Sunday, 08 December 2019 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, Dec 8

 

A multi-crore CGST fraud scam has come under scrutiny which may lead to eruption of the discrepancies in the financial dealings of state Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department to an alleged CGST defaulting agency. The alleged defaulter is an agency owned by Carolyn Lammuanching daughter of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Minister V.Hangkhalian. How the huge amount of financial consideration went to the agency owned by the concerned Minister’s daughter is not known in a BJP-led government which is known for its tirade against family intervention in the affairs of the government.

The Deputy Commissioner (Special Intelligence Unit), CGST Division, Imphal under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance served a notice on October 29, 2019 to M/s Muanching Agency also quoting the name of Carolyn Lammuanching for intimating discrepancies in the return after scrutiny for tax period February, 2019 of Financial Year 2018-19.

The notice said, “on scrutiny of GSTR-7, it is found that you(the agency) have received consideration amounting to Rs. 12,96,83,125 from the Directorate of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Services, Imphal(Tax Deductor 14SHLD01893D1DE) in the month of February, 2019. However, on further scrutiny of your(the agency’s) GSTR-3B return of the corresponding month it was noticed that you have declared outward taxable supplies(other than zero rated, nil rated and exempted) as Rs. 55,66,795 only resulting difference of Rs. 12,41,46,330 between the TDS and GSTR”. The agency was directed to explain the reasons for the aforesaid discrepancies by November 8 of this year failing which legal proceedings will be initiated without further reference to the agency.

Search result based on GSTIN/UIN: 14AFPL8833K1Z4 gives the legal name of business as Carolyn Lannuanching and trade name as M/S Muanching Agency at Centre Jurisdiction Churachandpur Range and State Jurisdiction Zone-10, Churachandpur and Pherzawl Districts(Jurisdiction office).

Meanwhile, a certification was issued by the State Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Directorate on November 6 of this year signed by Joint Director(Planning) Ch.Nandakishore Singh stating that a sum of Rs. 12,96,83,125 had never been transferred in favour of M/S Muanching Agency, Churachandpur by the Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry, Manipur during the tax period February, 2019.

More interestingly on what may open up the under-covered discrepancy in GSTR-7 in the month of February, 2019 the same Joint Director wrote a letter to the Deputy Commissioner(Special Intelligence Unit), Central Division, Imphal referring to that office letter of even No. dt. 13/11/2019 regarding the above subject and requested to extend the date of furnishing the required as desired by the Deputy Commissioner’s office vide letter No. IV(10)07/O&A/CL/CGST/DIV-IMP/2019-20 dt. 8/11/2019 till December 10 of this year on the ground that the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department and officers concerned are fully engaged for review and evaluation study to be conducted by Centre for Good Governance, Hyderabad on NEC Schemes, NERSDS and NER Vision 2020 from November 28 to December 4 this year. However, the letter mentioned nothing about why the Department could not furnish the documents sought in the ample time gap after receiving the letter and before engagement of its officials for the review and evaluation study.

The concerns of the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department and its clarifications need to be authenticated through fully furnishing the details of all bank account statements given to the agency from the department and the CGST Division, Imphal also needs to thoroughly investigate into the discrepancies in the financial considerations in the interest of clean governance.

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Imphal, Dec 8

As MANPAC, the civil body intensifies its agitation against the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the position of the state government is at critical juncture on dealing with the situation. Assurances by the Chief Minister about having full faith to the central leadership about insertion of a clause turn out to be a joke and the only means seem to have left with the Government is living on the prayer for a blessing from the central Ministers with hopes of getting the Inner Line Permit System for the state, which has now failed to convince the MANPAC and the people of Manipur.

It seems like the state government headed by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh is now left with no other option than waiting center’s blessing for the re-introduction of ILPS in the state, which may turn out to be waiting for Samuel Beckett’s Godot. At this critical juncture, it is now MP Dr. Ranjan who is the only hope for rescue of the BJP led state government from the criticism of the Manipur people.

Imphal Times talks to some of the civil society leaders and legislators on the issue to find out if Manipur have lost every hope as the contents of the Bill mention nothing for protection of the state of Manipur and the answer from many of them is negative saying that a powerful uprising in the state in hands with other civil societies of the North Eastern States is the only option left.

However, Octogenarian politician Okram Joy had a different view. He said, RK Ranjan, the MP from inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency have every right to move amendment motion when the CAB is introduced.

Civil group MANPAC, having no other option after the assurances to them by Union Home Minister has not been found in the revised CAB , 2019 has gear up its agitation from today.

As for the Government of Manipur, the only means that they are using for suppressing the peoples’ oppositions and agitation to the passing of the Bill is that they have full confidence to their leader as they assured about re-introducing the Inner Line Permit System that are enforced in the neighbouring states of Nagaland and Mizoram. This perhaps fails to convince the people as no visible action from the side of the Government in inserting a clause for protection of NE states including Manipur.

