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Daily Current Affairs for IAS & UPSC Preparation

All current affairs available date-wise and month-wise. Watchout for Back2basics and Notes4students.


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Civil Service reforms

[op-ed snap] Generalist vs specialist

Note4students

Mains Paper2: Governance| Role of civil services in democracy

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims: Not much

Mains level: If lateral entry is allowed in civil services, it could be a game changing decision. The government has sought recommendations in this regard. This issue can also be linked to GS Mains paper 2 topic i.e. role of Civil service in Democracy. UPSC has asked question on Similar type of issue in Mains 2014(Domain based Civil service!)


News

Context

  1. This article explains how the government can bring much needed external expertise into the civil services system.

Introduction:

  1. The IAS was modeled on the colonial era Indian Civil Service as a generalist service to deliver the core functions of the state — collect taxes and maintain law and order thus specialization remaining the major lacuna of the system.
  2. The challenge of development in a large, populous and impoverished country was probably not on the radar screen when the IAS was designed.
  3. So to deliver in the changing dynamics the IAS adapted by retooling itself as ‘’development agent’’.
  4. But with economic reforms the nature of administration changed, demanding domain knowledge especially at the policy level. Role and relevance of IAS was again questioned.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Two views emerged-

 First view: Best leadership is provided by generalist

  1. They have a greater breadth of knowledge and understanding. Specialists tend to have a tunnel view.
  2. The domain knowledge input to the policy making can be accomplished by employing domain experts advising the generalist leader in decision making. According to this view, a good IAS officer can head the Department of Agriculture as competently as she would the Department of Shipping.

 

Second view:

  1. The IAS, as generalists, tend to over-weigh their experience of the process and form over understanding of policy content. Only specialist can provide leadership in the functional area.
  2. There is no need to look for binary solutions. The Constitution Review Commission 2002 suggested the “need to specialise some of the generalists and generalize some of the specialists”.

 

 Career progression of an IAS officer-

  1. The first decade of an IAS’ career is typically spent in field postings with responsibility for policy execution which hones her administrative and people management skills, apart from imparting invaluable understanding of ground realities.
  2. From there an IAS graduates to policy formulating positions, at the centre and state levels. This transition provides the ideal marker for beginning to specialise — combining the soft skills they have learnt with the hard skills of a specialised domain.

 

Why managing Specialisation can be a problem?

  1. There remains many questions to be answered like how much specialisation should there be?
  2. How should officers be allocated among the specialisations?
  3. What should be the weightages for expressed preferences and revealed competencies? Once allocated a specialisation, how should an officer’s career be managed?

Solutions

  1. Categorise ministries broadly into three groups — welfare ministries, regulatory ministries and economic ministries since experience suggests that each of these categories demands broadly similar behavioural attributes and aptitudes. But in this, allocating officers across specialisations should not be reduced to a formula.This will facilitate officers in specialising as they move up the hierarchy based on their revealed aptitude and performance record.
  1. Specialisation need not be mandatory. One of the tasks of cadre management will indeed be to match the supply and demand across specialisations and generalists.Once they are allocated specialist positions, officers should be afforded opportunities to deepen their domain knowledge through study and training
  1. An IAS should be allowed to work outside the government, preferably in a non-governmental organisation for a few years, irrespective of their area of specialisation. This is bound to make them more useful and relevant civil servants.

 

Japan keen on friendship with northeast

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

Mains level: India- Japan relations


News

  1. Days after the visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has begun its outreach for the northeastern region.
  2.  At the fourth Northeast Connectivity Summit in Kohima, Japan said it would invest in the region’s infrastructure, education and people-to-people sectors.
  3. Northeastern region is located at a strategically and economically important juncture between India and Southeast Asia as well as within the Bimstec (Bay of Bengal) community.
  4. Therefore, Japan has placed a particular importance on the cooperation in the northeastern region

Road network

  1. Japanese officials said Tokyo was committed to undertaking two major road and infrastructure building projects in Mizoram and Meghalaya.
  2.  For the northeast, Japan had undertaken works on road connectivity, energy projects, water supply and sanitation, forest resources management, Japanese language education and post-war reconciliation

Myanmar’s interest

  1. The summit also indicated Myanmar’s interest in the potential of the region.
  2. Myanmar’s Minister of Cultural Affairs urged people from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur to forge closer ties with Myanmar as the country shared long borders with all four States.

