The State will have four zones and three cadres in the government posts,
if the recommendations made by the high-level committee constituted to look
into the issue are any indication.
The committee is learnt to have submitted a detailed report with several
recommendations to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
It did so after holding elaborate discussions with all stakeholders and
obtained the legal view on the issue.
Accordingly, it has suggested certain amendments to the existing
Presidential Orders for creating four zones in place of the existing two.
Currently, there are two zones in existence in the State as per the
The erstwhile districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam
are under Zone V.
While the Zone VI is comprised of Hyderabad and erstwhile districts of
Ranga Reddy, Mahabubnagar, Nizamabad, Medak and Nalgonda.
The committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Kadiyam Srihari is
understood to have recommended scrapping the multi-zonal system and pruning
the State cadre posts.
It has also recommended division of the posts into State, zonal and
The committee, sources said, is understood to have recommended that
Secretariat and posts of heads of departments be brought under the
Presidential Orders so that equal opportunities are provided to facilitate
movement of employees working in zonal and district level posts to the State
level and vice versa.
The Chief Minister is expected to review the situation soon and take a
call on the recommendations.
The file would be sent to the President for his assent once the Chief
Minister gives his consent to the recommendations.
NITI Aayog Health Performance Index
Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu were the top rankers in NITI Aayog’s
latest Health Index report.
For the first time index attempted to establish an annual systematic
tool to measure and understand the heterogeneity and complexity of the
nation’s performance in the health sector.
The document, developed by NITI Aayog with technical assistance from the
World Bank and in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family
It indicates that Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh showed
the maximum improvement in indicators such as Neonatal Mortality Rate,
Under-five Mortality Rate, full immunisation coverage, institutional
deliveries, and People Living with HIV (PLHIV) on Anti-Retroviral Therapy
The report was released on Friday by Amitabh Kant (CEO of NITI Aayog),
Preeti Sudan (secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) and Junaid
Ahmad (country director, World Bank).
The next report will be released in June this year and district
hospitals too would be ranked.
It would rank 730 district hospitals based on their performance.
It wants to encourage the good performers and name and shame those who
Manipur registered maximum incremental progress in indicators such as
PLHIV on ART, first trimester antenatal care registration, grading quality
parameters of Community Health Centres, average occupancy of key state-level
officers and good reporting on the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme
Lakshadweep showed the highest improvement in indicators such as
institutional deliveries, TB treatment success rate, and transfer of
National Health Mission funds from the state treasury to implementation
Kerala ranks on top in terms of overall performance but sees the least
incremental change as it had already achieved low levels of Neonatal
Mortality Rate, Under-five Mortality Rate and replacement level fertility,
leaving limited space for any further improvement.
Common challenges for most States and Union Territories include the need
to focus on a) addressing vacancies in key staff,
b) establishment of functional district cardiac care units,
c) quality accreditation of public health facilities and
d) institutionalisation of human resources management information system.
Additionally, all larger States need to focus on improving the Sex Ratio
This Index is expected to nudge States towards further achieving a rapid
transformation of their health systems and population health outcomes.
Modi visits Ramallah
Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his three-nation West Asia tour with
a stopover in the Jordanian capital, Amman, where he met King Abdullah II.
On Saturday, Mr. Modi will travel to Ramallah in the West Bank, the
headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, where he will hold talks with
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Mr. Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Ramallah.
Talks between the two sides covered the Palestinian cause, and Jordan’s
role in protecting Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, based on
the Hashemite custodianship over the holy shrines.
Later, Mr. Modi thanked the Jordanian King.
In Ramallah, bilateral issues and the Israeli-Palestine peace process
will be discussed by Mr. Modi and Mr. Abbas, Palestinian officials in
Earlier in an interview, Mr. Abbas said they would discuss the possible
role India could play in the peace process.
Will discuss the recent updates with Prime Minister Modi, and the recent
developments in the peace process, the bilateral relations, and the regional
And the possible role India can play in enhancing peace in the region,
as well as discussing different economical aspects beyond the existing ties
we already possess.
In Ramallah, the Prime Minister will lay a wreath on the tomb of late
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, tour the Arafat museum (both are located
on the Palestinian Presidential Secretariat premises), hold bilateral
discussions and have lunch with the Palestinian leader.
The visit comes weeks after Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
visit to New Delhi.
