Contrary to expectations, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget 2015 did not announce any changes in the income tax slabs. However, the minister raised the total exemptions for individual taxpayers to Rs 4,44,200.The proposed changes in the direct tax regime would incur a loss of Rs 8,315 crore, the FM said. New indirect tax proposals will bring in Rs.23,383 crore, Jaitley said.12:28 PM: Extension of benefits for the middle class tax payers announced.12:20 PM: Will abolish wealth tax; the rich have to pay more tax than the less affluent people.12:12 PM: New law to bring back black money from foreign countries.12:10 PM: Will reduce corporate tax from 30% to 25%.12:05 PM: GST will reduce the cascading effect of our goods and services.12:05 PM: ‘Make in India’ also aimed at our defence equipment including aircraft.11:57 AM: Will make sure that no student misses out on higher education for lack of funds.11:53 AM: Committed to make our development as green as possible.11:50 AM: Will move towards making India a cashless society.11.28 AM: Measures needed to monetise gold stocks of 20,000 tonnes.-Introduce a gold monetization scheme-Earn interest in metal account-Banks and dealers are able to monetise-Sovereign gold bond-Indian gold coin11.45 AM: Financial market reforms:–Aim to create world class equity market– Measures to reduce wild speculation– Capital accounts controls – propose amend FEMA– Sector neutral financial grievance reddressal agency–Introduce Indian financial code in parliament11:42 AM: The government plans to set up five ultra mega power projects.11:40 AM: We aim to improve ease of doing business.– Expert committee will prepare a draft legislation on creating a pre-existing regulatory mechanism that will replace multiple regulatory processes in setting up business.11:38 AM: All aspects of start-up businesses and self-employment opportunities will be addressed.11:35 AM: Tax free infrastructure bonds for rail and road.11.31 AM: Soon to be launched plan to offer 2 lakh rupees accident cover for 12 rupees premium a year– Propose to create Senior citizens’ welfare fund11:30 AM: Mudra Bank: Lending priority will be given to SC/ST candidates.A large portion of India is without insurance of any kind.A universal social security system Pradhan Mantri Surakha Yojna will be started.11.25- Government committed to increase people’s access to banking and funds. 11:24 AM: Helping farmers: Improving soil fertility, aimed at irrigating the field of every farmer.11.23 AM: Subsidies are needed for the poor. We need a well targeted system for subsidies delivery.– We need to rationalise subsidy not eliminate it.11: 21 AM: Considerable scaling up of the disinvestment figures.11. 20 AM: We will meet challenging fiscal deficit target of 4.1 percent which we inherited says Jaitley11:16 AM: Jobs for the young people who make up 35 percent of population. With ‘Make in India’, youth will turn from job seekers to job creators.– The eastern parts of the country will be economically integrated to the rest of the country.– Fiscal discipline in spite of rising demand of public investment– 42 percent of tax revenue to be shared with states.11:15 AM: We have to make India the manufacturing hub of the world.11:13 AM: Each house in India should have basic facilities, says Finance Minister.11.06 AM: Double digit growth to kick in soon; ”we think in terms of a quantum jump’. 11.06 AM: Jaitley hints at further easing of monetary policy this year as inflation seen around 5%. 11:05 AM: Jaitley says that the Budget aims to benefit the common man, women and children.11:01 AM: Arun Jaitley starts the 2015 Union Budget.11 AM: Indian markets up ahead of Finance Minister’s speech: Sensex up 0.7% at 29433.89 and the Nifty is up 0.6% at 8900.45.10:20 AM: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Parliament.10:15 AM: Cabinet meeting under way.10 AM: If the Budget is pro-poor that does not mean it has to be anti-rich, says BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli.9:35 AM: Arun Jaitley makes his way to the parliament.9:26 AM: Union cabinet to meet ahead of the Budget.9:25 AM: Sensex opens at over 200 points.Where To Watch Budget 2015 Live Online9:20 AM: Nothing has changed on the ground as far as doing business is concerned, says Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha.9:15 AM: Arun Jaitley meets President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.9 AM: Arun Jaitley reaches Finance Ministry two hours ahead of the Union Budget.We will wait for the #Budget2015 and ask very pointed questions: Anand Sharma (Congress) pic.twitter.com/xtpera3Jzi— ANI (@ANI_news) February 27, 2015
