THE VIRTUAL all-party meeting convened by the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry to discuss the pandemic situation on Friday went off on a positive note, said most of the leaders. But DMK leader T R Baalu was not at all happy – first he raised objections to the presentation being made in Hindi without any translation or subtitles. Then he tried to raise the issue of farmers’ protests. But Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi intervened and said the meeting was to discuss the Covid situation and the vaccine rollout, and that every leader should stick to that. Baalu didn’t quite like the intervention and said the Prime Minister did not raise any objections. But the DMK leader could not continue as his mic was muted.
IMPLEMENTATION OF the GST has been a source of political wrangling for some time now, with the Congress claiming that hasty rollout and faulty implementation of the tax regime was one of the reasons for the decline in GDP growth. The issue could be back in focus as the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, headed by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, is set to table its report soon. The PAC is examining a CAG report, which had pointed out gaps and shortcomings in the GST implementation. Interestingly, the PAC had sought and obtained views from the public besides industry and experts from all over the country. It heard the views of bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, CII and FICCI earlier this week. Chowdhury says the views and suggestions that have been submitted to the committee by industry bodies and tax experts will be given due importance while drafting the report.
AS THE “world’s loneliest elephant”, Kaavan, made its journey from Pakistan to Cambodia after wildlife activists, including American singer and actress singer Cher, took up the cause, the Russian embassy in New Delhi also played a bit of a role. The overflight from Islamabad to Cambodia was handled by a Russian company which specialises in transporting animals. Since they were apprehensive about the elephant’s state of mind – mid-flight – they arranged for a quick stopover in India, and asked for permission for landing and overflight. The Russian diplomats worked with the civil aviation authorities and the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure a smooth flight for the elephant.
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