Kolkata, Dec 3 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is understood to have asked senior police officials on Monday not to allow any fundamentalist organisations to hold meetings or rallies in the state.
Banerjee's diktat came during a meeting at the state secretariat Nabanna, where police officials of the rank of Additional Director General to Deputy Inspector General were present. The Police Superintendents of various districts attended the deliberations through video conference from their own offices.
Sources said the Chief Minister cautioned the police to intensify monitoring of social and digital media, which are being used to spread anti-government propaganda through "fake news" and "half-truths".
Though the Chief Minister did not mention any party, some police officers said her obvious target was Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
Banerjee and other Trinamool leaders had recently lashed out against the AIMIM, again without naming it, calling it "an agent of the BJP" and warning minorities of "extremists among them".
With Banerjee eyeing Muslim votes en bloc in the 2021 assembly polls, the presence of the AIMIM in the state election could heavily jeopardise her objective by dividing the votes from the minority community.
By Nirbhay Kumar
New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms have topped the list of customers complaints list for over-charging ever since the new indirect tax regime Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out on July 1, 2017.
Restaurateurs came second, followed by entertainment and media firms.
As per official data, as many as 42 consumer complaints were registered against various FMCG companies with many of them found to be not passing the benefits of lower tax rates.
As GST rates were cut across various categories in the GST Council meetings to reduce tax incidence on consumers, the companies were expected to pass on the benefit by lowering prices in proportion to the rate reduction.
It was, however, found that many companies had not passed on the benefit of lower tax and indulged in profiteering. Complaints were later filed against them and the GST anti-profiteering watchdog National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) took up the cases.
Some of the FMCG majors like Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), Procter & Gamble India (P&G) and Nestle were found to have profiteered from the lower tax regime.
In the latest case, the NAA last week ordered Nestle to deposit Rs 73.15 crore with Consumer Welfare Fund for not passing GST rate reduction benefit to consumers. The FMCG major has, however, said that it will consider appropriate action after studying the same.
Experts said that it is very difficult for FMCG companies to assess the exact impact of the lower tax given that they have multiple similar products in one category.
Moreover, they sell products for as low as Rs 2 for a shampoo pouch and when the rate is lowered they are not in the position to exactly assess the impact on price. Even if the assessment is done and it is found that the price should be lower by 30 paise, transaction becomes difficult as currency of that amount is not available.
"Because of multiple products of similar kind it is difficult for FMCG companies to arrive at a particular price. There are very small units like toffee selling for Re 1. In this case it will be very difficult to arrive at net impact of rate cut," said Amit Bhagat, Partner, Dhruva Advisors.
Besides FMCG, many restaurants are also facing complaints with 14 cases being lodged. Two complaints were filed against sanitary ware firms. Media and entertainment firms have six complaints against them.
(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)