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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 14th AUGUST 2020

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  • August 14, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


“Transparent Taxation — Honouring the Honest” platform

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Govt policies and initiatives; Economy – Taxation

In news:

  • “Transparent Taxation — Honouring the Honest” platform was launched recently.
  • The platform provides faceless assessment, faceless appeal and a taxpayers’ charter.

Faceless Assessment:

  • Under faceless assessment, the scrutiny of returns of a taxpayer will be done by a tax officer selected at random and not necessarily from the same jurisdiction.
  • This will do away the need for any face-to-face contact between the taxpayer and tax official, thereby reducing the chances of coercion and rent-seeking.
  • The move is expected to ease the compliance burden for assessees and reward the “honest taxpayer”, who plays a big role in nation-building.
  • A faceless tax system would give the taxpayer confidence on fairness and fearlessness.
  • It helps to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of income taxpayers.
  • The assessment system seeks to eliminate corrupt practices by doing away with the territorial jurisdiction of income-tax offices.

Faceless appeal facility:

  • This facility would be available to all citizens from September 25 (Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s birth anniversary)
  • A faceless appeal system would allow the taxpayer to appeal against a tax official’s decision without the need of making a physical representation.

Taxpayers’ charter

  • The taxpayers’ charter was announced in the Union Budget for fiscal year 2020-21 by the Finance Minister.
  • The charter outlines the rights and duties of an honest taxpayer.
  • It also defines the commitment of the tax department and the expectations from the taxpayers.
  • It is a step towards bringing together rights and duties of the taxpayer and fixing the government’s responsibilities towards the taxpayer

Do you know?

  • All these above reforms are likely to empower citizens by ensuring time-bound services by the Income Tax Department.
  • PM appealed to those not paying taxes, despite having the ability, to come forward and commit themselves to the cause of making the country self-reliant.

Arunachal groups push for 6th Schedule status

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Indian Polity – Schedules

Context:

Some political parties and community-­based groups in Arunachal Pradesh called for –

  • bringing the entire Arunachal Pradesh under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule or Article 371 (A) of the Constitution
  • revival of the demand for two autonomous councils

Currently, Arunachal Pradesh is a Fifth Schedule State, that “does not provide special rights for the indigenous communities” unlike the Sixth Schedule.

Important Value Additions:

Fifth and Sixth schedules of Indian constitution

These two schedules provide for alternate or special governance mechanisms for certain ‘scheduled areas’ in mainland and certain ‘tribal areas’ in north-eastern India.

  • The Fifth Schedule designates Schedule areas in large parts of India in which the interests of the Scheduled Tribes are to be protected. The Scheduled area has more than 50 per cent tribal population.
  • The Sixth Schedule is related to the administration of North Eastern states i.e. the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram in the North-east. It has provisions for the formation of autonomous districts and autonomous regions within the districts as there are different schedule tribes within the district.

Why demand for 6th schedule over 5th schedule?

The Sixth Schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.

  • Passed by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, it seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).
  • ADCs are bodies representing a district to which the Constitution has given varying degrees of autonomy within the state legislature.
  • The governors of these states are empowered to reorganise boundaries of the tribal areas. In simpler terms, she or he can choose to include or exclude any area, increase or decrease the boundaries and unite two or more autonomous districts into one. They can also alter or change the names of autonomous regions without a separate legislation.

Autonomous districts and regional councils

  • Along with ADCs, the Sixth Schedule also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region.
  • In all, there are 10 areas in the Northeast that are registered as autonomous districts – three in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura.
  • These regions are named as district council of (name of district) and regional council of (name of region).

ADCs empowered with civil and judicial powers

  • The ADCs are empowered with civil and judicial powers, can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear trial of cases involving the tribes. Governors of states that fall under the Sixth Schedule specifies the jurisdiction of high courts for each of these cases.
  • The councils are also empowered to make legislative laws on matters like land, forests, fisheries, social security, entertainment, public health, etc. with due approval from the governor. The roles of the central and state governments are restricted from the territorial jurisdiction of these autonomous regions.
  • Also, Acts passed by Parliament and state legislatures may or may not be levied in these regions unless the President and the governor gives her or his approval, with or without modifications in the laws for the autonomous regions.

ILO Conventions on child labour

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Social/Child issue; International Organizations and Conventions

News:

All 187 countries that are members of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) have now ratified a convention No. 182 to protect children from the worst forms of child labour, including slavery, prostitution and trafficking. The Pacific island nation Tonga became the final country to ratify the treaty.

