Current Affairs 17th Nov 2017

1 . GST  ANTI – PROFITEERING  BODY

SOURCE – FINANCIAL  EXPRESS

RELEVANCE – GS MAINS III

What is GST anti-profiteering body and how does it help consumers?

  • Aiming to protect consumers’ interest, the Narendra Modi government has given its nod for the establishment of a National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST (Goods and Services Tax).
  • According to the Cabinet release, the anti-profiteering authority will “ensure that the benefits of the reduction in GST rates on goods or services are passed on to the ultimate consumers by way of a reduction in prices”.

What is a GST anti-profiteering body?

  • Now, consumers who believe that the benefit of reduction in prices is not being passed on when they purchase any goods or services may apply for relief to the Screening Committee in the state where the issue has been faced.
  • In case the issue relates to an item of mass impact with ‘All India’ ramification, the application may be directly made to the Standing Committee.
  • After forming a prima facie view that there is an element of profiteering, the Standing Committee shall refer the matter for detailed investigation to the Director General of Safeguards, CBEC, which shall report its findings to the NAA.
  • The GST Anti-profiteering body has the authority to act and tell the concerned business or supplier to reduce prices or undue benefit availed by it along with interest to the recipient of the goods or services.
  • If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the recipient, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund.
  • In extreme cases, the NAA can impose a penalty on the defaulting business entity and even order the cancellation of its registration under GST.

How does the GST anti-profiteering body help consumers?

  • The GST anti-profiteering body would ensure that the consumer remains the king.
  • It would keep a check on industry.
  • Any benefit of lower rates that the government intends to pass on will find its way to the consumer.
  • More importantly, the very presence of the anti-profiteering body will act as a deterrent for the industry to not indulge in malpractices.

 

2 . GOVERNMENT   DIRECTS   NTPC   TO   BUY   CROP   RESIDUES

SOURCE – HINDU

RELEVANCE – GS MAINS III

  • The government has directed the state-run power producer NTPC to mix crop residue pellets with coal for power generation in its thermal power plants in a bid to curb crop burning in Punjab and Haryana, one of the reasons behind the pollution crisis in Delhi and its neighbourhood.
  • This step would earn farmers Rs. 5,500 per tonne of crop residue.
  • This step would reduce crop residue burning in agriculture dominated States like Punjab, Haryana, etc. and hence reduce air pollution that is currently being experienced.

 

3 . CURBS   ON   EXPORT   OF   PULSES   REMOVED

SOURCE – HINDU

RELEVANCE – GS MAINS III

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has abolished all curbs on export of pulses to allow farmers to seek remunerative prices for their output.
  • Opening of exports of all types of pulses will help the farmers dispose of their products at remunerative prices and encourage them to expand the area of sowing.
  • India produced 23 million tonnes of pulses in 2016-17 and the government has set a target to produce 22.90 million tonnes in 2017-18.

 

4 . GARBAGE   BURNING   IN   URBAN   AREAS   BANNED   IN   UP

SOURCE – HINDU

RELEVANCE – GS MAINS III

  • As air quality in major cities of Uttar Pradesh hovers around “very poor” and “severe,” Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has instructed municipal corporations to put an end to garbage burning.
  • The government has also sought assistance from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, to create artificial rain.
  • The government is considering a review of the condition of old vehicles. It could remove them from roads, if necessary, to reduce vehicular pollution.
  • The Chief Minister has instructed District Collectors of all districts to prevent burning of crop stubble in rural areas. An awareness programme involving farmers would soon be initiated.
  • The AIR Quality Index of major cities in Uttar radesh like Moradabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Varanasi and Noida has consistently been in the higher range of 400. It even touched 500 on a few days leaving the residents worried.

Know  about  National Air Quality Index (AQI)

  • The National Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched in New Delhi on 17 September 2014 under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
  • While the earlier measuring index was limited to three indicators, the new index measures eight parameters.
  • There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe.
  • The  AQI considers eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb) for which short-term (up to 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed.
  • Based on the measured ambient concentrations, corresponding standards and likely health impact, a sub-index is calculated for each of these pollutants.
  • The worst sub-index reflects overall AQI.

 

5 . ASSAM   TEA   PLANTERS   TO   MOVE   CENTRE   AGAINST   ASEAN   FTA

SOURCE – HINDU

RELEVANCE – GS MAINS III

Assam tea producers see the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement as a major threat.

    • Assam tea planters have decided to move the Union Ministry for Industry and Commerce and Tea Board of India against the ASEAN free trade agreement which envisages reducing agriculture commodity import tariffs to 50 per cent.
    • Planters in Assam, which is India’s largest tea-producing state, fear that cheap tea will flood the Indian market and Indian tea will not be able to withstand the competition owing to high labour cost, low productivity of labours and land, and ever increasing input cost.
    • There is a proposal to lower tariff from 110 per cent to 50 per cent by 2019.
    • The ASEAN free trade agreement was signed in 2007-08 by the then Government under which the present Government is obligated to reduce agriculture commodity import tariffs to 50 per cent .