Now, after the Union cabinet has cleared for introduction of the CAB , 2019, followed by distribution of the Bill to the members of the Parliament, it is loud and clear that, there is no saving clause to the Bill component when it comes for the state of Manipur.

In its revised form, the bill states the amendments will not be applicable to regions in the North East protected by the Inner Line Permit and Sixth Schedule provisions. This includes the whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, most of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura, and certain pockets of Assam.

Manipur is the only state in the region which is not covered by the exemptions.

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Imphal, Dec 8

Octogenarian politician, who was elected six times, as member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Okram Joy said that Dr. Ranjan, as a member of the Parliament can move amendment motion to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 when it is tabled in the Parliament at all the three stages of passing the Bill.

Dr. Ranjan, the MP representing the Inner Manipur Parliamentary constituency, had urged the Lok Sabha to incorporate a special provision in the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) so as to keep Manipur out of its ambit during zero hour on November 28. However, after the Union cabinet cleared for introduction of the CAB , 2019, followed by distribution of the Bill to the members of the Parliament, it is loud and clear that, there is no saving clause to the Bill component when it comes for the state of Manipur.

Talking exclusively to Imphal Times today morning, O Joy said that in parliamentary affairs legislative business is one of the important functions. Now the Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha and following that in the Rajya Sabha , he said.

Elaborating on what can Dr. Ranjan do now as a member of the Parliament, O Joy said, “Every member of the house has the right to oppose a Bill or to move for amendment of the Bill”.

“Dr. Ranjan, being a member of the House has the right to oppose the Bill during introduction stage. He has every right to oppose the Bill on the ground that the Bill will affect the North East states of India”, he said.

“He has the right to move an amendment for insertion of a saving clause like moving for amendment to the clause that stated that this Bill has been extended to the entire country by inserting a sentence like “except for North East States” or “Except Manipur”.  Whether his move for amendment will be effective or not, depends to the decision of the House. But as a responsible member of the House he may oppose the Bill.  He has every right to move for an amendment to the proposed Bill”, the Octogenarian politician said.

O Joy further said that the process of passing a Bill is going through 3 stages – that is the 1st reading , 2nd reading and Third reading .

The First reading is introduction and the second reading is discussion of the principle and the third reading is consideration of the Bill on clause by clause. Every member has the right to oppose the Bill at any stage.     

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Imphal, Dec 8

Two more students’ bodies – Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur   (DESAM) and Apunba Ireipakki Maheiroi Sinpang Lup  (AIIMS) has extended support to the intense agitation announced by the Manipur Peoples’ Against CAB which is scheduled to start from 1 pm tomorrow.

In a press conference held today at his office premises, DESAM representative said that the students’ bodies stand with those opposing the CAB that will be introducing in the Lok Sabha on December 9.

It may be mentioned that large number of womenfolk under the aegis of the MANPAC yesterday thronged to the residence of Lok Sabha MP Dr. Ranjan and Rajya Sabha MP Bhabananda urging them to oppose the Bill when it was tabled in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.  

Earlier, All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) had also called 15 hours total shut down in the state showing solidarity to the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO).

On the other hand protests were staged today at different places in the state under the aegis of MANPAC. At Nambol large number of people staged a sit- in-protest at Nambol Bazar in Bishnupur district showing strong opposition to any move for passing of the contentious CAB, 2019. Similar protest was held at Singjamei, Moirang etc.

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Imphal, Dec 8

Manipur High Court directives to stop sand mining using excavators and other machineries has not been respected by the present government as sand mining in Thoubal River using big machineries including excavators are still continuing.  

A survey conducted by the Thoubal River Conservation Committee (TRCC) today find the pollution level of Thoubal River to have cross Chang Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) 1000 and the pollution level is very high when compared to Nambul River. The Pollution level found in Nambul River is NTU 25.

Interestingly, amidst the directives of the Manipur High Court the Thoubal River Conservation Committee today come across 19 trucks loaded with sand and stones that were collected from Thoubal River near Maphao Dam. Those trucks were halted by the members of the Thoubal River Conservation Committee and handed over to the Forest department. Interestingly the Forest Department did not want to involve in the incident and turn down the request for accepting the trucks. Having left with no other choice the sands in the trucks were force to unload at YASTA Ground in  Thoubal Wangmataba.

