anti-profiteering-clause-in-GST-Rule-iastoppers
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Current Affairs Analysis

17th November 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA); Article 167 of the Constitution; Anganwadi Services; Sabla (programme for adolescent girls); Child Protection Services; National Creche Scheme; Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme; What is anti-profiteering clause in GST Rule? India’s first mega coastal economic zone (CEZ); What is a Coastal Economic Zone? ‘Saubhagya’ Web-Portal; “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice.”; Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS); IndiaRAP programme; World’s first fully electric cargo ship; Sampriti 2017; INS Sarvekshak; Location of Tanzania; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
November 19, 2017

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Article 167 of the Constitution

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Continuation of sub-schemes under Umbrella Scheme “Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)”

Economy

  • Cabinet approves the establishment of the National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST
  • India’s first mega coastal economic zone (CEZ)
  • ‘Saubhagya’ Web-Portal

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • World scientists give humanity second warning on worsening threats to planet

Science & Technology

  • 5th Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS)

Key Facts for Prelims

  • IndiaRAP programme
  • World’s first fully electric cargo ship
  • Sampriti 2017
  • INS Sarvekshak

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Polity & Governance

Article 167 of the Constitution

Why in news?

By holding meetings with officials of various government departments, the Tamil Nadu Governor, Banwarilal Purohit, has left himself open to charges that he has breached the constitutional limits of his office.

Tamil-Nadu-Governor,-Banwarilal-Purohit-iastoppers

  • However, the Governor has attempted to explain his interactions, saying he was seeking to familiarise himself with the administration and that he could appreciate its work in implementing schemes only if he got to know all details first hand.

Article 167 of the Constitution

  • Article 167 of the Constitution says it is the Chief Minister’s duty to communicate to the Governor all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration and proposals for legislation.
  • It enjoins the Chief Minister to furnish such information relating to the administration as the Governor may call for.
  • If Governor wants to understand how schemes are being implemented, he can seek details from the Chief Minister instead of holding meetings in the districts.
  • There may be occasions when the Governor may need to ask a top bureaucrat or the head of the police force for a report on a major incident or development, but even that should be for the limited purpose of getting an accurate picture before sending a report to the Centre.

Takeaways from this incidence:

  • This incidence implies that the Governor should not refrain from taking an independent view of any matter or legislative proposal. But his functioning should be within the bounds of established norms and conventions.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Continuation of sub-schemes under Umbrella Scheme “Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)”

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved four sub-schemes under Umbrella Scheme Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

Integrated-Child-Development-Services-iastoppers

  • These four schemes include anganwadi services, programme for adolescent girls called Sabla, Child Protection Services and National Creche Scheme.
  • The sub-schemes listed above are not new schemes but are continuing from the XII Five Year Plan.

The aims of these schemes are as under:

Anganwadi Services (ICDS): 

  • It aims at holistic development of children under age of 6 years and its beneficiaries are children of this age group and Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers.

Anganwadi-Services-iastoppers

Sabla (programme for adolescent girls): 

  • Its objective is to facilitate, educate and empower adolescent girls (AGs) to enable them to become self-reliant and aware citizens through improved nutrition and health status.
  • It aims at promoting awareness about health, hygiene, nutrition, mainstreaming out of school AGs into formal and non-formal education and providing information and guidance about existing public services.

Sabla-programme-for-adolescent-girls-iastoppers

Child Protection Services: 

  • Its objectives are to provide safe and secure environment for children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
  • It also aims to reduce vulnerabilities through wide range of social protection measures, prevent actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children from families etc.
  • It also aims to bring focus on non-institutional care, develop platform for partnership between Government and Civil Society and establish convergence of child related social protection services.

Child-Protection-Services-iastoppers

National Creche Scheme: 

  • It aims at providing safe place for mothers to leave their children while they are at work.
  • It is measure for empowering women as it enables them to take up employment.
  • It is also intervention towards protection and development of children in age group of 6 months to 6 years.

National-Creche-Scheme-iastoppers

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme

  • ICDS Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme implemented by states/UTs. It was launched on 2nd October 1975.
  • It has following objectives: Improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years; Reduce mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout; Promote policy coordination and implementation for promoting child development; Lay adequate foundation for psychological, physical and social well-being of  children etc.
  • Under the scheme, services such as Supplementary nutrition; Pre-school non-formal education; nutrition and health education, immunization, health check-ups; and Referral services through Anganwadi Centres for children below 6 years of age as well as to pregnant women and lactating mothers are offered.

