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Remove Jagananna, YSR names from central schemes: Centre warns Jagan

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The Centre has warned YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh headed by Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy over naming the schemes of the central government after CM Jagan and his father YSR.

The Centre dashed off a letter to AP government seeking explanation on changing names of Centre’s schemes. It asked Jagan government to remove those names.

After Jagan became CM of AP in May 2019, he is naming all schemes after himself or his father YSR.

All the welfare schemes of YSRCP government have prefixes ‘Jagananna” or YSR.

The Centre took a serious view of Jagan naming Centre’s ICDS, ICPS schemes as Jagananna Goru Mudda, Jagananna Paalu, YSR Sampoorna Poshana etc.

Because these schemes are implemented by the Centre’s women and child welfare department with its own funds.

Jagan named these schemes after him as if the YSRCP government was sanctioning funds.

The Centre also asked the Jagan government to submit expenditure details of these schemes following complaints that the Jagan government had diverted these funds to state government’s schemes.

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Centre again says Special Status is a closed chapter

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The Modi government has once again categorically and unequivocally said that there was no question of according special status to Andhra Pradesh. The government told parliament that the special status demand for AP was a closed chapter. Both the regional parties from the Telugu states did nothing except remaining silent on this issue.

In a written reply to MP Kinjarapu Rammohan Naidu’s question, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityananda Rao said that the special status was a closed chapter and added that the Centre was ready to give a special package as already agreed. The minister said that the State government has so far held 25 meetings with the representatives of both Telangana and Andhra on the question of solving the unsolved issues of AP bifurcation. It said the Centre was making every effort to come to the consensus on pending issues.

The Centre has also said that the Centre was allocating funds at 90:10 ratio for all the centrally sponsored scheme as special assistance. Also the Centre is paying the interest amount for all the loans taken by the two state governments from outside the country.

The Centre also categorically said that many of the assurances given by the Central Government under the AP Reorganisation Act have been implanted. The pending assurances would take some time to implement, it said. The Government has said in very clear terms that the special status was a closed chapter after the recommendations of the 14th finance commission were made public.

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Centre gives Rs 2,155cr to TS, 1,543cr to AP towards GST compensation

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In a relief to cash-starved State governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Centre on Thursday released Rs 2,155.25 crore to Telangana and Rs 1,543.43 crore to Andhra Pradesh to compensate them for the shortfall in GST revenue.

This is part of the total Rs 75,000 crore released by the Centre to the States and Union Territories on Thursday.

The GST Council in its meeting on May 28 had decided that the central government would borrow Rs 1.59 lakh crore and release it to the
states and UTs on a back-to-back basis to meet the resource gap due to the short release of compensation on account of inadequate amount in
the compensation fund.

The Chief Ministers and finance ministers of Telugu States have been repeatedly requesting the Centre to release GST compensation immediately as they are facing severe fund crunch due to Covid-induced financial crisis since March 2020.

This release is in addition to normal GST compensation being released every 2 months out of actual cess collection,” the union finance
ministry said in a statement.

It further said that all eligible states and UTs have agreed to the arrangements for the funding of the compensation shortfall under the
back-to-back loan facility.

“For effective response and management of COVID-19 pandemic and a step-up in capital expenditure, all States and UTs have a very
important role to play. For assisting the States/UTs in their endeavour, Ministry of Finance has front-loaded the release of
assistance under the back-to-back loan facility during FY 2021-22 Rs 75,000 crore (almost 50 per cent of the total shortfall for the entire
year) released today in a single instalment,” the ministry added. The balance amount will be released in the second half of 2021-22 in
steady instalments.

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Centre warns AP govt on accounting frauds!

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The Centre has warned Andhra Pradesh government against breaching established accounting norms and procedures in handling of funds from treasury department and financial mismanagement.

This follows complaint lodged by TDP senior leader and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Payyavula Keshav recently against YSRCP government over not accounting payments to the tune of over Rs 41,000 crore made to various purposes.

