Context: Government bid to roll out the GST regime from July 1
GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs): who are expected to help taxpayers cope with the transition to the new regime and its compliance paperwork.
GSPs may only be operationally ready a few months down the line, so it is difficult to meet the target of July 1.
Convenient methods: Under the GST regime, the GSPs are expected to provide convenient methods to taxpayers to access and upload their documents and returns onto the GST Network (GSTN), the information technology backbone of the new indirect tax regime.
Indian Meteorological Department prediction of rain this year: ‘normal’ and around 98% of the Long Period Average (LPA).
Rains in July and August, the most important monsoon months for the kharif crops, would be 96% and 99% respectively.
El Nino is weaker than anticipated:
The El Nino — characterized by surface waters of the equatorial Pacific warming up by more than half a degree — is known to dry up monsoon rain every six out of 10 years.
A positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is said to buffer the impact of El Nino and contribute to better rains. (The IOD is a swing in surface temperatures that turns the western Indian Ocean alternately warmer and then colder than the eastern part of the ocean.)
New model:dynamical model
In April, the IMD shifted to using a new monsoon forecast system, called a dynamical model that works by supercomputers simulating the weather and extrapolating it.
Private weather forecaster Skymet:
Below normal forecast at 95% (with an error margin of +/-5%) of the LPA.
Rainfall for July stood at 94%, while for August it was 93% of the historical average.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has registered the child-friendly HIV drug in oral pellet form (lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r)).
The pellets, which come in capsules and are dosed by weight, can be sprinkled (but not stirred or crushed) over a small amount of soft food. For infants — who must be able to swallow them — the pellets can be added to a spoonful of breast milk or put on the infant’s tongue.
Paediatric HIV a ‘neglected disease’:
Lack of child-friendly HIV formulations.
Large treatment gap between adults and children.
Oral pellet form is a boon to HIV community since National AIDS Control Programme (NACO), had been struggling to source quality assured paediatric formulations of the drug.
India ran out of Lopinavir syrup, a child-friendly HIV drug, in March after Cipla — the sole manufacturer of the drug — stopped production consequent to non-payment by the Health Ministry. The drug’s adult version has to be swallowed whole and thus cannot be administered to infants and young children.
Report suggests Russia hackers breached voting software firm
Russian hackers attacked at least one U.S. voting software supplier days before 2016 presidential election, according to a classified National Security Agency intelligence report leaked.
It suggests election-related hacking penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than previously known.
The report does not say whether the hacking had any effect on election results. But it says Russian military intelligence attacked a U.S. voting software company and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials at the end of October or beginning of November.
President Vladimir Putin spokesperson, denied the allegations, saying that the Kremlin did not see “any evidence to prove this information is true”.
“Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards,” the assessment said.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has come out with a final notification specifying the securities transactions that would attract capital gains tax where the securities transaction tax (STT) hasn’t been paid.
An amendment has been made in the Finance Act 2017 to curb the declaration of unaccounted income as exempt long-term capital gains under the previous provisions of the Income Tax Act by entering into fake transactions.
According to the notification, the chargeability to STT provision will not apply to all transactions of acquisitions of equity shares entered into on or after October 1, 2004, except the acquisition of listed shares in a preferential issue of a company whose shares are not frequently traded in a recognised stock exchange, the acquisition of existing listed equity shares in a company not through a recognised stock exchange of India, and the acquisition of shares of a company while it is de-listed.
Navy eyes advanced subs
With the Strategic Partnership model for procurement of defence platforms now official, the Navy is not interested in ordering additional Scorpene submarines, a senior naval source said.
Six Scorpenes are now under construction, and the Navy is keen to accelerate the tender for a new line of advanced submarines underProject-75I.
Mazagon Docks Ltd., Mumbai, is manufacturing the Scorpene conventional submarines with technology transfer from DCNS of Franceunder a $3.75-billion deal signed in October 2005.
The first submarineKalvariis set to join the Navy in August 2017 and all six are expected to be inducted by 2022.
India and France have held informal discussions for three additional Scorpenes as a follow-on contract.
Project-75I submarines will be more modern and advanced with all of them equipped with Air Independent Propulsion modules to enhance the reach and stealth characteristics. AIP modules were not part of the Scorpene deal, and the Navy is trying to have them fitted on the last two Scorpenes.
That is contingent on the timely delivery of the AIP being indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
The deal for six submarines under P-75I is expected to cost about Rs. 50,000 crore and the tender process will begin soon as per the guidelines of the SP model.
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