Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (17th to 23rd January, 2019)

Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

 

Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (17th to 23rd January, 2019)

 

Topic: India ranks 80th on Global Talent Competitive Index 2019

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

India ranks 80th on Global Talent Competitive Index 2019

Why in news?

At 80th rank, India moves up one position on the Global Talent Competitive Index (GTCI) 2019, according to a report released by INSEAD business school in partnership with Tata Communications and Adecco Group.

 

More about on Global Findings:

  • Switzerland followed by Singapore, the US, Norway and Denmark were the top five on the list
  • The top-ranked city this year is Washington, DC, followed by Copenhagen, Oslo, Vienna and Zurich.
  • According to the report China emerged as the best performer among the BRICS countries, with an overall position of 45th.
  • In the top ten of talent competitiveness ranking, only two non-European countries can be seen: Singapore and the USA.
  • The Europe remains a talent powerhouse, but also that countries with great universities and a strong education sector are best at attracting talents.
  • Because high-level talents are also more mobile internationally, no comparative advantage can be seen as irreversible, and those countries will need to remain open and innovative to keep their leadership.
  • The talent gap between higher and lower-income countries has increased over the last five years.
  • Switzerland continues to top the list, released on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting here by INSEAD business school in partnership with Tata Communications NSE -0.14 % and Adecco Group.
  • With an overall position of 45th and despite a fall of two places, China is the best performer among BRICS countries, while India remains the laggard of this grouping, the report said.

 

Significance:

  • The survey measures how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent, ranking 125 countries and 114 cities across all groups of income and levels of development.
  • The study also found that entrepreneurial talent has become a key differentiator in relative talent competitiveness.
  • The countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa are seeing a progressive erosion of their talent base.
  • The report also said cities rather than countries are developing stronger roles as talent hubs and will be crucial in reshaping the global talent scene.
  • Now in its sixth year, this edition of the GTCI addresses the topic of entrepreneurial talent and global competitiveness and attempts to identify the ways in which large and small firms, nations, and cities can foster entrepreneurial talent in the era of digital transformation.

 

India’s performance:

  • India’s performance was better than its lower-income peers when it comes to growing talent (48th) and access to growth opportunities (41st).
  • In spite of the scope for improvement across the board, India’s biggest challenge is to improve its ability to attract (95th) and retain (96th) talent.
  • India needs to address its poor level of Internal Openness (116th) in particular with respect to weak gender equality and low tolerance towards minorities and immigrants and its disappointing showing in lifestyle (112th) indicators.

 

About Global Talent Competitiveness Index:

  • It was Launched for the first time in 2013
  • It is released by INSEAD business school in partnership with Tata Communications and Adecco Group.
  • The index is an annual report that measures the ability of countries to compete for talent.
  • It aims to give governments and businesses the distilled data from 119 countries, which will assist the decision makers in developing strategies and talent policies that will help boost their talent competitiveness.
  • The report measures levels of Global Talent Competitiveness by looking at 68 variables such as ease of ease of hiring, gender earnings gap, and prevalence of training in firms.

 

Sample Question:

The Global Talent Competitive Index report jointly released by

  1. INSEAD business school
  2. World Intellectual Property Organization
  3. Tata Communications
  4. Adecco Group

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1, 2 and 3 only

b). 1, 2 and 4 only

c). 1, 3 and 4 only

d). All of the above

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic: Saksham 2019, annual event of PCRA, launched

Topic in Syllabus: Schemes and Programmes

 

Saksham 2019 annual event of PCRA launched

Why in news?

‘Saksham’, an annual high intensity one-month long people-centric mega campaign of Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was launched.