Govt. may open railway lines to private players

Image result for Indian railway

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3:Economy ] Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Swiss Challenge

Mains level: Railway sector reforms


News

  1. The Union government is open to the idea of giving operations of railway lines to private players for enhancing competition
  2. It is also willing to spend unlimited funds on safety
  3. Government was engaging with other countries to “rapidly scale up” the bullet train project.
  4. Also re-tuning policy to attract private companies for modernising railway stations.
  5. Railways have decided to do away with the ‘Swiss Challenge’ model of awarding railway stations to private players and taken a slew of measures to lease out at least 100 stations.
    • The steps include increasing the lease tenure from 45 years to 99 years,
    • Allowing private players to sub-lease stations for increasing their investment value
    • And mortgaging assets to allow banks to give low-cost funds
  6. The Railway Ministry has so far invited bids for 23 stations that had seen lukewarm response from the private sector

Back2basics

Swiss Challenge

  1. Swiss Challenge method is one of the ways of awarding government contracts to private players.
  2. Without an invitation from government, a private player can submit a proposal to government for development of an infrastructure project with exclusive intellectual property rights.
  3. Then government has two options with it:
    1. Government can buy the intellectual property rights from the original proponent and call for a competitive bidding to award the project.
    2. Government allows other players with similar capabilities to submit their proposals. If any proposal is better than the proposal of the original proponent, the original proponent is asked to match with the other proposal. If he fails, then it would be awarded to the best bidder.

[op-ed snap] Going beyond the idea of fiscal stimulus

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Growth

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GDP, Fiscal Deficit

Mains level: Reasons behind declining growth and measures needed to augment growth


News

Context

  1. The government is working on a plan to revive the economy after growth slipped to a modest rate of 5.7% in the first quarter.
  2. The idea is that in the absence of sufficient investment from the private sector, higher government expenditure will help boost GDP growth.

Problems with the plan and why the government should adhere to its fiscal commitments.

  1. Deceleration in growth is due to impact of demonetisation and destocking before the implementation GST
    • But since growth started decelerating before these shocks, policy intervention needs to go beyond fiscal stimulus.
  2. No guarantee that expanding the deficit will lead to higher sustainable growth
    • Economy already has a fair amount of fiscal support with the combined fiscal deficit running in excess of 6% of GDP. 
  3. It complicate policy choices for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
    • It can affect RBI’s target of keeping inflation around 4% on a durable basis.
  4. It should not compromise on macroeconomic stability
    • If we expand the deficit in the current year, deficit will remain elevated for a considerable period and would affect investor sentiment.
    • It is often suggested that the government should not pay much attention to international investors and rating agencies. 
    • It is in India’s own interest to keep its house in order and minimize risk from external shocks

Way forward

  1. Economic growth has slowed considerably and the economy needs policy intervention that goes beyond running a bigger deficit
  2. Deeper and broader structural reforms that will help attain sustainable higher growth in the medium to long run.
  3. Factor markets such as for land and labour, and public sector banks need immediate attention.
  4. On the fiscal front, government should address all the issues in the functioning of GST.
  5. Aggressively pursue disinvestment and privatization, which will help augment resources
  6. Indian economy needs higher public investment, but it need not come at the cost of fiscal discipline.

 

WTO and India Global Groupings

Over 100 nations back India-China plan on farm subsidies before WTO meet

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: AoA

Mains level: Issues related to AoA and PSH.


News

Support to India and China in the WTO

  1.  More than 100 countries have backed a joint proposal by China and India for eliminating the most trade-distorting farm subsidies of $160 billion 
  2. This huge subsidy is given in countries like the US, the European Union, Japan, Canada, Norway, and Switzerland
  3. This proposal was given in the World Trade Organization’s 11th trade ministerial summit
  4. In their proposal, India and China said it is a prerequisite to address “the imbalance in the existing AoA (Agreement on Agriculture)
  5. In AoA only some members (the US, the EU, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Norway and a few developing countries) have access to bound AMS(Aggregate Measurement of Support)
  6. AMS are entitlements to provide billions of dollars for most trade-distorting subsidies, which allows them much “more policy space”

India’s notice on public stock-holding (PSH)

  1. India has served notice to its the European Union, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Pakistan
  2. Why: Because India will not offer any further concessions for market access or enter into trade-offs in the negotiations for a permanent solution on PSH programmes 

