9 PM Current Affairs Brief – March 14, 2019

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CBDT yet to set up angel tax exemption infrastructure

CBDT yet to set up angel tax exemption infrastructure

  1. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has not set up the back-end infrastructure required to automatically exempt registered start-ups from angel tax.However,CBDT has asked its officers to avoid taking coercive measures against companies that have received notices under the angel tax.
  2. Angel Tax is a 30% tax that is levied on the funding received by startups from an Angel investor.However, this 30% tax is levied when startups receive angel funding at a valuation higher than its ‘fair market value’. It is counted as income to the company and is taxed.
  3. Angel funds refers to a money pool created by high net worth individuals or companies (generally called as angel investors),for investing in business startups.They invest at very early-stage of businesses where other institutional investors such as venture capital funds or private equity funds hesitate to invest
  4. Earlier,government had relaxed the norms under the definition of Start-Ups.The changes brought in were:(a) The investment limit of angel investors to seek exemption under the Income Tax Act, 1961 has been increased to Rs 25 crore from 10 Crore.(b) An entity shall be considered as a startup up to 10 years from its date of incorporation instead of the previous period of 7 years and (c) An entity will be considered a startup up to a turnover of Rs 100 crore as against the earlier limit of Rs 25 crore.
  5. The Central Board of Direct Taxes is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act,1963.The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes.
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Officers with six months’ tenure can be named DGP: Supreme Court

Officers with six months’ tenure can be named DGP: Supreme Court

  1. The Supreme Court has issued clarification on its last year order on police reforms.It said that officers who have a minimum of six months tenure left in service shall be considered for the post of director general of police (DGP). Earlier,the court had ruled that a person appointed as the DGP must have a minimum two-year period of service.
  2. The apex court modification came on a plea filed by former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh.The petitioner contended that appointing DGP’s who have a minimum two-year period left for retirement would undermine the prospects of other meritorious and eligible officers.
  3. Last year,Supreme Court had ordered all states and Union territories to not appoint any police officer as acting Director General of Police (DGP).
  4. It directed all the states to send names of senior police officers to the UPSC for being considered as probable candidates to be appointed as DGPs.The UPSC will prepare a list of three most suitable officers and the states will be free to appoint one of them as police chief.
  5. The top court’s direction had come on an application filed by the Centre in which it claimed that certain States have been appointing acting DGPs and then making them permanent just before the date of their superannuation.It had enabled them get the benefit of an additional two-year tenure till the age of 62 years.
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We want all nations to stop buying Iran oil

We want all nations to stop buying Iran oil

  1. The US has not ended the sanctions waiver provided to eight countries.It has allowed them to continue purchasing Iranian crude oil as these countries showed significant reduction in oil purchase from the Iran after United States had reimposed sanctions.
  2. The US had granted exemptions to (a)China (b)India (c)Italy (d)Greece (e)Japan (f)South Korea (g)Taiwan and (h)Turkey from sanctions on Iran.The exemptions were meant to last six months and therefore due to expire in March,2019.
  3. Iran Nuclear deal which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was announced in 2015.The deal was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group (US,UK,France,Russia,China and Germany).It restricts Iran’s nuclear programme,in return for lifting most of the economic sanctions against it.
  4. The key Provisions of the Nuclear deal are (a)Limits on uranium enrichment (b)Limits on number of nuclear centrifuges (centrifuge is a device used to enrich uranium) (c)Restrictions on plutonium enrichment- Stopping Iran from operating at Arak nuclear site which was used to make plutonium (d)The deal increased the breakout time to 1 year.
  5. Breakout time is the time it would take Iran to produce enough bomb-grade material for a single nuclear weapon (e)Allowing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for inspections.However,the deal does not cover Iran’s Ballistic Missile programme.
  6. USA had withdrawn from the deal in 2018 citing the following reasons:(a)The JCPOA failed to deal with the threat of Iran’s missile programme and (b)The deal does not include strong mechanisms for inspections and verification.
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Xi’s BRI faces criticism during China’s annual political sessions

Xi’s BRI faces criticism during China’s annual political sessions

  1. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has come under criticism at the annual political sessions of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Conference (NPC).
  2. The main criticism stems from China giving out huge loans valued at billions of US dollars to small countries for infrastructure development over and beyond their capacity to pay back.
  3. The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is a political advisory legislative body in the People’s Republic of China.The organisation consists of delegates from a range of political parties and organisations,as well as independent members.
  4. The National People’s Congress is the national legislature of the People’s Republic of China.With 2,980 members in 2018,it is the largest parliamentary body in the world.
  5. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors with the aim of improving (a)regional integration, (b)increasing trade and (c)stimulating economic growth.