The two ILO Conventions on child labour are Convention No.138 on Minimum Age and Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

  • The aim of ILO Convention No.138 on the minimum age is the effective abolition of child labour by requiring countries to: 1) establish a minimum age for entry into work or employment; and 2) establish national policies for the elimination of child labour.
  • The Recommendation No. 146 which accompanies Convention No. 138, stresses that national policies and plans should provide for: poverty alleviation and the promotion of decent jobs for adults, so that parents do not need to resort to child labour; free and compulsory education and provision of vocational training; extension of social security and systems for birth registration; and appropriate facilities for the protection of children, and adolescents who work.
  • Convention No. 182 requires countries to take ratifying countries to take immediate, effective and time-bound measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labour as a matter of urgency.
  • The Recommendation No. 190 , which accompanies Convention No. 182, recommends that any definition of “hazardous work” should include: work which exposes children to physical, psychological or sexual abuse; work underground, underwater, at dangerous heights or in confined spaces; work with dangerous machinery, equipment and tools or carrying heavy loads; exposure to hazardous substances, agents or processes, or to temperatures, noise levels or vibrations damaging to health; work for long hours, night work, and unreasonable confinement to the premises of the employer.

These Conventions have been ratified by India

  • Core Conventions of the ILO: – The eight Core Conventions of the ILO (also called fundamental/human rights conventions) are:
  • Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)
  • Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105)
  • Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)
  • Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)
  • Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
  • Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182)

These Conventions have not been ratified by India

  • Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention (No.87)
  • Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98)

India-Australia security cooperation

Part of: GS Mains II and III – India-Aus Bilateral ties; International Relations; Cyber Security

Context:

  • India and Australia shared experiences on protecting critical infrastructure, including 5G networks.
  • Both the countries are working on cybersecurity cooperation.
  • Another area which the two countries were exploring was of regulatory space, including Australia’s encryption legislation, and how that could be used to prevent cyber-­enabled crime.

Do you know?

  • In June, both the countries signed a cyber and cyber­-enabled critical technology framework agreement along with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).

India-Maldives: mn package

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India-Maldives Bilateral ties; International Relations

Context:

  • India announced a slew of new connectivity measures for the Maldives – which includes air, sea, intra-­island and telecommunications.
  • The above move is an effort to help the Indian Ocean Islands deal with the economic impact of the COVID­19 pandemic.

Initiatives proposed:

  • Air connectivity “bubble” for travel
  • direct ferry service
  • Submarine cable for telecom connectivity
  • assistance for the Greater Male Connectivity project (GMCP)

At present, India-assisted projects in the region include water and sewerage projects on 34 islands, reclamation project for the Addl island, a port on Gulhifalhu, airport redevelopment at Hanimadhoo, and a hospital and a cricket stadium in Hulhumale.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 14th AUGUST 2020

Do you know?

  • India to fund the implementation of the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) in the Maldives with mn packages.
  • The GMCP will consist of a number of bridges and causeways to connect Male to Villingili, Thilafushi and Gulhifahu islands that span 6.7 km.
  • It would ease much of the pressure of the main capital island of Male for commercial and residential purposes.

Indian Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Defence

About:

  • Defence Minister launched the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO).
  • The NIIO puts in place dedicated structures for the end users to interact with academia and industry towards fostering innovation and indigenisation for self-reliance in defence.
  • The NIIO is a three-­tiered organisation.
  • The Naval Technology Acceleration Council (N­TAC) will bring together the twin aspects of innovation and indigenisation and provide apex level directives.

Do you know?

  • The Draft Defence Acquisition Policy 2020 (DAP 20) rolled out by the Defence Ministry last month envisaged establishment of Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation by the Service Headquarters.
  • Indian Navy already has a functional Directorate of Indigenisation and the new structures created will build upon the ongoing indigenisation initiatives, as well as focus on innovation.
  • A compendium of Indian Navy’s Indigenisation perspective plans titled ‘SWAVLAMBAN’ was also released.
  • A Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC) has also been created for induction of emerging disruptive technology in an accelerated time frame.

Miscellaneous:

UAE, Israel agrees to establish diplomatic ties

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Affairs

Context:

  • United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties.
  • The above move is part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.

Do you know?

  • The announcement makes the UAE the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties to Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.

