Avoid Wastage of Food

Smoky drink leaves man with hole in stomach

I-T raid unearths huge bribes paid for gutkha sale 

Photo used for representational purpose.  

The Income-Tax department is awaiting a response to a letter written to the Tamil Nadu government seeking further investigation into suspected bribes of almost ₹40 crore paid to a Tamil Nadu Minister and top officials of the State.

The letter, written on August 11, 2016 by the investigation wing of the I-T department, followed a search on the premises of a leading gutkha manufacturer in Chennai. A ledger seized during the raid lists alleged payouts to senior bureaucrats and police officers apart from the Minister.

Documents available with The Hindu suggest that a partner of the gutkha manufacturer – which markets the MDM brand of the product – corroborated that the money was paid out to them. This was allegedly done over a period of one year as a quid pro quo for facilitating the sale of banned gutkha in Chennai.

In his letter sent to the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police, a copy of which is available with The Hindu, the Principal Director of Income Tax (Investigation) B.R. Balakrishnan states that the ledger containing payouts was seized from the residence of a woman accountant who worked for the firm.

 The letter goes on to say that Madhava Rao, one of the main partners of the firm, had confirmed that these payments were made to the bureaucrats and the Minister. The Income-Tax department has so far not made any enquiries with the alleged recipients of the money. Attached with the letter were the relevant extracts from the statement of accounts which suggest that voucher payments were made to senior officials of the Chennai police, Chennai Corporation, Health Department, Food Safety Department and Central Excise among others.

In the statement recorded before Kannan Narayanan, Deputy Director of Income Tax (Investigation), Mr. Madhava Rao is stated as referring to the payouts as “incidental expenses incurred by us as we are running the business of manufacturing and sale of gutkha which is not legally permitted in Tamil Nadu.”

Mr. Rao is stated as having explained the coded references in the ledger. For example, GE (Delhi/CE/Rao) is said to have meant “General Expenses, Central Excise officer”. The amounts paid were listed under different heads — as monthly expenses, Deepavali bonus and Christmas bonus.

Following the receipt of the Income-Tax department’s letter seeking further action, the then Director-General of Police had sent a report to the Chief Minister, according to sources in police headquarters. The documents are still pending with the government for action. However, a couple of months ago, on the basis of another letter written by the then Commissioner of Police, the Tamil Nadu government did refer the issue of illegal sale of gutkha and the possible connivance of police officers in abetting this for an investigation by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption.

Income-Tax department officials suspect this was done to ward off criticism that no action was being taken in the gutkha matter. Significantly, the DVAC has made little progress in the case.

 

Cow Trade curbs : Beef could be healthier now

Now farmers can gauge market

JAIPUR: Addressing the valedictory session of the three-day Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) in Kota on Friday, Union minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution, C R Chaudhary said that the time has come for the farmers to gauge the market for their produce

Knowing the forthcoming agri-trends in the market will not only get them the right price but also will prove to be a deterrent for the losses they suffer, said the minister. He also cautioned the farmers against the sheep mentality of following the same crop trend which has done well in a particular period.

 

The minister said that Kota division was most appropriate for organizing first of the divisional ‘GRAMs’. The division has 50% of the assured irrigated land as compared to the 30% of the entire state. GRAM will bring about a comprehensive change in the techniques of agriculture and allied sector as increasingly more farmers adopt modern technology, he further said.

 

During the valedictory session, farmers were facilitated for their contributions in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry and dairy.

 

On the last day, MOU worth Rs 112.50 crores was with a private firm Shiv Health Foods LLP for setting up a manufacturing unit of high quality soy proteins.

Food items to be cheaper under GST

Most of the food items will be cheaper as the rate on them has been kept within 5 per cent range, Union minister Harsimran Kaur Badal said today.

The Goods and Services (GST) will be rolled out from July 1.
“I am happy that the rate (on food items) has been kept within five per cent range. Lot of things will be cheaper. Food items are definitely not going to be expensive,” the Food Processing Minister said at Today’s round table conference here.

The minister said that she had requested the minister to keep food items in ‘exempt’ category or lowest rate slab.

On being asked whether Indian food standards were in line with international level, the Union minister said the food safety regulator FSSAI was harmonising Indian standards with the global level.

Earlier, there was a delay in product approval as each product clearance used to take time and there was “stagnation” in the approval process. However the system has been fastened in the last one year, she said.

“In the last one year, we have got rid of the product approval system and got on to the way it is done internationally where ingredients are approved,” Harsimran said.

More than 12,000 ingredients have been approved as of now, she said.

On being quizzed whether the government has taken steps to double farmers’ income, the minister said agriculture and other ministries concerned were taking adequate measures to achieve the goal by 2022.

“I believe that food processing sector will play a pivotal role in doubling farmers’ income by 2022. We are creating infrastructure so that farmers can do value addition to their produce and boost their income,” she added.

FSSAI launches new initiatives for FBOs, Consumers , Citizens

India’s food regulator, has launched a new website <foodsmart.fssai.gov.in> to make you a food smart consumer by providing a complete food safety guide.
New Delhi : The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), India’s food regulator, has launched a new website <foodsmart.fssai.gov.in> to make you a food smart consumer by providing a complete guide to food safety.
If you are worried about the safety of food that you buy and eat, if you want to know “which oil is good for my family” or know about safety of re-using oil, or about the health benefits of dietary fibre or all about the packaged food or whether your packaged water safe, just log into this website to get all authoritative answers.
Better to check here instead of trying to find answers from the Internet as all those having vested interests in their products may put there all sorts of false claims to mislead you.
An FSSAI official said the regulator is working with the street vendors, places of worship serving food and railway and institutional caterers to establish a “safe and nutritious food culture” as it wants to remove the impression of being “danda-wielding” bureaucratic authority.
FSSAI wants to make this website interactive and so it wants the consumer’s feedback, asking all to send queries, concerns, comments and complaints. Better download FSSAI’s Food Safety Connect App that will instantly empower you to raise a food grievance with the authority. You can check the website to get answers to any query you have or just read answers to many other queries regularly uploaded. The website was being developed for quite some time but it officially went online only on Tuesday.
On May 8, someone wanted to know safety of re-using oil and FSSAI warned that repeated frying causes change in the physicochemical, nutritional and sensory properties of the oil. On May 9, there was a query on health benefits of dietary fibre and FSSAI advice to eat more fibre found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.