Comprehensive News Analysis – 18 January 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. India’s new envoy in U.K. pushes for action on student, IT visas

2. Walk away from terror, PM tells Pakistan

C. GS3 Related:

1. Industry seeks foreign partners for trade pact

2. India now an associate member of CERN

D. GS4 Related:
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

The Hindu

1. In the nick of time

Business Line

1. Baby steps to GST

Economic Times

1. Dual control in GST is pragmatic and a welcome move

PIB

1. India Signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for US$ 48 Million for “Nagaland Health Project”

2. The Ministry of Women and Child Development to setup National Alliance against online Child sexual abuse and exploitation

3. Ministry of Earth Sciences Commissions Higher Resolution Weather Prediction Model

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
I. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
1. India’s new envoy in U.K. pushes for action on student, IT visas

Category: International Relations  

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Key Points:

  • India’s new High Commissioner in the U.K. has urged both governments to work together to tackle the issue of visas for students and IT professionals, and that Brexit presented opportunities to Indian companies.
  • India’s new High Commissioner highlighted the falling number of Indian students in the U.K.
  • While there is no official cap on international students, a combination of a crackdown on education institutions, and a tightening of the visa regime are thought to blame.
  • He also highlighted the position of Indian IT professionals. “In Europe, the U.K. is again our first port of call and I think for us it’s very important our IT professionals can come here and go back. They contribute immensely not only to the local economy, but the global economy, which is what they are doing in Silicon Valley and the rest of the world. It’s very important that both countries engage in a manner beneficial for both India and the U.K.”, he added.

 

2. Walk away from terror, PM tells Pakistan

Category: International Relations 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Key Points:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on 17th January, 2017 that India alone cannot walk the path of peace and Pakistan ‘must walk away from terror’ if it wants bilateral dialogue to resume.
  • In reference to ties with China, the Prime Minister said it was not unnatural for two large neighbouring powers to have some differences but both sides should show sensitivity and respect for each other’s core concerns and interests. In an indirect reference to Pakistan, he said those “in our neighbourhood who support violence, perpetrate hatred, and export terror stand isolated and ignored.”

 

C. GS3 Related
1. Industry seeks foreign partners for trade pact

Category: Indian Economy  

Topic: International Trade

Key Points:

  • India’s top industry bodies are attempting to build a coalition with counterparts in other nations with similar interests.
  • This initiative is aimed at giving a fillip to the country’s proposal for a Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)-level.
  • The proposed TFS pact, among other things, aims to make it easier for professionals and skilled workers to move across borders for short-term work, as well as ensure portability of their social security contributions.
  • Two leading industry bodies — CII and FICCI — will next month hold a global seminar in Delhi and Mumbai on the topic.
  • It is important to note that India’s proposal for a TFS agreement was welcomed by WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo and trade ministers from many WTO-member nations.

 

2. India now an associate member of CERN

Category: Science and Technology

Topic: Developments

Key Points:

  • India became an Associate member of CERN on Monday with the Indian government completing its internal approval procedures in respect of the agreement it had signed with CERN on November 21, 2016.

Benefits of being an associate member

  • It is important to note that as an associate member, India will have full access to all data generated at CERN. As there are many experiments in CERN, there will be plenty of information available.
  • When India was not an Associate member, India could data only from those experiments where we were participating.
  • As an Associate member, India can participate in all experiments.
  • Whenever any CERN facilities get upgraded and go through maintenance, it will provide opportunities for Indian industries to participate.
  • Indian industry will be entitled to bid for CERN contracts, which will allow it to work in areas of advanced technology. So the “Make in India” will get a boost due to CERN.
  • Indian scientists will become eligible for staff appointments.
  • It will enhance the participation of young scientists and engineers in operation and maintenance of various CERN projects.
  • The CERN convention was signed in 1953 by the 12 founding states. Currently, CERN has 22 member states. Besides India, Turkey, Pakistan, Ukraine are Associate members and Serbia and Cyprus are associate members in the pre-stage to membership.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. In the nick of time

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Taxation 

Key Points:

  • Recently, a compromise has been reached between the Centre and the States on the formula for administrative control over taxpayers under the GST, which will subsume the many existing State and Central levies on commercial activity. 
  • Significantly, the Centre, gave up its formula to split such control by assuming the authority to levy GST on all services entities and manufacturing firms with ₹1.5 crore or more annual turnover.
  • It is important to note that the new control-sharing system appears simpler to administer.
  • Further, the Centre is targeting a July 1 rollout of the GST, thus, it has room to tinker with a few indirect taxes in the Budget.
  • This would provide a short-term pre-GST stimulus to the economy that is facing a flurry of growth downgrade projections.
  • It is important to note that it is an opportune time to address some of the concerns raised by another key stakeholder, i.e. ‘industry’.
  • Firms have indicated they would need about six months to gear up for the new tax regime once the laws, rules and all the minutiae of implementation, including the rates for different products and services, are known. 
  • In conclusion, more clarity is needed on the harsh penal provisions, including the power to arrest, proposed in the draft GST law (that lists out 21 offences) and the creation of an anti-profiteering authority that can act against firms that fail to pass on benefits of tax rate cuts to consumers. 

Business Line

1. Baby steps to GST

Category: Indian Economy  

Topic: Taxation

Key Points:

  • The fact that the Centre and the States have sorted out the issue of ‘dual control’, has paved the way for an early introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • The Centre has largely allowed States to exercise administrative power over assessees with a turnover of less than ₹5 crore, with the Centre exercising control only over 10 per cent of the assessees in this category.
  • For businesses with more than ₹5 crore turnover, the Centre and States will split the assessees equally.
  • This dispels apprehensions of the assessee having to simultaneously deal with two sets of tax authorities.