Although AP Chief Secretary and Finance principal secretary clarified to Centre that there was no financial mismanagement and that funds were transferred to PD accounts of various corporations, the Centre took the issue very seriously saying it amounts to flouting of accounting norms.

The Centre also expressed anger at AP government for breaching FRBM Act and availing Rs 17,000 crore excess loans from banks and financial institutions this year.

The Centre said it will cut AP’s borrowing limit accordingly for this year for availing loans over and above the permissible limits.

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Centre’s meeting with AP, TS to resolve bifurcation disputes failed!

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The Centre’s fresh attempt to resolve state bifurcation related disputes between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh by conducting a meeting with top officials of both the states on Wednesday (today) in Delhi has ended inconclusively.

The chief secretaries of both the states besides top officials of various departments attended the meeting convened by union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla through video conference.

In the meeting, both the states sparred over the division of assets and liabilities of common institutions located in Hyderabad as usual.

While Telangana argued that all the assets in Telangana belonged to the Telangana government based on their location, the AP government argued that they should be bifurcated on the ratio of the population (52:48), that is 52% should be allotted to AP and 48% to AP as those institutions were built in Hyderabad with the utilisation of entire state funds in Undivided AP since Hyderabad was the capital city of Undivided AP.

The Telangana government refused to share these assets with AP.

Several institutions located in Hyderabad have assets in the form of huge buildings and vast lands which are worth several thousands of crores of rupees.

Besides, these institutions have bank deposits were worth several thousands of crores of rupees lying in banks since 2014.

Both AP and TS government are staking claim over these assets and bank deposits and approached courts against each other.

But nothing happened even after nearly seven years of bifurcation of AP.

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Govt comes up with stricter norms for social media, OTT

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The Union Government on Thursday came up with new stringent guidelines for social media platforms along with code of ethics for over-the-top (OTT) platforms and digital media.

Addressing the media, the Union Minister for Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that social media platforms will be classified under two categories – social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries – with the latter being subject to greater obligations.

The government will soon notify a list of significant social media intermediaries soon, the minister said, adding that platforms with a “significant” number of users will be classified as significant social media intermediaries. A benchmark number would be set for the classification, he said.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 mandate that the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries must establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims.

Intermediaries will have to appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer. Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty-four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt, said an official statement.

As per the new norms “an intermediary upon receiving actual knowledge in the form of an order by a court or being notified by the appropriate government should not host or publish any information which is prohibited under any law in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries etc.”

Further, significant social media intermediaries providing services primarily in the nature of messaging shall enable identification of the originator of the information that is required only offences related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order or of incitement to an offence relating to rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse.

The norm would be applicable to offences under which an offender would be punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years.

Intermediary shall not be required to disclose the contents of any message or any other information to the first originator, said the statement.

Further, the significant platforms will have to appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal Contact Person, a Resident Grievance Officer.

The platforms would also have to publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints as well as details of contents removed proactively by the significant social media intermediary.

In cases where significant social media intermediaries remove or disable access to any information on their own accord, then a prior intimation for the same shall be communicated to the user who has shared that information with a notice explaining the grounds and reasons for such action.

Users must be provided an adequate and reasonable opportunity to dispute the action taken by the intermediary, as per the new norms.

The rules will come in effect from the date of their publication in the gazette, except for the additional due diligence for significant social media intermediaries, which shall come in effect 3 months after publication of these Rules.

Further, on the online news, OTT platforms and digital media platforms, the government has set up three-level grievance redressal mechanism has been under the rules with different levels of self-regulation. The levels are self-regulation by the publishers, self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the publishers, oversight mechanism self-classification of content.

A per the Code of Ethics, the publisher shall appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer based in India who shall be responsible for the redressal of grievances received by it.

The officer shall take decision on every grievance received by it within 15 days.

There may be one or more self-regulatory bodies of publishers. Such a body shall be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court or independent eminent person and have not more than six members. Such a body will have to register with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

This body will oversee the adherence by the publisher to the Code of Ethics and address grievances that have not be been resolved by the publisher within 15 days.

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