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Government Schemes & Policies
Major Port Authorities Bill 2020
Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of State for Shipping recently.
- The Bill seeks to provide for regulation, operation and planning of Major Ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of such ports upon the Boards of Major Port Authorities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- To promote the expansion of port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce.
- It aims at decentralizing decision making and to infuse professionalism in governance of major ports.
About the Bill:
- The Ministry of Shipping has proposed to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 by the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020.
- This will empower the Major Ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernizing the institutional framework of Major Ports.
- It would help to impart faster and transparent decision making benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability.
- The Bill is aimed at reorienting the governance model in central ports to landlord port model in line with the successful global practice.
- This will also help in bringing transparency in operations of Major Ports.
- It is compact in comparison to the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 as the number of sections has been reduced to 76 from 134 by eliminating overlapping and obsolete Sections.
- The Bill has proposed a simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise of 11 to 13 Members.
- A compact Board with professional independent Members will strengthen decision making and strategic planning.
- The role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been redefined.
- Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects.
- PPP operators will be free to fix tariff based on market conditions.
- The Board of Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.
- An Adjudicatory Board has been proposed to be created:
- to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports,
- to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires,
- to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects,
- to suggest measures to revive such projects and
- to look into complaints regarding services rendered by the ports/ private operators operating within the ports would be constituted.
Boards of Port Authority:
- The Boards of Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default. In the present MPT Act, 1963 prior approval of the Central Government was required in 22 instances.
- The Board of each Major Port shall be entitled to create specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure established or proposed to be established within the port limits and the land appurtenant thereto and such master plan shall be independent of any local or State Government regulations of any authority whatsoever.
- Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced.
Issues related to Health & Education
Potential new therapy for tongue cancer
A team of scientists at the Department of Biotechnology’s Hyderabad-based Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics is coming out with a new insight into the mechanism by which an anti-cancer protein helps in the development of cancer when it mutates.
- Human cells carry a protein called p53.
- It is very helpful as it controls several fundamental processes including cell division and repair of damaged DNA.
- It functions by binding directly to DNA leading to the production of proteins needed for regular cellular functions as well as effectively blocking cancer development.
- However, its ability to prevent cancer is significantly compromised, if it mutates.
- The recent studies have reported that some specific and common mutated p53 forms even activate cancer growth.
- In a new study, scientists at CDFD have identified rare p53 mutant forms unique to Indian tongue cancer and the likely means by which these mutant p53 cause cancer.
- The tongue cancer samples from post-surgery patients were screened for modifications in a gene called TP53.
- The gene is a sequence of nucleotides (building blocks) in the DNA that code for the production of the p53 protein.
- They identified target genes of the mutant p53 protein.
- Of these, a gene called SMARCD1 was the most prominent.
- SMARCD1 was an exclusive target of mutations observed in Indian tongue cancer patients and the first time that SMARCD1 has been shown to be a possible driver of any form of cancer.
- The observations reveal a new and probable mechanism by which mutant p53 proteins encourage cancer development.
- The results of the study can be employed to develop therapies to treat tongue cancer, a common debilitating cancer in India.
Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approves scheme for Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) to boost exports Scheme for enhancing Exports to International Markets.
- To make Indian exports cost competitive and create a level playing field for exporters in International market.
- To give a boost to employment generation in various sectors.
- A mechanism would be created under the scheme for reimbursement of taxes/ duties/ levies, at the central, state and local level, which are currently not being refunded under any other mechanism, but which are incurred in the process of manufacture and distribution of exported products.
- This scheme is going to give a boost to the domestic industry and Indian exports providing a level playing field for Indian producers in the International market so that domestic taxes/duties are not exported.
- Under the Scheme an inter-ministerial Committee will determine the rates and items for which the reimbursement of taxes and duties would be provided.
- In line with “Digital India”, refund under the Scheme, in the form of transferable duty credit/electronic scrip will be issued to the exporters, which will be maintained in an electronic ledger.
- The Scheme will be implemented with end to end digitization.
- The refunds under the RoDTEP scheme would be a step towards “zero-rating” of exports, along with refunds such as Drawback and IGST.
- At present, GST taxes and import/customs duties for inputs required to manufacture exported products are either exempted or refunded.
- However, certain taxes/duties/levies are outside GST, and are not refunded for exports, such as, VAT on fuel used in transportation, Mandi tax, Duty on electricity used during manufacturing etc. These would be covered for reimbursement under the RoDTEP Scheme.
- RoDTEP scheme is WTO compliant, will reimburse taxes/duties/levies at the central, state and local level, which are currently not being refunded.
- Items will be shifted in a phased manner from existing scheme MEIS to RoDTEP with proper monitoring & audit mechanism.
- The sequence of introduction of the Scheme across sectors, prioritization of the sectors to be covered, degree of benefit to be given on various items within the rates set by the Committee will be decided and notified by the Department of Commerce (DoC).
- The rebate would be claimed as a percentage of the Freight On Board (FOB) value of exports.
- A monitoring and audit mechanism, with an Information Technology based Risk Management System (RMS), would be put in to physically verify the records of the exporters.
- As and when the rates under the RoDTEP Scheme are announced for a tariff line/ item, the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) benefits on such tariff line/item will be discontinued.
- This would lead to cost competitiveness of exported products in international markets and better employment opportunities in export oriented manufacturing industries.
- In line with the vision of Prime Minister, various export oriented industries are being reformed and introduced to better mechanisms so as to increase their productivity, boost exports and contribute to the overall economy.
MSP for Copra
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for copra for 2020 season.
Central Nodal Agencies:
- The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumer Federation of India Limited (NCCF) will continue to act as Central Nodal Agencies to undertake price support operations at the MSP in the coconut growing states.
- India is number one in production and productivity of Copra in the World.
- Copra is the dried kernel of the coconut, which is the fruit of the coconut palm.
- Coconut oil is extracted from copra, making it an important agricultural commodity for many coconut-producing countries
- It also yields de-fatted coconut cake after oil extraction, which is mainly used as feed for livestock.