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Ragpickers hit hard by GST -Mohit M Rao

-The Hindu Plastic recyclers protecting margins by paying less for waste plastic Bengaluru: As the nation ushered in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on July 1, no one would have imagined that it might have adverse consequences for the environment. But with the tax rate on recycled plastic shooting up from 5.5% to 18% post-GST, ragpicking as a livelihood seems to be turning unviable, with attendant impact on the urban environment. Take the case of Nagaratna and her self-help group (SHG) at Mahadevapura. Nearly a month post-GST, the Mahadevapura Mahila Okkuta, a collection of 17 SHGs that collects and segregates waste in Garudacharpalya, is staring at the prospect of their profits being wiped out. Before GST, they had consistently made ?30,000 as surplus. “This month it is zero,” says Nagaratna from the Okkuta. “We have been collecting and recycling waste for over 12 years now. We have never faced a situation like this....

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1,211 police stations in India do not have working telephones and 260 have no vehicles, data shows -Abhishek Dey

-Scroll.in These numbers differ significantly from corresponding figures collected from the previous year. Data collected by the Bureau of Police Research and Development shows as many as 1,211 police stations – about 8% of India’s 15,555 police stations – do not have a functional telephone. The data, which was collected by the bureau for its upcoming annual report on police organisations in India, also shows 260 police stations (1.6%) do not have a vehicle, and 103 police stations (0.66%) do not have wireless sets as on January 1. These numbers have left the bureau baffled because they differ significantly from corresponding figures published in its last annual report, Data on Police Organisations 2016. In that report, 402 police stations were reported to be operating without functional telephones, 188 police stations did not have vehicles, and 65 were operating without both telephones and wireless sets as on January 1, 2016. The states with...

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Centre privacy U-turn

-The Telegraph New Delhi: The Centre in a U-turn today told the Supreme Court the right to privacy can be a fundamental right subject to certain limitations, and said it wanted a "smaller bench" - instead of the current nine-judge constitution bench - to decide whether the Aadhaar scheme violated that right. Attorney-general K.K. Venugopal, the country's top law officer, made the concession after the bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justices J. Chelameshwar, D.Y. Chandrachud, S.A. Bobde, R.K. Agrawal, R.F. Nariman, A.M. Sapre, Mohd Nazeer and Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked him to clarify if the right to privacy was a fundamental right. "According to me, there is no fundamental right to privacy. My second argument is that (if) there is a fundamental right to privacy, it is a wholly qualified right and since the right to privacy consists of diverse aspects, it is a sub-species of liberty. Every aspect of such...

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Stay on Mahanadi projects

-The Telegraph New Delhi: An environmental court in Calcutta today directed the Chhattisgarh government to halt work on 31 projects along the Mahanadi river that environmental groups fear will reduce the downstream water flow in Odisha. The Calcutta bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued a stay order on the projects, a mix of dams, barrages, irrigation channels among them, at various locations along the Mahanadi before the river enters Odisha's Sambalpur district. The Mahanadi river water has emerged into a major controversy between the two states with Odisha accusing Chhattisgarh of going ahead with projects that could weaken the water flow and affect people's livelihoods downstream in Odisha. "This is an interim ruling but a very important ruling," Sudarshan Das, a social activist based in Bhubaneswar who had filed a petition against the projects in the NGT told The Telegraph . "Multiple projects along this river in Chhattisgarh have already reduced the...

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Pan-India wage plan

-The Telegraph New Delhi: The Union cabinet today cleared a plan to introduce a pan-India minimum wage that will cover all sectors of the economy. The Labour Code on Wages Bill seeks to empower the Centre to fix a universal minimum wage for workers across the country. The new law is expected to benefit over 4 crore employees across the country. The Code will consolidate four different wage-related laws: the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. The new code will also cover employees who draw more than Rs 18,000 a month who are currently outside the ambit of the Minimum Wages Act. The bill is likely to be introduced in Parliament during the monsoon session which concludes on August 11. The Centre will revise the national minimum wage every two years. The frequency of the wage revision could become every...

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