May 2018
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WHO adopts resolution on digital health initiated by India

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: World Health Assembly, UHC, etc.

Mains level: Importance of the resolution.


News

Resolution on digital health

  1. The resolution on digital health brought out by India was adopted by the 71st World Health Assembly
  2. The assembly is the decision-making body of the WHO
  3. The 71st World Health Assembly was held last week in Geneva and was attended by delegations from all WHO member states

Importance of the resolution

  1. The resolution paves the path for WHO to establish a global strategy on digital health identifying priority areas including where WHO should focus its efforts and engages member states to optimize their health systems in sync with the global digital health agenda
  2. Digital health is important in the context of countries achieving health-related SDG targets

Importance of the digital health technology

  1. Digital health technology have a huge potential for supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and improving accessibility, quality and affordability of health services

[op-ed snap] Paper chase: Faults in VVPAT system

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: The newscard discusses the reasoning against the use of VVPAT in elections.


News

Context

  1. The high incidence of glitches in the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines in the recent by-elections should be a major cause of concern for the Election Commission of India
  2. The Election Commission must review the use of paper trail machines in the polling process

Issues with the VVPAT

  1. Ever since the implementation of the VVPAT system last year, machine malfunction and subsequent delays in polling have been recurring issues
  2. The ECI has suggested that these machines were more prone to malfunctioning due to their sensitivity to extreme weather conditions and exposure to light
  3. It also blamed the relative inexperience of polling officers handling them, compared to the ballot and control units for the electronic voting machines (EVMs) that have been in use for much longer

Background

  1. The VVPAT was added to the EVM to audit the voter tallies stored in the machine
  2. Its universal implementation began in the Goa Assembly polls in 2017
  3. The implementation was deemed necessary as many political parties complained about the possible hacking of EVMs
  4. These complaints lacked any basis, but the VVPAT implementation was hastened to bring back trust in the election process

The VVPAT system has added complexities

  1. The use of these machines has added to the complexity of an otherwise simple, single programmable-chip based system
  2. And rendered it prone to more glitches

No need of VVPAT system

  1. There is enough empirical evidence to show that EVMs have eased polling and helped increase voter turnout since being put to use
  2. But in using VVPAT machines to reassure sceptics about an election’s integrity, the ECI has introduced a new element, and cost, to the process
  3. Considering these challenges, the ECI should consider deploying the VVPAT machines in a limited, statistically significant, randomly chosen set of polling booths
  4. This will reduce the possibility of glitches affecting the polling process as well-tested machines could be deployed (with enough replacements also handy) to such booths
Electoral Reforms In India

[pib] Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana

News : 

  • The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a $500 million loan agreement to provide additional financing for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) Rural Roads Project.
  • PMGSY is implemented by Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India, which will build 7,000 km of climate resilient roads, out of which 3,500 km will be constructed using green technologies.
  • The World Bank has supported PMGSY since its inception in 2004. 
  • So far it has invested over $1.8 billion in loans and credits mostly in the economically weaker and hill states across North India – Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • It has built and improved about 35,000 km of rural roads and benefited about eight million people with access to all-weather roads.
  • The PMGSY and the Bank’s involvement under this additional financing, will emphasize on managing the rural road network through green and climate-resilient construction using green, low-carbon designs and new technologies – far beyond merely funding civil works.
  • The Additional Financing will also fill the gender gap by creating employment opportunities for women in construction and maintenance.
  • The earlier project had piloted community-based maintenance contracts through women self-help groups (SHGs) for routine maintenance of 200 km of PMGSY roads in Uttarakhand, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh.

 

 

Centre to launch tax refund drive in bid to help exporters

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CBIC

Mains level: Aim of the tax drive


News

A tax refund drive by the CBIC

  1. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has launched a tax refund drive in the first fortnight of June
  2. And issued instructions to swiftly settle refund claims of exporters that are held up because of mismatches in the returns filed by them

Aim of the drive

  1. The move is meant to streamline the new indirect tax regime and improve the cash flow of exporters who have been complaining that refund delays make them less competitive
  2. CBIC has been trying to reduce refund delays but mismatches in the returns filed by exporters are a key hurdle
  3. The changes in refund processing procedure and the refund drive from 31 May to 14 June are expected to address this

The drive will specifically help exporters

  1. The move will especially help exporters who were not getting refunds because of mismatches in goods and service tax (GST) returns
  2. It noted that exporters have inadvertently erred in declaring the integrated GST (IGST) paid on exports as IGST paid on interstate domestic supplies while filing their summary tax returns
  3. Some exporters also short paid taxes against the liability declared in their sales returns
  4. As a result of these mismatches, refunds could not be processed
Tax Reforms