▼ Sikkim, Mizoram and Telangana ratify GST Bill [08-31-16]
Eleven states -- Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Nagaland, have already ratified the Bill.
- Sikkim Assembly ratified the GST Bill as a Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST.
- The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 on GST was passed by Parliament recently and it needs to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before
- The President can notify the GST Council which will decide the new tax rate and other issues. The government has set April 1, 2017 as target for rolling out GST, considered as the biggest tax reform.
- Meanwhile, Mizoram Assembly ratifies GST Mizoram Assembly today ratified the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment bill by adopting an official resolution, becoming 13th state to have approved the legislation.
- The state legislature unanimously adopted the official resolution moved by Finance and Taxation Minister Lalsawta after deliberations on the first day of the Assembly.
- Telangana Legislature ratifies GST Bill The Telangana Legislature on 30th August unanimously ratified the Goods and Services Tax Constitutional Amendment Bill, becoming 14th state to have approved the legislation that will pave the way for roll-out of a single and unified tax system in the country.
- While manufactured consumer goods will become cheaper as the incidence of excise duty and VAT will come down from 25-26 per cent at present, the cost of services would by and large, go up from the present 15 per cent levy.
- The Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Parliament needs to be ratified by more than half of the total states before it could be sent for Presidential assent.
- So far, 12 states have ratified the Bill.
▼ SAARCSTAT 8th meeting held in Delhi [08-30-16]
SAARC member states convened to achieve essential ingredients for decision making and policy planners at the SAARCSTAT 8th meeting of heads.
- The meeting was held in New Delhi
- Emphasis was on greater regional cooperation for mutual development, to accelerate free trade in goods and services in the Region.
- It is essential to put into operation simplified and transparent rules of origin; implementation of trade facilitation measures; harmonisation of standards relating to Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures; harmony, streamlined and simplified Custom procedures; elimination of non-tariff and para-tariff barriers;
- Also discussed were policy initiatives for comparable statistics and smooth & efficient transit and transport facilities, which will provide an opportunity to the SAARC Members countries to review the implementation of the recommendations made in International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) 2010 and Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (MSITS) 2010 and help in better understanding of the existing economic statistics frameworks and guidelines such as the System of National Accounts (2008 SNA), Balance of Payments (BPM6) and the Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics.
- Reducing asymmetry in states data was also a goal.
▼ My Hospital Scheme launched from Andhra Pradesh [08-30-16]
The scheme was launched at Tirupati and aims at patient satisfaction for assessing quality of services provided by healthcare family.
- The Health Minister informed that the ICT-based Patient Satisfaction System (PSS) “Mere Aspataal / My Hospital” for implementation in public and empanelled private hospitals, is envisaged to empower the patient by seeking his / her views on quality of experience in a public healthcare facility.
- He further added that a multi-channel approach will be used to collect patients’ feedback i.e. web portal, mobile application, Short Message Service (SMS), Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS).
- The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matriva Abhiyan (PMSMA) has been launched to provide fixed day assured quality ANC services to pregnant women on the 9th day of every month across the country.
- These services will be provided by obstetricians and physicians. A key pillar of this program is voluntary partnership of private doctors.
- India has successfully eliminated Maternal and Neonatal Tentanus in May 2015
- India’s Under-5 mortality rate and Maternal Mortality Ratio has declined at a higher percentage than the global average
- Free Drug Services Initiative, Free Diagnostics Services Initiative, quality assurance programme and Kayakalp awards reduce fragmentation of healthcare, improve quality of care and reduce non friendly health budgets.
- Appreciating the National Health Mission, Shri Kamineni Srinivas, Minister of Health, Medical and Family Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh, stated that health of Indians has taken a big leap with NHM. The Minister highlighted various steps taken for pregnant women, reducing Infant Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Rate and reducing out-of-pocket expenditure for the patients. He also appreciated the Centre’s help for free drugs and diagnostics for the poor and telemedicine schemes. “There is an overall improvement in hospitals. We must learn from each other and improve our strategies collectively,” the Minister said.
