MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 25 FEBRUARY 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR KEJRIWAL LAUNCHES INDEFINITE FAST OVER STATEHOOD DEMAND VENEZUELA’S GUAIDO RAMPS UP PRESSURE P2 P10 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with a few spells of rain. Temperature will be in the range of 29 and 21 degrees Celsius RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 78% Min. 28% TEMPERATURE Max: 32.3°C (+2) SUN RISES 06:01 hrs MOON RISES 23.31 hrs Min: 21.2°C (+3) SUN SETS 17:38 hrs MOON SETS 10:31 hrs Next moon quarter on 4 March THUMBNAILS Shooting star: Sixteen-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary beat the men standing in his way to claim gold with a new record in the ISSF World Cup, securing India's third Olympic quota. Unfazed by a field comprising seasoned campaigners, Chaudhary smashed the men's 10m air pistol world record in his maiden senior World Cup appearance, at the season-opening International Shooting Sport Federation event. ‘OSTRACISE PAKISTAN FROM GLOBAL CRICKET’ KIM HEADS TO VIETNAM AHEAD OF TRUMP SUMMIT P9 P12 GST slashed on affordable housing Modi launches `75k cr farmer support scheme PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 24 FEBRUARY Not a poll gimmick, says PM; slams Opposition parties PRESS TRUST OF INDIA GORAKHPUR, 24 FEBRUARY P rime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday launched the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme transferring the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each to over one crore farmers, as he slammed the opposition alleging they “remember farmers once in 10 years ~ just before elections”. Initiating the electronic transfer of Rs 2,000 each, he said the first instalment of money under the scheme has been deposited in accounts of 1.01 crore farmers and those who have been left out will get it soon. “The first instalment of money under the scheme has been deposited in the bank accounts of the farmers directly...those who have been left out will get it soon,” Modi told the gathering at the Fertiliser Corporation of India ground here. The PM also interacted with a select group of farmers, representing different states, through video-con- Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, on Sunday. nAFP ferencing and took a swipe at his political rivals. “They remember farmers once in 10 years ~ just before elections. They get fever of loan waiver and distribute it as 'revari” (dole) to garner votes....they did not know that Modi will expose them this time,” he said. The Prime Minister started his speech by chanting 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' and said that for his government, the Rs 75,000-crore scheme is not an election promise. He said he talked about it in Parliament only after making budgetary alloca- tions for it. “Loan waivers would have been easy and convenient for us too. We could also have distributed 'revari' for political and election benefits, but we can't commit such a sin. Loan waiver benefits only a select few,” he said. Taking a jibe at opposition parties, he said that previous governments made schemes for farmers “only on paper”. “Our opponents have become dispirited because after PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, farmers will support Modi.We make even the impossible possible,” he said. To boost demand in the real estate sector, the GST Council on Sunday slashed tax rates for under-construction flats to 5 per cent andaffordable homes to 1 per cent, effective April 1. Currently, the goods and services tax (GST) is levied at 12 per cent with input tax credit (ITC) on payments made for under-co n struction property or readyto-move-in flats where completion certificate is not issued at the time of sale. For affordable housing units, the existing tax rate is 8 per cent. With regard to lotteries, the GST Council deferred a decision with Jaitley saying that the Group of Ministers (GoM) will meet again to discuss the proposal. Curren- The council has expanded the definition of affordable housing for the purpose of availing GST benefits to those flats costing up to Rs 45 lakh and measuring 60 sqm carpet area in metros and 90 sqm carpet area in non-metros. tly, state-run lotteries attract 12 per cent GST, while stateauthorised ones carry 28 per cent tax. Briefing reporters after the 33rd meeting of the GST Council, Jaitley said consumers felt that the benefits of ITC were not being passed on to them by buil- ders, and hence a GoM was set up to suggest changes in taxation on real estate. The minister said that currently GST is levied at 12 per cent on normal residential houses and 8 per cent on affordable homes after considering one-third abatement on account of land cost. “The council has decided that after removal of ITC, the rates will be 5 per cent for normal housing properties and 1 per cent for affordable housing,” he said. To ensure that the real estate sector does not go back to cash on account of removal of ITC, Jaitley said the builders will have to purchase a “very high percentage” (which will be decided by a committee) of their inputs from GST registered dealers. The reduction in rates will give a boost to housing for all and fulfil aspirations of the neo-middle class, he said. The council also expanded the definition of affordable housing for the purpose of availing GST benefits to those flats costing up to Rs 45 lakh and measuring 60 sq metre carpet area in metros (Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai-MMR and Kolkata) and 90 sq metre carpet area in non-metros. For GST applicability on affordable housing, currently there is no valuation threshold and the calculation of carpet area varies from project to project. With regard to those properties where construction work has already begun, Jaitley said a committee of officers will draft the transition rules and frame guidelines. DSP, jawan, 3 JeM men dead in gunbattle STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 24 FEBRUARY A deputy superintendent of police (DSP) and a soldier died and a Major and an Army jawan injured on Sunday in an encounter in the Turigam village of Kulgam in South Kashmir. Three terrorists of Jaishe-Mohammad (JeM) outfit were killed in the encounter; their identities were yet to be established. Two to three terrorists were reportedly holed up in a residential building in the village. The DSP has been identified as Aman Thakur. He was leading the team of the Special Operation Group (SOG) of the J&K Police when a bullet hit his head. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead, said reports. The Army soldier, Ranveer Somveir, injured during the encounter suc- cumbed in the military hospital, reports said. The other injured Army personnel have been rushed to the military hospital at Srinagar. The security forces had, earlier in the day, launched a cordon-and-search operation in the village. The encounter broke out when the search parties of the 34 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), CRPF and SOG approached the house where the terrorists were hiding. Clashes broke out in the area as a large number of stone pelters gathered there to enable the terrorists escape the cordon. Police burst teargas shells to chase away the miscreants. A police spokesman said that Thakur was a 2011 batch KPS officer who was leading the operation against terrorists from the front. He had headed the counter terrorism wing of police in Kulgam district for the last 18 months.
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