Polity & Governance
- Supreme Court accepts Lodha panel recommendations
- SWAYAM Prabha-Educational Contents through DTH
- Centre releases ₹100 cr for Atal Pension Yojana
- Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signs seven Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)
Science & Technology
- SpaceX rocket on course to drop supplies in ISS
Also in News
- Satavahanas first capital on verge of submergence
Polity & Governance
Supreme Court accepts Lodha panel recommendations
The Supreme Court accepted major recommendations of Justice R M Lodha panel on structural reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
- The BCCI has been given six months’ time to implement Lodha panel recommendations.
Which recommendations are accepted?
- The SC agreed with the Lodha panel recommendation that “no minister or serving bureaucrat can be member of the BCCI board”.
- It accepted the panel’s recommendation that there should be a players’ association in the BCCI and the funding of players’ association accepted while leaving it to the Board to decide the extent of funding.
- The bench also accepted the recommendation that one person should hold one post in cricket administration to avoid any conflict of interest and scrapping of all other administrative committees in the BCCI after CAG nominee comes in.
- The court also accepted the proposal that office-bearers in the BCCI should not be beyond the age of 70 years.
Which recommendation is not accepted?
- The SC rejected BCCI’s objection against recommendations for one-state-one-vote and said that states like Maharashtra and Gujarat having more than one cricket associations will have voting rights on rotational basis.
SC’s other orders:
- The SC also ordered that a CAG nominee will be part of the BCCI to keep track of its funds.
- The court, however, left it to Parliament to decide whether functioning of BCCI can be brought under the RTI as recommended by the Lodha Panel and whether to legalise betting in cricket or not.
- It also left it to the board to decide whether there is need for any changes in the existing agreement relating to broadcasting rights and whether a franchise member should be in the Board to avoid any conflict of interest.
- The bench also requested the three-member panel, also comprising former apex court judges Ashok Bhan and R V Raveendran, to oversee the transition of administrative structure in BCCI which has to take place within six months.
- The apex court-appointed Lodha Committee had on January 4 recommended sweeping reforms and an administrative shake-up at the troubled BCCI, suggesting that ministers be barred from occupying positions, a cap put on the age and tenure of the office-bearers and legalising betting.
SWAYAM Prabha-Educational Contents through DTH
Government has approved a project to launch the ‘SWAYAM Prabha’ to provide educational contents through DTH.
- ‘SWAYAM Prabha’ is a project for operationalising 32 Direct to Home (DTH) Television Channels for providing high quality educational content to all teachers, students and citizens across the country interested in lifelong learning.
- There will be new content of four hours every day, which would be telecast six times a day allowing the student to choose the time of his/her convenience.
The main features of SWAYAM Prabha:
- Curriculum based course contents covering diverse disciplines such as arts, science, commerce, performing arts, social sciences and humanities subjects, engineering, technology, law, medicine, agriculture etc.
- Covers all level of education: School education, undergraduate, postgraduate, engineering, out of school children, vocational courses and teacher training.
- Initially the programmes will be in English but with the passage of time the programmes will be launched in regional languages also.
Centre releases ₹100 cr for Atal Pension Yojana
The Centre has released nearly ₹100 crore as its share of contribution for members of the Atal Pension Yojana.
- The fund has been released through the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
- The scheme had over 30 lakh subscribers by June 30 and the Finance Ministry estimates that about 5,000 new subscribers are added every day.
Atal Pension Yojana (APY):
Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is a pension scheme for citizens of India focussed on the unorganised sector workers.
- Under the APY, guaranteed minimum pension of Rs. 1,000/-, 2,000/-, 3,000/-, 4,000 and 5,000/- per month will be given at the age of 60 years in turn for the contribution varying from Rs 42 to Rs 210 per month.
- PFRDA is the nodal agency for APY and is working out plans to improve reach and information dissemination.
- Any Citizen of India between 18 – 40 years of age can join APY scheme.
- Government co-contribution is available for 5 years, i.e., from 2015-16 to 2019-20 for the subscribers who join the scheme during the period from 1st June, 2015 to 31st December, 2015 and who are not covered by any Statutory Social Security Schemes and are not income tax payers.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signs seven Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) entered into seven Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers.
- Some of these agreements also have a “Rollback” provision in them.
- The seven APAs signed, pertain to various sectors of the economy like banking, Information Technology and Automotives.
- The international transactions covered in these agreements include software development Services, IT enabled Services (BPOs), Engineering Design Services and Administrative & Business Support Services.
Total number of APAs:
- With this signings, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 77. This includes 3 bilateral APAs and 74 Unilateral APAs.
- In the current financial year, a total of 13 Unilateral APAs have been entered into so far. The CBDT expects more APAs to be concluded and signed in the near future.
About the APA scheme:
- The APA scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the “Rollback” provisions were introduced in 2014.
- The scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance.
- Since its inception, the APA scheme has attracted tremendous interest and that has resulted in more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) having been filed in just four years.
Significance of the APA scheme:
- The progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the Government’s mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.
What is the meaning of the APA?
An Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) is a contract, usually for multiple years, between a taxpayer and at least one tax authority (CBDT) 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.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.
- It is a part of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- It is also India’s official Financial Action Task Force unit.
- It provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is also responsible for administration of the direct tax laws through Income Tax Department.
- The CBDT Chairman and Members of CBDT are selected from Indian Revenue Service (IRS) whose members constitute the top management of Income Tax Department.
Science & Technology
SpaceX rocket on course to drop supplies in ISS
A SpaceX rocket blasted off toward the International Space Station, carrying a load of supplies for the astronauts living in space, including equipment to enable future spaceships to park at the orbiting outpost.
- This was only the second time SpaceX has landed one of its rockets on solid ground (and the fifth post-launch recovery), but the company has already set its sights on the next challenge: landing three rockets at the same time.
- Following the launch, the rocket separated, sending the Dragon cargo carrier to orbit. Then, the first stage of the rocket successfully fired its engines again to manoeuvre its way back to land on solid ground at Cape Canaveral.
- These commercial crew vehicles will restore U.S. capability to send astronauts to space, after the retirement of the space shuttle which has left Russia’s Soyuz capsules as the world’s sole means of crew transport.
- A previous version was destroyed — along with $118 million in equipment — when SpaceX’s rocket exploded in June 2015 shortly after lift-off, due to a faulty strut that allowed a helium tank to break loose and caused the blast.
- It first accomplished the feat in December 2015, as part of the California-based company’s effort to re-use costly rocket parts instead of jettisoning them into the ocean. The whole goal is to lower the cost of space travel and space transportation.
Also in News
Satavahanas first capital on verge of submergence
Koti Lingala, the temple shrine of Lord Shiva as well as the first capital city of Satavahana dynasty, located on the shores of river Godavari is on the verge of submergence with the backwaters of the Sripada Yellampalli project touching the temple shrine.
- Sripada Yellampalli project is an irrigation project located at Yellampalli Village in Karimnagar district – Adilabad district in Telangana.
- The project is fourth largest on the Godavari River in Telangana region.
- The Satavahana rulers used the navigation for the transportation of the goods as was evident from the wharf on the shores of the river Godavari.
- Buddhists and Jainism also prevailed in the region on the “munula gutta’ as was evident during the excavations made by the state archeology department.
- Rare coins of Trimuka (Srirama, Sita and Laxman) were recovered by Archeological department during excavations
- Historians also found that there was abundant availability of iron ore in the region as the Satavahana dynasty used the iron for making various tools.