Sirens to alert people in case of earthquakes in Uttarakhand


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DEHRADUN: IIT-Roorkee has developed a regional early warning system which will alert people in Uttarakhand in the event of an earthquake by sounding a siren.

A siren will scream after getting required signals from sensors to be put up in quake-sensitive areas across the state and alert people in case of earthquakes so they get enough time to reach safety, seismic scientist from IIT-R Ashok Kumar said in a presentation at a meeting of the Advisory Group Committee on disaster management chaired by Chief Secretary S Ramawamy.

84 sensors have already been installed in quake-prone areas of Uttarakhand out of a total of 1,100 sensors to be put up throughout the state, Kumar said at the meeting.

After the installation of sensors is complete, sirens will begin to be installed in sensitive areas, an official release quoting him said.

A mobile app has also been developed which will alert users about a quake by producing a unique beeping sound.

n areas where there is no mobile connectivity, the early warning system will be connected with All India Radio.
An early warning system software has also been prepared, Kumar said.

Via

— TimesofIndia

 

Congress says it won’t let Modi speak in Parliament unless he says sorry to Manmohan, Rahul attacks PM


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Outraged over Narendra Modi’s remarks against predecessor Manmohan Singh, the Congress warned on Wednesday that it will not let the Prime Minister speak in Parliament unless he apologises for his “unacceptable” comment.

Congress members in the Rajya Sabha staged a walkout soon after Modi accused Singh of “allowing corruption under his nose but at the same time managing to steer clear” of any charges. The Prime Minister was replying to a debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s address.

Terming the events in Parliament “shameful”, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “When a Prime Minister reduces himself to ridiculing his predecessor-years his senior, he hurts the dignity of the parliament &the nation.”

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Even though many scams took place in the country (in the previous UPA regime), Singh’s image remained clean, Modi said, taking a dig at the former PM. “People should learn from Dr. Singh how to bathe in bathroom wearing a raincoat.”

“How can you have a dialogue with the opposition with this kind of language used against us… You can’t get personal in a debate,” senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal later told reporters in the Parliament House complex. “We too could get personal and start talking about things where the Prime Minister’s name has occurred but we never did that.”

While Singh did not respond to the Prime Minister’s statement, the Congress fielded all its senior leaders to attack Modi on the issue.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram claimed that the Prime Minister doesn’t come to the House to listen to anyone from the Opposition. “Today, he was scheduled to come in at 5pm. He deliberately did not come at that time and came only after the last speaker from the opposition had concluded. Then he begins his speech and within minutes attacks the former Prime Minister in the most unacceptable manner,” he said.

“It was in extremely poor taste. It is unbecoming of a Prime Minister to use such language against the former PM. It certainly is unbecoming of anyone to say such harsh, ugly statements about Dr Manmohan Singh. We are very disappointed and angry.”

We have expressed our protest by walking out. We could have stayed back, created a ruckus, stormed the well of the House and shouted down the Prime Minister. But that would have in the circumstances of today brought us down to the level of the debate which the Prime Minister wanted. We don’t want such a debate to take place. We want the people to know that no Prime Minister has ever used such a language against a former Prime Minister,” Chidambaram added.

In a strongly worded attack on the government’s demonetisation exercise in the Rajya Sabha during the winter session in November last year, Singh said that several deaths and distress among the poor, farmers and small traders convinced him the demonetisation plan led to “organised loot and legalised plunder”.

On Wednesday, in an apparent reference to these comments, PM Modi said, “We have the ability to pay back in the same coin,” Modi said. “If anyone speaks like this, he should also be ready to face the consequences.”

But Sibal defended the use of words “plunder and loot” by Singh, saying those were not personal remarks against Modi but about the demonetisation policy. “We have never seen such arrogance. There is a dignity of the chair he occupies. The PM gives speeches in Parliament as if he speaks in a locality or in a ground. He doesn’t know what to say and what not in Parliament. The PM thinks that only he is clean and the rest all of us are black marketers,” he said.

