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Daily Current affairs 3 July 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

SL. NO.

TOPICS

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

No home even a decade after the war

11

2

Teachers and quotas

10

3

Not by wishful thinking

10

4

Healthcare’s primary problem

11

5

Union Minister opposes U.P. move to shift 17 OBCs to SC list

01







 

Title

1. No home even a decade after the war (The Hindu, Page 11)     

Syllabus

Mains: GS Paper International relations

Theme

India and its neighborhood- relations.

Highlights

THE SRILANKAN CIVIL WAR:

  • The war began in 1983 between the separatist Tamil forces and the Sri Lankan government.

  •  The war is seen as a fight between two ethnicities in one country, The majority of Sri Lankans are ethnic Sinhalese along with ethnic Tamils and Tamils who the British had taken to Sri Lanka between 1815 to 1948 to work in the coffee, tea and rubber plantations to the island-nation. So, in the northern part of the country, the Tamils were in a majority.  The British also set up good educational and other infrastructure and also favoured the Tamils in the civil service. Due to this the Sinhalese developed ill feelings and after liberation from the British, they made many discrimatory laws against the Tamils.

  • Along with other discrimatory laws, it simply barred Indian Tamils from getting citizenship. In SriLanka.

  • The Tamils started demanding equal rights in their homeland and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) was set up in 1976

  • It took almost 26 years for the government to finally suppress the bloody civil war. 

 

Due to this war a large number of Tamils lost their homeland and were forced to move to India.

 

PRESENT CONTEXT: The order of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court directed 65 refugees from Sri Lanka to apply for Indian citizenship. They had come to India between 1983-1985 during the agitation in Sri Lanka and were set up in a refugee camp in Tamil Nadu. They were treated as ‘illegal migrants’ by the Union and State governments as they had entered India without legal documents. Since granting of citizenship lies within the executive domain of the government, the court created the opportunity for the centre to completely solve this problem.

  1. India does not have a comprehensive migration or refugee policy even though we have over 2.25 lakh refugees from different countries. Due to this, the pace of repariation of refugees to Sri Lanka is very slow. There are about 95000 Tamil refugees in India, some of whom are in refugee camps and some live on their own.

  2. Even though these refugees get opportunities for higher education (apart from medicine), they do not get regular employment since employers are reluctant to employ refugees. The refugees cannot get employment in other countries as well since they require a valid Sri Lankan passport which they do not get.

  3. Identity Crises: The refugees are confused about which country they belong to- whether India or Sri Lanka and not all refugees want to gain Indian citizenship but want to go back since they consider the Jaffna Hills in the north of Sri Lanka to be safe. However the Easter Sunday Blasts temporarily halted the repariation process.

  4. The Easter Sunday bombings that killed over 350 people in Sri Lanka were retaliation for a white terrorist gunning down 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15 march. the bombings, claimed by the Islamic State and targeting Christian minorities,

  5.  According to Chennai-based Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation reveals that approximately 28,500 refugees, all living in camps, are “stateless persons” and entitled to get Sri Lankan citizenship in the light of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, and the Citizenship Amendment Rules of 2009

  6. Sri Lanka follows a system of proportional representation in their government. So the Tamils have a political motive of going back. The civil war had an adverse effect on the demographic dividend and the numerical strength of the Tamils.

  7. Also the Srilankan Government has said that it favors the return of the refugees but has not taken considerable action.

 

How can the Tamil Problem be solved?

  1. The Governments of the two countries should plan ways of speeding up voluntary repatriation in a humane manner. This should include a package of assistance.

  2. The authorities in the Northern and Eastern Provinces should ensure that there are no illegal occupants of lands belonging to the refugees.

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Title

2. Teachers and quotas (The Hindu, Page 10)     

 

Syllabus 

Mains: GS Paper II Issues relating to Social Sector/Services relating to Education.

 

Theme

 Reservation for teachers 

 

Highlights

Context: 

The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019, passed by the Lok Sabha, replaces an ordinance promulgated in March. Its main object is to restore the system of treating an institution or a university as a single unit to apply the reservation roster, and thus help fill 7,000 teaching vacancies. 

