IASToppers-Current-Affairs-Analysis-24th-Dec-2015
Current Affairs Analysis

24th December 2015 Current Affairs Analysis

By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
December 24, 2015

Contents

Economy

  • MAT assessments for FIIs
  • Two Mobile Apps Launched for Farmers

International Relations

  • Seychelles committed to Indian naval base

Science & Technology

  • Indian American professor wins top honour for research on tumours

Also in News

  • Postage stamp on renowned Hindi Poet Sumitranandan Pant

Economy

MAT assessments for FIIs

To end uncertainty over applicability of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and foreign companies, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has asked its field officers to complete the pending assessments in light of the directions issued regarding inapplicability of the tax liability on such entities.

Background:

  • The government had earlier decided that Section 115JB of Income Tax with regard to levy of MAT will not apply to foreign companies, FIIs and foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) and a requisite amendment would be made in the Finance Bill 2016.
  • It was decided that MAT will not apply to companies prior to April 1, 2015. The government had already in last Budget clarified that MAT would not be levied on foreign companies, FIIs and FPIs from April 1, 2015.
  • The tax department, earlier this year, faced a huge controversy over applicability of MAT on capital gains made by foreign portfolio investors/foreign institutional investors in period prior to April 1. The issues spooked markets with FIIs threatening to pull out.
  • The government managed to salvage the situation through a committee under Law Commission chairman A P Shah which recommended non applicability of MAT for previous years.
  • The government had earlier said that the I-T Act will be amended with retrospective effect to exempt overseas companies, which do not have a permanent establishment in India, from paying MAT.

About Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT):

  • The concept of MAT was introduced under the Income Tax Act, 1961 to tax ‘Zero Tax’ companies i.e. companies that make high book profit and declare substantial dividends to their shareholders but have no or insignificant taxable income under the Income Tax Act.
  • MAT is a way of making companies pay minimum amount of tax.

[Courtesy: Business Standard]

Two Mobile Apps Launched for Farmers

In a bid to let farmers harvest the best of mobile technology, the Agriculture Ministry has launched two mobile apps for farmers namely ‘Crop Insurance’ and ‘AgriMarket Mobile’.

Ministry was organising “Kisan Jai Vigyan Week” to celebrate birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Ch. Charan Singh, starting ensuing December 25. Launching of these mobile apps is the part of the week-long celebrations.

About Mobile app “Crop Insurance”:

  • Government of India spends huge amounts in extending crop insurance to the farmers so as to provide them relief in case of unforeseen eventualities.
  • Crop insurance is extended by both public and private insurance companies. States/UTs nominate insurance companies to extend insurance cover for different crops in districts/blocks. 
  • There is also a specific period during which farmers can avail this facility.
  • Due to administrative and technical reasons much of this information is not able to reach to the farmers well in time to take advantage of these schemes.
  • This Crop Insurance mobile app can be used to find out complete details about cover available but also to calculate the Insurance Premium for notified crops based on area, coverage amount and loan amount in case of a loanee farmer.
  • It can also be used to get details of normal sum insured, extended sum insured, premium details and subsidy information of any notified crop in any notified area.

About Mobile app “AgriMarket Mobile”:

  • Farmers sometimes have to suffer losses due to distress sales in absence of correct market information.
  • They can take an informed decision based on information about the ongoing prices in markets around them as to which market they should take their produce for selling.
  • This App has been developed with an aim to keep them abreast with crop prices around them.
  • AgriMarket Mobile App can be used to get the market price of crops in the markets within 50 km of the device’s location.
  • This app automatically captures the location of person using mobile GPS and fetches the market prices of crops in those markets which fall within the range of 50 km.
  • There is another option to get price of any market and any crop in case person does not want to use GPS location.
  • The prevailing prices are fetched from the Agmarknet portal.

[Courtesy: PIB, Hindu]

International Relations

Seychelles committed to Indian naval base

The Seychelles government has allocated India a plot of land in the Assumption Island to build its first naval base in the Indian Ocean region.

  • This is a joint project between India and Seychelles involving two Defence Forces in enhancing their mutual security along the western seaboard.
  • India, with its strong intelligence network, will be helpful in maritime law enforcement by Seychelles.

Significance of the project:

  • The project has acquired significance following China acquiring its first African naval base in Djibouti in November.
  • Once ready, the naval base to be built by the defence forces of India, and Seychelles will help India exercise greater control over the Indian Ocean’s western region all the way to the piracy-prone eastern African coastline.
  • The base will be one of the major staging posts for a large maritime security network that India is setting up with the help of the various Indian Ocean region partner countries.

Coastal radar system (CRS):

  • Apart from the naval base, India is set to acquire a fully operational coastal radar system (CRS) based in Seychelles from March 2016.
  • The CRS will provide India with the ability to gather intelligence and assist in surveillance operations of the vital energy lanes near Seychelles.

Fighting piracy:

  • Both India and Seychelles have a vested interest in securitising the Western Indian Ocean.
  • They have forged a partnership that has gone a fair distance in eradicating the scourge of Somalia-based piracy as well as other maritime security issues.
  • A new patrol vessel from India will be handed over to Seychelles in mid-January 2016.
  • Security operation in the Indian Ocean region will also be helped by the leadership role that Seychelles has secured for itself in the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), which will hold its first meeting in Mumbai on January 31, 2016.

What is CGPCS?

  • The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, commonly abbreviated as CGPCS, is an international governance mechanism established in New York in the year 2009 to facilitate the discussion and coordination of actions among states and organizations to suppress Somali piracy.
  • To date, more than 60 countries and international organizations have become part of this forum, all of which are working towards the prevention of piracy off the Somali coast.

[Courtesy: Hindu]

Science & Technology

Indian American professor wins top honour for research on tumours

U.S. President Barack Obama will present the National Medal of Science to Rakesh K. Jain, an Indian American professor.

Awarded annually, the National Medal of Science, created in 1959, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering.

24dec2015

  • Rakesh K. Jain is a professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the tumour biology laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • Jain, who holds a B.Tech. Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur, will receive the honour along with 16 other winners of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Prof. Jain’s contributions:

  • Jain is regarded as a pioneer in the area of tumour micro-environment and widely recognized for his seminal discoveries in tumour biology, drug delivery, in vivo imaging and bioengineering.
  • His work includes uncovering the barriers to the delivery and efficacy of molecular and nano-medicines in tumours, developing new strategies to overcome these barriers; and then translating these strategies from bench to bedside.
  • In 2014, he was chosen as one of 50 oncology luminaries on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

[Courtesy: Hindu]

Also in News

Postage stamp on renowned Hindi Poet Sumitranandan Pant

To honour great Hindi poet, writer, philosopher and Padamshree awardee- Sumitra Nandan Pant -postumously, Uttarakhand Governor has released a memorial stamp ticket.

24 dec

[Courtesy: Times of India]

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