Sunday, July 25, 2010

Naga CM presents deficit budget

KOHIMA: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio did not propose any new tax for 2010-2011 even as he presented a Rs 603.64-crore deficit budget for the financial year on Thursday.In his budget speech in the assembly, the chief minister, who also heads the finance portfolio, said the current year's transaction was estimated to result in a negative balance of Rs 5.94 crore.He said the estimated gross receipt stood at Rs 6416.39 crore and the gross expenditure at Rs 6434.83 crore in the proposal for the next year's budget. "The 2010-2011 budget closed at a negative balance because of the estimated negative opening balance of Rs 597.70 crore," the CM said.He added that no new taxes were proposed for the current year, but better realization of revenue would be stressed at an existing rates. "For our internal revenue collections, I have set the target at Rs 369 crore as against the estimated figure of 2009-2010 budget. This represents a growth of 15 %," he told the assembly.Rio added that it's a matter of concern that in the fifth decade of statehood, the state's resources could barely meet the salary expenditure for two months.This despite the fact that over the last 10 years, the state's revenue has risen from Rs 88.70 crore during 2000-2001 to Rs 321 crore in 2009-10.The minister said he had held a series of meetings with officials from the revenue collecting department to examine the loopholes in the existing system and take corrective measures while exploring all possible options for mobilisation of additional revenue.

Air India plane called back before take-off

Mangalore: Passengers and crew on board the Dubai-bound flight of Air India's low budget carrier had some anxious moments on Saturday night after the airplane was called back as it was taxiing for take-off at the Bajpe airport.Air India Express's Boeing 737-800(AI IX 811) was called back by the Air Traffic Control(ATC) after a traffic controller got a telephone call from an unidentified person to say a fire was noticed on the tail-side of the plane, an Air India official said.It was not immediately known how many passengers were on the plane but some reports said there were 134 passengers.Following the call, the plane was called back as it was taxiing for take-off at about 9.30 PM and a thorough check was undertaken, the official said. Fire tenders were also positioned around the plane.The plane was cleared for take-off at 10.55 PM delaying the departure of the flight by about 90 minutes.The official said the pilot of the plane had also not reported any fire alarm in the cockpit. The possibility of the call being a hoax was not ruled out. The call was also being investigated.With memories of an Air India Express plane from Dubai overshooting the table-top runway at the Mangalore airport and plunging over a cliff into a wooded valley killing 158 persons on May 22 still fresh, tonight's incident led to some scare among the passengers.

Germany: 15 killed in stampede at Love Parade

Duisburg, Germany: A stampede inside a tunnel crowded with techno music fans has crushed 15 people to death and injured dozens at the Love Parade festival in western Germany.Thousands of other revelers initially kept partying at the Saturday event in Duisburg, near Duesseldorf, unaware of the deadly stampede that started when police tried to prevent thousands more people from entering the already-jammed parade grounds.Police commissioner Juergen Kieskemper says that just before the stampede, police had closed off the area where the parade was being held because it was already overcrowded. They told revelers over loudspeakers to turn around and walk back in the other direction before the panic broke out, he said.

Heavy rains, floods affect life in parts of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal

Faizabad (U.P.) / Siliguri (West Bengal), July 24 (ANI): Incessant rainfall and flood water have badly affected general life in different parts of the country.Heavy rains in Uttar Pradesh'sFaizabad District have damaged thousands of houses, leaving a large number of villagers at different places in difficult situation.Many of the affected persons lamented administrative incoperation and poor help."A big polythene sheet has been provided by administration and nothing else. Various families are residing under the roof covered by that polythene sheet. How all the victims will survive in such difficult situation? Our land has drowned in the flood water," said Rampata, a flood victim.Swollen rivers breached their banks, forcing the villagers to abandon their homes and hearth for safer locations.Many villagers complained that the poor scenario has not changed for the past few years and many times government officials visited the flood-affected area. But there has been no improvement in their approach to help."All of us were having our houses at the opposite side from here which drowned years ago. Since past five years we all are residing here. Many people visit our area and witness our situation but never bother our plight. We have lost all our lands and property but no one is ready to listen to our request," said Mazhi Nishad, another flood victim.Authorities, however, claimed that they have provided boats to the victims and would be taking more steps."Authorities have provided boats to the villagers for their rescue and it is available for them for the time being," said Viresh Yadav, treasury officer.Meanwhile in Dinajpur located in West Bengal's Siliguri district, floodwaters from rivers and streams have submerged dozens of villages in low-lying areas.A large number of cattle died and the people are in great distress. (ANI)

Pranab assures full compensation to states for GST

New Delhi, July 24 (ANI): Union FinanceMinister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday assured the States that the Centre will fully compensate them on possible losses arising from implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) regime.Speaking during a meeting of the National Development Council here, Mukherjee said: "No state would be allowed to suffer any loss and would be fully compensated by the Central government."The meet was attended by most of the state chief ministers.Mukherjee, earlier this week, had proposed a three-tier structure for the new indirect tax regime - 20 per cent for goods, 16 per cent for services and 12 per cent for essential items. As per the formula, the Centre and the states will equally share the revenue.The Centre has already discussed the draft constitutional amendment bill with the state finance ministers.Mukherjee, in his address, said: "The Centre alone can't get it implemented as it requires constitutional amendment for which a large political consensus is required among major political parties."The 13th Finance Commission in its recommendations had asked the Centre to set aside Rs 50,000 crore to compensate the states for the possible revenue loss from GST rollout.As part of the tax reform, the government proposes to introduce GST, which will subsume levies like excise, service tax, VAT and local levies like octroi etc from April 1, 2011.Mukherjee solicited support from all political parties for evolving a consensus on the various issues concerning the GST proposals.GST was earlier scheduled to be implemented from April 2010, but could not do so because the Centre and the states failed to arrive at a consensus primarily on the tax rate and the quantum of compensation to the states for any possible revenue loss on account of this new indirect tax regime.Meanwhile, the chief ministers of National Democratic Alliance-ruled states opted to raise concerns about autonomy, saying the new tax regime should not curtail their power to levy taxes. (ANI)