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17:41 hrs


No new taxes in state

Budget in civic poll yr
Kolkata, 27 February

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the eve of the

presentation of the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha.
On Friday. n SNS

Author hacked to death: A prominent US blogger of Bangladeshi-origin was hacked to death and his wife
seriously injured by unknown attackers. The attack took place right in front
of a police barricade in Dhaka. P10
Mr Spock dead: Actor Leonard
Nimoy, who won a worldwide fan
base as the pointy-eared half-human,
half-Vulcan Mr Spock in the blockbuster
"Star Trek" television and film franchise, died at 83, US media reported.
Delhi doctors strike: Around 15,000
resident doctors at government hospitals in Delhi struck work in protest
against the assault on one of their colleagues, causing inconvenience to
hundreds of patients.
3 shot dead: Two masked assailants
on Friday shot dead three persons carrying bank money at a busy commercial
area in Lucknow and decamped with
Rs 50 lakh after opening fire to scare
away shocked onlookers, police said.
TRAI moots call rate cut: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
(TRAI) has proposed a sharp cut of
about 35 per cent for making calls and
up to 80 per cent for sending messages
while roaming.
Aadhaar-EC link: To make electoral rolls error free, the EC has
decided to launch a program from 3
March in which Aadhaar numbers will
be fed in the Elector's Photo Identity
Card (EPIC) database.
Accused acquitted: Exactly 13 years
after the Godhra train inferno which
led to the worst communal riots in Gujarat,
six people accused of killing three British
nationals and another local have been
acquitted by a special court.
Woman gangraped:A 21-year-old woman
was gangraped in front of her husband near Mourigram railway station
in Howrah district late on Thursday
night. A youth has been arrested in
this connection.



With an eye on this years

civic polls in the state, West
Bengal finance minister
Amit Mitra today presented a Rs 1,38,374 crore
Budget without increasing any existing tax or
imposing a new one. The
state's Plan outlay has
been pegged at Rs 49,507
crore, up by 16 per cent
compared to last years.
But what has come as
a dampener is the shortfall of around Rs 5,351
crore in the state's tax
revenue collection in 201415 as against the Rs 45,413
crore that Mr Mitra had
projected. The revised
Budget for 2014-15 showed
the state's fiscal deficit at
Rs 23,881 crore, up by
around Rs 8,592 crore
from what was estimated.
Mr Mitra later said
the gap in tax revenue collection would be bridged
substantially as the month
of March (financial yearend) was yet to be over. In
a sharp departure from all
his past Budget proposals
wherein Mr Mitra had
projected a substantial
rise in tax revenue, the FM

this time has projected a

tax collection of Rs 46,496
crore for 2015-16, up by
only Rs 1,083 crore over
last year's projection. The
Budget sought to woo all
sections of the people,
especially the middle class.
These include exemption
from paying 1 per cent
additional stamp duty on
the registration of property up to Rs 40 lakh as
against the existing Rs 30
lakh, exempting VAT for
traders having annual
turnover of up to Rs 10
lakh as against the present Rs 5 lakh and exempting VAT audit for the
MSME sector for up to Rs
10 crore as against the
existing Rs 5 crore.
The government has
proposed to distribute 40
lakh bicycles to students

(girls and boys) of class

XI-XII over the next two
years, has increased the
amount of annual scholarship under Kanyashree
to Rs 750 from the present
Rs 500, has proposed Rs
10,000 assistance to small
farmers towards installation of irrigation pumps
and creation of a Rs 100
crore special fund to support the Self Help Groups
in Bankura, Birbhum,
South Dinajpur and Cooch
Behar. The allocation for
minority affairs department has seen a hike of Rs
296 crore over last year.
The government proposed to raise the exemption limit for amusement
tax for musical events
and other non-cinema
entertainments on tickets
priced up to Rs 100 instead
of the present Rs 60. To
provide relief to the tea
industry, the government
plans to extend the exemption on Primary Education and Rural Employment Cess by one more
year and relief from paying unpaid interest on
agricultural income tax
and cesses up to 31 March
provided that tea planters
clear their tax dues.

India first only religion SRINI APOLOGISES



New Delhi, 27 February

New Delhi, 27 February: For-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first speech

in the ongoing Budget
session displayed his characteristic oratorical flourish to reach out to all
stakeholders, including
the Opposition and states,
by batting for federalism.
He also sought to assure
religious minorities with
the assertion that India
first is the only religion
of his government.
No one has the right
to take the law into his own
hands or discriminate
against people on the basis
of community. My government has only one
religion, India First and
our only Holy book is
Indian Constitution, the
Prime Minister said in his
reply to the three-day
debate on the Motion of
Thanks to the President's
Address. The Motion of
Thanks was later adopted by the Lok Sabha after
the Opposition members
amendments were negated. Various members
including those from parties supporting the Modi
government had expressed concern over growing attacks on minorities. We are worried and

scared, former Lok Sabha

Speaker P A Sangma of
NPP, that is supporting
NDA, had said yesterday.
Mr Modi said he had
always believed in the
importance of states for
overall growth of India
adding, We must empower states for the strength
of the nation. Decisions
on development are not
taken based on the colour
of party flags. The only
flag that my government
works for is the Tricolour.
The PM referred to the
objections raised by Congress CMs to the Land Act
enacted bythe Congressled UPA in 2013 and spoke
about resistance to the new
Land Ordinance brought
in by his government. I
am willing to give credit
to you. We should not
have ego that there can be
nothing better than what
we did. When you passed
the Land Act (in 2013), we
stood shoulder to shoulder with you, he told the
Congress MPs.

