9 PM Current Affairs Brief – February 9, 2019


Download the compilation of all summaries of all the news articles here


Startups to be listed for angel tax exemption

Startups to be listed for angel tax exemption

  1. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) soon will come up with a list of startups eligible for angel tax exemption, based on their audited financial statements and income tax returns of the previous year
  2. Angel tax is imposed on the excess share capital raised by an unlisted firm, over and above the fair market value of its shares.
  3. Angel tax impact investment and startup industries whether they are genuine or not.
  4. Recently the government has also decided to raise the limit for tax exemption for startups from 7 years to 10 years and paid-up share capital threshold for tax exemption has been raised from 10 crores to 25 crores.
  5. Startups would have to furnish three types of documents in order to be registered with the government: (i) audited financials for the previous year, (ii) IT returns for the previous year, and (iii) a self-certified declaration.
  6. Firm has to certify it does not intend to deploy the angel investment in real estate holdings, including premium cars of value above ₹10 lakh, precious jewelry, listed or unlisted securities directly or indirectly via equity mutual funds etc.
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SC declines stay on 10% quota

SC declines stay on 10% quota

1.The Supreme Court has declined to order a stay on the Centre’s decision to grant 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to economically weak sections in the general category.

2.The petitioners has sought the quashing of the bill due to following reasons
a) The economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation.
b) The bill violates basic feature of the Constitution as reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general category.
c) The overall 50 percent ceiling limit cannot be breached which violated the decision of the apex court in Indra Sawhney judgement,1993.
d) The State’s reservation policy cannot be imposed on unaided educational institutions, and as they are not receiving any aid from the State, they can have their own admissions provided they are fair, transparent, non-exploitative and based on merit.

3.The Parliament have passed the 124th Constitution Amendment Bill (10% Quota Bill) to provide for 10% reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) among the general category candidates in higher education and government employment.

4.The Act amends Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution by adding clauses empowering the government to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.

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TB survivors challenge patent to end J&J monopoly

TB survivors challenge patent to end J&J monopoly

  1. In an attempt to ensure that anti-TB drug Bedaquiline – which is safer and more effective –is made affordable and accessible to everybody with drug resistant TB (DR-TB),  two tuberculosis survivors from India and South Africa have filed a patent challenge against Johnson and Johnson’s application to extend the patent over the drug.
  2. Bedaquiline is a drug used to treat TB patients with bacteria that are resistant to other anti-TB drugs and thus suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
  3. The J&J patent application is being challenged on the grounds that the new salt form of Bedaquiline, does not merit patenting under India’s Patents Act, 1970 as it is a minor reformulation of the drug without any increase in therapeutic efficacy and is a mere act of patent evergreening.
  4. In India, the high price of Bedaquiline is a significant barrier for the government to make it available to all patients with drug resistant TB thus exposing patients to less effective drugs with severe side effects.
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Medical devices to be treated as drugs

Medical devices to be treated as drugs

  1. The Health Ministry has announced certain medical devices viz.

a) all implantable devices,

b) CT scan,

c) PET and MRI equipment,

d) defibrillators,

e) dialysis machines and

f) bone marrow separators to be brought under the purview of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and thus treated as “drugs” with effect from 1st April 2020.

2. Currently, only 23 medical devices are regulated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940

3. Given that quality and efficacy of majority medical devices remains unregulated in India, the recent announcement is significant for patient’s safety as with this notification, all implantable and diagnostic devices will come under the regulatory framework.

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Government introduces Bill on northeast

Government introduces Bill on northeast

  • The government has introduced the Constitution (125th Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha which seeks to bring 10 tribal dominated Autonomous District Councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the north-eastern region under purview of the Finance Commission.
  • The proposed amendments provide for a) devolution of financial resources to the councils based on recommendations of Finance Commission, b) elected village municipal councils empowered with formulating economic and social development plans and c) at least one-third of the seats reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura.
  • Autonomous District Councils in the tribal dominated areas of North East are administrative bodies constituted in accordance to Sixth Schedule Article 244 (2) & Article 275(1) of the Indian Constitution.
  • The 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution provides for special arrangements for the administration of tribal area in north eastern States-Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
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Vet institute, ambulances mooted in ₹98 crore lion conservation plan

Vet institute, ambulances mooted in ₹98 crore lion conservation plan

  1. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched the ‘Asiatic Lion Conservation Project’ which aims to protect and conserve the world’s last ranging free population of Asiatic Lion, a species endemic to the Gir landscape of Gujarat.
  2. The conservation project which has a “Species Conservation over a large landscape” focuses on a) disease management, b) habitat improvement and eco-development, c) robust wildlife health service with a dedicated veterinary institute, d) addressing to man-wild animal conflict issues, e) voluntary relocation of Protect Area inhabitants (Maldhari tribe), f) monitoring and tracking of animals, g) creating a wildlife crime cell, and h) ecotourism.
  3. The project also seeks to divide The Greater Gir Region that includes, area other than the existing Gir National Park, sanctuaries in Girnar, Pania and Mitiyala, into various zones and formulate various “zone plans and theme plans” for their management.
  4. Asiatic Lion, a pantherine cat, is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the IUCN Red List and is exposed to severe threats in the Gir region like a) growing lion population and shrinking habitat, b) vulnerability to diseases, c) death from linear infrastructure such as road, rail and electric fences and d) man-animal conflict.
  5. In 2013, the Supreme Court had directed translocation of lions from Gujarat to Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh on the grounds that concentration in one area makes them vulnerable to extinction from unpredictable events like epidemic or natural calamity.
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Ladakh gets divisional status

Ladakh gets divisional status

  1. Jammu and Kashmir Government has approved divisional status to Ladakh, which was part of the Kashmir division till now.
  2. The division of Ladakh, comprising of Leh and Kargil Districts, would be provided with a) separate administrative and revenue division with its headquarters at Leh, b) Divisional Commissioner, c) Inspector General of Police and d) other divisional level heads of various departments.
  3. With a separate administrative division for Ladakh region, the state of Jammu& Kashmir would now have three administrative divisions- Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
  4. There have been persistent demands for a separate division by the people of Ladakh due to a) remoteness and inaccessibility due to peculiar geo-climatic and topographic conditions, b) distance from the capital Srinagar making conduct of administrative affairs tough, c) poor delivery of developmental schemes, d) poor redressal of public grievances and e) distinct culture from the Kashmir valley.
  5. In 2018, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDC) of Leh and Kargil had unanimously passed a resolution demanding divisional status for Ladakh.
  6. LAHDCs, which is vested with powers of local governance in Leh and Kargil, was established by the enactment of Jammu and Kashmir Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act, 1997 (amended in 2018).
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