▼ Government sets up 11 member panel to suggest ways to promote electronic transactions [08-29-16]
Government of India has set up an 11 member panel headed by former finance secretary Ratan P Watal to suggest ways to promote electronic transactions
- Incentives such as tax rebates, cash back and lottery would also be given.
- Apart from this, suggesting changes in the existing regulatory mechanism relating to digital transactions, the panel will recommend steps for leveraging unique identification number or other identity proofs for authentication of card and digital transactions.
- It will also examine the setting up of a centralised Know Your Customer registry.
- The panel will also study the feasibility of creating a payments history of all card/digital payments and ensure that merchants/consumers can leverage the data to access instant, low cost micro credit through digital means and create the necessary linkage between payment history and credit information as per order issued by the finance ministry
- Committee will also study the introduction of a single window system of payment gateway to accept all types of cards/digital payments of government receipts and enable settlements via NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) or other agencies within specified timelines.
- Watal panel will submit its report in one year.
- It will also study international best practices in payments and identify possible market failures along with suitable interventions. Committee members include former RBI deputy governor HR Khan, Chairmans of Indian Banks Association, CBDT and NASSCOM.
▼ Nagaland Legislative Assembly ratifies the GST Bill [08-29-16]
- It became the second NE state and the eighth state in India to ratify the Bill
- The first state to ratify the GST bill was also from NE (Assam)
- Bihar was the first non NDA ruled state to ratify the GST Bill
- HP was the first Congress run state to ratify the bill
- Other states which ratified the Bill include Chattisgarh, MP and Jharkhand.
- Delhi has also ratified the GST Bill in the capacity of a state
- The ratification by the Delhi State Assembly is the first official acknowledgement of Delhi as a state
- Nagaland Legislative Assembly endorsed the Bill by voice cote following a brief discussion
- Introducing the Bill, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kiyanillie Peseiya said the revenue of the state would go up as tax evasion would be checked on account of transparency and broadening of the tax base.
- A purely consuming state like Nagaland would benefit even more since GST is based on the destination principle.
- Tax administration would improve since most of the activity would be online
- Nagaland CM TR Zeliang had earlier made the announcement about the special session of passing the bill
▼ Task force for next three Olympic Games to be set up [08-29-16]
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26th August 2016 announced the decision to set up a task force to prepare an action plan for the next three Olympic Games.
- The task force will be set up over the next few days
- Announcement was made at the CoM meeting in New Delhi
- Task force will prepare a comprehensive action plan for effective participation of Indian sportspersons in the Olympic Games to be held in 2020, 2024 and 2028.
- The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo
- The task force comprising in house as well as outside experts will prepare overall strategy for sports facility, training, selection procedure and other related matters
- Decision was made against the backdrop of poor performance of India at Rio Olympics
- The country was able to win only one silver and one bronze medal after sending the biggest contingent of 118 athletes.
▼ Health Ministry to frame regulations for in vitro fertilisation, embryo transfers and sperm banks [08-29-16]
Following the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, the health ministry plans to frame regulations for in vitro fertilisation, embryo transfers and sperm banks.
- Estimates show that assisted reproductive technology of which IVF and surrogacy services are most common is a INR 3000 crore industry
- While regulating clinics, ART Bill is expected to set forth norms for procedures, sperm donations and embryo transfers as well
- ART or Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill is also expected to draw a clear framework for compensation and bringing out guidelines on pricing of such procedures.
- The bill will be brought to public domain very soon
- Draft bill is quite old and requires some changes. Things need to be brought under its purview and work is on to accomplish this
- While regulations for surrogacy were also part of the overarching ART Bill, surrogacy was hived off and a separate legislation was framed for it
- Union Cabinet approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 imposing a ban on commercial surrogacy while allowing altruistic surrogacy where only close relatives can be surrogate mothers for Indian couples
- Infertility in India is on the rise on account of erratic modern lifestyles and late marriages
- Increasing number of couples are opting for ART
- There are serious concerns over the success rate of ART
- No official estimates or data on ARTs, sources in the government as well as industry say success rate of ART in India is not more than 20-30 percent.
