19, October 2016

1.With New GST, Here’s How Different Items Could Be Taxed: 10 Points

Union Government proposes 4 GST slabs

Source:  The Hindu 

  1. The decision-making body of the GST Council, which consists of Finance Minister and his counterpart from each state, has to decide the rate of tax, which must then be approved by parliament.
  2. The GST does away with levies charged when goods cross state lines and unifies India into a single market.
  3. The centre has suggested four tax slabs with the lowest at 6 per cent and the highest at 26 per cent, which would apply to about a fourth of taxable items.
  4. The slabs proposed are: 6, 12, 18 and 26 per cent. Food items should be exempt to keep inflation in control, the centre has suggested. FMCG and consumer durable products would be taxed at 26 per cent, against 31 per cent currently.
  5. For luxury goods like fancy cars, cigarettes and soft drinks, an additional cess over the 26 per cent rate has been mooted.
  6. States like Kerala want a higher tax for luxury items and a lower rate for common usage goods, which first need to be defined.
  7. The centre has agreed to compensate states for five years for the revenue they will lose when GST subsumes their levies. The extent of compensation remains a contentious issue.
  8. Some states have also objected to the fact that 11 lakh businesses that currently pay service tax will continue to be assessed by the centre rather than them, which they say is unfair and eats into their power. The centre says that over time, officials in states will be trained to take over.
  9. The centre wants to reach consensus at this current meeting so that it can present the agreed-upon tax rate and scope to parliament which meets next month.
  10. If no agreement is managed, a smaller group of Finance Ministers may be assigned to resolve differences.

2.“Hunar Haat” at India International Trade Fair – Ministry of Minority Affairs

Source: PIB

The Ministry of Minority Affairs is organise an exhibition of handicrafts, embroidery etc made by the artisans from the Minority Communities at the India International Trade Fair.

The exhibition “Hunar Haat” (Skill Haat), will be an amazing gathering of artisans from every corner of the country.

It will be for the first time that these talented artisans/craftsmen from far-flung areas of the country are being provided an opportunity to showcase their skills at national-international level under one roof. India International Trade Fair (IITF).

Talented artisans and craft persons about this exhibition and encourage them to send their applications to National Minority Development & Finance Corporation(NMDFC) on behalf of the Ministry of Minority Affairs will be participating in the India International Trade Fair under the banner of USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts Crafts for Development) scheme.

3.Vehicle manufacturers will have to give details about the emission and noise levels of each vehicle they produce

Source: PIB

1st of April 2017, manufacturers of all kinds of motor vehicles as also E-rickshaws and E-carts will have to give detailed declaration about the emission levels of the vehicle they have manufactured.

Through a recent notification, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has amended Form 22 under the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1989, which manufacturers provide the Initial Certificate of Compliance with Pollution Standards, Safety Standards of Components Quality and Road –Worthiness certificate for all vehicles.

Pollutants and Noise:

Bharat Stage – IV / VI /Bharat (Trem) Stage-III/III etc of the vehicle and specify the levels of each pollutant like carbon monoxide, hydro carbon, non-methane HC, NOx, HC + NOx, PM etc for petrol and diesel vehicles and sound levels.


 The amended rules will apply to all vehicles run on petrol, CNG, LPG, electric, diesel and hybrid, including agricultural and construction vehicles,  form 22 issued with the signature of the manufacturer.as well as E-rickshaws and E-carts form 22 issued with the signature of an authorized signatory of registered E-rickshaw or E-cart association.

4.PM Modi launches national hub for SC/ST entrepreneurs

Source: PIB and Indian Express

zero defect and zero effect of products on environment

The Prime Minister launched the National SC/ST hub and the Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) scheme for (MSME) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises at Ludhiana

Presented National Awards to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and distributed 500 traditional wooden charkhas (spinning wheels) among women.

National SC/ST hub:

The SC/ST hub aims to facilitate technology knowhow to reserved categories and increasing procurement by public and government units from SC/ST industrial units from existing 0.4 per cent to 4 per cent.

Hub  aims at making more entrepreneurs from Dalits and tribals so that they become job-givers rather than job-seekers.

A number of them had a turnover of more than Rs 500 crore while 300 Dalit women were doing business of more than 100 crore.

