Economy
Meghalaya seeks exemption from coal mining law
The Meghalaya cabinet on Friday decided to urge the central government to exempt the state from the purview of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, following the National Green Tribunal's ban on rat-hole coal mining in the state.
 
"The cabinet has mandated the state's mining and geology department to take up with the central government to exempt coal mining in Meghalaya from the purview of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973," Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told the media.
 
Section 3 of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, states that the right, title, interest of the owners in relation to the coal mines shall vest absolutely with the central government.
 
Following the National Green Tribunal's ban on rat-hole coal mining in the state, the Meghalaya government has taken up with the central government its bid to invoke Para 12 A (b) of the Sixth Schedule through a Presidential notification to exempt the state from the central law.
 
"We have had several discussions on this issue since last year and we have almost completed it. Therefore, the cabinet has mandated the mining and geology department to take up the issue and expedite the process of getting the state exempted from the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973," the chief minister informed the media.
 
Moreover, Sangma said his government had come up with its Mines and Minerals Policy, 2012, to regulate mining activities in the state.
 
The green court had ordered an interim ban on "rat-hole" coal mining in Meghalaya from April 17, 2014, after the All Dimasa Students' Union and the Dima Hasao District Committee filed an application before the tribunal alleging that the water of the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in Jaintia Hills.
 
Coal mining in Meghalaya is ostensibly part of the "customary tribal rights".
 
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.

User

Government building homes that poor don't want
Over 10 years, the central government spent Rs 21,482 crore ($3.2 billion) building houses for the urban poor but 23% of them are vacant, according to a May 2016 answer to the Lok Sabha.
 
The information that 238,448 of 1,032,433 houses built are empty comes at a time when the proportion of Indians living in slums has risen over five years from 17%  of the urban population to 19%, according to official data, and 19,000 of 33,000 slums are not acknowledged by the government (2012 data).
 
The vacant houses include 224,000 built under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and 14,448 houses under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) - now discontinued and subsumed into the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana launched in June 2015 - the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation said.
 
“In spite of the continuous efforts by the government, slum dwellers are reluctant to move to the houses built by the government due to lack of proper infrastructure and means of livelihood,” the statement to Parliament said, explaining further that the new houses often lack electricity and water, cheaply available-often through illegal connections-in slums. The new houses are usually not close to workplaces, the ministry acknowledged.
 
“Houses are too far from workplaces, which means additional commuting time and expense,” Kulwant Singh, India advisor, urban basic services, UN-Habitat, wrote in his Hindu Business Line column in January 2016. “In a slum, basic amenities such as electricity and water are often acquired at dirt-cheap prices. There is a certain degree of empathy and firmness that these projects lack, which consequently takes away effectiveness.”
 
Maharashtra (54,282) has the highest number of vacant houses, followed by Andhra Pradesh (24,611), states in which 24% and 35% of the urban population, respectively, lives in slums.
 
Over the last 10 years, Maharashtra got the most money to build housing for slum-dwellers (Rs 3,246 crore), followed by West Bengal (Rs 2,384 crore).
 
Of 683,724 houses sanctioned under PMAY, 0.1%, or 710 houses, have been constructed till now, according to the reply to the Lok Sabha. The government is planning to build 20 million homes under PMAY by 2022.
 
Between 2005 and 2015, Maharashtra had the highest number of sanctioned and constructed houses (175,032/128,386) under JNNURM, followed by West Bengal (171,861/158,667). The JNNURM, originally scheduled to end in 2012, has been extended to March 2017, so houses cleared for construction can be built.
 
The Census of India defines a slum as a residential area where “dwellings are unfit for human habitation (due to) dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangements and design of such buildings, narrowness or faulty arrangement of street, lack of ventilation, light, or sanitation facilities or any combination of these factors”.
 
Maharashtra has more slums than any state (7,723), followed by Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
 
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.

User

COMMENTS

manoharlalsharma

6 months ago

its' confusing report if CIDCO like organisation announces any scheme public Q up for day/night and make shortfall of application forms.

Asha Paidhungat

6 months ago

In absence of proper infrastructure, electricity & water, nobody would opt to live in these houses, even if they are made available at a low price.Besides, most slum dwellers work as domestic workers or as laborers in industries.It is therefore quite obvious that unless a small township or sector is built in such areas where industries are present to give jobs to these poverty-ridden people they will not be willing to move in these houses.These sectors must be built in such a way that various commodities(Grocery, Medicines, etc) are easily
available at a feasible distance. Government could possibly try persuading them to move in there, giving some kind of incentive for those who agree.

I-T Dept yet to comply with CBDT order on publishing names of tax-exempt charities
Following repeated directions from the Central Information Commission (CIC), the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had asked the Income Tax (I-T) Department to place in the public domain names of all organisation and entities that enjoyed tax exemption. However, the I-T department has not yet complied with the directions.
 
