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# Allow gambling in sports but regulate it, says law panel
Suggests that the revenue generated can be used for public welfare measures
The Law Commission of India on Thursday submitted a report to the government, saying that since it is impossible to stop illegal gambling, the only viable option left is to “regulate” gambling in sports.
The commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan, recommended “cashless” gambling in sports as a means to increase revenue and deal a blow to unlawful gambling.
The money generated can be used for public welfare activities, it said. For that the revenue from gambling should be taxable under laws like Income Tax Act, the Goods and Services Tax Act.
Linked to Aadhaar
Transactions between gamblers and operators should be linked to their Aadhaar and PAN cards so that the government could keep an eye on them, the panel said.
The commission recommended a classification of ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling.’ Proper gambling would be for the rich who play for high stakes, while small gambling would be for the low-income groups, it said.
The panel wanted the government to introduce a cap on the number of gambling transactions for each individual, that is, monthly, half-yearly and annual. Restrictions on amount should be prescribed while using electronic money facilities like credit cards, debit cards, and net-banking. Gambling websites should also not solicit pornography, it said.
Regulations need to protect vulnerable groups, minors and those below poverty line, those who draw their sustenance from social welfare measures, government subsidies and Jan Dhan account holders from exploitation through gambling, the panel said.
According to the commission, Foreign Exchange Management and Foreign Direct Investment laws and policies should be amended to encourage investment in the casino/online gaming industry. This would propel tourism and employment, it said.
However, one of the members, Prof. S. Sivakumar, expressed strong dissent in a separate note filed with the government. He said the Law Commission report was not “comprehensive.” A country as poor as India should not allow ‘legalised gambling’ on its soil. He said such a move would leave the poor poorer and only vested interests want legalisation of gambling.
Mr. Sivakumar criticised the commission for exceeding the brief given to it by the Supreme Court in 2016. The court had merely asked the commission to look into the narrow question of legalising betting in cricket and not sports as a whole. The court’s reference had come in its judgment in the BCCI case involving illegal betting in IPL cricket matches. The dissenting note said the “recommendation may lead to an unhealthy and unwarranted discussion.”
# Ola driver ‘kidnaps’ passenger
She was rescued by toll booth staff near the Kempegowda International Airport
A 25-year-old woman was allegedly kidnapped by the driver of a taxi she had booked on aggregator platform Ola on Thursday around 2 a.m.
The driver, Suresh, was arrested by the Chikkajala police, who said that the woman had booked the taxi from Banaswadi to the airport.
She told police that she was heading to Mumbai on work and had booked an Ola cab. As the cab approached the airport toll gate, Suresh changed lanes and began driving towards Hyderabad.
“When she started instructing him to go back towards the airport, she realised that he was inebriated. He refused to stop, misbehaved with her and told her to keep quiet,” said a police officer.
The woman had the presence of mind to alert staff at the toll booth on the highway. She started shouting for help, which caught the attention of toll booth staff who immediately came to her aid.
They prevented Suresh from driving away and helped her get out of the vehicle. She immediately alerted the police who arrested Suresh.
“He has been booked for kidnapping and driving under the influence of alcohol. Our initial probe has revealed that the car was registered on Ola by Suresh’s brother. We are waiting for Suresh to become sober so that we can question him,” the police officer added.
The woman alerted her family who came to pick her up from the toll booth.
In a statement to mediapersons, an Ola spokesperson said that the taxi has been removed from the platform. “We are deeply disturbed to learn about the incident. We are also engaging with the police to lend assistance in their ongoing investigations,” read the statement.
This is the second such incident in a little over a month where a woman on her way to the airport was harassed by a driver booked on the platform. On June 1, an Ola taxi driver was arrested for allegedly molesting a 26-year-old architect who was headed to the airport.
# Delhi officials defy Kejriwal
Refuse to change transfer authority
The impasse between the Aam Aadmi Party government and its bureaucrats over who would control matters of services continued on Thursday, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warning officers of “serious consequences if they continued to “defy” the Supreme Court’s judgment on Wednesday.
Not diluted: Jaitley
On the other hand, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said in a Facebook post that the court’s judgment on administrative supremacy in Delhi was one that neither added to the power of the State and the Central government, nor diluted them.
A five-member Constitution Bench ruled that the Lieutenant-Governor was bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers on all matters, except for three reserved subjects — land, police and public order. On May 21, 2015, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had added a fourth subject — services.
Hours after the judgment, Deputy Chief Minister and Services Department Minister-in-charge Manish Sisodia ordered the department to change the approving authority for transfers of officers from the Lieutenant-Governor and bureaucrats to the Chief Minister and Ministers.