▼ Sugmaya Pustakalaya to be a part of Accessible India Campaign [08-26-16]
Union Government on 24th August 2016 launched the accessible e-library.
- It is called the Sugamya Pustakalaya for Divyang
- It has been launched under the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhigyan).
- Sugamya Pustakalaya is an online platform that makes accessible content available to print disabled people
- It has more than 2 lakh books in diverse subjects and languages and multiple accessible formats
- e-Library was created by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with organisations of Daisy Forum of India and powered by TCS Access.
- E-Library is a nation wide campaign for attaining universal accessibility for persons with disabilities
- This initiative is in line with Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- India is the signatory to this article from 2007
▼ MP Assembly ratifies GST Bill. Delhi Assembly gives nod too. [08-25-16]
Madhya Pradesh Assembly ratifies the GST Bill becoming the 7th state to do so. On 24th August 2016, the 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax was unanimously ratified by the state.
- CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan termed it as a process towards economic integration of the nation
- The bill was tabled by law and legislative affairs minister Rampal Singh
- On 25th August 2016, Delhi Legislative Assembly passed a resolution to ratify the Constitution 122nd Amendment Bill or the GST Tax Bill
- GST Bill has for the first time recognised Delhi as a state under the new Constitutional Amendment to Article 366
- Delhi HC on August 4 had held that Delhi continues to be a UT under the control of the Lt. Governor
- However AAP leader Manish Sisodia said tax threshold for Value Added Tax is INR 20 lakh
- Businesses making INR 85,000 to 1,00,000 don’t require registration
- If the threshold were reduced to INR 10 lakh small businesses could be burdened so the threshold should be made INR 25 lakhs
- For the past 17 years, Delhi has been getting INR 325 crore in central tax share despite contribution of INR 137000 crore to the GDP of the country.
- Other states passing the GST bill include Bihar and HP.
- Bihar is the first non NDA ruled state to pass the Bill
- HP is the first INC ruled state to pass the Bill
- Chattisgarh has also passed the GST Bill as has Jharkhand
- Assam was the first NE state and the first Indian state to pass the GST bill
▼ Union Cabinet approves Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 [08-25-16]
Union Cabinet chaired by PM Shri Narendra Modi has given approval for the introduction of Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2016.
- Bill will regulate surrogacy in India through the establishment of a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the State and Union Territories.
- Legislation will ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibition of commercial surrogacy and provision of ethical surrogacy to needy infertile couples.
- All infertile married couples who want to avail ethical surrogacy will be benefited.
- Rights of surrogate mother and children born out of surrogacy will be protected.
- Bill shall apply to the whole of India except J&K.
- Major benefit of this act will be that it will regulate surrogacy services in the nation.
- Commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryos and gametes.
- Ethical surrogacy to needy infertile couples will be allowed on fulfilment of certain conditions and for specific purposes.
- This will prevent exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy
- India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries; there have been reports regarding unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and rackets of intermediaries exporting human embryos and gametes
- 228th Report of the Law Commission of India also prohibits commercial surrogacy and allows ethical altruistic surrogacy to needy children by enacting a suitable legislation.
▼ Chattisgarh, HP ratify GS Bill [08-23-16]
Himachal Pradesh is the fourth state after Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand to ratify the GST Bill.
- HP Assembly on 22nd August 2016 ratified the GST bill unanimously.
- Bill was introduced by CM Virbhadra Singh and passed by voice vote.
- GST Bill was basically brought by the UPA government, the HP CM said, calling it the single biggest tax reform which will help in trade, services and commerce.
- Chattisgarh state assembly also unanimously ratified the GST Bill during a special one day session on the same date.
- Chattisgarh became the fifth state to ratify Constitution 122 Amendment GST Bill after Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and HP.
- Sixteen various types of taxes have now been tabled into a simple taxation system.
- GST Bill was earlier passed by LS and RS and requires a specific number of states to ratify it before it becomes a law.
▼ Health Ministry launching National Injury Control Program [08-22-16]
The health ministry will be launching National Injury Control Program to provide trauma healthcare and save lives of people who are injured or in an accident.
