peace in Haryana.❞ Manohar Lal Khattar, CHIEF MINISTER Modi on the issue. “We acted with restraint to execute the court orders and succeeded in achieving our objective,” Khattar claimed. On demands for his resignation for the alleged abysmal handling of the situation, he said: “It doesn’t matter what they say... we are satisfied with our response. We did whatever was right and there is peace in Haryana.” He also countered the observation that the BJP had come to power with dera support. “It is a democracy. We appeal to all groups and welcome support. That does not mean they break the law,” he said. Khattar said he had informed Shah about developments in the state and now it was up to him to take it forward in the manner he wanted. The Tribune had reported on Saturday that the BJP was backing Khattar and his government on the issue. continued on page 7 All Kotkhai accused ‘clean’ in DNA test RAPE-MURDER SIT tried to shield culprits by arresting innocent persons? Bhanu P Lohumi Tribune News Service Shimla, August 30 The Kotkhai minor rape and murder case has taken yet another curious turn with the CBI investigation indicating that none of the six persons arrested by the special investigation team (SIT) of the Himachal Pradesh Police is involved in the crime. The DNA samples of eight persons collected initially by the police have not matched with the forensic evidence of culprits gathered from the crime scene and the victim’s body, lending credence to the allegations that the SIT deliberately arrested innocent persons to shield the culprits. The CBI had been banking heavily on the forensic evidence and awaiting the report of DNA samples of Ashish Chauhan (29), alias Ashu, a resident of Sharaal village in Kotkhai; Rajender Singh (32), alias Raju, driver of a pickup van from Haliala village; Subhash Singh Bisht (42) and Deepak (29), alias Deepu, both of Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand; Lok Jung (19), alias Chotu, and Suraj Singh (29), both from Nepal; and two others under the scanner. Suraj was later killed in lockup. Samples of human cells, including blood, semen, skin, saliva, mucus, perspiration and roots of hair, collected from the crime scene were sent for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing. The samples of eight suspects were also taken for matching, but the result came back negative, said sources. “The case would have been cracked had even a single sample matched,” sources said, adding that call record details of one of the eight police officials, who were arrested yesterday in connection with the custodial death of Suraj, played a key role in nailing them. The case may put the government in an awkward position if the CBI succeeds in exposing the alleged conspirators. With the DNA reports going against the SIT theory, the CBI may now seek nod to conduct a lie detector test on the arrested cops.
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