Insights Daily Current Events, 08 February 2016

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Insights Daily Current Events, 08 February 2016



Topic: Important for Prelims

Chettinad cotton saree wins Indian Handloom tag

The Chettinad cotton saree has won the ‘India Handloom’ tag for its unique designs and identity.

  • In this regard, the Textiles Committee, Union Ministry of Handlooms and Textiles, Mumbai, has registered the Chettinad cotton saree under the India Handloom Brand Scheme after checking various quality parameters stipulated by the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and offered a logo.

The Chettinad saree inherits the intricacies of now out-of-vogue and over a century-old‘ Kandangi’ pure silk sarees. The sarees are already popular in few North Indian states in the country and are also popular in other countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Raise resources through monetisation rather than taxes or borrowing

This year, India will have to face many challenges in sticking to the fiscal consolidation roadmap as the expected revenues may not be fully realised and subsidy cuts may be delayed. And the government is also finding it difficult to manage the conflict of financing additional expenses of Rs.1 lakh crore for implementation of Seventh Pay Commission recommendations and enhanced allocations to public investment to keep the economy on a growth path.

  • The Budget does have the benefit of large savings on fuel subsidy due to lower oil prices. But, this alone is not sufficient. Hence, to fill the gap, the government might have to raise additional taxes or resort to borrowings.
  • But, the path of raising taxes or borrowing to fund increased expenses will adversely impact debt, currency and equity market. Instead smartly monetising assets from land, natural resources and spectrum to investment in Specified Undertaking of UTI’s (SUUTI’s) will positively impact markets.

In this regard, few experts have put forth the following proposals to raise resources to accelerate economic recovery and reassure investors on fiscal stability.

  • Rationalise inverted duty structure wherever it exists by taxing finished goods at higher duty than raw materials.
  • The Government collects lots of data on many transactions such as buying of automobiles. Empower a private company to analyse that data and other publicly available information like social media to assist tax regulators to improve tax compliance.
  • Improve asset utilisation over asset hoarding. Incentivise faster conversion from land to affordable houses by taxing vacant land and unoccupied premises. Use that tax proceeds to give special incentive for buying of affordable houses so that multiplier effect of higher demand benefits sectors such as cement, housing finance company and construction workers.
  • Launch a fast track settlement mechanism for disputed taxes to increase revenue collections. Excess manpower can be deployed from fighting time consuming litigations to widening of tax base and improved compliance. Fear of law through better monitoring can improve India’s Tax to GDP ratio from African nations to Southeast Asian nation levels.
  • Introduce super rich tax including wealth tax and succession tax to mobilise revenue and narrow social divide. Globally estate tax is levied on common citizens. Let the rich share tax burden like the salaried class.
  • Levy two per cent wealth tax on gold holding above a minimum level including on that held by temples. Give exemption for investment in Gold Monetisation Scheme so that domestic gold gets recycled. We must reduce our annual net gold imports of $22 billion. Let domestic saving support our investment and job creation.
  • Curb the menace of black money in real estate and gold through improved governance. Appoint an appropriately empowered private company to buy real estate including land at declared value on behalf of government and monetise it. They should be incentivised with a large profit share. The entire flow of black money in real estate will come to a serious halt with swift execution of such measure. Track video recording of buyers making cash payment at jewellers to curb black money role in gold.
  • Tax super rich farmers on agriculture income and cap their fertilizer subsidy like LPG subsidy for rich people. A start can be made by voluntary giving up of subsidy like LPG subsidy.
  • Encourage creative destruction by providing incentives to scrap old automobiles above certain age. Government’s spend on such old vehicles will be far lower than taxes on replacement demand. The economy will benefit by way of lower pollution, better fuel efficiency and more jobs in auto sector.
  • Reduce the dependence on foreign savings by encouraging Indian savings to move from gold to bank deposits and mutual fund units. Introduce “Jan Nivesh” Yojana on the lines of the immensely successful Jan Dhan Yojana. It should encourage ease of doing investment by single KYC, simple documentation and appropriate distributor incentives.
  • Encourage retail investors to participate in PSU divestment through exclusive tax incentive. Incentives given will be far lower than divestment proceeds and will help in spreading equity cult among retail investors.

sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Plan to scrap income tax gets high-level hearing

A Pune-based tax research outfit, Arthakranti, has come out with a proposal to revamp the taxation system in India. The outfit, in its proposal, seeks to abolish income tax and over 30 local, State and Central taxes.    

