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  • GST Council reduces tax rate on 29 goods and 53 categories of services ; New rates to be effective from 25th of this month. 
  • Election Commission announces schedule for Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland; Tripura to go to polls on 18th and Meghalaya and Nagaland to vote on 27th of next month.
  • India successfully test-fires indigenously developed Agni-5 ballistic missile.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asks business leaders to focus on innovation; Pays tribute to 26/11 Mumbai terror attack victims.
  • Eighteen children including seven girls selected for National Bravery Awards, 2017.
  • Sensex and Nifty hit fresh closing highs.
  • Indian captain Virat Kohli named the ICC world cricketer of the year; receives the award for the second time.


Goods and Services Tax Council has reduced the tax rate on  29 goods and 53 categories of services by bringing them in lower category. The new rates will be effective from 25th  of this month. The GST rate on tailoring service has been reduced from 18 to 5 percent and  tax on entry  services to theme parks, water parks, joy rides, merry-go-rounds, go-carting and ballet from  28 percent  to 18. The tax rate on construction of metro and monorail projects has been brought down from 18 percent  to 12 percent. Besides, the rate on job work services  for manufacture of leather goods  and footwear has been reduced to 5  percent. The GST rate on transportation of petroleum crude and petroleum products  including ATF has been cut down from 18 percent to 5   percent without input tax credit and 12 percent with it. The GST rate on the Works Contract Services provided by sub-contractor to the main contractor to  governments and  local bodies has been lowered. 

Briefing media after the council meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley  said, it was also discussed to simplify the return filing process by merging all three types of GST returns into a single return. He said, Mr. Nandan Nilekani gave a detailed presentation on simplification of return filing process. He said, the Council veered around to the idea of registered entities continuing to file the return in GSTR 3B Form while moving to a system where supplier invoice captures details of the transaction. The Finance Minister said, the new process will be finalised in the next meeting of the GST Council after a written formulation is circulated to the states.

Mr Jaitley said, the Council also reaffirmed the implementation of e-way bill system from 1st of next month.

On  a question about inclusion of petrleum products in the GST, the Minister said the matter will be taken up in the next meeting of the council.


The Election Commission today announced the schedule for the Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said, in Tripura, the polling will take place on the 18th of next month, while Meghalaya and Nagaland will go to polls on 27th February. The counting of votes for all the three states will be held on 3rd March.

Gazette notification for the poll in Tripura will be issued on the 24th of this month. For polls in Meghalaya and Nagaland, the notification will be issued on 31st January.

Mr Joti said, EVMs with VVPATs will be used during the polling in the three states.

"As for as the limit of the Election Expenditure is concerned,  the ceiling for the election expenditure for any candidate who is contesting any of the seat in these three states assemblies is 20 lakh Rupees per candidate. All candidates are required to furnish their accounts of expenditure to DEO within 30 days of the declaration of the results. Similarly the political parties are also required to submit their accounts of the expenditure incurred by them within 75 days of the completion of the such elections."

With the announcement of the schedule, the model code of conduct has come into force. Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura have 60 Assembly seats each.


India successfully test-fired indigenously developed long-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Agni-5, off the Odisha coast today. The state-of-the-art missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was test fired successfully from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island at 9:54 AM. The three-stage solid propellant Agni-5 missile has a strike range of over 5,000 kilometres and can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne. Defence sources said, the missile covered 4,900 kilometres in 20 minutes in today's launch. Our correspondent reports that the missile is about 17 metres long, 2 metres wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes.

"Today’s test is the fifth developmental trial of the long range missile, carried out by the Strategic Forces Command of Indian Army to check its operational readiness. Unlike other missiles of Agni series, the latest one ‘Agni-5’ is the most advanced having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. Once this missile is inducted in Services, India will join the super exclusive club of countries with Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles ICBMs alongside the US, Russia, China, France and the UK. WITH SN Pattnaik, from Sambalpur, odisha, SUPARNA SAIKIA FOR AIR NEWS."


India has once again reiterated that there is no change in situation at the face-off site in Doklam after disengagement of troops by India and China.   External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar today said, any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect and mischievous. In response to media queries about the situation in Doklam, Mr Kumar said, government had stated that there was no basis for such imputations. He said, it may be recalled that last year, a face-off situation that had arisen in the Doklam region, was resolved following diplomatic discussions between the two countries. Both the sides had arrived at an understanding for the disengagement of their border personnel at the site.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today met top business leaders and addressed the India-Israel Business Summit in Mumbai.

Speaking at the power breakfast with the select chief executives of Indian companies, Israeli Prime Minister said, the future belongs to those who innovate and therefore it is crucial that business leaders of both countries meet. Describing his India tour as extraordinary, Mr. Netanyahu said, his country has a deep and abiding respect for India, it's people and culture.

