Top news of the day: GST revenues grow 13% in March; gross collections for 2022-23 up by 22%; Navjot Sidhu released from Patiala jail, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more. 

April 01, 2023 07:25 pm | Updated 07:25 pm IST

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu leaves Central Jail in Patiala on April 1, 2023 after spending nearly 10 months in prison in a 1988 road rage death case.

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu leaves Central Jail in Patiala on April 1, 2023 after spending nearly 10 months in prison in a 1988 road rage death case. | Photo Credit: PTI

GST revenues grow 13% in March; gross collections for 2022-23 up by 22%

India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenues grew 13% in March, to record the second highest monthly collections of ₹1.6 lakh crore from the indirect tax, with receipts from goods imports rising 8% and inflows from domestic transactions and services imports rising 14% from a year ago. This is the 12th month in a row that GST collections have been over ₹1.4 lakh crore, and are March’s tax quantum was only eclipsed previously in April 2022, when collections were ₹1,67,540 crore. Gross GST collections for 2022-23 are 22% higher than 2021-22 at ₹18.10 lakh crore, reflecting an average gross monthly collection of almost ₹1.51 lakh crore.

Congress leader Navjot Sidhu released from Patiala jail

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu walked free on April 1 after spending nearly 10 months in Patiala central jail in a 1988 road rage death case. There were expectations that he would be released by afternoon but he came out of jail at 5:53 pm. The 59-year-old’s supporters had assembled since morning outside the prison to accord him a grand welcome upon his release and they could be heard chanting ‘ Navjot Sidhu zindabad’.

Defamation complaint against Rahul Gandhi for his ‘21st century Kauravas’ remark on RSS

A RSS worker has filed a defamation complaint against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a Haridwar court for describing the organisation as “Kauravas of the 21st century.” The lawyer for RSS worker Kamal Bhadauria said that his client had filed the complaint in court under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code for making indecent remarks against the RSS. The Congress leader had on January 9 this year during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Haryana alleged “Kauravas of the 21st century wear Khakhi half-pants and run ‘shakhas’. Besides them stand two to three richest people of the country”.

Jails overcrowded, courts should ensure that trials are taken up and concluded speedily: Supreme Court

Jails are overcrowded and their living conditions appalling and the courts should ensure that trials, especially in cases where special laws enact stringent provisions, are taken up and concluded speedily, the Supreme Court has said. The top court said if the trials are not concluded in time, the injustice wrecked on the individual is immeasurable. A bench of Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta made the observation while enlarging a man accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act on bail.

Congress to mount joint offensive with other Opposition parties against BJP’s failure to conduct caste-census

In the face of BJP’s campaign labelling the Congress as “anti-OBC”, the party is gearing up for an outreach programme, roping in other Opposition parties to mount a joint offensive against the BJP with the Narendra Modi government’s failure to conduct caste census as the central rallying call. Sources said that the plan is currently at a nascent stage and that talks are going on with leadership of Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal (United) among others. The last caste-census was done in 1931 and all government policies are based on this outdated data.

India and Malaysia announce trade in Indian Rupees

India and Malaysia have agreed to settle trade in the Indian rupees, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on on April 1. The announcement came in the backdrop of ongoing official efforts to Safeguard Indian trade from the impact of Ukraine crisis. The shift away from The U.S. dollar which has been the dominant reserve currency for international trade so far has added significance as it indicates India is willing to take concrete steps towards ddollarization of its international trade.

Government’s total liabilities rise 2.6% to ₹150.95 lakh crore in Q3 FY23: Report

The government’s total liabilities rose to ₹150.95 lakh crore in December quarter from ₹147.19 lakh crore in the three months ended September 2022, according to the latest public debt management report. The increase reflects a quarter-on-quarter increase of 2.6% in October-December 2022-23. In absolute terms, the total liabilities, including liabilities under the ‘Public Account’ of the government, jumped to ₹1,50,95,970.8 crore at the end of December 2022. As of September 30, the total liabilities stood at ₹1,47,19,572.2 crore.

Bank loan fraud | ED arrests Kolkata-based businessman for ‘cheating’ SBI for ₹95 crore

The ED on April 1 said it arrested a Kolkata-based businessman under the anti-money laundering law for allegedly defrauding State Bank of India of ₹95 crore. Kaushik Kumar Nath was arrested on March 30 and a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Kolkata sent him to ED custody till April 10, the agency said in a statement. Nath, it said, availed credit facilities from State Bank of India by submitting “forged and fabricated” documents.

Kanjhawala hit-and-drag case: Delhi Police file 800-page chargesheet

The Delhi Police on April 1 filed an 800-page chargesheet against seven accused in the Kanjhawala hit-and-drag case in which a 20-year-old woman was killed after being dragged under a car in the early hours of January 1. Metropolitan Magistrate Sanya Dalal has posted the matter for consideration of the final report on April 13. The police had arrested Deepak Khanna, Amit Khanna, Krishan, Mithun and Manoj Mittal in the case on January 2. Two other accused — Ashutosh Bhardwaj and Ankush — were earlier given bail by the court. Deepak Khanna’s bail plea was rejected by a sessions court.

Pakistan posts highest-ever annual inflation; stampedes for food kill 16

Consumer price inflation in Pakistan jumped to a record 35.37% in March from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said on April 1, as at least 16 people were killed in stampedes for food aid. The March inflation number eclipsed February’s 31.5%, the bureau said, as food, beverage and transport prices surged up to 50% year-on-year. Thousands of people have gathered at flour distribution centres set up across the country, some as part of a government-backed programme to ease the impact of inflation.

Russian U.N. Security Council presidency is ‘symbolic blow’: Ukraine official

A top Ukrainian official on April 1 criticised the ‘symbolic blow’ of Russia assuming the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council. “It’s not just a shame. It is another symbolic blow to the rules-based system of international relations,” Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, wrote in English on Twitter. Russia took over the presidency of the U.N.’s top security body, which rotates every month. The last time Moscow held the post was in February 2022, when its troops launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Iran’s judiciary chief threatens to prosecute ‘without mercy’ unveiled woman

Faced with an increasing number of women defying the compulsory dress code, Iran’s judiciary chief has threatened to prosecute “without mercy” women who appear in public unveiled, Iranian media reported on April 1. Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei’s warning comes on the heels of an Interior Ministry statement on March 30 that reinforced the government’s mandatory hijab law.

Pope Francis leaves hospital; ‘Still alive,’ he quips

Pope Francis was discharged on April 1 from the Rome hospital where he was treated for bronchitis, quipping to journalists before being driven away: “I’m still alive.” Before departing, the Pope had an emotional moment with a Rome couple whose 5-year-old daughter died Friday night at the hospital. Serena Subania, mother of Angelica, sobbed as she pressed her head into the chest of the pope, who put a hand on the woman’s head.

IPL 2023: SRH vs RR | Up against Hyderabad, Rajasthan keen to recreate last year magic

A well-balanced squad at their disposal, Rajasthan Royals would look to recreate this year the same magic which saw them emerge second best in IPL 2022, as they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in their campaign opener in Hyderabad on April 2. The Royals, led by Sanju Samson, are a side overflowing with performers, with both the purple cap (highest wicket-taker) and orange cap (highest run-getter) being cornered by their players — Yuzvendra Chahal and Jos Buttler — last season. SRH, on the other hand, still look like a side trying to find their feet after debacles in the two previous editions of the IPL. 

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