COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Given the prevailing circumstances in which the world is increasingly moving towards adopting digital force-multipliers for productivity, the Government of India has decided to follow this best practice.

There is to be no activity towards printing wall calendars, desktop calendars, diaries and other such material for use in the coming year by any Ministries/Departments/PSUs/PSBs and all other organs of the government.

All such activity shall go digital and online.

There is to be a concerted effort towards incorporating innovative methods in such matters. Using technological innovations for planning, scheduling and forecasting is well known to be economical, efficient and effective.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his governance model have always seen technology as an enabler. Integrating technology into our work is in line with his vision.

Therefore all calendars, diaries, schedulers and similar other materials, which were earlier printed in physical format, will now be done digitally. Publication of Coffee Table books will also be stopped and appropriate use of E-Books is encouraged. All Ministries/Departments/PSUs/PSBs and all other organs of the government are to adopt innovative means to use digital or online methods for the same. Innovative digital and online solutions that will achieve the same result as physical calendars or diaries are to be prioritized and to be put into practice.

Necessary order has been issued to all concerned.( Please See)

Ministry of Finance

[Press Release dt. 02-09-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a major turnaround in the AGR case, with respect to Public Sector Undertakings, the Department of Telecommunication has decided to withdraw the demands which constitute 96% of the of the ?4 lakh crore demand. However, with respect to 4% other Public Sector Undertakings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench of Arun Mishra, SA Nazeer and MR Shah, JJ that “the final decision shall be taken before the next date of hearing and placed on record.

The decision came after the Court pulled up the Government for misusing it’s 2019 verdict and had said that the said verdict only applied to AGR dues owed by the telecom companies and not to PSUs.

In today’s order, the Court directed the telecom operators to file audited Balance Sheets, for the last 10 years including for the Calendar year ending 31.3.2020 as well as the Income Tax Returns and the particulars of AGR deposited during the last 10 years. It also requested to make payments of reasonable amount also to show their bonafides, before the next date of hearing.

The matter is scheduled to be taken up in the 3rd week of July.

Last year, in Union of India v. Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1393, where it had  refused  to change the definition of gross revenue as defined in clause 19.1 of the licence agreement granted by the Government of India to the Telecom Service Providers and had said,

“The definition of revenue has been taken in a broad, comprehensive, and inclusive manner to pose fewer problems of interpretation, and exclusion of certain items was avoided.”

[In re Mandar Deshpande, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 518 , order dated 18.06.2020]

Also read:

In a big blow to the Telecom Sector, SC refuses to change AGR definition



Cabinet DecisionsLegislation Updates

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given ‘in principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of equity shareholding of Minerals & Metals Trading Corporation Limited (MMTC) (49.78%), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) (10.10%), MECON (0.68%) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) (0.68%) and two Odisha State Government PSUs namely; Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha Ltd.(IPICOL) (12.00%) and Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) (20.47%) in Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited (NINL) to a strategic buyer, identified through a two-stage auction procedure. NINL is a Joint Venture company, in which four CPSEs namely MMTC, NMDC, BHEL and MECON and 2 State PSUs of Odisha Government, namely IPICOL and OMC are shareholders.

The proposed strategic disinvestment of NINL would unlock resources to be used to finance the social sector/developmental programmes of the Government benefiting the public. It is also expected that the successful strategic buyer may bring in new management/technology/investment for the growth of the company and may use innovative methods for the development of the business operations of the company, which may generate more employment opportunities.

Ministry of Finance

[Press Release dt. 08-01-2020]

[Source: PIB]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, JJ dismissed the PIL challenging the Centre’s policy to allow private bank officials to be appointed as Managing Directors or CEOs of public sector banks.

It was contended that only whole-time directors of public sector banks, whose names are cleared by the Central Vigilance Commission, can be appointed to head public sector banks and that eligibility criteria for the posts of CEO and MD of the five banks have been set with a sole objective to make all existing executives directors of Public Sector Banks ineligible.

The Court rejected the said petition and said that there was nothing wrong with such appointments.

Source: Business Standard