26 , July 2017

1.National Anti-profiteering Authority
Source: PIB

The GST Council has formed a Selection Committee under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary to identify and recommend eligible persons for appointment as the Chairman and Members of the National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST.

The National Anti-profiteering Authority is tasked with ensuring the full benefits of a reduction in tax on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers.

  • When constituted by the GST Council, the National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be responsible for applying anti-profiteering measures in the event of a reduction in rate of GST on supply of goods or services or, if the benefit of input tax credit is not passed on to the recipients by way of commensurate reduction in prices.
  • The National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be headed by a senior officer of the level of a Secretary to the Government of India and shall have four technical members from the Centre and/or the States.
  • The constitution of the National Anti-profiteering Authority is expected to bolster consumer confidence and ensure all stakeholders reap the intended benefits of GST.

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2.First Two NOPVs Shachi and Shruti Launched by RDEL at Pipavav, Gujarat
Source: PIB

Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) today launched the first two Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs)  Shachi and Shruti  at their shipyard in Pipavav, Gujarat. The ships are part of a five ship project being constructed for the Indian Navy.

  • The primary role of NOPVs is to undertake surveillance of the country’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) besides operational tasks such as anti-piracy patrols, fleet support operations, maritime security of offshore assets, coastal security operations, and protection of shipping lanes. The NOPVs would increase the ocean surveillance and patrolling capabilities of the Indian Navy.
  • The NOPVs are patrol ships and are armed with 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) system along with two 30mm AK-630M guns which provide medium range and short range offensive and defensive capabilities.
  • The armament is remotely controlled through an electronic Fire Control System.
  • The ships are fitted with diesel engine driven propulsion systems and can deliver speeds up to 25 knots.
  • All ship operations are controlled by an intelligent Integrated Platform Management System which has interfaces for all operational activities onboard the ship.

3.India rejects OIC move on vigilantism
Source: The Hindu

India on has strongly rejected the resolutions of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).The resolution had expressed concern about the recent attacks on people by cow-vigilante groups

 Indian Government has stated that the resolutions adopted at the Organisation’s latest foreign ministers’ meeting were “factually incorrect”

The OIC noted that incidents of violence against the Muslim community were being committed by extremist Hindu groups and said it viewed such incidents “with grave concern”.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation:

  • Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.6 billion as of 2008
  • The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony”
  • The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union
  • The official languages of the OIC are Arabic, English, and French

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4.Sri Lanka clears revised deal for Hambantota port
Source: The Hindu

  • Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has cleared a revised deal for the Chinese-built port in Hambantota
  • The modified agreement is more profitable to Sri Lanka and also addressed security concerns raised by other countries
  • The Hambantota port is also a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

What is worrying India and other countries: Beijing’s stake in the port and its plan to acquire 15,000 acres of adjoining land to help Colombo set up an industrial zone

facts:

  • The Hambantota port was built with Chinese loans in 2010
  • Sri Lankan government decided in late 2016 to sell 80% stake in the port to the Chinese company to tackle the $8 billion debt Sri Lanka owes China
  • Under the agreement, Colombo will receive $1.12 billion for a 99-year lease

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5.‘India’s concerns slowing RCEP talks’
Source: The Hindu

India’s concern is regarding the potential adverse impact of eliminating duties on its local manufacturing and job creation. It said to be(by other members) slowing down the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations

Concerns:

  • Indian companies and industry bodies, including Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), flagged their concerns.
  • The Centre’s ‘Make In India’ initiative to boost manufacturing and job creation can get hit by a hurried pact.
  • Post India’s FTA with ASEAN, Japan and Korea, India’s trade deficit with them have increased, and the government needs to take this into account during RCEP negotiations.
  • Eliminating duties under the RCEP will impact many sectors including steel, aluminum, auto-components, many engineering items and readymade garments.
  • India is ought to highlight the need for removal of non-tariff barriers including those in China.

RCEP:

  • The RCEP is a proposed mega Free Trade Agreement (FTA) involving 16 Asia Pacific nations including India and China.
  • The RCEP aims to liberalize investment norms in the region, besides boosting trade by dismantling most tariff and nontariff barriers.
  • Asia Pacific is a fast growing region, but trade between countries in the region is affected by several barriers.
  • If RCEP talks are not concluded quickly and these barriers are not eliminated, the region will miss out on many opportunities.

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6.Senior citizens welfare fund to benefit
Source: The Hindu

Insurance companies can no longer retain unclaimed amounts of policyholders if those accruals are more than 10 years old. Such sums need to be, instead, transferred to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF) of the Centre.

Introduction:

  • All insurers having unclaimed amounts of policyholders for a period of more than 10 years as on September 30, 2017 need to transfer the same to  the SCWF on or before March 1, 2018.
  • The direction from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has come in the backdrop of the amendment made in April to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund Rules.
  • The amendment expanded the purview beyond the unclaimed amounts in small savings and other savings schemes of the Centre, PPF, and EPF.
  • It brought in unclaimed amount lying with banks, including cooperative banks and RRBs, dividend accounts, deposits and debentures of companies coming under the Companies Act, insurance companies and Coal Mines PF.
  • Sectoral watchdog Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has asked insurance companies to get details of such accounts and the prescribed format in which the unclaimed deposits have to be submitted from Department of Financial Services

Key points:

  • The Centre brought in Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund Act, 2015 (SCWF) as part of the Finance Act, 2015, which mandates transfer of unclaimed amounts of policyholders to the fund (SCWF) after a period of 10 years.
  • There are rules under the SCWF, specifying about the entities required to transfer such amounts to the fund and its administration. The rules apply to all life, general and health insurers.

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