Back2basics

Agreement on Agriculture

  1. The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) is an international treaty of the World Trade Organization
  2. It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO on January 1, 1995

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Agricultural Sector

[op-ed snap] A sketchy roadmap

Image result for niti aayog 3 year action agenda agriculture

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Direct Benefit Transfer, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Krishi, Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), National Agricultural Market, e-NAM

Mains level: Article has given 5 action points for 5 fronts in Agricultural sector. Please note down those points which can be used as suggestions to improve agricultural sector


News

Context

  1. Last month, the NITI Aayog released the Three Year Action Agenda (TYAA, a roadmap for reforming the various sectors of the economy.
  2. But it does not recognise the role of trade policy in agriculture, and is silent on money-guzzling food and fertiliser subsidies

The TYAA basically talks of action pertaining to

  1. Increasing productivity of land and water
  2. Reforming agri-markets on the lines of e-NAM
  3. Reforming tenancy laws
  4. Relief measures during natural disasters.

However TYAA does not talk about

  1. Prioritising policy actions
  2. Role of trade policy in agriculture
  3. Reforming the massive system of food and fertiliser subsidies. 

Urgent action is needed on five fronts

  1. Improve the profitability of cultivation by “getting markets right”
    • Attempts to reform the APMC markets, and Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act, 2017, have not achieved much success.
    • e-NAM scheme, has not succeeded in its endeavour so far.

Solution

    • Open up exports of all agri-products, without any restrictions
    • Allow private trade to build global value chains, keeping the Essential Commodities Act in abeyance.
  1. It needs to invest in water
    • The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana is mandated to complete 99 irrigation projects by 2019
    • NABARD, with Rs 40,000 crore as Long-Term Irrigation Fund, is to help states in completing these projects
    • But open canal systems with flood irrigation don’t give high water-use efficiency.Solution
    • Accord higher priority to micro-irrigation (drip and sprinklers);
    •  Israel and the US could be good examples to follow
  2. Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of food and fertiliser subsidies can release resources for investments
    • Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 crores can be saved through DBT, which can be invested in water resources and upgrading marketing infrastructure.
  3. It should ensure that the new Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) delivers compensation to farmers in time
    • These lacunae can be fixed through modern technology and better governance
  4. It should free up land lease markets. 
    • China allows land lease for 30 years so that corporate bodies can work with farmers, bringing in their best expertise, inputs and investments.

Back2basics

Direct Benefit Transfer: Refer Civilsdaily 

What is e-NAM?: Refer Civilsdaily

 

Unlike 2008-09, govt’s ‘stimulus’ plan may face FPI hurdle this time

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Growth

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims Level: Not Much

Mains level: Due to slowing down of economy, government is finding ways to counter the problem. Giving fiscal stimulus may help countering slow growth rate. The article explains how it may not be fruitful as it was in 2008-09.


News

Fiscal Stimulus and foreign portfolio investors (FPI)

  1. Unlike 2008-09, when UPA regime unleashed a fiscal stimulus in response to a global financial slowdown, it may be not possible for the current government to spend more to boost the economy
  2. Why: The primary reason for this is the sizable holdings by FPI in Indian debt, which wasn’t a significant restraining factor then
  3. In 2008, FPIs held a mere $5.59 billion in Indian debt
  4. But in 2017, their outstanding net investment in government securities and corporate bonds was $72.76 billion

Sources of disruption of FPI flows into Indian debt now

  1. The first is the prospect of global interest rates hardening, especially with the US Fed expected to further raise interest rates
  2. On the first source, government has no control 
  3. The second is if the government or the RBI were to embark on a fiscal and monetary stimulus, that is seen to undermine macroeconomic stability

Back2basics

What is Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI)?

  1. Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) is investment by non-residents in Indian securities including shares, government bonds, corporate bonds, convertible securities, infrastructure securities etc. The class of investors who make investment in these securities are known as Foreign Portfolio Investors.
  2. FPI is induced by differences in equity price scenario, bond yield, growth prospects, interest rate, dividends or rate of return on capital in India’s financial assets.
  3. SEBI has recently stipulated the criteria for Foreign Portfolio Investment. According to this, any equity investment by non-residents which is less than or equal to 10% of capital in a company is portfolio investment. While above this the investment will be counted as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
  4. Investment by a foreign portfolio investor cannot exceed 10 per cent of the paid up capital of the Indian company. All FPI taken together cannot acquire more than 24 per cent of the paid up capital of an Indian Company. As per SEBI regulations, FPIs are not allowed to invest in unlisted shares and investment in unlisted entities will be treated as FDI
Low Priority new Items/op-eds

[23 September 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority Items of the Day:

Pakistan seeks UN envoy on Kashmir

Terming the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir as the “most intense foreign military occupation in recent history,” Mr. Abbasi sought an international investigation into “India’s crimes in Kashmir.”

