Kerala government sanctions Rs 20 crore for Rehabilitating Beedi Workers
27 March 2018: The Kerala government has decided to set aside a sum of Rs 20 crore to help rehabilitate the state’s beedi workers by supporting them to start their own small ventures in poultry farming, stitching centres, mobile recharge centres, fancy shops and such ventures. According to the new scheme, 3,970 new jobs will be created for erstwhile beedi workers in the first phase.
As much as 80 per cent of the total cost of the venture will be borne by the Welfare Fund Board with the rest to be brought in by the beneficiary. The scheme also envisages the supply of 300 laptops to the students of beedi workers studying in engineering colleges.
Parliament passes amendments to the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
23 March 2018: The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 22 March 2018. The amendment extends the period of calculating continuous service in case of maternity leave from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks, to bring it at par with provisions available under the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.
The amendment has also done away with the ceiling on payment of maximum gratuity which was fixed at Rs.10 Lakh and has vested the power of determining the ceiling on the government. The Central Government has notified the new ceiling to be Rs.20 Lakh through a government order.
Finance Bill passed in Lok Sabha
15 March 2018: The Finance Bill 2018 was passed in the Lok Sabha through a voice vote. The highlights of the finance bill are as follows:
- Income tax: For salaried individuals, a standard tax deduction of Rs 40,000 has been introduced. The deduction for transport allowance and medical expenses has been removed.
- Education Cess: The 3% Education Cess has been replaced by a 4% Health and Education Cess for non-resident persons, including foreign companies.
- Corporate tax: The threshold of turnover for companies falling under the Corporate Taxation of 25% has been increased from Rs 50 crore to Rs 250 crore.
- The credit of any depositor in Public Provident Fund (PPF) account cannot be attached under any law to recover any debt or liability of the depositor.