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Gold merchants up in arms at Vijayan’s CCTV connection plan

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 7: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s direction to officials on Tuesday to ensure that tax evasion by gold merchants is strictly curbed through means like connecting CCTVs of gold shops to GST offices and police stations has evoked a sharp reaction from the merchants.

Kerala Gold and Silver Merchants association body A. Abdul Nasser said that it is most unfortunate that officials have misled the Chief Minister.

“There has been no discussion or deliberation with us on any aspect and they (the government) are coming out with arbitrary decisions. Everyone knows that tax collected from us has gone up in the present GST time compared to the previous VAT regime. A reply to our RTI query on this is yet to be answered. We express our strong protest in the way things are going to be looked into by the government, after its meeting on Tuesday,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Vijayan chaired a meeting of tax and other officials to stress on strict vigil to foil tax evasion, especially by gold merchants. The Chief Minister also questioned if it was possible to connect CCTVs in big gold shops to the police station and tax offices.

Incidentally, according to a source in the know of things, during the VAT regime in an year, the tax collected on gold sales in the state was around Rs 630 crore and after GST came into effect, it shot up to Rs 850 crore.

Moreover, the gold merchants often bring in gold from neighbouring states and then converts into jewellery and for that they pay the tax in the state from where it is purchased.

Kerala is presently going through one of its worst-ever financial crises as its public debt has crossed Rs 4 lakh crore and ever since Vijayan took over in 2016, it has almost doubled in a period of nearly six years and the only way to go forward is to jack up revenue collections.

 

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Maharashtra government tells HC, Param Bir Singh non-traceable

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Call me “Dada”, not “Sir”, Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb to employees

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Agartala: In what appears to be a step to boost the morale of the government employees, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Sunday asked the government employees to call him “Dada” instead of “Sir”. “Call me Dada, not sir. It enhances the warmth of the relationship”, Deb told a gathering of government employees.

Deb exhorted the government employees of the state especially ASHA and Anganwadi workers of the state asking them not to dishearten as the state government was eager to improve their pay structure.

“I salute the ASHA and Anganwadi workers of my state. The level of dedication that my sisters have shown during the pandemic period deserved applause. I know, they want to hear good news from me and I am assuring you all that this government will not disappoint anyone”, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb told a gathering of government employees at Badharghat sports school field organized by Vivekananda Vicha Manch (VVM).

VVM has emerged as a big platform of government employees, of late, and Sunday’s public rally was its first big gathering to thank the Chief Minister for the series of steps his government took for the welfare of the employees.

“I know what challenges you people are facing. Nothing is hidden in front of me. I am assuring you all everything will be taken care of in the due course of time”, he added.  Lauding the efforts of government employees Deb said, without them no government office can function.

“Due to the efforts of government employees, people can access the benefits of the state sponsored welfare schemes. But, for a prolonged period the employees did not get their right to do something freely. They were trapped in the clutches of unions. In the previous regime, Left sponsored unions used to enjoy supreme power which had reduced the whole work culture of the state to tatters. In 2018, you people showed courage and voted BJP to power”, said Deb.

“Despite fund constraints, the state government is positively working on the issues of DA and other factors pertaining to the interest of the government employees. Our government has already addressed a number of issues related to financial benefits. The ad-hoc promotion, increment for Group D, Group C employees, regularization of SSA teachers, seventh pay scale, UGC scale for professors, special benefit for LTC are to name a few. All these indicate what we want to do and we shall do what we promise”, the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister also asked the officials not to call him “sir” suggesting them to refer to him as “Dada” as it makes the relationship stronger and cherished. The Chief Minister also distributed clothes among children of Badharghat sports school during the programme. State BJP President Manik Saha, Minister Ram Prasad Paul, Minister Sushanta Chowdhury, MLA Mimi Majumder, state BJP Vice President and president of Vivekananda Vichar Manch Rajib Bhattacharjee also spoke on the occasion.

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