Insights Daily Current Events, 01 March 2016
Paper 3 Topic: government budgeting.
Highlights of Union Budget 2016-17
Union Finance Minister has presented NDA government’s second budget.
According to the budget, the nine priority areas of the government are:
- Agriculture and farmer welfare
- Rural sector
- Social sector
- Education skills and job creation
- Infrastructure investment
- Financial sector reforms
- Governance reforms and ease of doing business
- Fiscal discipline
- Tax reforms to reduce compliance burden
The government has also proposed rename Dept. of Disinvestment as Dept. of Investment and Public Asset Management. And fiscal deficit target has been retained at 3.5 per cent of GDP for next fiscal year in a big boost for stocks, currency and bond markets.
Who will get what?
- Banks get a big boost: Rs 25,000 crore towards recapitalisation of public sector banks.
- Banking Board Bureau will be operationalised.
- More resources will be raised for additional capital if required.
- Farmers’ incomes to be doubled in five years by 2022. Total allocation for agriculture sector has been hiked to Rs. 35,984 crore.
- Big focus on rural distress: Government will spend a record Rs. 38,500 crore on rural jobs programme (MGNREGA).
- Rural road development schemes will get Rs. 19,000 crore, while another Rs. 20,000 crore will be used to fund irrigation schemes.
- Continued push for infrastructure development: The finance minister allocated Rs. 2.21 lakh crore for building road and rail infrastructure.
- Proposes to levy infrastructure cess of 1-4 per cent which will make cars costlier.
- 300 urban clusters to be set up under Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission.
A new amnesty scheme for those holding unaccounted money and assets has been announced. Those declaring undisclosed income under this scheme will have to pay 45 per cent tax.
- The government will not resort to retrospective taxation in future, while proposing a one-time tax dispute resolution for retrospective taxation.
- General anti avoidance tax rule (GAAR) will be implemented from April 1, 2017.
- Target of disbursement under MUDRA increased to 1,80,000 crore.
- A “Krishi Kalyan” cess of 0.5 per cent has been proposed on all services effective June 1, 2016. This will make most of services (such as eating out, buying property, etc.) more expensive.
- Income tax relief for small taxpayers, more taxes for super-rich: Those earnings less than Rs. 5 lakh per annum will get additional relief of Rs. 3,000 on income tax, but the surcharge on super-rich (income of over Rs. 1 crore) has been hiked from 12 per cent to 15 per cent.
- Pollution cess of 1 per cent on small petrol, LPG and CNG cars; 2.5 per cent on diesel cars of certain specifications; 4 per cent on higher-end models.
- Government is launching a new initiative to provide cooking gas to BPL families with state support.
- LPG connections to be provided under the name of women members of family: Rs 2000 crore allocated for 5 years for BPL families.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Make In India initiative gets a leg up
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced several proposals in the Union Budget 2016-17 to boost the government’s Make in India (MII) initiative.
- To help start-ups innovate, generate employment and be key partners in the MII programme, Mr.Jaitley proposed to back them through 100% deduction of profits for three out of five years for start-ups set up during April 2016 to March 2019. He said Minimum Alternate Tax will apply in such cases.
- It has also been proposed to grant foreign investors ‘Residency Status’ subject to certain riders. Currently, these investors are granted business visa only up to five years at a time.
- To strengthen the MII initiative, there was an allocation of Rs.1,804 crore towards the scheme for Investment Promotion and Amended Technology Upgradation Fund.
- A modification in Customs and Excise Duty structure has also been proposed to incentivise domestic value addition and push the MII campaign.
- Changes were proposed in Customs and Excise Duty rates on certain inputs, raw materials, intermediaries/components and other goods while several procedures were simplified.
Also, to incentivise the employers to recruit unemployed persons and bring into the books the informal employees and in turn, ensure new jobs are created in the formal sector, the Centre has decided to pay the Employee Pension Scheme contribution of 8.33% for all new employees enrolling in EPFO for the first three years of their employment.
Paper 3 Topic: disaster management.
East coast set to get sixth doppler radar
A new doppler radar to boost the weather forecasting system in the cycloneprone eastern coast will shortly commissioned in Gopalpur in Odisha.
- It will be the sixth such radar on the country’s east coast. The others are located in Chennai, Kolkata, Machilipatnam, Visakhapatnam and Paradip.
- The radar is indigenously built by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL).
Significance of this move:
- The move to set up an additional radar assumes significance as the eastern coast is prone to cyclones and better forecast will help authorities in taking timely action. Gopalpur had faced the severe cyclonic storm Phailin in October 2013.
- The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had in November last year installed a doppler radar in Paradip, another coastal district in Odisha which was ravaged by a super cyclone in 1999.
What is ‘Doppler Radar’?
Doppler radar is an observational tool for monitoring and predicting severe weather events such as thunder storms, hailstorms, cyclones and tornados within a radius of 300 km. It not only gives information about precipitation but also about wind velocity.
- The Doppler weather radar system helps increase precision in weather forecasting.
How it operates?
This radar uses the Doppler effect to produce velocity data about objects at a distance. It does this by bouncing a microwave signal off a desired target and analyzing how the object’s motion has altered the frequency of the returned signal. This variation gives direct and highly accurate measurements of the radial component of a target’s velocity relative to the radar.
Paper 1 Topic: Social empowerment.
Twitter Launches Campaign To ‘Empower Women’
Taking cue from a study showcasing prevailing male dominance over both online and offline space, social networking site Twitter recently launched #Positionofstrength campaign to empower women to raise voices against any form of discrimination.
- The movement, which has been already been launched in Australia and Ireland, seeks to bridge the gender equality gap online in India and “inspire the next generation of women leaders to have an influential voice in society.”
- With this, Twitter hopes to strengthen the women empowerment movement and encourage women to amplify their voices in a secure and confident manner.
- For this, the social networking platform has partnered with the FICCI Ladies’ Organisation and the Observer Research Foundation to engage more women to find their voices online, communicate safely with confidence and network with other like-minded women and the global community at large.
- Under this campaign, twitter has introduced measures to empower our users with tools to mute, block and report abusive behaviour.
- In order to expand the reach of the programme, a series of round table sessions and workshops with women leaders has been scheduled to be organised throughout the year to discuss how to increase empowerment and safety for women, both online and in the physical world.
- Meanwhile, Twitter also launched its Safety Center in Hindi to ensure engagement and education of women locally to enable them to use the platform safely and with confidence.
Facts for Prelims.
Indo-Seychelles Joint Training ‘Ex Lamitye’
- This exercise aims to improve interoperability between both Armies in jointly fighting Counter Insurgency / Counter Terrorism.
- Focused on interoperability in drills pertaining to Counter Insurgency & Counter Terrorism, a number of activities and exercises were conducted during the joint training.
‘Exercise Lamitye’ meaning ‘Friendship in Creole’ has been a bridge between the Armed Forces of India and SPDF since 2001.