National News

Common sense has prevailed, P Chidambaram says a day after GST Council reduces tax on 178 items

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman criticised the Congress for claiming credit for the decision.

The Congress on Saturday said common sense had prevailed after the Goods and Services Tax Council lowered tax rates on 178 items from 28% to 18%. The party also called for a structural change in the tax system.

It has taken “four months and 10 days for common sense to germinate, flower and ripen into a fruit”, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in a tweet, sarcastically adding that the Finance Ministry “must be complimented for ‘improving’ the macro-economic situation”.

Earlier in the day, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said the party and the people of the country should be credited for the GST Council’s decision to lower the tax rates.

Soon after, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman criticised the Congress for claiming credit and said the party should first finalise its stand on the GST regime.

“Congress wants to take credit for GST and being in Opposition, they also want to say that the government took action because of them,” Sitharaman was quoted as saying by IANS. “How are they making this claim? Is the GST Council under them?”

On Friday, just after the GST Council announced its changes, Chidambaram had tweeted a “thank you” to Gujarat, indicating that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government lowered the taxes in an effort to appease the poll-bound state. The Assembly elections in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14.

On Friday, the GST Council announced that it had decided to lower the rates levied on 177 goods and kept only 50 products under the highest tax slab of 28%. These include air conditioners, washing machines, paints and cement. Chocolate, chewing gum, aftershave, beauty products, powder, detergent and marble now fall under the 18% slab.

The GST has five tax slabs – no tax, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

Play

Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.