Must Read News Articles I 3rd February 2020

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An unequal future

Oxfam has released its Annual Inequality Report. As per the report the richest 1% in the world have more than double the wealth of 6.9 billion people combined.

In India, 9 billionaire own as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the country’s population.

The editorial highlights that growing wealth inequality does not bode well for India’s future.

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Money earned in India by NRI’s will be taxed, says Nirmala

Finance Minister has said that an NRI, who has some earnings which is derived from Indian business and for which he does not pay tax in India. As per the budget proposals, this income will now be taxed.

UK to seek Canada-style free trade deal with EU

Two days after Brexit, UK has pushed the European union for a Canada style free trade arrangement. However, European leaders have said that Britain will not be able to get a deal like Canada if it breaks significantly with EU rules on food safety, environmental standards, workers right and other matters impacting on public well being.

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Study on bat-hunters of Nagaland under scanner

Recently, a study was conducted in Nagaland by researchers from the US, China and India on bats and humans carrying antibodies to deadly viruses like Ebola. The study found the presence of filovirus reactive antibodies in human and bat populations in northeast India

The study suggested that Bats in South Asia acts as reservoir host of a diverse range of filoviruses.

Bats often carry Ebola, rabies, marburg and the SARS coronavirus.

Removal of DDT will boost investments: CBDT

Union Budget 2020 has proposed removal of Dividend Distribution tax (DDT) levied on companies. 

Dividend income from shares and MFs will be now be taxable in the hands of the recipient — instead of the company of MF house — at applicable income tax rates.

Doing away with DDT, can give major push to investment.  It can also boost market sentiment and make Indian equities more attractive.

Domestic companies at present are subject to DDT at 15% of the aggregate dividend declared, distributed or paid. As it also includes a 12 per cent surcharge and a 3% education cess, the effective DDT rate comes to 20.35%.

Centre rejects advice on special grants for states

The centre has rejected the 15th Finance Commission’s recommendation to give special grants worth Rs. 6764 crore to states in 2020-21 to ensure that they do not receive less than the previous year allocations.

The 15th FC has submitted its interim report for 2020-21 to the president on Dec5, 2019.

Falling short of aspirations

The article highlights that the economic outlook rests on government meeting investment targets and keeping promises made to stakeholders. Success of Budget depends on its effective implementation.

The Budget’s blurred social sector vision

The editorial comments on the low allocations made to the social sector in the current budget. It argues that the agenda of the present government for the social sector is for greater privatisation and withdrawal of the state. This is reflected not just in the low allocations but also policy pronouncements such as introducing the public private partnership model for medical colleges and district hospitals. The article says that this would be a worrying direction in the current context.

Billions of locusts descend on East Africa in worst outbreak in decades

Kenya is witnessing worst outbreak of locusts attack in 70 years. Planes are being used to spray pesticides over affected areas.

Experts warn that if left unchecked, the number of locusts could grow by 500 times by June, when drier weather will help bring the outbreak under control.

Punjab reforms its PDS, checks pilferage, boosts savings.

Punjab has rolled out electronic Point of Sale (e-POS) in an effort to bring about automation in the PDS system. Under ePOS, beneficiaries can get their ration under the PDS just by getting their finger prints matched at the ePOS machines, instead of having to show their ration card.

It has resulted in Punjab saving a total of Rs. 207 crore worth of ration.

Why wetlands matter to world and India

The article discusses – why there has been focus on wetlands, status of wetlands in India, and what does being a Ramsar site mean

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