The Hindu NOTES – 28th Nov 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)

📰 THE HINDU NEWSPAPER– DAILY  Hindu Current Affairs Analysis 28th Nov 2017



Date:- 28-NOV, 2017

Archive



📰 Govt. working on new ‘gas standards’ {POLICY}

In news

The government is looking to prepare a unified testing methodology to ensure that all agencies that map air pollution use accurate instruments.

Key Points

  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is in the process of setting up ‘gas standards’, or reference samples of Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrous Oxide (NO2) and Particulate –Pb (lead), –As (Arsenic) and –Ni (Nickel).
  • Currently, the National Ambient Air Quality standards specify the upper limits for pollutants and, based on this, the Air Quality Index — that grades air quality in cities from ‘Good’ to ‘Severe’ — is prepared for several Indian cities.
  • CPCB has prescribed guidelines for the maximum permissible levels of 12 gases and pollutants, depending on residential, rural or industrial locations. Standards for PM2.5 were laid out in 2009, though CPCB is now mooting a proposal to revise these standards.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

It is a statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Functions

  • Advise the Central Government on any matter concerning prevention and control of water and air pollution and improvement of the quality of air.
  • Plan and cause to be executed a nation-wide programm for the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution;
  • Co-ordinate the activities of the State Board and resolve disputes among them;
  • Provide technical assistance and guidance to the State Boards, carry out and sponsor investigation and research relating to problems of water and air pollution, and for their prevention, control or abatement;
  • Plan and organise training of persons engaged in programme on the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution;
  • Organise through mass media, a comprehensive mass awareness programme on the prevention, control or abatement of water and air pollution;
  • Collect, compile and publish technical and statistical data relating to water and air pollution and the measures devised for their effective prevention, control or abatement;
  • Prepare manuals, codes and guidelines relating to treatment and disposal of sewage and trade effluents as well as for stack gas cleaning devices, stacks and ducts;
  • Disseminate information in respect of matters relating to water and air pollution and their prevention and control;
  • Lay down, modify or annul, in consultation with the State Governments concerned, the standards for stream or well, and lay down standards for the quality of air; and
  • Perform such other function as may be prescribed by the Government of India.

📰 India eases bilateral transfer pricing norms {Economic Policy}

In news

In a move that could further improve India’s ease of doing business rankings, the Income Tax Department on Monday issued a clarification saying that it would allow mutual agreement procedures (MAPs) and advance pricing agreements (APAs) with all countries, abandoning a stance that disallowed such agreements with major trade partners like France, Germany, Italy, Singapore and South Korea.

Previously stance

If treaties with a particular country did not contain a ‘corresponding adjustment’ clause, then the Indian revenue department would not enter into bilateral advance pricing agreements or mutual agreement procedures with those countries.

Current Status

  • It has now agreed to entertain such APAs and MAPs, regardless of whether that clause was in the agreement or not. APAs are meant to settle potential disputes in advance, while MAPs lay out the procedure to settle a dispute once it has happened.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes has decided to accept “transfer Pricing MAP and bilateral APA applications regardless of the presence or otherwise of Paragraph 2 of Article 9 (or its relevant equivalent Article) in the DTAAs [double taxation avoidance agreements].

Mutual Agreement Procedures (MAP)

MAP is a procedure which allows the Competent Authorities or designated representatives of the Competent Authorities from the governments of the Contracting States/Parties to interact with the intent to resolve international tax disputes.

MAP is provided for in an Article in a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) and can involve matters containing juridical double taxation cases, as well as inconsistencies in the interpretation or application of a DTA.

Advanced Pricing Agreement

An APA is a contract, usually for multiple years, between a taxpayer and at least one tax authority specifying the pricing method that the taxpayer will apply to its related-company transactions. These programmes are designed to help taxpayers voluntarily resolve actual or potential transfer pricing disputes in a proactive, cooperative manner, as an alternative to the traditional examination process.

What are the benefits of APA?

APAs gives certainty to taxpayers, reduce disputes, enhance tax revenues and make the country an attractive destination for foreign investments. These agreements would be binding both on the taxpayer as well as the government. Similarly, they lowers complaints and litigation costs.


📰  Pollution on the rise, Delhi govt. issues health advisory {Health Issue}

In news

With the air quality in Delhi remaining “very poor” on Monday, the Delhi Heath Department of issued a health advisory and appealed to citizens to join hand and work towards improving the air quality

Advise from Delhi government

Avoid outdoor activities in the morning and late evening as pollution levels are maximum during this time.