Background 

  • It seeks to get around a 2017 judgment of the Allahabad High Court striking down University Grants Commission regulations that treated the institution as the unit for determining the roster, and directing that each department be the relevant unit. In short, reservation should be department-wise, and not institution-wise, the court ruled. The High Court noted that having the whole institution as a unit would result in some departments having only reservation beneficiaries and others only those from the open category. 

  •  The Supreme Court also rejected the Centre’s appeal against the order.

Arguments in favor of Institution wise reservation:

  • The narrower basis for applying quotas would mean fewer aspirants from OBC and SC/ST sections would be recruited as assistant professors. In the interest of social justice, there is a need of having a wider pool of posts in which the quotas of 27% for OBC, 15% for SC and 7.5% ST could be effectively applied. From this perspective, the Bill provides welcome relief for aspirants from the disadvantaged sections of society.

  •  Having the department as the unit would mean smaller faculties would not have any reservation. In the roster system, it needs 14 posts to accommodate SC and ST candidates, as their turn would come only at the seventh and 14th vacancy. There may be no vacancies in many departments for many years, with none from the reserved categories for decades. On the other hand, taking the institution as the unit would give more opportunities for these sections.

 

  • According to the UGC’s annual report for 2017-18, nearly two-thirds of assistant professors in Central universities are from the general category. Their representation would go up further, as the present Bill also applies the 10% quota for the economically weak among those outside the reservation loop. Applying the court’s department-wise roster norm would have deepened the sense of deprivation of the backward classes and SC/ST communities. To that extent, the new enactment will serve a vital social purpose.

 

The Central Education Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019

  • The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha 

  • It replaces an Ordinance that was promulgated on March 7, 2019.  

  • The Bill provides for reservation of teaching positions in central educational institutions for persons belonging to: (i) Scheduled Castes, (ii) Scheduled Tribes, (iii) socially and educationally backward classes, and (iv) economically weaker sections.
     

  • Reservation of posts: The Bill provides for reservation of posts in direct recruitment of teachers (out of the sanctioned strength) in central educational institutions.  For the purpose of such reservation, a central educational institution will be regarded as one unit.  This implies that the allocation of teaching posts for reserved categories would be done on the basis of all positions of the same level (such as assistant professor) across departments.  Note that, under previous guidelines, each department was regarded as an individual unit for the purpose of reservation.
     

  • Coverage and exceptions: The Bill will apply to ‘central educational institutions’ which include universities set up by Acts of Parliament, institutions deemed to be a university, institutions of national importance, and institutions receiving aid from the central government. 
     

  • However, it excludes certain institutions of excellence, research institutions, and institutions of national and strategic importance which have been specified in the Schedule to the Bill. It also excludes minority education institutions.   

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Personal Notes




















 

Title

3. Not by wishful thinking (The Hindu Page 10)   

Syllabus 

Mains: GS Paper III –Economy

Theme

Economy

Highlights

$5 Trillion Economy Target

Context: PM in a recent NITI ayog meeting has set an economic target of $5 trillion by 2024 for Indian Economy. 

 

What would it take to achieve such an ambitious target?

 
  • It means ₹350,00,000 crore of gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices, at ₹70 to a U.S. dollar exchange rate. 

 
  • The target implies an output expansion by 84% in five years, or at 13% compound annual growth rate.

 
  • The required growth rate in real, or inflation-adjusted, terms should be 9% per year. 

In last five years India officially grew at 7.1% only.

 
  • Thus the target is an ambitious one. 

 

Comparison with other countries – 

 
  • China in its best five years, during 2003-07, grew at 11.7%; South Korea, between 1983 and 1987, grew at 11%. 

 

What efforts are required?

 
  • In the last five years, on average, the domestic saving rate was 30.8% of gross national domestic income (GNDI), and the investment rate (gross capital formation to GDP ratio) was 32.5%. 

  • India will have to turn into an investment-led economy as it happened during the boom last decade (2003-08) before the financial crisis, or like China since the 1980s. 

 
  • India requires nearly 8-9 percentage point boost to saving and investment rates.




 

Domestic Savings rate

 
  • India has low domestic savings rate. In order to accelerate its growth rate, India would require an increase in the domestic saving rate to close to 40% of GDP.

