About- The Foundation stone laying ceremony of the new building for Institute of Archaeology of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under Ministry of Culture held on 28 October, 2016, Delhi NCR.
Aim- Providing an opportunity for students to achieve excellence in their passionate fields of archaeology.
Institute of Archaeology-
- The Institute of Archaeology (IA) is an academic wing of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under the Ministry of Culture.
- This Institute provides an outstanding environment for the academic research through its Post Graduate Diploma in Archaeology, continuing its long established reputation for distinction in this field.
- Students are provided with a supportive, enthusiastic and challenging academic atmosphere which enables them to achieve their full potential.
- The Institute along with two years’ Post Graduate Diploma in Archaeology also conducts professional workshops on different fields of archaeology.
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
National Consultative Committee meeting on De-addiction and Rehabilitation (NCCDR) held
About- The Meeting of “National Consultative Committee on De-addiction and Rehabilitation (NCCDR)” held under the chairmanship of Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment.
Participants- Representatives of States and Union territories and Regional Resource & Training Centres (RRTCs) and many NGOs.
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment-
- Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal Ministry for drug demand reduction.
- It coordinates and monitors all aspects of drug abuse prevention which include assessment of the extent of the problem, preventive action, treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, dissemination of information and public awareness.
- Ministry provides community-based services for the identification, treatment and rehabilitation of addicts through voluntary organizations.
- Evolving and strengthening appropriate models for the prevention of alcoholism, drug and substance abuse, treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent individuals.
- Ensuring the facility of De-addiction Centres in each District and increasing the number of Regional Resource & Training Centres (RRTCs).
- Establishing separate and specialised de-addiction treatment centres/facilities for drug dependent females and children, especially in Central Government Hospitals/Medical colleges.
- Organizing awareness generation programmes in different parts of the countryand conducting sensitization and preventive education programmes in schools and colleges throughout the year.
- Establishing a system of accreditation of facilities offering services connected with drug abuse.
- Formulation of National Alcohol Policy.
- Establishing appropriate facilities for highly vulnerable groups like spouses and children of addicts, street children, homeless, beggars, people living in slums, IDUs, sex workers etc.
- Cooperation on various fronts from the stakeholders for successful conduct of the National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use.
- Strengthening the monitoring mechanism of IRCAs and improving service delivery.
Inauguration of first National Tribal Carnival
(Topic: Tribal Affairs)
About- Prime Minister inaugurated First National Tribal Carnival in New Delhi.
- To promote a sense of inclusiveness amongst the tribal and promote various facets of tribal culture on a large scale
- To preserve and promote various facets of the tribal life relating to culture, tradition, customs and their skills and to expose it to the general public with a view to utilizing the potential for overall holistic development of the Scheduled Tribes.
Highlights of Carnival-
- Activities like displaying documents on traditional socio-culture aspects, exhibition of art/artifacts, cultural performances, demonstration of skills like sports, paintings, traditional healing practices etc. will be part of the four day event.
- Workshop on issues like Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) – its implementation, benefit to tribal community and its drawbacks, Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006 and its implications and reservation in politics and recruitment will also be part of the carnival.
- The events during the carnival will be a mix of live musical and dance performances, exhibitions, display of craft, fashion show, panel discussion, book fair etc.
- The carnival promises to be a mix of art, music, traditional food and one of its kind of non-stop venues for lively entertainment of India’s traditional tribal way of life full of experience and knowledge. Ministry of Tribal Affairs27-October, 2016 16:43 IST
e- Postal Ballot System for Service Voters
(Topic: Election Commission)
About- The Government has issued Notification on 21st October, 2016 amending rule 23 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 enabling service voters, including armed forces personnel, to cast their vote in elections through e-postal ballot.
What is there in the system?
- Under this system a blank postal ballot paper would be transmitted to them electronically.
- This would cut short the delay experienced in the present system in two-way transmission of ballot paper by the postal services.
- The armed forces personnel serving in remote and border areas would be greatly benefitted since the present system of two-way transmission of ballot paper by the postal services has not been able to meet the expectations of the service voters.
