|N A T I O N|
CAG indicts tax body in
AIR, DD cases
BJP cautious on giving up
BJP leader Bhairon Singh Shekhawat hoisting the party's flag before the commencement of the BJP's National Council meeting in Chennai on Tuesday. PTI
Custody death: govt asked to pay 1
Pak backing for terrorism flayed
Kargil widows urge PM to stand
Airport closed due to fog
Malaria vaccine builds hope
CAG indicts tax body in AIR, DD cases
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (PTI) The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found that tax authorities allowed All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan to pay Rs 262.58 crore to advertising agencies without deducting tax at source, resulting in revenue loss of Rs 12 crore.
Also figuring in CAGs list of cases, where taxes and surcharge were not deducted or partially deducted in four years ending 1996-97, are PSU majors the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum (HP), Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
AIR and Doordarshan, are among the 2,177 cases with the Direct Tax Department where taxes were deducted short or not deducted at all, involving a revenue loss of Rs 24.01 crore while attracting interest and penalty of Rs 31.83 crore, CAG noted in its latest report presented to Parliament.
Test check of functioning of TDS charges across the country revealed irregularities on account of failure to comply with the provisions, causing a revenue loss of Rs 164.24 crore, it said.
In case of AIR and Doordarshan collectively, CAG said the "payment of Rs 262.58 crore was made to advertising agencies without deducting tax at source."
While the Commercial Broadcasting Service of AIR has failed to pay penalty and interest (for TDS irregularity) of Rs 1.98 crore, the Doordarshan Commercial Service did not deduct Rs 5.25 crore and an equivalent amount of penalty and interest payment, according to the CAG report.
Audit observation in the case of Doordarshan and AIR was not accepted by the department stating that no cheques are being issued to advertising agencies and payment is made through book adjustment, the CAG report said, adding that it is not practically feasible to deduct tax at source.
"The reply is not tenable as the tax is required to be deducted at source at the time of payment or credit to the account of the payee, whichever is earlier," the CAG report said.
In case of MEA, the report said payments were made to Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) against catering contract in 1995-96. "No tax was deducted," it added.
The ministry did not deduct Rs 1.71 lakh inviting a penalty of equivalent amount with an interest payment of Rs 51,000 to the Taxation Department, according to CAG.
While HPs pending TDS amounted to Rs 1.13 crore, the IOC failed to pay surcharge (including penalty and interest) of Rs 2.91 lakh, the report said.
In case of the CWC, having a TDS pending of Rs 4.14 lakh, CAG said the TDS was not deducted from the contractor who was having a tax deduction certificate.
But audit revealed that the contractors certificate was relevant to financial year 1996-97 and not to 1995-96, the CAG report added.
BJP cautious on giving up
CHENNAI, Dec 28 A proposal in the BJP to give up its "Hindutva" agenda and instead adopt the common agenda of the NDA has come unstuck with the national executive of the BJP adopting a "go slow" approach on the issue.
The proposal contained in the first draft document of intent of the party, which will be adopted by the national council as the "Chennai Declaration" tomorrow, initially said that "each and every activist of the party must fully understand that the BJP has no agenda other than the common agenda of the NDA".
The final draft of the "Chennai Declaration" circulated to the members of the national council however, had a toned-down language and simply said, "the BJP expresses the confidence that every BJP worker understands that our agenda for governance is the national agenda for good governance".
Party sources said several members in the national executive were of the view that an abrupt decision to give up the Hindutva agenda could send wrong signals to the party cadres and result in confusion.
It was decided that for the time being it would be in the interest of the party to send a signal that there was only a moratorium on the agenda of the party, including the controversial Ayodhya issue, Article 370 and the uniform civil code, and till the time there was a coalition government, there was a need to adhere to the principle of "coalition dharma".
The revised draft of the "Chennai Declaration" emphasised on this point. It said, "Our government is faithfully implementing the common agenda contained in the common manifesto. As the leader of the NDA, it is the paramount responsibility of the BJP to ensure that there is neither any dilution nor any deviation from the common agenda".
