Centre justifies certification of Finance Bill, 2017 as money bill; SC reserves verdict

Supreme-court-BCCLNEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday in the Supreme Court justified certification of Finance Bill, 2017 as a money bill saying it has provisions which deals with salaries and allowance to be paid to members of tribunals from the consolidated funds of India.

The top court reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Finance Act, 2017 on the ground that it was passed by the Parliament as a money bill.

The Centre contended that certification of Finance Act as money bill was done by speaker of Lok Sabha and court cannot judicially review the decision.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “Hearing concluded. Order reserved”.

At the outset, Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre said that certification granted by the speaker cannot be challenged in the court of law.

The Attorney General justified before the bench also comprising Justices N V Ramana, D Y Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna the certification of Finance Act as a money bill saying it deals with payment and receipt made from the consolidated funds of India.

“It is the whole part which has been certified as a money bill and not in parts. Therefore no part can be severed to say that this cannot be called as a money bill,” Venugopal said.

He referred to provision for money spent on tribunals from the consolidated funds and said salaries and allowances of tribunal members would come under incidental matters referred in the Article 110 (1)(G) of the Constitution.

Article 110 of the Constitution deals with provisions as when can a Bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill.

Venugopal relied on Aadhaar verdict of last year and said that the apex court has held that the main object of Aadhaar Act was to extend benefits to marginalised section of society in the form of aid, grant or subsidy from the consolidated fund.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who led the arguments for the petitioners, argued that a bill which says that salaries shall be paid to the members of tribunal does not in itself make it a money bill.

He sought making the tribunals independent saying their core judicial duty cannot be taken away or at least they can be brought under the control of law ministry or one nodal agency as held in 1997 and 2010 verdicts of the apex court.

The top court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Finance Bill of 2017.

On March 28, the Centre has told the apex court that it cannot question the speaker’s decision of certifying a bill as a Money Bill and it is a well settled law.

Venugopal said contention that certification of Finance Bill of 2017 as Money Bill was not right cannot be a ground for a challenge to validity of the Bill.

He had said that apex court has repeatedly held in its verdicts that certification cannot be questioned and courts cannot inquire into the decision taken by Parliament.

Venugopal had said Finance Bill comprises of amendments to several Acts and statutes and the petitioners have challenged only one particular aspect saying it cannot be termed as Money Bill.

The apex court had earlier sought the Centre’s view on bringing all the tribunals under one central umbrella body for ensuring “efficient functioning” and “streamlining the working” of quasi-judicial bodies.

The top court had said it would not like to be bogged down with what is right or wrong and all it wants was that “the tribunals work efficiently and independently”.

The court had said it is tentatively of the view that directions given by the apex court in its two verdicts of 1997 and 2010 for bringing all the tribunals of the country under one nodal agency should have been “implemented long back”.

[“source=economictimes.indiatimes”]

World leaders head to Davos as uncertainty darkens the global outlook

A demonstrator holds a 'Stop The Shutdown' sign during a rally with union members and federal employees to end the partial government shutdown outside the White House in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A demonstrator holds a ‘Stop The Shutdown’ sign during a rally with union members and federal employees to end the partial government shutdown outside the White House in Washington, D.C.

As a legion of heads of state and business leaders head to Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) next week, world affairs are as unpredictable and unstable as ever.

In the 12 months since the last forum, global trade relations and diplomacy as well as domestic politics have been fractious, to say the least.

Since President Donald Trump first announced tariffs on a selection of Chinese imports last January, the U.S. and China have gone on to impose tariffs of $250 billion and $110 billion on each other’s goods, respectively. Washington is currently witnessing its longest ever shutdown because of an impasse over funding for a border wall and Brexit remains as chaotic and unclear as ever just weeks before the U.K.’s departure from the EU.

The forum released a “Global Risks” report Wednesday in which it noted that “global risks are intensifying but the collective will to tackle them appears to be lacking.”

In continental Europe over the last year, we’ve seen a populist government take charge in one of Europe’s major economies, Italy, and a demise of mainstream politicians that could lead to a power vacuum — and moral crisis — in the region.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced in October that she is to retire from politics and her party continues to cede voters to the left and right, meanwhile an increasingly unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron is dealing with ongoing and often violent protests on the streets of Paris.

John Drzik, president of Global Risk and Digital at risk management firm Marsh, told CNBC that cybercrime, critical infrastructure and environmental threats, as well as changes in geopolitics, are among the biggest risks facing the world right now.

“The rise of nationalist agendas around the world is creating friction among states as well as weakening multilateral institutions,” he told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche.

“It’s not just in the U.S., here in the U.K. you have Brexit, but in Brazil, Italy, Austria and Hungary there are lots of populist political figures who are getting elected and changing the agenda to be more protectionist and more nationalist and, as a result, weakening the multilateral bonds that were there and that’s expected to continue into 2019.”

The global economy is not looking too great either as trade concerns continue to concern business and rattle financial markets.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cited trade tensions when it downgraded its global growth forecast for 2019 last October. The IMF expects global growth of 3.7 percent in 2019, down 0.2 percentage points from an earlier forecast in its World Economic Outlook report.

