UPA finds it tough to look beyond Nepotism

Headline- The UPA announced Smt. Meira Kumar as its Presidential candidate.

The plot thickens and now there seems to be a level playing field in respect of the caste politics involved is concerned. The UPA, headed by the Indian National Congress, announced Smt. Meira Kumar, the former Lok Sabha Speaker and a five-time Lok Sabha MP and an out and out Lutyen’s politician, who is also the daughter of the prominent Dalit Leader, former Deputy Prime Minister, and Freedom Fighter Shri.Jagjivan Ram, as its candidate for the Presidential Elections to be held soon.

Meira Kumar is also a seasoned politician who has proved her mettle by being a part of the Union Cabinet for quite a while. Pitting her against Shri. Ramnath Kovind has made the job of the allies tough since they will now go into a frenzy as to whom to extend their support to, which would also be presumed as a signal in the political arena.

Opinion

This is a cunning move by the UPA which symbolically begins the tug of war as to which Dalit is bigger. This is also a move to make the UPA allies reconsider their support to the presidential candidate. We could expect a few change of minds as a result of this nomination.

As for Smt.Meira Kumar is concerned, she does not seem to be an equal match for the NDA’s candidate, especially when it comes to her privileged upbringing and Lutyen’s loyalty.

Also, the inability and reluctance of the UPA to look beyond Dynasty politics are becoming loud and clear, given the other name under consideration was Shri.Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi surname bodes well with the sentiment of the party.

Smt. Meira Kumar seems to have earned this nomination as a prize for her unswerving loyalty towards the Nehru-Gandhi family. Also, it would be possible for her to claim the ‘Woman’ card and the ‘Dalit’ card together and stir up the support of the allies of the UPA.

But, in all honesty, the possibility of her getting elected looks bleak, now that most parties have vowed their allegiance to Shri.Kovind and have got into the good books of the ruling alliance, the NDA. Nobody would want to lose that advantage now, would they?

 

GST and Bloggers

Headline- Bloggers also now fall under the ambit of GST. To register, collect and pay tax accordingly.

 

money
Image Credit- http://www.moneycontrol.com

 

Bloggers who have monetised their sites are in for a surprise. As it turns out, bloggers have been covered under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which will come into force on the 1st of July, 2017.

People earning through ads in their blogs is no new thing. Some even earn lakhs per month, depending on the clicks on their page. GST aims to bring all these into its coverage and tax them. As a result, any blogger who earns even a paisa from their website, now, has to get themselves registered under GST.

Under the GST law, in a case where the blogger earns any amount from outside their own state or country is liable to pay tax at 18%.

How to register?

Registration under GST is a simple process if we have all the required documents ready to be uploaded into the system. You will be granted registration in three days once you have successfully got your uploaded documents verified by the Verifying Officer. The following is the list of the documents that one must have in hand, before logging into the GST portal.

  1.  Softcopy of the photo of the Authorised person ( you, if you are a sole proprietor, the Managing Director if you operate under the name of a company or the Designated Partner or Managing Partner if you operate as an LLP or a Partnership firm).
  2. Proof of Registration of your entity ( Not Applicable if you are a sole proprietor)
  3. Proof of Principal place of business (Applicable to all- Electricity bill, Property tax receipt, Rent Agreement etc- Any one will do)
  4. Scanned Copy of Bank Statement (including front page) or a Scanned Copy of a canceled cheque with the details of the Account number,  IFSC code, Bank name etc visible.

After having all these ready, log into the GST portal and register.

Pro-tip– Right now, the GST portal is closed for registrations. It has been displayed that it will soon open for fresh registrations. So keep an eye out for that and once it is open, go and register. Until then, get your documents part ready. As of now, GST migration for existing Service Tax and Excise duty assessees have only been done. So do not panic. 

The service category, to choose while registering would be – “Online information and database access or retrieval services”. 

More information on GST can be read here (this is taken from the Official Portal of the GoI. Hence go ahead and click away!)

 

 

 

The Presidential Checkmate

Headline- Ramnath Kovind announced as the Presidential candidate of the BJP.

 

kovind

In what could be termed as a masterstroke, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party announced Shri Ramnath Kovind, the incumbent Governor of Bihar as their candidate for the highest constitutional position of the country, the President.

“He hails from a Dalit family of farmers and has come to this position after facing a lot of struggles. We are sure that he will send a positive signal to the people across the country”, said Amit Shah, the BJP head, in the press conference announcing his candidature.

Ramnath Kovind is a lawyer by profession and an RSS loyalist. He had been a member of the Rajya Sabha twice before and also a practicing advocate in the Supreme Court.

Now why this could sound the death knell for the opposition is because it would practically be difficult for them to announce a candidate at par with Shri.Kovind.

With leaders like Mayawati and Nitish Kumar expressing their solidarity and support to Shri Kovind, it is now a lost cause for the opposition to think of any other person.

Shri Kovind is known for his hard work and his work towards the upliftment of the Dalit community in north India. He is also said to have taken up the cases of SC/ST women, without charging any fee for the work. Him being from the Dalit community, which was emphasised in the press conference, is aimed at appeasing the community in the run-up to the polls of 2019.