In July last year, Mr. Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to
Indian diplomats say the visit to Ramallah through Jordan without
crossing through any of the Israeli checkpoints is consistent with India’s
No fiscal incompetence
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley trashed the Opposition’s charge of
fiscal mismanagement, stating that the four-year-old NDA government’s
journey was that from a state of policy paralysis to structural reforms.
Replying to the Budget debate in the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Jaitley expressed
surprise over former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s charge that by
reducing corporate tax to 25% for companies with turnover up to Rs. 250
crore, he had favoured the corporates.
Mr. Jaitley said it was Mr. Chidambaram, who as then Finance Minister
had drafted the Direct Tax Code mooting the idea of 25% corporate tax.
The NDA government is also considering a legislation changing it to the
turnover criteria for classification of industries.
For medium scale industries, it would be Rs. 250 crore, he said.
The Finance Minister said the idea behind lower tax was to enable MSMEs
to invest more, which would create more jobs.
The same trend was noticed in the United States (with below 20%
corporate tax) and other competing economies.
Owing to this, while covering 99% of industries, the revenue forgone
would be Rs. 7,000 crore, whereas implementing it across the board would
have cost Rs. 40,000-50,000 crore.
Mr. Jaitley said indications from the Agriculture Ministry were that the
basis for calculations would be actual paid out cost plus family labour.
Mr. Jaitley also assured the House that the proposed health coverage
plan for 10 crore families would in all likelihood be implemented completely
On expenses, the Finance Minister said the basic principle was that the
bigger the size of population, the lower the per capita premium.
He said it would be affordable, adding that the NITI Aayog had carried
out an assessment.
SC seeks help from AG on Live streaming Court sessions
The Supreme Court asked for the assistance of the Attorney-General on a
plea to live-stream proceedings of the Constitution Bench in nationally
Those on Aadhaar and decriminalisation of gay sex, in the Supreme Court.
A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra decided to
seek K.K. Venugopal’s opinion on a petition filed by senior advocate Indira
Jaising in her personal capacity.
Ms. Jaising said courts around the world allowed their proceedings to be
recorded, though they differed in their ways.
She said some judges in the constitutional court in India had
historically been reluctant about the idea of recording court proceedings
because it would “capture every sentence” in the banter between judges and
lawyers which were merely a way to elicit responses and not a sign of how
the judge would finally decide the case.
Ms. Jaising, however, said there were different methods to resolve such
reluctance and listed the means adopted by courts globally.
She said such apprehensions should not create a roadblock in the
public’s right to information.
The Supreme Court, in a bid to usher in transparency, had earlier
allowed the installation of CCTV video recording with audio in trial courts
Ms. Jaising said citizens have the right to information and matters of
constitutional and national importance can be live-streamed.
If live streaming of top court's proceedings is not possible, then
alternately the video recording should be allowed the senior lawyer had
With the emergency in the Maldives still in place and worries about a
constitutional crisis, New Delhi is in touch with both Washington and
Beijing over the situation, officials confirmed.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on
the telephone to discuss the upcoming 2+2 ministerial- level meeting in
Delhi, when the situation in the Maldives was discussed, the White House
“Both leaders expressed concern about the political crisis in the
Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule
of law,” a readout from Mr. Trump’s office said, adding that they had also
discussed “working together to enhance security and prosperity in the
However, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also cautioned the
Maldives against any plan to bring in Chinese naval or security
reinforcements to Male.
China has said that the Maldives government has the ability to protect
the security of Chinese personnel and institutions in the Maldives.
All countries can play a constructive role in the Maldives, instead of
doing the opposite.
According to the readout, Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi also spoke of the
situation in Myanmar, the “plight of Rohingya refugees” and the
“denuclearisation of North Korea.”
The MEA, however, made no comment on the conversation, and the nature of
cooperation India and the U.S. would undertake in the Maldives.
In Beijing, foreign ministry officials also confirmed that China was “in
touch with India” and the U.S. China was one of the three countries,
including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, that Mr. Yameen sent special envoys to
discuss reasons for his actions.
India rejected the envoy’s visit.
Afghanistan’s mountainous Wakhan Corridor, a region so remote that its
residents are untouched by the decades of conflict that have devastated
The frail-looking grandmother is a woman of the Wakhi, a tribe of
roughly 12,000 nomadic people who populate the area.