No need to go through minor details of every news related to International Relations. Only those news are important, which can have any significant affect on Indian Foreign Policy. And this news related to UN envoy, will have no affect on our policy.

 

Newton is India’s official entry to Oscars 2018

Newton will be India’s official entry to the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars next year, according to a Film Federation of India official.

Important part of the news is given above. Just remember the name of the film, and the authority ‘Film Federation of India’, announcing the news.

 

Questions of numbers

The key political question that has arisen in Tamil Nadu is whether Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami commands a majority in the State Assembly. There is a remarkable concordance among political and constitutional functionaries concerned in abdicating their core responsibility to find an answer to this question.

The Op-Ed is related to internal politics of the Tamil Nadu. Internal party politics is not important for the exam. So, no need to go through such types of articles.


SC on Nirbhaya Fund: Put system in place

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Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Nirbhaya Fund

Mains level: Issues arising from implementation of Nirbhaya Fund.


News

Context

  • The Nirbhaya fund was announced by the Centre in 2013 after the December 16, 2012 gang rape and murder case in Delhi. It is meant to support initiatives of the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring women’s safety.

Issues with its implementation

  1. The Supreme Court has expressed displeasure over disbursal of Nirbhaya Fund as there is absence of clarity on how victims will be compensated, who is responsible for paying the compensation and at what stage it has to be paid.
  2. Also, there is no uniformity in disbursal of funds to the victims, in states such as Goa, the amount is Rs 10 lakh while in some other states, it is only Rs 1lakh.
  3. The Centre had transferred Rs 200 crore under the Nirbhaya scheme to each state but there is no clarity whether this was a one-time transfer or annual procedure.
  4. The court also referred to the multiplicity of agencies involved — Home, Women and Child Development, and Finance ministries — and said there is no clarity on who was involved.
  5. The bench was also unhappy with the Centre’s affidavit and pointed out several instances where state-wise details of the number of such victims and the amount of compensation given to them were not given properly. 

 

 

 

[op-ed snap] Shooting in the dark

Image result for bullet train

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Note4Students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Shinkensan Technology

Mains level: Shortcomings of Bullet Train project.


News

Context

  • This article appears in the background of recent launch of high speed bullet train project between Mumbai-Ahmedabad.

Why the project is not big bang reform for all but a big bang bullet for few?

Shinkansen Technology

  1. Japan introduced its high-speed Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964 with top speed of 210 km/hr which has now reached 350 km/hr.
  2. Ten more countries have also developed high speed train networks like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Turkey and with China having the biggest network of high speed trains.
  3. But none of them are using Shinkensen technology, so is shinkensen technology the best? No technical evaluation comparing other available systems seems to have been done

Transfer of Technology

  1. Shinkensen technology was offered to China by Japan, but the deal stuck on the issue of transfer of technology.
  2. The government has been mentioning about how raw materials, labourers, services for the project will be sourced from India but there has been no mention of transfer of technology.
  3. The issue is how Indian engineering going to leap forward if there will be no transfer of technology? And if there was no technology evaluation also, was there any validity report? Yes, it was there but the officialdom has refused to share the report even in response to RTI applications.

Viability

  1. Taiwan installed Shinkensen technology through BOT( Build Operate Transfer) Model of investment in 1990s with investment of $ 14.3 B which became operational in 2007 but by 2014 the rail operator was bankrupt with cumulative losses of $1.5 billion.
  2. The BOT model was not even floated as a trial balloon for the very good reason that no private company would have bid for the project — the failure of the much less capital-intensive Metro project (BOT).
  3. UPA government had earlier rejected the Bullet Train project as being completely unviable. That’s probably because projections show that the Mumbai-Ahmedabad train service will need to carry nearly one lakh passengers a day to keep fares at a reasonable level. The current traffic is only about 18,000 per day, which means that either fares will have to be raised well above air fares, or that the system will have to be subsidised in perpetuity.