- The difficulties and hardships encountered by the service voters, especially by the armed forces personnel serving the border and remote areas of the country, have been receiving the attention of the Government in recent times.
- The issue was also agitated before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the matter of Neela Gokhale vs. Union of India & Anr. pleading for creating effective mechanism for the Armed Forces Personnel (AFP) and their families to exercise their right to vote easily and effectively.
- In the above backdrop, the Government approached the Election Commission with a view to mitigating the difficulties faced by service voters in the matter of exercising their franchise.
- The technical team of the Election Commission has developed a system whereby blank postal ballot could be electronically transmitted to the voter, namely, e-postal ballot system.
E-postal Ballot system-
- Voters entitled to postal ballot such as service voters, can download the postal ballot and print the blank postal ballot.
- After marking his vote in the blank postal ballot, the same would be returned to the concerned Returning Officer by post as in the present system of postal ballot.
- The Election Commission proposed that the categories of voters mentioned at rule 18 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 may be made eligible for e-postal ballot system.
- However, on a pilot basis, e-postal ballot system has been introduced by Notification dated 21st October, 2016 for service voters consisting of-
- Armed police forces of the Union
- Other forces subject to the provisions of the Army Act, 1950
- Armed forces of a State serving outside that State; and
- Employed under the Government of India in a post outside India.
Two-way electronic transmission has not been recommended by the Election Commission for security and secrecy reasons.
- One-way electronic transmission of blank postal ballot would considerably cut short the delay in receipt of the marked postal ballot by the Returning Officers on or before the date fixed for the counting of votes.
- Major beneficiaries would be the entire category of service voters as stated above, especially the armed forces personnel posted in border and remote areas of the country.
- With the issue of the aforesaid notification, a long-pending and near-unanimous demand of the service voters, including the armed forces personnel, has been fulfilled.
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
Workshop on the provisions of The Panchayats Extension to The Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, 1996 held
(Topic: Tribal Affairs)
About- As a sequel to various activities planned under National Tribal Carnival being held in New Delhi from 25th to 28th October, 2016, a series of Workshop of thematic areas concerning tribal population have been planned. The first such Workshop on the Provisions of the Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) Implementation, benefits to Tribal Community and its Challenges was held in New Delhi.
- Importance of PESA to tribal communities, challenges being faced, way forward and key areas which need to be focused. The Rurban Mission presentation, while bringing out key features also highlighted coverage under the Mission of a large number of tribal areas.
- Ministry of Panchayati Raj the constitutional provisions for Fifth Schedule Area, implementation of PESA Act, Ministry of Panchayati Raj’s initiatives and how do the Act empowers and benefits to tribal community and way forward were explained in detail. Ministry of Women and Child Development26-October, 2016 18:15 IST
WCD Ministry to set up Inter-Ministerial Committee and an e-platform for effective redressal of complaints of sexual harassment at workplace
(Topic: Women and Child Development)
About- Minister of Women and Child Development held a review meeting on implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 in New Delhi.
- The complaints of sexual harassment are not being handled in a timely as well as sensitive manner.
- The harassment often continues over a period of time and it is only after it becomes unbearable that a woman comes out to complain.
- In such situations, it is the duty of Internal Complaints Committee to decide on the complaint in the shortest possible time. The Minister also pointed out that the transfer of the aggressor can never be a solution to such a complaint and there should be harsher punishments when the complaint is found to be true.
- The Ministry of WCD will set up an inter-ministerial committee headed by a senior official of the WCD Ministry. This committee will review the progress of disposal of complaints of sexual harassment, get a standardized training module prepared in collaboration with ISTM, and ensure that heads of Internal Complaints Committee of all ministries/departments are given training on how to handle the complaints.
- The ministry will be establishing a secure electronic platform for any woman employee of the government to file a complaint under the Act directly to the Ministry of WCD. These complaints will be then taken up with the respective ministries/ departments. This will enable a monitorable and transparent system of grievance redressal under the Act.
