IFFI from November 20 to 28, this year

Prakash Javadekar, then Minister for Information and Broadcasting unveiled the IFFI 2021 poster

The 52nd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be held in Goa from November 20, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry announced.

The Directorate of Film Festivals will organise the mega event in a hybrid format – virtual and physical – in collaboration with the Goa government and the Indian film industry, it said.

The film festival will conclude on November 28.

On the occasion of the birth centenary of the maestro of Indian cinema Satyajit Ray, the ministry said the Directorate of Films Festivals will pay tribute to him through a ‘Special Retrospective’ at the IFFI this year.

“Also, in recognition of the auteur’s legacy, the ‘Satyajit

Ray Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Cinema’ has been instituted from this year to be given at the IFFI,” the ministry said.

The call for entries for participation in the competitive section of the 52nd edition of the IFFI will remain open till August 3, it said.

Earlier, then Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar released the regulations for this year’s film festival and also a poster. The IFFI is reckoned as one of Asia’s oldest and India’’s biggest international film festivals.

The 52nd edition of the IFFI will be held in a hybrid format considering the success of the 51st edition in January 2021, the ministry said.

Environment Department to stick to deadline of August 31 for Draft Coastal Plans

Officials in the Environment Department claimed that they would be sticking to the NGT deadline of August 31, for finalization of draft coastal plan; even though the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) will be completed soon.

Meanwhile the Department is yet to set up a committee comprising experts to carry out ‘ground-truthing’ exercise on each objection including changes suggested in self-prepared village plans and incorporating them into the draft plan only after determining the technical parameters. Village panchayats and municipalities are unhappy with National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) for not incorporating changes recommended in self-prepared plans and continuing with the same draft filled with errors and omissions. This had resulted in uproar at the recently held public hearings from various sections of society demanding that the hearing should not be held any further until individual plans, submitted by local bodies and over 4,000 objections received, are compiled, compared, examined and recorded in the draft CZMP.

They also said that the purpose of the hearing is defeated unless the draft is prepared with proper physical survey and in consultation with the local communities.

According to local bodies, important features like land use of local fishing communities, hazard lines, fishing zones, fish breeding areas, heritage sites and identification of violations, as well as legal and illegal structures were left out.

Goa gets `399.54 crore GST dues

Nirmala Sitharaman

The Union Finance Ministry released `399.54 crore to Goa as compensation for goods and service tax shortfall.

The Finance Ministry released `75,000 crore to the States and Union Territories as compensation for the GST shortfall.

The Ministry stated that release of funds as compensation was in addition to the normal GST compensation being released every two months out of the actual cess collection.

The Ministry in a statement said that the amount released is about half of the `1.59 lakh crore that was agreed to be borrowed in the current fiscal by the Centre and passed on to the States and UTs on a back-to-back basis, to meet their resource gap.

The amount released is in addition to the normal GST compensation that is paid bi-monthly to States out of the collections made from the levy of a cess on luxury and sin goods.

“The Ministry of Finance has released `75,000 crore to the States and UTs with legislature under the back-to-back loan facility in lieu of GST compensation. This release is in addition to normal GST compensation being released every two months out of actual cess collection,” the statement said. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a tweet said, “Almost 50 per cent of the total shortfall for the entire year released in a single instalment”.

The Centre has estimated the shortfall in GST compensation payable to the States in the current fiscal at `2.59 lakh crore, of which about `1.59 lakh crore would have to be borrowed this year.

The Centre expects to collect over `1 lakh crore through cess on luxury, demerit and sin goods, which will be given to the States to compensate them for the shortfall in revenue arising out of the GST implementation.

Hence, the remaining `1.59 lakh crore would have to be borrowed to meet the promised compensation to States under the GST regime.

The Ministry said in the May 28 GST Council meeting, it was decided that the Central Government would borrow `1.59 lakh crore and release it to States and UTs with the legislature on a back-to-back basis to meet the resource gap due to the short release of compensation on account of the inadequate amount in the compensation fund.

