IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 2nd July 2018
GST: 1 year assessment
Part of: GS Mains III – Indian Economy; Government policy/schemes
From previous article (30 June 2018 – 1 Year of GST: Assessment), we came to know the following –
GST was launched with the intention to achieve:
- Higher and efficient tax collection;
- lead to ease of doing business;
- eliminate cascading effect;
- make markets efficient;
- lead to lower prices.
The indirect tax regime (GST) was presented as a win-win situation for everyone.
Performance of GST after 1 year:
- Businesses have not yet experienced ‘ease of doing business’
- IT functioning of the GST Network (GSTN) – unsatisfactory and delays in access
- Complexity of the tax filing system
- even though 17 taxes were replaced by one tax, simplification did not follow
- has led to reverse charge mechanism (RCM)
- Both big and small businesses facing severe difficulties
- Frequent problems and changes made by GST Council – leading to confusions
- Separate taxing system – Composition Scheme and anti-profiteering clause – was brought in
- Failure and postponement of e-waybill system
- Prices have not fallen, rather GST has contributed to inflation
- Complex tax structure
- cascading effect continues
What government says?
- Government expects GST monthly revenue to exceed ₹1.1 lakh cr
- State-wise GST collection is show below
Bhakti saint Ramanuja
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Indian Culture and Heritage
- Bhakti saint Ramanuja statue is set to become the world’s second tallest statue of a seated figure, at 216 feet.
- The figure has been assembled from 1,500 pieces and is located near Shamshabad Airport.
- The year 2017 marksed 1000th birth anniversary (millennium)
Important value additions
About Sri Ramanuja Acharya
- Birth place Sriperumbudur, TN
- He was the greatest Vaishnava acharya. (Vaishnava Theologist)
- Born in 1017 CE, Ramanujacharya was a Hindu theologian, philosopher, and one of the most important exponents of the Sri Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism.
- His guru – Yādava Prakāsa (part of Advaita Vedānta monastic tradition)
- Ramanuja followed the footsteps of Indian Alvārs tradition, the scholars Nāthamuni and Yamunāchārya.
- Famus works – wrote bhāsya on the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, all in Sanskrit.
- He is famous as the chief proponent of Vishishtadvaita (sub-school of Vedānta).
- According to him God is Sagunabrahman. He also advocated prabattimarga or path of self-surrender to God. To attain salvation – through intense devotion to Vishnu.
- Rāmānuja‘s philosophical foundation was qualified monism, and is called Vishishtadvaita in the Hindu tradition.
- The Visishtadvaita is so called because it inculcates the Advaita (or oneness of God) with Visesha (or attributes). It is, therefore, qualified monism.
- His ideas are one of three subschools in Vedānta, the other two are known as Ādi Shankara’s Advaita (absolute monism) and Madhvāchārya’s Dvaita (dualism).
INS Sahyadri and RIMPAC
Part of: GS Prelims – International; Defence; Security
- RIMPAC – world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise
- 26 Countries including India to participate in RIMPAC
- The exercise will be held from June 27 to August 2, 2018 in and around Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
- The theme for this year’s RIMPAC exercise is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.”
- Four countries Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnamare are participating for first time.
- US had withdrawn invitation of Chinese navy in response to China’s continued illegal militarisation of islands in disputed South China Sea.
- It is held once in two years.
- India is a member.
Do you know?
- Indigenously built stealth frigate, INS Sahyadri to participate in RIMPAC.
- 2018 RIMPAC is the 26th edition of RIMPAC, hosted by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM)
- INS Sahyadri wins praise for integrating yoga into regime
Person in news: Commander Abhilash Tomy
Part of: GS Prelims
- Commander Abhilash Tomy of the Indian Navy, a well-known sailor, is participating in the historic Golden Globe Race (GGR)
- Tomy is the only invitee from Asia to the GGR
- There are 18 participants, including one woman sailor, in the race.
Race on traditional means:
- The participants are required to sail around the world, single-handed and non-stop. The uniqueness of the race is that boat designs and technology newer than 1968 is not permitted, so the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS), satellite communication or modern navigational aids is forbidden.