- All ministries/ departments will furnish a monthly report to WCD ministry on the number of complaints received, disposed, pending and action taken etc.
- All ministries/ departments and attached offices will furnish the annual statistics of complaints received and disposed under the Act in their Annual Reports. It was also decided that inter ministerial committee will create a panel of resource persons from which ICCs can take the external members. In another important decision taken at the meeting, all the training programmes of all services will have a module on the Act and DoPT will issue necessary instructions for this.
- It was also decided that the respective cadre controlling authority will keep every complainant under observation for a period of five years so that she is not subjected to any further administrative harassment as a result of her having complained against a male superior.
- It was agreed that the Act, the rights of a woman official and the responsibility of the ICC must be given adequate publicity through different methods including the websites of the ministries/ departments/ attached offices.
Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Estonia on the transfer of sentenced persons
(Topic: Cabinet Decision)
About-Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of PM has given its approval for signing and ratification of an Agreement between India and Estonia on the transfer of sentenced persons.
Agreement facilitate- Indian prisoners imprisoned in Estonia or vice-versa to be near to their families, for serving remaining part of their sentence and shall facilitate their social rehabilitation.
- Prior to 2004, there was no domestic Legislation under which foreign prisoners could be transferred to the country of their origin to serve the remaining part of their sentence, nor was there a provision for the transfer of prisoners of Indian origin convicted by a foreign court to serve their sentence in India. The transfer of such prisoners to their own native countries shall facilitate their social rehabilitation
- Hence, the Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003 was enacted for serving the above purpose. For achieving the objectives of the Act, a Treaty/Agreement is required to be signed with countries having mutual interest with India and later to the notified in the Official Gazette.
Agreement signed so far-
The Government of India has so far signed bilateral Agreements on Transfer of Sentenced Persons with United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, France, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Bosnia & Herzegovina, UAE, Italy, Turkey, Maldives-, Thailand, Russian Federation, Kuwait, Viet Nam, Australia, Hong Kong, Qatar, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Bahrain. So far total 65 prisoners have been exchanged, out of which 55 were Indians.
Establishment and operationalization of new Indian Institute of Science Education and Research at Berhampur, Odisha
About- Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of PM has given its approval for the following-
- Ex-post facto approval for formation of an Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Berhampur Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860
- Establishment and operationalisation of IISER, Berhampur in a transit/ temporary campus from the Academic Year 2016-17, which will involve a cost of Rs.I52.79 crore, for the initial three years (2016-19), and ex-post facto approval of starting the academic session of 2016-17 from 1st August, 2016
- Accepting land, free of cost, from the State Government of Odisha
- Creation of the post of Director of the Institute in the Pay Scale of Rs.80,000 (Fixed)
- Introduction of a Bill, namely, the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Appendix-Ill) in Parliament for inclusion of IISER, Tirupati and IISER, Berhampur in the Second Schedule of National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (NITSER) Act, 2007 (29 of 2007) with such modifications/ changes of the drafting and consequential nature as may be considered by the Legislative Department.
- The Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) have been declared as Institutes of National Importance under the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education & Research (NITSER) Act, 2012.
- These Institutes are envisaged to carry out research in frontier areas of science and to provide quality science education at the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate level. Earlier there were five IISERs at Kolkata, Pune, Mohali, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram. After coming to power this Government started an IISER at Tirupati in 2015.
- To increase the presence of IISERs in various States/ geographical locations to cater to the need for quality education in science and research, the Union Finance Minister, in his Budget Speech (2015) had announced setting up of an IISER in the State of Odisha.
Cabinet approves establishment of National Academic Depository
(Topic: Cabinet Decision)
About- Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of PM has accorded its approval for establishment and operationalisation of a National Academic Depository (NAD).
Aims at- Bringing another dimension and enhancement of the vision of Digital India
NAD established and operationalised within- Next three months and would be rolled out throughout the country in 2017-18.
