Citizens' Issues
Centre seeks consensus on 1 percent extra GST levy
The central government is seeking a consensus on the vexed issue of levy of one percent additional tax for the proposed goods and services tax (GST), Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said on Friday.
 
"There are many opinions on the one percent tax on GST...states have another perspective on this," Sinha told reporters on the sidelines of an event here by the Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion.
 
"We have to find a consensus on this. The finance minister has said we are in continuous consultations, particularly with opposition parties and are willing to consider any reasonable suggections," Sinha said, adding that the situation arrived at this point was the result of continuous discussions with states and other stakeholders.
 
The central government has set the target for GST implementation from April next year, but the bill is currently stuck in parliament, especially over the cabinet's nod to some changes recommended by a parliamentary panel, notably an extra one percent levy to compensate the states for potential tax losses.
 
The opposition parties have opposed the extra one percent GST levy as they feel this would not only push up prices, but also have a cascading effect.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Glimpse of black hole swallowing star, shooting flare
Scientists for the first time caught a glimpse of a black hole swallowing a star and shooting out a high-speed flare of matter at the centre of a nearby galaxy.
 
The finding, reported in the US journal Science, tracked this star -- about the size of the Sun -- as it shifted from its customary path, slipped into the gravitational pull of a supermassive black hole and was sucked in, Xinhua quoted lead author Sjoert van Velzen of the Johns Hopkins University as saying on Thursday.
 
Though extremely rare, supermassive black holes were spotted previously eating a star alive. Scientists have also seen flares, or jets, from supermassive black holes.
 
"But this is the first time we got a clear view of the stellar destruction, followed by the jet," van Velzen said.
 
"The jet is also of much lower power than what we have seen before, which is present an interesting puzzle."
 
Van Velzen led the analysis and coordinated efforts of 13 other scientists in the US, the Netherlands, Britain and Australia. The team compared the energy produced by the jet in this event to the entire energy output of the Sun over 10 million years.
 
They concluded that it was likely all supermassive black holes swallowing stars launched jets but this discovery was made possible because the black hole is relatively close to the Earth and was studied soon after it was first seen.
 
The black hole is only 300 million light-years away from the Earth and the team was able to make their first observations using radio telescopes only three weeks after it was found, they said.
 
"Our new findings suggest that this type of jet could indeed be common," he said. 
 
"Finding more of these rare events may further our understanding of the processes that allow black holes to launch such spectacular outflows."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Railways to rationalise berth allocation under handicapped quota
The Railways on Thursday said it has earmarked two berths - one lower and one middle - in sleeper classes under the handicapped quota for physically challenged people travelling on concession.
 
There are two types of handicapped people who can book berth under this quota - one for whom it is compulsory to travel along with escort and the second for whom it is optional.
 
"Recently instances were brought to the notice of this office where the handicapped persons for whom it is optional to take an escort were not allowed to book single berth against this quota by some railways since the second berth will go vacant as middle berth cannot be allotted to physically handicapped persons," the railways ministry said in a statement.
 
Post a revision following the instances, the Railways has undertaken rationalisation effective December 22 this year.
 
Under the revision, there will be two types of handicapped quota of two berths each (one lower and one middle) in the same cabin - one for physically handicapped people who can utilize concession only when accompanied by an escort - and the second for those for whom it is optional to take an escort.
 
"As for the former category, it is compulsory to be accompanied by an escort, these berths can be booked by such category of handicapped persons booking tickets on concession on first come first serve basis," the statement said.
 
For the latter category, if the first handicapped person intends to book berth along with escort, both the berths will be booked. However if they book without escort, the second berth will not be booked under handicapped quota and will be released to RAC or waitlisted passengers at the time of preparation of reservation charts. 
 
Further, at the time of preparation of reservation charts, the unutilized lower berths under this quota can be released to physically handicapped passengers, single senior citizen travelling alone on priority and thereafter to waitlisted passengers as per priority.
 
It has also been decided that whenever a physically handicapped person books ticket on concession and if no berth is available in handicapped quota, the system will automatically try to allot the lower berth to the person and the middle berth to the escort subject to availability of same at the time of booking. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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