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NEW DELHI: The government is contemplating a slew of tax incentives to make life insurance policies more attractive for investors and increase penetration of insurance in the country. 

Among other things, the Finance Ministry is looking at the possibility of exempting first year premium from service tax and extending the scope of tax exemption scheme to cover more life insurance policies. 

"I have asked Department of Revenue and CBDT/CBEC to complete the examination of (various) ...suggestions by October 10, 2012 so that appropriate decisions may be announced shortly thereafter," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here. 

The Minister further said he has asked the Central Board of Excise and Customs ( CBEC) to look at the possibility of reducing service tax on first year regular premium as well as single premium policies. 

Chidambaram had earlier met the heads of life insurance companies and IRDA chairman J Hari Narayan to work out steps to boost the insurance sector.

source: Economic times


NEW DELHI: As tension gripped Hyderabad on Sunday during Telangana march, a day ahead of an international summit in the city, the statehood issue threatened to go out of hand for the ruling Congress, with its ministers, including deputy chief minister, and MPs threatening to quit.

Condemning the arrests of Telangana supporters coming to Hyderabad for the march, deputy chief minister warned if people were harmed, he would not hesitate to resign. Ministers K Jana Reddy and B Saraiah met the deputy chief minister to discuss the latest situation arising out of the arrests of Telangana protesters in various districts.

They alleged the government had gone back on its word to allow peaceful march.

Jana Reddy, who played a key role in obtaining permission for the march, said the time had come for them to make a choice between the ministerial posts and the cause of Telangana.

Even Congress MPs, who were arrested twice in the day as they sat on a dharna outside chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy's residence, threatened to quit.

Speaking to ET, Congress' former Rajya Sabha MP K Keshava Rao said, "It is time that Congress leadership took serious note of this demand and paved way for a separate state. Else, it will lose Andhra Pradesh. The issue was not even discussed in the Congress Working Committee. We were made to believe that there would be an announcement on statehood before September 30. But that has come to a naught. All MPs are here in the police lock up with me, and nobody would hesitate to quit for this cause."

The party MPs squarely blamed Andhra Pradesh governor ESL Narasimhan for Congress dithering on statehood.

Congress MP Madhu Goud Yaskhi said, "The Congress president had held a meeting over Telangana with the core group. It was decided that the chief minister would hold an allparty meeting. But the governor went to Delhi and played a spoilsport. He has told the party high command that Telangana movement will peter out if the demand is ignored." Keshava Rao added the governor's report that granting a separate state would fuel Maoist activity in newly carved Telangana has also hurt the cause.

Congress legislators and MPs fear that if the party leadership drags its feet on the demand, Congress could fritter away the entire state. Keshava Rao said, "It is Congress that has always been at the forefront with the promise of Telangana state. We included it in our manifesto. On December 9, 2009, then home minister P Chidambaram had announced that the process would be kickstarted soon. We even had all-party meetings. So, it is Congress' issue. The recent byelection results show that if the party does not take note of the situation, we will lose the entire state."

Agency reports from Hyderabad said thousands of protesters from various parts of the city and neighbouring districts converged on Necklace Road on the banks of Hussain Sagar lake. Tension mounted due to clashes in surrounding areas. Holding flags of their respective parties and groups, the protesters squatted on the Buddha Bhavan-PV Ghat stretch.

Youngsters removed barricades and clashed with police to advance towards the secretariat and other high-security areas.

A police vehicle was set on fire. Police fired tear gas in at least three places to disperse protesters who tried to remove barricades. Several parts of the city resembled battle zones, with police sealing off the routes around the secretariat, the chief minister's office and other high-security areas.

Amid fears that properties of people from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions could be attacked, many roads were sealed off. Police chief Dinesh Reddy monitored the situation from a helicopter. At Osmania University, students pelted stones at the police.

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