CURRENT AFFAIRS 20th Dec 2017

1 . AEPC Export Awards 2016-17
  • The 22nd AEPC Export Awards 2016-17 were held on 18th Dec in  New Delhi.
  • The awards recognized the top achievers of the apparel industry and rewarded the best performers in a total of 18 categories.

ABOUT THE AWARD

AEPC Export Awards pay tribute to the success and innovative approaches of Indian apparel export companies. Extending across diverse product categories and including both long-established and start-up companies, the awards are a celebration of the contributions exporters have made to the industry and, in turn, the national economy. This year, AEPC recognized the achievers from the apparel Industry in a total of eighteen categories and for the first time, AEPC Export Awards included two new award categories viz. for sustainability and good practices.

WHAT IS AEPC ?

Incorporated in 1978, AEPC (Apparel Export Promotion Council) is the official body of apparel exporters in India that provides invaluable assistance to Indian exporters as well as importers/international buyers who choose India as their preferred sourcing destination for garments.

 

2 . Expenditure on Health Sector 
  • As per Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume 2 brought out by Ministry of Finance, expenditure by Government (Central and State Governments combined) on health as percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for last three years is as under:(i) 2014-15 – 1.2%(ii) 2015-16 – 1.4% (RE)(iii) 2016-17 – 1.5 % (BE)The National Health Policy 2017 envisages increasing expenditure by Government on health to 2.5% of GDP in a time bound manner by 2025. No target has been set for the current year.

 

3 . Initiatives Taken To Reduce Debt Burden Of Farmers 

To reduce the debt burden of farmers, the Government has taken the following major initiatives:

1 .  With a view to ensuring availability of agriculture credit at a reduced interest rate of 7% p.a. to farmers, the Government of India in the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW) implements an interest subvention scheme for short term crop loans up to Rs. 3.00 lakh. Under the said scheme, additional subvention of 3% is given to those farmers who repay their short term crop loan in time, thereby reducing the effective rate of interest to 4% p.a. for such farmers.

2 .  Reserve Bank of India has issued directions for Relief Measures to be provided by respective lending institutions in areas affected by natural calamities which, inter alia, include, restructuring/rescheduling of existing crop loans and term loans, extending fresh loans, relaxed security and margin norms, moratorium, etc. These directions have been so designed that the moment calamity is declared by the concerned District Authorities they are automatically set in motion without any intervention, thus saving precious time.

3 .  Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) provides a comprehensive insurance cover against failure of insured crops due to non-preventable natural risks, thus providing financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/ damage arising out of unforeseen events; stabilizing the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming; and encouraging them to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.

4 . For development of agriculture and welfare of farmers of the country, the Government in DAC&FW, is implementing various Central Sector/ Centrally Sponsored Schemes, which include:

(i) Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)

(ii) National Food Security Mission (NFSM)

(iii) National Agriculture Market (e-NAM)

(iv) National Mission For Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)

 

4 . Measures taken by Government to Control and Curb Parallel Economy in the recent past

The Government has taken several measures to effectively control and curb the prevalence of parallel economy and unaccounted transactions. Major steps in this regard constitute:-

1. Enactment of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015  to more effectively tackle the cases involving black money stashed abroad.

2. Enactment of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016  to effectively deal with domestic black money cases.

3 .  Constitution of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money in May, 2014 under Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship of two former Judges of Hon’ble Supreme Court.

4. Constitution of Multi-Agency Group (MAG) for coordinated and effective investigation in ‘Panama paper leaks’ cases and Paradise Leaks cases.

5. Task Force (TF) on Shell Companies constituted under the joint chairmanship of Revenue Secretary and Secretary (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) in February, 2017.

6.  Tracking & curbing cash transactions and strengthening third party reporting mechanism: Quoting of PAN made mandatory for sale or purchase of any goods/services above Rs. 2 Lakh.

