BUDGET 2022-23: LIGHT BRIGHTENS AT END OF LONG TUNNEL - The Daily Guardian
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BUDGET 2022-23: LIGHT BRIGHTENS AT END OF LONG TUNNEL

The 2022-23 Union Budget is among the most important components of the efforts at transformation being attempted by PM Modi, that too at a much brisker pace than was the case during Modi 1.0.

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The 2022-23 Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman follows on from her earlier budget. This is by carrying forward several of the changes that have made Modi 2.0 significantly more innovative than was the case during Modi 1.0. Almost as soon as then Chief Minister Narendra Modi spoke of “Minimum Government and Maximum Governance”, a chorus of cries went up, some in writing penned even by those regarded as being his supporters. Big Government had been a part of life in India over centuries, and P.V. Narasimha Rao paid a heavy political price for seeking to reduce that during his years as PM. The foundation of this budget was the philosophy that the Indian citizen is not a child or a criminal, but can be trusted in the manner PM Modi did early in his tenure, when he did away with the need to get documents authenticated by a Gazetted Officer. The problem he faced was the resistance of those steeped in the status quo to accept any dilution of their authority or changes in their procedures. Even in 2015, warnings were given by some that those who opposed the transformation that the PM sought to do while in office were (mostly quietly) active in (a) creating a negative perception of Modi as a divider and not a unifier. Such perceptions (b) were disseminated not so much in India as outside, so as to smudge Brand India and prevent its geopolitical ascent. Efforts were also on to (c) create conditions for panic in the stock markets, on the lines of those that had been engineered during the periods in office of Narasimha Rao and A.B. Vajpayee. The many within the system who favoured a return to the status quo ante before 26 May 2014 portrayed such warnings as “conspiracy theorists”. They were able to retain substantial influence in the governance mechanism even after Modi took charge, and managed to slow change down in several fields where change was essential to progress. This, combined with the popularity of Narendra Modi to prevent such Modi-phobic plans from reaching takeoff speed. During much of his first term, only 20% of his team were (in deed and thought) “Modivian”. About 40% reflected the

hues of the Vajpayee era, and another 40% that of the Manmohan Singh era. Several of those prominent in both these administrations found keystone positions within the Union Government, another reason why in so much of the reform effort of the Prime Minister, the brake was applied much more often across the system than the accelerator. It was a shock to Modi-phobic elements when the BJP improved its majority in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, and even wrested UP back from the Samajwadi Party in 2017 and installed Yogi Adityanath as CM, whose family lives as austere a life as does that of PM Modi. From that time, elements within the political and governance system that were opposed to the changes being attempted by Modi worked on overdrive, although not by enough to succeed in 2019. Their target is now the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, so expect more storms. At least the mountains of food grain that used to be fed to rats in previous times is now being used to give grain to hundreds of millions of citizens under PM Modi, a welcome change, as is the effort to build more storage space and route sale proceeds directly to farmers rather than through middlemen.

The 2022-23 Union Budget is among the most important components of the efforts at transformation being attempted by PM Modi, that too at a much brisker pace than was the case during Modi 1.0. Rather than just look at meeting the revenue targets for the financial year, as was the case with so many past budgets across the decades, it looks at what is needed to enable a glide path towards the status of a Middle Income economy by the close of this decade. The increasing takeover of the digital space over our lives and work has been acknowledged by the Finance Minister, rather than ignored in the manner that previous holders of her position did. More than anything else, it was the danger posed by corrupt elements in the bureaucracy that diminished compliance. The extension of time up to 2 years to ensure that I-T returns are correct is welcome, as are some of the tax concessions listed. Retirees, especially senior citizens, have less security than those still working, and this needs to get reflected in tax rates. Once again, I-T rates have been left untouched, even the surcharges. The rates were introduced during the 1996-97 Chidambaram budget, and inflation has made changes to the purchasing power of the rupee that ought to get better reflected, if not in rates, then in slabs. Perhaps a relook is needed at this. Efforts at assisting the informal sector are needed but in ways not designed to enforce “formality” at the point of a prosecution or penalty notice. Unlike so many budgets in the past that look in the rear-view mirror and not the windshield while fixing the route of travel, this is a budget that accepts that the world has changed, and that India needs to change. Rather than ban crypto currencies and exchanges, thereby driving the industry underground the way Prohibition has handed over the liquor trade to mafias, the proceeds are being taxed, although here as well, there ought to have been slabs based on income accrued, rather than a flat rate. Ease of compliance is half the battle in efforts at increasing the tax base, the other being rates that are not simply predictable, but which reflect purchasing power of rupee values at different points in time. While rates remain static, in other ways compliance is being sought to be eased, such that a time may come when the overwhelming majority of taxpayers do not need a lawyer or an accountant to comply with tax demands. Given the ease of detection through digital methods, a “saral” IT form needs to be the norm. What has been presented on 1 February 2022 is a step in the right direction and needs to go further during Modi 2.0. Too many innovations of PM Modi have been forgotten, such as his switching of the UK-oriented time for presenting the Indian budget rather than adopt a time for the presentation suited to the needs of India.

