Current Affairs 4th & 5th december 2015

  • CEA Dr Arvind Subramanian Committee suggests GST rate of 17-18 per cent
Chief Economic Advisor Dr Arvind Subramanian led Committee has recommended standard rate for Goods and Services Tax (GST) at 17 to 18 per cent.
The Committee has submitted its report to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.
Image result for CEA Dr Arvind Subramanian Committee suggests GST rate of 17-18 per cent
Recommendations of Dr Arvind Subramanian Committee
Standard GST rate of 17 to 18 per cent. It is the rate at which most products would likely be taxed. Not to specify GST rate in Constitutional Amendment Bill.
  • Revenue-neutral rate of 15 to 15.5 per cent. It is a single rate at which there will be no revenue loss to the centre and states in the GST regime.
Eliminate all taxes on inter-state trade including one per cent inter-state tax on transfer of goods.
  • Two options for states: Single rate of 1 per cent or a range of 17-18 per cent. Allocation to states will depend on revenues raised by Centre and states.
  • Three-tier GST rate structure: Essential goods will be taxed at a lower rate of 12 per cent. Demerit goods such as luxury cars, aerated beverages, pan masala and tobacco products will be taxed at 40 percent and remaining all goods will be taxed at a standard rate of 17 to 18 per cent.
  • Excluded real estate, electricity and alcohol and petroleum products while calculating tax rates but suggests bringing them under the ambit of GST soon.
Union government had set up the committee under chairmanship of CEA Dr. Subramanian in June 2015 to arrive at GST rates by factoring in the economic growth rate,  taxpayer base and tax compliance levels.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
GST aims to bring uniform indirect tax regime throughout the country by subsuming central and state indirect taxes into single indirect tax.
It seeks to enhance fiscal federalism by removing barriers across states and integrate the country into a common market, boosting government revenue and reducing business costs.

  • Married daughters eligible for appointment on compassionate grounds: Allahabad HC
Image result for Married daughters eligible for appointment on compassionate grounds: Allahabad HCAllahabad High Court in its judgment has made married daughters of deceased government employees eligible for appointments on compassionate grounds in government jobs.
Ruling in this regard was given by a bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Yashwant Verma on a petition filed by a Vimla Srivastava.
The petitioner had challenged the validity of clauses 2C-3 of Uttar Pradesh Recruitment of Government Servants Dying in Harness Rules. The Clause 2C-3 only allowed unmarried or widowed daughters of deceased government employees eligible for appointment on compassionate grounds.
Allahabad High Court Judgment
  • High Court held that clause 2C-3 is unconstitutional and violated fundamental rights.
  • Observed that when married son could get jobs on compassionate grounds then there is no reason to deny the same to married daughter.
  • Pointed out that the exclusion of married daughters violated Article 14 (Right to Equality), Article 15(prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, caste etc.) and Article 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment)

  • Himachal Pradesh becomes first State to launch Rotavirus vaccination projec
Image result for Himachal Pradesh becomes first State to launch Rotavirus vaccination project
Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in the country to start Rotavirus vaccination project under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
The project was launched by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from Dharamsala in district Kangra by administering the Rotavirus vaccine drops to the children aged less than 5 years.
Rotavirus vaccination project is based on the analogy of the polio vaccine. Under it Rotavirus drops would be administered to the children at 6, 10 and 14 weeks after birth. The vaccination project will help in controlling the deaths amongst small children due to Diarrhoea.

About Rotavirus

The Rotavirus is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. It most common causative agent of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea (MSD) among infants below 11 months age group in India.
Transmission: The virus spreads from person to person due to bacterial and parasiting agents that are primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water.
Impact on Health: It causes gastroenteritis after it damages the cells that line the small intestine and causes gastroenteritis.

