Best of PIB: 09 Jan 2017

India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI)

  • It’s a not for profit philanthropic trust set up by Indian government
  • Promotes philanthropic contributions of overseas Indians for social and development projects in India (for example now the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and National Mission on Clean Ganga are being funded by this trust; and at the state level projects such as sanitation, education, drinking water etc are being covered under this foundation)
  • IDF-OI is chaired by External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj


Additional levy on use of cards at petrol bunks

  • Neither the customers nor the petrol bunk dealers will be liable to pay any additional levy for the digital transactions (use of cards at the petrol bunks for the payment purposes)
  • The government had issued a notice in February 2016 which stated that the stakeholders would be taking steps to absorb MDR (Merchant Discount Rate) and not the customers
  • The petrol pump transaction fee occurs in the business model of the petrol bunks and the banks

           Some basic points about the issue

  • The issue is basically about the charges that are involved each time a credit/debit card is swiped at the petrol bunk
  • With each swipe certain percentage of the payment (received by the petrol bunk) will go the intermediary that has installed this POS machine (in this scenario it could be AXIS bank or HDFC bank or ICICI bank). This payment is usually charged at 1% and is referred to as MDR (Merchant Discount Rate)
  • With an intention to promote digital transactions the government had introduced 0.75% discount on card payments at petrol bunks (for 50 days and there is also a confusion as to who should pay this-the bank or the petrol retailer) and waived off MDR (for 50 days). Since the 50 days period after the demonetisation are over the banks have announced that they are going to re-introduce the MDR
  • The petrol bunks are saying that their profit margins are so thin and the MDR would eat up part of their margins. Hence they are protesting implementation of MDR
  • Apart from MDR the petrol bunks are also liable to pay surcharge (2.5%) on the digital payments. Usually the surcharge is waived off by the issuing banks



Tax Collections (For the period of April to December 2016)

           Direct Taxes

  • Are 12.01% higher than the direct taxes collected in the same period last year
  • Are 65.3% of the total budget estimates

           Indirect Taxes

  • Are 25% higher than the direct taxes collected in the same period last year
  • Are 81% of the total budget estimates


Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards

  • The Jury-Cum-Awards committee was headed by the Vice President of India
  • Have selected 30 people to give the awards
  • From the end of last year it has been decided that the PBD will be celebrated in two avatars-one a simple/stripped down version and a mega event alternating with each other
  • Last year the event was a stripped down version or simple event
  • This year the event being held in Bangalore is a mega event and hence the number of awardees has been doubled
  • This is a departure by the present government as since 2003, when the PBD was held for the first time by the Vajapayee Government, it has been an annual event


Jal Manthan-III

  • It’s a national conference organized by the Ministry of Water Resources
  • It will be held on 13thJanuary 2017 in New Delhi
  • The daylong event will have consultations and discussions on
    • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana
    • River Basin Management
    • River Rejuvenation and Ecology
    • Flood management
    • Water use efficiency
    • Participatory irrigation management
  • The focus will be on refining policies of the Ministry to make them more people friendly and responsive to the needs of the states. 
  • It should be noted that it is the viewpoint of the Minister for water resources-Shri Uma Bharati-that wider consulations of stakeholders are required for synergy in the sector. As a result of this two previous editions of Jal Manthan were held in November 2014 and February 2016


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