  • In this regard, the outfit recently gave a presentation before a sub-group of Secretaries set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Details of the proposal:

  • It advocates replacing the present tax system with a single 2% levy per receipt in bank accounts and recommends that just import duties be retained from the present system.
  • The proposal envisages a system that does not tax consumption or income, as is the case now, but the “velocity of money”.
  • The proposal is aimed at reducing corruption and eliminating the cost of compliance for taxpayers.
  • The outfit has estimated that the levy it is proposing can be collected through the banking channel rather than the tax collection authorities.


  • Without leading to a loss of revenue, it will plug tax evasion and avoidance.
  • Arthakranti’s calculations show that the 2% tax will yield Rs. 40,00,000 crore.

This is not the first time such a proposal has been received by the Centre. Several governments have earlier discussed plans to abolish income tax but rejected them.

sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

JP Nadda Launches Project Sunrise in Manipur

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Jagat Prakash Nadda recently launched Project Sunrise in Manipur.

About Project Sunrise:

Project Sunrise is a five year programme aimed at complementing the ongoing National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) which is to primarily improve coverage, quality and scale of HIV interventions among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in eight North East States.

  • Activities of the project are to be implemented through the existing system in close co-ordination with State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) in the North-Eastern states.
  • National Human Resource reduction strategy will be a part of the project and will be implemented in five years. Approximate cost of the project is Rs 70 crore.
  • In the entire North East States, the project will be implemented in 20 districts. The Central Government is funding the NACO projects and the amount would be transferred directly to the State AIDS Control Society through NACO.
  • Project Sunrise will implement more customized flexible approach so as to increase the availability and accessibility to clean needles and syringes through secondary distributors such as Government health care facilities, preferred healthcare providers, non-traditional outlets and peer volunteers.
  • The programme also includes lower threshold strategies to improve Opoid Substitution Therapy (OST), coverage and sensitization workshops for law enforcing officials. It also includes HIV intervention in prison settings.
  • The programme also aims to strengthen linkage with Ministries and Government Departments, community mobilization, intervention among Female Injecting Drug Users (FIDU), Intervention Among Spouses of PWID, establishment of Real Time Monitoring (RTM) system, Implementation of innovative approaches such as community based HIV-testing, safe disposal of used needles and syringes etc.

sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

With Zika, Indian firm scales up trials for ‘GM mosquitoes’

Gangabishan Bhikulal Investment and Trading Ltd. (GBIT), a sister company of the Maharashtra Hybrid Company (Mahyco), is planning to scale up trials to find out whether genetically engineered mosquitoes can be a useful tool to check the growth of the insect.

  • It should be noted here that GBIT was the company that first brought Bt cotton to India.


  • Now, GBIT has been breeding male mosquitoes. These mosquitoes contain genes which when passed on to its progeny render them unable to mature unless they have access to tetracycline, a compound that is not naturally available in the environment.
  • Benefits: The idea is that once enough of these laboratory-bred mosquitoes mate with the disease-carrying females in an open environment, they would reduce the region’s mosquito population.

Way ahead:

  • The technology is already being tested in Malaysia and Brazil, which has seen the highest number of Zika cases.
  • According to GBIT scientists, international evidence so far shows the strain can reduce the number of mosquitoes in a place by 90% in three or six months.

According to the company, such tests would progress quickly as the life span of the Aedes aegypti mosquito was 15 days. The company is also expected to ask the take the government’s permission to start larger trials later this year.

sources: the hindu.