From the government benches, information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu supported PM Modi and said that the Congress had earlier described Modi as Hitler as well as Mussolini.

However, Congress’ deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma refuted these charges. “Never ever have we called the Prime Minister names even if he functions in a dictatorial manner. The fact is that he is behaving in an extremely insulting and arrogant manner towards the entire opposition. He has also insulted the memory of India’s martyred Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and used unacceptable language against the former Prime Minister. We cautioned him initially not to drag the debate to such a low level,” he said.

Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “PM is not a person but an institution it has a decorum, propriety, morality and discipline in language. Sadly, Modi ji forgets he is PM of India!”

Via (HT)

Earthquake in Uttarakhand, strong tremors jolt Delhi, north India; NDRF teams rushed


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A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Uttarakhand, sending tremors across Delhi-NCR and several states of north and eastern India on Monday night, shaking buildings, rattling window panes and sending people scurrying out of their homes.

The earthquake jolted the North India at 10:33pm and tremors were felt for about 30 seconds. There was no loss of life or damage to property, however one was injured in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district, which according to National Seismological Bureau was the epicentre of the quake.

“The depth of the quake was 33km and it occurred at 10.33 PM,” said JL Gautam, operations head at the NSB, a unit of ministry of earth sciences.

According to the US Geological Survey, the magnitude was 5.6.

Uttarakhand, which falls in the Himalayan belt, is known for high seismic activities.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter said he had spoken to officials and taken stock of the situation.

A home ministry spokesperson said home minister Rajnath Singh had asked for a detailed report and the NDRF has been put on high alert.

Union home ministry said NDRF teams have been rushed from Ghaziabad to Uttarakhand to conduct rescue and relief operations, if such a situation arises.

Two teams of National Disaster Response Force were rushed to Rudraprayag, NDRF director general RK Pachnanada told PTI.

He said that one more team has been put on standby and will be dispatched depending on the developing situation.

PM Narendra Modi also tweeted: “Spoke to officials & took stock of the situation in the wake of the earthquake felt in various parts of North India. PMO is in touch with officials in Uttarakhand, which is the epicentre of the quake. I pray for everyone’s safety & wellbeing.”

Ashok Kumar, a senior official in Dehradun police, said, “The quake was quite heavy. It lasted for 25 or 30 seconds, but there are no reports of damage so far received.”

Amit Negi, secretary of disaster management in the state, said they have alerted all districts and were coordinating with them, but that there were no reports of damage so far.

In Delhi, panicky people rushed out of their homes as the quake hit the city of 16 million people.

Tremors were also felt across Punjab, Haryana and their common capital Chandigarh too. Tremors were felt as far as Kolkata, reports said.

In Chandigarh, many people came running out of their homes screaming. “I was sleeping, when my bed started shaking. I ran towards my mother’s room,” said Kirti, a resident of Sector 20.

“I was driving, so I didn’t feel the tremor. But I noticed girls were screaming and they were running out of their homes,” said Reena from Sector 27.

Another resident of the same sector, Deepinder Kohli, said: “I was watching TV when my chair started shaking. I looked at the fan and it was moving. I didn’t realise, until my children came running towards me shouting.” (With inputs from agencies)

Source: MSN

 

Kanpur building collapse toll rises to 7


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Army jawans carry out rescue and relief works after collapse of an under-construction building in Chakeri, Kanpur | PTI

Feb 2 (IANS) The death toll in a building collapse here in Uttar Pradesh rose to seven on Thursday, with three more labourers succumbing to their injuries, a police official said.

Eight persons trapped in the debris of the six-storey under-construction apartment building, owned by SP leader Mehtaab Aalam, were also rescued, the police official said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Rajesh Modak confirmed the number of deaths and informed that many of the injured were still in critical condition.

Most of the victims were labourers and their families from Chhattisgarh. The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon when the sixth floor was being constructed.

All of a sudden, the building crumbled like a pack of cards and thereafter there was chaos and wails for help, an eyewitness told IANS.

