Polity & Governance
- Government launches International Household Survey Network Toolkit
- Distributors caution on haste in LPG rollout
- J&K surpasses Kerala’s life expectancy: RGI Data
- Biotech- KISAN and Cattle Genomics
- Revised double-tax pact with Korea notified
Bilateral & International Relations
- India, New Zealand sign three pacts, NZ promises ‘constructive engagement’ on India’s NSG bid
Key Facts for Prelims
- Munialappa Committee
- Justice Reddy committee on OROP submits report
Polity & Governance
Government launches International Household Survey Network Toolkit
The Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, inaugurated the 1st Workshop on the use of International Household Survey Network (IHSN) Toolkit.
What is IHSN Toolkit?
- The IHSN is a standard bench mark which can be used as an active management tool for better integration of administrative structures and statistical access for policy making.
- It is about latest trends & developments of data archives, storage and dissemination technology tools available to user.
- It is designed to address technical issues facing data producers.
Components of Toolkit:
- Metadata Editor – Allows the user to add survey metadata and create the ddi.xml and as Nesstar study document.
- CD-ROM Builder – Allows the user to generate HTML output from the study that can be published on a CD or the Internet for dissemination.
- NADA – Search engine that allows the user to import the ddi.xml and search for variables and view metadata.
Distributors caution on haste in LPG rollout
LPG distributors have raised serious concerns regarding the government’s haste in implementing the targets set under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
- They have argued that rushed implementation could compromise the safety of the recipients.
- PMUY is aimed at providing poor households with LPG connections.
What’s the issue?
- The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had recently issued a statement highlighting the steps it had been taking to ensure the safety of the LPG cylinder recipients, saying that it has been providing safety handouts, safety briefings at the time of installation and has been organising safety melas and clinics to increase awareness.
- Following this, oil marketing companies had sent letters to distributors exhorting them to meet the PMUY target of 3,000 registrations by September 30, 2016 “without fail” or face the consequences, pressure that the distributors say only adds to the safety hazard.
J&K surpasses Kerala’s life expectancy: RGI Data
According to the latest data released by the Registrar General of India (RGI), custodian of census data, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has surpassed Kerala as the state with the highest life expectancy in India for all ages, barring life expectancy at birth.
- India’s statistical system does not produce life expectancy numbers on 15 “small states” and Union Territories (UTs), such as Goa, limiting itself to 21 “bigger” states and UTs.
- Kerala still has the highest overall life expectancy at birth, at 74.9 years followed by Delhi.
- Jammu and Kashmir stands at third and it had the second-highest life expectancy at birth. It is behind only Kerala even during 2006-10.
- The RGI publishes state level life expectancy data for different ages: 0 (at birth), 1, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70.
What is life expectancy?
- Life expectancy is defined as the estimate of the average number of additional years that a person of a given age can expect to live.
Biotech- KISAN and Cattle Genomics
Ministry of Science and Technology has launched two new Farmer-Centric schemes: Biotech-KISAN and Cattle Genomics.
- The two programs are intended to have major impact on rural livelihood through science.
About Biotech-KISAN scheme:
- Biotech- KISAN (Krishi Innovation Science Application Network) scheme is a new programme that empowers farmers, especially women farmers.
- It is a Farmer centric scheme launched by the Department of Biotechnology, where scientists will work in sync with farmers to understand problems and find solutions.
- It aims to link farmers, scientists and science institutions across the country in a network that identifies and helps solve their problems in a cooperative manner.
- The scheme includes the Mahila Biotech- KISAN fellowships, for training and education in farm practices, for women farmers. The Scheme also aims to support the women farmers/ entrepreneur in their small enterprises, making her a grass root innovator.
- It will connect farmers to best global practices; training workshops will be held in India and other countries. Farmers and Scientists will partner across the globe.
- The scheme is targeted towards the least educated marginalised farmer; Scientists will spend time on farms and link communication tools to soil, water seed and market. The aim is to understand individual problems of the smallholding farmers and provide ready solutions.
- It will connect farmers with science in the 15 agro-climatic zones of the country in a manner, which constantly links problems with available solutions.
- In each of these 15 regions, a Farmer organisation will be the hub connected to different science labs, Krishi Vigyan Kendra and State Agriculture Universities co-located in the region. The hub will reach out to the farmers in the region and connect them to scientists and institutions.
- The hub will have tinkering lab, communication cell and will run year-long training, awareness, workshops and which will act as education demonstration units to encourage grass root innovation in the young as well as women farmers.
