After second thoughts, Shiv Sena decides to support Ram Nath Kovind

MUMBAI: ON the backdrop of increasing support to BJP’s nominee in the presidential polls the Shiv
Sena too on Tuesday decided to support Ramnath Kovind.

“After discussions we have decided to support NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. After our
support, I do not think it will be difficult for the BJP to get him elected,” Shiv Sena president Uddhav
Thackeray said while addressing media at his residence ‘Matoshree’ here in the western suburb of
Bandra.

The U-turn in the Shiv Sena’s stand came after thorough discussion on the emerging political scenario at
the party leaders’ meet at Matoshree this evening.

On Monday, while speaking at party’s foundation day function Thackeray had criticized the BJP for
giving a Dalit candidate accusing the BJP of engaging in a petty vote-bank politics and had said that Shiv
Sena would never support any such petty politics.

“Amit Shah had met me and requested for our support to their candidate. In turn I also suggested him
two names which he said the BJP will consider. After the announcement of presidential candidate, Shah
called me once again and told me the names suggested by us were considered, but they had their reasons
for not making them the BJP candidate,” Thackeray said.

Shiv Sena had earlier proposed the names of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and agriculturist M S
Swaminathan.

Responding to a query whether Shiv Sena would support Opposition parties if they field a Dalit
candidate, Thackeray said the party’s stand will not change now. “It is not necessary that Sena will
always oppose the BJP,” he said.

Responding to another query if the Sena will support the Opposition parties if they announce the name of
one of those suggested by the Sena, Thackeray said, “I had announced the names of Mohan Bhagwat
and Swaminathan a week back. “Had they wanted my support, they would have declared one of the
names till now. But time has passed now and I will not change my decision,” he added.
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GST launch on midnight of June 30, confirms Jaitley

The Goods and Services Tax will be launched on the midnight of June 30, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
confirmed here on Sunday.

The all-powerful GST Council cleared the rules, decided tax rates for contentious lotteries and revisited
tariffs for air-conditioned hotels, revising them downwards.

“We don’t have the luxury of time to defer the implementation of the GST. The council categorically
decided that it would be implemented from July 1 onwards,” Jaitley told mediapersons, putting to rest
speculations about a possible delay.

The council cleared the rules relating to anti-profiteering, advance ruling, appeals and revision,
assessment and audit and funds settlement. But with regard to e-way bills, Jaitley said, there would be
further deliberations. Till then, states would continue with the existing systems, he said.

The council has decided to tax state-run lotteries 12%, while private ones would attract a rate of 28%. It
was also decided that the 28% tax rate will apply to air-conditioned hotels, with tariffs above Rs 7,500.

Earlier, the limit was Rs 5,000. Hotels with tariffs between Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500 will now attract a
GST rate of 18%.

It also relaxed timelines for filing of returns by trade and industry for July and August.

Accordingly, for July, sales returns will have to be filed by September 5 instead of August 10.

Companies will have to file a sale invoice for August with the GST network by September 20, instead of
the earlier September 10.

“The government is ready to allow late return filing in the first two months,” Jaitley said.

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac, however, said the IT network for GST was not fully prepared,
but the council decided to take the risk rather than delay the rollout.

“It is something like building a bridge while walking over the bridge,” he said.

Industry body Assocham had raised similar fears in its letter to Jaitley on Saturday, and sought
postponement of the GST implementation. Its counterpart, Confederation of Indian Industry, however,
urged the government to stick to the July 1 deadline.

Twenty-four states have already passed their state GST laws, while the rest are expected to pass it over
the next 10 days.
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SC issues notice to Centre on order banning cattle trade for slaughter

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Centre on pleas challenging its
controversial notification banning the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter.

A vacation bench comprising Justices R K Agrawal and S K Kaul issued notice to the Centre and asked it
to file response within two weeks on two separate petitions challenging the notification.

The apex court fixed the matter for hearing on July 11.

Additional solicitor general P S Narasimha, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that intention behind
bringing the notification was to have a regulatory regime on cattle trade across the country.

He also told the apex court that the Madras High Court has recently granted interim stay on the
notification.

One of the petitioners, who has approached the apex court challenging the notification, has claimed in his
plea that the provisions in the notification were unconstitutional as they violated the fundamental rights,
including freedom of conscience and religion and right to livelihood.

The Centre had on May 26 banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter
through an environment ministry notification -- 'Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of
Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017' under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
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Modi to have first meeting with Trump on June 26 in Washington

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have his first meeting with US President Donald Trump
when he visits the country on June 25 and 26.

The meeting is taking place at the invitation of Mr Trump, who took over the US Presidency on January
20 this year.

The Prime Minister will hold official talks with Mr Trump on June 26, the Ministry of External Affairs
said here while making official announcement of Mr Modi’s visit.

“Their discussions will provide a new direction for deeper bilateral engagement on issues of mutual
interest and consolidation of multi-dimensional strategic partnership between India and the US,” the MEA
said. (AGENCIES)
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