Integrated-Child-Development-Services-(ICDS)-Scheme-iastoppers

Significance of the move:

The programme through targeted interventions will strive to

  • Reduce the level of malnutrition, anaemia and low birth weight babies,
  • Ensure empowerment of adolescent girls,
  • Provide protection to the children who are in conflict with law,
  • Provide safe place for day-care to the children of working mothers,
  • Create synergy,
  • Ensure better monitoring,
  • Issue negative alerts for timely action,
  • Encourage States/UTs to perform,
  • Guide and supervise the line Ministries and States/UTs to achieve the targeted goals and bring more transparency.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Economy

Cabinet approves the establishment of the National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST

anti-profiteering-clause-in-GST-Rule-iastoppers

What is anti-profiteering clause in GST Rule?

  • Clause 171 has been inserted in the GST bill which provides that it is mandatory to pass on the benefit due to reduction in rate of tax or from input tax credit to the consumer by way of commensurate reduction in prices.
  • This clause further provides for the establishment of an authority against anti-profiteering in order to ensure its compliance.

Why anti-profiteering clause in GST Rule?

  • While it’s widely claimed that GST is expected to bring down the prices of goods and services once successfully implemented, it is also expected that manufacturers and service providers may not pass on the benefit to the final consumer.
  • To counter such practice, the government has put an anti-profiteering clause in the GST bill.

Why in news?

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the creation of the posts of Chairman and Technical Members of the National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) under GST.

National-Anti-Profiteering-Authority-iastoppers

  • This paves the way for the immediate establishment of this apex body.

About National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA)

  • The NAA is tasked with ensuring full benefits of reduction in tax on supply of goods or services flow to consumers.
  • It is responsible for applying anti-profiteering measures in event of reduction GST rate on supply of goods or services or if benefit of input tax credit is not passed on to recipients by way of commensurate reduction in prices.

Composition

  • NAA will be headed by senior officer of level of a Secretary to Union Government and shall have four technical members from Centre and/or States.
  • The chairman and four members will be less than 62 years of age.

Powers and functions

National-Anti-Profiteering-Authority-iastoppers2

  • If NAA finds that company has not passed on benefits of tax reduction, it can direct entity to pass on benefits to consumers along with interest from the date of collection of the higher amount till date of return of such amount.
  • If the beneficiary cannot be identified, NAA can ask company to transfer amount to the ‘Consumer Welfare Fund’, as provided under Section 57 of CGST Act.
  • In extreme cases NAA can impose a penalty on defaulting business entity and even order cancellation of its registration under GST.
  • NAA also has power to cancel registration of any entity or business if it fails to pass on benefit of lower taxes under GST regime to consumers, and empowers consumers to approach it in case of any complaint.
[Ref: PIB, Live Mint]

 

India’s first mega coastal economic zone (CEZ)

What is a Coastal Economic Zone?

  • CEZs are spatial economic regions comprising group of coastal districts or districts with strong linkage to ports in region to tap into synergies with planned industrial corridor projects.
  • These zones are expected to provide business-friendly ecosystem including ease of doing business, ease of exporting and importing, swift decisions on applications for environmental clearances and speedy water and electricity connections.

Why in news?

The Centre has given its nod for setting up India’s first mega Coastal Economic Zone (CEZ) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Navi Mumbai.

India’s-first-mega-coastal-economic-zone-(CEZ)-iastoppers

  • The country’s first CEZ will be built near Navi Mumbai and will be spread across regions of Nashik, Thane, Raigad, Mumbai and Pune.
  • About 45 companies across auto, telecom and IT sectors will soon bid for 200 hectares of land to set up manufacturing units in zone.

Key Facts:

  • CEZ will be developed as part of plan for developing 14 such industrial clusters to spur manufacturing and generate jobs.
  • The plan envisages total investment of Rs 15,000 crore in first phase and creation of more than 1.5 lakh jobs.

Significance of the move:

  • The idea is to attract large firms interested in serving export markets as they will bring with them capital, technology, good management practices and links to world markets. This in turn will help create ecosystem around them in which productive small and medium firms will emerge and flourish.

Background

  • The Union Cabinet in 2016 had approved setting up of 14 mega CEZs under National Perspective Plan of Sagarmala Programme.
  • Its aim was to promote development of industrial clusters around ports, encourage portled development, reduce logistics cost and time for movement of cargo, enhance global competitiveness of country’s manufacturing sector and create hubs of job creation.
[Ref: Economic Times, Money Control]

 

‘Saubhagya’ Web-Portal

Ministry of Power launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ Web Portal.

