Polity & Governance
- Income-Tax Amendment Bill tabled in LS
- Indian Police at Your Call mobile app
- Modern RFID Access Control System Introduced at Paradip Port
- CMs Committee on Demonetisation
Bilateral & International Relations
- 50 years of establishment of UNCITRAL
Defence & Security Issues
- ‘Bitcoin adoption in India sees surge’
Polity & Governance
Income-Tax Amendment Bill tabled in LS
Union government has introduced a Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 to amend the Income Tax Act, 1961 and Finance Act, 2016.
- The Bill imposes a higher rate of tax and penalty in respect of undisclosed incomes.
- The Bill proposes to introduce the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan (PMGK) Yojana, 2016.
- Under the scheme, taxpayers will be required to declare their undisclosed income possessed in the form of cash or deposited in banks, post offices or Reserve Bank of India before a notified date.
- The money from PMGK will be used for projects in irrigation, infrastructure, primary education, primary health, housing, toilets and livelihood.
Provisions of the Bill:
- The cess will be known as the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Cess and will be used for welfare of weaker sections.
- The taxpayer has to deposit 25 percent of the undisclosed income into the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016. The deposit will not earn any interest and can be withdrawn only after four years from the date of deposit.
- People, who will declare their undisclosed wealth in denominations of banned Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes under the PMGKY scheme, will have to pay a tax at the rate of 30 percent of the undisclosed income.
- Additionally, 10 percent penalty and PMGK Cess at the rate of 33 percent of tax will be levied on the undisclosed income.
- If taxpayer does not admit his undisclosed income, he will be levied with flat 60 percent penalty plus a cess of 25 percent of tax, which will amount a levy of 75 percent tax in total.
Three possible scenarios under the bill:
The bill provides for three possible scenarios.
- Voluntary declaration of black money:
- The declarant shall be required to pay tax at 30 percent of the undisclosed income and penalty at 10 percent of the undisclosed income.
- A PMGK cess at 33 percent of tax will be levied on the income.
- In addition, declarant shall have to deposit 25 percent of undisclosed income for a period of 4 years in welfare schemes.
- Non-declaration of black money:
- Those who continue to hold onto undisclosed cash and are caught, will be levied with flat rate of 60 percent plus a surcharge of 25 percent of tax will be charged.
- Besides, an additional 10 percent penalty can also be levied.
- Black-money unearthed during a search and seizure:
- 30 percent penalty will be charged above taxes if an admission is made and this will be doubled to 60 percent in any other case.
- The disclosures in PMGKY scheme will ensure that no questions will be asked about the source of fund.
- It will ensure immunity from wealth tax, civil laws and other taxation laws. But there is no immunity from FEMA, PMLA, Narcotics and Black Money Act.
Indian Police at Your Call mobile app
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently launched the ‘Indian Police at Your Call’ mobile app.
- It was launched at a national police conference, organised by the Intelligence Bureau (IB), held in Hyderabad.
- The app was developed by Nation Information Centre (NIC).
- The app is a GIS Map based interface for the citizens to locate police stations near to their current location so that they can easily reach the police station in case of emergency.
- It was launched as part of the Digital India initiative aimed at the safety and security of the citizen anytime anywhere.
- The app provides the names of the police stations, distance from the place where you are and how much time it will take to reach police station one wants to go to.
- It provides the police station number, number of control room and also the SP office number. However, no mobile phones numbers are provided.
- It also promotes facility to “Tap to Call” any of these police stations and know the route and road distance to reach there.
Modern RFID Access Control System Introduced at Paradip Port
Paradip Port has introduced the modern Radio-frequency identification (RFID) Access Control System for controlling and tracking the entry and exit of vehicular as well as human traffic into and out of its prohibited area.
- The implementation of the system was done as per the directives of the Ministry of Shipping.
- Paradip Port is the first among all Major Ports to have successfully implemented the RFID Access Control System adding yet another distinction to its string of achievements.
- The new RFID system is inherently accompanied with enhanced Maritime Security features.
- Faster and efficient movement of traffic across the gates leading to reduction in congestion, simplified online payment procedure, availability of real-time information on number of different types of vehicles, equipment, port user personnel inside the prohibited area, availability of entry and exit details of a particular person, vehicle inclusive of the gate no. instantly through which the traffic moved, are some of the added advantages of the new system.
- Retrieval of data pertaining to the entire period of time is also another advantage of the system.
- The new RFID system is beneficial to the port users in that they can avail data related to their cargo inflow and outflow over any desired period of time.