 

More about on programme:

  • A month-long awareness programme, ‘SAKSHAM-2019’, organized by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • The programme, which will go on till February 15
  • Programme aimed at creating awareness about the importance of conserving petroleum products and using them judiciously.
  • Under the programme various interactive programs and activities are being planned by PCRA, Public Sector upstream/downstream Oil & Gas companies during the month long ‘Saksham-2019’.
  • Saksham Cycle Day in 200 cities, Cyclothons, Short Film making contest on MyGov, Workshops for drivers of commercial vehicles, Seminars for housewives/cooks on adopting simple fuel saving measure, Nationwide campaign through Radio, TV, Digital Cinemas, Outdoor media etc.
  • PCRA is going to utilize the social media platforms for various customized campaigns through Facebook, twitter, MyGov platform.
  • On the occasion, a comic book developed by PCRA jointly with NCERT for the children on various tips and day to day aspects of fuel conservation and a short animation film for children covering domestic and transport sector were released.

 

Objectives:

  • It aims to sensitize the masses about conservation and efficient use of petroleum products which will lead towards better health and environment.
  • This campaign is aimed at showing the way forward for making a change and enhancing the conservation capabilities of people.
  • It helps understand the need for fuel conservation and find solutions thereof.
  • The campaign seeks to promote effective utilization of petroleum products, something that will lead to environmental protection.

 

About Prize for the programme:

  • Prizes were given for the ‘Saksham’ National Competition-2018 to the winners of Essay and Painting competitions which has seen a phenomenal record participation of more than 82 Lakhs students from schools of all education boards of the country.
  • The prizes include Singapore Study tour, Laptops, Tablets & Cash prizes to motivate the budding generation of our country for their critical role in understating and spreading the awareness about fuel conservation.
  • The paintings of the children reaching finals were displayed on the occasion.
  • The awards were also presented to the oil companies and state govts.

 

Petroleum Conservation Research Association:

  • The Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) is an organization established in India in 1978, under the aegis of the Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of Government of India that is engaged in promoting energy efficiency in various sectors of the economy.
  • It helps the government in proposing policies and strategies aimed at reducing India’s dependency on oil, in order to save money, reduce the environmental impact of oil use and also conserve fossil fuel.
  • The PCRA is mandated to promote popular awareness of the importance of energy conservation.
  • It cites an international acceptance that energy efficiency measures, like turning off car engines at traffic signals and driving at speeds of 45–50 km/h, could help most countries to reduce their use of petroleum products by 20%.
  • The PCRA promotes a nationwide mass media awareness campaign titled “Save Fuel Yaani Save Money”, broadcast on television, radio, and in newspapers.

 

The objectives Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) are:

  • To formulate strategies and promote measures for accelerating conservation of petroleum products leading to environment protection, energy security and sustainable development.
  • To create awareness among masses about the importance, benefits and methods of conserving petroleum products & clean environment by enhancing information and capacity building.
  • To promote research, development and deployment efforts aimed at petroleum conservation & environment protection, support & facilitate efforts for adoption and dissemination of fuel efficient technologies and substitution of petroleum products with alternate fuels and renewable.
  • To establish synergistic institutional linkages at the national & international levels in the areas of petroleum conservation & environment protection.
  • To provide training and technical advisory services, designed to achieve economy & efficiency in use of petroleum products for cleaner environment.
  • To function as a Think Tank to the Govt. of India for proposing policies and strategies on petroleum conservation and environment protection aimed at reducing excessive dependence on oil.

 

Sample Question:

The SAKSHAM-2019 is an annual high intensity one-month long people-centric mega campaign launched by

a). Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

b). Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

c). NITI Aayog

d). Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Answer: d)

 


 

Topic: UNNATI-Unispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training programme of ISRO

UNNATI-Unispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training programme of ISRO

Topic in Syllabus: Science & Technology

 

Why in news?

Recently India announced a capacity building programme UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training by ISRO) on Nanosatellites development through a combination of theoretical coursework and hands-on training on Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT).

 

More about on news:

  • Launched to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first united nation conference UNISPACE+50.
  • The programme is scheduled to be conducted in three batches.
  • The first batch of the above programme is scheduled during 15th January – 15th March 2019.
  • 30 participants from 17 different countries are participating in this programme.
  • Two more batches are planned subsequently during October 2019 & October 2020.