Interest free Loan

  1. The Japanese are giving a 50-year loan of Rs 88,000 crore at .10  interest rate , but the interest rate on 10-year Japanese government bonds is 0.04 per cent and other interest rates can even be negative.  So no question of Japanese benovalence arises.
  2. The difference in interest rates between India and Japan (our 10-year government bonds yield 6.5 per cent), has another, serious and long-term implication. According to a financial analyst, if we consider average Indian inflation at three per cent, and Japanese at zero per cent, the rupee will depreciate three per cent every year vis-a-vis the Japanese yen. So over 50 years, the sum to be repaid will not be Rs 88,000 crore but could be well over twice that amount.

Make travel faster?

  1. According to Bibek Debroy,only five per cent of Indians use our present super-fast trains because they find the extra fares beyond them.
  2. In short, bullet trains are going to make travel faster for five per cent of the population, which already has the option of air travel.

The Cost Analysis

  1. The Bullet Train project is going to cost Rs 1,10,000 crore; in last year’s rail budget, the total outlay for the entire Indian railway system was Rs 1,21,000 crore and it will serve a small percentage of people travelling between two cities; the Indian railway system, with over 13,000 trains running every day, carries more than eight billion passengers per year plus 1,000 million tonnes of freight over the whole country. The cost for the two, as the figures show, is virtually the same.

So, the bullet train project does not seem to be a complete success in future.


Back2basics

Shinkensan Technology

  1. Shinkansen literally means new trunk line that refers to the high-speed rail line network in Japan.
  2. Shinkansen uses a range of advanced technology which helps the trains attain high speed without compromising on safety and comfort.
  3. Shinkansen routes are strictly off-limits to any other kind of traffic, unlike conventional rail lines which are built without road crossings.
  4. These high-speed train network uses tunnels and viaducts to go through and over obstacles rather than around them.
  5. Shinkansen trains are electric multiple units, offering fast acceleration, deceleration and reduced damage to the track because of lighter vehicles.

 

Compensate cow violence victims, punish violators: SC to states

Image result for Cow vigilantISM

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Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Salient features of Indian Society

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: How does cow vigilantism affect Indian society ? What are the measures needed prevent this?


News

Context

  •  Taking serious note of violence in the name of saving cows, the Supreme Court passed a slew of measures and asked states to appoint a senior police officer in every district as a nodal officer.

What SC Order says?

  1. SC said that states were under obligation to compensate victims of violence by cow vigilante groups even without any judicial order
  2. Law and order has to have primacy and anyone violating it must be dealt with sternly
  3. States must frame schemes to compensate victims of crime, including those of cow vigilantism as envisaged by the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  4. It also asked states and Union Territories to comply with its September 6 order to appoint nodal officers by October 31 to deal with cow vigilantism.

Measures suggested

  1. States has to appoint a senior police officer in every district as a nodal officer.
  2. The senior police officer shall take prompt action and will ensure vigilante groups and such people are prosecuted with promptitude
  3. Nodal officers have to ensure that cow vigilantes did not become a law unto themselves.
Masala Bonds Finance and Banking

RBI removes masala bonds from corporate bond limit

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Masala Bonds

Mains level:Not much


News

  1. RBI removes masala bonds from corporate bond limit 
  2. The move will release additional space for foreign portfolio investors (FPI), who can now invest up to another Rs 44,000 crore in the debt securities of companies.
  3. With effect from October 3, masala bonds will no longer form a part of the limit for FPI investments in corporate bonds
  4. The masala bonds were reckoned under both corporate debt and external commercial borrowings for FPI investment.
  5. It will now be counted only under the ECB category, where a borrower just needs to seek the RBI’s approval to sell those securities. 

What is the advantage?

  • Bringing masala bonds under the ECB framework will ensure better monitoring framework, especially onsources and the purpose of investment 

Back2basics

Masala Bonds

 

 

Goods and Services Tax (GST) Finance and Banking

[op-ed snap] Tax trauma — On GST Network

Related image

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of GST

Mains level: GST -Challenges


News

Context

  • Glitches in the GST regime are increasing the anxiety among Indian businesses

What are the issues?