Whether it be the effort to rectify the inequality in educational access of the underprivileged, especially during the pandemic, or the spread of broadband, this is a budget that accepts the need to design the tax system in a way that reflects present-day conditions. Essential industries such as defence equipment ( now finally being exported in quantity) or semiconductors are being paid attention to. The East India Company complex that fears foreign competition needs to be replaced by steps that would make domestic companies go global, as Finance Minister Sitharaman, under the guidance of Prime Minister Modi, has done. There is finally light clearly visible at the end of the long, unlit tunnel of mass poverty that so many in India have traversed across centuries.

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Bihar, UNICEF learn Delhi model to boost child protection

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The Government of Bihar is committed to strengthening its child protection mechanisms and towards this; it is open to learning the good practices in other states. A delegation of nine child protection functionaries that include members of the Child Welfare Committee, District Child Protection Unit, State Child Protection Society, Social Welfare Department, and Child Protection Officer from UNICEF Bihar visited Delhi over 3 days (18-21 May 2022). The learning visit was facilitated by Delhi-based NGO, Udayan Care which runs Udayan Ghars, a unique model of child and youth care with aftercare being integrated into its design and implementation.

During the visit, the delegates were given exposure to the Udayan Ghar unique model, they also visited the aftercare homes for boys and girls, being managed by the Govt of Delhi and had an interaction with the officers of the Delhi government’s State Child Protection Society. The delegates also met the key officials at institutes such as Aurobindo Ashram and GMR, which provides skilling and employability opportunities to the youth.

Aftercare is a critical yet unaddressed area of child protection in India. This is evident from the findings of the “Beyond 18” research study that was conducted by Udayan Care in 2019. There is enough evidence globally and nationally that children growing up in care institutions are not adequately prepared to leave care and are not ready for independent living. Their transition planning and training, during their last years in the Child Care Institutions (CCIs), are often lacking due to the lack of knowledge of the provisions in the existing juvenile laws as well as skills in addressing transition requirements of youth leaving care among child protection functionaries. Often children have turned away on turning 18 without guidance and support or continue to extend their stay in such institutions without any rehabilitation plan. Children nearing adulthood have expressed their feelings by saying, “I felt like a plant being uprooted” to “it’s my life but for social workers, it’s just their job”.

Udayan Care has been working to change the way we care for our children and ensure that they receive continued support and their transition from childcare institutions to independent living is smooth and such young people, also known as care leavers, feel they have a strong ecosystem around them till they get reintegrated as contributing citizens of society. Towards this, it is being supported by UNICEF to work closely in partnership with the Government of Bihar to improve the Aftercare work in the state.

Since 2019, several child protection functionaries have been trained in transition planning and aftercare and have enhanced their skills in the rehabilitation of such youth. Individual Care Plans (ICP), assessments of disability, mapping of the competencies, skills, and interests of children and youth, and life skills workshops have been imparted in two districts, Patna and Gaya. Stitching centres have been opened in the CCIs in Patna and Gaya to provide skilling to children and they have been engaged in learning several arts and crafts that enhance their skills. Partnerships with Upendra Maharathi Anusandhan Sansthan (UMAS) institute and Lemon Tree Hotel in Patna have led to young persons being placed for jobs.

It is hoped that this interaction will be mutually beneficial for officers of both states and will reinforce their conviction to work with children and youth in more non-institutional approaches.

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WHY IMMIGRANTS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BECOME ENTREPRENEURS

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What do Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jan Koum, Sergey Brin, Arianna Huffington, and Elon Musk have in common? They all are immigrants who despite cultural differences and language barriers, succeeded and established their names in a foreign land.

