Today's news

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (1st July)

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- Midnight makeover

In a landmark reform, India today switches to a new indirect tax system, the Goods and Services Tax. The GST subsumes the multiple Central, State and local taxes and cesses levied on goods and services, unifying the country into a single market, thereby making it easier to do business and ensure tax compliance.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Tax reform)

2- Entering the age of GST

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is in force from today. The reform, touted as a “game changer” and the “reform of the century”, was deemed worthy of a launch on the midnight of June 30 in the Central Hall of the Parliament.

Q- While the implementation of the GST reform is surely a cause to celebrate, one should not get carried away, for over-optimism on its favourable consequences builds expectations which may be difficult to fulfil.

3- In Good Faith: A secular ethics for our times

Time is always moving forward and no force can stop it. At every moment, we have the option of using our time constructively or negatively. The choice we make will determine whether our world becomes a peaceful one or continues to be engulfed in conflict and tension.

Q- Education can contribute to inner disarmament. It must instil human values that promote compassion, warmth and an appreciation of the necessity of dialogue. Discuss.

Link it with GS Paper 4 (Human Values- Ethics)

4- GST launch: 40-year journey to a common market

GST rollout: Launch of VAT was announced with effect from April 1, 2002, but the date was pushed back to April 1, 2003 in the face of severe resistance from traders, especially in BJP-ruled Delhi and a few other states.

5- Digital India needs a cybersecurity reboot

The Indian government has embarked on a programme to turn the country into a digital economy. It has unveiled a series of initiatives—from introducing Digital Locker, which eliminates the need for people to carry hard copies of documents issued by the government, to demonetization, which has spurred the use of digital payments across the country.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Internal Security)

Q- The move towards a digital economy is likely to help trigger a fresh wave of economic growth, attract more investment, and create new jobs, across multiple sectors along with threat of cyber security. Comment!

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Today's news

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (30th June)

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- Should the sedition law be scrapped?

Q- It is not in rates of conviction but in the criminalisation of dissent that the expediency of sedition law rests. Comment

2- The task before the sentinel

The expansion of Aadhaar continues. The effort is now emboldened by a Supreme Court judgment that has stuck a band-aid on a gaping wound, which required stitches if not surgery.

Q- What are the tools available with the Parliament and judiciary to control the tyranny of executive?

3- Making the House rules

The Indian Constitution specifies the powers and privileges of Parliament in Article 105 and those of State legislatures in Article 194. In brief, they (a) provide freedom of speech in Parliament subject to other provisions of the Constitution and standing orders of the House; (b) give immunity for all speeches and votes in Parliament from judicial scrutiny; and (c) allow Parliament (and State legislatures) to codify the privileges, and until then, have the same privileges as the British Parliament had in 1950.

Q- Discuss about the privileges enjoyed by member of parliaments and legislative assemblies.

Link it with GS Paper 2 (Parliament)

4- A welcome sale

With the Union Cabinet’s ‘in-principle’ approval for the sale of Air India and five of its subsidiaries, a long-standing demand on the reform checklist has been ticked.

Link it with GS Paper 3(Disinvestment)

5- Cutting tribunals to size

The controversy over the Finance Bill, 2017, being passed as a money bill may have died down, but questions about the legality of the merger of several tribunals remain alive.

Link it with GS Paper 2(Quasi-judicial bodies)

6- Why we need nuclear power

Earlier, the government announced an agreement with international companies to set up 7,000 MW of nuclear plants for Rs 70,000 crore based on our domestic technology. Its wisdom has been questioned by many commentators.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Energy and Environment)

Q- Write down advantage and disadvantage of Solar and Nuclear power.

7- GST: A game changer for the Indian Economy

Mint studies the implications of the seminal Goods and Services Tax for companies and consumers in the $2.4 trillion Indian Economy.

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Today's news

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (29th June)

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- Promises in the Rose Garden

In a well-calibrated programme, Prime Minister Modi’s U.S. visit reaffirmed an indispensable partnership

2- The costs of failing on the job creation front

Former Chinese president Hu Jintao had famously confided to his US counterpart George W. Bush that the one issue that kept him awake at night was creating enough new jobs to maintain social stability. It is a concern that has—or at least should have—resonated with Indian leaders as well.

