Government had constituted a committee to
draft a new direct tax law to replace the existing Income Tax Act,1961.The
committee was headed by Akhilesh Ranjan.It has submitted its report to the
The objective of the task force was to
draft direct tax laws in line with the norms prevalent in other countries,
incorporating international best practices and keeping in mind the
economic needs of the country.
The key proposals made by the committee
includes (a)25% corporate tax rate for all companies (b)Restructuring of
slabs for personal income-tax (c)Incentives for promoting startups
(d)Settling of tax disputes through mediation and (e)a shorter and simpler
direct tax law.
The task force has also suggested to bring
the gist of numerous judicial pronouncements made since 1961 in one place
for easy reference.This could improve the ease of doing business and reduce
the compliance burden as well as tax disputes.
The committee has also proposed amendments
in Section 147 and Section 148 of the I-T Act which empowers the tax
officer to reopen assessment cases based on predefined criteria.
The task force has also recommended that
tax assessment proceedings be made faceless and an option be allowed to
the public to seek clarifications on tax matters from Central Board of
The committee has also proposed the use of
Artificial Intelligence(AI) in the tax-compliance and administration
Government has removed Debenture
Redemption Reserve(DRR) requirement for listed companies,Non banking
financial companies (NBFCs) and Housing finance companies(HFCs).
At present,these companies have to set up
a DRR to the tune of 25% of the value of their outstanding
debentures.However,banking companies and financial institutions are
already exempted from creating DRRs.
This move will make it cheaper for these
companies to raise funds and deepen the bond market.It will also create a
level-playing field between NBFCs and commercial banks.
Debenture is an instrument of debt executed by
the company acknowledging its obligation to repay the sum at a specified
rate and also carrying an interest.It is one of the methods of raising
loan capital of the company.
Debenture redemption reserve(DRR) is a
requirement imposed on Indian corporation that issue debentures where they
must create a debenture redemption service to protect investors from the
possibility of a company defaulting.
This rule offers investors a measure of
protection because debentures are not backed by an asset or any other form
Israeli spacecraft called Beresheet had
crashed onto the Moon in April, 2019.The spacecraft was carrying a cargo
of dehydrated microscopic lifeforms known as tardigrades.
However,tardigrades may have survived a
crash landing on the Moon and they may still be alive.
Tardigrade are also known as water bear.They
can only be seen under a microscope.
They derives its name from the fact that
they look like an eight-legged bear with a mouth that can project out like
Tardigrades are among the most resilient
animals which can survive extreme conditions such as exposure to outer
space.Tardigrade feed on plant cells,algae and small invertebrates.
Although the tardigrades on the spacecraft
were dehydrated,they are known to come back to life on
rehydration.They can expel water from their bodies and set off a mechanism
to protect their cells and can still be revived if placed in water.
However,there is no evidence of liquid
water on the Moon,although there is ice.Hence,without liquid water,it is
possible that the tardigrades will remain in their current state unless
future astronauts find them and revive them in water.
Defence minister has visited the
Information Management and Analysis Centre(IMAC) and Information Fusion
Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) located at Gurugram.
The two centres are under the National
Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) Project.The NMDA project was launched in
accordance with the vision of Prime Minister under SAGAR (Security And
Growth for All in the Region).
The IMAC monitors
movement of more than 120,000 ships a year passing through the Indian
Ocean.It collects shipping information, analysing traffic patterns and
sharing the inputs with the user agencies.
The IFC-IOR has been
established in 2018 at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis
Centre(IMAC) in Gurugram.IFC is a single point centre linking all the
coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the
nearly 7,500-km coastline.
Through this Centre,information on white
shipping or commercial shipping is exchanged with countries in the region
to improve maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.White-shipping
refers to commercial shipping information about the movement of cargo
The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) is
considering asking banks to link loans to an external benchmark such as
the repo rate to improve transmission of policy rates and foster economic
Repo stands for ‘Repurchasing Option’.It
refers to the rate at which commercial banks borrow money from the RBI.
Currently,bank loans are linked to
marginal cost of funds-based lending rate(MCLR).MCLR is an internal
benchmark rate that depends on various factors such as fixed deposit
rates, source of funds and savings rate.
The price of loan comprises the MCLR and
the spread or the bank’s profit margin.Spread refers to the difference in
borrowing rates and lending rates of financial institutions.