mer Board of Control for

Cricket in India chief N
Srinivasan today tendered
an unconditional apology
in the Supreme Court for
presiding over the 8 February BCCI working
committee meeting in
breach of a court order.
Mr Srinivasan told the
court that it was due to a
bonafide misunderstanding of the court's
order that he went ahead
to chair the meet. I am
offering an unqualified
apology. We looked at the
letter of the order and not
the spirit, the court was
A Bench of Justices T
S Thakur and Fakkir
Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla permitted him to
cast his vote in the board
elections on behalf of the
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) at the 2
March Annual General
Body (AGM) meeting of
the BCCI.
The court made it clear
that Mr Srinivasan would
be exercising the vote on
behalf of the TNCA as a
representative and not as
its president, only if the
TNCA formally authorises him to do so.


New Delhi, 27 February

Basing its unconcealed

optimism on quite a few
positives like lower inflation, lower oil prices,
higher foreign exchange
reserves and a higher
GDP for the current fiscal than previously predicted, the annual economic survey 2014-15,
tabled in Parliament today
on the eve of the Union
Budget 2015-16, practically advocated going the
whole hog on embracing
reforms to realise the
cherished dream of double digit growth.
The survey, which normally seeks to light up the
grey contours of the coming Budget and shows up
key milestones the economy had traversed during
the closing fiscal, has
commended espousal of
Big Bang reforms.
The Survey, the annual report card of the state
of the economy, was
authored by a select team
of experts led by chief economic adviser Arvind
Subramanian and tabled
in both Houses of Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The survey, no doubt,
took note of the changed
g rowth computation
method in predicting a
growth rate of over 8 per
cent in the coming year.
Citing the change in base
year made by the Central

Statistics Office (CSO),

the Survey said the growth
rate at market prices for
2015-16 is expected to be
between 8.1-8.5%.
The survey wanted a
potent prescription to
achieve 8.1 to 8.5 per cent
growth in the next fiscal
2015-16 ~ better business
setting, easier regulation
and less tedious taxes.
Such an environment
would be ideal to coast
towards double digit
growth before long, the

Survey suggested. India

has reached a sweet spot
and there is scope for Big
Bang reforms now, the
Survey said.
A clear political mandate for reforms coupled
with benevolent external
environment is now
expected to propel India
to double digit growth
trajectory, it predicted.
Revealing its pro-reforms
propensity, the Survey
also pitched for reforming
labour laws, building


New Delhi, 27 February

A 25-year-old woman from

Sikkim, the wife of an
Army personnel, was trafficked to Delhi where she
was raped allegedly by an
AIIMS doctor in south
Delhi's Hauz Khas area
here last night.
The woman's husband
is a Gorkha Regiments
jawan posted in Rajasthan.
She was brought to Delhi
on 20 February on the
pretext of providing her
a job at a beauty parlour.
Police arrested the 27year-old doctor attached
to the Neurology Department of All India Institute
of Medical Science
(AIIMS) for raping the

woman while four others,

including a married couple, have been arrested for
allegedly trafficking her
to Delhi and forcing her
into prostitution.
The accused doctor
has been identified as
Mehr Tez (27), a native of
Hyderabad, and police
sources said he was to get
married in two months.
He has been living at a
rented accommodation
in Gautum Nagar area of
Hauz Khas for the past one
year. The other two
accused have been identified as Suman (37) and
her husband Deepak alias
Sagar (40). They were
arrested from Sagarpur
while their associates,
Dharamveer (32) and

Kamal (31), were arrested from Gautam Nagar

itself. We have also seized
the auto in which the
woman was transported
to the doctor's house,
said a senior police officer. The incident came
to light around 6 here this
morning when the police
got a call from an auto driver from Gautam Nagar
that a woman passenger
was crying and saying
that she has been raped.
A police team then rushed
to the spot and brought her
to the police station.
The victim told police
that Suman had brought
her to Delhi on 20 February on the pretext of getting her a job at a beauty