Decision taken after- The Finance Minister’s Budget Speech of 2016-17, in February this year, incorporated this commitment to establish a Digital Depository for school learning certificates, degrees and other academic awards of Higher Education Institutions, on the pattern of a Securities Depository.
- NAD shall maintain the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of its database.
- It will also train and facilitate academic institutions/boards/ eligibility assessment bodies to efficiently lodge academic awards in the database
- It will provide digital or a printed copy of the academic award with security features to the students or other authorized users. NAD will verify academic awards online on the same day of request initiated by any authorized user.
- Requests for access to academic awards, for example, from potential employers, and academic institutions would be only on the basis of consent of the student.
- The NAD would be operationalised by NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) and CDSL Ventures, Limited (CVL) – two of the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Depositories registered under Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.
- Academic institutions would be responsible for the authenticity of data digitally uploaded by them into the system.
- The depositories will ensure the integrity of the data in the NAD.
- The NAD will register educational institutions/boards/eligibility assessment bodies, students and other users/verifying entities like banks, employer companies, government agencies and academic institutions.
Cabinet approves the new Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan
(Topic: Bilateral Agreement)
About-Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved an Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan.
Bilateral trade agreement-
- The bilateral trade relations between India and Bhutan are governed by the Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between the Government of India and Bhutan.
- Agreement provides for a free trade regime between two countries.
- The Agreement also provides for duty free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries.
Validity and Extension-
The Agreement was renewed on 29th July 2006 for a period of ten years. The validity of this Agreement was extended, with effect from 29th July 2016, for a period of one year or till the new agreement comes into force, through exchange of Diplomatic notes.
The traditionally unique bilateral relations characterized by trust and understanding between India and Bhutan have matured over the years and would be further strengthened by execution of the proposed Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit Agreement.
National Ayurveda Day to be celebrated throughout the Country on 28th October- “Mission Madhumeha through Ayurveda” to be launched
About- On the occasion of National Ayurveda Day, the Ministry of AYUSH is organizing a one day National Seminar on ‘’Prevention and Control of Diabetes through Ayurveda’’ on 28th October 2016 at New Delhi.
Government of India has decided to celebrate National Ayurveda Day every year on the occasion of Dhanwantari Jayanti.
- Ministry of AYUSH is also going to launch “Mission Madhumeha through Ayurveda”on the occasion.
- The Mission Madhumeha will be implemented throughout the country through a specially designed National Treatment Protocol for effective management of Diabetes through Ayurveda. The national treatment Protocol will be also released on the occasion of National Seminar.
- In this regard , Ministry of AYUSH has communicated to various State Governments (Department of AYUSH/Department of Health/Department of Medical Education), State AYUSH Directorates, All Ayurveda Educational Institutes, Ayurveda Pharma to celebrate the National Ayurveda Day in a befitting manner by organizing Public lectures/Seminars/Exhibitions on the theme of Prevention and Control of Diabetes through Ayurveda.
- Several State Government AYUSH departments have taken proactive steps in this regard and have planned for various activities on this day by providing free Ayurvedic health care services for the patients of Diabetes by organizing health check-up camps, public lectures for creating awareness in public regarding Diabetes etc.
Rashtriya Ekta Diwas to be observed on 31st October with “Integration of India” theme
(Topic: Government initiatives for National integration and unity)
About- The Rashtriya Ekta Diwas will be observed on 31st October, 2016
Theme- ‘Integration of India’
Objective- It provides an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand the actual and potential threats to the unity, integrity and security of our country.
Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
- The Government had decided to observe the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as the ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ (National Unity Day) on 31st October every year.
Various activities are being organised across ministries/departments all over the country-
- On the occasion, floral tributes will be paid to Sardar Patel across the country.
- It will be followed by ‘Run for Unity’ involving people from all sections of society to be organised from the National Stadium to the C-hexagon of India Gate.
- A Run for Unity will also be organised at the State/District Headquarters involving people from all sections of society, so that a message of national unity permeates to every part of the nation and the society.