- Participants will rely on traditional means of navigation, such as physical maps and observing stars, as they sail through the high seas in a 30,000-mile journey. The sailors are provided with a satellite phone for medical emergencies.
Do you know?
- The GGR is being conducted by U.K.-based sailing pioneer Sir Robin Knox Johnston to commemorate 50 years since the world’s first solo non-stop circumnavigation by him on-board the Indian-built boat Suhaili, in 1968.
- Commander Tomy is the only Indian to complete solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe in 2012-13, on-board the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Mhadei, and has covered 53,000 nautical miles under sail.
- He is representing India in the indigenously built sailing vessel Thuriya, a replica of Suhaili. The race is expected to end at Les Sables d’Olonne in April 2019.
Fast recap: INSV Tarini
- We had read about INSV Tarini, the naval sail ship with an all-women crew circumnavigating the globe.
- The expedition is named as ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’
- Mhadei river of Goa
TOPIC:General Studies 2:
- Indian Polity
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Bhima-Koregaon and the fault in UAPA
- The below article highlights how the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) has been misused and calls for the changes/amendment, thereby to safeguard and protect personal liberty or civil rights of individual/s.
- During Constituent Assembly meeting, some of the members warned and objected to the wide range of restrictions that had been imposed upon fundamental rights in the draft Constitution.
- Multiple “Public Safety Acts” and “Defence of India Acts” drew attention of the Assembly, whether such laws (which were favourite weapons of the colonial regime) are needed for India?
The arrest of five activists in the Bhima Koregaon case and the charges filed against them under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act – throws the fears expressed in the CA into sharp relief.
Do we need such “exceptional” laws?
- It may not be in sync with best democratic practices, but almost all contemporary liberal democratic regimes have an assemblage of such “exceptional” laws.
- Often referred to as “extraordinary” laws, such laws are designed to, and legitimised by, the persistence of extraordinary situations.
- Internal strife of a violent, destabilising nature, civil war, threats to national security and terror activities formed some of the reasons for the enactment of extraordinary laws globally.
Concern: Based on the first impression, it seems like a fair proposition to have such laws but if we dig deep, these laws may be monstrous in their implications, they may violate civil liberties, but are still needed to deal with exceptional situations.
How UAPA fails?: Problem with UAPA
- The UAPA authorises the government to ban “unlawful organisations” and “terrorist organisations” (subject to judicial review), and penalises membership of such organisations. The problems begin with the definitional clause itself.
- Under vague and nebulous definitions of terror and unlawful activity, they often encompass a wide range of nonviolent political activity and suppress contrarian, dissenting ideological or political perspectives.
- They allow for detentions without a chargesheet, create strong presumptions against bail, admit in-custody confessions and tacitly sanction torture. Over the years, their victims have been many innocents, whose stories ought to bear upon the collective conscience of this nation.
- “Membership” of unlawful and terrorist organisations is a criminal offence, and in the latter case, it can be punished with life imprisonment. But the Act fails entirely to define what “membership” entails.
- It can consider anyone as a “member” if he/she possesses literature or books about a banned organisation; if he/she express sympathy with its aims; if he/she met other, “active” members; if he/she is present at any meetings.
The latest victim of one of our most enduring, exceptional laws – the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) – are the arrests made in the context of caste-based violence in the Bhima Koregaon town of Maharashtra.
In 2011, the Supreme Court attempted to narrow the scope of above mentioned provisions, holding that “membership” was limited to cases where an individual engaged in active incitement to violence. Anything broader than that, it ruled, would violate the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of association.
There are more than one occasion in recent years, where terror accused have been acquitted after spending more than a decade in jail. This is something for which there can be no compensation or restitution; and it is only made possible because the law places an unbreakable shackle upon personal liberty.
This too was something that the framers of the Constitution foresaw, and wished to avoid. However, as the CA debates reveal, the provision was meant to be used in rare and exceptional cases.
The framers did not intend — and the Constitution does not contemplate — the kind of perfect storm that exists when broad and vague provisions of public security laws are combined with statutory bars upon the grant of bail, and a legal system that takes years to complete a criminal trial.
The purpose of a Constitution and a bill of rights, however, is to establish a “culture of justification” where the state cannot abuse its power. Civil and political rights are based upon the understanding that at no point should so much power, and so much discretion, be vested in the state that it utterly overwhelms the individual.
