Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Sep 29, 2019

Current Affair 1:
Global Economic Freedom Index Released for 2019.

Source Link

India has jumped 11 spots on Global Economic Freedom index from last year’s 96th spot to the current ranking of 79. The latest gain is promising news for the Indian economy which is currently reeling under slowdown.

Who releases it, you can see in above image.

India’s current ranking is better than one of the major economies of the world — China — which stood at 113th. Two Asian countries viz Hong Kong and Singapore continue their winning streak of last year with 1st and 2nd position respectively.

Ok, here, we will also see one similar index (UPSC won’t confuse you with this but you yourself will get confused while reading), the Index is Economic Freedom (different from Global Economic Freedom Index), released by the Heritage Foundation.

Here, India’s rank is 129.

Below are few diagrams, not very important for prelims, but you can use these indicators in your answer writing to justify your answer:

Current Affair 2:
63rd IAEA General Conference recently held in Vienna, Austria


We will discuss here:

  1. Global Cancer Care Network launched by India during Conference
  2. About IAEA (we have already discussed in Daily Quiz in many places, but we will discuss here also, in brief)

Global Cancer Care Network

On the sidelines of the 63rd general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), India launched a global cancer care network, “NCG-Vishwam Cancer Care Connect” (NCG-Vishwam 3C).

It will allow integration of hospitals and cancer care institutions from partner countries with the National Cancer Grid of the country. The objective is to remove disparity in cancer care globally.

Why India worried about Cancer? There are various reports published every year regarding Cancer in India. You will use one report to substantiate this. Here we will use latest report:

Recent study- History of the Growing Burden of Cancer in India: From Antiquity to the 21st Century, states that if right steps not taken now, Cancer incidence in India to double every 20 years.

International Atomic Energy Agency:

The International Atomic Energy Agency is the world's central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field. It works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, contributing to international peace and security and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

It came into force on 29 July 1957. Headquarter: Vienna, Australia

The General Conference consisting of representatives of the IAEA Member States meets in a regular annual session, usually in September, to consider and approve the IAEA's budget and to decide on other issues raised by the Board of Governors, the Director General and Member States. The recent was 63rd General conference.

India has been a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a UN organization set up to promote peaceful uses of atomic energy, since its inception in 1957.

Current Affair 3:
The Commerce and Industry Ministry launched Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMS)

Source Link

The Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMS) will provide advance information about steel imports to both the government and stake holders. Stakeholders include the steel industry (producers) and consumers (importers).

Before proceeding further, let’s see imports of Steel in India.

This was launched in the background of India becoming a favourite dumping ground for steelmakers from not just China but also from Japan and South Korea, which threatened the domestic steel industry of the country.

The SIMS will provide advance information about steel imports to Government and stake holders including, steel industry (producers), steel consumers (importers) to have effective policy interventions.

The information about the steel imports provided by importers on the SIMS will be monitored by the Steel Ministry.

The system has been developed in consultation with Ministry of Steel on the pattern of US Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system.

Current Affair 4:
Government cuts Corporate Tax

Ok, first we will understand the structure of Corporate Tax in India.

The Corporate Tax is a form of direct tax to be paid by companies on their income. It has been imposed under the Income- Tax Act. Both Domestic as well as foreign companies are liable to pay corporate tax in India. While a domestic company is taxed on its universal income, a foreign company is only taxed on the income earned within India.

For the purpose of calculation of taxes under Income tax act, the types of companies can be defined as under :

Domestic Company: Domestic company is one which is registered under the Companies Act of India and also includes the company registered in the foreign countries having control and management wholly situated in India. A domestic company includes private as well as public companies.

Foreign Company: Foreign company is one which is not registered under the companies act of India and has control & management located outside India.

The following can be considered as income of the company:

  1. Profits earned from the business
  2. Capital Gains
  3. Income from renting property
  4. Income from other sources like dividend, interest etc.

Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT):

Some of the companies in India used to show profits under the Companies Act. However, the same companies show zero profits under the Income Tax Act. Such companies were able to show zero profits under Income Tax Act by taking advantage of depreciation, deductions, exemptions etc provided under the Income Tax Act (Tax Avoidance). The Government has introduced MAT so as to bring such "Zero Tax" companies under the tax bracket. The MAT was levied at 18.5% of the book profits of the company.

What all Government has announced?

Corporate Tax Relief: The Corporate tax rate for all the domestic companies has been cut to 22% provided they do not avail of any exemptions. The effective tax rate for the domestic companies will now be 25.17%, inclusive the surcharge and cess. Further, such company shall not be required to pay MAT.

Boost to Make in India: Companies incorporated in India after 1st October 2019 and beginning production by 31st March 2023 will enjoy an even lower tax rate of 15%, provided they do not avail of any other incentives. The Effective tax rate for these companies will be 17% inclusive of surcharge and cess. Further, such company shall not be required to pay MAT.

Reduction in MAT:  Tax has been reduced from existing 18.5% to 15%.