The World Bank, meanwhile, sees global growth at 2.9 percent in 2019 amid tightening financial conditions. The European Commission is also downbeat about the region’s growth, forecasting a lackluster 2 percent growth in the EU in 2019.

Globalization 4.0

Against this backdrop, there’s plenty to talk about at this year’s Davos then when the heads and officials of over 100 governments meet, as well as top executives from over 1,000 global companies. Designed to foster private and public cooperation, the forum’s main objective is “to improve the state of the world.” This year’s theme is focused on “Globalization 4.0.”

WEF’s founder Klaus Schwab said in November that the world is experiencing “an economic and political upheaval that will not cease any time soon” adding in a WEF editorial that “the forces of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have ushered in a new economy and a new form of globalization.”

Schwab said that a slow and uneven recovery since the global financial crisis meant “a substantial part of society has become disaffected and embittered, not only with politics and politicians, but also with globalization and the entire economic system it underpins.”

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He said populist discourse had confused globalization, which has been seen to have negative connotations in some populist narratives, with globalism.

“Globalization is a phenomenon driven by technology and the movement of ideas, people, and goods. Globalism is an ideology that prioritizes the neoliberal global order over national interests. Nobody can deny that we are living in a globalized world. But whether all of our policies should be ‘globalist’ is highly debatable.”

Put simply, Schwab said the challenge for global leaders is “to restore sovereignty in a world that requires cooperation.” He advised that rather than closing off economies through protectionism and nationalist
politics, a new social compact is needed between citizens and their leaders, so that everyone feels secure enough at home to remain open to the world at large.”

“Failing that, the ongoing disintegration of our social fabric could ultimately lead to the collapse of democracy,” he said.

[“source=cnbc”]

Facebook Stories Set to Get Ads as User Base Touches 300 Million

Facebook Stories Set to Get Ads as User Base Touches 300 Million

Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories now have more than 300 million users, the social networking company announced in post. More importantly, Facebook announced ads are coming to Stories on both its main app and Messenger. This comes about a year after ads were rolled out for Instagram Stories. The company has announced WhatsApp Status, the app’s version of Stories, will be getting ads next year. The Facebook, Messenger and Instagram Stories – along with WhatsApp Status – are clones of Snapchat Stories but have far more users than the pioneer of the feature.

In a post on the Facebook Business page, the company said “To help businesses reach more people, we’re now making Facebook Stories ads available to all advertisers around the world. Soon, you’ll be able to extend the reach [of ads] and improve the performance of your stories ad campaigns in Messenger.”

Facebook Stories ads will support tracking metrics such as reach, brand awareness, video views, app install, conversion, traffic, and lead generation. Brands such as iHeartRadio, Kettle Chips and KFC are among the advertisers who were part of the testing phase for Facebook Stories. The social media company claimed these brands have seen a “lift from their Facebook Stories ad campaigns.”

Citing an Ipsos survey, Facebook said, “More than half of people surveyed said they’re making more online purchases as a result of seeing Stories. In addition, 38 percent of people said that after seeing a product or service in a story they talked to someone about it, and 34% said they went to a store to look for it.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Facebook Unveils Workplace for Good as Free Tool for Non-Profit Organisations

Facebook Unveils Workplace for Good as Free Tool for Non-Profit Organisations

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Workplace Premium costs $3 per user per month
  • Facebook looks to offer Workplace Premium for free to non-profits
  • It has already partnered with organisations like WWF, Unicef, and more

Facebook launched its Workplace by Facebook service two years ago, providing social tools to companies to ease intra-office communication. It is a subscription product, competing mostly with Slack, and charges $3 per user per month. Now, the company has launched something known as Workplace for Good which gives non-profit organizations all the tools of Workplace Premium for free, without any subscription fees.

Through Workplace for Good, Facebook is offering Workplace Premium free to non-profits and staff at educational institutions globally. It has already partnered with organisations like the World Wildlife Fund, Comic Relief, Unicef, Save the Children, RNIB, NRC, It Gets Better, Australian Catholic University and the Miami Dade School District.

“We’re also investing in a dedicated team to grow our efforts in this space, alongside a new online resource center that brings together product information, success stories, and videos to help organizations take the first step,” Annette Gevaert, Head of Workplace for Good-Facebook said in the company’s blog.

Workplace provides tools like live video streaming, group messaging, News Feed announcements, and voice and video calls across desktop and mobile platforms. It also gives access to Workplace and Workchat apps on iOS and Android both. There’s also unlimited file, photo, and video storage, along with integration with other file storage providers. It ensures secure collaboration between companies, and comes with a desktop notifier for Windows devices. The Premium variant has enterprise features like administrative controls to manage your community, monitoring tools for IT team, APIs for custom integrations, integrations with e-discovery and compliance providers, single sign-on (SSO), active Directory support, 1:1 email support for administrators, and integration with G Suite, Okta, and Windows Azure AD.

All organisations that are not non-profits can also use Workplace Premium for free for 90 days, after which the subscription fees will be levied. Anyone who has a Workplace account can ask for Workplace for Good accessibility. To try Workplace Premium for free, head here and to enrol for Workplace for Good, head here.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]