- Besides, the system also keeps a record of the details of the vehicles along with the credentials of drivers & helpers which can be retrieved from the system at a later date for verification, reconciliation or investigation if required.
- Port users are facilitated with additional convenience of one more HEP (Harbour Entry Permit) Issue Section and more counters compared to the earlier system of two HEP Issue Sections.
What is RFID tagging?
RFID tagging is an ID system that uses small radio frequency identification devices for identification and tracking purposes.
- Radio-frequency identification(RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects.
- An RFID tagging system includes the tag itself, a read/write device, and a host system application for data collection, processing, and transmission. An RFID tag (sometimes called an RFID transponder) consists of a chip, some memory and an antenna.
- RFID tags that contain their own power source are known as active tags. Those without a power source are known as passive tags. A passive tag is briefly activated by the radio frequency (RF) scan of the reader.
Applications of RFID tags:
- RFID tags are used in many industries, for example, an RFID tag attached to an automobile during production can be used to track its progress through the assembly line; RFID-tagged pharmaceuticals can be tracked through warehouses; and implanting RFID microchips in livestock and pets allows positive identification of animals.
Concerns over its usage:
- Since RFID tags can be attached to cash, clothing, and possessions, or implanted in animals and people, the possibility of reading personally-linked information without consent has raised serious privacy concerns.
CMs Committee on Demonetisation
The Union Government has decided to constitute a sub-committee of Chief Ministers of five states in the wake of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes.
- The committee will suggest measures to normalise the situation.
- The committee will be headed by Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu.
- Other nominated CMs include Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Karnataka CM Siddharamaiah, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.
- The committee would study various aspects after demonetization and how it has affected different sections of the people.
- The committee, after an in-depth study of the situation and also after holding parleys with the banking institutions, is expected to submit its report to the Centre for taking required steps.
Success story of Andhra Pradesh government:
- Since demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes was announced by the Union Government, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu government has been effectively tackling the cash crisis in the state.
- He has come up with several alternatives to encourage mobile and online transactions besides distributing small change at vegetable markets as an immediate relief to the people.
- As a long-term measure, Andhra Pradesh government has roped over 90 lakh members from co-operative sector in villages and towns to undertake state-wide campaigns on online transactions. Under it, as many as 5,000 women are being trained as master trainers to train 90 lakh women.
- The state government is also designing a mechanism that makes ordinary phones do money transactions. The government will distribute such phones to families which do not have one.
Bilateral & International Relations
50 years of establishment of UNCITRAL
India is hosting the golden jubilee celebrations of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
- The event is being hosted by the UNCITRAL National Coordination Committee India (UNCCI) and the UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific, with the support of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
- UNCITRAL was established by the UN General Assembly in 1966 to promote the progressive harmonisation and unification of international trade law.
- It is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law.
- It also aims to modernize and harmonize rules on international business.
- The Commission comprises 60 member States elected by the United Nations General Assembly for a term of six years. Membership is structured to ensure representation of the world’s various geographic regions and its principal economic and legal systems.
India & UNCITRAL:
- India is a founding member of UNCITRAL. India is only one of eight countries which have been a member of UNCITRAL since its inception.
- Last year, it was re-elected for a term of six years (2016-2022).
Defence & Security Issues
‘Bitcoin adoption in India sees surge’
Unocoin, an Indian bitcoin start-up, has unveiled a new app for Apple’s mobile operating system iOS and Google’s Android platform.
- With this, Unocoin has become the first company in the country to offer a full-featured mobile bitcoin app.
- According to the firm, the app will allow consumers to buy, sell, send, receive and store bitcoins, all in one place, from any remote device.
- Unocoin said the implementation is timely because bitcoin adoption is rapidly ascending in India, coupled with the government’s decision to demonetise Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes.
- The app provides 24/7 access to real-time bitcoin market prices and instantaneous trading transactions.
What is Bitcoins?
- Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically.
- It is a new currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.
- Transactions are made with no middle men – meaning, no banks.
- There are no transaction fees and no need to give your real name. More merchants are beginning to accept them.
- Think of bitcoin like one big ledger shared by all the users: When you pay for something with bitcoin, or get paid, then your transaction is recorded on the ledger. Computers then compete to confirm the transaction by solving complex math equations, and the winner is rewarded with more bitcoins. The process is known as “mining,”.
- Bitcoin is equivalent to about Rs. 1 crore in the Indian currency.
[Ref: The Hindu]