 
  • Which means investment in the economy should be based on domestic resources. Although FDI can fulfil important gaps in investment. However it cannot be a substitute for domestic resources as has been witnessed in the Chinese growth story. 

 

Challenges 

 
  • The domestic saving rate has declined from 31.4% in 2013-14 to 29.6% in 2016-17; and gross capital formation rate from 33.8% to 30.6% during the same period. 

  • The banking sector’s ability to boost credit growth is limited by non-performing assets (NPAs) and the governance crisis in the financial sector. 

  • Export to GDP ratio has declined rapidly, with a looming global trade war on the horizon. 

 

Conclusion 

 

The $5 trillion target appears challenging . To achieve such a target policymakers should focus on stepping up domestic saving and investment, and not just relying on  FDI-led growth accelerations in uncertain economic times. 

 

Important definitions 

 

Domestic Savings rate: Gross Domestic Saving is GDP minus final consumption expenditure. It is expressed as a percentage of GDP. 

 

Gross Domestic Saving consists of savings of household sector, private corporate sector and public sector.







 

Investment rate (gross capital formation to GDP ratio): 

 
  • Gross fixed capital formation is a macroeconomic aggregate used in national accounting that measures the value of acquisitions of new or existing fixed assets with a life span of more than one year by the business sector (national accounting generally considers personal spending and most government spending as consumption).

  • Gross fixed capital formation includes spending on factories, machinery, equipment, buildings (including private residential dwellings) and infrastructure. 

 

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Title

4. Healthcare’s primary problem  (The Hindu Page 11)   

Syllabus 

Mains: GS II – Issues relating to Health

Theme

Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES)

Highlights

The deaths of 154 children in Bihar due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) has been linked to two factors:

1. Litchi consumption by starving children and a long, 

2. Ongoing heat wave. 

AES is largely preventable both before and just after the onset of the disease and treatable with high chances of success on availability of medical intervention within 2-4 hours of symptoms. 

Therefore, the first signs of an outbreak must prompt strong prevention measures. These include:-

  • A robust health education drive 

  • Replenishing primary health centres (PHCs) with essential supplies, 

  • Extensive deployment of peripheral health workers (ASHA workers) 

  • Ambulance services to facilitate rapid identification 

  • Management of suspected cases. 

  • Vacant doctor positions in PHCs must be urgently filled through deputation.

  • Short-term scaling-up of the Poshan Abhiyaan 

  • The supplementary nutrition programme which makes available hot, cooked meals for pre-school children at Anganwadis along with take home ration for mothers and distribution of glucose/ORS packets in risk households.

Nearly every one of these elements lies undermined in Bihar.

 

 

 

Crumbling healthcare in Bihar

  • In Bihar, one PHC caters to about 1 lakh people rather than the norm of 1 PHC per 30,000 people. Furthermore, it is critical for such a PHC, catering to more than three times the standard population size, to have at least two doctors. However, three-fourths of the nearly 1,900 PHCs in Bihar have just one doctor each. Muzaffarpur has 103 PHCs (about 70 short of the ideal number) with 98 of them falling short of basic requirements outlined by the Health Management Information System. 

  • Bihar, one of the most populous States, had a doctor-population ratio of 1:17,685 in 2018, 60% higher than the national average, and with only 2% of the total MBBS seats in the country. 

  • There is also a one-fifth shortage of ASHA personnel, and nearly one-third of the sub-health centres have no health workers at all. 

  • While the State reels under the highest load of malnutrition in India, a study found that around 71% and 38% of funds meant for hot, cooked meals and take home ration, respectively, under the supplementary nutrition programme, were pilfered. Meals were served for just more than half the number of prescribed days, and only about half the number of beneficiaries on average actually got them.

This is not all. Even those PHCs with adequate supplies remain underutilized. Perennial subscription to selective healthcare services by PHCs, like family planning and immunization, have cultivated the perception that PHCs are inept as centres of general healthcare. This leads patients either directly to apex government hospitals situated far away or to unqualified private providers. This results in a patient losing precious time in transit and landing up in a hospital in a critical and often irreversible stage of illness.

