28, January 2017

1.KVKs in Mungeli and Bemtara of Chhattisgarh under 12th Plan

Source: PIB

Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister inaugurates KrishiSamridhi-RashtriyaKrishiMela in Raipur

  • Chhattisgarh has taken a fast track in agricultural sector. Chhattisgarh have recorded 33% enhancement in foodgrains production, 58% in milk production, 92% in eggs production and 245% enhancement in fisheries for the last 13 years.
  • That keeping in view meager potentialities of extension of cultivable area, it is imperative to increase the productivity in view of rising population of the country. The productivity can be enhanced through active use of available resources which include high yielding, seed varieties, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, as well as agriculture machines.
  • Agriculture Minister further said institutes of ICAR are unabatedly researching on the effects of climate change.

Key facts:

  1. 7 new KrishiVigyanKendras (KVKs) have been proposed under 12th Plan in Chhattisgarh. Shri Singh stated this at the inauguration of KrishiSamridhi-RashtriyaKrishiMela, Chhattisgarh.
  2. In order to increase liaison between farmers and scientists for technological development and its utilization ‘MeraGaon-Mera Gaurav’ and ‘Farmers First’ programmes have initiated.
  • Initiatives such as Student Ready, Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA), PanditDeenDayalUpadhyayKrishiUnnatiShikshaYojana, Consortia Research Platform, External Finance Assistance, National Agriculture Science Fund, National Agriculture Project and Agricultural Education in the schools have been  taken up.
  1. Government of India has taken a number of initiatives for the betterment of the farmers amongst them being Soil Health Card Scheme is worth mentioning for bringing about improvement in natural resource utilization skill.
  2. The infrastructure under Pradhan MantriKrishiSinchaiYojana has been chalked out to enhance the water use efficiency and to provide water for irrigation in the country to achieve the target of “More Crop – Per Drop”.
  3. 5. National Agriculture Market has also been established to cope with the effects of natural calamities.

2.Navy’s Theatre Level Exercise, TROPEX 17, gets underway

Source: PIB

  • The Indian Navy’s Annual Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise (TROPEX) has begun off the Western Seaboard.
  • The exercise will have ships and aircraft of both the Western and Eastern Naval Commands, as also assets from the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard exercising together.
  • The exercise is aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy, and the assets of the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard.
  • It will also strengthen inter-operability and joint operations in a complex environment.

3.CWC Signs MoU with IIT Madras and IIS Bengaluru

Source: PIB

Central Water Commission (CWC) under the Ministry of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has signed two separate MoUs with IIT Madras and IIS Bengaluru.

This will help them for the procurement of specified equipment and software for enhancing their capability to support dam rehabilitation efforts of CWC.

Ministry of water resources:

  • The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has taken on board selected premier academic and research institutes, for capacity building in the areas of dam safety through World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
  • The scope includes strengthening the testing laboratories, enhancing analytical capabilities, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions.

DRIP

The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Government of India, with assistance from the World Bank, is implementing the DAM REHABILITATION AND IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (DRIP), which would be a six-year project.

  • The project originally envisaged the rehabilitation and improvement of about 223 dams within four states namely, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu and later Karnataka, Uttarakhand (UNVNL) and Jharkhand (DVC) joined DRIP and total number of dams covered under DRIP increased to 250.
  • The project will also promote new technologies and improve Institutional capacities for dam safety evaluation and implementation at the Central and State levels and in some identified premier academic and research institutes of the country.
  • The Central Dam Safety Organisation of Central Water Commission, assisted by a Consulting firm, is coordinating and supervising the Project implementation.

The project development objectives of DRIP are:

  • To improve the safety and performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner, and
  • To strengthen the dam safety institutional setup in participating states as well as at central level.

4.GSLV’s cryogenic upper stage tested successfully

Source: The Hindu

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation’s Propulsion Research Complex has successfully conducted the stage level test of GSLV MK III’s cryogenic upper stage C-25.
  • The cryogenic upper stage of the GSLV is the large C-25, the most difficult component of the launch vehicle to be developed. It will be powered by the indigenously developed CE-20 engine.

Cryogenics is the study of substances at very low temperature – at minus 150 degrees Celsius and less, in which gases like oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen turn liquid. Cryogenic engines are called so because they use liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as fuel. The extremely cold temperatures make these liquids tricky to operate.