 

UNNATI– Unispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training programme

  • UNNATI, a capacity building programme on Nanosatellite development, is an initiative by ISRO to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space (UNISPACE-50).
  • The programme provides opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating and testing of Nanosatellite.
  • The primary objective of the programme is to provide theoretical course on Satellite technology, comprehensive course on Nanosatellite realizationand hands-on training to assemble, integrate and test a low cost, modular Nanosatellite.
  • The programme provides opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating and testing of Nanosatellite.
  • The first batch started today in which 30 delegates from 17 countries are participating.

 

About UNISPACE+50

  • It is an event marking the 50th year of the first UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
  • It is an initiative of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).
  • Three such conferences held earlier recognized the potential of space and laid the guidelines for human activities and international cooperation related to outer space. They were:
    • UNISPACE I, Vienna, 1968
    • UNISPACE II, Vienna, 1982 and
    • UNISPACE III, Vienna, 1999

 

Sample Question:

Which of the followings are correct with respect to UNNATI Programme

  1. It is a capacity building programme on Nano satellite development.
  2. The programme provides opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating and testing of Nano satellite.

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic: Womaniya on Government e Marketplace

Womaniya on Government e Marketplace

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society

 

Why in news?

The commerce ministry recently said Government eMarketplace (GeM) has launched an initiative to enable women entrepreneurs and self-help groups to sell different products on the platform.

 

More about on “Womaniya on GeM”:

  • The “Womaniya on GeM”, an initiative to enable women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups [WSHGs] to sell handicrafts and handloom, accessories, jute and coir products, home décor and office furnishings, directly to various Government ministries, departments and institutions.
  • GeM is an online platform of the ministry for procurement of goods and services by government departments, public sector units, and other agencies.
  • The initiative – Womaniya on GeM – seeks to develop women entrepreneurship on the margins of society to achieve gender-inclusive economic growth.
  • The initiative would enable women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups to sell handicrafts and handloom, jute and coir products, home décor and office furnishings, directly to various government ministries, departments and institutions.
  • Womaniya homepage [https://gem.gov.in/womaniya] will inform procurement officers in various government ministries, departments and CPSEs about the drive to promote procurement of common use goods and services from women entrepreneurs.

 

Significance:

  • Nearly 80 percent women-owned establishments are self-financed and more than 60 percent of 8 million units are owned and or led by women entrepreneurs from socially-challenged sections of the society.
  • Since women tend to invest up to 90 percent of their earnings back in their families to provide better nutrition, health care and education to their children, economic empowerment of women is a step in the direction of poverty alleviation, they will get benefit from this.
  • Products like handicrafts and handloom, accessories, jute and coir products, home décor and office furnishings are categorized for ease-in-procurement.
  • This initiative aligns with Government’s initiatives for MSMEs, especially to reserve 3 percent in government procurement from women entrepreneurs.
  • India has approximately 500 million Internet users and nearly 54 percent of them are more than 25 years of age with higher discretionary income and likely to transact more online, half of internet users reside in small towns and present new opportunities for e-commerce and most importantly women constitute 33 percent or 143 million Internet users and control 44 percent of household spending in India.
  • Womaniya on GeM will spur hyper-local economic opportunities for women entrepreneurs and address goals and objectives under United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

 

Government eMarketplace:

  • Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is a one stop portal to facilitate online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organizations / PSUs.
  • GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.
  • It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users achieve the best value for their money.
  • The purchases through GeM by Government users have been authorized and made mandatory by Ministry of Finance by adding a new Rule No. 149 in the General Financial Rules, 2017.

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements with respect to Womaniya on GeM

  1. GeM is an online platform of the ministry for procurement of goods and services by government departments, public sector units, and other agencies.
  2. The initiative Womaniya on GeM seeks to develop women entrepreneurship on the margins of society to achieve gender-inclusive economic growth.
  3. The Womaniya on GeM is launched by ministry of finance.

