IASToppers-Current-Affairs-Analysis-8th-Feb-2016
Current Affairs Analysis

8th February 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
February 08, 2016

Contents

Economy

  • Plan to scrap income tax gets high-level hearing

Science & Technology

  • Paper waste turned into green cellulose aerogel
  • With Zika, Indian firm scales up trials for ‘GM mosquitoes’

Also in News

  • Chettinad cotton saree wins India Handloom tag


Economy


Plan to scrap income tax gets high-level hearing

 

A Pune-based tax research outfit, Arthakranti, has come out with a proposal to revamp the taxation system in India. 

  • In this regard, the outfit recently gave a presentation before a sub-group of Secretaries set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Key features of the proposal:

  • The outfit seeks to abolish income tax and over 30 local, State and Central taxes.
  • The proposal advocates replacing the present tax system with a single 2 % levy per receipt in bank accounts and recommends that just import duties be retained from the present system.
  • Arthakranti’s proposal envisages a system that does not tax consumption or income, as is the case now, but the “velocity of money”.
  • The outfit has estimated that the levy it is proposing can be collected through the banking channel rather than the tax collection authorities.

Benefits:

The “innovative” proposal was aimed at reducing corruption and eliminating the cost of compliance for taxpayers.

  • Without leading to a loss of revenue, it will plug tax evasion and avoidance.
  • Arthakranti’s calculations show that the 2 per cent tax will yield Rs. 40,00,000 crore.

This is not the first time such a proposal has been received by the Centre. Several governments have earlier discussed plans to abolish income tax but rejected them.

Counterargument:

The claim was contested by the eminent economist and former secretary-general of the FICCI, Rajiv Kumar, who said that at 2 per cent, the proposed new tax will yield Rs.14,00,000 crore. In 2014-15, the Centre’s total tax revenue (revised estimates) were only Rs. 9,084,63 crore.

Same proposal in U.S. :

  • Even in the U.S., a senator from Hawaii has introduced a private member Bill on a similar concept.

 [Ref: Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

 

Paper waste turned into green cellulose aerogel

 

For the first time, scientists have successfully converted paper waste into green cellulose aerogels.

Applications:

  • This novel cellulose aerogels serve as an attractive alternative to current methods of oil spill cleaning. Polypropylene (PP)-based absorbents are widely used for oil absorption but they are non-biodegradable, and their absorption capabilities are both low and slow.
  • In packing industry, plastic-based packing materials such as the bubble wrap could be replaced with biodegradable aerogel-based foam or advanced cellulose aerogel nanosheets, which are environmentally-friendly. 
  • With high surface area and high porosity, the biodegradable aerogels could also be used as coating materials in drug delivery or as smart materials. 
  • Another application of the aerogels is to serve as insulation materials for buildings. Their water repellent property allows them to be adaptable to both dry and rainy weather and their structure remains stable for about six months in tropical climate.
  • It can be also used as smart materials for various biomedical

In what ways it is unique?

Aerogels, which are among the lightest solid materials known to man, are one of the finest insulation materials available.

  • Green cellulose aerogels are non-toxic, ultralight, flexible, extremely strong and water repellent. 
  • It has low thermal conductivity.
  • It has super high oil absorption capacity – it is up to four times higher than commercial sorbents available in the market.
  • Its fabrication process uses 70 per cent less energy and produces fewer polluting emissions into the air and water.

It should be noted that traditional aerogels are mainly made of silica, which is not environmentally-friendly.

 [Ref: ET]

 

With Zika, Indian firm scales up trials for ‘GM mosquitoes’

 

A Maharashtra company is getting ready to scale up trials to find out whether genetically engineered mosquitoes can be a useful tool to check the growth of the insect.

  • The name of the company is Gangabishan Bhikulal Investment and Trading Ltd. (GBIT), which is a sister company of the Maharashtra Hybrid Company (Mahyco).
  • It should be noted here that Mahyco was the company that first brought Bt cotton to India.

Idea behind the technology:

  • Now, GBIT has been breeding male mosquitoes. These mosquitoes contain genes which when passed on to its progeny render them unable to mature unless they have access to tetracycline, a compound that is not naturally available in the environment.
  • The idea is that once enough of these laboratory-bred mosquitoes mate with the disease-carrying females in an open environment, they would reduce the region’s mosquito population.
  • According to the company, such tests would progress quickly as the life span of the Aedes aegypti mosquito was 15 days.

Scope of the technology:

  • The technology is already being tested in Malaysia and Brazil, which has seen the highest number of Zika cases.
  • According to GBIT scientists, international evidence so far shows the strain can reduce the number of mosquitoes in a place by 90% in three or six months.

The company is also expected to ask the take the government’s permission to start larger trials later this year.

[Ref: Hindu]

 

Also in News

 

Chettinad cotton saree wins India Handloom tag

 

The Chettinad cotton saree has won the ‘India Handloom’ tag for its unique designs and identity.

Who gives this tag?

  • The Textiles Committee, Union Ministry of Handlooms and Textiles, Mumbai, has registered the Chettinad cotton saree under the India Handloom Brand Scheme and offered a logo.
  • The tag was accorded after checking various quality parameters stipulated by the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Benefits:

  • The brand and logo would help the society to promote its sales in the domestic as well as international markets.

About the Chettinad cotton saree:

The Chettinad cotton saree inherits the intricacies of now out-of-vogue and over a century-old ‘Kandangi’ pure silk sarees.

  • The Amarar Rajiv Gandhi Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society has been making the sarees since 2007 by uniting weavers, whose forefathers were instrumental in bringing out the ‘Kandangi silk sarees’.
  • The sarees are already popular in New Delhi and Mumbai and countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

[Ref: Hindu]

 

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