Government Schemes & Policies
- E-way bill rollout deferred
- CriSidEx – India’s First MSE Sentiment Index
- LTCG tax on equity
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Pelican Bird Festival-2018
- New Project to Control Pollution of River Sal at Navelin, Goa
Bilateral & International Relations
- India contributes $1 mn to UN Development Partnership Fund
- Russia Marks 75th Anniversary of Stalingrad Victory
Art & Culture
- First International Kala Mela
- International Conference on ‘Demetrios Galanos and His Legacy’
Key Facts for Prelims
- Under-19 World Cup
- “Green Good Deeds” campaign
- 7th India Energy Congress 2018
- ‘Exam Warriors’
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Government Schemes & Policies
E-way bill rollout deferred
With the E-way bill generation platform facing technical glitches, the Government has extended the trial period for e-way bill.
- However, the government has not clarified how long the trial will run.
What is an e-Way Bill?
- E-way is an electronic billing system for traders who are moving their goods for sale beyond 10 km radius.
- Under the system, transporters carrying goods worth Rs 50,000 will be required to get goods pre-registered before transporting them from one location to another.
- According to notified e-way bill rules, every registered supplier will require prior online registration on the e-way bill portal for the movement of these goods.
- Any supplier/recipient/transporter can generate an e-way bill.
When Should e-Way Bill be issued?
e-Way bill will be generated when there is a movement of goods in a vehicle/ conveyance of value more than Rs. 50,000 (either each Invoice or in aggregate of all Invoices in a vehicle/ Conveyance) –
- In relation to a ‘supply’
- For reasons other than a ‘supply’ (say a return)
- Due to inward ‘supply’ from an unregistered person
For this purpose, a supply may be either of the following:
- A supply made for a consideration (payment) in the course of business
- A supply made for a consideration (payment) which may not be in the course of business
- A supply without consideration (without payment) In simpler terms, the term ‘supply’ usually means a:
- Sale – sale of goods and payment made
- Transfer – branch transfers for instance
- Barter/Exchange – where the payment is by goods instead of in money
Therefore, e-Way Bills must be generated on the common portal for all these types of movements.
For certain specified Goods, the e-way bill needs to be generated mandatorily even if the Value of the consignment of Goods is less than Rs. 50,000:
- Inter-State movement of Goods by the Principal to the Job-worker
- Inter-State Transport of Handicraft goods by a dealer exempted from GST registration
How E-way bill works?
- E-way is valid for all-India movement and transporters can generate the bill electronically and in self-service mode. Under the system, there is no need to visit any tax office and check post.
- Transporters can generate e-way bill on the official website through the Mobile App, SMS and offline as well.
- Transporters can visit the portal ‘ewaybill.nic.in’ and generate the e-way bill by registering themselves by giving the GSTIN.
- Those who are not registered can get themselves registered on the website using Aadhaar or PAN card.
- E-way bill can be generated by entering vehicle number.
- In case of breakdown or transhipment, the traders can update the vehicle number using the same E-way bill.
- Once generated E-way bill, however, cannot be cancelled for 24 hours.
- The moment it is generated, there is no requirement to fill the information pertaining to goods in the GST return as it will be automated.
- A unique e-way bill number (EBN), as well as a QR code, will be generated for tracking.
What is the current status at the state-level over the e-way bill?
- Ten states have started trial runs of the e-way bill system.
- Karnataka implemented the system in September 2017, followed by Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Kerala.
- Six more states — Haryana, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Sikkim and Jharkhand — also started trial runs for e-way bills.
Do any exemptions apply to e-way bills?
- The GST Council exempted 154 items of common use, such as meat, fish, curd, vegetables and some cereals, human blood, LPG for households and kerosene for the Public Distribution System (PDS).
- The system will not be applicable on goods being transported by non-motorised conveyance, and where goods are transported from the port, airport, air cargo complex and land Customs stations to an inland container depot or a container freight station for Customs clearance.
Are there concerns from industry?
- Trade and industry have raised concerns about the system being a possible route for the re-emergence of supply chain bottlenecks, and discretionary power to tax officials.
- The industry views the e-way bill as a system that will check tax evasion to some extent but may not be able to stop it completely.
- Also, it adds another layer of compliances for GST payers and, in case of technical glitches, may result in supply chain bottlenecks.
