Best of PIB: 01 March 2017 for UPSC Exam

Government Panel recommends legal framework for protection 
of interests of migrants in the country
  • The ‘Working Group on Migration’ was set up by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation in 2015. The 18-member Working Group headed by Shri Partha Mukhopadhay
  • It has stated that the migrant population makes substantial contribution to economic growth and their Constitutional rights need to be secured
  • As per the Census 2011 and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), the Group stated that migrants constitute about 30% of the country’s population and also of the total working force
  • The recent Economic Survey noted that annual migration in the country increased from 3.30 million in 2011 to 9.00 million in 2016

It has recommended that

  • The protocols of the Registrar General of India need to be amended to enable caste based enumeration of migrants so that they can avail the attendant benefits in the States to which migration takes place
  • Migrants should be allowed to avail benefits of Public Distribution System (PDS) in the destination State by providing for inter-State operability of PDS
  • States should be encouraged to proactively eliminate the requirement of domicile status to prevent any discrimination in work and employment (in the background of constitutional right of freedom of movement)
  • States are also to be asked to include migrant children in the Annual Work Plans under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to uphold their Right to Education
  • The vast network of post offices needs to be made effective use of by reducing the cost of transfer of money to avoid informal remittances (the remittances were to the tune of Rs 50000 Cr in 2007-08)
  • It also suggested that migrants should be enabled to open bank accounts by asking banks to adhere to RBI guidelines regarding Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and not insist on documents that were not required
  • The hugely underutilized Construction Workers Welfare Cess Fund should be used to promote rental housing, working Women Hostels etc., for the benefit of migrants

 

Swachh Bharat Milestone- 100 districts in India declared ODF
  • The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has launched Swachh Shakti Saptah, a week-long programme of activities across the country to highlight the role of women in Swachh Bharat Mission and to recognize their leadership

About Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

  • Target date is 2nd October 2019
  • 100% open defecation free
  • Build household toilets, community toilets and public toilets
  • Efficient solid waste management in all 4041 statutory towns

 

CBDT signs 10 more Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)
  • Of the ten, seven are unilateral APAs and two are bilateral (with Japan and UK). Seven of these APAs have Rollback Provisions (A rollback enables taxpayers to retrospectively apply the APA agreed upon for a period of last couple of years as decided under the agreement)
  • With this the total number of APAs signed by CBDT has reached 140. This includes 10 Bilateral APAs and 130 Unilateral APAs.
  • In the current financial year, a total of 76 APAs (7 Bilateral APAs and 61 Unilateral APAs) have already been entered into.
  • The CBDT expects more APAs to be concluded and signed before the end of the current fiscal
  • The APAs pertain to various sectors of the economy like Telecom, Pharmaceutical, Banking & Finance, Steel, Retail, Information Technology, etc

About APA

  • The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the “Rollback” provisions were introduced in 2014
  • The scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the prices of international transactions in advance
  • The progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the Government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime

 

OECD Economic Survey of India 2017

Some of the observations are

  • The Indian economy is expanding at a fast pace, boosting living standards and reducing poverty nationwide. Further reforms are now necessary to maintain strong growth and ensure that all Indians benefit from it
  • India’s recent growth rate of more than 7 percent annually as the strongest among G-20 countries
  • It identifies priority areas for future action, including continuing plans to maintain macroeconomic stability and further reduce poverty, additional comprehensive tax reforms and new efforts to boost productivity and reduce disparities between India’s various regions
  • It considers India as a top reformer in the world and states that the ease of doing business in India has improved
  • The implementation of the landmark GST reform will contribute to making India a more integrated market. By reducing tax cascading, it will boost competitiveness, investment and job creation. The GST reform – designed to be initially revenue-neutral – should be complemented by a form of income and property taxes
  • There is a need to make income and property taxes more growth-friendly and redistributive. A comprehensive tax reform could help raise revenue to finance much-needed social and physical infrastructure, promote corporate investment, enable more effective redistribution and strengthen the ability of states and municipalities to better respond to local needs
  • There is a need to achieve strong and balanced regional development which will be key to promoting inclusive growth
  • Inequality in income and in access to core public services between states and between rural and urban areas is currently large across India, while rural poverty is pervasive. Continuing efforts to improve universal access to core public services is essential
  • Ranking states on the ease of doing business is opening a new era of structural reforms at the state level and will help unleash India’s growth potential. Further benchmarking among states and strengthening the sharing of best practices, particularly labour regulations and land laws could add to the reform momentum
  • Raising living standard in poorer states will require increasing productivity in the agricultural sector. With employment expected to gradually shift away from the agricultural sector, urbanization will gather pace. Thus, better urban infrastructure will be needed to fully exploit cities’ potential for job creation, productivity gains and improving the quality of life.

 

Nand Kumar Sai assumes charge as Chairman of National 
Commission for Scheduled Tribes
  • NCST was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions (w.e.f. February 19, 2004)
    • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)
    • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
  • The term of office of Chairperson is 3 years and the position is equivalent to a Union Cabinet Minister
  • The term of office of Vice-Chairperson is 3 years and the position is equivalent to a Minister of State
  • Other Members will hold the position equivalent of a Secretary to the Government of India

The functions of the commission are

  • It is empowered to investigate and monitor matters relating to safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Government order
  • The Commission is also authorized to inquire into specific complaints relating to rights and safeguards of STs
  • To participate and advise in the Planning Process relating to socio-economic development of STs
  • To evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and States
  • The commission submits its report to the President annually on the working of safeguards and measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to welfare and socio-economic development of STs