  • Delhi Assembly passes Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015

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The Delhi Assembly has unanimously passed the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015 for establishment of statutory anti-corruption ombudsman.
The Bill provides powers to Lokpal to act against any government functionary including those of the Centre and in the national capital territory (NCT) of Delhi through its own investigation wing.
Key provisions of Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015
CompositionJanlokpal will be a three member body with Chairperson and two members. They would be appointed by on recommendation of selection committee consisting of Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition and Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly.
Jurisdiction: On receiving corruption complaints from the government or from members of public Janlokpal is empowered to investigate an allegation of corruption in the NCT including the Chief Minister’s office.
  • It can even probe acts of corruption against Union ministers and central government officials working in the NCT of Delhi
Investigation time period: The Lokpal will have to complete the investigation within a period of six months.
  • Constitution of Special CourtsDelhi Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court may constitute special courts as recommended by Janlokpal. The proceedings instituted by the Janlokpal cannot be stayed by any court.
Quantum of Punishment: Rigorous imprisonment ranging from 6 months to 10 years. In rarest of rare cases it may be extended to life term.
  • Those who file false cases against public functionaries would be also punished.
Confiscation of AssetsThe assets accumulated through corrupt means will be confiscated. Janlokpal may also confiscate property belonging to public servant if it has not been disclosed.
  • Power of transfer or suspension of Public ServantJanlokpal may recommend Government to suspend or transfer the public servant for a specified period if it feels that continuance of public servant under investigation might tamper with evidence or influence witnesses or affect the investigation.
Whistleblowers Protection: Janlokpal can issue necessary orders to provide full protection for whistleblowers by protecting confidentiality and providing security. It can also initiate criminal action against the person involved in harassment of whistleblower.

  • Uttar Pradesh Government launches first International festival on Birds
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Uttar Pradesh Government has launched International festival on Birds in a bid to promote state as an international bird-watching destination.
The first-of-its-kind festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS).
It has been jointly organised by the State Forest department in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
The three-day international festival (from 4 to 6 December 2015) on birds will be held the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) in Agra. Over 80 Indian ornithlogists and around 25 top international bird experts and are participating in the first-of-its-kind festival.

About National Chambal Sanctuary

NCS was set up in 1979 as a riverine sanctuary along the Chambal River.
It is managed by the Wildlife wing of the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and its head-quartered are located at Agra.
The sanctuary is the main area for the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), a fresh water crocodile species reintroduction programmme in the Chambal River.
The river supports the largest population of the Gharial in the wild in the country. It also supports more than 320 resident and migrant birds.

  • China announces $60 billion package to Africa during FOCAC
Image result for China announces $60 billion package to Africa during FOCACChinese President Xi Jinping has announced a 60 billion dollars package to African nations during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The package will benefit Africa in 10 major areas (sectors) such as industry, infrastructure, agriculture, financial services, trade and investment facilitation, green development, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, peace and security and people-to-people exchanges.
With this package, China is seeking to expand its investments in resource-rich Africa which can help it to absorb its excess manufacturing capacity. It is also consider as part of its efforts to re-engage with the continent and integrate it within its ambitious One Belt and One Road (OBOR) and Maritime Silk Route connectivity framework.
Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) : It is the summit in which over 50 African countries are participating. It is also expected to unveil the contours of China’s security partnership with Africa. It would mainly focus on counter-terrorism, peacekeeping and funding to train troops within the framework of the African Union (AU).

  • 44th Navy Day observed on 4 December 2015

Image result for 44th Navy Day observed on 4 December 201544th Navy Day was observed on 4 December 2015. On this occasion, Chief of Naval staff Robin K Dhowan along with Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag paid tributes to martyrs at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi.
President Pranab Mukherjee extended his greetings and felicitations to all members of the Indian Navy and their families on this occasion.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended his greetings to Indian Navy personnel and saluted their impregnable spirit and utmost devotion with which they protect our Motherland.
Every year Indian Navy celebrates Navy Day on December 4 to commemorate the success of the Operation Trident of 1971 India-Pakistan War. In this operation Indian Navy sank three Pakistani vessels near the largest Pakistani port of Karachi. Operation Trident had also resulted in first use of anti-ship missiles in the Arabian Sea region.