Two senior party General Secretaries, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu and Mr K.N. Govindacharya, also took pains to explain that the party was not giving up its ideology or for that matter "any agenda".
Mr Naidu, who seconded the proposed "Chennai Declaration" moved by the party General Secretary, Mr Narendra Modi, at the national council session, emphasised that the document of intent was not a "document for the party for the 21st century, and it was only a document which was being released on the eve of the 21st century".
He reminded the delegates that as long as the BJP was part of a coalition government, it had to follow the common agenda and there was no way the party could follow its own agenda. In such a situation, it was better to set aside issues which did not have a consensus and instead concentrate on good governance.
Mr Govindacharya also clarified the point later in an informal chat that there was no change in the partys ideology or for that matter aims and objectives.
He said the party had raised certain issues keeping in mind the requirement of certain situations. For instance, he said, the Ayodhya issue, which had been embroiled in controversy since 1949, was highlighted at a time when the "pseudo secularists" were trying to woo a certain section of society with false promises. Issues were raised and erased depending on the existing situation at any particular point of time, he added. But this did not mean any dilution in the basic ideals and objective of the party.
Mr Naidu, too, in his speech to the delegates pointed this out when he said there were several people who were only interested in knowing about the fate of the Ram temple. "From morning to evening they are asking Ram, Ram...as if we have no other task before us".
He said after 50 years of independence, which was a long time in any countrys history, the time had come for a thorough introspection. The task before the party, the government and the people was to address all issues.
Mr Modi, while moving the "Chennai Declaration" for the consideration of the national council said the BJPs guiding theory would be based on the "four Hs" propounded by Deendayal Upadhyaya.
He said the countrys Heritage should be the essence of deriving inspiration. There should be harmony in every walk of life, a human face to every aspect of governance and to striving to ensure for happiness for every individual.
The document which seeks to restate the basic beliefs of the party and its fundamental commitments speaks about making a modern India and a moral India that is forward-looking and forward-moving, believing in cultural nationalism wherein India is one country with one people, with a common national identity and a common cultural heritage; sarva panth samaadar (equal respect for all faiths); treating minorities, whether linguistic or religious, as an integral part of the great Indian family; Antyodaya (reaching the last man) as the guiding principle of economics; social justice based on the related principle of social harmony; equal participation for women; removing imbalances between agriculture and industry and transforming the role of the State from a controller to that of a facilitator.
The document says that the time has come for the establishment of a new kind of cooperative partnership between the government, political establishment, non-governmental organisations and the citizenry to unveil a new chapter in Indias development.
Tearful farewell to S.D. Sharma
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (FOC and PTI) A grateful nation bid a tearful adieu to former President Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, who was cremated with full military honours amidst the chanting of Vedic hymns here today.
President K.R. Narayanan, Vice-President Krishan Kant, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, former President R. Venkataraman, former Prime Ministers I.K. Gujral, Chandrasekhar and V.P. Singh were among the VVIPs present at the state funeral near Vijay Ghat to pay their last respects to Sharma, who died of cardiac arrest at a city hospital on Sunday night.
The mortal remains of the 81-year-old leader, which lay in state since yesterday at his 23, Safdarjung Road residence, were brought on a flower-bedecked gun carriage in a funeral procession escorted by 66 platoons from the Army and three each from the Air Force and Navy, on the front and the rear.
All the mourners, including members of the late Presidents family and the diplomatic corps, stood silently as the body was brought in with the ceremonial band of the Rajputana Rifles marching in slowly playing "Brahmaputra".
Two Lt-Generals, a Vice-Admiral and an Air Marshal lend their shoulders to the man, who led the nation during the turbulent years between 1992-97, on his last journey.
As sons Satish Dayal and Ashutosh Dayal lit the funeral pyre amidst the chanting of Vedic hymns, the ceremonial battery gave a 21-gun salute and jawans sounded the Last Post and the Rouse after a short interval.