This move is also seen as the end for the burning political ambitions of senior BJP leaders like LK Advani and MM Joshi, who have been embroiled in the controversy of Babri Masjid.

Opinion

While this might seem like a move to appease the Dalit community, to consolidate their votes, this is also a welcome move, to be honest. The position of the President of India is one of dignity and influential. Only someone with a proven track record of groundwork could do justice to the prestige and honour associated with the chair. Given that Shri Ramnath Kovind is known for his impartial nature ( tiffs between the CM and the Governor in Bihar are non-existent with the CM himself calling Kovind to be impartial) and he has done a lot for the upliftment of the Dalit women, there could not have been a better choice as far as the BJP is concerned. His caste and RSS loyalty would only be worthwhile add-ons to the already glittery ensemble. If this move would pay off in the long run or not with regards to the polls is something that is to be seen.

For now, it looks like the BJP has gotten its moves right and if things unfold as anticipated, then this would be the checkmate.

 

 

Holy Cow!

This article has been published in Youth Ki Awaaz and can be read here

The past week has been busy with numerous celebrations and an equal number of protests across the country.

The elected governments of the Southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, among others completed one year of rule and the Union Government completed three years since its landslide victory in 2014. While Tamil Nadu has been silent on the whole celebrations aspect owing to a year of mourning for its former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Kerala has been celebrating the successful completion of one year by its LDF government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan.

While the Central Government is conducting heavy campaigns to mark the completion of three years, there are voices from many directions calling out the apparent failure of the government in the areas of Job creation, which was, in fact, one of the electoral promises of the BJP.

Moving on, the hot topic over the past few days has been the Beef ban. A majority of people think it to be a move targeting Muslims, now that the festival of Ramzan is round the corner. The notification, in fact, speaks about the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, with the terms ‘Cattle’, ‘Animal market’ etc have been clearly defined in the notification.

The notification also states that people selling cattle in animal markets are to give a declaration stating that the cattle sold is to be used for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter.

It is a known fact that many states in India consume beef as food and they have not taken this action by the ministry in a good way. There have been mass protests across the country with states refusing to comply with the order because this is a topic that comes under the States list and the center has no right to interfere in governing these aspects.

Recently, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court also stayed the ban consequent to a Public Interest Litigation. Surprisingly, the Kerala High Court yesterday expressed its opinion on the entire topic saying that the notification does not ban the slaughter of cattle in its entirety. A basic reading of the notification would indicate that the ban is on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets only and nowhere else, it said. The High Court also opined that there seems to be no ban whatsoever on the sale of cattle for slaughter outside animal markets, that is from homes and other places.

Opinion

This seems to be a diversionary tactic employed by the BJP to distract people from attacking its three-year completion celebrations. It also is very evident that the ban has been imposed to garner the faith and loyalty of the Hindu majority in the nation thereby warming up for the 2019 elections.

While this is something all the governments do, any attempt in policing what the people eat or drink is not a good sign of governance. There are much more burning issues in the nation and all that we are provided with is a ban on one of our favorite dishes. This was a totally uncalled-for move and also it might hit the BJP at all wrong places when planning for the next election campaign.

Two more years to go to deliver on the poll promises and they don’t seem to be anywhere close to fulfilling all of them by 2019.

The Nirbhaya Ruling and Its Social Impact

A recent event that received National attention

It has been a week since the Nirbhaya convicts were sentenced to death by the Honorable Supreme Court of India.

The convicts, four of them, were sentenced to death by the Justice amidst loud applause in the court hall. The Honorable Supreme Court upheld the death sentence awarded by the High Court and set a wonderful precedent for the country.

‘Nirbhaya’ is the popular name given to the victim of the gangrape, that happened in the Capital city in December 2012. A 23-year-old paramedic was raped inside a moving bus and abandoned along with her boyfriend, with injuries. The victim succumbed to the injuries, even though she was flown to Singapore to receive special treatment and care.

There were six accused of whom one was a juvenile. Although he was said to be the most brutal perpetrator of the crime, he was tried under the Juvenile Justice Act and was sentenced to three years in a Reform home. He completed the sentence in 2015 and was released from the home.

Impact of the news

The social ramifications of this case could be many. It would act as a strong deterrent to many people who assume that they can get away with the crime. This is also a good encouragement for women to come out in the open and lodge a complaint about rape. In a way, this symbolically says that judge will be served irrespective of the political and social pressures that surround the case.

I have seen quite a few women in my life, who had taken abuse with their heads bowed down. Their image in the society mattered more to them than the safety of the women around them. I had pushed them to file a FIR in many cases in vain. They had always been skeptical about the judicial process in India. Personally, I think even the Nirbhaya case could have been sorted long back and that this was accomplished only because of the heavy media coverage the case had got.

This ruling has given us the much-needed faith in Judiciary. This has, in a way, reinforced the fact that heinous crimes need to be punished with equally harsh sentences.

Opinion

While this has set a good precedent, there has been voices from multiple levels that the juvenile ought to have been tried as an adult, since it was reported that he was the most brutal of them all, while committing the heinous act.

