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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 27 October 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
NSG: New Zealand to play ‘constructive’ role
New Zealand PM John Key is on his visit to India. Recently, a meeting was arranged between New Zealand PM and Indian PM to discuss on India becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. During this meeting, New Zealand has indicated that it will continue to contribute constructively in India’s bid.
Significance of this move:
This indicates that New Zealand is yet to change its hard-line position on only admitting signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty into the NSG, a group which works by consensus.
Also, this move comes in the run-up to a crucial NSG Consultative Group (CG) meeting to be held in Vienna specifically to consider whether countries that haven’t signed on to the NPT can be considered for membership.
New Zealand is part of a group called the New Agenda for Coalition which promotes the NPT and pushes for nuclear disarmament worldwide. Hence, New Zealand has failed to give an outright statement of support for India’s bid to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
What is New Agenda for Coalition?
The New Agenda Coalition (NAC) is a geographically dispersed group of middle power countries seeking to build an international consensus to make progress on nuclear disarmament, as legally called for in the nuclear NPT. It was formed in 1998.
It is composed of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa. All current members of the New Agenda Coalition have joined the Humanitarian Initiative, which was founded in 2013 also in the context of the NPT.
The group was formed in response to the North-South divide that stymied talks on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation within the framework of the NPT. Non-nuclear weapon states believed that not enough progress was being made on disarmament to have warranted the Indefinite Extension of the treaty in 1995, and that the nuclear weapons states were not fulfilling their legal responsibilities towards disarmament, as outlined by Article VI of the NPT.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Distributors caution on haste in LPG rollout
LPG distributors have raised serious concerns regarding the government’s haste in implementing the targets set under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) which is aimed at providing poor households with LPG connections, saying that rushed implementation could compromise the safety of the recipients.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had recently issued a statement highlighting the steps it had been taking to ensure the safety of the LPG cylinder recipients, saying that it has been providing safety handouts, safety briefings at the time of installation and has been organising safety melas and clinics to increase awareness.
Following this, oil marketing companies had sent letters to distributors exhorting them to meet the PMUY target of 3,000 registrations by September 30, 2016 “without fail” or face the consequences, pressure that the distributors say only adds to the safety hazard.
About the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Rs.8,000 crore has been earmarked for providing 50 million LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.
- Each beneficiary will get financial support of Rs.1,600 for securing an LPG connection.
- Eligible households will be identified in consultation with state governments and Union territories.
- The scheme will be implemented over the next three years.
- The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Revised double-tax pact with Korea notified
India has notified the revised double tax avoidance agreement with South Korea under which capital gains tax will be levied at the source with effect from April 1, 2017.
- The revised DTAA aims to avoid the burden of double taxation for taxpayers of two countries in order to promote and stimulate flow of investment, technology and services between India and Korea.
- In order to promote cross-border flow of investments and technology, the revised DTAA provides for reduction in withholding tax rates to 10% on royalties or fees for technical services from 15% and to 10% on interest income from 15%.
- The revised DTAA provides for source-based taxation of capital gains arising from alienation of shares comprising more than 5% of share capital.
- The treaty also allows investors to invoke Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) in transfer pricing disputes as well as apply for bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs). It provides for exchange of information, including by financial institutions.
- The reworked DTAA inserts new Article for assistance in collection of taxes between tax authorities. It also inserts new Limitation of Benefits Article i.e. anti-abuse provisions to ensure the benefits of the agreement are availed only by the genuine residents of both the countries.
The existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention, which has been in vogue for three decades, provides for residence-based taxation of capital gains on shares, which means taxes were to be paid where the investor was a resident.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
Biotech-KISAN was recently launched by the government. It is a new programme that empowers farmers, especially women farmers. It is a Farmer centric scheme launched by of the Department of Biotechnology.
- The Scheme is for farmers, developed by and with farmers, it empowers women, impacts locally, connects globally, is Pan-India, has a hub-and spoke model and stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in farmers.
- Biotech-KISAN aims to link farmers, scientists and science institutions across the country in a network that identifies and helps solve their problems in a cooperative manner.
- The scheme includes the Mahila Biotech- KISAN fellowships, for training and education in farm practices, for women farmers. The Scheme also aims to support the women farmers/ entrepreneur in their small enterprises, making her a grass root innovator.
- Biotech-KISAN will connect farmers to best global practices; training workshops will be held in India and other countries. Farmers and Scientists will partner across the globe.
- The scheme is targeted towards the least educated marginalised farmer; Scientists will spend time on farms and link communication tools to soil, water seed and market. The aim is to understand individual problems of the smallholding farmers and provide ready solutions.
- Biotech KISAN will connect farmers with science in the 15 agro-climatic zones of the country in a manner, which constantly links problems with available solutions. In each of these 15 regions, a Farmer organisation will be the hub connected to different science labs, Krishi Vigyan Kendra and State Agriculture Universities co-located in the region. The hub will reach out to the farmers in the region and connect them to scientists and institutions.
- The hub will have tinkering lab, communication cell and will run year-long training, awareness, workshops and which will act as education demonstration units to encourage grass root innovation in the young as well as women farmers.
- There will be a communication set-up to make radio and TV programmes for local stations, as well as daily connectivity through social media.
Sources: the hindu.