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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 01 July 2021

NEWS

  • Government's flagship programme- Digital India completes six years; PM Modi to virtually interact with beneficiaries
  • Today is GST Day; Government to honour tax payers who have been part of GST's success story
  • Prime Minister to address doctors community at a programme organised by Indian Medical Association today
  • Union Cabinet approves stimulus package of Rs 6 lakh 28 thousand crore as part of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Package
  • Country crosses the milestone of administering 33 crore 54 lakh covid vaccines
  • Interest rates to remain unchanged on Small Savings Schemes, including NSC and PPF for second quarter of current Financial Year
  • NIA arrests two LeT terrorists in Darbhanga Railway station blast case
  • Cabinet gives nod for revised implementation strategy of BharatNet through Public Private Partnership model in 16 States
  • Food-focussed safety nets must be ensured along with mass vaccination to overcome Covid challenge: EAM Dr Jaishankar
  • China to celebrate 100th anniversary of founding of its ruling Communist Party
  • Rebel fighters in Tigray region of Ethiopia continue to gain ground
  • Dozens of people dead due to unprecedented heatwave in Canada
  • Russia reports 669 coronavirus deaths over last 24 hrs
  • COVID tourism impact could top 4 trillion Dollar: UN report
  • Abhimanyu Mishra becomes youngest Grandmaster in Chess
  • Sprinter Dutee Chand qualifies for Tokyo Olympics in both 100m & 200m races
  • Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori and Matteo Berrettini advance

Rationalise GST rate | FE

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST), when enacted in 2017, was admittedly a work-in-progress and its implementation is still ongoing.
  • In the past four years, while the reform has achieved a fair bit of maturity is some aspects.
  • The GST digital compliance and tax administration framework is unprecedented in its scale and ambit, and forms the backbone for the reform.
  • Last year, it was visionary of the revenue secretary to push ahead with the digital agenda through the pandemic, despite protests.
  • E-invoicing for large taxpayers having turnover above Rs 100 crore was implemented.
  • This, coupled with a proactive use of analytics, has enabled the administration to check evasion.
  • The collection efficiency has significantly improved.
  • In FY21, approximately Rs 7 lakh crore, excise duties and state VAT collected on commodities excluded from the GST net account for 30% of all commodity taxes and duties.
  • A lion’s share of these collections relate to petroleum products.
  • Further, budgeted collections of state electricity duty for FY21 is around Rs 46,184 crore.
  • Inclusion of these sectors within the GST net will reduce cascading impact of these taxes by tens of thousands of crores of rupees.
  • However, the present political and economic scenario would not allow both the states and the Centre to agree over any dilution of fiscal independence, and this agenda is unlikely to be addressed.
  • States were guaranteed a 14% compounded annual growth of their revenues subsumed within GST for five years.
  • Any shortfall was to be funded by the compensation cess.
  • This year, the compensation is estimated to be around Rs 2.5 lakh crore.
  • This guarantee ends in June 2022 and the states would want an extension of the compensation safety net for a few years more.
  • This revenue shortfall is primarily on account of the steep reduction of tax rates during GST implementation.
  • Against a planned revenue neutral rate of 15.5%, the actual average GST rate is around 11.8%.
  • Rate rationalisation, either by reducing the number of exemptions or by increasing GST rates, could be considered.
  • The recent integration and tightening of the compliance framework definitely reduced evasion.
  • At present, non-filing of returns precludes a taxpayer from receiving or despatching goods, thereby forcing closure of business operations.
  • Decoupling payment of taxes from filing of returns is desirable as this will enhance the quality of compliance and enable businesses to revive and recover.
  • Evasion concerns should be addressed by better use of analytics.
  • The impending states’ revenue crisis is likely to pressurise tax administrations to take on aggressive tax collection targets triggering combative and high-pitched assessments.
  • As GST enters its fifth year, tremendous work has been done to get its physical bearings in place.
  • Revenues and collection efficiencies have improved and stabilised.
  • Next year, the agenda should ideally aim at building on this strong foundation and work on imbibing the right values in GST.
  • This is the time to ensure that the law doesn’t become troublesome but contributes to the economic well-being of the society and country at large.