‘Saubhagya’-Web-Portal-iastoppers

About Saubhagya Portal:

  • The Saubhagya Dashboard is a platform for monitoring household electrification progress, which would disseminate information on Household Electrification Status (State, District, village-wise), Household Progress on live basis, State-wise Target vs Achievement, Monthly Electrification Progress, etc.
  • The web portal aims to ensure transparency as well as accelerate household electrification in rural as well as urban areas in the country.

Key features of the portal:

  • Saubhagya web portal will enable every state to fill current status of progress of electrification works which will enable accountability for State DISCOMs/utilities.
  • It offers feature on village electrification camps that will be organised by DISCOMs in villages for facilitating instant filling up of application forms and to complete requisite documentation to expedite release of electricity connections to households.

About Saubhagya scheme:

In September 2017, Ministry of Power has launched a new scheme called Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – “Saubhagya” – to ensure electrification of all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas.

iastoppers-Pradhan-Mantri-Sahaj-Bijli-Har-Ghar-Yojana-Saubhagya

  • Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana aims to provide last mile electricity connectivity to all rural and urban households.
  • Under the scheme, government will provide free electricity to all households identified under Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data 2011.
  • Electricity connections will be given to APL families for Rs 500, which will be payable in 10 equal monthly instalments. The BPL cardholders will get free electricity connections.
  • The total outlay of scheme is Rs. 16, 320 crore while Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) is Rs. 12,320 crore. The Central Government will provide largely funds for the Scheme to all States/UTs.
  • The States and Union Territories are required to complete works of household electrification by 31st of December 2018.

iastoppers-Pradhan-Mantri-Sahaj-Bijli-Har-Ghar-Yojana

  • The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) will be nodal agency for operationalisation of scheme throughout country.
  • Gram Panchayat/Public institutions in rural areas will be authorised to collect application forms along with complete documentation, distribute bills and collect revenue in consultation with Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

Expected outcome of Scheme:

  • Better health services
  • Improvement education services
  • Increased economic activities and jobs
  • Improved quality of life especially for women
  • Enhanced connectivity through radio, television, mobiles, etc.
  • Environmental upgradation by substitution of Kerosene for lighting purposes
[Ref: PIB]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

World scientists give humanity second warning on worsening threats to planet

More than 15,000 global scientists from 184 countries signed on to the letter, called the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice.”

humanity-second-warning-iastoppers

  • The scientists believe environmental impacts were likely to inflict ‘substantial and irreversible harm’ to the Earth.
  • This is the first time that so many scientists are signatory to such a letter.

The first warning:

  • The first warning, issued in 1992 and signed by 1,575 scientists, urged governments to take immediate action to prevent environmental degradation.
  • Following up on nine environmental issues identified by these scientists, a team led by Oregon State University’s William Ripple compiled current data on them.

Grim changes which have taken place in the last 25 years:

humanity second warning2 iastoppers

  • The amount of fresh water available per head of population worldwide has reduced by 26%.
  • The number of ocean “dead zones” – places where little can live because of pollution and oxygen starvation – has increased by 75%.
  • Nearly 300 million acres of forest have been lost, mostly to make way for agricultural land.
  • Global carbon emissions and average temperatures have shown continued significant increases.
  • Human population has risen by 35%.
  • Collectively the number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish in the world has fallen by 29%.

humanity second warning3 iastoppers

Suggestions:

  • Expert recommendations to “transition to sustainability” include halting conversion of natural habitats such as forests and grasslands, reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure, promoting new green technologies, and revising economies to reduce inequalities in wealth.
  • In a country like India, there is a need for both immediate and long-term solutions. In the short term, it’s critical to limit further habitat loss and the expansion of new roads, mines and mega-projects into the last wild places, and to enlist the help and engagement of local communities wherever possible.
[Ref: The Hindu, Hindustan Times]

 

Science & Technology

5th Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS)

India, for the first time ever, is all set to host the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS), one of the world’s largest conferences in the field of Cyber Space and related issues.

