▼ LS approves amendments to Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 [07-29-16]
PM Narendra Modi has invoked special powers to approve the Bill earlier not presented in the Cabinet.
- LS approved on 27th July 2016 the amendment to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 to permit extension of time to public servants, trustees and board members of NGOs receiving public funds of more than 1 crore or international funds of more than 10 lakh to declare assets of self and spouse.
- Amendment to section 44 of the Act was moved by Minister of State for DoPT, Dr. Jitendra Singh.
- PM took the decision regarding the amendment pertaining to section 44 of the Lokpal Act dealing with declaration of assets and making assets public.
- Amendment to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act was passed by voice vote.
▼ Union Cabinet approves key changes in GST Constitutional Amendment Bill [07-29-16]
Paving the way for more efficient passage of the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill in the RS, Union Cabinet on 27th July 2016 approved 2 key changes to the Bill addressing the concerns of the Opposition and the state governments.
- Cabinet removed from the Bill the contentious provision for one percent additional tax levy by manufacturing states
- An introduction of 100 percent compensation to States for 5 year also made good any revenue loss incurred by them due to the introduction of the GST tax.
- Decision follows the meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers with the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley where the States agreed that one percent additional levy should be removed from the Bill and it was also agreed during the meeting to include the 100 percent compensation formula for first 5 years for implementation of GST in the Bill.
- There was no consensus on whether the GST rate should be included in the Bill.
- Centre had earlier planned to compensate the States for any revenue loss due to the GST which will replace the current indirect tax regime in a manner that is phased.
- This means 100 percent compensation in the first 3 years, 75 percent in the fourth year and 50 percent during the fifth year.
▼ Manipur becomes first NE state to join UDAY scheme [07-27-16]
Manipur has joined the UDAY scheme meant for the revival of debt stressed power distribution utilities and will get benefits of INR 263 crore.
- Manipur is the 14th state to join UDAY. It is also the first NE state to opt for UDAY for improving the efficiency of DISCOMS.
- GoI, Manipur and DISCOM of Manipur signed the MoU under the scheme Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana.
- An overall net benefit of close to INR 263 crore would accrue to states participating in UDAY by means of cheaper funds, reduction in AT&C and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms and more during the turnaround period.
▼ National Plan of Action for Children 2016 draft formed [07-26-16]
WCD Ministry has drafted the National Plan of Action for Children 2016 which is based on principles of National Policy for Children(NPC 2013)
- It provides a protection of child rights under 4 key areas:1. Survival, Health and Nutrition
2. Education and Development (including Skill Development)
- Draft NPAC is being developed in consultation with ministries, departments, governments of state and UT, NGOs and children.
▼ Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves Ghatampur UP thermal power project [07-25-16]
CCEA has approved the 1980 MW thermal power project in UP’s Ghatampur at a cost of INR 17237 crore including interest during a construction component of INR 3202.42 crore.
- CCEA has given approval for installation of the GTPS through a JV between Nevyeli Lignite Corporation and UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam called Uttar Pradesg Power Limited.
- Pachwara south coal block in Jharkhand has been allowed for meeting coal requirements of this project.
- CCEA also cleared proposal of Ambuja cements to acquire 24 percent stake in Holcim India, permitting Swiss major Lafarge Holcim to enhance its India footprint.
▼ LS passes National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research Amendment Bill 2016 [07-22-16]
LS on 21st July passed the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research Amendment Bill 2016 with new HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar asserting the need for quality education for all.
- The Modi Government has also voiced its commitment to ensure Sabko Shiksha or Acchi Shiksha ( Education for All and Quality Education).
- For promoting research in technical fields, a separate funding of INR 1000 crore has been made available.
- The bill, later passed by voice vote, seeks to establish the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Andhra Pradesh as an institute of national importance under the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (NITSER) Act, 2007.
▼ Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to oversee IT laws [07-21-16]
PM Narendra Modi has created a mega role for the Ministry of Electronics ad Information Technology with a saw over all policy matters pertaining to electronics, IT and Internet other than ISP licensing.
- On July 18, Cabinet Secretariat notified the amendments made by the President of India to the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961 in association with the Ministry of Electronics and Information and the Ministry of S&T and Earth Sciences.
- As per the new rules, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology led by Ravi Shankar Prasad will have complete jurisdiction of the UIDAI and NIC.
- Two separate department, Telecom and Post have been placed under the Ministry of Communications headed by MoS for Communications (Independent Charge) Manoj Sinha
- All matters pertaining to cyber laws, administration of IT Act 2000 and other related IT laws will come under the new Ministry
▼ Union Cabinet approves amendments to Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill 2016 [07-21-16]
Union Cabinet approved amendments to the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill 2015 to be introduced in the Parliament.
- Amendment to the Bill aims to strengthen legal and administrative procedure to set over practical difficulties arising in implementation of provisions of the Bill when it becomes an Act.
- Legislation empowers the government to confiscate benami property by following due process of law.
▼ RS passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2012 [07-21-16]
RS on 19th July 2016 passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2012 which allows children below the age of 14 to work in select non hazardous family enterprises.