 

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U.K. unveils tariff plan for ‘no-deal’ scenario

U.K. unveils tariff plan for ‘no-deal’ scenario

  1. UK Government has announced temporary tariff plans if it leaves the European Union without a transition deal.The tariff plans are (a)eliminate import tariffs on a wide range of goods and (b)keep the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland free of customs checks.
  2. The tariff plans would apply both to imports from the EU and from outside the bloc.It would eliminate 87% of tariffs but introduce 10% duties on cars,and levies on beef,chicken and pork as well as protections for the ceramics industry.
  3. Under World Trade Organization(WTO) rules,the UK would have to impose the same tariffs on goods from the EU and from other countries around the world if it leaves the EU without a deal.
  4. The UK government has also announced that in the event of no deal,there would be no customs checks on the Irish border and no tariffs on any goods moving from Ireland into Northern Ireland.
  5. Recently,UK MP’s had rejected leaving the European Union(EU) without a deal.
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Karnataka has most number of stolen artefacts

Karnataka has most number of stolen artefacts

  1. The Ministry of Culture has said that Karnataka tops the list in India in terms of stolen antiquities.
  2. Antiquity is an article or object (example: coin, sculpture, painting or epigraph, or anything taken from a building or cave) that is at least 100 years old. These illustrates the science, art, crafts or customs or religion or literature of a bygone age, or anything of historical interest. If it is a manuscript or record of any scientific, historical, literary or aesthetic value, it should be at least 75 years’ old.
  3. The antiquities in India are governed by The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972. The main purpose of the act is to regulate the export trade in antiquities and art treasures and prevent smuggling and fraudulent dealings of antiquities and art treasures. An art treasure is a human work of art, other than an antiquity. It is to be declared a treasure by the Centre for its artistic value after the artist’s death.
  4. The Act is regulated by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). ASI, under the ministry of Culture, is the nodal agency responsible for archaeological excavations, conservation of monuments, and protection of heritage sites, antiquities and art treasures.
  5. Under the act, it is mandatory to register possession of an antiquity with the ASI. Further, an antiquity can be sold within the country only by a licenced person. Section 3 of the Act prohibits export of an antiquity by anyone other than the Centre or its agencies.
  6. In 2017, the government introduced Draft Antiquities and Art Treasures Regulation, Export and Import Bill, 2017. The draft bill eases out the process of trading antiques in India. It allows a dealer to trade post notifying the government of the transaction through an online portal maintained by the ASI.
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Swachh Survekshan 2019 rewarding wrong end of waste management?

Swachh Survekshan 2019 rewarding wrong end of waste management?

  1. A study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has reported that Swachh Survekshan rankings are flawed. The study has found that the ranking system was skewed towards cities that had only recently adopted various cleanliness measures. The survey has ranked many cities poorly despite these cities adopting all-year round measures to promote cleanliness.
  2. The study has found that top-performing cities under Swachh Survekshan still practice unsustainable waste management practices such as dumping in landfills. Examples include Ujjain (rank 4), Ahmedabad (6), and Ghaziabad (13). On contrary, cities in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Sikkim that have made efforts towards more sustainable waste management have been ranked poorly.
  3. Further, the study advocates that comparing waste management of large metro cities with that of small cities is largely flawed. This is because the issues that a metro city faces are very different from those of a small city.
  4. Swachh Survekshan is a ranking exercise to assess rural and urban areas for their levels of cleanliness and active implementation of Swacch Bharat Mission. The objective of the survey is to a) encourage large scale citizen participation and create awareness about cleanliness, b) inculcate a spirit of healthy competition among cities and towns towards creating cleaner cities/towns. The survey was launched in 2016.
  5. The Ministry of Urban Development takes up the Swachh Survekshan in urban areas while Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation takes up the survey in rural areas.
  6. Indore (Madhya Pradesh) has been awarded the cleanest city in the country in the Swachh Survekshan 2019.
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Malappuram boy diagnosed with West Nile fever

Malappuram boy diagnosed with West Nile fever

  1. A boy from Malappuram district, Kerala has been diagnosed with West Nile fever. The West Nile fever is a zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are those that are naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans.
  2. West Nile fever is caused by the West Nile Virus. Birds are the natural hosts of West Nile virus (WNV).
  3. According to world Health Organization (WHO) West Nile virus transmits to humans through bites from infected Culex mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
  4. Horses and humans are “dead-end” hosts. It implies that while they become infected, they do not spread the infection. According to WHO, no human-to—human transmission from casual contact has not been documented.
  5. Symptoms of White Nile fever include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, nausea, vomiting. It can cause fatal neurological disease in humans.
  6. West Nile Virus was first isolated in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937. An epidemic of WNV was reported in humans in Israel in 1951.
  7. West Nile Virus is commonly found in Africa, Europe, Middle East, West Asia and North America.
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India could save trillions in healthcare costs if Paris climate goals are met: Global Environmental Outlook

India could save trillions in healthcare costs if Paris climate goals are met: Global Environmental Outlook

