From the government rolling back a controversial budget proposal to tax employees’ provident fund withdrawals to fresh trouble for Vijay Mallya, with a consortium of banks asking the Supreme Court to ban his overseas travel, here a is a quick rundown of the day’s top stories. Click ‘full story’ links for more.
EPF tax withdrawn
The government rolled back on Tuesday a controversial budget proposal to tax employees’ provident fund (EPF) withdrawals, caving in to mounting opposition by labour unions, the salaried class and rival political parties.
“In view of the representations received, the government would like to do a comprehensive review of this proposal and therefore I withdraw the proposals,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said in a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha.
A group of banks asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to restrain the founder of Kingfisher Airlines, liquor baron Vijay Mallya, from leaving the country because of the hefty debt the now defunct company owes.
The creditors, led by the State Bank of India, have stepped up efforts to recover the Rs 70,000 crore debt after Mallya last month resigned as chairman of spirits maker United Spirits, a unit of Diageo Plc.
No clarity on Art of Living event
A high-profile controversial event planned on Delhi’s eco-sensitive Yamuna floodplain appeared uncertain on Tuesday after the national green tribunal asked the Centre to explain why the organisers weren’t asked to get an environmental clearance.
The organisers of the World Culture Festival, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s the Art of Living Foundation, admitted before the green court that with three days to go, no fire department or transport department permissions had been obtained.
The NGT adjourned the matter until Wednesday, when a verdict is expected.
Black money scheme not amnesty: Jaitley on ‘Fair and Lovely’ jibe
Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the government’s scheme of a one-time compliance window for people with domestic black money to come clean was “not an amnesty scheme, it has a penalty”.
Under the four-month compliance window -- announced by Jaitley during the Union Budget -- people with domestic black money can come clean by paying 45% tax and penalty and get immunity from prosecution.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley attacked the Congress after its vice-president Rahul Gandhi recently accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaitley of going back on their election pledge and helping the rich convert their black money into white.
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza launched
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSI) had the perfect game plan for the Delhi Auto Expo. The Vitara Brezza – the trump card of the game “Transformotion” – is all set to do wonders for the top carmaker, considering that the excitement of its looks is now coupled by a magnetic price tag: Rs 6.99 lakh onwards.
Yes, the dynamic compact sports utility vehicle will cost Rs 6.99 lakh for the base variant, and Rs 9.68 lakh for the top one. While the bookings start immediately, the cars will roll out of the Maruti Suzuki dealerships from March 21.
Kidnapped son of assassinated Pakistan governor found after 5 years
Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, was recused during an army-led operation in Quetta on Tuesday, almost five years after he was kidnapped from Lahore.
Anwar-ul Haq, the official spokesman of the Balochistan government, told reporters that Shahbaz was “fit and fine” and would spend the evening with his family.
Tiger on Doha highway
A tiger was spotted wandering through a traffic jam on one of Doha’s busiest roads on Tuesday, and government officials said they would investigate the incident after footage appeared online.
Pictures and video showing the tiger roaming among cars on the Doha Expressway flooded social media in the tiny Gulf country.
Footage including a 20-second video on YouTube and Twitter showed the big cat running through lanes of heavy traffic, apparently trying to find a way off the congested road.
Doping now shadows Maria Sharapova’s incredible rags-to-riches story
From the shadow of Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland to international super-stardom; from penniless arrival in the United States, without a word of English, to a fortune nudging the $200 million mark.
It may sound like the stuff of Hollywood dreams, but the story of Maria Sharapova, the world’s richest sportswoman, is a testament to the power of one individual to make it, whatever the odds.
At first I didn’t accept that I was bipolar: TV actor Shama Sikandar
You know her best as the chirpy and girl next door Pooja from the show Yeh Meri Life Hai but actor Shama Sikandar recently opened up about fighting bipolar disorder for four years and she says like everyone else, her first reaction was denial.
“I was dating Alex (O’Neil - actor) at that time and he has a psychological degree. He pointed it out to me and at first my reaction was, ‘No, I am not going to a doctor. I am perfectly fine and there is nothing wrong with me’. However, he insisted that I have a condition and I should address it,” says Sikandar, who recently played the role of a nymphomaniac in a webseries.
Scotch whisky industry hails Indian court verdict
The £5-billion Scotch whisky industry is celebrating a recent decision by one of India’s new commercial courts that granted permanent injunctions against three Indian companies which were passing off products as “Scotch”.
Commercial courts were set up early this year to resolve actions promptly and efficiently. Two months after the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) filed proceedings, the court announced its judgement in February, to much cheer in Scotland.