Mukul removed as TMC leader in RS

New Delhi/Kolkata,
27 February

Anna Hazare speaks to the media regarding the

governments land acquisition ordinance. In the
Capital on Friday. n SNS













Mukul Roy, once a confidant of Trinamool

Congress supremo
Mamata Banerjee, has
been removed as the
leader of the party in
the Rajya Sabha with
Derek O'Brien having
been appointed in his
A letter from TMC
chief Banerjee replacing Roy, who has been
under CBI scanner in
the Saradha chit fund
scam, was sent to Rajya
Sabha Chairman Hamid
Ansari. Sources confirmed that a letter in this
regard has been received
at the Chairman's office.
Earlier in the day, Roy

stepped up his attack on

the party top leadership,
targeting Miss Banerjee's nephew and MP
Abhishek Banerjee and
"publicly admitted" his
mistake of endorsing the
recent decision to replace
MP Subhendu Adhikary
from the post of Trinamul Youth Congress president. Mr Banerjee now
occupies the post.
The explosive
remark came 24 hours
after Roy had met
Union finance minister
Arun Jaitley that triggered speculation
about Roy joining the
BJP or floating a party
along with Trinamul
Soon after Roy's
remarks, Miss
Banerjee refused to


Sikkimese woman raped in Delhi, MUFTI TO TAKE

AIIMS doctor and 4 others arrested OATH ON SUNDAY



enabling connectivity to
reduce cost of doing business in the country.
Acknowledging a few
fortuitous factors favouring the economy, the Survey said, In the short run,
growth will receive a boost
from lower oil prices,
from likely monetary policy easing facilitated by
lower inflation and lower
inflationary expectations,
and forecast of a normal
It also predicted that
the growth during 2014-15
may touch 8 per cent on
better farm output, higher than the CSO-projected growth of 7.4 per cent
for the current fiscal. The
acceleration of growth
provides Prime Minister
Narendra Modi enough
space to commit more
funds to investment without resorting to deficit
financing. India can balance the short-term imperative of boosting public
investment to revitalise
growth with fiscal discipline, the Survey noted.
It reiterated that the
government would not
overshoot its deficit target of 4.1 percent of gross
domestic product in the
current fiscal year just
ending, and stood by a
medium-term target of
cutting it to 3 per cent of
GDP. Several reforms
have been undertaken
and more are on the anvil.

Mukul Roy

Derek O'Brien

take questions from

the media on Roy and
snubbed the media.
"It's improper for you
to ask questions on
issues other than the
state Budget, since I
have agreed to meet
you to answer your
questions on the
Budget. Please behave

yourself,"she told the

media in the state
Intriguingly, Mr
Mukul Roy's son and
MLA Subhrangshu
Roy, who had also
incurred the wrath of
the party leadership
for his recent caustic
remarks against Miss

Banerjee, touched her

feet when he met her
during the day in the
The senior Roy, a
Rajya Sabha MP, said
Mr Adhikary should be
immediately made its
youth wing president
both at the state and
the national level since
the party is also ambitious to expand its base
in other states.
Mr Adhikary's
name has been dragged
into the Saradha scam
and the party supremo
had recently said the
BJP with the help of
the CBI probing the
scam was putting pressure on him to "split
the party."
Adhikary as "the most

potential Trinamul
youth leader", Mukul
Roy regretted that he
had been party to the
decision to remove
him. Knowing that he
might be charged with
indulging in anti-party
activities for airing his
views on the party's
internal matters, Roy
said : "Definitely, it's a
party matter and I
should speak on it only
in the party forum. At
the same time I owe an
explanation to the people for consenting to
Subhendu's removal
which is why I am
expressing regret in
public. Mukul Roy justified there was nothing wrong for him to
have met Mr Jaitley

New Delhi, 27 February: Set-

ting the stage for the installation of a PDP-BJP government in Jammu and
Kashmir on Sunday, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi
and PDP patron Mufti
Mohammed Sayeed today
shook hands and hugged
each other noting that the
coalition was like bringing together of North Pole
and South Pole.
The 79-year-old Sayeed
will take oath as the state's
Chief Minister along with
12 members each from
PDP and BJP in Jammu at
a ceremony to be attended by Modi. BJP's Nirmal
Singh is expected to be the
Deputy Chief Minister.
The two parties, bitter
rivals in the past, have
held intense negotiations
since December when the
election verdict resulted in
a hung Assembly, to put
together the coalition on
the basis of Common Minimum Programme (CMP)
which will be released on
Sunday. The CMP will
cover all controversial
issues like Article 370,
Armed Forces Special Powers Act and resettlement
of West Pakistan Refugees.
Reflecting on the difficulties they faced, Sayeed
said after an hour-long
meeting with the Prime
Minister that the coalition was like bringing
together North Pole and
South Pole. He made it
clear that the coalition
was first a political alliance
and then an alliance for
governance. When asked
about Article 370 which
gives special status to the
state and AFSPA, Sayeed
said, Leave these issues.
These are not issues.We
have to do all this (hame
karna padta hai)...All this
will come in the CMP
which will be announced
after swearing-in.