- This was announced by the Health Minister at the third World Trauma Congress.
- Road traffic injuries are among three leading causes of death for people between 5 and 44 years of age.
- Road traffic injuries will soon become the fifth leading cause of death in the world resulting in 24 lakh deaths annually, according to the Indian government.
- Road injuries and deaths cause a colossal economic cost of up to 1.5% of the Gross National Product (GNP) in the low- and middle-income countries.
- The figure for India is close to 3% GDP. As per the latest statistic, in India 52 persons died every hour in various accidents in 2014, the major causes of accidental deaths in India are “Traffic accident, “Drowning”, “Poisoning” and “Accidental fire”.
- India also has the highest Road crash mortality in the world.
- Nearly 16 lakh people die globally as a result of a road traffic collision— more than 3000 deaths each day—and more than half of these people are not travelling in a car.
- About 2 to 5 crore more people sustain non-fatal injuries from a collision, and these injuries are an important cause of disability worldwide.
- 90 of road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, which claim less than half the world's registered vehicle fleet.
- The Health Minister stated that India is hosting the 3rd World Trauma Congress (WTC) this year, the first and second one’s being held at ‘Rio’ and ‘Frankfurt’.
- From 2011 to 2020, the UN Decade on Action for Road Safety is being celebrated.
▼ Bihar Assembly ratifies GST [08-17-16]
Bihar Assembly ratified the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST . Bihar is the first non NDA government to pass the GST following its ratification by BJP ruled Assam.
- The Constitution (122nd) Amendment Bill 2014 on GST has already been passed by both houses of the Parliament.
- It now has to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before the President can notify the GST council which will decide the new tax rate and other issues.
- Central government has set a deadline of April 2017 for its rollout.
▼ Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill 2016 introduced in LS [08-16-16]
Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill 2016 was introduced in LS by Sudarshan Bhagat, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- Bill proposes to amend the Central Agricultural University Act 1992.
- Act provides for the establishment of a university in the NE region for the development of agriculture and advancement of research in agriculture and allied sciences.
- University will also expand teaching and research in the field of agriculture for the NE states
▼ Union Minister for Water Resources launches Smart Ganga City Scheme [08-16-16]
Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharati and Union Urban Development Minister Shri M. Venkaih Naidu launched the Smart Ganga City scheme through video conference.
- The scheme was launched in 10 important cities through video conference namely:
- Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mathura-Vrindavan, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Patna, Barrackpore and Sahibgunj.
- National Mission for Clean Ganga has chosen these cities in the first phase of infrastructure development for sewage treatment
- This will be on hybrid annuity mode based on the PPP model.
- Though only 10 cities have been initially taken up, more will be added.
▼ RS names 10 members to the Joint Committee of Parliament for examining Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 [08-16-16]
RS has named 10 of its members to the Joint Committee of the Parliament that will closely scrutinise the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
- A resolution moved by Minister of State for Home Affairs, H.G. Hair on behalf of Home Minister Rajnath Singh appointed 10 of the members to the Joint Committee of the LS and RS by voice vote.
- Members nominated to the committee included:
- Vinery Saharabuddhe (BJP), Dilip Pandya (BJP), P. Bhattacharya (Congress), Bhubaneswar Kalita (Congress), Javed Ali Khan (SP), Derek O’Brien (TMC), Harivansh (JDU), Prasanna Acharya (BJD). Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP) and Swapan Dasgupta(nominated).
- Draft bill aims to help migrants of nearly all denominations- except Muslims- from neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to get Indian citizenship following six years.
- Following Opposition objections, Bill was referred to the Joint Committee and then moved to LS.
- Home Minister informed the Lower House that the bill should be send to the panel.
▼ Assam becomes first state to ratify GST Bill [08-16-16]
The Assam Assembly on 12th August 2016 passed a resolution to become the first state to ratify the Constitution (122nd Amendment) GST Bill 2014.
- The bill was passed by the LS on 8th August 2016 and RS on 3rd August 2016.
- The GST will have two components keeping the federal structure of India in mind- the Central GST and the State GST.
