National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 23rd October 2018

 Direct tax base widens sharply over 4 years


Topic: Indian Economy

In news: According to new back series data released by the government, The direct tax base has significantly widened in the last few years.

More on the topic:

  • The data showed a growth of more than 80% in the number of returns filed in the last four financial years from 3.79 crore in financial year (FY) 2013-14 to 6.85 crore (these figures include revised returns) in FY 2017-18.
  • Further, the number of persons filing income tax returns also increased by about 65% during this period from 3.31 crore in FY 2013-14 to 5.44 crore in FY 2017-18.
  • The data also showed that the direct tax-GDP ratio rose to 5.98% in FY 2017-18, the highest it has been in the last 10 years.

Why increase in tax base:

  • There may be four reasons for increase in the number of tax returns:
  • One, the effect of demonetisation, two, the increase in the use of information being collected digitally and being used by the tax department. Three, the movement towards digital assessment and decrease in the number of cases being picked up for scrutiny, and four, the ease of getting refund, majorly by small and medium taxpayers.


SC asks media regulators to take actions on non law abiding journalists


Topic: Polity and Governance

 In news: The Supreme Court on Monday condemned media regulators who tend to take gentle actions when it comes to dealing with journalists and media organisations whose actions, like revealing the identity of a rape survivor, make them criminally liable.

 More on the Topic:

  • The Supreme Court told that the statutory bodies like the Press Council of India (PCI), Editors Guild of India, National Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), and the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF) have responsibility to inform the police when a journalist or a media outlet commits such a crime in the course of reportage.
  • A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta observed orally that it was not enough on the part of these statutory and independent bodies, most of them headed by retired judges, to say they have “norms” to deal with errant journalists.
  • The SC told,If there is criminal liability involved, there should be prosecution launched under a penal statute.
  • The court gave three weeks to PCI, Editors Guild and IBF to respond specifically on whether they had a responsibility to inform the police about an offence committed by a journalist or a media organisation.

Concerns – Media Regulation:

  • Statutory regulators like the PCI and Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) lack adequate punitive powers while self-regulatory industry bodies like the News Broadcasting Standards Authority have even failed to take cognisance of different problems.
  • The PCI and self-regulatory bodies are also plagued by conflict of interest since a majority of their members are media-owners.
  • The Standing Committee on Information Technology recommended the establishment of either a single regulatory body for both print and electronic media or setting-up a statutory body for the electronic media on the lines of the PCI.
  • Such regulator(s) should have the power to take strong action against offenders and should not include media owners as members.
  • It highlighted the need for stricter punitive provisions to control crimes and sought further empowerment of the ECI to deal with cases of paid news during elections.

Source:The Hindu

 Blood vessels may be 3D printed in future


Topic: Science and Technology

 In news: Scientists have developed a 3D printing technique that can recreate the complex geometry of blood vessels, and could one day be used to produce artificial arteries and organ tissues.

 More on the Topic:

  • The findings could lead to better, more personalised treatments for those suffering from hypertension and other vascular diseases.
  • The idea was to add independent mechanical properties to 3D structures that can mimic the body’s natural tissue.
  • This technology allows us to create microstructures that can be customised for disease models.

What is 3-D Printing:

  • 3D printing is any of various processes in which material is joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object, with material being added together. 3D printing is used in both rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing.
  • 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing builds a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model or AMF file, usually by successively adding material layer by layer.
  • In the current scenario, 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing has been used in manufacturing, medical, industry and sociocultural sectors which facilitate 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing to become successful commercial technology.

Source:The Hindu

Panel for adopting UN model on cross-border insolvency


Topic: Indian Economy

In news:The Insolvency Law Committee (ILC), tasked with suggesting amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of India, has recommended that India adopt the United Nations’ model to handle cross-border insolvency cases.

 More on the Topic:

  • The ILC has recommended the adoption of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law of Cross Border Insolvency, 1997, as it provides for a comprehensive framework to deal with cross-border insolvency issues.
  • The committee has also recommended a few carve-outs to ensure that there is no inconsistency between the domestic insolvency framework and the proposed cross border insolvency framework.