The Department refused, saying the Ministry’s notification had not been quashed and all matters would now be heard by another Bench of the Supreme Court.
# Two-year-old ‘sexually assaulted’ at playschool
Parents claim Kolkata school refused to provide CCTV footage; FIR registered
A two-year-old boy was allegedly sexually assaulted at a playschool in south Kolkata’s Behala area earlier this week.
The alleged incident came to light on Thursday, a day after the child’s parents lodged a complaint at Thakurpukur police station.
Child in pain
The FIR registered under Sections 4 and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 mentions that the child went to the playschool on Monday (July 2), where he was subjected to “aggravated penetrative sexual assault by unknown persons”.
The father of the child said in the complaint that his son was in extreme pain after returning home. “When my son came out of the playschool he was crying. He was not able to stand or sit,” he said. The boy was taken to a private practitioner, who suggested that the parents visit the school and check the CCTV footage.
Medical test conducted
The father alleged that the principal of the school denied his request to provide CCTV footage of that particular day. The school authorities told him they that do not have the CCTV footage of the premises from June 26 to July 3, he said.
The child’s parents then took him to a State-run health facility where his medical examination was conducted and lodged a complaint with the police.
The playschool authorities claim that they had organised a ‘Doctors’ Day’ event at the school on Monday and that a doctor had medically examined the children.
“This child, however, was not checked by the doctor. He was with the teachers and a nanny in another room and at 11.30 a.m. the parents came to pick him up. They returned 24 hours later and made these allegations,” its principal told media persons.
Maneka takes note
Describing the incident as “deeply disturbing”, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi announced in a tweet on Thursday afternoon that she has directed the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to immediately initiate action in the case.
In December last year, an allegation of sexual assault on a child at a kindergarten in south Kolkata had triggered massive protests by parents. The school was closed for weeks before arrests were made and the principal was removed from office.
# In State, affordable bungalows at Rs. 6.5 lakh
Three lakh subsidised homes are handed over on a single day, in a record of sorts
In what is said to be the largest such event to take place on a single day, 3,00,346 families in Andhra Pradesh performed house-warming for their new homes on Thursday. The 3 lakh-plus beneficiaries got their new homes under the Andhra Pradesh government’s NTR Housing Scheme.
The owners set foot in their new homes around 11 a.m., the appointed time on a day regarded as auspicious, in the presence of Ministers, elected representatives and District Collectors. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the ceremonies remotely from Vijayawada.
The previous occasion when the A.P. government did something similar was on October 2, 2017, when one lakh units were handed over to beneficiaries. A typical house under the scheme, built on an individual plot, is a single-bedroom unit of 750 sq. ft. carpet area, with a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. Where land was not available, apartment complexes of up to four floors were built. The beneficiaries were chosen through a Smart Pulse Survey.
G. Tirupattama of Mulapadu in Krishna district said, “Owning a pucca house has been a long-cherished dream.” A. Venkatapadma from Machilipatnam echoed similar feelings.
No stopping now
Mr. Naidu said the State would go ahead with the housing project even if the Centre did not support it. Beneficiaries put in Rs. 2.5 lakh towards the cost, and got State subsidy of Rs. 1.50 lakh in villages and Rs. 2.50 lakh in cities. The Central subsidy was Rs. 1.50 lakh.
# Iconic Nizam-era hangar collapses
Disaster averted as bus movement stopped, shops cleared
The about 88-year-old Nizam-era Mississippi aircraft hangar being used by the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) as the City Bus Station for city services collapsed on Thursday morning.
None were injured as the complex was vacated by the RTC officials on June 30 as the structure had become weak and was in danger of collapsing. According to Sunil Sharma, in-charge TSRTC managing director, the imposing structure had developed cracks on June 29.
“We asked all the shop owners to vacate and stopped the movement of all buses from June 30. As we suspected that the structure was in a very precarious condition, we decided that the entire premises should be sealed off,” he said.
“On Thursday morning around 6.30 am, the front portion of the iconic structure collapsed, and within minutes the entire complex came down with a big sound,” Mr. Sharma said adding that a major disaster was averted as they had already taken the precaution of vacating the shops and stopping the movement of city buses.
As soon as the news broke out, TSRTC officials rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
Officials said till last week as many as 2,385 trips were made by the city buses passing through the City Bus Station, which was known as Central Bus Station till 1996. And, as many as 86 buses used to be parked in the night at the complex till last week.
The hangar came down a few hours before TSRTC officials were to visit the site to review the situation.
Popularly known as Gowliguda bus station, it was a hub for all the district buses coming from all over erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring states.
After the construction of Imlibun bus station on the other side of Musi, the complex was handed over to the city region of the RTC.