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Imphal, Dec 8

A one day media campaign and promotion of the scheme “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” for newspapers and Local TV was held today at Manipur Press Club, here in Imphal.
The one day campaign jointly organised by the Imphal East district Administration and the DPO/ ICDS cell Imphal East, Department of Social Welfare was attended by Dr. Rangitabali Waikhom , DC Imphal East, Bijoy Kakchingtabam, President  AMWJU, K. Saroja , deputy Director , Children Programme , Social Welfare department and N. Indira Devi, DTO Imphal East as dignitaries.
Speaking on the occasion Deputy Commissioner of Imphal East, Dr. Rangitabali Waikhom stressed on the role of media on creating awareness among the masses. She appealed the people to make sure that all girls get proper educations. She said that education is the only means for empowering of the girl. Elaborating on the various scheme being initiated by the Imphal East district administration in collaboration with various other stakeholders including the Social Welfare Department, Rangitabali said that the society at a large has every responsibility in making the Beti Bachao Beti Padao scheme to reality.  

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The greatest challenge in my entire career as journalist has been reporting the assembly proceeding particularly during sessions of the Manipur Legislative Assembly. It is not because I am not aware on how to report or edit news, but because senior colleagues in the field had warned me about the unwanted consequences that may occurred during the course of filing stories about the proceedings.
Usage of terminology has been a major concern for journalists doing parliamentary reporting. A minor mistake on the terminology often amount to a mockery of the legislators besides degrading the credibility of the media organization. It is not just the usage of terminology but it is also about maintaining integrity of being a journalist which was often hampered due to the privilege of the house.
A senior Journalist of the state was once summoned to apology before the house for alleged mockery of the house reflected at one of his write up.
Can I file story about the irresponsible behavior of a member?
Sometime a member of the house was found sleeping when another member was moving a motion or answering to questions. Sometime a member walks out from the house when the house was discussing serious issues. Sometime a mere breach of protocol by member becomes a joke or sometime a mobile phone ringing might disturbed the proceeding of the house. Can I file this sort of stories as this are also stuffs that will caught the attention of the audiences. Any write up criticizing an event which comes under the jurisdiction of Assembly Secretariat during session or any damage done during the period could be called upon for contempt.
The question arises out here is - Are we journalist being denied the right to freedom of reporting?  Are our rights limited only to certain area?
Certainly, there are certain limitations for parliamentary reporting. But what are the limitations. The area of limitation at which a reporter need to strictly abide need to be published by the authority of the learned staffs of the state Legislative Assembly.
On June 27, 2012, I joined my journalist colleagues for coverage of the second session of the 10th Manipur legislative Assembly. On the first day except for the obituary reference of T Gougin was taken up. Moving obituary motion of a departed member is a much but then - Is the house serious about moving the obituary motion? The members of the house including the leader of the house and opposition leader as well as those attending the motion had stated different date of birth of the departed leader T Gaugin who was a deputy chief Minister during the time of YM Sheija I 1974. Surprisingly one senior Minister said Gaugin was expired on 5 June 2012, while another said he was expired in 6 June 2012. Another MLA while joining the obituary reference had even said that the date of birth of the departed member has not been recorded correctly.
Should I report this or shouldn’t I? I have reason for picking up the analytical reporting as I could prove the inefficiency of the then assembly staffs in proving information to the honorable members. But would not this amount to the breach of privilege of the house?
Now another question is the certain alleged misappropriation happening inside the Assembly secretariat. Journalists certainly want to put up the issue through their story but on assuming whether it amount to breach of privilege or not, one often roll back.
During that time contract staffs of the Assembly Secretariat has been forbidden from entering the new assembly secretariat building at Chingmeirong. Many questions arise on why the order has been other. One may also question - why should the Assembly spent so much money on paying salary for the contract employees if they have to be kept aside during the session which is one of the most important job for all the staffs.
The matter is serious. I certainly thought, this too be on the news. But I was in dilemma for quit some times as I was not clear on whether it would amount to breach of privilege of the house or not.
But then taking own risk I filed a story on that issue at ISTV News programme (That Time I was working as a Editor of the ISTV News). The following is how I file the story to the news channel.

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Imphal, Dec.8,

Social Welfare Minister. Nemcha Kipgen today disbursed funds of 20, 833 beneficiaries for Manipur Old Age Pension (MOAP) scheme which was received through Go to Village (GTV)Mission at the office chamber of the Minister at New Secretariat, Imphal. As a part of the GTV Mission, Social Welfare Department, Manipur issued forms for beneficiary oriented schemes to eligible and deserving beneficiaries residing at every part of the State by the concerned Nodal Officers of the Department. 

Addressing the media, Minister. Nemcha expressed that such landmark feat of the Social Welfare Department, Manipur to reach the deserving beneficiaries to every nook and corner of the state was possible through ‘Go to Village’ program. She also stated that it is through Go to Village program many people were aware of the various welfare schemes, project and programmes of the government at the convenient of their doorstep.

Social Welfare Minister also informed that funds for most of the governmental schemes of the department are now given through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) with an aim to avoid any misappropriation of funds by any third party.

It may be mentioned that Chief Minister, Manipur N. Biren Singh launched “Go to Village” programme on 1st May 2018 in 60 villages of all the 60 Assembly constituencies in the State.