Such success stories lay the foundation of the idea that you too can similarly succeed. Recent trends suggest that in the United States, immigrants are almost twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as U.S.-born citizens. Out of the total 44.9 million immigrants in the U.S., which is 13 percent of the total population, more than 12 million people are entrepreneurs. This shows that immigrants not only have higher chances of success but, essentially, are driven to take the risk.

MORE OPPORTUNITIES

In past decades, the rise in immigrant contributions to entrepreneurship in such developed nations is unprecedented. There are multiple reasons for this change. This includes the fact that their talents and skills are appreciated and recognized more in foreign countries compared to their own. Developed countries also serve as a solid platform for globalized industries and societies, acting as a meeting point for people of varied cultural backgrounds and migrant origins. The past two decades have witnessed the highest number of migrants living thousands of miles away from their homes, from 173 million in 2000 to 281 million in 2020. Furthermore, about one-fourth of all technology companies or startups established in the U.S. or Canada have at least one founder who is an immigrant.

THE GROWING CONSCIOUSNESS

Access to world-class education, ease of doing business, advanced infrastructure, global mobility, and a better quality of life has always been the key reasons behind immigration. The Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty brought by it have further made people realize the importance of living in a safe and economically stable country.

Countries such as the U.S., Canada, the U.K, and the EU are among the most popular destinations for immigrant entrepreneurs. A recent study by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs study showed that two-thirds of the world’s immigrant population is concentrated in 20 countries.

CHANGING IMMIGRATION LANDSCAPE

Immigrant entrepreneurs looking for a permanent residency in Canada do so through three critical pathways – Canada Startup Visa, Intra-Company Transfer (C-11) visa, and Canada Provincial Entrepreneur Visa.

The U.S. offers an E-2 visa that allows foreign nationals to invest and carry out business activities in America. Though it is important to note that Indians cannot directly apply for the E-2 visa. They first have to obtain Grenada Citizenship by doing an investment to be eligible for the route. Further, the EB-5 Program permits the applicants to apply for US Green Card via investment.

The current Biden administration considered more welcoming towards immigrants than the Trump administration, has introduced the International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) Programme. The Program will allow DHS to exercise its parole authority and issue a temporary visa to foreign entrepreneurs coming to the United States to launch innovative startups with solid job-creation potential.

Similarly, the EU Golden Visa Programs have also been around for less than a decade and doing well in attracting foreign nationals seeking to invest in Europe. Europe Startups and Entrepreneur Visa programs are making a significant impact on foreign nationals, whether they are just looking for a business expansion or have a business idea.

Golden Visa programs also have a lower minimum investment amount than other countries.

The United Kingdom is also changing its immigration landscape by inviting more foreign entrepreneurs in the post-Brexit era. It may present more opportunities in the coming times for Indians planning to relocate to the United Kingdom.

Australia is also attracting immigrant entrepreneurs through investment programs like the Business Innovation and Investment Programme, Global Talent Programme, and Employer-Sponsored Programme.

THE BOTTOM LINE

One of the most compelling reasons for these entrepreneurs’ rise in developed nations is their Cross-Culture experience. It helps them identify better business opportunities and draft competitive business plans. Their various businesses and cultural expertise help them launch new products, be more creative, offer better services, and prioritize customer preferences. The exposure also allows them to efficiently transfer their knowledge related to customer issues. Many successful immigrant entrepreneurs show similar traits.

The author is President and Founder-Abhinav Immigration Services Private Limited

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HOW THIS BRAND OFFERS ONE-STOP SHOP SOLUTION FOR CLEAN BEAUTY PRODUCTS

In an interaction with The Daily Guardian Review, Naina Ruhail, CIO & Co-founder, Vanity Wagon, shares that they are aligned to offering the best in class to their consumers. As of 2022, they have launched their scratch-built mobile native app, thus making shopping seamless and more convenient for users.

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Q: How has your journey been so far as an entrepreneur? What compelled you to get into the clean beauty space?

A: So far, my journey as an entrepreneur has been that of learning and evolution. At every step, the immense response that the brand has received from its consumers has helped us understand the purchasing outlook of consumers much better along with consumer preference for brands & specific ingredients.