- All the Government Offices, Public Sector Undertakings and other Public Institutions will arrange a pledge taking ceremony to observe the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
- Various Ministries are also organising activities on the above occasion such as Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports in collaboration with Nehru Yuva Kendras will organise sports competition in rural areas to engage youth. Ministry of Human Resource Development will organise an essay competition and special programs in schools across the country.
- The Department of Posts will release a Postage Stamp in memory of Sardar Patel and an exhibition on Sardar Patel is being organised by the Ministry of Culture at National Science Centre.
- Ministry of External Affairs will organise special programs in major Missions/ Embassies across the world.
- A mobile exhibition will also be launched at the Red Fort, which will be further taken to all seven regional zones of Ministry of Culture. Besides this, other activities are also being organised to observe Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988
About- Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 has been amended by the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 (BTP Amendment Act).
Come into force- The rules and all the provisions of the BTP Amendment Act shall come into force on 1st November, 2016. After coming into effect of the BTP Amendment Act, the existing Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 shall be renamed as Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 (PBPT Act).
Benami Property Transactions-
- The PBPT Act defines benami transactions, prohibits them and further provides that violation of the PBPT Act is punishable with imprisonment and fine. The PBPT Act prohibits recovery of the property held benami from benamidar by the real owner. Properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the Government without payment of compensation.
- An appellate mechanism has been provided under the PBPT Act in the form of Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Tribunal. The Adjudicating Authority referred to in section 6(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) and the Appellate Tribunal referred to in section 25 of the PMLA have been notified as the Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Tribunal, respectively, for the purposes of the PBPT Act.
- A Joint / Additional Commissioner of Income-tax, an Assistant / Deputy Commissioner of Income-tax and a Tax Recovery Officer in each Pr. CCIT Region have been notified to perform the functions and exercise the powers of the Approving Authority, Initiating Officer and Administrator, respectively under the PBPT Act.
Ministry of Agriculture
Centre Constitutes Committee for monitoring Bird Flu
(Topic: Animal Husbandry)
About- Centre has constituted a Committee headed by Joint Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries (DADF) to maintain constant vigil on the situation arising out of avian influenza (H5N8).
Committee will have representatives from- Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Department of Agriculture Research and Extension (DARE) and representative of the Delhi Government. Besides, monitoring the situation, the Committee will assist the State Government in taking steps to contain the spread of Avian Influenza.
- National High Security lab for animal diseases – NIHSAD – the world body OIE recognised facility for disease diagnosis in South Asia and the Four Regional Laboratories, and the Central lab at IVRI have been instructed to give all assistance to the State Governments and get sample tested in an emergency response manner.
- In fact all 45 samples obtained from Delhi government at the Bhopal lab have been tested within the stipulated 72 hour time frame as per Bio-security level -4 requirements and 13 cases have tested positive for H5N8. Similarly test results have been given for other cases in Kerala, Punjab and MP. As per available reports from other states, the disease incidence is in control.
- It may recall that on 17.10.2016 some birds had died in the Delhi Zoological Park and thereafter birds had died in six other areas.
- A sample was sent to NIHSAD, and on the same day it was confirmed that the birds had died of H5NH8 virus.
- A close watch is being maintained and necessary advisories have been issued to all states to keep a vigil on areas frequented by birds both domestic and migratory.
Steps taken to overcome-
- The Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries Department of the States have issued guidelines for maintaining cleanliness in the zoological parks housing wild birds, water bodies as well as meat / poultry market areas where meat is sold.
- Necessary precautions for human beings coming in the contact with poultry have also been reinforced although as per WHO observations, the transmission of H5N8 virus is very low. Also there will be no trade impact of the incidence as per global OIE criteria.
- All bird sanctuaries and areas where there are lakes have been advised to keep a close watch on the situation and in case of any suspicious death of birds, the State Government and the Centre may be notified.
- No further test results are presently required by Delhi government to continue with its bio-security measures for implementing the National Action Plan for Control and Containment of the Avian Influenza, 2015 guidelines.