Merely strengthening the tertiary care sector will be inefficient and ineffective. 

 

Revamp primary health infrastructure

  • The solution lies in building more functional PHCs and sub-health centers; scaling-up the cadres of ASHA workers; strict monitoring of nutrition programmes; and addressing the maldistribution of doctors and medical colleges.

  • The resultant robust primary care system can then be geared towards being more responsive to future outbreaks. We should also bolster our technical capacity to better investigate the causes of such outbreaks and operationalise a concrete long-term strategy.

  • Policy documents, while emphasising on financial and managerial aspects of public health, fail to address the aberrant developmental paradigm of our health services. 

  • Decades of hospital-centric growth of health services have eroded faith in community-based healthcare. In these circumstances, even easily manageable illnesses increase demand for hospital services rather than PHCs. 

There is need to work on inculcating confidence in community-based care.

 

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Title

5.  Union Minister opposes U.P. move to shift 17 OBCs to SC list (The Hindu Page 01)   

Syllabus 

Mains: GS II –Polity & Governance 

Theme

Positive discrimination - Reservation

Highlights

According to an estimate by the UP Backward Classes Welfare Department, these 17 castes make up around 15% of the state’s population. A caste in the SC list gets more government benefits than one in the OBC list. Also, since the OBC population is large, there is close competition among OBC groups for reservation benefits. If these 17 castes are moved to the list of SCs, they will face less competition because the SC population is smaller.

 

Politically, the Samajwadi Party (SP) regimes of Mulayam Singh Yadav (2003-07) and Akhilesh Yadav (2012-17) had initiated the attempt. When these 17 groups are out of the OBC list, it opens up more opportunities for the SP’s core vote base, the Yadavs (around 10% of the state population), within the 27% OBC quota. While this can upset SCs, they are not seen as traditional SP voters.

 

In 2005, the Mulayam government amended the Uttar Pradesh Public Services Act, 1994, to provide reservation for SC, ST and OBCs in public services and posts, and to include 17 OBC castes in the SC list. The Allahabad High Court quashed the amendment, terming it unconstitutional, since only Parliament has the power to make such an inclusion. Mulayam had also directed district authorities to issue SC certificates to these 17 OBC castes, after the move was cleared by his cabinet. The Centre, however, did not clear his proposal.

In 2013, the Akhilesh cabinet cleared the same proposal, but the Centre once again rejected it. The same year, the state Assembly too had passed a resolution asking the Centre to include these 17 castes in the SC list.

 

What is the distinction between an OBC and an SC?

 

The yardsticks for recognizing specific castes as SC and OBC are distinct. While extreme social, educational and economic backwardness are common qualifications for both groups, SCs draw such backwardness from untouchability. For OBCs, apart from social, educational and economic backwardness, lack of adequate representation in government posts and services is a criterion. The positive rights guaranteed under the Constitution to SCs are to correct the historical wrongs of untouchability, and critics argue that addition of other castes in the group dilutes that guarantee.

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GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

 

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: key features, need for and significance of the scheme.

 

About Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY):

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) of major project National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).

 

Implementation:

  • Under PKVY Organic farming is promoted through the adoption of the organic village by cluster approach and PGS certification.
  • Fifty or more farmers will form a cluster having 50-acre land to take up the organic farming under the scheme.
  • The produce will be pesticide residue free and will contribute to improving the health of the consumer.

 

Organic farming and its significance:

Organic cultivation doesn’t involve the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and thus helps to maintain a harmonious balance among the various complex ecosystems. Also it improves the quality of the soil which further improves the standards of the crops produced there. In the long term, organic farming leads in subsistence of agriculture, bio-diversity conservation and environmental protection. It will also help in building the soil health resulting in sustainable increased crop production.

 


GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  2. e-technology in the aid of farmers.

 

Kisan Credit Card Scheme

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: KCC scheme- features and significance.

 

Context: The Government of India has extended the facility of Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to help them meet their working capital needs.

 

Kisan Credit Card Scheme:

The Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme was announced in the Budget speech of 1998-99 to fulfil the financial requirements of the farmers at various stages of farming through institutional credit.