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 1 and 3 only

c). 1 and 2 only

d). All of the above

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic: Cabinet approves expenditure sanction for Integrated E-filing and Centralized Processing Centre 2.0 Project

Cabinet approves expenditure sanction for Integrated E-filing and Centralized Processing Centre 2.0 Project

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Governance

Why in news?

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval to expenditure sanction of Rs.4, 241.97crore for Integrated E-filing &Centralized Processing Center 2.0 Project of the Income Tax Department.

 

More about on CPC-ITR 2.0 project:

  • The Union Cabinet also approved the expenditure sanction for the consolidated cost of Rs.1, 482.44crore of the existing CPC-ITR 1.0 project up to FY 2018-19.
  • This approval has significant benefits for the Department and taxpayers through various functionalities such as pre-filling of ITR and acceptance by taxpayer as a means to improve accuracy and to reduce refund/processing turnaround time drastically, facilitation to taxpayers in resolving outstanding tax demands.
  • The decision will ensure horizontal equity by processing returns filed by all categories of taxpayers across the country in a consistent, uniform, rule driven, identity blind manner.
  • This will assure fairness in tax treatment to every taxpayer irrespective of their status.
  • By faster processing of returns and issue of refunds to the taxpayer’s bank account directly without any interface with the Department, by adhering to international best practices and standards (ISO certification) and by providing processing status updates and speedy communication using mobile app, email, SMS and on the Department website, the decision will ensure transparency and accountability.

 

Significance:

  • The proposal ensures the continuation of the Department’s goal towards business transformation through technology.
  • The E-filing and CPC projects have enabled end to end automation of all processes within the Department using various innovative methods to provide taxpayer services and to promote voluntary compliance.

 

The broad objectives of this project are listed as under:

  • Faster and accurate outcomes for taxpayer.
  • First time right approach,
  • Enhancing user experience at all stages.
  • Improving taxpayer awareness and education through continuous engagement.
  • Promoting voluntary tax compliance.
  • Managing outstanding demand.

Sanction for E-filing and Centralized Processing Centre 2.0 Project

 

Sample Question:

Which of the followings are correct with respect to CPC-ITR 2.0 project

  1. It will help in faster processing of returns and issue of refunds to the tax payers’ bank account directly.
  2. The E-filing and CPC projects have enabled end to end automation of all processes within the Department using various innovative methods to provide taxpayer services and to promote voluntary compliance.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic: Tripura launches project for sustainable catchment forest management

Tripura launches project for sustainable catchment forest management

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment

 

Why in news?

Tripura Chief Minister recently launched a project for Sustainable Catchment Forest Management at State Forest Academy Ground in Hatipara in West Tripura.

 

More about on project:

  • The project would help develop the quality of forestlands and livelihood of forest dwellers in the state.
  • The project is jointly funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Government of India.
  • JICA is providing us Rs. 1,000 crores for a span of 10 years to improve forestlands in targeted catchment areas of Tripura.
  • This will involve sustainable forest management, soil and moisture conservation and livelihood development
  • Eighty per cent of the project would be funded by JICA while Government of India would fund 20 per cent of the project value.

 

Benefits from the project:

  • The forest dwellers and people at large have faced problems to access forest resources due to soil erosion caused by massive degradation of forestlands.
  • The new project has got provisions to build 1,447 check dams in hilly terrains of Tripura.
  • This new project has got many components including fisheries, agriculture, forest, tourism etc.
  • 1,447 check dams would be constructed in hilly terrains of the state to make sure that there is no chance of a flood in the plains. The water this conserved would be used for agricultural purposes and for fisheries and poultry farming (ducks)”
  • The host of this forest management activities including joint forest management, soil conservation etc were done with a cumulative fund involvement of Rs. 304.62 crores till 2017 when Phase I of the Tripura JICA Project expired.
  • 54 hectare joint forest land was developed in Tripura with the involvement of 1,505 self-help groups during the first phase.

