1. Confirmed COVID-19 cases rise to 119.
With the surge in Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra,the total cases of those hit with the virus in the country have now reached 119 mark.
A sharp increase in cases of COVID-19 patients in Maharashtra has taken the number of infected persons to 114 in the country. The number of cases a day ago were only 93.
19 new cases have been detected and out of these 15 are from Maharashtra alone.Now the state has surpassed Kerala, which had held the dubious position of recording the highest COVID-19 cases in the country so far. The remaining 4 fresh cases are from Rajasthan (1), Karnataka (1), while two more were recorded from Kerala.
There are now 33 cases reported from Maharashtra. The state CM Udhav Thackrey has already ordered schools, colleges and malls shut till March 31.
Meanwhile, Kerala has 24 patients, followed by UP(12) and 7 each in Karnataka and Delhi.Out of these cases in India,10 people have recovered, while 2 died in the last week. However, the two elderly persons who died also had some pre-existing ailments.
The central and many state governments have closed down all of their educational institutions,malls and cinema halls to avoid the outbreak of the virus further.International flights to the virus-hit countries have been suspended,international air passengers have been quarantined too.
The number of cases globally has touched 1,56400 across the world with 5,833 deaths reported so far from more than 142 countries so far since the outbreak in Wuhan,China in December.
2. CJI Bobde rules out complete shutdown of courts
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A Bobde has clarified that a complete shutdown for courts cannot happen, at an emergency meeting on Sunday. He said that as virtual courts are just about to begin, there can only be a possibility of a limited shutdown, in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The courts are due to reopen on March 16, after the Holi break. A day before this reopening, the CJI had met with other prominent judicial officers (Justices Arun Mishra, UU Lalit, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, doctors and other office bearers) to discuss the possibility of a shutdown of courts due to the outbreak. He said that if the Bar or Bench make such a request, then it will be examined under medical advice, in presence of doctors.
As per the published cause list, 6 out of the total 14 courts in the Supreme Court are listening to urgent cases on March 16. A medical advice has been issued, whereby people who have travelled abroad or who show signs of any COVID-19 symptoms, need to declare these before they enter the apex court.
Justice Chandrachud, chairman of the e-committee, has assured that they will reduce people-to-people by holding court proceedings via videoconferencing.
3. New law in U.P. to recover costs for damaging property
The UP government has issued a stringent law to recover compensation from those who damage public and private property during protests and riots. Designated Claims Tribunals will be authorised to investigate complaints, assess damages and approve claims for compensation.
The law, the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damage to Public and Private Property Ordinance, 2020 was approved on Friday. Under this, the owner of a private property or the head of office for a public property can file a claim for compensation within three months of an incident (violent public protests, bandhs or riots) where they saw damages to their property.
In this claim, they can cite as respondents those individuals who had ‘exhorted’ or ‘instigated’ or ‘committed’ acts who caused the damage or were named by the police. If held guilty, their properties can be attached to recover the claims. Authorities would publish the name, addresses and photos of the guilty persons.
The order or award given by these Claims Tribunals would be ‘final’ and no appeal will be entertained in a court.
The tribunals will be chaired by a retired district judge, while the members would be of the rank of additional commissioner. It will hold the powers of a civil court to collect evidence on oath, enforce witnesses and compel discovery and production of documentary evidence.
The claims will also include costs borne by police and administration in taking preventive measures.
4. Netanyahu challenger Gantz chose to form a new Israeli government.
Israel's president Reuven Rivlin has given opposition leader Benny Gantz an opportunity to form the government, as the last elections (held in March) came out without any conclusions.
Rivlin has approved Gantz’s appointment and allowed him to form the government. This move has put a cloud over current Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s future political career.
The March 2 elections saw Netanyahu's Likud emerge as the largest party, but the party received support from only 58 lawmakers. This left Likud short of 3 seats to form a majority government.
Benny Gantz's Blue and White has received support from parties representing 61 seats - a slim majority. These parties are, however, also divided and its not clear whether Gantz will succeed in forming the government or not by putting a coalition together.
The president is going to formally designate Gantz with the task after which he will have just a month to get together the coalition government into a well working state.
5. J&K will have a domicile policy
The demand for a domicile policy for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, will be fulfilled soon. The demand has existed since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year.
A 24-member delegation met Union Home minister Amit Shah, led by the newly formed Apni party chief Altaf Bukhari. They put forward a list of demands, chief among which was a domicile policy for the state.