Vaccine hesitancy | Pioneer

  • Twitter blocked Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan’s account for 12 hours after flagging his tweets on COVID-19 vaccines.
  • He is against the promotion of universal vaccination.
  • Covaxin was denied emergency approval by the Food and Drug Administration in the US, besides being excluded from the WHO’s emergency use list.
  • No public figure having influence over a cross-section of society should indulge in such supposition.
  • Making the matter doubly serious is the existing issue of vaccine hesitancy which the nation’s people, especially in the hinterland, have been practising for various reasons.
  • Also, when there is no foolproof and medically certified panacea available to the curse of the Novel Coronavirus afflicting the world today, whatever we have — including vaccination, personal hygiene and physical distancing — is the only hope for humankind.

Longer jab gap | Pionner

  • Would the Indian COVID-19 task force be able to give people one final, definite gap between the two vaccine doses before everybody gets vaccinated?
  • At present, the gap is 12 to 16 weeks between doses.
  • It was an increase from six to eight weeks, announced in May.
  • The original gap was four to six weeks.
  • The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) was embroiled in a controversy over the gap issue.
  • It was said they were merely following the UK example.
  • It was also said there was no unanimity among the advisory group members when the latest gap extension was announced.
  • NITI Aayog member VK Paul insisted there is a “window of opportunity to make further changes, but not now”.
  • And we now have yet another British study, this time from the University of Oxford, which says a longer gap of around 10 months — between 40 and 45 weeks — improves the immune responses to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The full details of the study are awaited to see if the objective was to find out the best interval for maximum levels of antibodies in vaccine volunteers or optimum efficacy of the vaccine to resist the infection.
  • How the longer gap would impact the COVID-19 variants, like Delta Plus, is also yet to be known.
  • The Oxford paper said something interesting altogether and is worth quoting: “A single dose of ChAdOx1nCov-19, with a second dose given after a prolonged period, may, therefore, be an effective strategy when vaccine supplies are scarce in the short term. A third dose results in a further increase in immune responses, including greater neutralisation of variant SARS-CoV-2 viruses, and could be used to increase vaccine efficacy against variants in vulnerable populations.”
  • The question is whether the interval between doses is stuck between science and logistics.
  • The study is already talking about a third dose — after an as-yet unspecified gap — to boost immunity in “vulnerable populations”.
  • Is it the case that there can be a vulnerable population even after being fully vaccinated or is it that the entire population will need a third, booster dose?
  • What the scientists of the Indian task force should determine is if it is at all possible to redesign the vaccines instead of continuing with studies to find the elusive, ideal gap between doses.
  • There is a need for the Government to assuage the people that irrespective of the frequently changing intervals, the basic immunity and efficacy levels for all gaps would not be compromised.

Rice and fall | ToI

  • They had united in 1990 when the US-based Rice Tec tried to appropriate ‘Texmati’.
  • In support of their unquestionable claim, they had cited its mention in Waris Shah’s 1766 Punjabi poem, Heer Ranjha.
  • You may think that warring over biryani rice is really ‘dum’, but whichever country creams off the GI tag will get the monopoly over exporting it to Europe.
  • India could tuck into a steaming $500 million in a couple of years.
  • The adjudicating authority certainly cannot rule that it will divide the spoils. It will have to choose between India and Pakistan. Who wins is a real Radcliffe-hanger.
  • Like the contentious K word, this is a bilateral issue, but third-party intervention could bring the warring sides to the table.

ANS

Q.) Name the world’s 2nd biggest hydroelectric dam

  1. Itaipu Dam
  2. Baihetan Dam
  3. Three Gorges Dam
  4. Grand Coulee Dam

Q.) The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting was held in which city?

  1. Nagoya
  2. Matera
  3. Guadalajara
  4. Brazilia