The idea of a clean beauty marketplace was conceived in 2017, a year before the actual work started. It stemmed from my learning’s of the Clean Beauty Industry in the UK and the exponential growth the clean beauty industry was experiencing. With the rapid growth in the Clean Beauty space in India as well, existing e-tailers were unable to offer the right push to these new generation beauty brands and that created a void, where the number of brands and products in the space continued to grow but they didn’t capture relevant market share. Indian Clean Beauty Market was in a nascent stage with no clear market leader for such products and that’s when Vanity Wagon was born.

Q: Vanity Wagon is the first-ever clean beauty marketplace. What challenges did you face setting up this marketplace? How has Covid-19 impacted the business? What are your strategies to navigate through this and what’s working best for you?

A: Challenges come in all shapes and sizes, be it getting the right resources, partnering with suitable brands, or something as simple as building customer trust. From building a stable high performing team to also streamlining our marketing systems, Vanity has gone through its fair share of challenges. One of the toughest challenges is to make customers understand Clean Beauty and convince them to switch to healthier and safer alternatives and also that every product they purchase is genuine and directly sourced from brands. This is due to the influx of duplicate products online, on several top portals too. Having said that, with the right kind of content, information, and persistence, we have aimed for and are on a continuous path upwards.

In the last couple of years, a lot of B2C buyers and sellers have gone digital colossally. Even though the brands and business owners are trying to eke out, Vanity Wagon- India’s first and largest direct-to-consumer e-commerce clean beauty marketplace, proved relatively resilient. With the safety of shopping in the comfort of one’s home, the online retail industry has seen multi-fold growth in the last couple of years, especially during the pandemic, the brand withstood the storm and came out stronger with an ever-growing team and ever-evolving strategies to cater the consumer better through experiential marketing. Challenges came in the form of, disruption of the supply chain (upstream mostly) and also managing a company that thrives on its people through work-from-home modules. But thankfully it is a young and resilient team that helped us evolve and adapt to situations faster.

Q: What is the future for clean beauty in India? What are your thoughts on the evolving sustainability beauty trend in India?

A: Consumers, these days, are taking a much closer look at what they put in and on their bodies which has pushed the brands to remove perceived harmful ingredients from their products. This beauty trend is seeing elevated growth rates over conventional beauty. Looking ahead, we are expecting more brands to become plastic neutral, vegan, and cruelty-free to make them more sustainable and eco-conscious. We see a skyrocketing increase in online search terms and the popularity of sustainable beauty. Cruelty-Free has also been driving the conversation and has immense gains during past years. Hence, it is safe to say that the clean beauty trend is more than skin deep.

Q: How are you planning to expand yourselves? Where do you see yourselves in the next 5 years?

A: The 5-years horizon for Vanity Wagon should put us in contention as one of the leading beauty marketplaces in India and APAC. We have already started our operations in Singapore. The next 2 years should see us covering 2 more major destinations in APAC and 2 in the Middle East. Further, once our base is solidified in these regions, we would look to launch in the European and American Markets.

We are also targeting to open offline stores in the next few years and strategically acquire 10-15 brands by 2024.

At Vanity Wagon, we are aligned to offering the best in class to our consumers. As of 2022, we have launched our scratch-built mobile native app, thus making shopping seamless and more convenient for users. Further, we are in motion of developing an AI engine that enables users to digitally try and understand products, the same should be deployed by late 2022.

Q: What is the skin care regime you follow in your daily routine? Any tips or quick beauty hacks you would like to share?

A: For me, less is more. I believe a skincare routine should be minimal yet effective. Instead of incorporating a wide range of products and steps to skincare, I stick to the basics to keep my skin healthy. Apart from a daily CTM routine, serums and sunscreens are what I cannot do without.

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ED probe reveals Nawab Malik’s links with D-company

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Maharashtra Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik has had links with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s D-company for a long time, according to the investigation of the Enforcement Directorate against him in connection with a money laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate has filed a prosecution complaint (chargesheet) before the Special PMLA court in Mumbai. In the prosecution complaint, the ED elaborately mentioned Malik’s alleged link to the D-company, and purported conspiracy to “usurp” the Goawala building compound in Kurla West in 1996.

Dawood Ibrahim’s nephew Alishah Parkar was questioned by Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in Mumbai on Monday, regarding the gangs active in Mumbai and other areas of the country. Alishah is the son of Dawood’s sister, Haseena Parkar, who died in 2014 after suffering a heart attack.