Q- The failure to absorb the growing working-age population as well as the millions leaving farming has important consequences for social stability. Discuss

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Employment)

3- Fighting an old battle

The disabled have been affected by the high GST rates on essential aids and appliances.

Link it with GS Paper 2 (Social issue)

4- Pay to publish

The Election Commission’s order disqualifying Madhya Pradesh Minister Narottam Mishra for three years is an important step in curbing ‘paid news’ in the electoral arena.

Q- What is meant by ‘Paid-news’ ? Mention the law regarding ‘paid-news’ as electoral offence.

5-Quantifying outrage

How much is too much? How do you measure out in coffee spoons the amount of sorrow you are allowed to display? In surreal fashion, that is what the debate focusses on today after a 15-year-old is lynched.

6- A Gorkhaland West Bengal could live with

The agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state is becoming costly for West Bengal and the country, economically and for other reasons. It must be brought to a swift end through a solution which meets the aspirations of the Nepali-speaking people without hurting the sentiments of the Bengali-speaking majority, which is largely against the division of the state.

Q- What is the procedure given in the constitution for the bifurcation of the state? Discuss the issue between smaller state vs Bigger state.

Link it with GS Paper 2

7- Read between the US lines

India-US relations in the age of Trump are becoming more transactional, less strategic.

Link it with GS Paper 2 (Indo-US).

8- Privilege of legislators: Breach a grey area, harsh punishment rare

Though dozens of people are summoned every year before the privileges committees of Parliament and state legislatures on charges of breach of privilege of legislators, it is rare that punitive action like imprisonment has been ordered.

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Today's news

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (28th June)

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- Indo-U.S. statement focusses on fight against terrorism

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump jointly declared on Monday that bilateral ties between India and the U.S. would continue to grow, seeking to dispel notions that the latter’s election to the White House on a nationalist agenda might have a negative impact on the relationship.

Link it with GS Paper 2 (Indo-US relationship)

2- Pieces of a complex solution

Over the last year, barely a week has gone by without a regulator announcing new measures to help resolve India’s problem of large and mounting non-performing loans/assets, or NPAs.

Q- What does it mean by ‘haircut’ in Economy? Why are Indian banks having problem of NPAs and what steps govt has taken to reduce this problem?

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Banking)

3- Warm in Washington

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first meeting with President Donald Trump, concern had grown about the future course of the bilateral relationship, particularly whether Mr. Trump would maintain his predecessors’ commitment to its strengthening.

4- Global wave of cyberattacks affects MNCs

Virus idetified as a modified version of the Petya ransomware by some experts

Link it with Prelims purpose.

5- A city laid waste

A new rapid bioremediation process that can remove garbage hills and end their ill effects, promises a low-cost solution to waste management and disposal. It is very important that alternative technologies are carefully evaluated on their merit.

Q- What is bioremediation process? How is this process useful in making ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ successful.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (S & T )

6- Modi-Trump multiple embraces signals India-US ties on strong footing

The joint statement reaffirmed US-India strategic convergence, but didn’t resolve the question of whether the two countries similarly look at the China challenge – without which US-India defence cooperation could eventually wane.

7- Important lessons for the Smart Cities Mission

The government would do well to learn from the importance the UN’s new urban agenda gives to local governance.

Q- Write about Smart city Mission and New Urban Agenda.

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Today's news

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (27th June)

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- A controversial inheritance

Justice P.N. Bhagwati, who died recently, at 95, is perhaps the most influential judge independent India has had.

Read about some important cases mentioned here along with their constitutional history.

Link it with GS Paper 2 (Indian Polity)

2- Who’s afraid of neutrinos?

Q- Write about the India-based Neutrino Observatory and its benefit in scientific research.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Science & Tech )

3- An old new tax

Sixteen years in the making, India is finally set to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1.

Q- The lingering imperfections, and disregard for economic principles, will limit the GST’s transformational potential. Comment

4- Mending the rift

The fact that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have handed over a list of demands to the Qatari regime should, on the face of it, indicate some progress in the impasse created after they cut ties with Qatar.