CriSidEx – India’s First MSE Sentiment Index
The SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) and ratings agency Crisil have launched CriSidEx, India’s first MSE Sentiment Index for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
- CRISIL-SIDBI MSE Sentiment Index (or CriSidEx) has been developed jointly by CRISIL and SIDBI.
- It is a composite index based on diffusion index of 8 parameters.
- It measures MSE business sentiment on a scale of 0 (extremely negative) to 200 (extremely positive).
- The parametric feedback for the index will be captured through a survey of 1100 MSEs.
- CriSidEx will have 2 indices, one for ‘survey quarter’ and another for ‘next quarter’. Once trend emerges after few rounds of survey, it will provide independent time series data.
Significance of index
The index will help to
- Indicate the current state and expected outlook on the MSME sector every quarter.
- Provide crucial insights into employment, business environment and foreign trade in MSME sector.
- Allow policy makers to take timely proactive steps, including those based on early warnings thrown up by survey of index.
- Provide intelligence and insights for regulators, trade bodies, lenders as well as economic and financial analysts.
- Help in forecasting business environment by capturing sentiment on various business parameters such as business situation, capacity utilisation, order book and margins.
- Flag potential headwinds and changes in production cycles in MSME sector and thus help in improving market efficiencies.
Significance of MSME:
- MSME sector is backbone of the economy.
- It is one of the largest employer in the country and with the vast population where employment either in government or in the large industry itself has limited potential.
- This is one sector where people not only exhibit their entrepreneurial skills, become part of large value chains but also become job creators in the process. And that is the reason why a bulk of the jobs in manufacturing, trading have been created in this particular sector.
LTCG tax on equity
What is LTCG?
- LTCG or long-term capital gains refer to the gains made on any class of asset held for a particular period of time.
- In case of equity shares, it refers to the gains made on stocks held for more than one year.
- In other words, if the shares are bought and held for more than a year before selling, then the gains, if any, on the said sale are referred to as long term capital gains or LTCG.
Why is LTCG tax in the news?
- The government has re-introduced LTCG tax on equity shares.
- Investors have to pay 10% LTCG tax on gains exceeding ₹one lakh on the sale of shares or equity mutual funds held for more than one year. Previously, short-term capital gains (STCG) tax of 15% was levied.
- The Centre said if the gains exceeded ₹one lakh in a year, then 10% LTCG tax had to be paid without the benefit of indexation (adjusting the profit against inflation to compute the real taxable gains).
Was the tax levied on stock market trades earlier?
- Such a tax existed until October 2004 when it was replaced by the securities transaction tax (STT) which was levied on all trades made on the stock exchanges.
How will LTCG tax be computed?
- Typically, when such a levy is introduced, it is structured in a manner so that prior investments get some kind of relief. In technical parlance, it is called the grandfathering benefit.
- The government, while reintroducing the LTCG tax, said all gains made prior to January 31 would be grandfathered.
- Here is how it works: for example, assume an entity bought shares in January 2017 at ₹100, which touched a high of ₹200 on January 31, 2018. Now, if he or she sells the shares at ₹300 in, say, May 2018, then his taxable gains would be ₹100. (₹300-₹200).
Will all investors be subject to LTCG tax?
- All investors who trade on stock exchanges would be required to pay LTCG tax.
- Incidentally, the Centre has brought in LTCG tax while retaining STT as well. So, investors will have to pay both the taxes.
- However, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), who invest in India from places like Mauritius and Singapore, would not be subject to LTCG tax, courtesy tax avoidance treaties.
LTCG tax is good for the following reasons:
- It corrects, somewhat, the prevailing imbalance on market investments because though investment instruments are taxed gains from holding shares for long are not. Even short-term capital gains – money made by selling shares after holding for less than a year – are taxed at 15%.
- Investors who park wealth in the stock markets would be encourage to deploy the capital in ways that are more economically productive, say, in manufacturing activities.
- It makes the government seem a little less pro-rich, little more benevolent towards the no-so-rich as much of the capital gains are collected by corporates, not individuals.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Pelican Bird Festival-2018
The ‘Pelican Bird Festival-2018’ was held for first in Atapaka Bird Sanctuary on at Kolleru lake in Andhra Pradesh.
- It was jointly organised by Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority (APTA) and Krishna district administration.
- During winter season, thousands of pelicans, painted storks and other birds migrate to Kolleru lake. During their stay they roost, breed and later fly away with their off springs.
- Recently, Atapaka Bird Sanctuary was recognised as one of the largest pelicanry in the world.