- Communicating Best Practises There will be a communication set-up to make radio and TV programmes for local stations, as well as daily connectivity through social media.
Cattle Genomics Scheme:
- The scheme aims at boosting selective breeding of the native livestock more accurately to ensure high-yielding, disease-resistant, resilient livestock.
- Under it, government will undertake an ambitious project of genome sequencing of 40 registered indigenous cattle breeds of India.
- A high-density DNA chips will be developed under this scheme to reduce the cost and time interval of breeding of the native livestock.
- Genome selection will use information on variations in DNA sequences between animals to predict the breeding value more accurately. Thus, help to transform livestock breeding.
Revised double-tax pact with Korea notified
India has notified the revised Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with South Korea.
- Under the agreement, capital gains tax will be levied at the source with effect from April 1, 2017.
Key features of the revised DTAA:
- The revised DTAA aims to avoid the burden of double taxation for taxpayers of two countries in order to promote and stimulate flow of investment, technology and services between India and Korea.
- In order to promote cross-border flow of investments and technology, it provides for reduction in withholding tax rates to 10% on royalties or fees for technical services from 15% and to 10% on interest income from 15%.
- It provides for source-based taxation of capital gains arising from alienation of shares comprising more than 5% of share capital.
- The treaty also allows investors to invoke Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) in transfer pricing disputes as well as apply for bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs). It provides for exchange of information, including by financial institutions.
- The reworked DTAA inserts new Article for assistance in collection of taxes between tax authorities.
- It also inserts new Limitation of Benefits Article i.e. anti-abuse provisions to ensure the benefits of the agreement are availed only by the genuine residents of both the countries.
The existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention, which has been in vogue for three decades, provides for residence-based taxation of capital gains on shares, which means taxes were to be paid where the investor was a resident.[Ref: The Hindu]
Bilateral & International Relations
India, New Zealand sign three pacts, NZ promises ‘constructive engagement’ on India’s NSG bid
India and New Zealand signed three agreements in the areas of double taxation avoidance (DTA), sports and food security to carry forward the ties between both sides.
- The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his New Zealand counterpart John Key after the delegation-level talks in New Delhi.
- Arrangement between the Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand regarding Food Safety Cooperation and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
- MoU on cooperation in the field of youth affairs and sports. It was signed between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India and Sport New Zealand.
- Protocol to the convention for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
Besides, both countries have also reached an understanding on further cooperation on cyber security, counter-terrorism, customs, education and food safety.
Support for India’s bid to NSG:
- New Zealand PM John Key is on his visit to India. Recently, a meeting was arranged between New Zealand PM and Indian PM to discuss on India becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. During this meeting, New Zealand has indicated that it will continue to contribute constructively in India’s bid.
Significance of this move:
- This indicates that New Zealand is yet to change its hard-line position on only admitting signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty into the NSG, a group which works by consensus.
- Also, this move comes in the run-up to a crucial NSG Consultative Group (CG) meeting to be held in Vienna specifically to consider whether countries that haven’t signed on to the NPT can be considered for membership.
Why New Zealand is against India’s bid to NSG?
- New Zealand is part of a group called the New Agenda for Coalition which promotes the NPT and pushes for nuclear disarmament worldwide.
- Hence, New Zealand has failed to give an outright statement of support for India’s bid to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
What is New Agenda for Coalition?
The New Agenda Coalition (NAC) is a geographically dispersed group of middle power countries that promotes the NPT and pushes for nuclear disarmament worldwide.
Aim of its formation:
- The group was officially launched in Dublin (Ireland) in June 1998 in response to the North-South divide that stymied talks on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation within the framework of the NPT.
- It is composed of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa.
- All current members of the New Agenda Coalition have joined the Humanitarian Initiative, which was founded in 2013 also in the context of the NPT.
Key Facts for Prelims
- In the wake of the bird flu scare in Delhi and other parts, the Union Agricultural Ministry has constituted a High-Level Committee to monitor the bird flu situation and help state governments take steps to contain the disease.
- The High-Level Committee will be headed by Joint Commissioner in the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries (DADF) Munialappa.
- Besides monitoring the situation, the committee will assist the state governments in taking steps to contain the spread of avian influenza.
Justice Reddy committee on OROP submits report
- The one-man judicial committee on One Rank One Pension (OROP) submitted its report to the Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar.
- The Central Government had appointed the committee under the Chairmanship of Justice L Narasimha Reddy, retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court to look into the anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of OROP.