Insights Daily Current Affairs, 19 November 2016

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 19 November 2016


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

UD Ministry begins approval of long term investment plans

 

Seeking to ensure timely implementation of basic urban infrastructure projects and achieve mission targets by 2019-20, the Ministry of Urban Development, in a paradigm shift has begun approving investments in water supply, sewerage networks etc., for the next three financial years under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

  • In this regard, an Inter-Ministerial Apex Committee of AMRUT recently approved investments of Rs.5,815 cr during 2017-20 in the States of Gujrat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar and Tripura.
  • With this, total investment approved in water supply, sewerage and other components under AMRUT has gone up to Rs.51,505 cr.

 

About AMRUT:

AMRUT is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). It adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, storm-water drains, transportation and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.

  • Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
  • AMRUT will be implemented in 500 locations with a population of one lakh and above. It would cover some cities situated on stems of main rivers, a few state capitals and important cities located in hilly areas, islands and tourist areas.
  • Under this mission, states get the flexibility of designing schemes based on the needs of identified cities and in their execution and monitoring. States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. But, in a significant departure from JNNURM, the central government will not appraise individual projects.
  • Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakhs and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakhs.
  • Under the mission, states will transfer funds to urban local bodies within 7 days of transfer by central government and no diversion of funds to be made failing which penal interest would be charged besides taking other adverse action by the centre.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Revised DTAA Agreement signed between India and Cyprus

 

A revised Agreement between India and Cyprus for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal evasion (DTAA) with respect to taxes on income, along with its Protocol, was recently signed in Nicosia. The agreement will replace the existing DTAA that was signed by two countries in June 1994.   

 

Key facts:

  • New DTAA provides for source based taxation of capital gains arising from alienation of shares, instead of residence based taxation provided under the existing DTAA. However, a grandfathering clause has been provided for investments made prior to 1st April, 2017, in respect of which capital gains would continue to be taxed in the country of which taxpayer is a resident.
  • The new Agreement provides for Assistance between the two countries for collection of taxes and also updates the provisions related to Exchange of Information to accepted international standards, which will enable exchange of banking information and allow the use of such information for purposes other than taxation with the prior approval of the Competent Authorities of the country providing the information.
  • The new Agreement expands the scope of ‘permanent establishment’ and reduces the tax rate on royalty in the country from which payments are made to 10% from the existing rate of 15%, in line with the tax rate under Indian tax laws.
  • It also updates the text of other provisions in accordance with the international standards and consistent policy of India in respect of tax treaties.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

India and UK Sign three Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements

 

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed three Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with UK taking the total number of APAs signed [both- bilateral and unilateral] so far to 111.

 

Background:

These Agreements are a result of the understanding reached with the Competent Authority of United Kingdom (UK) some time ago. The Competent Authorities of India and UK had earlier exchanged mutual agreements amongst them under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) Article of the India-UK Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC).

 

Key facts:

  • The newly signed Agreements cover international transactions in the nature of payment of intra-group service charges and pertain to the telecom industry. They also have a roll-back provision.
  • With this, India and UK have concluded 5 bilateral APAs and some more would be concluded in the near future. The total number of bilateral APAs concluded so far by the CBDT is 7.

 

About APA programme:

The Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) Programme was introduced by the Finance Act, 2012 with a view to provide a predictable and non-adversarial tax regime and to reduce the litigation in the Indian transfer pricing arena. An APA can be entered into for a maximum of 5 years at a time.

Rollback of APAs was announced in the Budget in July 2014 to provide certainty on the pricing of international transactions for 4 prior years (rollback years) preceding the first year from which APA is to be applicable.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Navy inducts four indigenously developed sonars systems

 

Navy has formally inducted four types of indigenously developed sonars that will boost its underwater surveillance capability.

  • The systems have been designed and developed by NPOL, a Kochi based laboratory of DRDO.
  • With the induction of these four systems, the underwater surveillance capability of the Indian Navy will get a boost, besides providing a fillip to the quest for self-reliance in this critical area of technology.

 

The newly inducted systems include:

  • Abhay – compact hull mounted sonar for shallow water crafts.

Abhay is an advanced active-cum-passive integrated sonar system designed and developed for the smaller platforms such as shallow water crafts and coastal surveillance/patrol vessels. It is capable of detecting, localizing, classifying and tracking sub-surface and surface targets in both its active and passive modes of operation. Indian Navy has proposed to induct this SONAR on three of the Abhay class ships.

 

  • Humsa UG – upgrade for the Humsa sonar system.

Humsa -UG is designed for upgrading the existing Humsa sonar system. This system is proposed to be installed on seven ships of three different classes of ships.

 

  • AIDSS – Advanced Indigenous Distress sonar system for submarines.

AIDSS is an Emergency Sound Signaling Device which is used to indicate that a submarine is in distress and enable quick rescue and salvage. It is a life-saving alarm system designed to transmit sonar signals of a pre-designated frequency and pulse shape in an emergency situation from a submarine for long period, so as to attract the attention of passive sonars of ships or submarines in the vicinity and all types of standard rescue vessels in operation. It is also provided with a transponder capability.

 

  • NACS – Near-field Acoustic Characterisation System.

It determines the in-situ performance of the SONAR systems, which are used to find the frequency-dependent 3-D transmission and reception characteristics of the SONAR. It is also used to measure the magnitude and phase characteristics of the SONAR transmission and reception electronics and the transducers.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

 

Khehar made NALSA executive chairman

 

The Union government has announced that Jagdish Singh Khehar, a judge of the Supreme Court, will be the new Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). He succeeds Anil R. Dave.

Jagdish Singh Khehar

Jagdish Singh Khehar

About NALSA:

NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to provide free legal services to weaker sections of society.

  • The aim is to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities.

 

Important functions performed by NALSA:

  • NALSA organises Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
  • NALSA identifies specific categories of the marginalised and excluded groups and formulates various schemes for the implementation of preventive and strategic legal service programmes.
  • Services provided by the agency include free legal aid in civil and criminal matters for the poor and marginalised people who cannot afford the services of a lawyer in any court or tribunal.
  • Free legal services include provision of aid and advice to beneficiaries to access the benefits under the welfare statutes and schemes and to ensure access to justice in any other manner.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims

 

Quami Ekta Week:

  • With a view to foster and reinforce the spirit of Communal Harmony, National Integration and pride in vibrant, composite culture and nationhood, the “Qaumi Ekta Week” (National Integration Week) is being observed all over the country for one week.
  • The observation of the ‘Quami Ekta Week’ will help to highlight the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand actual and potential threats to the eclectic and secular fabric of our country, and nurture a spirit of communal harmony in its widest sense.
  • This occasion also provides an opportunity to reaffirm age old traditions and faith in the values of tolerance, co-existence and brotherhood in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society.