Q- What is Qatar crisis? What are the implication of Qatar crisis on India and International community?

Link it with GS Paper 2 (IR)

5- Not for the children

The Annual Status of Education Report conducted by Pratham, an Indian NGO with some credibility, had assessed in 2014 that 75 per cent of all children in Class III, over 50 per cent in Class V and over 25 per cent in Class VIII could not read texts meant for Class II. Further, reading levels for all children enrolled in government schools in Class V showed a decline between 2010 and 2012.

Q- The main problem in our educational system is the abysmal quality of governance, with politics permeating every aspect of educational administration. Discuss

From above article, collect facts on education to use in essay paper.

6- We, the Cows

Who resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, secular, democratic republic on November 26, 1949? We, the People of India, or We, the Cows of some states of India? Does the protection of cow override the fundamental rights of Dalits and Muslims as the citizens of this nation?

Read this to know about constitutionality!

7- When freedom of the press is subject to Assembly privilege

Last week the Karnataka Assembly found two journalists, Ravi Belagere and Anil Raju, guilty of publishing defamatory articles about the Speaker and other MLAs. They have each been sentenced to one year’s imprisonment; if the arrest goes ahead, the two will follow in Indira Gandhi’s footsteps, who in 1979 was expelled from Parliament and imprisoned for breach of privilege, under a warrant signed by the Speaker, K S Hegde.

Q- Without the judiciary to protect FREEDOM OF PRESS, the fights between India’s legislatures and press have been unequal.

Link it with GS Paper 2

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GS-3, Indian Economy, Uncategorized

All you need to know about GST

What is GST?

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a value-added tax at each stage of the supply of goods and services precisely on the amount of value addition achieved. It seeks to eliminate inefficiencies in the tax system that result in ‘tax on tax’, known as cascading of taxes. GST is a destination-based tax on consumption, as per which the state’s share of taxes on inter-state commerce goes to the one that is home to the final consumer, rather than to the exporting state. GST has two equal components of central and state GST.

What is input tax credit?

To make sure that tax is levied only on the amount of value addition at each stage of the supply chain, credit for the taxes paid at the previous stage is granted. For example, a garment manufacturer gets credit for the taxes paid on the materials purchased while computing the final indirect tax liability on his product that is collected from the consumer. Similarly, a service provider, say, a telecom company, gets credits for the taxes paid on the goods and services used in his business.

Who is liable to pay GST?

Businesses and traders with annual sales above Rs20 lakh are liable to pay GST. The threshold for paying GST is Rs10 lakh in the case of northeastern and special category states. GST is applicable on inter-state trade irrespective of this threshold.

What are the existing taxes subsumed into GST?

Taxes on production such as central excise duty and additional excise duty, import duties such as additional customs duty known as countervailing duty and special additional customs duty, service tax, central cesses and surcharges, state taxes like value-added tax (VAT), central sales tax on inter-state trade of goods, luxury tax, entertainment tax except those levied by local bodies, taxes on advertisements, taxes on betting and gambling and state cesses and surcharges on supply of goods and services are subsumed into GST. Basic customs duty, which includes the tariff barrier on imports, is not part of GST.

What are the benefits of GST?

GST brings transparency on the taxes levied on the supply of goods and services. At present, when an item is purchased, the common man sees only the state taxes on the product label, not the various embedded tax components. GST will improve the ease of doing business as entry barriers along state borders will be dismantled. The new indirect tax system is expected to improve tax compliance, boost revenue receipts of central and state governments and accelerate GDP growth rate by an estimated 1.5-2 percentage points. Elimination of cascading of taxes will result in reduced tax burden on many items.

What are the products not part of GST?

Crude oil, diesel, petrol, natural gas and jet fuel are temporarily kept out of GST. The GST Council, the federal indirect tax body of state finance ministers chaired by the Union finance minister, will decide when to bring these items into GST. Liquor is kept out of GST as a constitutional provision and hence it would require an amendment to Constitution if it is to be brought into GST net.

What is integrated GST or IGST?

