Morning Brief: Stage Set For GST Rollout; India-China Border Face-Off Escalates; End Of Caliphate

Morning
Brief: Stage Set For GST Rollout; India-China
Border Face-Off Escalates; End Of Caliphate The dawn of GST. (NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.

Stage Set For GST Rollout: The Central Hall of Parliament will witness the birth of an era of one nation, one tax when the goods and services tax (GST) will be rolled out on Friday midnight, wrapping up 16 years of negotiations. The biggest tax reforms since Independence will be officially launched by President Pranab Mukherjee, who as a finance minister had laid down the basic structure of GST in 2009. The GST not only seeks to bring a plethora of indirect taxes and local levies such as excise VAT, octroi under one umbrella, but it also unifies the rates of taxes at Central and state level. But the main Opposition Congress will give it a miss. Though the party says GST is its brainchild, it is being implemented in a haste.

J&K Integral Part Of India, US Told: The Union government on Thursday said that it reiterated to the US administration that entire state of Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India. The government was responding to criticism by Congress party for not objecting to the use of the term “Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir” by the American administration during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent meeting with US President Donald Trump. “India’s position that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India is well known. The US government has been apprised of the same once again,” official spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.

Sharp Drop In Money Held By Indians In Swiss Banks: Amid a continuing clampdown on the suspected black money stashed away in tax havens, money parked by Indians in Switzerland's banks nearly halved to about Rs 4,500 crore in 2016. The total funds held by Indians directly with Swiss banks stood at CHF 664.8 million at the end of 2016, while the same held through fiduciaries was nearly $11 million, as per the latest data published by the country's central banking authority Swiss National Bank. The total money of Indians fell by 45 per cent during 2016 to CHF 675.75 million, marking the biggest ever yearly decline in such funds.

Killings In The Name Of Cow Protection Unacceptable: Modi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence on the mob lynchings in the country, saying killing people in the name of gau bhakti is not acceptable. “No one spoke about protecting cows more than Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinoba Bhave. Yes. It should be done. But, killing people in the name of gau bhakti is not acceptable. This is not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve," he said. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi slammed the Prime Minister’s message to cow vigilantes saying ‘it was too little too late’.

India-China Boost Troop Levels Amid Border Stand-off: The Indian and Chinese armies are reported to have sent reinforcements amid the ongoing troop face-off on the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. The face-ff has emerged as the biggest such confrontation in the region in decades. Sources said the two rival armies had strengthened their positions at the tri-junction by deploying around 3,000 troops each in a virtually eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation after Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat reviewed the ground situation by visiting the headquarters of the 17 Mountain Division in Gangtok and 27 Mountain Division in Kalimpong on Thursday.

Iraq Declares End Of Caliphate: Iraq declared the Islamic State (IS) group's ‘caliphate’ was coming to an end after it recaptured Mosul's iconic Nuri mosque on Thursday, three years to the day after it was proclaimed by the jihadists. Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi hailed the recapture of the mosque as a sign of IS's impending defeat. The seizure of the nearly 850-year-old Grand Al Nuri Mosque – from where the IS proclaimed the caliphate nearly three years ago to the day – is a huge symbolic victory. The fall of Mosul would in effect mark the end of the Iraqi half of the IS caliphate, although the group still controls territory west and south of the city, ruling over hundreds of thousands of people. Its stronghold in Syria, Raqqa, is also close to falling.

Theresa May Wins Confidence Vote: Theresa May on Thursday won her first confidence vote by a narrow margin in the House of Commons, her first major test as the Prime Minister of a minority government in the UK. The MPs voted in favour of the Queen's Speech by 323 votes to 309 with a majority of 14. May was expected to sail through with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party voting with the Conservatives as part of a "confidence and supply" arrangement after the Tories lost their overall majority in the 8 June snap general election.

MUST READ OPINIONS/COLUMNS

Goods And Services Tax: Miles To Go Before We Sleep: All taxes by the Centre will be subsumed into a single central GST and multiple state taxes by the state into a state GST. Experts agree that the GST is seriously flawed– but this can be remedied provided we recognise that this is only a beginning.

Digital India Needs A Cybersecurity Reboot: One of the biggest misconceptions about cybersecurity is that cyberattacks are restricted to the financial services and banking sector. Companies in India need to be proactive to ensure they foster efficiency and efficacy in cybersecurity management.

The Uber Episode: Is Monoculturalism The Real Problem? Cultural cleansing in a corporate context is a very difficult transformation whose short-term costs are high and the process painful, but there have been celebrated examples of this when the board demonstrated the will to go through it.

Climate Change: Green At The Grass Roots: The risks from climate change are serious enough to require grass-roots action, rather than waiting for a grand international agreement. And it is equally true that only a binding international agreement can impose costs on countries that “defect”.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

In Three Years Of Modi, Business Learns That India Is Not ‘Free Lunchistan’: In three years of the Narendra Modi government, India Inc has been drenched by torrential conditions when earlier it barely managed to get its feet wet, safe under the umbrella of crony relationships. But there is a positive side to it – India Inc will emerge leaner, stronger – and, hopefully, wiser after the cleansing process.

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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