7 .  Quoting of PAN made mandatory for all cash deposits above Rs. 50,000 and aggregating to more than Rs. 2.5 lakh for the period from 9 November to 31 December, 2016.

8 .  Further, Rule 114E of the Income Tax Rules, 1962 was amended to mandate the prescribed reporting entities to report all cash deposits above Rs. 2.5 Lakhs in savings accounts and Rs. 12.5 Lakhs in current account during the period from 9 November to 31 December, 2016.

9 .  Linking of Aadhar with PAN has been made mandatory for filing Income Tax Returns and for applying for new PAN from 1st July 2017.

10 . International Cooperation:

(i) Proactively engaging with foreign governments to enhance the exchange of information (EoI) under tax treaties, India has tax treaties with 148 foreign jurisdictions as on 30.06.2017

(ii) India joined a group of 48 countries as early adopters to new global standards for automatically exchanging information from 2017

(iii) India-Mauritius and India-Singapore tax treaties amended to adopt source based taxation of capital gains with a view to help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.

11 . Integration of PAN and TAN with MCA Portal

12 . Actions in the context of demonetization: The Income-tax Department adopted a multi-pronged approach to detect and seize undisclosed assets after the announcement of the demonetization scheme on 8 November, 2016. This included collection of high quality intelligence, identification and prioritization of high risk cases, creating deterrence while ensuring professionalism and integrity in investigations.

13 . Operation Clean Money initiated by the Income Tax Department on 31st January 2017

14 . Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 (PMGKY)

(i) .  The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 was enacted, which enabled levy of tax at a higher rate on the undisclosed income under which a person could declare his undisclosed cash by paying tax, surcharge & penalty totaling to 50% of the undisclosed income. Besides, he would have to keep 25% of the undisclosed income in Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, interest free for 4 years.

(ii) . 21000 persons disclosed Rs. 4,900 crore under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) on which Rs. 2,451 crore was collected as tax.

15 . The Income Declaration Scheme, 2016: 71,726 declarations declaring undisclosed income of Rs.67,382 crore were made under the scheme

 

5 . National Programme on use of Space Technology for Agriculture (NPSTA) 
  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare is proposing a new integrated programme, called National Programme on use of Space Technology for Agriculture (NPSTA), envisaging integrated use of Space and Geospatial Tools for Mapping, Monitoring and Management of Agriculture.
  • The programme will have four sub-programmes catering to various themes viz. Crop Assessment & Monitoring; Agricultural Resources Management; Disaster Monitoring and Mitigation and Satellite Communication and Navigation Applications.
  • All the current running programmes, such as FASAL (for crop forecasting), NADAMS (for drought assessment), CHAMAN (for horticultural assessment and development), KISAN (for crop insurance) and Crop Intensification planning, will be subsumed under this proposed programmes.

 

6 . Roadmap outlined by NITI Aayog for reforms in agriculture sector

A roadmap has been outlined by NITI Aayog for reforms in agriculture sector and doubling farmers income by 2022. The Roadmap  has identified seven sources of growth. These are:

(i) increase in productivity of crops.

(ii) increase in production of livestock.

(iii) improvement in efficiency of input use (cost saving).

(iv) increase in crop intensity.

(v) diversification towards high value crops.

(vi) improved price realization by farmers.

(vii) shift of cultivators to non-farm jobs.

 

7 . Government is examining the legal implications and health effects of e-cigarettes
  • The government is examining the legal implications and health effects of e-cigarettes.
  • Health Ministry had constituted three groups to study the various aspects of e-cigarettes.

WHAT IS e- CIGARETTE ?

An electronic cigarette is a battery-operated device that emits doses of vaporized nicotine or non-nicotine solutions for the user to inhale. It aims to provide a similar sensation to inhaling tobacco smoke, without the smoke.

Also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, electronic nicotine delivery systems, vaporizer cigarettes, and vape pens, they are marketed as a way to stop or cut down on smoking.