Wednesday, July 12, 2017

EDITOR'S COLUMN

Friends,

With July ushering, monsoon would have truly arrived. June that just went away, did have fair amount of rain in most parts of the country.
Surely coastal region did have copious rain, though intermittently. It is true Maharashtra, Mumbai, Pune included, did not have it as yet. It is hoped clouds may go burst early July. Hope it does. Met men have been optimistic that overall it will be a normal monsoon.
Month that went by saw the World Environment Day on 6th. Symbolism is the name of the game. Usual tree planting and speeches kept the print media filled with pictures, showing the apparent concern without truly understanding the significance of the day. Mumbaikar’s are privy to the scene of massive deforestation/tree cutting making way for Metro. This is how the so-called development is destroying the existing green cover. Story is same all over. Donald Trump, refusing to accept the Paris climate accord is only going to make things worse for the world.
1st July is expected to usher the new GST for the entire country. The reaction to the newest tax regime is at best mixed for different reasons. It certainly had many positives, like no excise, no vat only GST, so only one return. No more different forms for interstate trade. This will make life far easier for all traders. However the different rates from 0% to 28%, the gap is quite huge. There are some mass consumed items which are in 0% slab, but some are in 12% bracket which include footwear above Rs 500/-, included in the same bracket are Umbrella, sewing machines, note books, etc. All rail travel and air travel are in 12% bracket, which include even unreserved ticket and sleeper berths. At least unreserved could be at 0% and sleeper seats may be at 5%. The list of anomalies could go on. But there is certainly room for rationalization.
Come July 17, the new incumbent will be hoisted on the viceregal palace on the Raisina Hill. The current occupant Pranab Mukherjee would have completed his full 5 years term by then. In an unexpected move NDA surprised every Indian, including the candidate himself, by announcing the candidacy of Shri Ram Nath Kovind. From the information available, post the announcement, Shri Kovind appears to be an educated gentleman with legal background and a fair political exposure without any controversy. For an opposition leader to make a statement that Shri Kovind’s presidential candidacy is a matter of “personal happiness” is a kind of certificate that has put a stamp of approval. Hope with the numbers available, Shri Kovind is likely to be the 1st citizen of India and the Supreme Commander of India’s armed forces from 18th July 2017.
Month-in-Perspective, as usual, has covered some of the happening of the month with our take on it.
The just completed 3 years of Modi government has been a subject of debate in the public space. We at I&C thought of dwelling into the subject with views from a cross section of citizens. In Focus, we have dealt with the subject of Prime Minister Modi’s maiden journey as the Chief Executive of world’s largest democracy. Hope readers will find it worth their time. Rest of the issues are as usual. Do revert with your inputs.

J. Shriyan

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