The model scheme was prepared by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on the recommendation of V Gupta committee.

The KCC scheme is being implemented by the all Co-operative banks, Regional Rural Banks and Public Sector Banks throughout the country.

Scheme covers risk of KCC holders against death or permanent disability resulting from accidents.

 

Objectives:

  • To provide adequate and timely credit support from the banking system to the farmers at the cheap rate of interest.
  • To provide credit at the time of requirement.
  • To support post-harvest expenses.
  • To provide Working capital for maintenance of farm assets and activities allied to agriculture.
  • Investment credit requirement for agriculture and allied activities (land development, pump sets, plantation, drip irrigation etc.)
  • Consumption requirements of farmers.

 

Other Salient features of the Scheme:

  • Revolving cash credit facility involving any number of drawals and repayments within the limit.
  • Limit to be fixed on the basis of operational land holding, cropping pattern and scale of finance.
  • Entire production credit needs for full year plus ancillary activities related to crop production to be considered while fixing limit.
  • Card valid for 5 years subject to annual review. As incentive for good performance, credit limits could be enhanced to take care of increase in costs, change in cropping pattern, etc.
  • Conversion/reschedulement of loans also permissible in case of damage to crops due to natural calamities.
  • Operations may be through issuing branch (and also PACS in the case of Cooperative Banks) through other designated branches at the discretion of bank.
  • Crop loans disbursed under KCC Scheme for notified crops are covered under Crop Insurance Scheme, to protect the interest of the farmer against loss of crop yield caused by natural calamities, pest attacks etc.

 

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  2. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

 

Non-communicable diseases

 

What to study?

For Prelims: What are NCDs?

For Mains: NCDs- concerns, challenges posed and need for international cooperation in fighting NCDs.

 

Context: According to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) report entitled “India: Health of the Nation’s States”, Contribution of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) to total death in the Country was 61.8% in 2016, as compared to 37.9% in 1990.  

  • In the States of Kerala, Goa and Tamil Nadu, due to epidemiological transition, fewer deaths are recorded for Communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases, thereby raising share of NCDs in total deaths. 
  • Risk factors for NCDs inter alia include ageing, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure, , high blood sugar, high cholesterol and overweight.

 

What are NCDs?

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors.

The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

 

What are the socioeconomic impacts of NCDs?

NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.

Poverty is closely linked with NCDs. The rapid rise in NCDs is predicted to impede poverty reduction initiatives in low-income countries, particularly by increasing household costs associated with health care. Vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people get sicker and die sooner than people of higher social positions, especially because they are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products, such as tobacco, or unhealthy dietary practices, and have limited access to health services.

In low-resource settings, health-care costs for NCDs quickly drain household resources. The exorbitant costs of NCDs, including often lengthy and expensive treatment and loss of breadwinners, force millions of people into poverty annually and stifle development.

 

mKisan:

mKisan SMS Portal for farmers enables all Central and State government organizations in agriculture and allied sectors to give information/services/advisories to farmers by SMS in their language, preference of agricultural practices and location.

 


Relevant articles from various news sources:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

US Senate clears proposal to bring India on a par with its Nato allies

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of the bill, implications if encated, overview of NATO.

 

Context: The US Senate has passed a legislative provision that brings India on par with Washington’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) allies and countries such as Israel and South Korea for increasing defence cooperation.

The National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA for fiscal 2020, that contained the proposal was passed by the US Senate recently.

 

What it contains?

The legislative provision provides for increased US-India defence cooperation in the Indian Ocean in areas of humanitarian assistance, counterterrorism, counter-piracy, and maritime security.

 

Significance:

The US has already recognized India as a “major defence partner” in 2016. This allows India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from America on par with that of the closest allies and partners of the US, and ensures enduring cooperation in this sphere. The passage of the NDAA clarifies in greater detail what the closer defence cooperation actually means and entails.

 

Background:

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the name for each of a series of United States federal laws specifying the annual budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense. The first NDAA was passed in 1961.

 

About North Atlantic Treaty Organization (North Atlantic Alliance):

It is an intergovernmental military alliance.

Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.

Headquarters — Brussels, Belgium.

