3, October 2016

1. Income Declaration Scheme: Rs 250 crore declared in Uttarakhand

SOURCE: Indian Express

Unaccounted wealth and income of Rs 250 crore has been declared by 400 people in Uttarakhand under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), an Income Tax official. Of this about Rs 112 crore would go to the income tax (IT) department.

While the details of the disclosures will not be shared by any other agency, the IT official, severe action would be taken by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) against people caught with illegal income and black money holdings here after.                     

Smart things to know about Income Declaration Scheme 2016:

  1. Income Declaration Scheme 2016 came into effect from 1 June, 2016. It’s an opportunity for those who didn’t disclose income or pay taxes thereon in the past.
  2. Under this scheme, such persons can declare the undisclosed income and pay tax, surcharge and penalty on the declared undisclosed income.
  3. Declaration of undisclosed income or asset should have been chargeable to tax for any assessment year prior to the assessment year 2017-18.
  4. The person making a declaration under the scheme will have to pay income tax at the rate of 30% of the value of undisclosed income plus a surcharge of 25% thereon.
  5. Additionally, the person will be liable to pay a penalty at the rate of 25% of the tax, which would make the total payment 45% of the undisclosed income.

2.Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, first states to be ‘free of open defecation’ in urban areas

SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS and PIB

Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh became the first states to declare their urban areas as Open Defecation Free (ODF) on the second anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The Mood of Developing India (MODI) being strongly for sanitation, Swachh Bharat Mission is becoming a people’s movement and Swachh Bharat will be realized with people leading the grand India Sanitation Alliance of all stakeholders.

Maharashtra, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and other North-Eastern States are on course to declare all urban areas as ODF soon.

3. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince to be Chief Guest on 2017 Republic Day

SOURCE: The Hindu

The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the chief guest for the 68th Republic Day celebrations on 26 January 2017. In this regard, announcement was made the by Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesman Vikas Swarup in New Delhi after the crown prince accepted invitation.

4. National Bioeconomy Mission launched in Shillong, set to create more employment in India

National Mission on Bioeconomy is expected to create a large number of new jobs starting from the village level to the processing and value addition at the urban area. BY IBSD  Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), a National Institute of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India took a major initiative at Shillong to launch a National Mission on Bioeconomy. This mission—launched for the first time in India— can create a large number of new jobs starting from the village level to the processing and value addition at the urban area.

Significance:

This major step to launch this mission on Bioeconomy through sustainable utilization of renewable biological resources for food, bio-based products and bioenergy through knowledge based approaches which has the potential to generate new solutions for the planet’s most important challenges regarding energy, health, food, water, and climate change delivering social, environmental and economic benefits.

Government of Meghalaya, stated that Meghalaya and NE India being amongst the World’s top 10 biodiversity hotspots, has great potential to develop a vibrant bioeconomy for the socio-economic development of the region.

Actionable policy recommendation involving all stakeholders for the transformation of India through job creation from small scale livelihood enterprises to commercial scale production for increased economic growth through technological packages to increase primary production, value addition of the unique bioresources through industrial biotechnology and provision of bio services, with tailored packages that are relevant to specific regions across India.

5.Rajasthan replaces 5 lakh streetlights with LED bulbs

Rajasthan becomes the first state to adopt Centre’s Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) in all its urban local bodies (ULB). Almost 5 lakh conventional streetlights have been replaced with LED streetlights across the state.

The project has been funded by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public energy services company under the administration of Union ministry of power at no cost to the state.

6.CIL to pay Rs.2,500 cr. more as levies

Source:  The Hindu

Coal India Limited is likely to fork out an additional Rs.2,000 crore to Rs.2,500 crore as mining levies, with the Centre making the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) levy applicable on coal mining from the same date as it is for other minerals.

Development projects:

The levy is used to fund local area development projects under the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana:  This is a new programme meant to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).

The objective of PMKKKY scheme will be: (Ministry of Mines)

  1. To implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining affected areas that complement the existing ongoing schemes/projects of State and Central Government.
  2. To minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts.
  3. To ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.

Miners have to pay an additional levy on top of royalty payments towards the District Mineral Foundation that will finance development projects in mining-affected areas, under the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Act of 2015.

The DMF levy is pegged at 30 per cent of royalty for mines allotted administratively in the past and 10 per cent for those acquired through transparent auctions — now a norm for all coal mines and major minerals such as iron ore.

7. N-deal with Japan ‘ready’ to be sealed

Source: The Hindu

Background: The India-Japan nuclear agreement has been under discussion since 2008

Abe (2015 India visit): Need to complete necessary internal procedures- clearing the deal in the Japanese parliament (Diet)

For the past few years, this has been difficult given deep sensitivities in Japan on nuclear proliferation, and political instability in parliament

However, Diet is now expected to clear the agreement within time, before PM Modi’s Japan visit

This indicates a breakthrough on several contentious issues including a controversial nullification clause.

8.No short cuts in Maharashtra

SOURCE: The Hindu

Demands of agitators

First, reservation for Marathas under OBC category, and, second, scrapping of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.

The Marathas’ demand for reservations mirrors similar ones made recently by Patidars and Jats in Gujarat and Haryana, respectively.

As with Patidars and Jats, the demand for inclusion in the OBC quota is fuelled by anxiety about relative economic backwardness among a large cross-section of Marathas and the lack of adequate opportunities in a sluggish agrarian economy have fuelled demands for reservation. Their inability to move up the economic ladder and the lack of adequate opportunities in a sluggish agrarian economy have been key factors in the agitations for reservations.

The demand for reservations for Marathas, traditionally seen as “upper castes”, goes against the spirit of affirmative action that has guided eligibility for quotas in Central and State lists.

Second, perceived Dalit assertion seems to have fuelled demands for scrapping of the POA Act.

Why the demands are not justified: Marathas are a dominant caste and play a central role in electoral politics as well as the political economy of the State.

Also, it has been judicially established that economic criteria alone cannot be taken as determinant of backwardness. The Bombay High Court had stayed an order by the previous Congress-NCP government for 16 per cent reservations for Marathas in educational institutions and jobs over and above the almost 50 per cent quota for SC/STs and OBCs put together.

Sketchy implementation of the POA Act across India: The conviction rates remain low while reporting and registration of crimes against SCs and STs have increased.

The way ahead: It would be more useful to address the State’s agrarian distress and need for more job creation, instead of opting for short cuts such as expanding reservations. Focus should be on better implementation of the Act and not on its scrapping.



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