Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (31st May)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. Paper chase: the need to review use of VVPATs

Recurring Malfunctions of EVMs and VVPAT

  1. Its universal implementation — which began in the Goa Assembly polls in February 2017 — was deemed necessary as many political parties complained about the possible hacking of EVMs.
  2. Ever since the implementation of the VVPAT system last year, machine malfunction and subsequent delays in polling have been recurring issues.
  3. Close to 4.2% of the VVPAT machines deployed in the Karnataka Assembly elections this month developed glitches during the testing as well as polling processes.

Sensitivity to Extreme Weather conditions and Improper Handling

  1. The ECI has suggested that these machines were more prone to malfunctioning due to their sensitivity to extreme weather conditions and exposure to light.
  2. It also blamed the relative inexperience of polling officers handling them, compared to the ballot and control units for the electronic voting machines (EVMs) that have been in use for much longer.
  3. In all elections where it has been used, the VVPAT tallies have matched with the EVM counts, but for a stray case or two when the VVPAT machine was not reset before polling began.

Upcoming General Elections

  1. The technical committee of the ECI is now faced with a challenge to ensure that the VVPAT machines hold up, with the general election due next year in the hot summer months.
  2. The VVPAT was added to the EVM to audit the vote tallies stored in the machine.
  3. These complaints lacked any basis, but the VVPAT implementation was hastened to bring back trust in the election process.

The Way Forward

  1. The use of these machines, which are adjuncts to the ballot and control units of the EVMs, has added to the complexity of an otherwise simple, single programmable-chip based system, and rendered it prone to more glitches.
  2. There is enough empirical evidence to show that EVMs have eased polling and helped increase voter turnout since being put to use.
  3. But in using VVPAT machines to reassure skeptics about an election’s integrity, the ECI has introduced a new element, and cost, to the process.
  4. Considering these challenges, the ECI should consider deploying the VVPAT machines in a limited, statistically significant, randomly chosen set of polling booths.
  5. This will reduce the possibility of glitches affecting the polling process as well-tested machines could be deployed (with enough replacements also handy) to such booths.
  6. The current verification process, after all, only involves the counting of VVPAT slips by randomly choosing one booth from each constituency (or segment), and this check should not be affected drastically by the new method.

2. Centre to launch tax refund drive in bid to help exporters

CBIC has instructed to swiftly settle exporters’ claims held up because of mismatches in returns filed.

Tax Refund Drive by CBIC

  1. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has launched a tax refund drive in the first fortnight of June and issued instructions to swiftly settle refund claims of exporters that are held up because of mismatches in the returns filed by them.
  2. The move is meant to streamline the new indirect tax regime and improve the cash flow of exporters who have been complaining that refund delays make them less competitive.
  3. CBIC has been trying to reduce refund delays but mismatches in the returns filed by exporters are a key hurdle.

Refund Delays making Exporters Less Competitive

  1. The move will especially help exporters who were not getting refunds because of mismatches in goods and service tax (GST) returns.
  2. It noted that exporters have inadvertently erred in declaring the integrated GST (IGST) paid on exports as IGST paid on interstate domestic supplies while filing their summary tax returns.
  3. Some exporters also short paid taxes against the liability declared in their sales returns.
  4. As a result of these mismatches, refunds could not be processed.

GSTN – Making Refund more Seamless

  1. A mechanism has now been set up to facilitate flow of information from the customs department to GSTN (GST network) to address any mismatches in returns.
  2. But a few more issues remain to make the refund process more seamless.
  3. There is a need to modify the software to claim input tax credit refund, which is a work in progress. Also, refund for shipments cleared without manual intervention needs to be looked into too.

3. Putting sustainable development into practice

GDP growth needs to be complemented with a valuation of assets, including natural capital.

Image result for sustainable development

Sustainability is development that satisfies the needs of the present without compromising the capacity of future generations, guaranteeing the balance between economic growth, care for the environment and social well-being.

Sustainable development is a concept that appeared for the first time in 1987 with the publication of the Brundtland Report, warning of the negative environmental consequences of economic growth and globalization, which tried to find possible solutions to the problems caused by industrialization and population growth.

4. 34 leopards die each year in Rajasthan, says wildlife report

  • With an alarming average of 34 leopard deaths every year in Rajasthan, according to a report, as many as 238 big cats have died in the desert State from January 2012 to May 2018.
  • Out of the total deaths that occurred during the above mentioned period, 84 were found dead – both natural and unnatural – while 52 were killed in road/train accidents and 31 due to infighting.
  • Listed on a par with tigers under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, the population of leopards faces a serious challenge due to various reasons, prominent among those are man-animal conflicts, availability of prey base and road/train accidents.
  • A one-of-its-kind ‘Project Leopard’ has been launched to increase prey base so that animals do not stray out for food and water.
  • As per the wildlife census reports of past two years, the leopard count has increased from 434 in 2015 to 508 in 2016.
  • According to many wildlife activists it is the depletion of natural prey base in forest areas that had led to the shifting of wild animals towards killing of livestock.
  • They said that the forest department has not made appropriate arrangements such as water and prey base. Animal population is increasing so animals have started moving into habitations and agriculture fields in search of food and water.

5. India, Indonesia elevate ties

  • India and Indonesia elevated their bilateral ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with PM Modi’s first-ever official visit to Indonesia.
  • The two countries condemned terrorism in all its forms.
  • The two countries also signed 15 agreements, including one to boost defence cooperation, and called for freedom of navigation in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
  • The two leaders discussed areas of strategic cooperation and ways to ensure better economic ties and closer cultural relations, besides regional and global issues of mutual interest.
  • Modi said India’s Act East Policy and the vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) matched Mr. Widodo’s Maritime Fulcrum Vision.
  • He further said that as mutual partners and neighbours, our worries are similar. It is our duty to ensure maritime security and safety. This is also for the safety of our economic interests.

30-day free visa

  • Modi announced a free 30-day visa for Indonesian citizens and invited the diaspora to travel to their country of origin to experience the New India.

SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region)

  • It is a maritime initiative which gives priority to Indian Ocean region.
  • It is to ensure peace, stability and prosperity of India in Indian Ocean region.
  • The goal is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other`s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime issues; and increase in maritime cooperation.

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