Polity & Governance
- Government constitutes Injeti Srinivas Committee to frame National Sports Code
- Sponsored ads in media to be part of candidate’s expenditure
- ‘Haryana achieves sex ratio of 900 girls per 1000 boys’
- Google launches My Business and Digital Unlocked tool for Indian small businesses
- Government officials seek zero import tax on LNG in budget: Document
Environment & Ecology
- Government bans import of exotic skins
Bilateral & International Relations
- India and Kazakhstan sign Protocol to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC)
Science & Technology
- China develops its version of floating LNG power plant
- NASA selects 2 missions to explore solar system’s asteroids
Key Facts for Prelims
- 100 cr. for the first Nobel laureate from State: Andhra Pradesh govt
Polity & Governance
Government constitutes Injeti Srinivas Committee to frame National Sports Code
The Union Sports Ministry has constituted committee to frame comprehensive National Sports Development Code across sports disciplines.
- It will be headed by Injeti Srinivas, Sports Secretary.
- Former Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, legendary badminton player Prakash Padukone and athlete Anju Bobby George are a part of the nine-member government panel.
Terms of reference of the Committee:
The committee will:
- Study the existing sports governance frame work, issues relating to sports governance in the country, recent developments related to sports governance.
- Study court judgments and international best practices and make recommendations on bringing out a comprehensive code across sports disciplines.
- Identify basic universal principles of ethics and good governance based on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Charter, international best practices.
- Study draft National Sports Development Bill, National Sports Development Code, 2011, Supreme Court and High Court judgments related to issues of good governance in administration of sports in country.
- Make specific recommendations for bringing out a comprehensive National Sports Code to address the issues of governance pertaining to the National Sports Federations and National Olympic Committee.
Sponsored ads in media to be part of candidate’s expenditure
Recently, the Election Commission has said that sponsored advertisements on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter would be included in the total election expenditure of a candidate.
- Voice messages of candidates, even if they were received from other states, would be added to the expenditure of the candidate.
- Total amount of expenditure, of which account is to be kept under section 77 of Representation of People’s Act 1951 and which is incurred or authorised in any assembly constituency in connection with general elections to the Legislative Assembly by any candidate, is Rs28 lakh.
- EC has also asked printing press owners to print the names and addresses of printer and publisher of any election pamphlets, posters and such other material printed by them. Any violation would invite action, including revocation of license of the printing press.
- Flying squads have been formed to register cases against both the giver and the taker of bribe and for taking action against those who are engaged in threat and intimidation of electors.
‘Haryana achieves sex ratio of 900 girls per 1000 boys’
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, by citing Civil Registration System (CRS) data, said that Haryana achieved a sex ratio of 900 girls as against 1000 boys in 2016.
- He claimed that the state government had been making concerted efforts to improve the sex ratio, and now it has taken a leap forward by achieving marked improvement in the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB).
- However, this is much in contrast to the statistics of 2011, when Haryana had the worst sex ratio of 834:1000 among all states in the country.
What he claimed?
- According to the statistics available for sex ratio, CM said that out of 5,25,278 children born in the state from January to December 2016, there were 2,76,414 boys and 2,48,864 girls and the sex ratio at birth touched the mark of 900.
- He said that none of the districts is below 850 mark and 12 districts in the state have recorded sex ratio of 900 or 900 plus in 2016.
- He said that the state had launched a massive drive against sex selection, selective abortion and female foeticide.
- About 400 FIRs have been registered under Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Acts against the offenders after successful raids, including 75 raids conducted across the border in adjoining states in the last about one year.
Google launches My Business and Digital Unlocked tool for Indian small businesses
Internet giant Google launched two new initiatives My Business and Digital Unlocked to train and help small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India capitalise on the digitisation wave faster.
- In addition, Google also launched Primer, a free mobile application designed to teach digital marketing skills in a quick, easy and interactive way. It also works offline and is currently available in English and Hindi languages.
My Business Websites:
- Under it, Google will provide free websites and web tools to small businesses in order to bolster their digital presence.
- This will help SMBs create a free, mobile optimised website.
- It is a training programme launched in association with industry body FICCI.
- It will provide Indian SMBs essential digital skills to enable them to get online and connect to customers in different parts of the country.
- The trainings will be certified by Google, Indian School of Business and FICCI.
Government officials seek zero import tax on LNG in budget: Document
India’s energy and environment ministries have asked the government to scrap an import tax on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and impose a levy on use of pet coke and furnace oil to promote cleaner fuel.
- Top officials from the power, coal, mines, oil and gas, renewables and environment ministries made a series of demands and suggestions ahead of budget on Feb. 1 at a meeting with PM Modi.
Why this is necessary?
India is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases and relies heavily on coal, gas and oil imports to meet its energy needs and fuel its economic expansion.
Its energy consumption is bound to grow as it targets 8-9 percent economic growth from around 7 percent in 2016/17.
Therefore, to cut the country’s carbon footprint, the ministries want to raise the use of gas in its energy mix to 15% in three to four years from 6.5% now. For this to happen, they are demanding zero import tax on LNG.