Key facts:

  • The GSLV-III or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III, is a launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organization.
  • It would also enhance the capability of the country to be a competitive player in the multimillion dollar commercial launch market. The vehicle envisages multi-mission launch capability for GTO, LEO, Polar and intermediate circular orbits.
  • GSLV-Mk III is designed to be a three stage vehicle, with 42.4 m tall with a lift off weight of 630 tonnes.
    • First stage comprises two identical S200 Large Solid Booster (LSB) with 200 tonne solid propellant, that are strapped on to the second stage, the L110 re-startable liquid stage.
    • The third stage is the C25 LOX/LH2 cryo stage. The large payload fairing measures 5 m in diameter and can accommodate a payload volume of 100 cu m
  • The C25 stage is the most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO and uses Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen propellant combination. The stage carries 27.8 tons of propellants loaded in two independent tanks.
  • The first flight stage for ‘GSLV MkIII-D1’ mission is in an advanced stage of realisation. It is scheduled to launch GSAT-19 during first quarter of 2017. The flight engine has been successfully tested in the High Altitude Test facility and integrated with the flight stage.
  • The C25 stage was conceptualised, designed and realised by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), ISRO’s lead Centre for Propulsion, with support from various System Development Agencies from other three Centres of ISRO – Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) and Sathish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC).

5.99% of Indians over 18 now have Aadhaar cards

source: The Hindu

Over 99% of Indians aged 18 and above now have Aadhaar cards as more than 111 crore residents have enrolled themselves for the unique identification number.

  • The increase in enrolments will come as a boost to the government’s drive to make India a less-cash society as it is encouraging the use of AadhaarPay, a merchant version of Aadhaar-enabled payment system (AEPS).

Backed by the Aadhaar Act and 91.7% coverage of the total population, the government is set to accelerate the use of unique identification numbers in its social welfare schemes for disbursing entitlements and subsidies as it will help check duplication and pilferage.

Aadhaar:

  • Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification number which will serve as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.
  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) assigns Unique Identification Number “Aadhaar” to residents of India on voluntary basis.
  • Aadhaar-platform is aimed at providing social security benefits / subsidies based on eligibility through direct benefit transfer. It also helps bring transparency and eliminate corruption, leakage and inefficiency.
  • It was conceived as an initiative that would provide identification for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services.
  • It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government.

6.Centre says GAAR effective April 1, CBDT clarifies on applicability

Source: Indian Express

The Centre has reiterated that the General Anti Avoidance Rules – aimed at curbing tax avoidance – will come into force on April 1, ignoring industry’s suggestion to defer the rules on account of uncertainty over their applicability and to provide adequate time to prepare for the new regime.

Stakeholders and industry associations had requested for clarifications on implementation of GAAR provisions and a Working Group was constituted by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to examine the issues raised.

Clarifications made by the government:

  • GAAR will not be invoked in cases where investments are routed through tax treaties that have a sufficient limitation of benefit (LOB) clause to address tax avoidance. An LOB clause in tax treaties generally requires investors to meet certain spending and employment criteria to avail the benefits of the treaty, to ensure that only genuine resident companies benefit from the pact.
  • All transactions or arrangements that have been approved by courts and quasi-judicial authorities like the authority for advance ruling and that specifically address the issue of tax avoidance will not be subject to the GAAR test.
  • GAAR will not be applicable on compulsorily convertible instruments, bonus issuances or split/consolidation of holdings in respect of investments made prior to 1 April 2017 in the hands of the same investor.
  • Also, if the jurisdiction of a foreign portfolio investor is finalized based on non-tax commercial considerations and the main purpose of the arrangement is not to obtain tax benefits, GAAR will not apply.

GAAR:

General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) was part of the 2012-13 Budget speech of the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to check tax evasion and avoidance.

  • However, its implementation was repeatedly postponed because of the apprehensions expressed by foreign investors.
  • GAAR, which was originally to be implemented from April 1, 2014, will now come into effect from April 1, 2017 (Assessment Year 2018-19).
  • It contains provision allowing the government to prospectively tax overseas deals involving local asset

There have been fears that the government may use it to target P-Notes. Through the use of GAAR, government may try to tax P-Notes as indirect investments, which could attract a tax rate of up to 15 per cent.

  • To avoid tax altogether under GAAR, an investor may have to prove that P-Notes were not set up specifically to avoid paying taxes.
  • The main purpose of GAAR is to prevent tax evaders from using Mauritius or other tax heaven routes for investments or using double taxation treaties to avoid tax.

The committee, which is headed by Director General of Income Tax (international taxation), looked into the concerns of the investors and came out out with draft guidelines to seek comments of the stakeholders.

7.Seven new countries join BEPS agreement

Seven jurisdictions – Lithuania, Gabon, Hungary, Indonesia, Malta, Mauritius and the Russian Federation – have signed a tax co-operation agreement, the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for Country-by-Country Reporting (CbC MCAA), to enable automatic sharing of country-by-country information. Now, the total number of signatories has increased to 57.

CbC MCAA:

  • The CbC MCAA, which aims to boost transparency by multinational enterprises (MNEs), allows signatories to bilaterally and automatically exchange country-by-country reports, as part of Action 13 of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) Action Plan.
  • The agreement helps ensure that tax administrations obtain a better understanding of how MNEs structure their operations, while also ensuring that the confidentiality and appropriate use of such information is safeguarded.



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