Polity & Governance
- Govt announces draft notification to regulate pet shops
- Government announces new income declaration scheme ‘PM Garib Kalyan Yojana’
- Sustainable expansion: APAC nations to adopt Urban Plus approach
- RBI opposes proposal to set up separate payments regulator
Key Facts for Prelims
- India’s first Humsafar train
- Majuli to be India’s first ever carbon neutral district
- Rio gets UNESCO world heritage status
- Landing craft utility L-58
- Annapurna Rasoi Scheme
Polity & Governance
Govt announces draft notification to regulate pet shops
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued the draft notification for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2016 to regulate pet shops.
Objective of these proposed new rules:
- To make pet shops accountable and to prevent cruelty inflicted on animals kept in such pet shops.
- Mandatory for all pet shop owners to register themselves with the State Animal Welfare Board (AWB).
- Pet shops will be registered only after inspection by the representatives of AWB, a veterinary practitioner and a representative of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- Pet shops must ensure that animals are kept in comfortable surroundings and as per define space requirement for birds, cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pig, hamster, rats and mice in the pet shops.
- Pet shops must have basic amenities, general care, veterinary care, power back-up and other operational requirement for animals in it.
- Mandatory for pet shops to maintain proper records of sale, purchase, death of animals and sick animals etc. in the shop.
- Pet shop owner must submit yearly report to State AWB regarding animals, sold, traded, given away, boarded or exhibited during previous year or any other information asked for by the State AWB.
- Non-compliance of the proposed rules will lead to cancellation of registration of pet shop and pet animals in the shop will be confiscated shall be handed over to a rescue centre recognised by the Board or Animal Welfare Organisation.
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has the mandate to implement the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain, or suffering on animals. The provisions of the PCA Act are general in nature, and rules dealing with specific situations have to be notified from time to time.[Ref: PIB]
Government announces new income declaration scheme ‘PM Garib Kalyan Yojana’
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) notified along with other provisions of Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 came into effect from 17 December 2016.
- It will remain open until March 31, 2017.
- PMGKY is Union Government’s second income disclosure scheme (IDS) to allow tax evaders to come clean with unaccounted wealth.
- It provides for 50% tax and surcharge on declarations of unaccounted cash deposited in banks.
Salient features of the PMGKY:
- Declaration under the Scheme can be made by any person in respect of undisclosed income in the form of cash or deposits in an account with bank or post office or specified entity.
- Tax @30% of the undisclosed income, surcharge @33% of tax and penalty @10% of such income is payable besides mandatory deposit of 25% of the undisclosed income in Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016. The deposits are interest free and have a lock-in period of four years.
- The income declared under the Scheme shall not be included in the total income of the declarant under the Income-tax Act for any assessment year.
- The declarations made under the Scheme shall not be admissible as evidence under any Act (eg. Central Excise Act, Wealth-tax Act, Companies Act etc.). However, no immunity will be available under Criminal Acts mentioned in section 199-O of the Scheme.
Usage of the money generated from this scheme:
- The money or revenue generated from disclosure of unaccounted cash will be used for welfare schemes for the poor.
- It will be mainly used for projects in irrigation, infrastructure, primary education, primary health, housing, toilets and livelihood so that there is justice and equality.
Sustainable expansion: APAC nations to adopt Urban Plus approach
The sixth edition of Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) held in New Delhi has adopted New Delhi declaration to adopt Urban Plus approach.
- This was the first such meeting held to discuss ways of realising the New Urban Agenda that was finalised during the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (also known as “Habitat III” conference) held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.
- Its theme of conference was ‘Emerging Urban Forms-Policy Reforms and Governance Structures in the Context of New Urban Agenda’.
- It was attained by representatives of Asia Pacific countries that account for over 55% of global urban population.
- It adopted Implementation Plan and New Delhi Declaration.
- The next biennial APMCHUD Conference will be hosted by Iran in 2018.
What is Urban plus approach?
- This approach will address ways to make urban expansion sustainable and manageable.
- This would mean an emphasis on planning for urban and its adjoining peri-urban and rural areas in an integrated manner.
What is New Delhi Declaration?
- The New Delhi Declaration is a political statement depicting the commitment of participating governments towards preventing and reducing disaster risk and strengthening the resilience of communities, nations and the Asian region.
