CAO PIB Weekly Current Affairs: Press Information Bureau – 16th Nov to 21st Nov, 2017

CAO PIB Weekly Current Affairs: Press Information Bureau – 16th Nov to 21st Nov, 2017


Archive



 Cabinet approves the establishment of the National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST

{Economic Policy}


In news

The Union Cabinet approved establishing the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) under the Goods and Service Tax (GST) to ensure fair pricing.

The decision was an outcome of sharp reduction in the GST rates of a large number of items of mass consumption.

About NAA

  • NAA aims to ensure that benefit of the reduction in prices under the uniform tax regime reaches the consumers. This is the second major GST-related decision taken by the government
  • It ensures that the latest tax rate reductions approved by the GST Council on more than 200 items are implanted immediately by businesses.
  • Help in controlling inflation.

Duties of NAA

To determine whether any reduction in the rate of tax on any supply of goods or services or the benefit of input tax credit has been passed on to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices

To identify the registered person who has not passed on the benefit of reduction in the rate of tax on supply of goods or services or the benefit of input tax credit to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices;

To order,

(a) reduction in prices;
(b) return to the recipient, an amount equivalent to the amount not passed on by way of commensurate reduction in prices along with interest at the rate of eighteen per cent. from the date of collection of the higher amount till the date of the return of such amount or recovery of the amount not returned, as the case may be, in case the eligible person does not claim return of the amount or is not identifiable, and depositing the same in the Consumer Welfare Fund;

(c) imposition of penalty;

(d) cancellation of registration.

Positive Implications

  • Inflation :GST may bring in general inflation in the introductory phase as some goods and service become expensive and others cheaper(but the reduction in price is not passed on to customers). The anti – profiteering clause will minimise this risk.
  • Confidence in GST :With a legal obligation on businesses to pass on the benefit, this will help in instilling confidence in GST among people.
  • Intermediate Goods :Sectors dependent on intermediate goods may face sudden rise in price. This clause protects them.

Negative Implications

  • Against Free Market: In a free market prices are decided by demand and supply. They eventually balance out. This is a distortion
  • Fear of Tax Raj: Companies fear tax authorities may misuse this rule to unfairly target them or worse lead to bribed and corruption
  • Adverse Impact on Investments: There may be a fall in investments due to the confusion created in implementation of this clause.

 Cabinet approves Continuation of sub-schemes under Umbrella Scheme “Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)” for the period till November, 2018

{Social Issue}


In news

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of Anganwadi Services, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, Child Protection Services and National Crèche Scheme till 30.11.2018 with an outlay of over Rs.41,000 crore.

These are the sub-schemes under Umbrella Scheme “Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)”.

Features

  • The approved Schemes include
  1. Anganwadi Services
  2. Scheme for Adolescent Girls
  3. Child Protection Services
  4. National Crèche Scheme
  • The decision also provides for conversion of National Crèche Scheme from Central Sector to Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the revised cost sharing between Centre and States as 60:40 for all States and UTs with legislature, 90:10 for NER and Himalayan States and 100% for UTs without legislature and implementation of the Scheme through States/UTs instead of existing implementation agencies.

Background

The aims of these schemes are as under

  • Anganwadi Services (ICDS) aims at holistic development of children under the age of six years and its beneficiaries are children of this age group and Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers.
  • The objective of the Scheme forAdolescent Girls is to facilitate, educate and empower Adolescent Girls so as to enable them to become self-reliant and aware citizens through improved nutrition and health status, promoting awareness about health, hygiene, nutrition, mainstreaming out of school AGs into formal/non formal education and providing information/guidance about existing public services.
  • The objectives of Child Protection Servicesare to provide safe and secure environment for children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, reduce vulnerabilities through a wide range of social protection measures, prevent actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children from families etc., bring focus on non-institutional care, develop a platform for partnership between Government & Civil Society and establish convergence of child related social protection services.
  • National Creche Schemeaims at providing a safe place for mothers to leave their children while they are at work, and thus, is a measure for empowering women as it enables them to take up employment. At the same time, it is also an intervention towards protection and development of children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years.

Impact

The sub-schemes listed above are not new schemes but are continuing from the XII Five Year Plan. The programme through targeted interventions will strive to reduce the level of malnutrition, anaemia and low birth weight babies, ensure empowerment of adolescent girls, provide protection to the children who are in conflict with law, provide safe place for day-care to the children of working mothers, create synergy, ensure better monitoring, issue negative alerts for timely action, encourage States/UTs to perform, guide and supervise the line Ministries and States/UTs to achieve the targeted goals and bring more transparency.


 India to Host Global Conference on Cyber Space 2017: A Giant Leap Towards a Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace

{Science & Tech}


In news

India, for the first time ever, is going to host the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS), one of the world’s largest conferences in the field of Cyber Space and related issues, on 23 & 24 November 2017at Aerocity, New Delhi. 

  • Incepted in 2011 in London, second GCCS was held in2012 in Budapest with focus on relationship between internet rights and internet security.
  • Thethird edition of GCCS was held in 2013 in Seoul with commitment to Open and Secure Cyberspace.
  • Thefourth version GCCS 2015 was held on April 16-17, 2015 in The Hague, Netherlands.