 

About JICA

  • Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is established by a specific law as an incorporated administrative institution under the Government of Japan.
  • It aims to promote international cooperation as the sole Japanese governmental agency in charge of ODA implementation.
  • JICA is the world’s largest bilateral donor agency.
  • JICA works as a bridge between Japan and emerging countries, and provides assistance in the form of loans, grants and technical cooperation, so that the emerging countries can strengthen their capabilities.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following state recently launched a project for Sustainable Catchment Forest Management?

a). Meghalaya

b). Manipur

c). Assam

d). Tripura

Answer: d)

 


 

Topic: Cabinet approves creation of the National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

Why in news?

Cabinet approves creation of the National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT).

 

More about on news:

  • The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal shall be situated at New Delhi.
  • GSTAT shall be presided over by its President and shall consist of one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State).
  • The creation of the National Bench of the GSTAT would amount to one time expenditure of Rs.92.50 lakh while the recurring expenditure would be Rs.6.86 crore per annum.

 

Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal:

  • Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal is the forum of second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between Centre and States.
  • The appeals against the orders in first appeals issued by the Appellate Authorities under the Central and State GST Acts lie before the GST Appellate Tribunal, which is common under the Central as well as State GST Acts.
  • Being a common forum, GST Appellate Tribunal will ensure that there is uniformity in redressal of disputes arising under GST, and therefore, in implementation of GST across the country.

Creation of the National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

 

Important provisions:

  • Chapter XVIII of the CGST Act provides for the Appeal and Review Mechanism for dispute resolution under the GST Regime.
  • Section 109 of this Chapter under CGST Act empowers the Central Government to constitute, on the recommendation of Council, by notification, with effect from such date as may be specified therein.
  • The Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal shall hearing appeals against the orders passed by the Appellate Authority or the Provisional Authority.

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements with respect to Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

  1. Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal is the forum of second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between Centre and States.
  2. The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal shall be situated at Chennai.
  3. GSTAT shall be presided over by its President and shall consist of one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State).

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 1 and 2 only

c). 1 and 3 only

d). All of the above

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic: 2nd World Integrated Medicine Forum 2019

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society

 

2nd World Integrated Medicine Forum 2019

Why in news?

The 2nd World Integrated Medicine Forum 2019 on the Regulation of Homeopathic Medical Products would be held in Goa from 23rd January.

 

More about on news:

  • The organizers of the forum are the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, under the Ministry of AYUSH.
  • International drug regulators dealing with homeopathic/traditional medicines from various countries like France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Cuba, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Malaysia, Oman, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc. are expected to participate.
  • The regulation of homeopathic medicinal products is highly variable worldwide, ranging at a national level from highly advanced to none whatsoever.
  • The potential benefits of regulatory collaboration and harmonization for patients and global markets are significant, but supranational collaboration is advancing only slowly due to highly disparate national situations.

 

More about on forum:

  • 20 countries will participate in the event.
  • This forum will strengthen regulatory framework worldwide, to assure that the users of Homoeopathy could have wider access to quality-assured homeopathic medicines.
  • The forum will explore and illustrate the potential benefits and pitfalls of bi-lateral/multilateral collaboration and advance global cooperation on a synergistic basis.
  • The themes of the forum are: Regulatory collaborations, Converging on minimum regulatory & legal standards, Advancing safety and quality standards, Regulatory trend towards standardization and minimizing complexity, Recognizing homeopathy as distinct holistic medical system and Veterinary homeopathy.

 

Key stakeholders and opinion leaders who will be attending the event are:

  • Regulators from all over the world,
  • Homeopathic pharmaceutical companies worldwide,
  • Pharmacopoeia Committee delegates from various countries,
  • scientific experts with relevant expertise
  • Presidents of major homeopathic doctor organizations.

 

Sample Question:

The recent 2nd World Integrated Medicine Forum 2019 recently held in

a). Karnataka

b). Gujarat

c). Assam

d). Goa

Answer: d)