- LNG imports, which account for 44% of gas use in the country, are duty free only if shipped in for the power sector.
Environment & Ecology
Government bans import of exotic skins
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade has banned the import of skins of reptiles, mink, fox and chinchillas.
- A notification was issued in this regard by the Ministry of Commerce.
- The Ministry of Environment and Forest and the Animal Welfare Board of India further supported the need to impose the ban.
The matter was taken up by Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, who wrote a letter to Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharama, pressing the need to curb cruelty towards animals by prohibiting the import of exotic skins.
- The exotic fur, skin and leather industry slaughters, bludgeons and skins millions of animals every year in the name of frivolous fashion. Nations across the world are switching to cruelty-free alternatives and India is gradually emulating similar policies to reduce and eliminate unnecessary pain and suffering to animals.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 allows the slaughter of animals only for subsistence, and this too is regulated to minimise the pain and suffering of animals.
Bilateral & International Relations
India and Kazakhstan sign Protocol to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC)
India and Kazakhstan signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between the two countries.
- The agreement was earlier signed on 9th December, 1996 for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
Salient features of the Protocol:
- The Protocol provides internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters.
- Further, the information received from Kazakhstan for tax purposes can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorisation of the competent authority of Kazakhstan and vice versa.
- The Protocol inserts a Limitation of Benefits Article, to provide a main purpose test to prevent misuse of the DTAC and to allow application of domestic law and measures against tax avoidance or evasion.
- The Protocol inserts specific provisions to facilitate relieving of economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases.
- This is a taxpayer friendly measure and is in line with India’s commitment under Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan to meet the minimum standard of providing Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) access in transfer pricing cases.
- The Protocol inserts service PE provisions with a threshold and also provides that the profits to be attributed to PE will be determined on the basis of apportionment of total profits of the enterprise.
- The Protocol replaces existing Article on Assistance in Collection of Taxes with a new Article to align it with international standards.
Science & Technology
China develops its version of floating LNG power plant
A Chinese company, Wison Offshore & Marine, has developed a version of a system for floating LNG power plant that can range between 10 mw to 800 mw units.
- The system features integrated functions of LNG loading and storage facilities, regasification and power generation in a single unit.
- The smallest unit starts at 10MW capacity, while the largest accommodates an 800MW power plant.
- LNG has been selected as the fuel source in Wison’s designs. Alternative fuel options are also available as required.
Advantages of a floating power plant:
- Provides fast supply of electricity to areas with limited infrastructure
- It is a mobile asset, possible to relocate or trade
- Does not require a large site
- It is independent of soil quality
- Provides secure power supply in the event of earth quakes or floods
- Constructed in shipyards under controlled conditions
- Relatively fast Construction dependent upon equipment availability
- Can utilize any electrical generating technologies
- Transportable power; large capacity can be moved to areas of need quickly
- Fuels can be supplied by ocean transport and stored in adjacent barges
- Financially viable asset for installation in developing countries.
NASA selects 2 missions to explore solar system’s asteroids
NASA has selected two missions that have the potential to open new windows on one of the earliest eras in the history of our solar system – a time less than 10 million years after the birth of our sun.
- The missions, known as Lucy and Psyche, were chosen from five finalists and will proceed to mission formulation, with the goal of launching in 2021 and 2023, respectively.
About mission Lucy:
- Lucy will visit a target-rich environment of Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids.
- Lucy, a robotic spacecraft, is scheduled for October 2021 launch. It is slated to arrive at its first destination, a main belt asteroid, in 2025. From 2027 to 2033, Lucy will explore six Jupiter Trojan asteroids.
- These asteroids are trapped by Jupiter’s gravity in two swarms that share the planet’s orbit, one leading and one trailing Jupiter in its 12-year circuit around the sun.
Significance of mission Lucy:
- The Trojans are thought to be relics of a much earlier era in the history of the solar system, and may have formed far beyond Jupiter’s current orbit.
- This is a unique opportunity because the Trojans are remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets, they hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system. Lucy, like the human fossil for which it is named, will revolutionize the understanding of our origins.
About Psyche mission:
- The Psyche, also a robotic mission, will explore one of the most intriguing targets in the main asteroid belt – a giant metal asteroid, known as 16 Psyche, about three times farther away from the sun than is the Earth.
- This asteroid measures about 130 miles (210 kilometers) in diameter and, unlike most other asteroids that are rocky or icy bodies, is thought to be comprised mostly of metallic iron and nickel, similar to Earth’s core.
Significance of Psyche mission:
- The mission will help scientists understand how planets and other bodies separated into their layers – including cores, mantles and crusts – early in their histories.
Key Facts for Prelims
Rs. 100 cr. for the first Nobel laureate from State: Andhra Pradesh govt
- Andhra Pradesh government has announced that it will give scientists of the state Rs 100 crore for Nobel Prize.
- This reward is about 17 times more than the prize money given out with the Nobel award, which is about Rs 5.96 crore (Swedish kronor 8 million).
- No other state government in India has perhaps made such a grand offer to its scientists.