State Diary ( May 1-15, 2017 Issue)

Mamata Banerjee

4% DA Hike for Bihar Government Employees, Pensioners

The Bihar Cabinet on April 27th increased the dearness allowance (DA) of state government employees, pensioners and family pensioners by four percent. They would now get a total DA of 136 percent instead of the existing 132 percent, cabinet secretariat department Principal Secretary Brajesh Mehrotra said. The DA would be given to the employees with effect from January 1 this year, Mehrotra told reporters in Patna in a post cabinet briefing.

This would be applicable to those employees and pensioners who are getting revised pay scale according to the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations, the Principal Secretary said. The revision of DA would have an additional burden of Rs 561.30 crore on the state exchequer annually, he said. For a minuscule number of employees, pensioners and family pensioners who are getting salary or pension as per Fifth Pay Commission’s recommendations, the cabinet increased their DA by 11 percent, he said.

Mamata Government to Introduce Eco Fish Tourism in West Bengal

The fisheries Department of West Bengal government has introduced a new concept – eco fish tourism. State Fisheries Development Corporation will be in charge of the project. A pilot project on eco fish tourism has already been completed at Nalban in Salt Lake, close to city’s IT hub and has been well accepted by the tourists.

The government has introduced a two-day-one-night package to promote eco-fish tourism. For a family of four it would cost Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500, depending on the facilities availed. Coaches run by the fisheries department would transport the tourists from their homes to the spots they have booked. The bus journey would include breakfast and lunch, which would of course include fish. On reaching the place, battery-run vehicles of the department would provide a short tour of the area. The fishes caught by the tourists would be cooked and served to them.

Jharkhand Assembly Ratifies GST Bill

The Jharkhand Assembly on April 27th passed the Jharkhand Goods and Services Taxes Bill, 2017 to pave the way for roll out of GST from July 1. A one-day special session of the assembly was convened to take up the bill. Urban Development Minister CP Singh placed the bill in the assembly which was passed by voice vote.

Later, Singh told reporters that the bill was passed unanimously. He said it is a step towards “one country, one tax”. Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) Amit Khare said that Jharkhand would not lose revenue in GST regime as whatever revenue it might lose on account of production of minerals etc would be compensated by the revenue gained from service tax. The GST is expected to come into force from July one. Telangana and Bihar assemblies had earlier ratified the GST which needs the nod of the states after its clearance in Parliament.

ED Quizzes Himachal CM for Nine Hours in Money Laundering Case

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh looked tired but managed a smile to the waiting media persons as he walked out of the Enforcement Directorate office in Jamnagar in central Delhi. Virbhadra Singh, 82, was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for nine hours in a money laundering case which was registered in September 2015.

Singh was among three Congress leaders who were questioned by the probe agency in separate cases of money laundering. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Congress party treasurer Motilal Vora are the other leaders who are under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate. The probe agency has already attached 14 properties of Singh. The Central Bureau of Investigation has already filed a charge sheet against Singh, his wife and other associates in a disproportionate assets case. Singh is alleged to have received Rs 6.1 crores that did not match his known sources of income.

Hawala Operator Arrested in AIADMK Symbol Row

The Delhi Police’s crime branch arrested a hawala operator for allegedly transferring money for AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran. Naresh, the accused, has been arrested for transferring around Rs 10 crore from Dinakaran to middleman Sukesh Chandrashekhar via hawala channels. An investigating officer said Naresh is a friend of Chandrashekhar and has helped him in transferring money in the past too. Police said they will interrogate Naresh and help identify other accused involved in the case.

Police have arrested Dinakaran and his aide Mallikarjun for allegedly paying middleman Chandrashekhar to get the party’s disputed two leaves symbol by bribing election officials. Police had recovered Rs 1.30 crore in cash from Chandrashekhar’s room in a city five star hotel. Chandrashekhar had allegedly assured Dinakaran that he would bribe election official and get a favourable decision in Dinakaran’s favour. Police has already arrested Dhinakaran and taken him to his Chennai residence.

Four Congress MLAs Join BJP in Manipur

In yet another blow to the Congress, four more MLAs joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on April 28th. Two Congress MLAs had joined the BJP earlier. The four who joined the BJP are Y Surchandra, Ngamthang Haokip, O Lukhoi and S Bira. Chief Minister N Biren Singh and state unit president K. Bhabanada felicitated them at the BJP office.

T Shyamkumar was the first Congress MLA to join the BJP after assembly elections. He was sworn in as a cabinet minister on March 15. Another MLA, Ginsuanhau Zou, followed him. In the March election, the ruling Congress bagged 28 seats in the 60-member house to finish as the single largest group. But the BJP, which secured 21 seats, joined hands with other parties to form a government. Meanwhile, Speaker Y Khemchand is examining two petitions seeking disqualification of Shyamkumar and Zou.