- For goods and services that pass through several states or imports, the Centre will levy the Integrated GST.
- Alcohol for human consumption or liquor has been kept out of the ambit of GST.
- GST Bill empowers the centre to impose additional tax of up to 1 percent on interstate supply of goods for two years or more- tax will accrue to states from where the supply originates.
- GST will not apply to petroleum crude initially or high speed diesel, motor spirit (petrol), natural gas and aviation turbine fuel and GST council will decide when GST will be levied for these.
- Tobacco and tobacco products will be subject to GST and centre may impose excise duty on tobacco.
- Compensation may be provided to states for revenue losses stemming from implementation of GST for 5 years based on the recommendations of the GST Council.
▼ Bribe giving should be an offence: Parliamentary Committee [08-16-16]
Signalling a strong consensus in the political class on making corporates and non governmental organisations more accountable for acts of corruption, a parliamentary committee has recommended to make bribe giving an offence under Prevention of Corruption Act.
- Select committee studying the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013 and further amendments circulated by the government last year, has recommended that it be made mandatory for corporates to have proper anti-graft system in place deterring employees from indulging in corrupt practices.
- PC Act covers public servants accepting a bribe, not a bribe giver.
- Providing a bribe to a public servant is covered under the provision pertaining to abetment.
- There is no specific provision in dealing with companies and private individuals engaging in bribe giving.
- Bill proposes a jail term of close to 7 years for any private individual, corporate or member of NGO who tries to bribe a public servant.
- Scope of the bill has been widened to include middlemen, company directors and private individuals who are linked to payoffs.
- In case amendments approved by the select committee are passed by Parliament, a new act will hold a commercial organisation liable for failure to prevent persons from bribing a public servant.
- Firm can therefore be held responsible for corrupt acts of employees.
▼ CRWC to plan 10 new warehouses with temperature controlled system [08-12-16]
Central Railside Warehouse Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Central Warehousing Corporation has planned 10 new warehouses with temperature controlled systems at rail heads to facilitate handling and storage bagged commodities.
- Company has also undertaken up gradation of existing 19 railside warehousing complexes across the nation at a cost of INR 200 crore
- For its diversification initiatives, CRWC has entered into a Joint Venture agreement with IFFCO Kisan SEZ (IKSEX), Indian Potash Limited for development of integrated Railside warehouse Complex and Freight terminal at Nellore.
- It has proposed to set up silos for storage of foodgrains for FCI at Jalalabad and New Jalpaiguri with the Railways.
▼ National Corridor Development Authority to be set up [08-11-16]
Government has planned to set up National Industrial Corridor Development Authority
- Proposed NICDA will integrate development of Industrial Corridors through India
- It will channelise central and institutional funds for projects like DMIC which seeks to create corridors in Gujarat, UP, MP and Maharashtra namely:
i. Ahmedabad-Dholera Special Investment Region in Gujarat.
ii. Shendra-Bidkin Industrial Park in Maharashtra.
iii. Integrated Industrial Township Project in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
iv. Integrated Industrial Township Project in Vikram Udyogpuri in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.
▼ Government notifies TADF under NMP [08-11-16]
Government has notified the scheme for Technology Acquisition and Development Fund under the National Manufacturing Policy to provide funding support to SMEs for acquiring clean energy technologies
- Scheme is applicable for MSMEs and NIMZ
- The fund provides subsidy of upto 10% of capital expenditure incurred on new plant and machinery (on procuring plant and machinery) for manufacturing units for controlling pollution, reducing energy consumption and for water conservation, subject to a maximum of INR 50 lakhs.
The incentives consist of:
- Five percent interest reimbursement of the nominal interest charged by lending agency;
- Ten percent capital subsidy;
- 25% grant to SMEs for expenditure incurred on Environmental and Water audits subject to a maximum of INR1 lakh in NIMZs;
- Units practicing zero water discharge are eligible for 10% onetime capital subsidy on the relevant equipment/systems subject to actual usage for one year and third party certification; and
- Access to the patent pool and/or part reimbursement of technology acquisition costs upto a maximum of INR 20 lakhs for acquiring appropriate technologies patented upto a maximum of 5 years generally, prior to the date of submission of the project.