Schools have been asked not to hold outdoor assemblies, sports activities and other physical activities in the early morning.

High-risk groups such as small children, elderly and pregnant women have been advise to wear a N95 mask if going outdoors during the peak pollution hours.


📰 Can’t force govt. to frame a law: SC {Governance}

In news

The Supreme Court on Monday said it respected the government’s “political compulsions” and would not compel it to ratify the UN Convention against Torture, or command it to frame a standalone anti-torture legislation.

Highlights

  • Government had given a commitment to the international community to address torture, especially custodial torture. “We would be crossing judicial limits if we issue a mandamus to the government.
  • The Law Commission has recommended that the Centre ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and frame a standalone anti-torture law, making the state responsible for any injury inflicted by its agents on citizens.

No ratification

  • Though India signed the convention in 1997, it is yet to ratify it. Efforts to bring in a standalone law have failed.
  • The National Human Rights Commission has been urging the government to recognise torture as a separate crime and codify the punishment in a separate penal law.
  • In its 273rd report handed over to the Law Ministry on October 30, the commission has proposed the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017

📰 Aadhaar cases may go to Constitution Bench {Rights Issue} 

In news

On October 30, the CJI indicated that a Constitution Bench would hear the petitions against the validity of the scheme from November last week.

Key Points

  • The petitions have been in limbo since 2014. A five-judge Constitution Bench is hearing petitions on the Centre-Delhi government tussle over the administration of the national capital.
  •  The Aadhaar cases may be listed after the hearing of these petitions are wrapped up, probably next week.
  • The deadline for the Aadhaar-bank account linking is December 31.
  • That for Aadhaar-mobile phone linking is February 6. Both have been challenged as a violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

Background

  • The Aadhaar Act of 2016 is discussed in some detail. It states the “collection, storage and use of personal data is a precondition for the receipt of a subsidy, benefit or service” under the Aadhaar Act. It specifically says that though obtaining an Aadhaar number is not mandatory, except for certain benefits, subsidies and services funded from the Consolidated Fund of India, “in practice” getting an Aadhaar number “is becoming mandatory for availing most services through a range of cognate laws.”
  • The other data protection law it looks at is the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011, or the SPDI Rules. The main flaw of the SPDI Rules is that it solely looks at the private sector, leaving the government out of its ambit.
  • When it comes to sharing information with Government agencies, then the consent of the provider is not required and such information can be shared for purposes such as verification of identity, prevention, detection and investigation including of cyber incidents, prosecution, and punishment of offences.”

📰 Naga talks still on, panel told 

In news

Naga interlocutor R.N. Ravi told a parliamentary panel here on Monday that “no deadline” could be fixed for the Naga peace agreement and talks were on with at least five or six Naga groups other than the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah).

Nagalim plan

  • The NSCN-IM has been fighting for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim — it wants to extend Nagaland’s borders by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, to unite 1.2 million Nagas.
  • Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, all BJP-ruled States that have Naga populations have refused to part with even an inch of land to make the peace deal a success.
  • The Centre is yet to spell out the details of the Naga agreement. An official said the Naga peace talks were delayed after the death of one of the leaders of NSCN (IM), Isak Swu, last year.
  • Swu (86) passed away on June 28 in a Delhi hospital.
  • The other leader T. Muivah has been carrying on the negotiations on behalf of the group.

📰 ‘Infrastructure status: a first step for logistics’ {ECONOMY}

In news:

  • The Centre’s decision to assign infrastructure status to the logistics industry is a good first move, but there are several other problems that need to be addressed such as the lack of proper regulatory oversight and the lack of skilling in the sector.
  • The e-waybill system also needs several improvements before it can viably be rolled out across the country, such as the removal of the need for e-waybills for intra-city or intra-State transport and the modification of the validity of the e-waybills.

Main Problems:

  • The first obvious problem is that generally this is an industry that is not very regulated, which means that it has become a highly fragmented industry.
  • The second problem is that it employs a large number of blue collar workers but there isn’t enough infrastructure to train them.
  • The e-waybill system — timed at tracking the transport of goods worth ₹50,000 or more across the country — is probably one of the most critical and contentious points as far as the GST system is concerned.

 

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