Headquarters of Allied Command Operations — Mons, Belgium.

Significance: It constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

 

Objectives:

Political – NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.

Military – NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO’s founding treaty – Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: BEPS- meaning, concerns associated and measures in place.

 

Context: The government has ratified the international agreement to curb base erosion and profits shifting (BEPS) Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures, a bid to stop companies from moving their profits out of the country and depriving the government of tax revenue.

 

What is BEPS?

Base erosion and profit shifting refers to the phenomenon where companies shift their profits to other tax jurisdictions, which usually have lower rates, thereby eroding the tax base in India.

 

About the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting:

The Convention is an outcome of the OECD / G20 BEPS Project to tackle base erosion and profit shifting through tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.

The Convention implements two minimum standards relating to prevention of treaty abuse and dispute resolution through Mutual Agreement Procedure.

The Convention will not function in the same way as an Amending Protocol to a single existing treaty, which would directly amend the text of the Covered Tax Agreements. Instead, it will be applied alongside existing tax treaties, modifying their application in order to implement the BEPS measures.

The Convention ensures consistency and certainty in the implementation of the BEPS Project in a multilateral context. The Convention also provides flexibility to exclude a specific tax treaty and to opt out of provisions or parts of provisions through making of reservations.

list of Covered Tax Agreements as well as a list of reservations and options chosen by a country are required to be made at the time of signature or when depositing the instrument of ratification.

 

Benefits for India:

  • The Multilateral Convention will enable the application of BEPS outcomes through modification of existing tax treaties of India in a swift manner.
  • It is also in India’s interest to ensure that all its treaty partners adopt the BEPS anti-abuse outcomes.
  • The Convention will enable curbing of revenue loss through treaty abuse and base erosion and profit shifting strategies by ensuring that profits are taxed where substantive economic activities generating the profits are carried out and where value is created.

 

Background:

BEPS is of major significance for developing countries due to their heavy reliance on corporate income tax, particularly from multinational enterprises. Estimates since 2013 conservatively indicate annual losses of anywhere from 4 to10 per cent of global corporate income tax revenues, or $100-$240 billion annually.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topic covered:

  1. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

Leader of Opposition

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: LoP- status, roles, significance and what needs to be done to strengthen the office of LoP?

 

Context: Congress seeks Leader of the Opposition post.

 

Who is the Leader of Opposition?

The LOP is leader of the largest party that has not less than one-tenth of the total strength of the house.

It is a statutory post defined in the Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.

 

Significance of the office:

  • LoP is referred to as the ‘shadow Prime Minister’.
  • She/he is expected to be ready to take over if the government falls.
  • The LoP also plays an important role in bringing cohesiveness and effectiveness to the opposition’s functioning in policy and legislative work.
  • LoP plays a crucial role in bringing bipartisanship and neutrality to the appointments in institutions of accountability and transparency – CVC, CBI, CIC, Lokpal etc.

 

What reforms are needed?

There arises a problem when no party in opposition secures 55 or more seats. In such situations, the numerically largest party in the opposition should have the right to have a leader recognised as leader of the opposition by the speaker.

Besides, the 10% formulation is inconsistent with the law ‘the salary and allowances of leaders of opposition in Parliament Act, 1977’ which only says that the largest opposition party should get the post.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for prelims:

 

Garuda VI:

What is it? It is a bilateral air exercise between Indian Air Force and French air force. The latest edition is being held in France.

It is aimed at enhancing interoperability level of French and Indian crews in air defence and ground attack missions.

 

Jagannath Rath Yatra:

Popularly known as the ‘Festival of Chariots’, Rath Yatra festival in honour of Puri’s Lord Jagannath is grand celebration.

The festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, his sister Goddess Subhadra and elder brother Balabhadra.

All the three deities of the temple – Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra – travel in three different chariots during this festival. The chariots are called Nandighosha, Taladhwaja, and Devadalana respectively.

New chariots for all the three deities are constructed every year using wood even if the architect of the chariots remain similar. Four wooden horses are attached to each chariot.

 


Summaries of important Editorials:

 

How global warming could impact jobs in India?

 

Context: The report, ‘Working on a warmer planet: T

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