“Majoritarianism is not nationalism” – Romila Thapar

About:

According to renowned historian of ancient India Professor Romila Thapar

“Nationalism is the reflection of how people in a society think about their collective self. The collective means that everyone that constitutes the nation should be included as equal citizens. But when nationalism is defined by a single identity, which can either be language or religion or even ethnicity, then nationalism gets derailed into majoritarianism. And majoritarianism is not nationalism.”

According to Thapar – struggle for Independence had an “all-­inclusive nationalism of Indians opposed to British rule”, however, the insistence on two nations by the British led to a nationalism defined by religion that found acceptance among some Indians.


(MAINS FOCUS)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Infrastructure
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

New Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (NAIF)

Context: Agricultural distress that preceded Pandemic and government’s vision of doubling Farmer’s income (Ahok Dalwai Committee)

Previous Government measures to Improve Farm Infrastructure

  • National Horticultural Board provides credit-linked subsidy on capital investments in pre-cooling units, controlled/modified atmosphere cold stores, reefer vans, ripening/curing chambers and other such post-harvest infrastructure.
  • A lot of storage capacity, including low-cost scientifically-built on-farm structures, has been created for onions under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

About NAI Fund

  • It is financing facility for setting up warehousing, cold chain, processing and other post-harvest management infrastructure
  • It provides an interest subvention of 3 per cent on loans of up to Rs 2 crore for a maximum seven-year period.
  • To implement the fund effectively and in order to make it attractive for banks, the loans would also have government-backed credit coverage against defaults
  • The borrowers are mainly to be FPOs (farmer producer organisations) and primary agricultural cooperative societies
  • It has a targeted disbursement of Rs 1 lakh crore over the current and next three fiscals.

Significance of NAI Fund

  • Promotes Agro-processing: NAI Fund means increased investments in produce shelf life extension and value addition (indirectly encourages food processing sector)
  • Reduces Wastage: 16% of fruits and vegetables and up to 10% of cereals, oil seeds and pulses are wasted in the country due to inadequate post-harvest infrastructure.
  • Complementing the recent reforms: Government had issued ordinances removing stockholding restrictions on major foodstuffs and dismantling the monopoly of regulated mandis in the trading of farm produce.
  • Phased Disposal of Produce empowers farmer: Being able to store their produce, enables farmers to harvest their crop, say, in March and make staggered sales till November to take advantage of higher off-season rates

Criticisms

  • Additional Scheme: It would have made sense to merge all existing schemes with the new fund so as to better leverage government money.
  • Its benefits will only accrue in the medium- to long-term. The government must not lose sight of the immediate economic challenge of boosting growth and incomes.
  • Not a panacea: Cold chains and agro-processing cannot solve all of agricultural problems for ex: three-fourths of India’s sugarcane crop is “processed” by mills and issue of cane arrears still persist

Value Addition

Do You Know How Policy focus on agriculture has changed since Independence?

  • The focus of policymakers during the first 40 years after Independence was raising farm production.
  • In the subsequent two decades, they started paying more attention to agri-infrastructure and agro-processing.
  • In today’s age of self-sufficiency & surplus produce, focus should be in crop planning and information dissemination (leveraging Data Analytics) to help farmers better align their production decisions to market demand.

Connecting the dots:

  • Ashok Dalwai Committee of doubling farm income
  • Essential Commodities Act

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Which one of the following statements regarding the levying, collecting and distribution of Income Tax is correct?

  1. The Union levies, collects and distributes the proceeds of income tax between itself and states.
  2. The Union levies, collects and keeps all the proceeds of income tax to itself
  3. The Union levies and collects the tax but all the proceeds are distributed among the states
  4. Only the surcharge levied on income tax is shared between the Union and the states

Q.2) Income tax in India is

  1. progressive
  2. regressive
  3. proportional
  4. based on benefit principle

Q.3) The Sixth Schedule is related to the administration of the states of

  1. Assam
  2. Meghalaya
  3. Arunachal Pradesh
  4. Tripura
  5. Mizoram

Select the correct statements

  1. 1, 2, 3 and 4
  2. 1, 2, 4 and 5
  3. 2, 3, 4 and 5
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 5

Q.4) Which of the followings is/are related to Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas?

  1. Article 244
  2. 91st Constitutional Amendment
  3. Article 339
  4. Article 332

Select the correct code

  1. 1 and 3
  2. 1 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Q.5) The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour:

  1. ILO Convention number 182
  2. ILO Convention number 138
  3. ILO Convention number 192
  4. ILO Convention number 148

ANSWERS FOR 13th August 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 A
3 A
4 A
5 D
6 C
7 B

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