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Daily NEWS Summary: 25.09.2020

S.P. Balasubrahmanyam no more

The legendary playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam died at a private hospital in Chennai on Friday. He was 74 years old. Balasubrahmanyam was hospitalized in August at MGM Healthcare after testing positive for Covid-19, and although he apparently behaved well at first, he got worse and was put on a ventilator and ECMO.

  • Popularly known as SPB, Balasubrahmanyam made her singing debut in 1966 with the Telugu film Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna. She has sung more than 40,000 songs in up to 16 languages, including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi.

The Center used the GST compensation payment elsewhere, violated the law – CAG

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) found that the Union government, in the first two years of establishment implementing the GST, had wrongly withheld Rs. Rs 47,272 crore of GST offsetting tax, which was specifically intended to be used to compensate states for lost revenue.

  • In its audit report of government accounts, the CAG noted that the amount would be credited to the GST non-passable compensation recovery fund for payment to states for lost revenue due to the implementation of the GST since 2017, but not the government to do so and thus violated the GST law.
  • The issue of termination of compensation has created a rift between the Center and the States in the GST Council, the supreme decision-making body of the GST regime. States have yet to receive the promised compensation for giving up their powers to collect taxes on goods and services since the last fiscal.
  • The Center argued that a recession in the economy due to the pandemic and the lockdown has meant that not enough money has been raised. Instead, he asked states to apply for loans to cover the shortfall.
  • However, states led by Congress, the Left, TMC and AAP have completely opposed the measure, arguing that the Center should borrow and provide to the states, as the states have transferred most of their fiscal powers to the Center under the GST scheme introduced in July 2017.
  • Significantly, the CAG findings contradict the statements of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament last week that states could not be compensated for the deficit in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI). It relied on the opinion of the Attorney General of India that such a provision was not foreseen in the law.

Vodafone wins international arbitration against India at Rs. 14,200 crore in tax dispute

Vodafone Group Plc won an international arbitration against the Indian government in a retrospective tax dispute of 14,200 crore, Reuters reported. The court ruled that the Indian government’s imposition of a tax liability on Vodafone violated the investment treaty between India and the Netherlands. The British telecommunications giant moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) based in The Hague in 2016.

  • The court, in its ruling, said that the government should stop collecting fees from Vodafone and should also pay more than Rs 40 million to the company in partial compensation for its legal costs.
  • The tax dispute involving Rs. 12,000 crore in interest and Rs. 7.9 billion in penalties stemmed from Vodafone’s acquisition of Hutchison Whampoa’s Indian mobile assets in 2007. The government said Vodafone was required to pay taxes on the acquisition, which the company challenged.
  • In 2012, the Supreme Court of India ruled in favor of the telecommunications provider, but the government changed the rules at the end of the year to allow it to tax agreements already made.

Bihar assembly elections in three phases

The voting of the Bihar assembly would be carried out in three phases – October 28, November 3 and November 7 – and the votes will be counted on November 10, announced today the Commission. Election of India (ECI). Electoral Director (CEC) Sunil Arora said that the number of phases, as well as the duration of the elections, had been reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, voting hours have increased (except in districts affected by left-wing extremism) by one hour, from 7 a.m. at 6 p.m. instead of 5, Arora said.

The number of reported coronavirus cases from India stood at 58,92,518 at the time of publishing this news summary, with the death toll at 93,385. India for the first time recorded a high of nearly 15 lakh Covid-19 tests being conducted in a single day, according to a release issued by the Health Ministry on Friday. “With 14,92,409 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the cumulative tests have touched nearly 7 crore (6,89,28,440),” the Ministry said.

France opened an anti-terror investigation after two journalists were stabbed in Paris on Friday near the former offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine that was attacked by Islamist militants in 2015. Prime Minister Jean Castex, who rushed to the scene, said the main attacker had been arrested. A second person was also in custody.

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