I second this opinion. I am of the opinion and belief that individual choices go a long way in making a person do or not do something. This applies equally to good and bad deeds. While the juvenile might have been a minor legally, the magnitude of the crime that he committed and the amount of pain that he caused is beyond any acceptance and it has actually taken a valuable life off the Earth.

This is morally wrong. Nobody has the right to take another person’s life. Period. There are no two questions on this and that is it.

Let us hope this idea is analysed for its various ramifications and that our law is amended accordingly.

Celebrities and Politics

This post has been published in Youth Ki Awaaz and can be read here

It is almost a month after we came to know about the stunning attendance record of Members of the Parliament like Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha, and now Superstar Rajnikanth is doing his bit of churning the dust by talking and hinting about his entry into politics. It has been reported that there has been stone-pelting in front of his Poes Garden residence in Chennai, by a group of people who do not want him in politics.

Should celebrities and showbiz people be given the coveted entry card into political life?

Fact

As per this news report, Sachin and Rekha, who are the nominated members of the Rajya Sabha, have an abysmal attendance record since their nomination in 2012. That they have been very much present to many sporting events and cinema award ceremonies make us question the very premise of their nomination to the privileged Parliament, which serves as one of the guardians of our sacred Constitution. A recent news that Sachin met our Prime Minister to promote his upcoming biopic, says more about the indifference and disregard of the MP to the constitutional post that he has been bestowed with.

Superstar Rajnikanth met his fans in a specially organised public event after about eight years, on May 15th. Come elections, you will hear the political circles buzzing with the anticipation of his entry into politics. He keeps brushing all of it aside, in his usual style and goes about his job of acting. This time around, he has asked his fans and followers to be ‘prepared for war’ which has set the speculation ball rolling. Whether he will support BJP or float his own party, is something that time will only tell.

Opinion

No celebrities in Politics. While we all have come across a ‘Full Dedication’ clause in our employment offer letters, which prohibits the employees from taking up another job, while in employment with the employer, people in politics seem to have no such roadblocks. I agree that politics is not a full-time job, but being an elected representative to an assembly or the parliament is one, which pays a monthly salary, apart from the numerous perks and subsidies that these people get.

To argue saying Sachin or Rekha have done a lot of good deeds otherwise is a moot point by itself because those are not special deeds. It is what any political representative must do in the normal course of his work as a people’s representative. There is absolutely no requirement to put them on a high pedestal just because they did this. It is true that they have done what most other MPs or MLAs don’t do usually, but that is the shortcoming of those MPs and MLAs.

There have been isolated cases where cinema stars have become bankable leaders and later on Chief ministers of their states, it is not a norm. To leave the decision to God and other debatable entities, show the mere indecisiveness of the person. I would not want an indecisive leader who shifts the onus of important things onto God. To create a hype before every election and before the release of a movie is unbecoming of a leader anyway. This shows the insensitivity of the ‘leader’ for the feelings of his fans and followers alike.

If the celebrities feel that they cannot do justice to their election/nomination as an MP or an MLA, they have the right to refuse/deny. The greed for power and money seems to have more prominence than the need to serve the country.

We need to realise that it is our taxes that form the salary and perks of these legislators and we have every right and duty to question them when they put one toe out of line. If we don’t, it is our collective failure and nothing else.

We must have rigid rules that prohibit two-faced nutjobs to get elected to coveted positions and clean up the system for good. That is the need of the hour.

Rapists Beware!

Headline- Woman chops off the penis of a (God)man who tried to rape her

This is today’s top story across Malayalam news channels. A law student has castrated a self-styled Godman, who is said to have raped her for many years since her adolescence. The said man has been a frequent visitor to her house for the ‘treatment’ of her paralysed father.

Now, this has invited mixed reactions from across the spectrum with some ( including the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan) lauding the action of the girl while some others are not too happy with the way things have shaped up and were quite vocal about it.

Inference about the entire story

The more we talk about it, the more we get frustrated. Rapes in India have been on a steady increase and the numbers aren’t encouraging. The cases for which death penalties have been awarded are rare and more so because of the media attention, it had received. The social stigma surrounding the victims and the way they are treated when they take a step to file a FIR are well-known.

In this particular case, we must look into the cause before blaming the victim for having taken the drastic step. The rapist has been welcomed into her house with open arms, in the pretext of treatment and rehabilitation of her ailing father. It must be noted that in many of the recent cases that have grabbed limelight, one trait is common- the rapists are hiding under some particular blanket, be it church priest, or a politician with influence, or the khakis of a policeman. These positions of power and the colored uniforms (which the society invariably respects) have been used as a mask/guard to hide the heinous crimes. These, along with the prevailing superstitious beliefs surrounding Godmen, the equation is complete.

We must ask this question when we analyse this particular case- Would any random guy be allowed access to her, if it was not under saffron robes? Wasn’t that a mask that was used to back his evil intentions?

Impact of the action

Now, we are nobody to examine the legality of the action, that is what courts of law are there for. But has this set a good example for prospective men, who intend on reiterating their male egos and masculinity by raping a woman? Hell yes!

Let this be a good message to men across social strata to think twice before forcing himself upon a woman.

Image courtesy- Zee news