Dawood Ibrahim’s nephew Alishah Parkar has given a statement to ED under Section 50 of the PMLA Act during the investigation of the PMLA case against Malik. In the statement, Alishah has said that until her death, his mother was involved in financial transactions with Dawood Ibrahim for a long time. He also mentioned Salim Patel who was one of his mother’s associates. Salim Patel was an onion trader and dabbled in property dealings with his mother.

Alishah further said that Haseena Parkar and Salim Patel had settled the dispute in Goawala Building and took over part of the compound by opening an office there.

Alishah added that later, Parkar sold a portion of the Goawala Building controlled by her to Nawab Malik. He was not aware of the money paid by Nawab Malik to his mother and Patel, the chargesheet pointed out.

A special court on Friday took cognisance of the Enforcement Directorate’s chargesheet against Nationalist Congress Party’s leader Nawab Malik and said there is prima facie evidence to indicate Malik was directly and knowingly involved in the money laundering and criminal conspiracy with others to usurp Goawala compound in Kurla. The court has issued a process against him and the 1993 bomb blast case accused Sardar Shahwali Khan, who is also named in the case.

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Ahead of Amarnath Yatra, police review security arrangements

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Ahead of the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2022, Deputy Inspector General of Police North Kashmir Range (NKR) Baramulla Udayabhaskar Billa, along with SSP Bandipora Mohammad Zahid visited Transit Camp Shadipora Sumbal and took stock of security arrangements there.

On this occasion, CO 45 BN CRPF and senior officers of the Army, and Police were also present.

During the visit, detailed arrangements and security review of all locations, en route including Transit camp Shadipora were discussed.

Senior officers also reviewed traffic management for smooth passage of Yatra convoys and the availability of parking places.

Moreover, SSP Bandipora was briefed in detail about security arrangements put in place on the yatra route and Transit Camp Shadipora for smooth upcoming Yatra-2022.

Further, DIG NKR directed all the officers to maintain the highest level of alertness and ensure proper access control and all necessary facilities to Yatries.

The officers reiterated better coordination at all levels for a smooth and peaceful Amaranth Yatra.

Earlier on Saturday, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha reviewed the preparations for Amarnath Yatra at a high-level meeting in Raj Bhawan.

The Lt Governor fixed June 15 as the timeline for completing all works pertaining to Amarnath Yatra. He further directed officials to regularly monitor specific works in Anantnag and Ganderbal.

Sinha directed that adequate field staff of the Departments like Jal Shakti and Power should remain available for providing continuous services during the Yatra.

Pertinently, the Amarnath Yatra will commence on June 30 this year from both Pahalgam and Baltal routes.

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NIA LIKELY TO VISIT DHAKA TO PROBE ISI-BACKED FAKE CURRENCY CASE

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KOLKATA: On the direction of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, a special team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths is reportedly travelling to Bangladesh, to probe the Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) scam which was unearthed last year. NIA is going to Dhaka to find the source of the network, which apparently operates in Pakistan and is supported by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in a bid to “destabilize the economy of India” by supplying counterfeit currency.

The FICN scam came to light amid the questioning of two Bangladeshi FICN smugglers Fatema Akhtar Aapi and her associate Sk Md Abu Taleb by the Bangladesh Police on November 26, 2021.

As the case was linked to India, the Bangladesh authorities had contacted India and shared information that they have seized FICN worth Rs 7.35 crore in the denomination of Rs 500 from Aapi, a resident of Kasba in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh police informed India that it seized counterfeit currency worth Rs 50,000 from Aapi on November 26, 2021. Upon searching her house, the police also recovered fake currency worth Rs 7,34,50,000 in the denomination of Rs 500 notes.

Subsequently, Aapi and Taleb were arrested by the Bangladesh Police.

During the interrogation of the two accused, it was learnt that the FICN seized in Bangladesh was arranged and further shipped to Bangladesh by two Pakistani nationals— Sultan and Safi.

“It is suspected that the FICN has been printed in the neighbouring country and shipped to Bangladesh for further smuggling into India by international smugglers based in Pakistan to destabilize the economy of lndia,” the NIA FIR had mentioned.

The Bangladesh Police had registered a case under section 2S-A(B) of the Special Power Act, 1974 of Bangladesh on November 26 last year.

The NIA later said it re-registered the case based on inputs shared by the Bangladesh Police under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and a thorough probe was started.

According to sources, the probing team will include NIA investigators as well as the officials of BSF and the Central Investigation Agency.

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