The centre said it was coming up with a much better domicile policy for J&K along with a economicdevelopment policy. As J&K is now a union territory, central laws would be implemented here without any discrimination.
For rapid economic development, they are framing an industrial policy and creating land banks for it.If all goes as planned, the state will draw 3 times more investment than what it drew in the last 70 years (this figure is Rs 13,000 crore).
The centre is already working on restoring Internet,lifting the curfew and freeing detainees from preventive detention (political detainees will be released soon).
A nodal person will be appointed who will meet people twice a week and address their problems to the government.
Since Article 370 was struck down on August 5, mainstream politics in the state has been in a frozen state. Top leaders of the state were put under detention to maintain public order and stop any provocation of unrest or violence.
6. PIB - Recommendations from GST Council
The 39th GST Council met and discussed multiple measures. Led by Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the meeting included Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur, state finance ministers and other senior officials.
Here are some of the resolutions that they worked on:
I) IT Roadmap
Nandan Nilekani, on behalf of Infosys addressed several system-related issues which taxpayers currently face in the GST system and suggested ways to resolve them. These included an incremental manner to rollout the new return system, initiation Aadhaar identification and spike rules as well as an IT roadmap. These new measures will be in place by July 31.
The current IT system can handle only 1.5 lakh taxpayers. A process to procure hardware to handle double this capacity has been initiated, though it has been impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
To support these suggestions, the Council agreed to deploy 60 persons on a T&M basis to procure additional hardware and hire required manpower. They hoped that the return filing experience would become glitch-free for taxpayers with these measures.
II) Changes in GST Rates
GST Council took following decisions relating to changes in GST rates on supply of goods and services.
- Raise GST rate on mobile phones and parts to 18% from current 12%.
- Rationalise GST on all matches (handmade and others) to 12% (from 5% and 18% respectively)
- Reduce GST on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services for aircraft from 18% to 5% with full ITC. It
III) Laws & Procedure
The GST Council made the following recommendations on Law & Procedures changes.
- Measures for Trade facilitation:
Interest for delay in payment of GST will be charged on the net cash tax liability from July 1, 2017.
For registerations which were cancelled till March 14, 2020, an application to revoke cancellation can be filed till June 30, 2020.
Taxpayers with an aggregate turnover below Rs 5 crore will get a relaxation from furnishing a reconcilliation statement (FORM GSTR-9C) for 2018-19.
Due date to file Annual returns and reconcilliation statements for 2018-19 will be relaxed till June 30,2020.
Late fees won’t be charged for 2017-18 and 2018-19 from taxpayers with a turnover less than Rs 2 crore.
A special process has been set up for corporate debtors under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 so that they can comply with CIRP provisions.
Deferment of E-invoice and QR Code:
Certain registered persons, like insurance company, banking company, financial institution, non-banking financial institution, GTA, passenger transportation service etc. will be exempted from issuing e-invoices or capturing dynamic QR code. The date to implement e-invoices and QR codes has been extended till October 1, 2020.
E-Wallet scheme deferred:
The dates to finalise the e-Wallet scheme have been extended till March 31, 2020.3.16
7. PIB - Cabinet approves Rehabilitation and Upgradation of 780 kms of National Highways
The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs has approved rehabilitation and upgradation of multiple stretches of national highways in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. This project, worth Rs 7662.47 crore is being co-financed with a World Bank loan of Rs 3500.
It will also cover maintainence of these stretches for a period of 5 years (for flexible pavements) and 10 years (for rigid pavements) after the construction.
The project is aimed at smooth and motorable roads on a priority basis, as per the socio-economic development of the area, infrastructure logistics, population etc.
8. PIB - CCEA approves Minimum Support Price for Copra for 2020:
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for copra for 2020 season. It has set this at Rs. 9,960/- per quintal for 2020 up from Rs. 9,521/- per quintal in 2019. Meanwhile, the MSP for ball copra has been increased to Rs. 10,300/- per quintal for 2020 season from Rs. 9,920/- per quintal in 2019.
This MSP will ensure a return of 50% for milling copra and 55% for ball copra. For the government, NAFED and NCCF will continue to act as Central Nodal agencies in all coconut growing states.
India is number one in production and productivity of Copra in the World.
9. PIB - India’s Foreign Trade: February 2020
India’s overall exports (Merchandise and Services combined) in April-February 2019-20* are estimated to be $491.64 billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 2.13 per cent over the same period last year. Overall imports in April-February 2019-20* are estimated to be USD 559.45 billion, exhibiting a negative growth of (-) 3.90 per cent over the same period last year.