  1. GST Network, is struggling to keep pace with the millions of invoices and returns being filed electronically by businesses across the country.
  2. It is clear that the network had not been fully tested for chinks before July
  3. Implication of these stumbles for 85 lakh taxpayers now registered for GST.
  4. For Exporters, because of delayed timelines for filing GST returns, no refunds can be expected before mid-November on input taxes paid in advance and the integrated GST levied on goods they imported.
    • ₹65,000 crore of working capital will get blocked, cramping their ability to ramp up capacity and raw material procurement in time for festive season orders from around the world.
  5. A ministerial group formed by the GST Council to resolve the GSTN’s glitches gave an assurance that 80% of the problems would be fixed by the end of October.
  6. Several revisions in deadlines, tax and cess rates, rules, clarifications and tweaks later, the GST regime is turning out to be neither simple nor friendly for taxpayers.

Back2basics

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

 

Medical Education Governance in India Governance

[op-ed snap] Heal thyself

Image result for Medical Council of India (MCI)

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Medical Council of India (MCI)

Mains level: MCI- problems; National Medical Commission Bill of 2016- provisions, challenges etc


News

Context

  1. Medical education scams continue unabated under the MCI’s stewardship. But merely replacing it is not the solution

  2. The regulator of medical education is itself in need of regulation

Medical Council of India (MCI)-Issues

  1. Volume of litigation that the MCI faces suggest that the regulator is neither in command nor perceived to be so
  2. It has imposed a uniform benchmark for admissions at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels
    • But different syllabi and diverse languages in different states tilt the level playing field.
  3. While the MCI is standardising entrance tests, it is failing to assure uniform, quality education for entrants who qualify.
  4. As an implication, the promise that India holds as a destination for medical tourism and education stands compromised.

National Medical Commission Bill of 2016

  • It proposes to trifurcate the functions of the MCI to reducer corruption, may prove to be superficial

Why?

  1. It would eventually leave the monopoly in accreditation intact, and opaqueness would remain a problem
  2. Intersection of private enterprise and medical education and practice is laden with incentives for corruption.
  3. Marketing of pharmaceuticals and equipment exert unhealthy influences
  4. Inspection of teaching hospitals is a scandal, with doctors and even patients being “rented” for the day.
  5. The scarcity of seats and their marked-up price tag is also a reason for corruption

Way forward

  1. Merely replacing the MCI will not suffice. Its successor must be armed with rules-based transparency to prevent rent-seeking.
  2. Examination reform could have followed

Back2basics

National Medical Commission Bill, 2016 

Salient Provisions

The bill seeks to address the following:

  1. Ensure adequate supply of high quality medical professionals at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  2. Encourage medical professionals to incorporate the latest medical research in their work and to contribute to such research.
  3. Provide for objective periodic assessments of medical institutions.
  4. Facilitate the maintenance of a medical register for India and enforce high ethical standards in all aspects of medical services.
  5. Ensure that the medical institutes are flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of a transforming nation.

Medical advisory council

The bill seeks to constitute a Medical Advisory Council which will undertake the following functions:

  1. The Council shall serve as the primary platform through which the states would put forward their views and concerns before the National Medical Commission (NMC) and shall help shape the overall agenda in the field of medical education & training.
  2. The Council shall advise the NMC on the measures to determine, maintain and coordinate the minimum standards in the discipline of medical education, training and research.
  3. The Council shall advise the NMC on measures to enhance equitable access to medical education
Start-up Ecosystem In India Industries

Start-up funding crawls: 20 months, Rs 70 crore

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims Level: Particulars of the FFS

Mains level: The article shows the inability of implementing the FFS scheme, by the government. Government needs to counter the issue.


News

Fund-of-Funds for start-ups (FFS) is showing slow progress

  1. FFS was launched in line with the Start-up India Action Plan of the Government
  2. It is a Rs 10,000-crore Fund
  3. The fund under the plan has made slow progress with only about Rs 70 crore having been disbursed to start-ups until the beginning of this month

Aim of launching the fund

  1. The Fund was launched with aim to invest in local venture capital funds
  2. It has made commitments to 62 start-ups
  3. All these 62 start-ups were backed by Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) where state-owned SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) acted as a limited partner
  4. What is an AIF: An AIF is any fund established or incorporated in India that is a privately pooled investment vehicle, which collects funds from investors(Indian or foreign) for investing it in accordance with a defined investment policy for the benefit of its investors
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