- Full support of the government of India health department, urban development department, environment department apart from animal husbandry department under the ministry of agriculture & farmers welfare is being provided and there is full communication with the Delhi government on the on-going steps to contain and control the disease incidence.
- Daily meetings are being held at the Animal Husbandry Commissioner level in DADF to advise the State Governments in case of emergency.
CBDT signs 5 Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers, raising the total number of APAs to 108
About- The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance entered into five (5) Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) on 27th October, 2016 with Indian taxpayers.
Agreements cover a range of- International transactions, including sale of finished goods, purchase of raw materials, software development services, IT enabled services, exports and interest payment.
Agreements pertain to different industrial sectors like- Manufacturing, IT services, etc.
Agreements provide certainty to the taxpayers for- 5 years with regard to the covered international transactions.
- APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the Rollback provisions were introduced in 2014.
- Scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the arm’s length price of international transactions in advance for a maximum period of five future years.
- Further, the taxpayer has the option to roll-back the APA for four preceding years.
- Since its inception, the APA scheme has attracted tremendous interest among Multi National Enterprises (MNEs) and more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) have been filed in just four years.
- With this signing, the total number of APAs signed so far has reached 108.
- These include 4 bilateral APAs and 104 unilateral APAs since 2013-14. Of these, 44 APAs have been concluded in 7 months of the current Financial Year itself.
Launch of dedicated website for DGAD, Department of Commerce
(Topic: Commerce and Industries)
About- Commerce Secretary launched a more informative, user-friendly, dedicated website (http://www.dgtr.gov.in/) for DGAD for disseminating information/activities being performed by DGAD. She also inaugurated the additional office space developed by NBCC to meet the requirements of increased work responsibilities and to ensure optimal functioning of the Directorate.
- Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties was constituted in April, 1998 and was headed by Designated Authority of the level of Joint Secretary to the government of India who is assisted by an Adviser.
- In addition there are eleven Investigating and Costing Officers with varied relevant experience to conduct investigation.
- The Directorate is responsible for carrying out investigations and recommending, where required under the Customs Tariff Act, the amount of ant dumping duty countervailing duty on the identified articles as would be adequate to remove injury to the domestic industry.
- Dedicated CVD Cell that was created in DGAD to defend the interests of Indian exporters against the anti-dumping/countervailing investigations initiated by foreign governments on Indian exports.
- DGAD has continuously raised its working standards, which are reflected in the record number of 51 cases of findings issued by DGAD in 2015-16.
- In the current FY 2016-17, DGAD has already issued 18 cases of final findings and 3 cases of preliminary findings.
- DGAD has also in collaboration with Centre for WTO Studies and WTO Secretariat organized a Regional Anti-Dumping Workshop in New Delhi, India during 3rd – 5th October, 2016 to exchange information and views on laws and regulations relating to trade remedy measures and to enhance cooperation in the area of trade remedies.
‘Mobile Air Dispensary’ for remote areas of the North-East
(Topic: Development of North Eastern Region)
About- Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, has proposed “Mobile Air Dispensary” service for remote and far-flung areas of Northeast.
Mobile Air Dispensary-
- It envisage a mobile dispensary in a Helicopter with a doctor, necessary equipment and medicines that can fly to remote and far-flung on regular basis and also, as and when required.
- In areas from where patients find it difficult to reach a dispensary, a doctor with dispensary can reach them. The same experiment, which would possibly be the first of its kind in the country, can also be replicated in other hill States and remote areas having poor connectivity like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh etc.
Idea taken from-
“Royal Flying Service of Australia”, popularly known as “Flying Doctors”, which is meant to provide aid and primary health care service in rural and remote areas.
Ministry of Communications & Information Technology25-October, 2016 11:46 IST
Ministry of Shipping
Development of National Waterway -1 Driving Economic Benefits and Employment Opportunities in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal
(Topic: Water transport)
About- Development of Inland Water Transport is one of the major endeavours of the Ministry of Shipping.
- The Phase-1 of Jal Marg Vikas project will cover the Haldia- Varanasi stretch.
