IASToppers-Current-Affairs-Analysis-27th-Jan-2016
Current Affairs Analysis

27th January 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
January 27, 2016

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • India ranks 76 in Corruption Perception Index
  • Do not disclose details of minors without parents’ consent: CIC

Social Issues

  • India sets an example in subsidised TB diagnosis

Economy

  • Global fight against corporate tax avoidance takes off


Polity & Governance


India ranks 76 in Corruption Perception Index

 

The Berlin (Germany)-based corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) has put India at rank 76 out of 168 countries in its latest Corruption Perception Index.

India’ Position:

  • India was placed at 76th position out of 168 countries with a score of 38 out of a possible 100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, improving from its position of 85 and 94 in 2014 and 2013, respectively.
  • India shares its rank along with six other countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Thailand, Tunisia and Zambia.

Other Countries on the Index:

  • Denmark remained at the top of the index, a closely watched global barometer, for the second consecutive year as the country perceived as least corrupt.
  • North Korea and Somalia remained at the bottom with unchanged scores of 8.
  • Barring Bhutan ranked 27, fares much better than India; other neighbouring countries continue to have a poor record.
  • China fared worse than India and Brazil at rank 83 with a score of 37.
  • Pakistan is the only country among the SAARC countries, to have improved its score this year, though its rank remains poor at 117.
  • Brazil slid to 76th place, sharing its position with India, down from 69th last year. Turkey fell two spots to 66th, continuing its descent from 53rd place in 2013.

IASToppers-27th Jan

Key Findings:

  • Interestingly, the report also points out that many “clean” countries such as Denmark Finland, Sweden, Norway and Netherlands have “dodgy records elsewhere”.
  • It cites Sweden as an instance. While the country comes third in the index, the Swedish-Finnish firm TeliaSonera – 37 per cent owned by the Swedish state – is facing allegations that it paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure business in Uzbekistan, which comes in at 153rd in the index. The company is now pulling out of business in Central Asia.
  • Their research shows that half of all OECD countries are violating their international obligations to crack down on bribery by their companies abroad.

About the Index:

  • The Corruption Perception Index grades a country on a scale of zero to 100, the latter being the least corrupt.
  • The watchdog named Transparency International (TI) uses data from institutions including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and business school IMD to compile the perceptions of the scale of public sector corruption.

Transparency’s ranking, a composite index that draws from 12 surveys to rank nations around the globe, has become a benchmark gauge of perceptions of corruption and is used by analysts and investors.

[Ref: Hindu, LiveMint]

 

Do not disclose details of minors without parents’ consent: CIC

 

In a stern order, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has said schools and Education Department should not disclose information about children under the RTI Act without consulting their parents.

Rationale of the move:

  • There are several incidents reported that rivals of the parents or quarrelling spouses take the child from the school. Revealing the details of the child might lead to kidnap or murder etc.
  • During the stay of the child in school, the principal and teachers have a duty of guardian and any negligence on their part might harm the student.

Section 11 of the RTI Act:

  • While disclosing any personal information of the student to any person, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) has to follow the procedures mentioned under Section 11 of the RTI Act. 
  • It is mandatory for the CPIO to seek the opinion of parents of the child before disclosing any personal information of the student.

The CIC said that irrespective of the opinion given by a third party, the CPIO would have to decide based on his discretion to fulfil the objectives of the RTI Act.

Background:

Recently, the commission admonished the principal of RD Public School and the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Directorate of Education (DoE) of the Delhi government for disclosing information about a student to his relatives who had a dispute with the student’s family.

[Ref: Hindu]

 

Social Issues

 

India sets an example in subsidised TB diagnosis

 

According to the recent study, published in the journal Lancet Global Health reveals that India is the best country in the world to offer subsidized TB diagnosis.

TB diagnosis in India:

  • Of the 12 high-burden countries where the private sector is a major player in providing health care, the Indian private sector offers the cheapest price for the WHO-approved Xpert MTB/RIF, a molecular test for diagnosing TB.
  • India also has the highest number of private labs offering the test, with 113 labs offering it at a subsidised rate.
  • While it costs only Rs.2,000 in the 113 labs (with 5,200 collection centres) which are part of a novel initiative — Improving Access to Affordable & Quality TB Tests (IPAQT) — that was launched in India in March 2013, the charges are anywhere between Rs.3,500 and Rs.5,000 in labs that are not part of the IPAQT initiative.

As a result of the subsidised pricing agreement with the manufacturer, there has been an increase in the number of people in India accessing the highly accurate diagnostic test since 2013.

Costs in other countries:

  • The mean price of the highly accurate TB test in Bangladesh is nearly $75, while it is $50 in the case of Afghanistan.
  • It is as high as $155.5 in Philippines. Xpert is not commercially available in the private sector in six other high-burden countries.

Prospects of TB diagnosis in India:

  • The cost of the test will see a further drop if the Indian government waives off customs duty of 31 per cent levied on Xpert machine and reagents.
  • Access to accurate tests at subsidised price is very important in India as nearly 80 per cent of the population in India first seek the private sector.

If one out of every four TB patients in the world is an Indian, one in eight TB patients in the world is a privately treated Indian patient.

About serological test:

  • Blood testsfor TB, also called serological tests, are tests that are carried out on blood samples.

Serological test in India:

  • Besides increasing the access to the highly reliable and sensitive test, all labs that become a member of the Initiative abide to ban the unreliable serological test.
  • India banned serological test for TB in June 2012. Also, TB notification by the member labs has improved dramatically as IPAQT helps them with the process of notifying all TB cases.

 [Ref: Hindu]

 

Economy

 

Global fight against corporate tax avoidance takes off

 

Ministers and top tax officials from more than 30 countries including India have signed an international agreement to significantly advance the fight against corporate tax avoidance.

  • This agreement – Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) – has been signed at the OECD in Paris.

About MCAA:

  • The Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) will enable consistent and swift implementation of new transfer pricing reporting standards developed under Action 13 of the BEPS Action Plan.
  • This will ensure that tax administrations obtain a complete understanding of the way multinational enterprises (MNEs) structure their operations, while also ensuring that the confidentiality of such information.
  • MCAA will facilitate automatic exchange of country-by-country reporting called for in the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project.

What is BEPS?

  • The Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) is the gaps and mismatches in the current international tax rules which can make profits “disappear” for tax purposes, or allow shifting of profits to no or low-tax locations where the business has little or no economic activity.
  • BEPS results in a loss of revenue for governments that could otherwise be invested to support growth and development.
  • The BEPS project was launched during the most severe financial and economic crisis.
  • The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Action Plan on BEPS, approved by G20 countries, had identified 15 actions.

Research Findings:

  • Research undertaken since 2013 confirms the potential magnitude of the BEPS problem, with estimates indicating annual losses of anywhere from 4-10 per cent of global corporate income tax (CIT) revenues – $100-240 billion annually.
  • In developing countries, where corporate tax as a source of revenue is generally higher than in developed countries, the potential impacts are higher.

Background:

In 2013, OECD and G20 governments embarked on the most significant re-write of the international tax rules in a century.

About OECD:

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) is an international economic organisation of 34 countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.
  • The OECD’s headquarters are in Paris, France.
  • Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries.
  • It is a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy.
  • It provides a platform to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members.

[Ref: BL, Wiki]

 

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