There are hundreds of thousands of charitable trusts, institutions and entities in India, which have been granted exemption from Income Tax. However, not all are in the public domain. The CIC had observed, “Charity and secrecy are contradiction in terms. Any charitable institution should have no secrets and should be open to public for all purposes, including its finances...” Thus, it has repeatedly since 2010, ordered CBDT to put the list in the public domain, the last time being in April 2016.
 
The CBDT issued a circular to all of its Public Information Officers (PIOs), to make public, the names of all such charitable organisations and entities, on their websites. The latest order by the CBDT in May 2016, is a sequel to a complaint filed by Right to Information (RTI) activist and scholar Venkatesh Nayak, directing initiation of action. 
 
The CBDT orders states, “In view of the fact that the orders of the CIC are binding under the RTI Act, 2005 unless stayed or reversed by higher courts, I am directed to convey that suitable instructions may be issued to all the concerned authorities / officers / CPIOs to ensure that the orders passed by CIC in appeals and complaints under the RTI Act, 2005 are invariably complied with…, unless they are stayed or reversed by higher courts. Any deviation will be viewed adversely.”
 
Elaborating the ramification of this order, Nayak says, “Apart from the fact that the CBDT has acted promptly to issue an omnibus directive seeking compliance with all CIC orders for disclosing information that have attained finality, the specific category of information that Rakesh Agarwal (the original applicant) wanted disclosed have a direct connect with Section 4(1)(b) of The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). 
 
“The 2010 decision of CIC's Full Bench requires the disclosure of the identity of all charitable trusts/institutions and entities that have received tax exemption under Section 10, 11 and 12 of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
 
“Section 10, relates to:
Income that is not taxable under the law such as agricultural income
Interest earned by non-resident Indians who have invested in such notified government securities and bonds
Income earned by foreign diplomats by way of salary etc. during their posting in India
Payments received in commutation of pension by former employees of the Central government and the defence forces
Earned leave encashment received by government employees upon retirement
Compensation received by workmen under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947,
Golden handshake received by voluntarily retiring employees of governments
Public sector companies, cooperative societies and such other bodies listed in that section
Sums received under Keyman Insurance policy and a host of other grounds for claiming exemptions”
 
Section 11 of the Income Tax Act relates to tax exemption for income from property held for charitable or religious purposes. 
 
Section 12 of the Income Tax Act relates to income of trusts or institutions created for wholly charitable or religious purposes from contributions received which is also exempt from the payment of any tax, subject to conditions of course.’’
 
Way back in March 2010, a full Bench of the CIC had directed the I-T Department that “Needless to say, avowed purpose for which these institutions or entities come into existence is charity. Charity and secrecy are contradiction in terms. Any charitable institution should have no secrets and should be open to public for all purposes, including its finances. In other words, in our opinion, it will be in the larger public interest if the identity of the charitable trusts/institutions/entities which are granted exemption from income tax under the statutory provisions are placed in the public domain.”
 
“Hence, in exercise of powers under Section 25(5) of the RTI Act, we hereby recommend that the identity of the charitable trusts/institutions/entities which have been granted exemption from income tax under Section 10 & under Section 11/12 of the Income Tax Act is placed in public domain by way of suo motu disclosure by the CBDT in terms of section 4(1)(b) r/w section 4(2) of the RTI Act,” the CIC had said.
 
The CBDT officers sought reasonable time in this regard as they said that the task was of high magnitude and so sought eight months.
 
Thereafter, there has been repeated non-compliance of the I-T Department with the orders of the CIC.
 
In April 2013, a single Bench issued the following direction in that case: 
“…the Commission directs Ms Deepshikha Sharma, PIO/ Deputy Secretary, ITAI, CBDT, New Delhi, to ascertain the factual position about the implementation of the above decision and send a report to the Commission within four weeks of receipt of this order.” 
 
Later in December 2015, another single Bench of CIC took notice of the non-compliance of the I-T Department regarding the full Bench direction of March 2010 and directed the appellant as follows: “As stated by the CPIO, he should write to the CIT (Exemption) Chandigarh for compliance of CIC order dated 9 March 2010 [file no. CIC/LS/A/2009/00190- R. Agarwal vs Income Tax Department] at the earliest.” 
 
In January this year, yet another order from the single Bench of CIC says, “…the CPIOs are directed to provide list of charitable trusts/institutions/entities which have been granted exemption from income tax under Section 10 & Section11/12 of the Income Tax Act for the years 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14, to the appellant within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order”.
 
In April 2016, once again the CIC directed the CBDT to comply with CIC decision. It will be interesting to see if the I-T Department pays any heed to CBDT directions and publishes names of entities enjoying tax exemption in public domain.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet – The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

User

COMMENTS

MG Warrier

5 months ago

The veil of secrecy surrounding charitable organisations including religious places and spiritual leaders builds up suspicion in the minds of public. This results in gossips and speculations. Unscrupulous elements take advantage. To start with, those institutions/organisations which are in the limelight should on their own come out and make public their sources and uses of funds and subject their existing assets to transparent accounting and audit.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)