  1. The 6th Global Environment Outlook (GEO) has estimated that India could save at least $3 trillion in healthcare costs if it implemented policy initiatives coherent to the Paris Agreement. The 6thGEO has been released at 4th session of UN Environment Assembly, being held in Nairobi, Kenya.
  2. The Paris agreement (2015) is an international agreement with the framework of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It seeks to combat climate change and accelerate the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. The Paris agreement aims to a) keep global temperature rise in 21st century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and b) pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  3. UNFCC is an intergovernmental treaty adopted in 1992 to address the problem of climate change.
  4. As a commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, nations have to put forward national climate actions they intend to take to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. These are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  5. India’s INDCs include a) reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level, b)increase total cumulative electricity generation from fossil free energy sources to 40% by 2030, c) create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons through additional forest and tree cover.
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Environment damage behind a quarter of premature deaths, diseases: UN report

Environment damage behind a quarter of premature deaths, diseases: UN report

  1. The 6th Global Environment Outlook (GEO) has been released at the 4th session of UN Environment Assembly. The 4th session is being held at Nairobi, Kenya from 11-15 March, 2019. The theme for the session is “Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production”.
  2. The United Nations Environment Assembly was created in 2012 to replace the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme. It is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. It seeks to address critical environmental challenges faced globally. It meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law.
  3. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading environmental authority in the United Nations system. It was established in 1972.
  4. According to the recently released 6th Global environment Outlook, environmental pollution is responsible for the premature deaths of nine million people a year- 25% of total premature deaths in a year. The report has stated that air pollution causes 6-7 million early deaths annually.
  5. The Global environment Outlook is United Nations Environment Programme’s flagship environmental assessment. The first GEO was published in 1997. The assessment highlights the current state of the environment, illustrates possible future environmental trends and analyses the effectiveness of environmental policies. The report also provide national governments with policy options to take immediate action to address environmental issues
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SC pulls up Assam government over inadequate functioning of foreigner’s tribunal

SC pulls up Assam government over inadequate functioning of foreigner’s tribunal

  1. The Supreme Court has accused the Centre and the Assam government for being negligent about tackling the inflow of illegal migrants into Assam and their deportations. Further, the court has expressed concerns about the poor functioning of Foreigner Tribunals in the state.
  2. According to Citizenship Act 1955, an illegal migrant is a foreigner who enters the country without valid travel documents, like a passport and visa, or enters with valid documents, but stays beyond the permitted time period. Foreigner is one who is not a citizen of India. Illegal migrants may be imprisoned or deported under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.
  3. Foreigners Tribunal (FT) was set up in Assam in 1964 through the Foreigners Tribunal Order 1964. The tribunals have been mandated with identifying the legal status of suspected foreigners in Assam. At present, there are 100 FTs in Assam; of these 64 were set up in 2015, to expedite the exercise of determining illegal immigrants in the state through the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
  4. Assam also had Illegal Migrants Determination Tribunal which was established in 1985 under the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) (IMDT) Act, 1983. The tribunals only considered the cases of those who had allegedly entered India after March 25, 1971. IMDT Act was enacted to put forward the procedures to detect illegal immigrants (from Bangladesh) and expel them from Assam.
  5. IMDT Act had placed the onus of proving citizenship on the accuser, rather than the accused and thus had made determining illegal migrants difficult. In 2006, the Act was struck down by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it was the main impediment the identification and deportation of illegal migrants.
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Election Commission won’t disturb staff involved in NRC work

Election Commission won’t disturb staff involved in NRC work

  1. The Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) Coordinator has informed the Supreme Court that the Election Commission has agreed to not withdraw personnel involved in the NRC work.
  2. The central government had previously stated 167 companies of combined armed police forces were need to be pulled out of Assam and stationed across the country for poll work. The government had urged the court to suspend the ongoing work on the NRC during the Lok Sabha polls 2019. The SC had rebuked the government and accused it of undermining the NRC process.
  3. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register which contains the name of all citizens of India residing in Assam. It was prepared in 1951.
  4. The process of NRC update in Assam has been taken up as per a Supreme Court order in 2013. The update is being carried out under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord, 1985.
  5. The Supreme Court had set July 31st 2019 as the deadline for submission of final NRC.

 

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Fares fly high as planes grounded

Fares fly high as planes grounded

  1. Air fares has increased causing inconvenience to passengers. The rise in air fares has been due to demand and supply gap after a large number of aircrafts were grounded due to variety of reason such as a) safety precaution, b) maintenance issues, c) financial crisis of airlines, and, d) shortage of pilots.
  2. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has had recently decided to ground Boeing 737 Max 8 planes till appropriate modifications and safety measures are taken. The decision came in the backdrop of the recent Ethiopian Airlines crash. After DGCA’s notification, Spice jet, an airlines has grounded 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.
  3. Recently, DGCA have issued safety guidelines for the operation of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. These include: (a) Pilots should have at least 1,000 hours of flying experience to command these planes (b) engineering departments have been instructed not to release the planes for operations in case of dual failure of autopilot, faults in spoiler system and (c) stringent checks of the aircraft’s autopilot and stall management systems during long-transit stays.
  4. DGCA is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation primarily dealing with safety issues.
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