It will work towards strengthening market access/linkage, capacity building, monitoring, sharing industry-best practices and leveraging financial support schemes


  • The PM asked 1.25 lakh nationalised bank branches to give loans to SC/ST men and women entrepreneurs and
  • If two loans each, one each men and women category, upto 1 crores are given, banks can give up to 3.75 lakh such loans and hence can help the Dalits and tribals in making them self-dependent.

Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) certification scheme:

ZED that has the over-arching objective of improving the quality and sustainability of manufacturing in India, by focusing on the MSME sector.

It will have sector-specific parameters for each industry. MSME sector is crucial for the economic progress of India and this scheme will help to match global quality control standards.

It was given for producing high quality manufacturing products with a minimal negative impact on environment

To develop and implement a ‘ZED’ culture in India based on the principles of:

Zero Defect (focus on customer)

  • Zero non-conformance/non-compliance
  • Zero waste

Zero Effect (focus on society)

  • Zero air pollution/liquid discharge (ZLD)/solid waste
  • Zero wastage of natural resource

5.Delhi’s air quality very poor: SAFAR

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) national capital New Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category.

The average (24-hour rolling) of PM2.5 and PM10, suspended respirable pollutants, were recorded as 120.8 and 248 micrograms per cubic metre as against safe limits of 60 and 100.

The poor air quality may lead to respiratory problems, irritation to eyes and skin, blurring of vision and headache.

System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)

SAFAR was introduced by Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location specific information on air quality in near real time.

It was developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune along with India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).

The main objective of SAFAR project is to increase awareness among general public regarding the air quality. The purpose awareness for general public is to take appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action for betterment of air quality and related health issues.

6.UNICEF clinches vaccine deal to protect children from five diseases

Source: Indian Express

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) it had reached an agreement with six vaccine suppliers to provide a combined vaccine against five deadly childhood diseases for half the price it currently pays.

An estimated 5.7 million deaths a year could be averted under the deal to send 450 million doses to 80 countries between 2017-2020.


The vaccine, a cornerstone of routine immunisation programmes, will protect children from five major infections in one shot: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenza type b known as Hib – a bacteria that causes meningitis, pneumonia and otitis.

7.India to lease another Russian Akula-class nuclear attack submarine

Source: Indian Express

The Akula 2 class submarine is expected to arrive in Indian waters in 2020-21.

According to a source in the Russian defence industry, the long-discussed lease to transfer a multipurpose Project 971 nuclear submarine to India from the Russian Navy was signed in Goa.

The Akula 2 class submarine is expected to arrive in Indian waters in 2020-21. The Indian Navy already operates an Akula 2 class nuclear submarine.

INS Chakra (formerly known as K-152 Nerpa), which was leased by Russia for 10 years and commissioned on April 4, 2012 after India paid for its completion of its construction and sea-trials. India had been keen to lease a second nuclear submarine.

The Akula 2 class submarine, though not the latest class of nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines in the world, is still considered one of the most advanced. Capable of sailing at speeds up to 35 knots (nearly 65 km per hour) under water, it is among the quietest Russian submarines.

8.Scientists produce electricity from water without using energy

Source: The Hindu

Scientists have developed a novel way using of producing electricity from water hydroelectric cell at room temperature without using any power or chemicals. – Delhi’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL)

How does it works?

  • In this new method, scientist had used zinc and silver as electrodes to make a cell that produces electricity. They had used nanoporous magnesium ferrite to split water into hydroxide (OH) and hydronium (H3O) ions.
  • As magnesium has high affinity for hydroxide, it spontaneously splits water into hydroxide and hydronium ions. The H3O ions get trapped inside the nanopores of magnesium ferrite and generate an electric field. The electric field helps in further dissociation of water.
  • To further enhance the activity of magnesium ferrite, about 20% of magnesium is replaced with lithium. The substitution of lithium at magnesium site increases the sensitivity of magnesium ferrite.
  • This is helpful in dissociating water at room temperature as the electrons get trapped in the oxygen deficient sites.

The hydroelectric cell using magnesium ferrite of 1 sq. inch size can produce 8 mA current and 0.98 volt. Further if these four cells [of 2-inch diameter] are connected in series the voltage increases to 3.70 volts and can operate a small plastic fan or a LED light of 1 watt.


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