Mr Netanyahu laid wreath at the memorial of the 26/11 terror attack victims at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel this afternoon. He was accompanied by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He then proceeded to visit Nariman House, where he met 11-year-old survivor Moshe Holtzberg. Moshe's father and mother were killed at the Nariman House during the 2008 attacks. Mr. Netanyahu is in Mumbai on the final leg of his six-day visit to India. More from our correspondent.

"Among the highlights of today’s visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was his visit to Nariman House where he met one of the youngest survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Moshe Holtzberg. Addressing the Jewish Community in Hebrew, Mr. Netanyahu said the community centre is a unique blend of love and hatred towards the people of Israel. Earlier today, Mr. Netanyahu addressed the India-Israel Business Summit, where he termed India-Israel’s partnership as the one made in heaven and one which rests on shared values of love for humanity, democracy and freedom. He reiterated the importance of innovation, a subject he also touched during his 'power breakfast' meet with select captains of Indian industry.

(The future belongs to those who innovates. Israel is a innovation nation. India is a innovation nation. We must be innovative nations to seize the future. If we don't we fall back. If we do, we will find the future. we can do so better together.)

To wind up his trip, Mr. Netanyahu is currently hosting the Shalom Bollywood event at Taj Mahal hotel. NISHA RANEY, AIR NEWS, MUMBAI."


Eighteen children have been selected for National Bravery Awards, 2017. The awardees include seven girls. Three of the awards will be given posthumously. The coveted Bharat Award will go to sixteen year old Kumari Nazia of Uttar Pradesh. She showed courage in collecting evidence against the illegal business of gambling and betting and passed on information to the Police which led to the arrest of all the people involved in the racket.

The prestigious Geeta Chopra Award has gone to 14-year old late Netrawati M. Chavan for saving two young boys from drowning.

16-year old Karanbeer Singh of Punjab has been selected for Sanjay Chopra Award for displaying outstanding bravery and saving lives of 15 school children.

The brave children will receive their awards from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 24th of this month. They will also participate in the Republic Day Parade. President Ram Nath Kovind will host a reception in their honour.


Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani has said that in the world of celluloid, some create movies out of love for creativity, while others resort to disruption as a marketing stunt. She said this during her interaction in the "Thinkedu" Conclave in Chennai.  The Conclave was organized by a English daily on the topic "Does our education system encourage creativity".  Ms Irani said it is not essential that creativity should be at loggerheads with the society. She also stressed that creative world has to respect counter-views.

"There are creater who create for the love of creating and there are creaters who positioned themselves as disrupters because it is great marketing strategy. So its not essential that creativity is always at logger heads with society. There are creaters in this country in this world, who want to connect people through creativity. We have to many cylose in which creative artists work. Some who want to join people, some who want to provoke, some who want to recreate and some who want to bring something absolutely new knowing if he had to disrupt but compelled him to think differently."


The Rajasthan government today said, it will study the Supreme Court’s order staying the ban on the release of controversial film 'Padmaavat' and then only a decision on revision can be taken. Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said, he will study the apex court order and talk to the law department and legal experts.

The Apex Court today cleared the decks for the all-India release of controversial movie 'Padmaavat' on the 25th of this month. A bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, stayed the orders issued by Rajasthan and Gujarat governments prohibiting the release of the film. It also restrained any other state from issuing any such notifications and orders. The bench observed that the states are obliged to maintain law and order.


At the Stock Markets, Sensex and Nifty posted record highs for the second straight day, today; and the rupee ended marginally higher, against the dollar.

"The Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange advanced 178 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at an all-time high of 35,260. The Nifty rose 28 points, to another peak of 10,817. At the forex market, the rupee gained 2 paise, to 63.86 against the dollar. Gold lost 150 rupees, to 30,950 rupees per 10 grams at in Delhi. And Brent crude futures continued to trade at 69.38 dollars a barrel. Arjun Chaudhuri, AIR News."


In Jammu & Kashmir, a foreign tourist skier was killed after a snow avalanche struck Affarwat peak near 2nd phase of Gondola cable car project at famous tourist resort Gulmarg in Baramulla district today.

A senior police official told AIR that the incident occurred when two foreign tourists were skiing on snow slopes in the area.

The official confirmed that one skier Daniel from Sweden died. Another trapped skier Benjamin, also from Sweden was rescued by the Ski Rescue Team of J&K police.


In Kazakhstan, 52 people were killed today after a bus in which they were travelling caught fire in the Aktau region. The Interior Ministry said, only 5 passengers managed to escape. It said, the nationality of the passengers is not known. Local media, however, said the bus was believed to have been carrying Uzbek citizens to or from Russia.


Indian captain Virat Kohli has been named the world cricketer of the year at the ICC annual awards announced in Dubai today. Kohli first won this award in 2012. This is the second time in succession that an Indian has won the overall cricketer of the year award. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had claimed the honour last year.

Kohli also bagged the top honour for ODI players.


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