Abour Kolleru lake:
- Kolleru Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in India located in Andhra Pradesh.
- It is located between Krishna and Godavari deltas. It spans into two districts of Andhra Pradesh- Krishna and West Godavari.
- It was declared as wildlife sanctuary in November 1999 under Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, and designated wetland of international importance in November 2002 under Ramsar Convention.
- The lake is known to amateur birdwatchers and professional ornithologists as a Pelicanery — a location where the Grey Pelicans, a large magnificent bird, nest and breed.
- Grey pelicans had vanished from the lake in 1973 for nearly 35 years and returned to it to nest again in December 2006.
- Many birds migrate here in winter, such as Siberian crane, ibis, and painted storks.
About Grey Pelican:
- The Grey Pelican also called the Spot Billed Pelican is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act and in the Red Data Book.
- It is also considered a “globally threatened species” under the “vulnerable” category.
- Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary and Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary are two most popular bird sanctuaries in South India and an important breeding site for spot billed pelicans in India.
New Project to Control Pollution of River Sal at Navelin, Goa
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has sanctioned a new project to control pollution in River Sal at Navelim town in Goa.
- The project was sanctioned under the National River Conservation Plan.
About the project:
- The project would cost of Rs. 61.74 cr. Both the Centre and State will share the cost on 60:40 basis.
- Under the project, around 32 kms of sewers will be laid and sewage treatment plant of 3 million litres per day (MLD) constructed.
- The project is scheduled for completion by January, 2021.
Significance of the project:
- The project will help in reduction of pollution load in the river and improvement in its water quality, besides improving the environment and sanitation in the town.
About Sal River:
- The Sal River is the third largest river in Goa. It is one of the nine major rivers of Goa.
- It is based in South Goa and starts in Cavelossim.
- The River measures 35 kilometers in length and has a basin size of 301 square kilometers.
- Being the only river that flows in a north-south direction prior to flowing in to the Arabian Sea at Betul, the Sal River is a geologically odd one because it runs parallel to the west of geological coast.
- Sal River has a natural harbour, ‘Kutubandh’ in Velim, Goa, meaning ‘hidden’ from the Arabian sea. The Kadambas navy use this harbour for shipbuilding.
Bilateral & International Relations
India contributes $1 mn to UN Development Partnership Fund
India has contributed additional $1 million to India-UN Development Partnership Fund, earmarked for South-South cooperation.
- The contribution aims to intensify its partnerships with other developing countries in south.
- India has pledged multi-year contribution of $100 million to the fund established in June 2017.
- India has already provided $6 million within the seven months since launch of fund.
About the India-UN Development Partnership Fund:
- The India-UN Development Partnership Fund will implement country-level projects that are catalytic towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.
- The initiative is aimed at reducing poverty and hunger, improving health, education and equality, and expanding access to clean water, energy and livelihoods.
- The fund will focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
- Initially, the fund will start with an initial contribution of USD 1 million for its first project Climate Early Warning System in Pacific Island Countries (CEWSPIC).
- CEWSPIC Project was formulated by India and the UN Development Programme in consultation with the governments of Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Tonga. The project will increase resilience to natural disasters in these seven Pacific island countries.
The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) was established with an objective to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation across the world and within the United Nations system.
- UNOSSC has its genesis in 1974 when the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the establishment of a special unit to promote technical cooperation among developing countries within the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
- In 2012, the special unit was given the name United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) by the General Assembly through a resolution.
- UNOSSC receives policy directives and guidance from the General Assembly and through its subsidiary body, the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation.
- UNOSSC submits its strategic planning frameworks to the UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS Executive Board for approval and funding.
- The Director reports to the UNDP Administrator and has also been appointed Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation.
Russia Marks 75th Anniversary of Stalingrad Victory
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of Soviet forces over Nazi Germany and its allies at the city of Stalingrad on the banks of the Volga.
About the Battle of Stalingrad:
- The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) was a major confrontation of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in Southern Russia.
- It stopped the German advance into the Soviet Union and marked the turning of the tide of war in favor of the Allies.
- It was one of the most impressive combat operations of World War II in terms of geographic span, duration, intensity, and the size of armies engaged in the battle.
- The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the bloodiest battles in history, with combined military and civilian casualties of nearly 2 million.
[Ref: The Wire]
Art & Culture
First International Kala Mela
The first ever International Kala Mela is being in New Delhi.
- The International Kala Mela has been organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi in partnership with IGNCA of the Ministry of Culture.