Volunteers of Seva Dal shouted Shankar Dayal Sharma amar rahe (Long Live Sharma) as the late leaders mortal remains were consigned to flames.
Earlier, the gun carriage passed through Akbar Road, Krishna Menon Marg, Vijay Chowk, Rajpath, Tilak Marg, Vikas Marg and Ring Road before reaching Vijay Ghat.
Prior to the rituals, representatives of all religions offered prayers for the peace of the departed soul.
Lok Sabha Speaker G.M.C Balayogi, Defence Minister George Fernandes, Home Minister L.K. Advani, Urban Development Minister Jagmohan, Labour Minister Satyanarain Jatiya, Army Chief Gen V.P. Malik, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis and Navy Chief Admiral Sushil Kumar were present on the occasion.
Others present included former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, Delhi Lt-Governor Vijai Kapoor and Chief Minister Sheila Dixit, former Union Ministers Bhajan Lal and N.D. Tiwari and TDP leader Yerran Naidu.
Several people, including CPI General Secretary A.B. Bardhan, placed wreaths on the late leaders mortal remains at his residence.
The government had yesterday announced a seven-day mourning as a mark of respect to the former President.
Custody death: govt asked to pay
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Punjab Government to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to next of kin of Kartar Singh, who died in police custody at Zira police station in Ferozepore district.
Sources in the NHRC told TNS here today, that the commission had asked the Punjab Government to pay the amount as interim relief to the relatives of Kartar Singh.
The commission has also ordered departmental action against the errant police officials who failed to guard Kartar Singh. The commission was informed about the case by the Ferozepore SSP. According to the communication, Kartar Singh, arrested in September, 1995, under the provisions of the IPC, had died a natural death.
The commission sought a report from the state government. The magisterial inquiry by Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Ferozepore, ruled out the involvement of the police in the death of the victim. It stated that Kartar Singh had died due to excessive intake of drugs.
Finding that that the observations in the inquiry report did not match the findings of the post-mortem report, the commission directed its Director General (Investigation), Mr D.R. Karthikeyan, to collect facts.
A team of the investigation division found that Kartar Singh was neither beaten up nor tortured by the police and that his relatives and local villagers did not suspect any foul play.
On the other hand, the post-mortem report indicated that abrasions were found on Kartar Singhs body. After receiving a report of sample examination of the viscera and the histopathological report, the doctor opined thar Kartar Singh had died due to poisoning by zinc phosphide, a pesticide. He further opined that Kartar Singh died within 24 hours of consuming the poison.
The commission concluded that the circumstances brought on record indicated negligence on part of the police officials concerned. It felt that Kartar Singh consumed zinc phosphide before or around the time of his arrest.
The commission observed
that symptoms of poisoning could not have escaped the
notice of the policemen who escorted Kartar Singh or
those on guard at the police station. It felt that Kartar
Singh could have been saved with timely medical help.
Pak backing for terrorism
CHENNAI, Dec 28 The BJP chief Mr Kushabau Thakre, today said that the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight from Kabul four days ago was yet another instance of terrorism fuelled by Pakistan and India will give them a befitting reply.
Inaugurating the national council session of the BJP here, the first after the party emerged victorious in the general elections, Mr Thakre said: "Terror will not get them (Pakistan) Kashmir" and they should not even "dream of it".
He said the revelation of the identity of the hijackers, of whom four were Pakistanis, clearly indicated that Pakistan continued to indulge in cross-border terrorism and hostile anti-India propaganda. "What has added a new dimension to the hostility is the military coup in Pakistan", he added.
The BJP chief also spoke about the reign of terror unleashed by Left extremists in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar adding this needed to be met with a tough and concerted counter-campaign.
Mr Thakre, who before addressing the highest forum of the party, unfurled the party flag at Chettinand Vidya Ashram, also highlighted the growth of the party saying a few years ago it would not have been possible to think that the BJP was holding its national council session in Chennai.
The BJP President confined his speech to general observations and did not elaborate on the partys proposal to put a moratorium on controversial issues.
