Saturday, 5 May 2018

5th May 2018 | Daily current affairs for APSC



GST Council approves single form for filing of returns- TCA Sharad Raghavan #GS3 #Economy
The Goods and Services Tax Council on Friday decided to convert the GST Network into a 100% government enterprise, and implement a single form for GST filing from the current three.

At its 27th meeting, the Council also decided to create a Group of Ministers to review the plan for imposition of a cess on sugar. The cess was meant to subsidise sugarcane farmers as their production cost is much higher than the selling price.

The Council has also decided to create another GoM to consider implementation of a 2% incentive for digital transactions.

Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the Council approved a single, monthly return form that would become applicable in six months. The current system of filing the GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B forms would continue till then. “After six months, there will be a single monthly return for everybody, except composition dealers and those who file returns with zero transactions.

During these six months, the GST Network will continuously feed the dealer data about what is the gap between what he is claiming as provisional credit and what is the actual amount he should be getting based on sellers’ invoices

Thunderstorm warning for four States

A Home Ministry spokesperson said 124 people were killed and over 300 injured in thunderstorm and lightning that struck five States in the past two days. The maximum number of 73 deaths were reported from Uttar Pradesh, where 91 were also injured.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said a fresh western disturbance — a system of extra-tropical storms — is expected to bring rain to several parts of north India in the next 24 hours. Dust storms are also expected in Rajasthan and several parts of the northeastern India in the next 48 hours.

The Home Ministry spokesperson said a fresh warning was issued of thunderstorm, accompanied by squall, in West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Thunderstorm was likely at isolated places in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.

Isolated places in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Odisha, north-western Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Rayalaseema, north-coastal Andhra Pradesh, interior Tamil Nadu and Kerala are likely to experience thunderstorm, along with gusty winds.

India, China should work together: 

Disputes between India and China can be resolved in future, but in the meanwhile both sides can work together on new fronts of cooperation like in Afghanistan. Speaking in an interaction with political leaders, experts and think tank heads, the envoy said that both sides should adopt an incremental approach to solving disputes and there should be reasonable expectation from the summit in Wuhan, Afghanistan as our two countries can cooperate on economic projects just like in the Southeast Asia, the BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic Corridor) can open new opportunities.

Ministry fast-tracks security clearance 

Among foreign countries, the maximum investment proposals in critical sectors like telecom and defence that was cleared by the Home Ministry in 2017, were from China, United Kingdom, U.S. and Mauritius. The Ministry said it has given security clearance to more than 5,000 investment proposals, including for Foreign Direct Investment, in the last four years.

The policy has 15 parameters on which inputs from security agencies are sought. Once it has got an application from an investor, the Ministry decides on the status of security clearance to the company within 4-6 weeks.

Among the foreign countries, U.S., China (including Hong Kong), Mauritius, U.K. has received the green signal for the maximum number of projects at 10 each, followed by Germany 6, Bangladesh 3 and two each for Italy, Israel, Netherlands and Switzerland.

DoT to dial in ease of doing business

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will hold discussions with the industry to sort out various issues surrounding ease of doing business, a top official said adding that the fundamentals of the telecom industry are strong enough to attract $100 billion investment in the sector.

The draft National Digital Communications Policy 2018, aimed to attract $100 billion investments in the digital communications sector, providing broadband access for all with 50 mbps speed and creating 40 lakh new jobs in the sector by the year 2022.

Once the policy is cleared, a committee would be set up to review levies, particularly the SUC (spectrum usage charge). The draft proposed to review the levies and fees, including licence fee, universal service obligation fund levy and spectrum usage charges, which are expected to help the debt-laden sector

Terming the policy “aspirational but not unattainable”, the Secretary said the department would also come out with an institutional mechanism to track the implementation of the policy.

Key Points: Draft National Digital Communications Policy 2018

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano spews lava

A mandatory evacuation order remained in effect in parts of Hawaii after the Kilauea volcano erupted, spitting red-hot lava out of ground fissures and releasing dangerous gases into residential areas.

The eruption began  on Thursday and caused hours of “lava spatter and gas bursts” to erupt in the Leilani Estates subdivision of the U.S. state’s Big Island, prompting the mandatory evacuation of some 1,700 people.

White, hot vapour and blue fume emanated from an area of cracking in the eastern part of the subdivision. The Civil Defence Agency urged those under mandatory evacuation orders to steer clear, as fire authorities were detecting “extremely high levels of dangerous sulphur dioxide gas” in the zone.

The eruption came after hundreds of small earthquakes in recent days, that followed the collapse of a crater floor on the Puu Oo volcanic cone.

IIT-Roorkee team set to tackle chikungunya

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee have identified a molecule that exhibits anti-viral activity against the chikungunya virus, raising hopes of finding a new way to combat the mosquito-borne viral disease.

Chikungunya causes severe fever and joint pain. At present, there are no drugs or vaccine available in the market to treat it.

The team used structure-based studies of chikungunya virus-specific nsP2 protease to identify two molecules — Pep-I and Pep-II — that exhibited protease inhibitory as well as anti-viral activity. Of the two molecules, the researchers found PeP-I to be more effective as an anti-viral molecule.
The nsP2 protease is a strict viral enzyme, meaning it is absent in humans, and thus, is an excellent anti-viral drug target for chikungunya virus.

We identified a molecule that not only possesses anti-nsP2 activity but also effectively kills the chikungunya virus in the cell-based assays. The Pep-II molecule showed reduced antiviral activity of only 50 per cent even at a higher concentration

Congressional move to rename US Pacific Command as Indo-Pacific Command

A powerful Congressional committee today proposed renaming the US Pacific Command as the Indo-Pacific Command, which is in line with the Trump Administration's nomenclature of describing the strategically vital region. The region has traditionally been called as Asia Pacific.

The House Armed Services Committee, in its mark for National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2019, renames the Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative as the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative and proposes to add India as a covered country.

This forms part of the key proposals of the NDAA 2019 mark of the Committee, which once passed, would authorise approximately $639.1 billion in discretionary base budget authority.

It would also authorise approximately $69 billion of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). It expresses support for the Indo-Pacific Stability Initiative to enhance US force posture, improve defence infrastructure, basing and logistics and increase bilateral and multilateral training and exercises with allies and partners.

Assam

1. Kaziranga University in association with CSIR NISTADS , a known policy research institute of India organised a three day National Summit on the theme ' Northeast : Sustainable and Inclusive development ' with the aim of highlighting the Northeast as a critical hotspot for convergence of sustainable development leading to overall holistic growth and progress of the region .

2. 46,000 LPG connections under ' Ujwala Yojana' during the ' Go to Village ' mission of the government in Manipur.

3.ICFAI University, Tripura and NB institute of Rural technology , Kolkata signed Memorandum of Understanding to jointly work for the welfare of the people  of rural areas by implementing government aided solar power and other intermediate scientific projects in Northeastern states .

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