Insights Daily Current Affairs, 07 January 2017
Insights Daily Current Affairs, 07 January 2017
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
India and Kazakhstan sign Protocol to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC)
India and Kazakhstan have signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between the two countries which was earlier signed on 9th December, 1996 for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
Salient features of the Protocol are as under:
- The Protocol provides internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters. Further, the information received from Kazakhstan for tax purposes can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorisation of the competent authority of Kazakhstan and vice versa.
- The Protocol inserts a Limitation of Benefits Article, to provide a main purpose test to prevent misuse of the DTAC and to allow application of domestic law and measures against tax avoidance or evasion.
- The Protocol inserts specific provisions to facilitate relieving of economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases. This is a taxpayer friendly measure and is in line with India’s commitment under Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan to meet the minimum standard of providing Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) access in transfer pricing cases.
- The Protocol inserts service PE provisions with a threshold and also provides that the profits to be attributed to PE will be determined on the basis of apportionment of total profits of the enterprise.
- The Protocol replaces existing Article on Assistance in Collection of Taxes with a new Article to align it with international standards.
Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Bill targeting H1B visas reintroduced in US Congress
A bill to curb the use of H-1B visas, on which the Indian IT sector is particularly dependent, has been introduced in US congress.
What is a H1-B visa?
The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa given by the United States to employ skilled workers from other countries for various specialised fields of occupation for a certain period of time.
Highlights of the bill:
- The new bill would require workers on the H-1B visa pay a minimum of $100,000, up from $60,000 currently.
- The bill also removes the Master’s degree exemption to the cap on the number of visas available.
- The Bill prohibits companies from hiring H1-B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50% of their employees are H1-B and L-1 visa holders.
- The Bill encourages companies to recruit American workers. This provision would crack down on outsourcing companies that import large numbers of H-1B and L-1 workers for short training periods and then send these workers back to their home country to do the work of Americans.
- It explicitly prohibits replacement of American workers by H1-B or L-1 visa holders.
- The Bill seeks to give the Department of Labour enhanced authority to review, investigate and audit employer compliance as well as to penalise fraudulent or abusive conduct.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
US designates election infrastructure as ‘critical’
Citing increasingly sophisticated cyber bad actors and an election infrastructure that’s “vital to national interests,” US government has designated US election systems as critical infrastructure. This move aims to provide more federal help for state and local governments to keep their election systems safe from tampering.
- The designation places responsibilities on the US Homeland Security secretary to identify and prioritize those sectors, considering physical and cyber threats against them.
- The secretary is also required to conduct security checks and provide information about emerging and imminent threats.
- Such a change does not require presidential action, and only requires the secretary to first consult with the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.
- While the designation puts responsibilities on the Department of Homeland Security, it does not require entities that are determined “critical infrastructure” to participate. Much of the nation’s critical infrastructure is in the private sector.
- The designation allows for information to be withheld from the public when state, local and private partners meet to discuss election infrastructure security _ potentially injecting secrecy into an election process that’s traditionally and expressly a transparent process.
- Election infrastructure includes storage facilities, polling places and vote tabulation locations, plus technology involved in the process, including voter registration databases, voting machines and other systems used to manage the election process and report and display results.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
Decide on Jio case in ‘reasonable time’: Telecom tribunal TDSAT to Trai
Telecom tribunal TDSAT has asked sector regulator Trai to decide on Reliance Jio’s free 4G service within “reasonable time”. A TDSAT bench heard arguments of both sides — Airtel and Trai — and posted the matter on February 1 for the next hearing.
The TDSAT direction came while hearing a petition filed by Bharti Airtel, which has moved the tribunal against Trai’s decision allowing Reliance Jio to continue with its free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days, alleging that the regulator acted as “a mute spectator” to violations.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) was established to adjudicate disputes and dispose of appeals with a view to protect the interests of service providers and consumers of the telecom sector and to promote and ensure orderly growth of the telecom sector.
- Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) was established in 2000 through an amendment of the TRAI 1997 act.
- The primary objective of TDSAT’s establishment was to release TRAI from adjudicatory and dispute settlement functions in order to strengthen the regulatory framework.
- Any dispute involving parties like licensor, licensee, service provider and consumers are resolved by TDSAT. Moreover, any direction, order or decision of TRAI can be challenged by appealing in TDSAT.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
- It is a citizen centric app that will facilitate access to various transport related services.
- The app provides for virtual driving license and registration certificate through back end connection to Transport National Register.
- If a vehicle number is entered into the app, it will give full details of the car and the owner including his DL and RC. This will provide a way to check genuineness of a vehicle and driver, help in passenger safety when hiring a driver or when buying a second hand vehicle.
- The app will also facilitate good Samaritans through technology. They can report accidents by clicking pictures and reporting to traffic authorities in states and to RTOs, with the option of hiding their identity if they so wish.
- They can also report traffic violations. States will be asked to provide linkages to the 108 service for better response.
New Delhi World Book Fair to Celebrate 60 Years of National Book Trust:
- New Delhi World Book Fair has begun. The Fair is being organized in collaboration with India Trade Promotion Organisation.
- New Delhi World Book Fair will have ‘Manushi’ as the Theme of this year, which will focus on writings on and by women; and will exhibit the rich tradition of women writings from ancient times till present.
- National Book Trust is celebrating 60 years of its foundation and it will showcase its journey in promoting books and reading at a special exhibit ‘This is no looking back!’
- The exhibit will display the varied activities that NBT has undertaken in promoting books including book fairs being organized by the Trust across India, participation of NBT in international book fairs, publishing programme among others.
- New Delhi World Book Fair is a platform for displaying our rich treasure of knowledge through books.
North Eastern Tourism Development Council:
- The government has announced the formation of exclusive “North-Eastern Tourism Development Council” (NETDC) on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode under the auspices of Union Ministry of DoNER.
- This is for the first time that the Government has decided to set up a separate tourism development agency, devoted to a particular region of the country.
RBI to provide 1 billion to Nepal:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has agreed to provide Rs 1 billion to the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) after its request that the country was facing a shortage of INR 100 denomination banknotes.