The hangar was built in 1930 by Butler & Co of the USA for the Nizam’s Road Transport Department of the Nizam State Railway.
On the action plan, Mr. Sharma said that they are planning to build a bus station with a commercial complex on the four-acre land and the corporation will float tenders soon.
# Engineering fees hiked by 10%
‘A consensual agreement in this regard is likely to be signed on Friday itself’
Students applying for engineering courses in Karnataka will see a fee hike of 10% from that of the previous academic year. The decision was taken on Thursday after a meeting between private college managements and the State government.
Senior officials in the Higher Education Department said that fees for seats across all quotas will see a uniform 10% hike. However, managements of several private engineering colleges are not happy. “College managements had actually sought a 20% hike in fee structure, but the government has agreed to cap it at 10%. A consensual agreement in this regard is likely to be signed on Friday itself,” said a management member of a private engineering college. It has taken months for all parties to arrive at a consensual agreement. Retired Justice Shylendra Kumar, who heads the Fee Regulatory Committee, had capped the hike at 8% for professional courses.
# Don’t stop traffic for me, says Thakur
DGP R.P. Thakur on Thursday asked the heads of police units across the State not to trouble people by halting or diverting traffic during his visits.
Mr. Thakur, who recently took charge as Head of Police Force, met Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan in Hyderabad on Wednesday, and returned to the city on Thursday morning,
While he was entering the city from the Vijayawada airport in Gannavaram, Mr. Thakur observed the traffic on the connecting roads of the Chennai-Kolkata National Highway being blocked by the city police to ensure a smooth ride for the DGP’s convoy.
Mr. Thakur, according to the officials, immediately asked those concerned in the city to let the traffic go as usual.
He later passed orders to the Superintendents and Commissioners of Police heading the district units and the Commissionerates to not impose traffic restrictions for the sake of his convoy. The DGP later formally met Home Minister N. Chinarajappa. They discussed the law & order, departmental, and administration issues.
Mr. Thakur is still continuing as Director-General of the ACBAnti-Corruption Bureau.
# Kumaraswamy waives farm loans
Keeps poll promise in his first budget
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy honoured his party’s poll promise by announcing waiver of crop loans of Rs. 34,000 crore in the coalition government’s maiden budget presented on Thursday.
To fund the waiver scheme, people would need to brace themselves to pay more for petrol, diesel, electricity, liquor, and motor vehicles.
Largely focusing on the needs of the constituencies in the Cauvery region where the JD(S) won the highest number of seats in the Assembly, the Chief Minister maintained that all proposals of the budget presented by Siddaramaiah on February 16, 2018, would be implemented, and he had only added new schemes and proposals.
The size of the budget is Rs. 9,307 crore more than the previous one presented by Mr. Siddaramaiah. The coalition government’s budget size was Rs. 2,18,488 crore against Mr. Siddaramaiah’s budget of Rs. 2,09,181 crore.
The budget capped crop loan waiver at Rs. 2 lakh. In the first stage, defaulted crop loans of farmers up to December 31, 2017, would be written off. Farmers who repaid the loan within a time frame would, as a pat on the back, be credited with the repaid loan amount or Rs. 25,000, whichever is less.
To garner resources to waive loans from cooperative and nationalised banks, the budget proposes to increase tax on petrol from the present 30% to 32% and diesel from 19% to 21%. Hence, petrol price will increase by Rs. 1.14/ltr and diesel by Rs. 1.12/ltr. Tax on liquor has been increased by 4% and consumption of electricity by 3%.
The Chief Minister defended this saying that fuel prices are lower in Karnataka when compared to neighbouring States of south India. He said he had managed to pull off loan waiver while staying within the parameters of the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Districts of Hassan, Mandya, Ramanagaram, Mysuru, Chickballpur, and Tumakuru have received a big bonanza in the budget. While there are not many new projects for Bengaluru, the budget earmarks Rs. 1,000 crore for the first phase of a mega project to build a network of elevated corridors in the city, totalling to 95 km linking opposite ends of the city.
To compete with Chinese toys/products, the budget proposes incentives to domestic manufactures, on the lines of Make in India. A new scheme — Kayaka — was announced to enhance skill development and entrepreneurship quality in SHGs.
# Khalid’s rustication upheld
A high-level inquiry committee set up by JNU to probe the February 9, 2016, incident on campus wherein “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised, has upheld the rustication of student Umar Khalid and a fine of Rs. 10,000 imposed on then students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar.
University sources confirmed on Thursday that the inquiry committee has upheld its 2016 recommendations calling for rustication of three students and imposing a fine on 13 others. The JNU Students’ Union condemned the punishment, saying attempts were being made to frame the student activists.
Source:- The Hindu