- It also prohibits employment of children below 14 years in all occupations or processes except where the child helps his family after school with the provision for imprisonment up to two years for any violation
- This was made in light of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.
- It also adds a new category called adolescents meaning children between 14-18 years of age and prevents employment of adolescents in dangerous occupations such as mines, inflammable substances and hazardous processes.
- This gives the right to the Union Government to add or omit any hazardous occupation from the list included in the Bill.
- It also increases penalty for employing adolescents in hazardous occupations.
- Penalty for employing a child in an occupation means imprisonment from 6 months to two years or fine of INR 20,000-50,000 or both.
▼ Gram Panchayats to be connected through Optical Fibre Cable under BharatNet: IT Ministry [07-21-16]
All Gram Panchayats in the country will be connected through Optical Fibre Cable to set up a network infrastructure by December 2018 under the Digital India programme.
- NOFN renamed as BharatNet is one of the pillars of this programme and through it, a network infrastructure connecting 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through OFC will be initiated.
- Using an optimal mix of underground fibre, fibre overpower lines, radio and satellite media for providing broadband connectivity by all categories of service providers on non-discriminatory basis.
- Project will be implemented in three phases.
- As on July 9, OFC has been laid to 54,023 GPs with a total length of 1,25,642 km of which 7,312 GPs have been tested with broadband connectivity
▼ VAT Dealers checked from tax evasion through Apna Tax Scheme [07-13-16]
To check evasion by VAT Dealers such as shopkeepers, retailers and businessmen and create more transparency, Punjab government has started the Apna Tax Scheme under which mobile application Apna Tax has been launched which is compatible for both iOS and Android enabled mobile phones.
- Through this scheme and mobile app, the department wants to connect directly with all customers.
- All the customer needs to do is upload the copy of the bill using the mobile app Apna Tax and once the bill is submitted through the app, the customer will become eligible for cash prize announced after a lucky draw.
▼ Government on July 11, 2016 sets up committee under CEA [07-12-16]
CEA Arvind Subramaniam is heading the committee to examine the possibility of increasing MSP of pulses and giving additional bonuses to farmers for production.
- Panel under him aims to examine the solution to the problem in terms of increasing domestic production and bridging the gap between demand and supply.
▼ GoI constituted a committee to examine feasibility of new financial year [07-7-16]
Committee headed by Dr. Shankar Acharya (former Chief Economic Adviser) has the following members:
- Dr Rajiv Kumar (Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research)
- Shri PV Rajaraman (former Finance Secretary TN).
- Shri KM Chandrasekhar (former Cabinet secretary)
- The committee will be examining merits and demerits of various dates for commencement of financial year including the existing date (April to March).
▼ Union Cabinet approved the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme [07-7-16]
Union Cabinet approved the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme having an outlay of INR 10,000 crore with a target to train 50 lakh apprentices by 2019-2020.
- Scheme will be implemented by Director General of Training under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
- This marks the first time a scheme has been designed to offer fiscal incentives to engage apprentices.
- Basic training is also supported which is an essential component of apprenticeship exercise.
- 50 percent of the total expenditure incurred on providing basic training would be supported by the government.
- According to an official statement 25 percent of the stipend payable to an apprentice would be shared with employers directly by the government.
- Scheme will catalyse the entire apprenticeship ecosystem within the country and offered a win-win situation for all stakeholders
- This is expected to become one of the most powerful skill delivery vehicles in the country.
▼ Adopt a Green Highway, Kisan Harit Rajmarg Yojana launched [07-4-16]
Only 10 percent of the Indian highway network has green cover on both the sides. Highways ministry rolled work out for greening 2000 km involving INR 300 crore and two schemes namely Adopt a Green Highway and Kisan Harit Rajmarg Yojna.
- Under the Adopt a Green Highway initiative, PSUs and NGOs can taken up NH stretches for plantation and maintenance for 5 years as in the US.
- Under the Kisan Harit Rajmarg Yojna, NHAI will provide technical and financial assistance to farmers for planting trees in portions across the highway stretches.
- Plantation is estimated to sequester 12 lakh tonnes carbon on an annual basis
▼ My Stamp schema launched [07-1-16]
Indian Post in June 2016 opened up the ongoing scheme of customised printing of My Stam for individuals and corporates
- As part of the scheme, individual and corporate entity can get photo or logo printed inside the postage stamp at INR 12 lakhs
- As per the reports, there will be 5000 sheets comprising 60,000 postage stamps which can be used for general postal mail.
- Earlier India Post only permitted printing of photo or design next to postage stamp on an INR 300 My Stamp Sheet
- The scheme was first introduced ducring INDIPEX- 2011
- It is available in select post officers and philatelic bureaux
▼ RBI announced the establishment of a committee to study Blockchain technology [07-1-16]
RBI Governor HR Khan on 24th June 2016 announced the establishment of a committee to study blockchain technology
- The technology will be used to reduce the use of paper currency.
- The Blockchain database consists of blocks that hold time-stamped batches of valid transactions.
- Then, digital records are put together into blocks and then leaped together cryptographically and chronologically into a chain using complex mathematical algorithms. The encryption process is termed as ‘hashing’.
- The linked blocks form a chain, with each additional block reinforcing those before it, thus giving the technology its name.