- The project includes development of fairway, Multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Haldia and Sahibganj, strengthening of river navigation system, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking, construction of new state of the art navigational lock at Farakka etc.
Project is expected to facilitate-
- Navigation of commercial vessels with the capacity of 1500-2000 Tons. It has been taken up with the technical and financial assistance of World Bank.
- The development works on NW-1 is expected to drive the economic growth of States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
Project will help in–
- De-siltation of the river and will improve the water flow through scientific dredging allowing navigable depth upto 2.3 to 3 meters over a width of 45 meters.
- In this project there will be no need to construct barrages on this stretch of National Waterway – 1 (Haldia to Varanasi) also.
- The consolidated environment impact assessment report has not indicated any adverse impact on the ecology of the river due to this project, making this project feasible from the environment perspective.
New Revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Republic of Korea comes into force with effect from 12th September, 2016
About- A new revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Korea for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income was signed on 18th May 2015 during the visit of the PM to Seoul.
Will come into force from-
- It has now come into force on 12th September 2016, on completion of procedural requirements by both countries. The earlier Double Taxation Avoidance Convention between India and Korea was signed on 19th July, 1985 and was notified on 26th September 1986.
- Provisions of the new DTAA will have effect in India in respect of income derived in fiscal years beginning on or after 1st April, 2017.
Some of the salient features of new DTAA are-
- The existing DTAA provided for residence based taxation of capital gains on shares. In line with India’s policy of taxation of capital gains on shares, the revised DTAA provides for source based taxation of capital gains arising from alienation of shares comprising more than 5% of share capital.
- In order to promote cross border flow of investments and technology, the revised DTAA provides for reduction in withholding tax rates from 15% to 10% on royalties or fees for technical services and from 15% to 10% on interest income
- The revised DTAA expands the scope of dependent agent Permanent Establishment provisions in line with India’s policy of source based taxation
- To facilitate movement of goods through shipping between two countries and in accordance with international principle of taxation of shipping income, the revised DTAA provides for exclusive residence based taxation of shipping income from international traffic under Article 8 of revised DTAA.
- The revised DTAA, with the introduction of Article 9(2), provides recourse to the taxpayers of both countries to apply for Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) in transfer pricing disputes as well as apply for bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APA). Further, as per understanding reached between the two sides, MAP requests in transfer pricing cases can be considered if the request is presented by the tax payer to its competent authority after entry into force of revised DTAA and within three years of the date of receipt of notice of action giving rise to taxation not in accordance with the DTAA.
- It may be added that a MoU on suspension of collection of taxes during the pendency of Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) has already been signed by Competent Authorities of India and Korea on 9th December 2015. The MoU provides for suspension of collection of outstanding taxes during the pendency of MAP proceedings for a period of two years (extendable for a further maximum period of three years) subject to providing on demand security / bank guarantee.
- The Article on Exchange of Information is updated to the latest international standard to provide for exchange of information to the widest possible extent. As per revised Article, the country from which information is requested cannot deny the information on the ground of domestic tax interest. Further, the revised DTAA contains express provisions to facilitate exchange of information held by banks. Information exchanged under the revised DTAA can now be used for other law enforcement purposes with authorization of information supplying country.
- The revised DTAA inserts new Article for assistance in collection of taxes between tax authorities.
- The revised DTAA inserts new Limitation of Benefits Article i.e. anti-abuse provisions to ensure that the benefits of the Agreement are availed only by the genuine residents of both the countries
- The revised DTAA aims to avoid the burden of double taxation for taxpayers of two countries in order to promote and thereby stimulate flow of investment, technology and services between India and Korea. The revised DTAA provides tax certainty to the residents of India and Korea.
Ministry of Science & Technology
Impacting Farmers’ lives through Science Biotech-Kisan & Cattle Genomics
About- As a part of the Government’s focus on the development of programmes that aim to directly and positively impact people’s lives rapidly, the Ministry of Science and Technology has been at the forefront in many of these initiatives. Two Farmer-Centric initiatives of this Ministry are Biotech-KISAN and Cattle Genomics. The two programs are intended to have major impact on rural livelihood through science.
