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June 8, 2001 - June 9, 2001

No decision best decision for AMC Saturday, June 9, 2001

AsianAge
Ahmedabad, June 8: Major issues with the standing committee of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation were not passed when it met on Thursday. The proposal for selling the land near Sahajanand College for building Income Tax House was stalled as the committee members felt that there was no need to sell the land.

Moreover, the land belongs to the school board, which sent an officer at the committee meeting demanding land to set up new schools. Another proposal, which advocated the pro-rata water connections replacing the current system of metered ones, was also postponed.

The committee members wanted to study the policy implications of the proposal. It was also decided that 13 schools of AMC, which were declared ‘unsafe’, would be checked by the authorities to access if they have to be demolished or can be rebuilt.

The schools will however reopen as per schedule and will continue in tents if needed. The city has received 307 tents from Unicef for the purpose and Rs 1.17-crore grant has already been sanctioned to the school board.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]


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Quick fix : Tax not to be taxing anymore Saturday, June 9, 2001

AsianAge
Ahmedabad, June 8: The functioning of the income tax department is being revamped following the appointment of seven chief commissioners, and office administration being computerised, to resolve the perennial problems of the taxpayers.

This was announced by Mr D. Agarwala, chief commissioner of Income Tax, at the open house on Income Tax jointly organised by Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants on June 7,2001.

The department has a staff of 5,000 including 526 officers. Apart from Mr Agarwala, the other prominent officials present were Mr V.D. Wakharkar, director general of investigation (west), and chief commissioners Mr R.N. Srivastava and Mr P.L. Roongta.

Mr Agarwala said the department had collected revenue worth Rs 3,500 crores of which refunds totalling Rs 791 crores were granted, and out more than 22 lakhs applications for PAN, about 20.72 lakhs were allotted PAN.

In response to the various issues relating to IT refunds, an assurance was given that revalidation of the refund orders on account of expiry of the period or minor mistakes will be carried out by the department within three to six months.

Earlier, Mr Ramprakash Gupta, president of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in his welcome address said that the ratio of income of direct taxes to the gross domestic product had registered a steady growth from 1.9 per cent in 1990-91 to about 3.3 per cent in 2000-01.

Drawing attention to some of the problems he pointed out that the decision to dispose stay petitions by speaking orders taken in the previous open house was yet implemented. He also demanded payment of interest for a delay in refund under section 244.

Mr Upendra Bhatt, president of All Gujarat Federation of Tax Consultants, also emphasized the need for expediting payment of refund, quick movement of the files and effective implementation of the decisions taken earlier.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]


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Sharp drop in drought relief sites following rains Friday, June 8, 2001

The Times of India
AHMEDABAD, June 7: The number of workers at drought relief sites across the state registered a sharp fall this week following the widespread rains.

The rains which the cyclone caused seem to have worked wonders for the state as the number of workers at relief sites came down from 26.70 lakh to 19.47 lakh in one week, according to reports reaching from all over the state where 23 districts had been declared drought-affected. The drop by almost a quarter means that the government - which was earlier spending close to Rs 11 crore every day on wages to the drought-affected - is now incurring an expenditure of Rs 8 crore.

The number of drought relief works has also dropped from 5,133 to 4079. There has been a sharp fall in the numbers in Saurashtra districts of Bhavnagar, Amreli, Junagadh and Rajkot which have received good rainfall before the actual monsoon sets in in the state. Several talukas like Olpad in Surat district, Mahua and Talaja in Bhavnagar district, Una in Junagadh district, Rajula, Khambha and Talaja in Amreli and Sankheda in Vadodara district have already received 125 mm (5 inches) of rainfall.

The state government norms say that drought relief works have to be called off if any area receives more than 5 inches of rainfall. "There are several other talukas where people have gone away from the relief sites because they want to tend to their fields before the monsoon," director of relief B R Patel said. Officials expect a further drop in the number of relief workers in the coming week.

However, districts like Panchmahals and Dahod, which together account for nearly 8 lakh workers and which have not received much rainfall yet, are causing concern as the condition of the tribals is quite bad. The monsoon is expected to cross the Valsad coast in a week's time. The government estimates say that the state government has spent nearly Rs 600 crore on tackling drought for the last two summers, including the drought relief works, subsidy paid to cattle shelters and deploying tankers to provide drinking water. Government statistics say there are as many as 4.50 lakh cattleheads being provided shelter by the government or institutions supported by the government.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Teachers not eligible for gratuity Friday, June 8, 2001

AsianAge

Ahmedabad, June 7: The high court has given an important decision against the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board. The judgement was given by the division bench of the Gujarat high court in a writ petition filed by Ms Shanti L Christian.

The judgement directed that the teachers cannot be considered as employees and cannot be included under the purview of the Gratuity Act. Teaching would rather come within the meaning of a commercial establishment, so the provision contained in the payment of Gratuity Act cannot be accepted in the case of teachers.

Sources from the high court said that Ms Christian was serving as a primary teacher under the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board and had made an application under the payment of Gratuity Act, 1972. The application was filed before the controlling authority of the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board.

In a decision taken by concerned authority of the Board directed to pay gratuity to primary teachers under the Act. However, the appellate authority quashed the judgement passed by the controlling authority. In order to challenge the orders passed by the appellate authority, Ms Christian lodged a writ petition in the Gujarat high court.

The division bench delivered the judgement in favour of Ahmedabad Municipal School Board.
The high court observing conjoined reading of definition of the term employee given in various acts, held that teacher would not come within the definition of `employee’ and thus rejected the petition.

The advocates involved in the case include Mr Devang Nanavati and Mr D G Shukla for the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board and Mr P C Master for the petitioner.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]


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Resolution on NRI seats challenged Friday, June 8, 2001

AsianAge

Ahmedabad, June 7: The Gujarat government and dean of BJ Medical College Ahmedabad, have been served notices returnable on June 11, 2001, for further hearing in the case of writ petition challenging government rules for admission into medical colleges, filed by C.U. Shah Medical College, Surendranagar.

The self-financed medical college of Surendranagar filed a writ petition challenging government resolution dated May 16, 2001, for an NRI category seat. They have challenged the GR by saying that after filling up the 15 per cent NRI category seat as per the definition of the Income Tax Act, the remaining seats should be filled in by the management.

The matter came up for hearing in the court of Justice D.H. Waghela recently. Advocate Sudhir Nanavati appearing on behalf of the institution argued that as per the Indian Medical Council Regulation, 1994, seats which remain unfilled under NRI category, the discretion is given to the management to fill them in by charging NRI category fees.

He also argued on the judgement delivered by the division bench of the Gujarat high court in PIL. The high court has held that as far as medical colleges, dental colleges and physiotherapy institutions are concerned, the rules framed by the government of India will be applicable and therefore as per the judgement, the unfilled seat under NRI category is to be filled by the management of the institution.

The state government in the GR has declared that remaining unfilled seats under NRI category is to be filled in by the central admission committee and thereafter, further remaining seats are to be converted into payment category where the fee is much lower than that charged for NRI seats. Mr Nanavati argued these rules are running contrary to the high court judgement and the Indian Medical Council Regulation norms.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]


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