The power to keep citizens incarcerated for long periods of time, on vague charges, and without affording them an opportunity to answer their accusers in a swift and fair trial, is an anathema to democracy and the rule of law.
The UAPA’s stringent provisions need amendments. The Bhima-Koregaon arrests provide us with yet another opportunity to rethink a legal regime that has obliterated the distinction between the normal and the abnormal.
Connecting the dots:
- Do you think the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should have no place in democratic India? Substantiate your view.
- Rather than a tool to moderate political antagonism, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act serves to strengthen the repressive arm of the state. Do you agree? Critically examine.
TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
- Security challenges and their management in border areas
- Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Gearing up for space wars
U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced about the creation of a “space force” or a sixth branch of the American armed forces.
The announcement has taken many by surprise within and outside the U.S.
America had aspirations to build space weapons right from the Cold War times. (An example being the Strategic Defense Initiative of the Reagan Administration)
The important shift expects to deny the Russians and the Chinese advantages in space. In other words, the intention of the U.S. is to see that it establishes and maintains dominance in space.
- Project space corps is easy to be said and tough to be implemented. It could undercut ongoing missions.
- It could very well increase budgetary allocations in the future.
- Physical environment of space is not conducive to the conduct of military operations without incurring serious losses in the form of spacecraft and debris.
- Energy requirements and technical demands of defending assets in space are enormous.
China and Russia’s responses
- China opposes the weaponisation of space, it knows that it is the prime target of this incipient force.
- With a range of terrestrial interests in direct conflict with the Americans, Beijing will be in no mood to allow U.S. space dominance.
- China’s space military programme has been dedicated to building “Assassin Mace” technologies (an array of kinetic and non-kinetic means of attack) — capabilities that are geared to help win wars rapidly.
- Russia has said that it will vigorously take on the U.S.. However, given its lack of the resources for competition, it will in all probability, for tactical reasons, align itself with China.
Implications for India
- American military goals, which are still undefined in space, could still have consequences for India.
- While India is officially committed to PAROS, or the prevention of an arms race in outer space, it is yet to formulate a credible official response to the Trump plan.
- India has yet to establish a credible space command of its own. And, its inter-services rivalries will have to be resolved about the command and control.
- Apart from US, India also has to be concerned about China’s space military programmes. China does possess a formidable space military programme that far exceeds current Indian capabilities.
Connecting the dots:
- Can space weapons play big role in India’s grand strategy? Will India come out with an official white paper on space weapons?
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
Q.1) Consider the following statements about Ramanuja
- He is the main proponent of Vishishtadvaita philosophy
- His ideas are one of three sub schools in Vedānta
Select the correct statements
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2) Match the following
- Advaita a. Ramanuja
- Dvaita b. Madhava
- Visishtadvaita c. Shankara
Select the correct answer using code below
- 1-a, 2-c, 3-b
- 1-c, 2-b, 3-a
- 1-b, 2-a, 3-c
- 1-c, 2-a, 3-b
Q.3) Consider the following Statements:
- Sankaracharya started a Hindu rivavalist movement and introduced the doctrine of Advaitavada or monoism.
- Ramanuja from Kannada region preached Dvaitavaad or dualism of Jivatma and Parmatma.
- Madhavacharya born near modern Chennai, preached Vishitadvaitvaad.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 and 3
- 3 only
- All of the above
Q.4) Consider the following statements
- Sankaracharya gave doctrine of Advaita
- Ramanuja considered God as Nirgunabrahma
- Madhav considered God as Sagunabrahma
Select the correct code
- Only 1
- 1 and 2 only
- 1 and 3 only
- All of the above
Q.5) Consider the following statements with respect to RIMPAC
- RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise jointly hosted by USA and China.
- It is held once in two years.
- India is a member of RIMPAC
Select the correct one
- 1 and 2 only
- 3 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1, 2, and 3
Q.6) ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ which was in news is associated with –
- the first ever attempt to circumnavigate the globe by an Indian crew.
- the first time an indigenous ship is being used to circumnavigate the globe.
- Indian Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy to complete solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.
- the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
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