5th-Global-Conference-on-Cyber-Space-iastoppers

Key facts about the 5th GCCS:

  • The theme for the GCCS 2017 is ‘Cyber4All: An Inclusive, Sustainable, Developmental, Safe and Secure Cyberspace’.
  • This is the fifth edition of GCCS wherein international leaders, policymakers, industry experts, think tanks and cyber experts will gather to deliberate on issues and challenges for optimally using cyber space.

ias-toppers-Global-Conference-on-Cyber-Space

Goals of GCCS 2017

The overall goals of GCCS 2017 are

  • To promote the importance of inclusiveness and human rights in global cyber policy,
  • To defend the status quo of an open, interoperable and unregimented cyberspace and
  • To create political commitment for capacity building initiatives to address the digital divide and assist countries.

About Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS):

  • The GCCS is a prestigious international conference that aims at encouraging dialogue among stakeholders of cyberspace.
  • It brings together governments, private sector and civil society gathers to discuss and promote practical cooperation in cyberspace, to discuss norms for responsible behaviour in cyberspace and to enhance cyber capacity building.
  • The conference is built on the themes such as economic growth and development, social and cultural benefits, a safe and secure cyberspace, cybercrime and international security.
  • It has helped in setting up rules and guidelines for the editions to follow.

Conferences so far:

Global-Conference-on-Cyber-Space-(GCCS)-iastoppers

  • It was incepted in 2011 in London.
  • The second GCCS was held in 2012 in Budapest with focus on relationship between internet rights and internet security.
  • The third edition of GCCS was held in 2013 in Seoul with commitment to Open and Secure Cyberspace.
  • During the fourth edition of the conference held in The Hague, Netherlands, Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) for capacity building in cyber space was launched.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

IndiaRAP programme

India Road Assessment Programme (IndiaRAP) was recently unveiled by Global Charity.

IndiaRAP programme iastoppers

Aim:

It aims

  • to rate highways’ safety levels and to eliminate the most unsafe roads.
  • to make Indian roads safer and curb fatalities.

IndiaRAP programme ias

Implementation:

  • The IndiaRAP programme is supported by FedEx Express and will be hosted by Asian Institute of Transport Development.
  • It will work with government agencies as well as investors, researchers and NGOs to assess existing highways and promote use of better design to make roads safer.

Ratings:

  • The IndiaRAP ratings will range from five-star roads (safest) to one-star roads (least safe).
  • The ratings are assigned on the basis of level of safety which is ‘built-in’ to a road for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Background:

  • Since 2010, teams from global organisation have already undertaken star rating assessments on more than 10,000 km of roads across several states in India.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

World’s first fully electric cargo ship

Guangzhou fully electric cargo ship iastoppers

  • China recently launched the world’s first all-electric ship, which can travel up to 80 km with 2000-tonnes cargo after a two-hour charge.
  • The ship is 70.5-metre-long and weighs about 600 tonnes.
  • The vessel is powered by a 26-tonne lithium battery.
  • It can cruise at the top speed of 12.8 km per hour.
  • As the ship do not use fossil fuels, it has zero emission, including carbon, sulphur and PM2.5 and it could be used as a passenger liner or a working ship.

 

Sampriti 2017

Sampriti-2017-iastoppers

  • It is Joint Indo-Bangladesh Training Exercise recently held in Mizoram
  • It was 7th edition of exercise in SAMPRITI series which is held alternately in India and Bangladesh every year with aim to build and promote positive relations between armies of two neighbours.
  • The exercise was aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies.
  • The first exercise in this series was held at Jorhat in Assam in 2010.

 

INS Sarvekshak

INS-Sarvekshak-iastoppers

  • INS Sarvekshak, a hydrographic survey ship of Indian Navy’s Southern Naval Command.
  • Recently, it arrived Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania for undertaking joint Hydrographic Survey along with the Tanzanian Navy.
  • It is a part of an initiative to bolster bilateral relations with friendly foreign countries and navies in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The joint survey will be conducted with the Naval personnel of Tanzania who have been trained in India in National Institute of Hydrography, Goa.
  • The ship will be undertaking pioneer survey of Pemba Island which would include detailed surveys of Port of Wesha and Kiuyo and Pemba Channel in Tanzania and on completion will be proceeding to Port Louis in Mauritius in December for survey of Grand Port.

Background:

  • In recent past, Indian Naval Hydrographic Ships Jamuna, Sutlej and Darshak have undertaken various hydrographic surveys of Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar, Makoni and Port Tanga in Tanzania.
  • INS Sarvekshak has also undertaken various foreign cooperation surveys in the last few years in Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Seychelles and Kenya.

Location of Tanzania:

Tanzania-map-iastoppers

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