All through the night, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, who were rushed in from Varanasi and Lucknow, continued their relief and rescue operations.

The Army was also helping, a district official informed. But since the building is located in a narrow lane, rescue work was hampered.

–IANS

Middle class can breathe bit easy as tax rate halved


news24in7(IANS) In a major relief to the tax-burdened middle-class people, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday proposed to halve the income tax to five per cent for those earning between Rs 250,000 and Rs 500,000 per annum.

Presenting the 2017-18 Budget in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said he proposes to halve the income tax for persons earning between Rs 2.5 lakh-Rs 5 lakh from the current 10 per cent.

“This will reduce the tax liability of all persons with incomes below Rs 500,000 either to zero (with rebate) or 50 per cent of their existing liability,” Jaitley said.

The existing benefit of rebate available to the same group of beneficiaries is being reduced to Rs 2,500 that is available only to assessees up to an annual income of Rs 350,000.

According to him, the combined effect is that there will be nil tax liability for people with incomes of up to Rs 300,000 per annum.

The tax liability will only be Rs 2,500 for people with incomes between Rs 300,000 and Rs 350,000.

If the limit of Rs 150,000 under Section 80C for investment is used fully, the tax would be zero for people with incomes of Rs 450,000.

While the tax liability of people with incomes of up to Rs 500,000 is being reduced to half, all other categories of taxpayers in the subsequent slabs will also get a uniform benefit of Rs 12,500 per person.

“The total amount of tax foregone on account of this measure is Rs 15,500 crore,” Jaitley said.

In an effort to somewhat make good the loss of revenue, Jaitley proposes to levy a surcharge of 10 per cent of tax payable on individuals whose annual taxable income is between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore.

The surcharge will generate additional revenue of Rs 2,500 crore.

The existing surcharge of 15 per cent of the tax on people earning more than Rs 1 crore will continue.

For those with incomes of up to Rs 500,000 — other than business income — Jaitley said a single-page income tax return form will be introduced.

“It is a populist budget for the middle class. The budget proposes to give relief to the middle class while taxing the super-rich,” Neha Malhotra, Executive Director, Nangia & Co., an international tax advisory and accounting firm, told IANS.

“It was a legitimate expectation post-demonetisation that the personal income tax rate will be reduced to soften the tax hit on the pockets of the individuals,” she added.

According to Malhotra, immovable property owners have been relieved by lowering the holding period for availing lower rate of long-term capital gains tax from three years to two years.

“Also, the base year for computing capital indexation benefit has been changed from existing April 1, 1981, to April 1, 2001. This move will give significant relief to the taxpayers earning profits from sale of house property and will encourage investments in the real estate sector,” she said.

Another woe of the taxpayers is that provisions applicable on dishonoured cheque under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act are ineffective.

New effective way to tackle the issue of bounced cheque is a welcome move which shall relieve those facing hardship on these fronts, she added.

–IANS

Budget 2017: Cash No Longer Valid For Payments Above Rs 3 Lakh


Digital payments in India are set to get a big boost with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget 2017 speech, announcing that cash will be no longer allowed for transactions of more than Rs 3 lakh.

Budget 2017 year on cube with pencil and clockThe government also proposed a new payments regulator to be set up within the Reserve Bank of India. Jaitley said the government is also working to quickly roll out the recommendations put forward by a committee of chief ministers on digital transactions.
Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister In His Budget Speech To begin with, it is proposed to create a payment regulatory board in the Reserve Bank of India by replacing the existing board of regulations and supervision of payment systems. As we move faster to the path of digital and cheque payments, it is necessary to ensure that payees of dishonoured cheques are able to realise their payments. Therefore, the government is considering the option of amending the Negotiable Instruments Act suitably.

While the government brings about structural changes in payment regulation, it is also promoting digital transactions by proposing and potentially mandating petrol pumps, fertiliser depots, hospitals and colleges to have the option of accepting digital payments, including from the BHIM app.