All eligible States and UTs (with the legislature) have agreed to the arrangements for the funding of the compensation shortfall under the back-to-back loan facility, the Ministry said.

Supreme Court dismisses Mining Review Petitions filed by State and Vedanta

The Supreme Court has dismissed the review petitions filed by Goa and Vedanta Limited against a 2018 order cancelling the state government’s move to renew 88 mining leases, citing the delay in filing them and a lack of cogent grounds for it. It expressed displeasure over the timings of the pleas.

In February 2018, the Supreme Court had cancelled the renewals issued in 2015, saying that they were granted in haste and without application of mind. Goa filed its review pleas over a year later in late 2019. Vedanta followed suit in 2020. Goa’s review pleas came 650 days after the Supreme Court’s February 2018 order and that of Vedanta after 907 days.

“In accordance with Rule 2 of Order XLVII of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, an application for review of a judgement has to be filed within thirty days of the date of the judgement or order that is sought to be reviewed. No cogent grounds have been furnished for the delay between 20 and 26 months by the two parties in filing their applications for review,” a bench of justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said in their order on July 9.

The Bench also reprimanded the Revisioners for their dilatory tactics in filing the reviews when it was pointed out that the review pleas were filed after the judges, Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, who passed the original order, retired. “…Goa preferred (to file) its four review petitions in the month of November 2019, after Justice Madan B Lokur’s retirement, while Vedanta Limited preferred its four review petitions in the month of August 2020, right after Justice Deepak Gupta’s retirement. Such practice must be firmly disapproved to preserve the institutional sanctity of the decision making of this Court,” the Bench said.

Centre selects FiiRE as incubator for startups

DS Prashant

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), which reports to the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has selected the Forum for Innovation Incubation Research and Entrepreneurship (FiirRE) as one of the two incubators for the Startup India Seed Fund scheme, the other being Kerala’s IIM Kozhikode.

DS Prashant, CEO of FiiRE said, “Once the call for applications open for startup India seed fund portal, they will be recommended to us and then we will have to have an investment committee meeting to disburse seed funds to startups”.

The Centre commenced the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) to provide financial assistance to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry, and commercialization with an outlay of `994 crore.

Further, Prashant said that FiiRe is getting many inquiries from startups from across the country. Established with the support of the Centre’s Department of Science & Technology, FiiRE supports early stage technology ventures working on innovation, development or improvement of products.

Prashant also stated that FiiRE will handhold the interested startups through counseling and training, which would be initiated from this month onwards.

NABARD raises Goa’s credit limit to `350 crore

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has agreed to increase the credit limit for Goa to `350 crore, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said. Various projects are being implemented in the state in collaboration with NABARD.

“NABARD has agreed to complete any kind of project that the government hands over to them. This co-operation from NABARD will help Goa create good infrastructure,” Sawant said.

Sawant was speaking after inaugurating a mobile ATM van at Sakhali, to mark the 40th anniversary of NABARD.

Industry unhappy with GIDC’s plan to increase lease rent

Damodar Kochkar

Goa State Industries Association has reacted strongly to the decision of Goa Industrial Development Corporation to enhance the lease rent and said that such a move would hurt economic recovery of industries.

GSIA sent a letter across to GIDC stating that instead of taxing entrepreneurs, the corporation should recover pending dues from defaulters, including `7 crore from the Centre for infrastructure created for Def-Expo at Quitol-Quepem.

Damodar Kochkar, President, GSIA, stated that the GIDC can’t think of burdening the industries every time in order to achieve financial stability and cover its financial mismanagement.

Further, he also pointed out that across the country, state governments and the Centre were working on schemes to support MSMEs affected by the pandemic, while the Goa Government was asking GIDC to become ‘atmanirbhar’ at the cost of industries.

GIDC, in a recent board meeting, proposed a hike in lease rent due to the ‘absence of any long-term policy on the financial sustainability’ of GIDC.

Kochkar went on to state that any further increase in lease will be strongly opposed by the industries and it will vitiate the industrial climate in the State.

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