The Way Ahead

  • The list of exempted items remains to be agreed upon.
  • There are formidable tasks ahead for the GST Council. Besides, all 29 States have to pass their GST laws within the next few months.

 

Economic Times

1. Dual control in GST is pragmatic and a welcome move

Category: Indian Economy

 Topic: Taxation

Key Points:

  • That the Centre and the states have reached agreement on the vexed issue of dual control of administering the goods and services tax (GST) is a welcome development.
  • This opens up the possibility of introducing the new tax regime on July 1 this year.
  • It is important to note that companies need time to prepare their accounting systems in order to draw up an invoice that fully conforms to the requirements of the new tax on launch day.

Working of GST

  • In order for GST to succeed, compliance must be easy.
  • Taxpayers must not face undue harassment having to deal with two administrative bureaucracies for the same tax.
  • Under the existing agreement, States will oversee administration — or undertake scrutiny and audit — of 90 per cent of economic entities with a turnover underRs 1.5 crore, with the remaining 10 per cent under the Centre’s purview.
  • While, for entities with a turnover of over Rs 1.5 crore, Centre and the states will share control equally.
  • States will also be empowered to share control equally under the Integrated GST.
  • The Centre has yielded to states’ demand for taxation powers in littoral waters.

 

PIB

1.    India Signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for US$ 48 Million for “Nagaland Health Project”

Category: Polity and Governance, Indian Economy  

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • A financing agreement for IDA credit of US$ 48 million (equivalent) for the ‘Nagaland Health Project’ was signed with the World Bank on 16th January, 2017.
  • The Objectives of the project are to improve health services and increase their utilization by communities in targeted locations in Nagaland.
  • Communities in targeted locations will benefit from project activities at the community and health facility levels while the population of the state as a whole will benefit from improvements in higher-level facilities as well as system-wide investments.
  • The project will directly benefit about 600,000 people.
  • It will support and complement existing systems and mechanisms involving communities under the National Health Mission. 

 

2.    The Ministry of Women and Child Development to setup National Alliance against online Child sexual abuse and exploitation 

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Social Justice

Key Points:

  • The Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India is   to  form  a National Alliance against   Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation with the aim of developing a comprehensive outreach system  to engage parents, schools, communities, NGO partners and local governments (PRIs and ULBs) as well as police and lawyers to ensure better implementation of the legal framework, policies, national strategies and standards in relation to child protection and child rights.
  • Child sexual abuse is a multi-layered problem which negatively impacts children’s safety, health and well being.
  • Research from world-wide indicates that children’s exposure to violence and abuse is associated with long-term physical, psychological, and emotional harm. Child abuse is finding new forms and channels through mobile and digital technologies.
  • It is important to note that, online child abuse and exploitation amplifies existing forms of offline bullying, stalking and harassment. It also facilitates the sexual exploitation of children through the production and dissemination of child sexual abuse materials and by facilitating the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. Online abuse knows no national boundaries.

 

3. Ministry of Earth Sciences Commissions Higher Resolution Weather Prediction Model 

Category: Science and Technology 

Topic: Developments

Key Points:

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has commissioned a very high resolution (12 km) global deterministic weather prediction model for generating operational weather forecasts.
  • The model has been on trial since September 2016. It has shown significant improvements in skill of daily weather forecasts. This model has been made operational from January 16, 2017.  
  • The present model replaces the earlier version which had a horizontal resolution of 25 km.  
  • It was very helpful, especially in predicting the track and the intensity of the recent Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Vardah and the cold wave over the northern parts of India.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • CERN
  • WTO
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. The CERN convention was signed in 1953 by 12 founding states.
  2. Currently, CERN has 22 member states.
  3. Besides India, Turkey, Pakistan, Ukraine are Associate members and Serbia and Cyprus are associate members.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? A) 1 and 2 Only B) All, 1, 2 and 3 C) 2 and 3 Only D) 1 and 3 Only

Question 2: Consider the following statements with respect to the advantages of India becoming an associate member of CERN,
  1. Indian industry will be entitled to bid for CERN contracts, which will allow it to work in areas of advanced technology. So the “Make in India” will get a boost due to CERN.
  2. Whenever any CERN facilities get upgraded and go through maintenance, it will provide opportunities for Indian industries to participate.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? A) 1 Only B) Both 1 and 2 C) 2 Only D) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 3: Cyclone ‘Vardah’ recently in the news was classified as which of the following categories?

A) Super Cyclonic Storm B) Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm C) Very Severe Cyclonic Storm D) Severe Cyclonic Storm

Question 4: The WTO follows the principle of ‘self selection’. This means :

a) countries decides to which agreement they want to be party b) countries decide the rate of tariff and tariff reduction c) None of the above d) countries themselves decide whether they want to be in developed or developing categories

Question 5: Consider the following statements, regarding the ‘Nagaland Health Project’ recently in the news,
  1. The Objectives of the project are to improve health services and increase their utilization by communities in targeted locations in Nagaland.
  2. Communities in targeted locations will benefit from project activities at the community and health facility levels while the population of the state as a whole will benefit from improvements in higher-level facilities as well as system-wide investments.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? A) 1 Only B) Both 1 and 2 C) 2 Only D) Neither 1 nor 2

Check Your Answers

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