Why UN model:

  • The necessity of having a cross-border insolvency framework under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code arises from the fact that many Indian companies have a global footprint and many foreign companies have a presence in multiple countries, including India.
  • The UNCITRAL Model Law has been adopted in 44 countries and, therefore, forms part of international best practices in dealing with cross border insolvency issues.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of India

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) is the bankruptcy law of India which seeks to consolidate the existing framework by creating a single law for insolvency and bankruptcy.
  • The bankruptcy code is a one stop solution for resolving insolvencies which at present is a long process and does not offer an economically viable arrangement.
  • A strong insolvency framework where the cost and the time incurred is minimised in attaining liquidation has been long overdue in India.
  • The code will be able to protect the interests of small investors and make the process of doing business a less cumbersome process.


What is ‘premature deindustrialisation’ in economics?

Topic: Indian Economy

In news: Hindu conceptual knowledge

More on the topic:

  • This refers to a phenomenon wherein the growth of an economy’s manufacturing sector begins to slow down prematurely in its path towards development. Economists generally picture economic development as a process by which labour and other resources gradually move from agriculture to the manufacturing sector before these resources move to the services sector at higher stages of development.
  • Some economies, however, may witness a premature movement of resources to the services sector, thus leading to underdevelopment of the manufacturing sector. The concept was popularised in 2015 by Turkish economist Dani Rodrik.

Source:The Hindu

Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali Campaign


Topic: Environment and Ecology

In news: Keeping in view the detrimental effects and also the importance of the festival, Ministry of Environment and Ecology has initiated a “Harit–Diwali” campaign.

More on the Topic:

  • As a matter of practice people have been celebrating Diwali by bursting crackers. Crackers contains combustible chemicals that include potassium chlorate powdered aluminum, magnesium, salts of barium, copper, sodium, lithium, strontium etc. and emits smoke on combustion of these chemicals along with sound.
  • This smoke and sound has health impacts on children, aged people and also animal and birds. Apart from these compounds large amount of waste is also generated after bursting of crackers.
  • This campaign was initiated in 2017-18 wherein large number of school children especially from eco-clubs participated and took pledge to minimize bursting of crackers and also discouraged the neighbour-hood and their friends from bursting of crackers.
  • During this intensive campaign, the children were advised to celebrate Diwali in an environment-friendly manner by gifting plant sapling to their relatives and friends along with sweets, undertake cleaning of houses, neighbourhoods, schools, collect old books and unused notebooks gift to needy children, donate old warm clothing, blankets to night-shelters and other homeless people.
  • The children were encouraged to light up their houses and their schools with candles and diyas. The above campaign was extremely successful and the air quality had not deteriorated post Diwali in 2017 unlike what was experienced in 2016.
  • On the above lines, the Ministry has initiated the similar campaign, but this year the campaign has been extended Pan-India. The “Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali” campaign is now merged with “Green Good Deed” movement that has been initiated as a social mobilization for conservation and protection of environment. The Ministry encourages all schools and colleges to be part of this campaign.

Source:The Hindu

India, Myanmar signs Sitwe port Agreement


Topic: India and its neighbourhood relations

In news:Ministry of Transport and Communications, signed the MoU for the appointment of a private port operator for the operation and maintenance of Sittwe Port, Paletwa Inland Water Terminal and associated facilities that are part of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project.

About Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project:

  • The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project is a project that will connect the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Rakhine State, Myanmar by sea.
  • In Myanmar, it will then link Sittwe seaport to Paletwa, Chin State via the Kaladan river boat route, and then from Paletwa by road to Mizoram state in Northeast India. Originally, the project was scheduled to be completed by 2014,but is expected to be operational only by 2019-2020.
  • This project will reduce distance from Kolkata to Sittwee by approximately 1328 km and will reduce the need to transport good through the narrow Siliguri corridor, also known as Chicken’s Neck.
  • The project is being piloted and funded by the Ministry of External Affairs (India). The preliminary feasibility studies were carried out by Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES).
  • Construction work on Sittwe port and the boat jetty in Paletwa, as well as the dredging work, will be executed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).



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