Known to those who live there by its Persian name Bam-e-Dunya, or “roof
of the world”.
It is a narrow strip of inhospitable and barely accessible land in
Afghanistan bordered by the mountains of what is now Tajikistan and
Pakistan, and extending all the way to China.
Few venture out, even fewer venture in — but this isolation has kept the
Wakhi sheltered from almost forty years of the near constant fighting that
has ravaged their fellow Afghans.
“War, what war? There has never been a war,” Ms. Begium says, though she
remembers people speaking of Russian soldiers dispensing cigarettes on the
border at the other end of the corridor.
The civil war following the Russian invasion, in which tens of thousands
more people were killed and uprooted, and the rise of the extremist Taliban
regime seem to them like folklore.
There is little knowledge of the U.S. invasion or the bloody resurgence
of the Taliban, and more recently the emergence of the Islamic State group.
Created in the 19th century as a Great Game buffer zone between tsarist
Russia and British India, the corridor has since remained untouched by any
kind of government.
It can be reached from surrounding countries, but only via treacherous
journeys by horse, yak or on foot through the “Pamir Knot”, where three of
the highest mountain ranges in the world converge.
Known in Afghanistan itself as Pamiris, the Wakhi form the bulk of the
corridor’s population — the nomadic Kyrgyz tribe, which numbers just 1,100
people, live separately at its northern end.
Their life, largely free from crime and violence, revolves around yaks
and cattle, which they barter for food and clothes from the few traders who
visit the remote region.
But change may be coming: the Afghan government says it’s conducting
aerial surveys to assess potential routes to connect Wakhan to the rest of
Badakhshan by road.
If it all comes to fruition, it could bring more trade, tourism, and
much-needed medical facilities.
It could also spell the end of the Wakhi’s protection from the brutality
19.3% increase in DT by Jan2018
Net direct tax collections up to January 2018 grew 19.3% to Rs. 6.95
lakh crore compared with the same period of the previous financial year,
according to official data released .
The net direct tax collections represent 69.2% of the Revised Estimates
of direct taxes for FY 2017-18 [Rs. 10.05 lakh crore].
Gross collections (before adjusting for refunds) have increased by 13.3%
to Rs. 8.21 lakh crore during April 2017 to January 2018.
The government said it had issued refunds amounting to Rs. 1.26 lakh
crore during April 2017 to January 2018.
Within direct taxes, net corporate tax collections grew 19.2% and net
personal income tax collections grew 18.6%.
This jump can be attributed to the massive information collected by the
tax officers through data analytics post cash deposits post demonetisation
of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes.
They followed up on this information with tax payers. This can also be
attributed to the roll-out of GST.
GST registration by small enterprises became beneficial to them,
especially when they are providing goods and services to large organisations
which insist on GST registration.
YES Bank-Fcci Report
To encourage long-term growth of start-ups in the food sector, the
government could consider exempting incubators from taxes and customs duty
levied on the goods they import.
This is according to a joint report by industry body Ficci and YES Bank.
Incubators offer hand-holding to start-ups in their developmental phase.
The report titled ‘Start-Ups: Transforming India’s Food Processing
Economy’ — released by commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu on the
occasion of ‘FICCI Foodworld India 2018’.
It also suggested that there should be tax breaks for start-ups
procuring items essential for businesses like hardware, software and
Besides, it recommended that “given their role in mentoring and
connecting innovators to business growth opportunities, funds contributed to
incubators should be treated at par with investments in Research and
Development activities for businesses.
And proportionally the entities that contribute funds to incubators
should also be eligible for the 200% tax benefit currently applicable to R&D
A streamlined tax regime can remove hurdles which impact start-ups, the
Speaking on the theme ‘capitalising food processing in the digital era’,
Mr. Prabhu said the government was working on an agriculture export strategy
that would give primacy to value addition and job creation.
Referring to the potential of marine products exports, he said the
emphasis is on value-added exports.
According to the report, there are close to 200 start-ups in the food
processing and allied ecosystem.
The food processing sector, valued at $260 billion, and food services
and retail, valued at $400 billion, provide ‘immense opportunities for
enterprising start-ups to address the challenges and fill in the gaps
existing in the food value chain’.
They would hence help develop robust, scalable and replicable models
that can transform India’s food processing economy, it said.