A large section of persons arrested in drives conducted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) over the last three years are government officials.These accused officials are serving in the departments of land administration, finance, health, education, electricity, gas, passports, banks, WASA, customs, roads and transport.The commission, after Iqbal Mahmud took office as its chair in 2016, detained 641 persons. Among them, 361 were government officials while 141 bank and insurance officials, 75 businessmen, and 31 politicians.Transparency International Bangladesh’s (TIB) 2018 household survey said around Tk 106.89 billion were exchanged in bribes.It also identified the law enforcement as the most corrupted institution in the country while the passport office, BRTA, judicial service and land services followed.According to the TI corruption index, corruption rose in 2018. In 2017, Bangladesh ranked 17th on the most corrupted countries’ list while it ranked 13th this year. ACC sources said, around 2.1 millions allegations were received through the ACC hotline in the last 20 months. Other than this, a total 17,000 written complaints were filed with the commission in 2018 while the number was 17,983 in 2017, and 13,000 in 2016, and 10,415 in 2015. More than half of the allegations were brought against government officials.”As the ACC deals with embezzlement of government funds, corruption and bribery, it is only natural to receive more allegations against government officials,” ACC commissioner (investigation) Mozammel Haque Khan said, adding, “Though bribery is more common among the government officials, corruption involving larger sums of money takes place more outside.”Following allegations received through hotline, ACC conducted drives at government hospitals, BRTA, Titas Gas, WASA, RAJUK, airlines, civil aviation, LGRD, REB. Since September 2017, 40 government officials were suspended by the ACC enforcement team and 45 were detained so far. Also, 7.1 million taka which exchanged hands illegally, had been returned.The commission also set up 50 traps to catch 50 government officials. Two chief engineers of the shipping department and Ansar commandant Ashikur Rahman were among persons detained in such sting operations.Corruption has increased as there is hardly any precedence of punishment for corruption, TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said. Over the last three years, top government officials, bankers, representatives were among the detainees. In 2016, a number of 388 persons were arrested while 182 and 57 were arrested respectively in 2017 and 2018. This year 14 persons have been arrested so far.The arrest spree declined somewhat following the public service 2018. According to the act, the concerned authority’s permission is required before arresting any government official even if they commit a criminal offence while in service.Prominent among those arrested over the last three years by ACC are chairman of the Farmers Bank audit committee Mahbubul Haque Chisty, chairman of AB Bank M Wahidul Haque, Citycell CEO Mehbub Chowdhury, former RAJUK chairman Iqbal Uddin Chowdhury, National University proctor HM Tayehid Jaman, Hallmark Group chairman Jesmin Islam, former coastguard director general Shafiq Ur Rahman, Partex Group director Shawkat Aziz Russel, former director of the passport directorate Munshi Muyeed Ikram, former Agrani Bank managing director Mizanur Rahman Khan and others.
Roughly 21 years back, a younger Nasreen had written, ‘In the name of religion, there has been bloodshed, disturbance and persecution.’ It was then, in 1993, that her celebrated novel Lajja was first published in Bengali. Bangladesh banned it soon after, condemning her to an exile that she has been fighting ever since. It’s been 20 years of Lajja, and Nasreen’s struggle for survival – literary, political, womanly. Marking the 20th anniversary of this seminal text, a fresh translation into English has been published by Penguin recently. Nasreen, who lives in South Delhi and often spends her evenings buying fish from Chittaranjan Park, couldn’t be happier. Her visa has been recently extended by the Indian government for another year. It’s a permanent battle as far as her domicile is concerned, but she’s not afraid to wage it. Bengal is out of bounds: fanatics want her head. But in the relative secular seclusion of South Delhi, Nasreen drowns her sorrows in a late night peg, snuggling along her cat Minoo. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Lajja came right in the heels of Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya. On 6 December 1992, RSS karsevaks brought down the 500-year-old mosque in the contested Ram Janmabhoomi, and the shadow of that historic tragedy fell on neighbouring Bangladesh. Lajja charted how the raging fire of communal anger swept through Dhaka as a Hindu family bore the brunt of the manic event. Translated by activist-turned-writer Anchita Ghatak, the new edition comes with updates. ‘This is like a documentary novel. There are fictional characters but is based on facts. Lajja has been a bestseller for a very long time. It has been published and translated in almost all Indian languages and also many foreign languages like French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, etc,’ Nasreen was heard saying at the book launch. She has been dubbed ‘anti-Islamic’ by fringe lunatics of Bangladesh, particularly those hobnobbing with the Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Jamaat. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixShe wears it as a badge of honour, flaunting her atheism while declaring compassion for those in Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan and of course Bangladesh. She says her support was for the late Maqbool Fida Hussain, who was compelled to spend his last days in Qatar. She openly bats for Iranian bloggers who took on the neurotic Ahmedinejad. Her other works such as Dwikhondito, Amar Meyebela, among others have been subjects of controversy. But her quips are often littered with seething irony: ‘If you don’t hurt people’s sentiments, you don’t need freedom of expression.’ Between The Covers is a weekly column on reading up and rating down