Themed on Cyber4All: A Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace for Sustainable Development,

This is the fifth edition of GCCS wherein international leaders, policymakers, industry experts, think tanks and cyber experts will gather to deliberate on issues and challenges for optimally using cyber space.

The overall goals of GCCS 2017 

To promote the importance of inclusiveness and human rights in global cyber policy,

To defend the status quo of an open, interoperable and unregimented cyberspace,

To create political commitment for capacity building initiatives to address the digital divide and assist countries, and to develop security solutions in a balanced fashion that duly acknowledge the importance of the private sector and technical community.


 ‘Saubhagya’ Web-Portal – a Platform for Monitoring Universal Household Electrification

{Energy}


In News

Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy, launched the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ Web Portal . The portal can be accessed at http://saubhagya.gov.in.

Benefits of this portal

  • The Saubhagya Dashboard is a platform for monitoring household electrification progress, which would disseminate information on Household Electrification Status (State, District, village-wise), Household Progress on live basis, State-wise Target vs Achievement, Monthly Electrification Progress, etc.
  • The Ministry has directed NTPC to mix straw/ crop residue pellets with coal, upto 10%, for power generation in all of its Thermal Power Plants. This step would reduce crop residue burning in agriculture dominated States like Punjab, Haryana etc. and hence reduce air pollution that is currently being experienced

Background of SAUBHAGYA SCHEME

  • ‘Saubhagya’ scheme was launched by Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi on 25th September, 2017 . Under Saubhagya scheme, all willing households in rural areas and poor families in urban areas are given free electricity connections. There are around 4 Crore un-electrified households in the country and they are targeted for providing electricity connections by December 2018.
  • Till recently, the focus of electrification has been on village electrification through creation of village electricity infrastructure for all households and providing free electricity connections to poor household families in rural areas. Now, Saubhagya has come into existence for providing free electricity connections to all households (both APL and poor familiesin rural areas and poor families in urban areas.
  • Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) is the Nodal Agency for the operationalization of the scheme throughout the country.

 South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC)- IMF

{Economic Policy}


In news

An Interim Meeting of the Steering Committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTAC) was held here today in national capital to assess the Centre’s activities since its inauguration in February 2017 and to review the Fiscal Year 2018 Work Plan.

SARTTAC is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.

Mission

  • SARTTAC’s goal is to help its six member countries strengthen their capacity to design and implement policies that promote macroeconomic stability, sustainable growth, and poverty reduction in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • SARTTAC provides hands-on technical advice in a range of macroeconomic and financial areas and training to strengthen the skills of officials to formulate and manage effective macroeconomic and financial policies.
  • It is the IMF’s newest capacity development center and the first of the 14 regional centers to fully integrate technical assistance and training activities.

SARTTAC

South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) is a collaborative venture between the IMF, the member countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka), and development partners.

  • SARTTAC, the newest addition to the IMF’s global network of fourteen regional centers, is a new kind of capacity development institution, fully integrating customized hands-on training with targeted technical advice in a range of macroeconomic and financial areas, and generating synergies between the two. It was inaugurated at Delhi in February 2017.
  • SARTTAC is financed mainly by its six member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka — with additional support from Australia, the Republic of Korea, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

  International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM)

{Health Issue}


In news

The 42nd World Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) was recently organised by the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

  • The event is being organised for the first time in India,and is the largest medical conference ever organised by the AFMS. Around 350-400 foreign delegates from 80 countries are attending the event.

The theme of this 42nd World Congress is “Military Medicine in Transition: Looking Ahead.”

ICMM

  • The ICMM is an international inter-governmental organisation created in 1921 with its secretariat at Brussels in Belgium and currently has 112 nations as members.
  • The ICMM was established after World War I had revealed the lack of care provided to victims and the need to strengthen cooperation between the health services of the armed forces worldwide.

Objective of the ICMM

To ensure that our medical services personnel have the means to work together, using similar practices, in operations involving international cooperation.

This is a long-term goal, and the ICMM can work towards achieving this in a number of ways: by encouraging activities at which scientific and technical experience is shared, by developing contacts with the scientific community, by promoting regional events. This will enable us to pool our resources and work experience of military medicine, both in the theatre of operations and in a support role in the case of crisis situations.


 Moscow declaration

{Health Issue}


In news

  • Health ministers, NGOs, and private sector representatives from 120 countries adopted the Moscow Declaration, committing themselves to eliminating additional deaths from HIV co-infection by 2020 and achieving synergy in coordinated action against TB and non-communicable diseases.
  • A co-infection is when a person suffers from two infections at the same time.

Objective

  • The Moscow declaration emphasised the need for fixing multisectoral responsibility towards ending TB by 2035, the global target.

What was the needs?

  • Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37%. However, progress in many countries has stalled, global targets are off-track, and persistent gaps remain in TB care and prevention.