IGST is the tax on inter-state supply of goods and services with central and state GST components.

How are imports treated?

Imports are treated as inter-state supplies and will attract IGST. Exports do not attract any tax. Taxes paid on raw materials and services used in export of goods and services are refunded to the business.

What is the anti-profiteering mechanism?

To prevent the possibility of prices going up and to make sure that the reduced tax burden on products and services are passed on to consumers, the government has introduced an anti-profiteering clause in the GST law. The anti-pro teering authority to be set up will act on complaints of profiteering and direct a profiteering supplier to cut price, return the benefit of reduced tax burden to the buyer with 18% interest, or recover such amount if the buyer cannot be identified or doesn’t make a claim. A profiteering business could lose its GST registration, too.

How are decisions taken at the GST Council?

No decision can be taken in the Council without the concurrence of both the Union and the state governments. Decisions will be taken by a 75% majority of the weighted votes of members present and voting. The Union government’s vote has a weightage of one-third of the votes cast, while all states together will have a weightage of two-thirds of the votes cast.

GS-3, Uncategorized

Government launches new Energy Conservation Building Code

The code was developed by the Ministry of Power and Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), with technical support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the U.S.-India bilateral Partnership to Advance Clean Energy–Deployment Technical Assistance (PACE-DTA) program.

Features of the code:

  • The code prescribes energy performance standards for new commercial buildings to be constructed across India.
  • It sets parameters for builders, designers and architects to integrate renewable energy sources in building design with the inclusion of passive design strategies
  • The code aims to optimize energy savings with the comfort levels for occupants, and prefers life-cycle cost effectiveness to achieve energy neutrality in commercial buildings
  • Buildings need to demonstrate minimum energy savings of 25% to be considered as ECBC compliant
  • Additional improvements in energy efficiency would lead to higher grades like ECBC Plus (for savings of 35%) or Super ECBC (for savings of 50%)
  • Adoption of ECBC 2017 for new commercial buildings throughout India will lead to estimated reduction of 50% in energy use by 2030
  • This will be equivalent to expenditure savings of 35,000 crores and 250 million ton of CO2 reduction

The Existing Energy Conservation Building Code:

  • The code provided incentives for adopting conservation measures
  • Under the provisions of the earlier code, states such as Haryana offered up to 25 per cent additional Floor Area Ratio, while Pune Municipal Corporation offers up to 50 per cent discount on premium amount of building permission charges

Providing subsidies under the new program:

  • According to the Minister of state for power coal and new & renewable energy, the success of the program should not be based on incentives and subsidies provided by the government
  • Rather doing away with subsidies and government involvement has made the roll-out faster and more efficient
  • Thus, the initiative should be self-sufficient and made viable based on its size and scale
Today's news

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (26th June)

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- Whose privilege?

The Karnataka Assembly’s resolution imposing a one-year prison sentence and Rs. 10,000 fine on the editors of two tabloids is indefensible and deserving of unsparing criticism.

Q- What is breach of privilege? Explain the privileges enjoyed by legislature.

2- Being smart

The Too Smart City

The Centre would like us to believe that the Smart Cities Mission will transform urban life in the agglomerations that enter the elite club. With the latest inclusions, there are 90 cities in the list, each of which proposes to turn ‘smart’, utilising core funding from the Centre and other resources.

Q- What is smart city? Pollution-free commons, walkability and easy mobility, with a base of reliable civic services, is the smart way to go in our cities. Discuss.

Link it with GS Paper 1 (Urbanization)

3- ‘Super-efficient energy category to be new norm’

The recently-released Energy Conservation Building Codes can save as much as 50% of conventional energy consumption, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) director general Abhay Bakre said in an interview.

Link it with GS Paper 1 (PRELIMS)

4- For a stronger India-U.S. bond

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to the U.S. this week, it is worth recalling that one of President Trump’s first phone calls following his inauguration was to the Indian leader, where he termed India as a “true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world.”

Q- The U.S.-India partnership has historically enjoyed bipartisan support, with successes in defence, security and civil nuclear cooperation over the last two decades. Critically examine.