▼ Expost facto approval given to Maternity Benefits Amendment Bill 2016 [08-11-16]
Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act 1961 by introducing the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament.
The amendments to Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 are as follows:
- Increase Maternity Benefit from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two childern.
- 12 weeks Maternity Benefit to a 'Commissioning mother' and 'Adopting mother'.
▼ Government of Odisha launches special assistance scheme for handloom weavers [08-11-16]
Government of Odisha launched an assistance scheme called Baristha Bunakar Sahayata Yojana’ for elderly handloom weavers
- This was on the occasion of National Handlooms Day observed on 7th August 2016
- It was launched by State CM to improve condition of 8000 weavers
- Odisha produces handloom fabrics worth INR 160 crore and there are nearly 1.5 lakh weavers including 78 percent women engaged in handloom products
▼ NITI Aayog CEO to head government committee on FDI in e-commerce [08-11-16]
Government has decided to take up issues such as FDI norms in the rapidly growing e-commerce sector
- The committee to investigate the same will be chaired by NITI Aayog CEO. Other members in the panel include officials from DEiTY and Ministry of Commerce and Industry
- Committee will look into issues such as FDI pertaining to e-commerce sector and further promote growth of the sector
▼ MP, Puducherry join UDAY scheme [08-11-16]
Madhya Pradesh formally joined the centre’s UDAY scheme meant for debt ridden power discos
- Move will save INR 17515 crore during the period of turnaround
- Puducherry became the first UT to formally join the scheme and signed the MoU under UDAY or Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana
- With the two states joining the scheme, the number of states and UTs joining UDAY have gone up to 16
- CPSUs and discom debt will be restructured amounting to INR 2.51 lakh crore
▼ LS passes The Employees Compensation Amendment Act 2016 [08-10-16]
Lok Sabha today passed a bill that provides for higher compensation in case an employee is injured in industrial accident and has a provision for hefty penalty in case any violation by the employers.
- The Employees Compensation (Amendment) Act 2016 was passed by voice vote after Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the government was committed to ensure protection of jobs, wages, social security and fair wages to employees
▼ The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016 passed [08-10-16]
Parliament passed the The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which empowers banks to take security in the event of loan default
- It is significant in view of default by industrialist Vijay Mallya
- RS cleared this bill which amends 4 laws- Sarfaesi Act, DRT Act, Indian Stamp Act and Depositories Act.
▼ Government launches Ganga Gram as part of Namami Gange Programme [08-9-16]
Government of India has started a initiative under Namami Gange programme called Ganga Gram
- As per the scheme, the villages will be developed as model villages by developing sustainable sanitation infrastructure and cleanliness practices. In the first phase government has started the Ganga Gram initiative in 306 villages.
- NMCG, under its Ganga Gram project, facilitates exposure visit to Gram Pradhans/Sarpanch of all villages situated along the mainstem of River Ganga.
- Gram Pradhan or village headmen will be sensitised through this program and scheme
▼ Study Group constituted to consider revision of rate of coal royalty [08-9-16]
Study Group has been constituted to consider the revision rate of royalty
- Ministry of coal has received a request from the Chhattisgarh state government to increase rate of royalty from 14 to 30 percent
- Minister also stated rate of royalty on coal is same for power and non power sectors
▼ Department of Information Technology and Communication with NISG is holding Skill Enhancement programme [08-9-16]
DEiTY and Communication department in association with National Institute of Smart Government is holding a week long training programme on Champions Skill Enhancement Programme under the Skill India project in Nagaland’s capital city, Kohima
- Training covers wide number of topics pertaining to e-Governance and provides an opportunity for NE states to learn and discuss issues of mutual interest
▼ PM Modi launches Mission Bhagiratha [08-9-16]
PM Shri Narendra Modi has launched Mission Bhagiratha at Komatibanda Village, Gajwel, Medak, Telangana
- Scheme has been launched by state governments to provide safe drinking water to all
▼ RBI constituted a committee to examine various aspects of household finance [08-8-16]
RBI on 4th August 2016 constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Tarun Ramadorai, Professor of Financial Economics, University of Oxford
- The committee will examine household finance and benchmark current depth of household financial markets in India among those in other major world markets and identify areas for growth and change.
