The 11th GST Council meeting

In a significant step towards meeting the July 1 deadline for the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the GST Council gave its formal approval to the Central GST (CGST) and Inter-State GST (IGST) laws, with the Compensation Law already having been approved during the previous meeting on February 18. The Council will meet again on March 16 to deliberate on the final versions of the remaining two laws — the State GST law and the Union Territories GST Law.

“The SGST law will apply to all States and Union Territories with legislatures (Delhi and Puducherry), but will not apply to those Union Territories without a legislature,” the Union Finance Minister said. “Therefore, we will need to bring out a Union Territories GST law for those Union Territories.”

Centre unveils training scheme for traders

The Centre rolled out a programme to train small and medium sized traders in various modes of digital payments. The National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology, under the Ministry of IT and Electronics, will conduct the programme through five regional workshops, 30 state workshops and 100 Digi Dhan campaigns.

The objective of the training programmes is to help understand and adopt simplified digital payment mechanisms like Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), and Aadhaar-enabled payment system (AEPS).


India-Canada pacts to be progressive: Minister

India has recognised that trade and investment pacts with Canada will have progressive elements, Canadian International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne. The agreement we reached with the EU was the most progressive trade agreement ever negotiated by Canada or the EU, including provisions on environment, labour, the right of space to regulate in health and safety as well as protecting cultural diversity. So we want to be the destination promoting a progressive trade agenda.

China’s defence spending to rise by 7% this year

China will raise defence spending “around 7%” this year as it guards against “outside meddling” in its disputed regional territorial claims in an apparent reference to Washington.

Iran’s S-300 system becomes operational

Iran’s advanced S-300 air defence system, delivered by Russia following a July 2015 nuclear deal after years of delay, is now operational. The S-300 air defence system has been tested. The test at a desert base had seen several targets, including a ballistic missile and a drone, intercepted.

A domestically manufactured air defence system dubbed Bavar 373 which was “more advanced than the S-300” would be tested very soon.

India needs to see the big picture

China invited India to consider the “larger picture” of ties, focusing on opportunities that New Delhi can avail by participating in the Belt and Road connectivity initiative, and not allowing specific differences on counterterrorism to cloud the growing relationship.

Critics say legislation will encourage weddings of minors in Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s new child marriage law that has a special provision allowing marriage of minors has raised new concerns in the country, which has one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world.

Bangladesh has the highest child marriage rates in Asia. Over half (52%) of girls get married before 18 and almost one-fifth (18%) are married off before 15 in the country.


Google India inks MoU with Telangana govt supporting digitization

Google India and Telangana government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at supporting the digitisation efforts of the state. Google India will provide Google Cloud credits and access to all cloud platform products to eligible startups engaged with Telangana government’s T-Hub initiative and through its Developer Relations team provides technical mentorship and advisory support to various startups.

Vodafone launches ‘ReConnect’ programme for women professionals

Telecom giant Vodafone has launched a programme ‘ReConnect’ to bring on board women professionals on a career break across 26 countries. This programme is designed to attract talented women who have left the workplace for several years who would like to return to work on a full-time or flexible basis but are struggling to make the professional connections needed or refresh the skills.

Ola inks pact with M.P. to train 25,000 people

Taxi–hailing app Ola signed an agreement with the Madhya Pradesh Government to train about 25,000 people. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Madhya Pradesh State Skill Development Mission and Directorate of Skill Development (Technical Education and Skill Development Department). It is part of Ola’s target of skilling 50 lakh drivers by 2020.

Dr. Reddy’s Lab buys Kolkata–based NBFC

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories announced that it has acquired 100 per cent stake in Imperial Credit Private Ltd, a Kolkata–based non– banking Finance company. The acquisition was for a consideration of 2.05 crore. The acquisition process was consummated on receipt of applicable regulatory approvals. The company proposes to undertake the group’s captive financial activities through this entity.

Airtel merges with Millicom International Cellular in Ghana

Bharti Airtel and Millicom International Cellular have entered into an agreement for Tigo Ghana and Airtel Ghana to combine their operations in Ghana where Airtel and Millicom would have equal ownership and governance rights in the combined entity. The coming together will further strengthen our position in the market and offer huge benefits arising out of synergies in operations, resulting in better experience for the customers.

Coal India arm gets nod for buy-back

Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coal India, approved the buy-back of equity shares not exceeding ₹1,001 crore in value.

“The board of directors of Central Coalfields Limited, at its meeting held on March 3, 2017, has considered and approved the buy-back of 5,21,000 fully paid equity shares of face value of ₹1,000 each from the members of CCL on a proportionate basis through tender offer for an aggregate amount not exceeding ₹1,001.88 crore.

GAIL objects to HPCL’s gas pipeline project

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation’s plan for a cross country pipeline to move LPG received on the west coast to bottling plants over 600 km away in the hinterland has hit a roadblock with GAIL (India) raising objections to the project. The project costs ₹500 cr.


Keith Thurman wins split decision to unify welterweight titles

Keith Thurman beat Danny Garcia and holding on to add the WBC welterweight title to his WBA championship.

Thurman has 22 knockouts in 28 fights, all wins. He won this unification bout, though, by getting tactical and going somewhat conservative.


Prize-winning author Paula Fox no more

Paula Fox, a prize-winning author who created high art out of imagined chaos in such novels as Poor George and Desperate Characters and out of the real-life upheavals in her memoir Borrowed Finery, has died at age 93. Fox was singer Courtney Love’s grandmother.

Haiti’s former President Rene Preval dies at 74

Haiti’s former President Rene Preval, an agronomist and champion of the poor who served two terms as the country’s leader, died. He was 74.

Preval served as President of Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, with a long history of political violence, in 1996-2001 and 2006-2011.

Former IFS and MP Syed Shahabuddin dies

Former IFS and MP Syed Shahabuddin dies at the age of 82 at a hospital in Noida after suffering from prolonged illness. During his time, Shahabuddin had strongly opposed the demolition of the Babri Masjid and was the leader of the Babri Action Committee.