5- Memories of another June

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inaugural visit with the Trump administration is more than an opportunity to continue the US-India dialogue; it’s an opportunity to improve relations and remove long-standing obstacles.

6- For innovation’s sake

Working together, the US and Indian governments have the opportunity to begin bilateral relationships afresh and move forward in the global economy together. This can only take place if both countries make concrete commitments to fostering innovation.

7- Meaning: Anti-profiteering

As per Section 171 of the CGST/SGST Act, any reduction in tax rate on any supply of goods or services, or any benefit of ‘input tax credit’, must be passed on to the recipient (for example, customer) by the registered person (e.g., trader) through a commensurate reduction in prices.

This anti-profiteering term was in news. Read about it.

8- Role Reversal: As US steps back from global leadership, India steps up

Once a byword for protectionism, India now stands ready to defend the benefits of global trade to a Washington grown wary of it. Take this all in.

Link it with GS Paper 2 (Indo-US relations)

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Today's news

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (23rd June)

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- Debunking myths about the cattle rules

The new rules governing cattle markets only attempt to prevent cruelty.

2- Rebooting Indian IT industry

Indian IT companies, led by TCS, Infosys and Wpro, need to accelerate change and address internal structural issues if they want the IT industry to remain future-proof.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Indian Economy)

3- Terror, Virtually
In the aftermath of the London Bridge attack, British Prime Minster Theresa May called for a clamp down on internet companies which she held responsible for providing a safe space for extremist propaganda.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Internal security)

Q- What is virtual terrorism ? How should the world respond to this unconventional war?

4- Missing a strategic culture

Q- External threats to India’s security persist but more worrisome are vulnerabilities on new fronts. Explain

5- Are farm loan waivers really so bad?

In recent months, the pink press has gone to town against a series of announcements by various state governments declaring their intent to waive farm loans to varying extents. It all began with the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Yogi Adityanath, making this his first substantive economic announcement, in keeping with his party’s manifesto, although there was no overt demand from UP farmers then.

Q- The Centre and states need to work together to evolve a farm loan model which protects both farmers and banks without bringing politics into it. Comment

6- The End of the Left and the Right as We Knew Them

Link it with Essay part.

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Today's news

Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (22nd June)

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- A moment for realism

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump shake hands and perhaps embrace each other next week, the mandatory encomiums about India and U.S. being the world’s largest and oldest democracies, respectively, would have a sombre undertone to them. Both these democracies are passing through testing times.

Q- The India-U.S. partnership has inherent reasons to survive. Explain.

2- The high cost of ageing

The National Health Policy (NHP), 2017, is long on banalities and short on specifics. In a somewhat glaring omission, little has been said about the rapid rise in the share of the old — i.e. 60 years or more — and associated morbidities, especially sharply rising non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and disabilities.

Q- Along with expansion of old age pension and health insurance, and public spending on programmes targeted to the health care of the old, careful attention must be given to reorient health systems to accommodate the needs of old age people. Comment

3- Mental health and the university

The Mental Healthcare Act was approved recently by Parliament. From now on, stigmatising a mentally ill person, and denying him or her the wherewithal for treatment will be illegal. As a teacher, I am interested in a special provision in the Act where public institutions such as universities are urged to treat mental health as a valuable public good in its own right.

4- Jailing a judge

Justice Karnan’s imprisonment should have been avoided to keep the judiciary’s dignity.

Q- What is the impeachment process of Judges of SC and HC?

Link it with GS Paper 2(Judiciary)

5- Too much profit?

Businesses that receive the benefit of paying lower taxes under the new goods and services tax (GST) regime can’t keep it with them. Instead, according to the GST Act, they must pass it on to consumers by reducing the price of the products they sell.

Link it with GS Paper 3 (Indian Economy)

6- Sabarmati Ashram: A century witnessed

The Ashram tells us about one man’s dedication, determination and ideals but also reminds us of the road we still need to traverse in order to realise Gandhiji’s dream of an India free from injustice.

Link it with GS Paper 1 (Modern Indian History)

7- Don’t Obsess About Numbers

It’s time policymakers outlined a coherent growth path for the economy.

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