The biggest problem with the current
system is the lack of required transmission of policy rates to the
However,several banks such as State Bank
of India(SBI) had already introduced a repo rate-linked loan from July
According to a report by Greenpeace,India
is the largest emitter of Sulphur Dioxide(SO2) in the world.
The report provides that India has emitted
more than 15% of all the anthropogenic sulphur dioxide hotspots as
detected by NASA’s satellite.
The primary reason for India’s high
emission output is the expansion of coal-based electricity generation over
the past decade.
According to the report,five of the top
ten SO2 emission hotspots from coal and power generation industry across
the world are in India.
The report also says that emission has
increased as majority of coal-based power plants in India lack flue-gas
desulphurisation(FGD) technology to reduce air pollution.
Further, the report also says that the
largest sulphur dioxide emission hotspots in the world have been found in
Russia, South Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Mexico, United Arab
Emirates, Turkey and Serbia.
Of the world’s major emitters, China and
the United States have been able to reduce emissions rapidly by switching
to clean energy sources and enforcement for sulphur dioxide control.
Sulfur dioxide is a chemical compound with
the formula SO2.It is released naturally by volcanic activity and is
produced as a by-product of copper extraction and the burning of fossil
fuels contaminated with sulfur compounds.
Researchers from the UK have developed a
technique that could make light-based cancer treatment more effective and
safer for patients while reducing its cost.
Light-based or photo-dynamic therapy is a
clinically-approved treatment which uses drugs that only work when exposed
to light to destroy cancer cells.
However,many of these drugs are frequently
toxic even without light, causing many side effects in patients and
leading to treatment failure.
The researchers have sought to improve
these drugs by using small carbon dots as a way to get the drug to the
Carbon dots are fluorescent nanoparticles
with very little toxicity making them extremely useful for this
application.These nanoparticles were made using common ingredients such as
sucrose and citric acid which occurs naturally in various fruits.
Chhattisgarh government has announced the
setting up of Lemru Elephant Reserve(LER).
The reserve is aimed at minimizing
human-elephant conflict and destruction of property in addition to
providing a permanent habitat for the elephants.
The reserve will be set-up as per the
report and recommendations of Special High-Power Technical Committee(SHPTC)
which was constituted by the Government of India.
The report stated that LER would provide a
huge protected area for the conservation of wild elephants where the
elephants will get an abundant amount of water, food and other facilities.
The Government of India had launched the
project Elephant in the year 1992 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.The
objectives of project include (a)to protect elephants,their habitat &
corridors (b)to address issues of man-animal conflict and (c)welfare of
Bihar Chief Minister has flagged off a
vehicle which is being called a ‘publicity rath’.
The vehicle will create awareness on the
Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali (water-life-greenery) campaign via the audio-visual
The vehicle will also be used for creating
awareness about the State government’s water resources schemes and steps
to save and conserve water.
The rath will also make people aware of
the fact that groundwater is the only source of water in the event of less
rainfall and people will have to go for rainwater harvesting to conserve
Jal-Jivan-Hariyali Abhiyan programme is
aimed at protecting the environment and minimising the bad effects of
climate change on the lives of people in the state.Several departments of
state government have been given separate tasks under the campaign.
The global economy continues to be hit as
one big economy after another falters on economic growth.This increases
the likelihood of a global recession in the coming future.
As talk of a recession has started,Bond
yields curve have also featured in the news both globally and within India
as it most accurately reflects what investors think about current and
future economic growth prospects.
A bond is an instrument
to borrow money.A bond could be floated/issued by a country’s government
or by a company to raise funds.
Since government bonds which are referred
to as G-secs in India come with the sovereign guarantee,they are
considered one of the safest investments.As a result,they also give the
lowest returns on investment or yield.
On the other hand,investments in corporate
bonds tend to be riskier because the chances of failure and the chances of
the company not repaying the loan are higher.
The Bond yield is the
effective rate of return that it earns.But the rate of return is not fixed
as it changes with the price of the bond.
Bond Yield curve is a graphical representation of
yields for bonds with an equal credit rating over different time horizons.
If bond investors expect the economy to
grow normally,then they would expect to get more yield when they lend for
a longer period.This gives rise to a normal upward sloping yield curve.
The steepness of the yield curve is
determined by how fast an economy is expected to grow. When the economy is
expected to grow only marginally, the yield curve is “flat”.
However,yield inversion happens
when the yield on a longer tenure bond becomes less than the yield for a
shorter tenure bond.A yield inversion typically portends a recession.An
inverted yield curve shows that investors expect the future growth to fall