Significance

  • Move rapidly to achieve universal health coverage by strengthening health systems and improving access to people-centered TB prevention and care, ensuring no one is left behind.
  • Mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing through increased domestic and international investments to close gaps in implementation and research.
  • Advance research and development of new tools to diagnose, treat, and prevent TB.
  • Build accountability through a framework to track and review progress on ending TB, including multi-sectoral approaches.

 Aadhaar Data is Never Breached or Leaked: UIDAI


In news

UIDAI said in a statement here that the Aadhaar data is fully safe and secure and there has been no data leak or breach at UIDAI.

UIDAI Statements

  • UIDAI said that this said data on these websites was placed in public domain as a measure of proactive disclosure under RTI Act by these government and institutional websites which included beneficiaries’ name, address, bank account, and other details including Aadhaar number and was collected from the third party/users for various welfare schemes.
  • It was this collected info which had been displayed in the public domain under RTI Act.
  • There was no breach or leakage of Aadhaar data from UIDAI database or server as has been aired by the said report.

Highlights

  • UIDAI clarified that Aadhaar number is not a secret number.
  • It is to be shared with authorized agencies when an Aadhaarholder wishes to avail a certain service or benefit of government welfare scheme/s or other services. But that does not mean that the proper use of Aadhaar number poses a security or financial threat.
  • Also, mere availability of Aadhaar number will not be a security threat or will not lead to financial/other fraud, as for a successful authentication fingerprint or iris of individual is also required. Further all authentications happen in presence of personnel of respective service provider which further add to the security of the system.

 Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli & Daman & Diu sign MoU with Government of India under UDAY Scheme

{Development}


In news

On the 2nd Anniversary of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) today, the Government of India signed four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the Scheme with the State of Nagaland and with Union Territories (UTs) of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli & Daman & Diu for operational improvements.

The MoU paves way for improving operational efficiency of the Electricity Departments/DISCOM of the State/Union Territory

Significance:

  • Demand Side interventions in UDAY such as usage of energy-efficient LED bulbs, agricultural pumps, fans & air-conditioners and efficient industrial equipment through PAT (Perform, Achieve, Trade) would help in reducing peak load, flatten load curve and thus help in reducing energy consumption in the State/UTs.
  • Further, with improved efficiency, they would be in a better position to fund their capex at cheaper rates for Power infrastructure development/improvement in the State/UTs.

Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)

Scheme approved on 20.11.2014 with a total outlay of Rs 44,033 crore which includes a budgetary support of Rs 33,453 crore from Govt. of India. The objectives of scheme are:

  • Separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders
  • Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in the rural areas;
  • Metering of distribution transformers / feeders / consumers in the rural area.
  • Rural Electrification

 Logistics Sector granted Infrastructure Status

{Infrastructure}


In news

The Logistics Sector has been granted Infrastructure status.

  • The government has defined “logistics infrastructure” to include a multimodal logistics Park comprising an Inland Container Depot (ICD) with a minimum investment of Rs50 crore and minimum area of 10 acre, a cold chain facility with a minimum investment of Rs15 crore and minimum area of 20,000 sq. ft and a warehousing facility with a minimum investment of Rs25 crore and a minimum area of 100,000 sq ft.

What are ‘Logistics’?

  • Logistics is the general management of how resources are acquired, stored and transported to their final destination
  • “Logistics” was initially a military-based term used in reference to how military personnel obtained, stored and moved equipment and supplies. Since its initial use, “logistics” is used widely in the business sector to refer to how resources are handled and moved along the supply chain.
  • In simple terms, “logistics” means having the right amount of a good at the right time, getting it to the appropriate location in proper condition and delivering it to the correct customer.
  • Logistics is a web that links to businesses in every industry sector. The goal is to manage the fulfillment of each customer, moving quickly and efficiently from one section of the supply chain to the next.

Primary Functions of a Logistician

The tasks for which a logistician is responsible vary depending on the business. Primary responsibilities include overseeing and managing inventory, arranging for appropriate transportation, and establishing adequate storage for the inventory. A qualified logistician plans out all of these and other aspects, coordinating the steps as inventory moves along the supply chain. The logistician is also responsible for consultations with potential and existing clients as well as the companies that are transporting and storing resources.

Why it is needed?

  • Development of logistics would give a boost to both domestic and external demand thereby encouraging manufacturing and ‘job creation’.
  • This will in turn be instrumental in improving country’s GDP. Therefore, the need for integrated Logistics sector development has been felt for quite some time in view of the fact that the logistics cost in India is very high compared to developed countries. High logistics cost reduces the competitiveness of Indian goods both in domestic as well as export market.
  • Infrastructure status will enable the Logistics Sector to avail infrastructure lending at easier terms with enhanced limits, access to larger amounts of funds as External Commercial Borrowings (ECB), access to longer tenor funds from insurance companies and pension funds and be eligible to borrow from India Infrastructure Financing Company Limited (IIFCL).
  • Infrastructure status for cold chains and warehousing facilities will provide a big boost to attracting private investment in this sector.

Background

In 2017, India’s logistics performance improved from 54 to 35 under World Bank Logistics Performance Index (LPI). The government expects the Indian logistics sector to grow to $360 billion by 2032 from the current $115 billion.



 

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