UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Sept 14

GENERAL STUDIES PAPER 3

TOPIC: Agriculture

Building a new India: Pledge to Double Farmers Income by 2022

KEYPOINTS:

In order to improve the economic condition of the farmers, Prime Minister, has set up an ambitious target to double the income of the farmers by 2022.

Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry has to achieve this target by 2022.

  • KVKs organised this program in the 562 districts of the country. The program saw the participation of the State Government and the Central Government officers, Agricultural Officers, Students and a large number of farmers in each district.
  • Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan attended one of the events.
  • In two places, the Governor of the respective states participated.
  • Chief Ministers of three states attended four pledge-taking ceremonies.
  • Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh attended five ceremonies.
  • 49 Central Ministers participated in pledge taking ceremonies at 79 locations (Districts).
  • In 284 places (Districts), Members of Parliament attended the program.
  • In 111 locations (Districts), State Ministers attended the program.
  • In 350 locations (Districts), the MLAs attended the program.
  • In 398 places (Districts), Chairman of District Panchayat attended the program.

TOPIC: Economy

CBDT has been asked to consider inclusion of Service Charge while assessing tax: Shri Ram Vilas Paswan

KEYPOINTS:

  • In order to check the levying of Service Charge compulsorily, CBDT has been asked to consider inclusion of Service Charge while assessing tax.
  • Similarly, directions have been issued to the officers of Legal Metrology of all States to monitor the cases of charging more than MRP.
  • In order to stop levying Service Charge compulsorily from consumers without their consent, guidelines were issued on 21st April 2017.
  • A number of renowned hotels/restaurants have made Service Charge optional under the Guidelines.
  • But still the complaints are being received through National Consumer Helpline about levying 5% to 20% Service Charge compulsorily by some hotels and restaurants. Some media reports have also been published in this regard.
  • To stop this unfair practice, hotels and restaurants have been asked either to leave the column of Service Charge blank or mention on the Bill that it is optional.
  • It means that the consumer can pay the Service Charge if he or she wants.
  • In this regard State Governments were asked to issue directions to hotels and restaurants to display the message at an appropriate place that Service Charge is completely optional and if the consumer is not satisfied with the services of that hotel or restaurant, he or she is free not to pay Service Charge.
  • Similarly, guidelines have been issued in April 2017 against levy of Service Charge compulsorily and consider it as an unfair trade.
  • In addition to it, all the States have been asked to implement these guidelines strictly and sensitize the consumers about the same through publicity.
  • Advertisements have also been released under ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ conveying the message among consumers that Service Charge is not mandatory but a tip which is fully a discretion of the consumer.
  • Hotels or restaurants cannot compel the consumer to pay Service Charge.  Similarly, Voluntary Consumer Organizations have also been asked to increase awareness and pick up some cases for exemplary remedial action.

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