- Committee will submit report in July 2017.
▼ Dental educational institutions to have uniform entrance examination: Government [08-4-16]
A Bill has been passed to introduce uniform entrance examination for all dental educational institutions applicable at post and undergraduate level.
- Bill states that in case a state has not opted for uniform entrance examination, exam will not be applicable at undergraduate level for 2016-2017.
- Provision will apply to state government seats in government and private dental colleges.
- It also provides that entrance examinations will be conducted in Hindi, English and other language and powers will be given to DCI to frame regulations.
▼ Union Cabinet passes Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016 [08-4-16]
Union Cabinet on 3rd August 2016 passed the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill 2016 which provides for very hefty penalties in case of traffic violations.
- As per the provisions, drunken driving will now attract INR 10000 fine.
- Fine of INR 1000-4000 will be imposed for over speeding.
- As per the bill, driving without insurance means a fine of INR 2000 and/or three month imprisonment while driving without helmets will attract INR 2000 fine and 3 month suspension of license.
- In case of juvenile offenders, guardian/owner will be deemed guilty and vehicle registration will be cancelled
▼ GST Bill Passed in Rajya Sabha [08-4-16]
The Goods & Services Tax Bill was finally passed to amend the Constitution, paving the way for one nation one tax.
- Barring the AIADMK which staged a walkout on the plea that federalism had been violated, other parties, including the Congress voted for the Bill.
- RS passed the constitutional amendment by 2/3rd majority as all parties except AIADMK pledged support.
- GST will now have two components keeping the federal structure of India in mind: The Central GST and State GST.
- Shift to the GST Bill will lead to uniform and seamless markets across the nation and it will be a uniform rate, checking evasion and boosting growth rates.
- Services like hotels, cellphone bills, air and train tickets are set to cost more.
- Goods like two wheelers, cars and SUVs as well as fans, lighting products, water heaters and air coolers will become cheaper.
- GST if set at 18 percent will be lower than 24-26 percent tax on goods but higher than 15% services tax.
- CPI inflation will go up by 20-70 basis points in the year of implementation.
- The Bill will eliminate multiple taxes on firms and help in the ease of doing business.
- It will also reduce logistics cost for firms due to elimination of inter state taxes.
- Capital goods prices will fall boosting GDP growth by 0.5 percent.
- Will reduce inflow of black money due to increased documentation.
▼ Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2016 passed by RS [08-3-16]
Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2016 was passed on August 1, 2016 by the RS through voice vote.
- Bill seeks to replace the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2016
- Bill states that provisions will come into force from May 24, 2016.
- Bill was passed in LS on 19th July 2016.
- It was introduced by Minister of Health and Family Welfare, JP Nadda.
- The bill seeks to introduce uniform entrance examination for all medical educational institutions at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
▼ PMPRY for employment generation announced [08-2-16]
New scheme called Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana has been announced in the Budget for 2016-2017 for promoting employment generation.
- An allocation of INR 1000 crores has been made.
- Scheme is being implemented by Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2016-2017.
- Scheme is targeted for workers earning up to INR 15,000 per month.
▼ LS passes law empowering banks to take possession of collateral in case of loan default [08-2-16]
LS passed the law giving banks the right to take possession of collateral in case of loan default except for farm land.
- Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debt Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill 2016 passed by voice vote seeks to amend 4 bills namely SARFAESI Act, DRT Act, Indian Stamp Act and the Depositories Act.
- Changes in SARFAESI act permit secured creditors to take over collateral against which the loan has been provided upon default in repayment.
- It also provides that the process will have to be completed within 30 days by the DM.
- Banks must be empowered to take effective legal action against defaulters and insolvency, securitisation and DRT laws are steps in this path.
