17, May 2017

The Southern Bird Wing has been officially designated as the ‘State butterfly’ of Karnataka. With this, Karnataka has become the second State in the country to adopt a butterfly.

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1.The Union Minister of Finance launches Operation Clean Portal
Source: PIB

The Union Minister of Finance, Shri Arun Jaitley, officially launched the Portal of Operation Clean Money (https://www.cleanmoney.gov.in) Will enable citizen engagement for creating a tax compliant society and transparent tax administration.

Operation Clean Money Phase I: 18 lakh persons identified; More than 9.72 lakh taxpayers submitted online responses for 13.33 lakh accounts involving cash deposits of around Rs 2.89 lakh crore, and 5.68 lakh new cases identified for e-verification process.

The Operation Clean Money was initiated by the Income Tax Department (ITD) on the 31st January, 2017 with the launch of e-verification of large cash deposits made during 9th November to 30th December 2016.

The salient features of the Operation Clean Money Portal launched today are:

  • Providing comprehensive information at one place consisting of Step by Step Guides, Frequently asked Questions, User Guides, Quick Reference Guides and Training Toolkits related to verification process and other issues.
  • Enabling Citizen Engagement for creating a tax compliant society where every Indian takes pride in paying taxes.  Citizens would be able to support the Operation Clean Money by taking pledge, contribute by engaging and educating fellow citizens, and share their experiences and provide feedback.
  • Enabling Transparent Tax Administration by sharing status reports (including sanitized cases and explanation of verification issues) and thematic analysis reports (e.g. taxpayer segment analysis of cash deposit data).

The ITD on-boarded two specialised data analytics agencies and a business process management agency to augment departmental capability in analyzing large volumes of cash deposit data, track the compliance status of taxpayers and reporting entities.

In Phase II of Operation Clean Money, the high risk cases will be handled by selecting appropriate enforcement action (verification, search, survey, scrutiny). A targeted campaign will be initiated in cases with identified risk issues. The key components of the targeted campaign are:

  • Communication of specific issue through digital channels (Email, SMS etc.)
  • Providing detailed explanation to create environment of transparency
  • Sharing investigation findings for specific segments (e.g. Jewellers, petrol pump, traders, property purchasers etc.)
  • Centralised monitoring and gradual escalation of inadequate response cases for enforcement action

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2.India’s GDP Growth Forecast for 2017 Revised Downward by UN
Source: The Hindu

In the report titled, World Economic Situation and Prospects, the UN has projected a 7.3% growth for India in 2017. Earlier in the report’s January edition, UN had forecasted a growth of 7.7% for the year. The revised report also has predicted an impressive 7.9% GDP growth for the year 2018 which is an increase from its January estimate of 7.6%.

About the Report:

  • According to the report, despite India’s growth being revised downward, India remains one of the fastest growing developing economy which is ahead of China. China is projected to grow at 6.5% in 2017 and 2018.
  • Despite temporary disruptions from the demonetisation policy, economic conditions in India remain robust, underpinned by sound fiscal and monetary policies and the implementation of key domestic reforms, report said
  • It noted that current accounts deficits have narrowed “visibly” in India, Brazil and South Africa, and some countries have undergone significant corporate deleveraging, particularly Russia
  • The report said world gross product is expected to expand by 2.7% in 2017 and 2.9% in 2018, unchanged from UN forecasts released in January this year
  • The report identifies a tentative recovery in world industrial production, along with reviving global trade, driven primarily by rising import demand from East Asia

Suggested reforms:

As a way forward, the report calls for renewed global commitments to deepen international policy coordination in key areas such as aligning the multilateral trading system with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; enlarging official development aid; supporting climate finance and clean technology transfer; and addressing the challenges posed by large movements of refugees and migrants etc.

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3.National Employment Policy this year
Source: The Hindu

The Centre will frame a new sector-wise National Employment Policy in this financial year even as it grapples with low employment generation

New National Employment Policy will be out in the next five-six months after holding consultations with various ministries, including micro, small and medium enterprises, heavy industries, electronics and information technology, health, education, textiles and more importantly, commerce.

Thrust areas:

  • Policy’s thrust would be to ensure a transition from informal to formal jobs takes place in the country
  • Jobs have come down temporarily. Employment is falling on a global level but in India, it has been marginal
  • Job creation is taking place in the informal sector, which needs to be brought into the formal fold

What is the need for such policy now?

  • The pace of job creation fell to a six-year low in 2015 with 1.35 lakh new jobs being created compared with 4.21 lakh new jobs in 2014 and 4.19 lakh in 2013, according to a quarterly survey of industries conducted by Labour Bureau
  • Another survey – Fifth Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey – of households conducted by Labour Bureau showed unemployment rate rising to a five-year high of 5% in 2015-16 compared with 4.9% in 2013-14 and 4.7% in 2012-13

Reasons for fall in Employment:

  • The Labour and Employment minister blamed the recent job cuts in the IT sector to U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order issued last month to review the H1-B visa program, which aims at tightening visa norms for skilled workers and technology shifts
  • Secondly, the whole industry is going ahead with automation as a result of which the manpower requirement is going down

Executive search firm Head Hunters India said in a report on May 14 that IT sector will go for 1.75 lakh-2 lakh annual job cuts in the next three years due to “under-preparedness in adapting to new technologies.”Companies are going ahead with automation and job shifts are happening. Nobody had imagined this sea change which should have been thought of ten years back. There should have been a vision. For instance, what will happen to the job market in 20 years? That vision was lacking and there was policy paralysis

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4.Soldiers in Siachen to get Indigenous gear soon
Source: The Hindu

Indian Army is the only force which operates and fights at heights of over 20,000 feet on the Siachen glacier, yet imports even the most basic equipment and personal items required to sustain troops there.

Now the Army is attempting to reverse this and indigenise items by involving the private sector in addition to the defence Public Sector Undertakings.

The Army spends about Rs. 500 crore every year on basic personal items for soldiers(for Siachen).The items include super high altitude clothing such as rucksack special socks, thermal insoles, snow goggles and High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPO) bag..

What is Super High Altitude? Super high altitude is the height above 18,000 feet

In relation to this, Defence-Indian Technical Textile Association (ITTA) 3rd joint seminar and exhibition is scheduled to be held on May 22-23 with the theme “Indigenization and provision of improved products to our soldiers.”

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5.‘Safeguard rights of online users’
Source: The Hindu

Its duty of state, SC tells government

The state has a duty to ensure that subscribers of online service providers are not “entrapped” by them, the Supreme Court advised the government

The government responded that it was in the process of building a regulatory regime of a binding nature to protect user data.

“State has a duty to protect the citizenry rights. Since service providers like WhatsApp and Facebook say we are giving it free, the state has to ensure that 160 million citizens who are using the service, are not entrapped in it,” a five-judge Constitution Bench

The court’s remarks came at the end of a day-long hearing on petitions contesting the constitutionality of the contract entered into between WhatsApp and Facebook on data sharing.

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