Jaitley also announced two new schemes targeted at increasing the number of digital transactions through its flagship BHIM app — a referral bonus scheme for individuals and a cash-back scheme for merchants.

Budget 2017 set a target of 2,500 crore digital transactions in the upcoming financial year through various modes such as UPI, Aadhaar Pay and plastic cards.

While the government is yet to roll out Aadhaa- based payment systems — which come with their set of safety concerns — Jaitley said that 20 lakh Aadhaar enabled point-of-sale machines will be rolled out by September 2017.

According to Reserve Bank of India data, the value of debit card transactions at point of sale (PoS) terminals has grown by over 63 percent between 2012 and 2015. Credit card transactions at PoS terminals has grown 54 percent.

However, estimates suggest that 90% of transactions by value are still being carried out in cash in the country. This is set to change with the government’s latest push for digital payments post demonetisation.

In its attempt to boost use of cards, wallets and unified payments interface, the government has announced that banks will deploy 10 lakh additional PoS machines by March 2017 which will be complemented by the launch of Aadhaar Pay, which obviates the need of having a phone, debit card or passwords.

Bloomberg Quint

What is Direct and Indirect Taxes


Direct Taxes
The most fundamental classification of taxes is based on who collects the taxes from the tax payer.
Direct Taxes, as the name suggests, are taxes that are directly paid to the government by the taxpayer. It is a tax applied on individuals and organizations directly by the government e.g. income tax, corporation tax, wealth tax etc.

Indirect Taxes are applied on the manufacture or sale of goods and services. These are initially paid to the government by an intermediary, who then adds the amount of the tax paid to the value of the goods / services and passes on the total amount to the end user.
Examples of these are sales tax, service tax, excise duty etc.
How do these important Direct and Indirect Taxes affect you?

DIRECT TAXES

 

Income Tax

Income Tax is paid by an individual based on his/her taxable income in a given financial year. Under the Income Tax Act, the term ‘individual’ also includes Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), Co-operative Societies, Trusts and any artificial judicial person. Taxable income refers to total income minus applicable deductions and exemptions.
Tax is payable if the taxable is above the minimum taxable limit and is paid as per the differing rates announced for each tax slab for the financial year.

Capital Gains Tax
The profits made on sale of property are taxable under Capital Gains Tax. Property here includes stocks, bonds, residential property, precious metals etc. It is taxed at two different rates based on how long the property was owned by the taxpayer – Short Term Capital Gains Tax and Long Term Capital Gains Tax. This deciding period of ownership varies greatly for different classes of property.

Wealth Tax

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Wealth tax is applicable on individuals, HUFs or companies on the value of their assets in a given financial year on the date of valuation. It is taxed at the rate of 1% of the net wealth of any assesse exceeding Rs 30,00,000.
‘Net wealth’ here includes, unproductive assets like cash in hand above Rs 50,000, second residential property not rented out, cars, gold jewellery or bullion, boats, yachts, aircrafts or urban land. It does not include productive assets like commercial property, stocks, bonds, fixed deposits, mutual funds etc.

Corporation Tax
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Corporation Tax is paid by Companies and Businesses operating in India on the income earned worldwide in a given financial year. The rates of taxation vary based on whether the company is incorporated in India or abroad

INDIRECT TAXES

Sales Tax

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Sales Tax is charged on the sale of movable goods. It is collected by the Central Government in case of inter-state sales (Central Sales Tax or CST) and by the State Government for intra-state sales (Value Added Tax or VAT). The rates of taxation vary depending on the product type.

Excise Duty

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Excise duty is applicable on the manufacture of goods sold in India. Once goods are manufactured, it is originally paid by the manufacturer directly to the Central Government. When the goods change hands from the manufacturer to the buyer, this tax is bundled by the manufacturer along with the cost of goods and passed on to the buyer.

Service Tax

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Service tax is applicable on all services provided in India except a specified negative list of services that are exempt. It is paid by the service provider to the government who in turn collects it from the end user by the service provider at the time of provision of such service.

Source: Yahoo