Rollback of Buyback Tax: The Union Budget 2019-20 had introduced 20% tax on the buyback of shares by the companies. This had impacted the investor sentiment as the buybacks were a popular instrument with firms keen to give cash back to shareholders. The government has now decided to withdraw this tax.

Rollback of surcharge on Capital gains: The Finance Act 2019 had raised the surcharge on income tax from 15% to 25% for incomes in the range of Rs 2 to Rs 5 crores and from 15% to 37% for those earning more than Rs 5 crores. In order to stabilise the flow of funds into the capital market, the Government has declared that enhanced surcharge introduced by the Finance Act, 2019 shall not apply on capital gains arising on sale of equity shares. The enhanced surcharge shall also not apply to capital gains arising on sale of any security including derivatives, in the hands of Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs). However, with respect to other sources of income such as salary, profession or rent above Rs 2 crore, the surcharge increase will continue.

Current Affair 5:
Firms can use CSR funds for R&D

We will see here following things:

  1. Scenario of R& D in India.
  2. Brief explanation of Corporate Social Responsibility.
  3. What is given in news?

Scenario of R&D in India

Moreover, as per the Economic Survey 2018-19, India's spending on R&D (about 0.6 per cent of GDP) is well below that in major nations such as the US (2.8), China (2.1), Israel (4.3) and Korea (4.2).

Brief Description about Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is referred as a corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company's effects on the environment and impact on social welfare and to promote positive social and environmental change.

 It efforts that go beyond what may be required by regulators. The income is earned only from the society and therefore it should be given back.

What is the legal mandate?

Under Companies Act, 2013 any company with:

  • a net worth of the company to be Rs 500 crore or more or
  •  turnover of the company to be Rs 1000 crore or more or
  • net profit of the company to be Rs 5 crore or more.

has to spend at least 2% of last 3 years average net profits on CSR activities as specified in Schedule VII and as amended from time to time. The rules came into effect from 1 April 2014.

What is in news:

The Government has decided to expand the scope of CSR 2 percent spending. Now CSR 2% fund can be spent on incubators funded by Central or State Government or any agency or Public Sector Undertaking of Central or State Government, and, making contributions to public funded Universities, IITs, National Laboratories and Autonomous Bodies (established under the auspices of ICAR, ICMR, CSIR, DAE, DRDO, DST, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) engaged in conducting research in science, technology, engineering and medicine aimed at promoting SDGs.

Current Affair 6:
Government approves ban on E-ciggretes

Source Link

In a major health and wellness initiative for the country, the Union Cabinet has approved the Promulgation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) Ordinance, 2019.

What is E-cigrettes?

E-cigarettes are the most common form of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). These are basically devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves. Instead, they vaporise a solution using a battery. This vapour is then inhaled by the user.

The main constituents of the solution, in addition to nicotine when nicotine is present, are propylene glycol, with or without glycerol and flavouring agents. As per the World Health Organisation, these solutions and emissions also contain some solutions that are considered to be "toxicants.

Why Government banned it?

  1. Article 47 of The Constitution of India is one of the Directive Principles which directs the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health.
  2. As per the recent statement by Union Minister (cited US data), there was a 77.8 percent increase in use of e-cigarettes in school students.

  1. When it comes to their addictive power, the use of nicotine solutions (a highly addictive substance) in e-cigarettes it underlines the fact that they can be equally addictive as conventional cigarettes.
  2. WHO has also declared solution as intoxicants.

Current Affair 7:
Access to the Internet is a Fundamental Right.

Source Link

In a Landmark Judgement given by a single bench of Justice P V Asha, the Kerala High Court has held that the right to have access to the Internet is part of the fundamental right to education as well as the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution.  This is the only important part of news. But we wil look into some background.

A student in college of Kozhikode was expelled for using mobile phone during restricted hours. The student filed a petition challenging her expulsion for not adhering to restrictions on the use of mobile phone. She contended that the use of mobile phones amounted to a violation of fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. It is a source of information and we are denied that.

This judgement by High Court was supported by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations declaration that found that the right of access to Internet is a fundamental freedom and a tool to ensure right to education.

Sometimes, these types of question appears in Prelims Exam, for example in 2017, it asked about Right to Vote:

Current Affair 8:
Keezhadi excavations

Source Link

If you remember, 2019 Prelims Paper, there was one question:

You have to remember names of these places. It’s not difficult task.

Now coming back to the news:

The Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department (TNAD) has stated that the cultural deposits unearthed during excavations at Keeladi in Sivaganga district can be safely dated to a period between 6th century BCE and 1st century CE.

TNAD has placed Keeladi artefacts about 300 years earlier than previously believed, 3rd century BCE. The study suggests that the “second urbanisation in the Vaigai plains happened in Tamil Nadu around 6th century BCE. The first urbanisation in Indian History is from the Indus Valley Civilisation.

The recent scientific dates obtained for Keeladi findings push back the date of Tamil-Brahmi script to another century, i.e., 6th century BCE. These results clearly ascertained that they attained literacy or learned the art of writing as early as 6th century BCE

This finding suggests that the society in Keeladi had used animal predominantly for agricultural purposes.