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By Raju Vernekar

With a view to increase air connectivity in the North East region, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has invited bids for 30 airports and airstrips and one water aerodrome under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik) 4.0 scheme.
They include six under-served and 24 un-served airports/airstrips in the North-East states. A list of under-served airports / airstrips up for bidding include: Arunachal Pradesh (Passighat andTezu), Assam( Jorhat, Rupsi, Tezpur) and Meghalaya(Shillong).
The un-served airports / airstrips up include: Arunachal Pradesh( Alinya, Along, Daparizo, Mechuka, Tuting, Vijaynagar, Walong, Yinghiong, Ziro), Assam (Chabua, Darrang, Dinjan, Ledo, Misa Mari,  Nazira, Sadiya, Sorbhog, Sukerating (Dum Duma), Meghalaya(Dwara, Shella, Tura) and Tripura(Kailashahar, Kamalpur, Khowai). The ministry has also recognized Umrangso Reservoir in Assam as the water aerodrome (for Seaplanes) location that is up for bidding in the region.
The concessions and facilities offered are: The civil aviation  ministry will bear 90% of viability Gap Funding (VGF) and remaining 10% VGF will be borne by the North Eastern state governments  The civil aviation ministry is also providing additional VGF of around 25% to the airlines.
VGF cap has been enhanced for operations of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) flights in priority areas, in Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir; the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, North Eastern States, Union Territory of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar.
The VGF cap applicable for various stage lengths for operation has also been enhanced for “below 20 seater small aircrafts” under the Scheme. VGF will be provided for RCS Flights for a period of three years from the date of commencement of RCS flight operations.
Excise Duty at the rate of only 2% will be levied on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), drawn by selected airline operators at RCS airports for RCS Flights, for three years from the date of notification. Reduction of Value added Tax (VAT) to 1% or less on ATF at RCS concession airports located within the state for a period of 10 years from the date of notification.
There is a provision to make available minimum land, if required, free of cost and free from all encumbrances for development of RCS concession airports and also provide multi-modal hinterland connectivity (road, rail, metro, waterways, etc.) as required.
There is a provision of free security and fire services at RCS airports. Besides there is provision to make available directly or through appropriate means, electricity, water and other utility services at substantially concessional rates at RCS concession airports.  State Governments, at their discretion, may consider extending any additional support (such as marketing support) for promotion of RCS Flights.
Concessions offered by the airport / Water Aerodrome / Helipad operators are: airport / water aerodrome / helipad operators will not levy landing and parking charges or any other charges on RCS flights including aviation security fee (ASF) / User Development Fee( UDF) among others.
Selected airline operators will be allowed to undertake ground handling for their RCS flights. Besides AAI will not levy any Terminal Navigation Landing Charges (TNLC) on RCS flights. Also Route Navigation and Facilitation Charges (RNFC) will be levied by AAI on a discounted basis @ 42.50% of normal rates on RCS Flights.  
The civil aviation ministry aims to operationalize 1000 routes and more than 100 airports in the next five years in the country. AAI would focus on developing the no-frills airport in future and routes connecting such airports would be prioritized for the award of VGF. The market would be incentivized to develop “short-haul routes” providing connectivity to nearby airports.The move is aimed at boosting tourism, providing aerial connectivity and transforming the economic situation of the region.
UDAN-RCS, is a regional airport development and RCS of the Government of India, devised with the objective of “letting the common citizen of the country fly”, to make air travel affordable and widespread, to boost inclusive national economic development, job growth and air transport infrastructure development of all regions and states.
UDAN-RCS was launched on 27 April 2017. At the beginning of the scheme, out of total 486 airports, 406 were unserved airports, 27 were well served. UDAN scheme seeks to develop and operationalize unserved, underserved  and underdeveloped regional airports with regular scheduled flights. The scheme also aims at developing new airports. Eventually increasing the number of operational airports for scheduled civilian flights including army airports to at least 150 airports.

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Sunday, 08 December 2019 17:34

Director General AR visits Moreh battalion

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Imphal Dec. 8

Lt Gen Sukhdeep Sangwan, SM**, DG AR visited the Moreh Battalion of 26 Sector Assam Rifles under the aegis of HQ IGAR (South) where he was briefed about the various initiative undertaken by Assam Rifles in far flung areas to improve the lifestyle of common men. The General Officer was shown Nation Skill Development Centre and various other initiative being run by the Assam Rifles which is facilitating youth in horning a skill to either start own business or be observed in any professional field by acquiring specific technical skill. The Director General, was also briefed about the prevailing security situation and various complexities of operating with mandated Dual task of Border Guarding and Counter Insurgencies. The General Officer appreciated the efforts of Assam Rifles in carrying out of all the complex tasks without disturbing the harmony of the region.       

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