Biotech- KISAN (Krishi Innovation Science Application Network) Empowering Small- and Women- Farmers with Science Implementation
- Biotech-KISAN is a new programme that empowers farmers, especially women farmers. Cash crops and horticulture can be a major source of income but the vagaries of climate, disease and market often prevent this. Farmers are eager to use scientific tools that can mitigate these factors.
- The Department of Biotechnology is partnering to stimulate these exciting directions.
- The Scheme is for farmers, developed by and with farmers, it empowers women, impacts locally, connects globally, is Pan-India, has a hub-and spoke model and stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in farmers.
- For Farmers-The Biotech-KISAN is a Farmer centric scheme launched by of the Department of Biotechnology, where scientists will work in sync with farmers to understand problems and find solutions.
- By Farmers-Developed in consultation with the farmers. Soil, Water, Seed and Market are some key points that concern small and marginal farmers. Biotech-KISAN aims to link farmers, scientists and science institutions across the country in a network that identifies and helps solve their problems in a cooperative manner.
- Empower women- The woman farmer is often neglected. It is important to empower the women farmer, help her meet her concerns for better seed, storage of seed and protection of the crops from disease and pest. The women farmer is also the prime caretaker of livestock and she is eager to combine traditional wisdom in handling the livestock and with current best practices, especially in the context of emerging livestock disease. The scheme includes the-
- Mahila Biotech- KISAN fellowships, for training and education in farm practices, for women farmers.
- Scheme aims to support the women farmers/ entrepreneur in their small enterprises, making her a grass root innovator.
- Connects Globally- Biotech-KISAN will connect farmers to best global practices; training workshops will be held in India and other countries. Farmers and Scientists will partner across the globe.
- Impacts Locally. The scheme is targeted towards the least educated marginalised farmer; Scientists will spend time on farms and link communication tools to soil, water seed and market. The aim is to understand individual problems of the smallholding farmers and provide ready solutions.
- Across India. Biotech KISAN will connect farmers with science in the 15 agro-climatic zones of the country in a manner, which constantly links problems with available solutions.
- Hubs and Spoke. In each of these 15 regions, a Farmer organisation will be the hub connected to different science labs, Krishi Vigyan Kendra and State Agriculture Universities co-located in the region. The hub will reach out to the farmers in the region and connect them to scientists and institutions.
- Farmers as Innovators. The hub will have tinkering lab, communication cell and will run year-long training, awareness, workshops and which will act as education demonstration units to encourage grass root innovation in the young as well as women farmers
- Communicating Best Practises There will be a communication set-up to make radio and TV programmes for local stations, as well as daily connectivity through social media.
Cattle Genomics: Taking Indigenous Livestock to Pole Position
- Livestock contributes significantly to the livelihood of rural poor in our country and has enormous potential to reduce poverty.
- There is a predicted increase in demand for animal food products in India by 2020.
- In the wake of climate change challenges, quality breeding of indigenous livestock is essential.
- When breeding is selective, the native livestock can transform the lives of small farmers. Genomic selection will ensure high-yielding, disease-resistant, resilient livestock.
- Selecting hardy livestock that give high-yields.Better livestock can be genetically, selected which ultimately leads to enhancement of productivity in a sustainable, resilient manner.
Issues with Traditional Breeding-
- Traditional Breeding takes time. Genetic improvement of livestock through traditional selection for increasing livestock productivity has major limitations. To overcome these, genomic selection has played a crucial role in livestock industry globally.
- Global best methods for local livestock. Genomic selection will transform local livestock breeding. This uses information on variation in DNA sequences between animals to predict the breeding value of animals more accurately.
- Development of high-density DNA chips. This will reduce the cost and time interval of breeding program in future and productivity of indigenous cattle will be enhanced.
Genome sequencing of indigenous cattle breeds from all registered cattle breeds of India by involving various stakeholders is to start soon.