Current Affair 9:
NGT seeks report on steps for gharial conservation

Source Link

The National Green Tribunal has directed the Madhya Pradesh government to submit within three weeks separate progress report of the departments concerned on the steps taken according to an action plan to conserve gharial habitat along the Son river.

According to the IUCN, their population has declined by 96-98% since 1946, despite the Centre declaring it a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Here we need to cover three things:

  1. National Green Tribunal
  2. Son River
  3. Ghariyals

W have already covered all important things about National Green Tribunal in our last Weekly Current Affairs. Please have a look to it. We have covered almost every aspect of NGT there.

Let study something about Ghariyal and Son River

Son River of central India is the second largest of the Ganges' southern tributaries after Yamuna River. It originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh. It joins Ganga River near Patna.


Current Affair 10:
Government-funded NGOs come under RTI ambit

Supreme Court has held that Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) “substantially” financed by the government fall within the preview of Right to Information Act, 2005.

The Judgment

The court defined “substantial” as a “large portion” of amount. SC held that NGOs which receive considerable finances from the government or are essentially dependent on the government fall under the category of “public authority” defined in Section 2(h) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005.

Public Authority

RTI Act, 2005 gives citizens the right to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.

RTI Act explains “Public Authority” as any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted—this is very important. You should know this. See below:

Current Affair 11:
About Ramasami Naicker- An article was published about him in Hindu Newspaper

Source Link

E.V. Ramasami Naicker (1879-1973) was also known as Periyar (the respected). He was a strong supporter of atheism and was famous for his anti-caste struggle and rediscovery of Dravid identity. He initially a worker of the Congress party; started the self-respect movement in 1925 (This was part of your Prelims 2019).

He led the anti-Brahmin movement and worked for the Justice party  and later founded Dravid Kazhagam.

He was opposed to Hindi and domination of north India and propounded the thesis that north Indians and Brahmins are Aryans.

Current Affair 12:
Controversy regarding Hindi Language.

Controversies will now continue. But we will focus only on relevant topics.

We will here deal with Part XVII of the Constitution, Articles 343 to 345 which deals with Languages of the Union and Regional Languages.

We will provide you brief explanations along with clippings of article. Please read both.

The Constitution contains the following provisions in respect of the official language of the Union.

  1. Hindi written in Devanagari script is to be the official language of the Union. But, the form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union has to be the international form of Indian numerals and not the Devanagari form of numerals.
  2.  However, for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of the Constitution (i.e., from 1950 to 1965), the English language would continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used before 1950.
  3. Even after fifteen years, the Parliament may provide for the continued use of English language for the specified purposes.

At the end of five years, and again at the end of ten years, from the commencement of the Constitution, the president should appoint a commission to make recommendations with regard to the progressive use of the Hindi language, restrictions on the use of the English language and other related issues.

 A committee of Parliament is to be constituted to examine the recommendations of the commission and to report its views on them to the president .

Now what Constitution taks about Regional Languages:

The Constitution does not specify the official language of different states. The legislature of a state may adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the state or Hindi as the official language of that state. Until that is done, English is to continue as official language of that state. Under this provision, most of the states have adopted the major regional language as their official language. For example, Andhra Pradesh has adopted Telugu, Kerala—Malayalam, Assam—Assamese, West Bengal—Bengali, Odisha—Odia.

Now special directives given under Article 350.

The Constitution makes the following provisions:

Article 350:

Every aggrieved person has the right to submit a representation for the redress of any grievance to any officer or authority of the Union or a state in any of the languages used in the Union or in the state, as the case may be. This means that a representation cannot be rejected on the ground that it is not in the official language.

Article 350A:

 Every state and a local authority in the state should provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups. The president can issue necessary directions for this purpose .

Article 350B:

The president should appoint a special officer for linguistic minorities to investigate all matters relating to the constitutional safeguards for linguistic minorities and to report to him. The president should place all such reports before the Parliament and send to the state government concerned.

Current Affair 13:
New Blockbuster Wheat

After HD-2967 and HD-3086, which together occupy roughly 40% of the country’s total wheat area, the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has released yet another potential blockbuster variety, Called HD-3226 or Pusa Yashasvi for planting in the upcoming rabi crop season.

Current Affair 14:
Central Adverse List

Source Link

The Centre has removed from the Central Adverse List names of few foreign nationals involved in anti-India activities.

During the separatist movement in the 1980s, some Sikhs left India to avoid being arrested and became foreign nationals. They were placed in the List.

The Sikhs who were blacklisted have been mostly living in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. It mostly included the names of those who promoted the cause of Khalistan and former militants.

Being in a list, making them ineligible to avail visa services to visit or return to India.

As per the government statement,  it had removed the names of 312 Sikhs of Indian origin from an “adverse list”, and only two individuals remained on the list.

It is a list maintained by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs

Current Affair 15:
Country’s first central police varsity

The country’s first central police university will be set up by the Union home ministry off the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida.

The university will offer undergraduate and post-graduate courses on policing, internal security, cybercrime and forensic sciences.

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