- Called for thorough review of existing policies and formulation of new policies to promote New Urban Agenda adopted at UN Habitat III Conference in Quito, Eucador in October 2016.
- Recognising the need to accelerate the implementation of global frameworks, it commits to a people-centred and whole-of-society approach towards DRR.
- It stressed on the need for effective governance structures in urban areas noting that governance as the key to sustainable development.
RBI opposes proposal to set up separate payments regulator
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opposed a move to establish a separate entity to regulate payments and settlements, a function that is currently under the central bank’s purview.
What’s the issue?
In September, the Centre had set up a 11-member committee on Digital Payments headed by Finance Secretary Ratan Watal.
One of the panel’s terms of reference was to study and recommend changes in the regulatory mechanism under various acts such as the Payments and Settlement Act, the RBI Act, and the Information Technology Act among others.
The panel had recommended that the RBI will be the regulator for SIPS (systemically important payment system) and a separate board (Payments Regulatory Board) for retail payments will be created under RBI.
What the RBI says?
According to the global practice both the SIPS and retail payment systems are under the central bank for a variety of reasons including issues of inter-connectivity between the systems and the role of the central bank as the lender of last resort (LOLR).
RBI has mooted a monetary-policy-committee-style structure for the PRB, where outcomes are decided independently, but implementation remains with the banking regulator.[Ref: The Hindu]
Key Facts for Prelims
India’s first Humsafar train
- The Indian Railways has launched India’s first AC III tier Humsafar Express.
- Humsafar would be fully air-conditioned third AC service with an optional service for meals.
- The announcement was made in the Railway Budget.
- The first Humsafar Express would run between Anand Vihar in Ghaziabad to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.
- The train has been facilitated with numerous features meant to provide luxury to middle-class passengers such as CCTV, Global Positioning System (GPS)-based passenger information system, mobile and laptop charging points, integrated braille display for the visually impaired, smoke detection and suppression system and a high-quality exterior and interior design among others.
- The fares of the train are set to be higher than the regular AC III tier coaches.
Majuli to be India’s first ever carbon neutral district
- Assam government has initiated a project to make river island Majuli the country’s first ever Carbon Neutral district by 2020.
- The project titled ‘Sustainable Action for Climate Resilient Development in Majuli’ (SACReD, Majuli) has been initiated by Assam’s department of Environment.
- The project, SACReD, Majuli has been initiated to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Mitigation through forestry activities and biodiversity conservation will be the starting points for the carbon neutral agenda followed by other interventions over the next three years.
- The project will be designed and implemented in partnership with other departments of the district for which a district level committee under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner has been constituted.
Rio gets UNESCO world heritage status
- Rio de Janeiro or the Marvellous City has officially entered into the UNECSO’s list of world heritage sites.
- Rio de Janeiro city has been registered as “Carioca Landscapes between Mountain and Sea” on the UNESCO world heritage list.
- UNESCO has highlighted Rio’s extraordinary fusion of man-made and natural beauty that has made it to feature on the world heritage list.
- UNESCO status was accorded to the city in 2012, but the Brazilian authorities were given four years time to report their plans for protecting sites like Flamengo Park, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Corcovado, Copacabana beach, the Botanical Garden and Tijuca forest before officially according the status to the city.
Landing craft utility L-58
- Recently, eight landing craft utility (LCU) L-58 was launched by Indian Navy.
- It is the last vessel in a series of eight ships of LCU MK-IV project designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) for the Indian Navy.
- All 8 LCU vessels have almost 90% of their components indigenous.
- They are deployed for maritime security of Lakshadweep Islands in Arabian Sea and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in Bay of Bengal.
Annapurna Rasoi Scheme
- It is a scheme of Rajasthan Government to provide quality meal at cheap price to poor and needy on lines with Tamil Nadu Government’s Amma canteens.
- The tagline for the scheme is: “Sabke liye bhojan, sabke liye sammaan (Food for all, respect for all)”.
- The food under this scheme will be provided at subsidized rates, breakfast at Rs 5 per plate and lunch/dinner at Rs 8 per plate.
- Local Self Government department of Rajasthan is the nodal agency for the scheme.
- The meals will be cooked and served by staff trained in hospitality.
- It will be distributed by 80 mobile vans at locations decided by local self-help agencies in districts.
- The main beneficiary of the scheme will be rickshaw pullers, labourers, auto drivers, students, working women, elders and other weaker section.