- President law simplifies the procedure through which the quick disposal of pending cases of of banks and financial institutions by the debt recovery tribunal takes place.
- Bill was introduced in LS in May aiming at faster recovery of debt by PSU banks grappling with INR 4 lakh crore of NPAs and 8 lakh crore of stressed assets.
▼ Performance and credit rating scheme launched by MSME Ministry [08-2-16]
A performance and credit rating scheme has been launched by the MSME industry to assess credit worthiness and capabilities of industries in the sector.
- Ministry of MSME through the National Small Industry Corporation Limited is implementing the Performance and Credit Rating Scheme for MSMEs to provide trusted third party opinion on capabilities and creditworthiness to create awareness about strengths and weaknesses of existing operations.
- A new scheme of Financial Support to MSMEs in Zero Defect Zero Effect Certification had been approved in which the MSMEs will be assessed on ZED Maturity Model on 50 parameters to strengthen or facilitate the Make in India initiative.
- To ensure quality production, government is encouraging MSMEs by organising awareness programmes, providing financial assistance for product certification as per international and national standards.
- Under Financial Support to MSMEs in ZED certification scheme, MSMEs will be assessed on Zero Defect Zero Effect maturity model to raise MSMEs in 5 levels.
▼ Niti Aayog to prepare 15 year food roadmap [08-1-16]
Niti Aayog will form a committee to establish the demand for food items in the next 15 years and chart a road map meeting the requirements.
- Aayog will constitute a working group of experts to assess food requirements in the country within the coming 15 years.
- Aayog will adjust food production targets based on public consumption trends to prioritise what would be required in the future.
▼ LS passes Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill 2016 [08-1-16]
LS has passed the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill 2016 seeking to set up six new institutes of technology (IITs) in Goa, Dharwad, Bhilai, Tirupati, Palakkad and Jammu.
- The Act also seeks to bring ISM Dhanbad into its ambit.
- All these institutes will be declared institutions of national importance.
▼ State Forest department forms committee to hear local grievances [08-1-16]
State forest department has formed a committee headed by Chief Conservator of forests Dhananjai Mohan to hear grievances of villagers following inclusion of three ranges of Terai East of Uttarakhand as buffer zone of Phillibit Tiger Reserve of UP.
- This marks the first time when the reserve forest of the state is going to become the buffer zone of a tiger reserve of some other state.
- NTCA or National Tiger Conservation Authority has given approval for inclusion of three ranges as buffer zones of reserve.
▼ 3rd meeting of Joint Committee at Secretary level held under CEPA [08-1-16]
Third meeting of the Joint Committee at the Secretary level was held under the India Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement on 28th July 2016.
- Two sides discussed bilateral trade related issues and economic relations.
- Indian side highlighted various issues needed to be addressed by the Japanese side for providing greater market access to India products in Japan especially items with great potential such as sesame seeds, pharmaceuticals and marine products.
- India also sought recognition of Indian Organic Standards by Japan.
- Japanese side raised several issues pertaining to taxation and investment concerns by the Japanese companies investing in India.
- Both sides stressed the need for higher cooperation to provide market access to India products in Japan and facilitation of Japanese investments in India.
▼ Bill for compensatory afforestation and wildlife protection passed by Parliament [08-1-16]
The Lok Sabha passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill during the budget session in May.
- Rajya Sabha has passed the bill after government assured the Upper House it would create enough provisions in rules to safeguards the interests of forest dwellers and tribals.
- Once the bill has received assent from the President, the aim will be to create an institutional mechanism for using estimated INR 6000 crore per year that would be collected for diversion of forest land for non forest use in the future.
- Currently, an ad hoc body Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority is a custodian of accumulated INR 42,000 crore.
- Legislation aims to set up the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund at the centre and the State Compensatory Afforestation Fund in respective states.
- Massive percentage of the collected fund will be spent in states for afforestation and other related works including forest regeneration and wildlife protection.
- It has also aimed to set up national authority at centre and state level authority in respective states to monitor fund utilisation.
- CAF Bill was introduced in LS; RS took up the Bill for consideration on 27th July.