About the International Kala Mela:
- The central objective of Kala Mela is to focus on direct interaction between the artist and the connoisseur and also educating and raising awareness about art, which has been the mandate of Lalit Kala Akademi.
- This comprehensive outreach shall include the participation of National, International level Artists/ Art Critics of repute from all over the Globe.
Significance of this festival:
- This is for the first time that the Akademi has planned the International Kala Mela at such a large scale. It is going to prove a boon to especially those artists who cannot afford to exhibit their works of art in the Art Galleries.
- More than 800 artists from across the world are taking part in the Festival. The festival serves as a platform for artists to showcase their art works.
About Lalit Kala Akademi:
Lalit Kala Akademi, the National Academy of Art, was set up by the Government of India on 5 August, 1954.
- In 1957, it was registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
- The organisation functions through its General Council, Executive Board and other Committees.
- Lalit Kala Akademi is the Government’s apex cultural body in the field of visual arts in India.
- It is an autonomous body, which is fully funded by the Ministry of Culture.
- The Akademi is an independent organisation and functions at arm’s length from the Government.
- It has substantial independence in making decisions related to national and international exhibitions, events and providing financial assistance to artists and art organisations through scholarships and grants.
- It is aimed to promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, both within and outside the country.
- It does so through providing scholarships, a fellow program, and sponsoring and organizing numerous exhibitions in India and overseas.
International Conference on ‘Demetrios Galanos and His Legacy’
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is organizing the 8-days International Conference on, ‘Demetrios Galanos and His Legacy’.
- The conference is being organized by IGNCA under the Bharat Vidya Prayojana, a long term academic program of the IGNCA.
- The convention is being held in Delhi and Varanasi, in addition to organizing the exhibition and folk music of Greece.
Aim of the conference:
- To focus on academic and cultural exchanges between India and Greece made by scholars and artists both Indian and Greek, in modern times since Demetrios Galanos.
Life and contributions of Demetrios Galanos:
- Demetrios Galanos (1760–1833) was the earliest recorded Greek Indologist.
- He has a special place among the European Indologists of the nineteenth century.
- He was the only one who stayed in India for 47 years, and except for the first seven years when he lived in Calcutta, for 40 years he lived in the city of Varanasi, mastering Sanskrit, Hindi and Persian, from local scholars.
- His translations of Sanskrit texts into Greek made knowledge of the philosophical and religious ideas of India available to many Europeans.
- He translated the Bhagvad Gita into Greek among many other Sanskrit texts.
- His major contribution was the compilation of a Sanskrit-English-Greek lexicon of about 9000 words.
- In 2000, a “Dimitrios Galanos” Chair for Hellenic Studies was established at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
Key Facts for Prelims
Under-19 World Cup
- India has won Under-19 ICC World Cup 2018 by defeating Australia by eight wickets.
- With this victory, India became first nation to win Under-19 World Cup four times.
- It was India’s sixth appearance in the under-19 World Cup finals.
“Green Good Deeds” campaign
- The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched Green Good Deeds campaign.
- The purpose of the people-oriented campaign is to sensitise people and students, in particular about climate change and global warming.
- The objective of the campaign is to restore and return the clean and green environment to the next generation.
- Environment Minister has underlined need for ‘Green Sainiks’ on the lines of ‘Polio Sainiks’ to broaden the ‘Green Good Deeds’ campaign and take it to the grassroots level.
7th India Energy Congress 2018
- The 7th India Energy Congress (IEC) 2018 was held in New Delhi.
- The theme of the 7th edition of India Energy Congress is Energy 4.0: Energy Transition Towards 2030.
- The Congress is structured in five cross-cutting sub-themes: Policy and Energy Environment 2030; Energy Investments in an Uncertain World; Sustainable Mobility; Variable Renewable Energy Integration; and Reaching the Last Mile.
About India Energy Congress:
- The India Energy Congress is the flagship event of World Energy Council India (WEC India) and joint event of ministries of power, coal, new & renewable energy, petroleum & natural gas, external affairs and Department of Atomic Energy.
- The WEC India functions under the power ministry.
- Secretary (Power) is the chairman of the WEC India.
- NTPC Chairman is the member secretary of the WEC India.
- It is a book authored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for students facing exams.
- The book aims to inspire youth to face the difficult moments of examinations and life with fresh and new energy.
- It emphasizes the importance of play, sleep & even travel.