He said since the BJP had formed a pre-election alliance and adopted a common manifesto, there was no scope for any differences on its implementation.
Speaking on organisational affairs of the party, he informed delegates that the organisational elections would be held next year and starting January the membership drive will begin.
He urged the council to expand the social base of the party, reaching out to as many sections of the society as possible.
In an apparent reference to the Kalyan Singh episode in UP, Mr Thakre said: "We are what we are today because the organisations interests were always placed above individual interests and aspirations".
In recent times, he said there had been this "unfortunate" tendency among some individuals to place themselves above the party. "This is unacceptable. No matter who the individual, it will not be tolerated" he said. Saying that to break ranks and violate discipline amounted to disowning party, Mr Thakre added "for such individuals there never has been and there never shall be any place in the organisation".
Emphasising the need to have a hard look at the manner in which the organisation was run, Mr Thakre said the partys functioning at all levels had to be more democratic and there was a need to involve a larger number of people in both the decision- making process as well as in executing programmes and policies.
Urging the national council to contemplate on what was expected of them in the changed circumstances, Mr Thakre said: "We are no longer a party in opposition, but a party in government".
He said since the BJP
was the biggest party in the country today and the
biggest partner in the NDA, members should ensure that
nothing should be said or done that conveyed even the
slightest hint of irresponsibility.
Kargil widows urge PM to stand
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 A delegation of Kargil widows today met the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and urged him not to release militant Maulana Masood Azhar.
The armed hijackers on board the Indian Airlines plane at Kandahar have demanded the release of Masood Azhar, who has been languishing in a Jammu jail since February 1994.
"The Prime Minister has assured us that his government would not take any step which would bring down the reputation of India and encourage terrorism," Ms Babita Devi, widow of Lance Naik Satpal Singh, told reporters outside the Prime Ministers residence.
The Kargil widow delegation of about 30 persons, including children, met Mr Vajpayee and urged him to "not to bow" to pressures.
Expressing their sympathies with the relatives of over 150 held hostage in the aircraft, the Kargil widows said "We also underwent pain and anguish during the Kargil conflict. We did not come out on to the streets."
Airport closed due to fog
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (PTI) Despite having put in place a series of measures to ensure uninterrupted flight schedule during winters, Delhi airports first fog of the season forced it to remain closed for 12 hours since 11 pm last night.
This sent flight schedules haywire with the first flight able to take off at 11 am this morning, airport sources said.
Alliance Air cancelled its service to Guwahati while Indian Airlines combined its morning flights to Mumbai, Vadodara and Ahmedabad. Jet Airways and Sahara Airlines flights were also delayed considerably. All flights coming in to Delhi were diverted, mostly to Mumbai.
Prolonged bad weather and foggy conditions last winter had thrown flight schedules into chaos at the Delhi airport, putting commuters to severe hardship.
The authorities had
reviewed arrangements at Delhi Airport at a high level
meeting early this month and chalked out a number of
measures, including activation of an additional radio
frequency to provide air traffic controllers with runway
visual range (RVR) information.
Malaria vaccine builds hope
HYDERABAD, Dec 28 (PTI) Researchers at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) here have developed a new malaria vaccine that targets multiple sites of the vector causing malaria and plans were being finalised for the first phase of human trials. The vaccine against malaria was currently undergoing animal trials on monkey models in the USA the CDFD Director, Dr Sayed E Hasnian, told reporters here recently.
Unlike other vaccines that are in the pipeline, the Indian version targets multiple sites of the vector causing malaria, he said.
A major problem with Plasmodium falciparum virus causing malaria is that it quickly changes its make-up rendering the vaccine hopeless.
|Kerala to identify creamy
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Government will raise from January 1, 2000, the annual income limit to identify the creamy layer among the Backward Classes from the existing Rs 1.5 lakh as suggested by the Joseph Commission. The limit index, Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar told the Assembly during question hour. PTI
8 antique idols
3 children die
in roof collapse
3 lynched in
on police conduct
| Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir | Chandigarh |
| Editorial | Business | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |