December 14 to December 20, 2015. Week #7


The Big National News

No GST even in this session.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday indicated that the government may not be able to pass the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the ongoing session of Parliament.

Why?

He accused the Congress of delaying GST for “collateral reasons”. He further clarified, “…the only collateral reason I suspect is if I couldn’t do it, then why should somebody else do it?”

Hold on a sec. What is GST again?

The Goods and Services Tax is a tax levied when a consumer buys goods or services. This is how consumption is taxed in most developed countries.

Currently, the Centre and States have different amending powers on different taxes. The GST hopes to bring them (all the taxes shown below) into one single umbrella, amendable by both.

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The good is that it will eliminate ‘taxation on taxation’. Simply put, you will end up paying (marginally) fewer taxes.

The bad is that it will end up with an inequitable distribution of money to the states. Consumer-centric states will benefit at the expense of smaller states.

Seems ok to me. Why isn’t it being passed you say?

Well, the short of it is when the Congress tried to introduce it during their government, the BJP, then in opposition, opposed it. Thoroughly. So now the Congress is paying it back.

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Whoa! Can they do that? Isn’t the BJP like a full majority and all?

To change the GST, you need to pass a Constitutional Amendment Bill. Which needs the ratification of both the houses of the Parliament. And while the BJP has a majority in the Lower House (Lok Sabha), the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) is dominated by Congress and affiliates.

So yeah, they can. And they are!

Sources: Just google “GST India”.


Other National News

No to Beef Ban!

The Delhi High Court has refused to entertain a petition seeking enactment of a law prohibiting the slaughter of cows, saying the “issue is beyond the domain of judicial decision” and it’s a policy matter. Full report.

Bail, Bail, Hail the Bail!!

Stating that “at this stage, without evidence, charges cannot be serious in magnitude”, the Delhi trial court granted bail to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and three other accused who appeared before it in the National Herald case.

rahul-gandhi-and-soniya-gandhi-congress-party-leaders-1132x509

Check out this excellent interactive infographic by Firstpost on the timeline of the Herald Case.

Good month for convicts to walk free!

The juvenile convict in the December 16 gangrape and murder case is going to walk free today (Sunday). Sources said that juvenile’s release order form has been completed and it was done in the day when he will be shifted out of the remand home.

BBnJbef© Provided by IBNLive

First the Herald bail, then Salman Khan and now this guy!? People are obviously not amused!


International News

Brazil restores Whatsapp after a two-day ban.

The popular WhatsApp messaging app was temporarily banned in Brazil, causing much frustration among its users, but the ban was overturned on Thursday morning after several hours.

So, we are not the only country banning things. Nice. But why did they do it?

The Brazilian military police were investigating drug trafficking involving a major criminal gang. The gang’s leaders were thought to be using instant messaging apps like WhatsApp much more than cellular messaging services, for communicating.

So the police went to the judge requesting that the data of three WhatsApp users, one Brazilian and two Paraguayans, be intercepted, a Brazilian newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, reported.

The judge had ordered Facebook to provide the data. When it did not, she decided to shut down the entire service nationwide.

Mr. Zuckerberg urged Brazilians to press their government to overturn the ban. When the service was restored, he wrote, “Your voices have been heard and the block has been lifted.”

Read the full report by NY Times here.


Hot on the Internet

The internet was already under a lot of stress trying to contain the build-up to the seventh episode of Star Wars franchise. Things went as far as a frame-by-frame deconstruction of the trailer.

Years of longing was only satisfied when Star Wars – The Force Awakens finally hit the screens. And the internet finally broke.

See the ‘fans react to’ post from The Nerdist here.

Speaking of films and sequels, the trailer for the third installment of the Kya Kool Hai Hum series was released last Tuesday. Self-advertising as India’s first “porn-com” the trailer is filled with sexual innuendos, both implicit and explicit.

Obviously, people are losing their shit over it. Various groups from all over the country are right now busy planning exactly how they will need to counter this threat to the “Indian culture, values and morals.”

So is our country ready for such an unapologetically brash film? Watch the trailer and find out for yourself.


That’s it for this week. See you next Sunday. And don’t forget to subscribe!!

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