Daily NEWS Analysis | 17th March | UPSC 2020 - Study24x7
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Daily NEWS Analysis | 17th March | UPSC 2020

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UPSC & State PSC 2021 Published on 26 March 2020

1. Travel from EU,UKbanned as India tightens preventive steps


In a new move to put a check on rising COVID-19 cases,the Indian government has stopped entry of passengers coming from EU,Turkey and UK from March 18 till March 31.


Context


With the increase in Coronavirus cases in the country,the Indian government has given temporary instructions to stop entry of passengers travelling from EU,UK and Turkey into the country.


By now,this travel ban will start from March 18 till March 31.The further ban may be exceeded after reviewing the situation.A mandatory quarantine of 14 days for the people coming or travelling and transiting through Qatar,UAE,Oman and Kuwait has also been put.


If an Indian from UK,EU and Turkey travels to any other country from which there is no ban then the person will not be denied entry in India.But he/she will be quarantined or put in house quarantine depending on the condition.This is already being followed with Indians travelling from France and Germany and coming to India via UAE.


Meanwhile the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country has now reached the mark of 114 including 2 deaths,13 discharges and 5200 contacts who are still under surveillance.


1 new case each from Ladakh,J&K,Kerala and Odhisha was reported.Maharashtra is with the highest number of cases(39),Karnataka has 8 cases now followed by Delhi which has 7 till now with one death.


2. Nath rules out the floor test after meeting the Governor.


The chief minister of MP met the Governor Lal Ji Tandon and claimed that his 15-month old Congress government still holds the majority.The doubt for the government's stability came after 22 MLA of congress resigned.


Context


Madhya Pradesh chief Minister Kamal Nath met the Governor and claimed that his government still holds the majority despite its 22 MLA going rebellious and giving their resignations.He also denied any kind of floor test in the assembly as was demanded by the opposition party(BJP).


He also openly challenged the opposition party to table a no confidence motion against his 15 month old congress government if they are curious to test the strength of the government.


Nath has been continuously blaming BJP for 16 of his MLAs rebelling against the government. He said that the BJP has held them captive, though the right wing party denies this. He is sure about his majority and is ready to prove it in the house.


Political instability in MP began when Jyotiraditya Scindia left the congress to join the BJP.22 of his party supporters resigned at the same time, putting Nath's government in a tight spot.Scindia was unhappy with the functioning of congress high command since last year. He had also hoped to get the Chief ministership for the state, a position that went to Kamal Nath.


3. Private firms ready to test for COVID-19


In order to aid the shortfall of COVID-19 testing capabilities, diagnostic test companies have saod that they have the capacity to mass-test for the disease. They have, however received mixed responses to India’s policy of restricting testing to government labs.


Context:


The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has, for now, authorised 65 diagnostic centres nationwide and claims they can do 10,000 tests per day. These tests, right now, are restricted to those showing symptoms (cough, fever, breathing difficulties) or those who have a travel history or link to COVID-19 affected countries.


Mumbai-based Metropolis Labs said they have set up a ‘dedicated and isolated’ COVID-19 labs and wait for permission from the health ministry. They claimed to have imported kits from Altona, Germany for sample testing (real time polymerase chain reaction tests). These kits can confirm the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which has caused the current pandemic).


Similarly, Dr Lal Path Labs and Dr Dang Labs have also said that the private industry can help handle at least a ‘million’ cases in India.


4. In U-turn, govt. moots 20-year window to clear telco dues


Nearly 5 months after the Supreme Court ordered telecom majors like Vodafone and Bharti Airtel to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, the Centre has now urged the court to give them a 20-year period to pay the money back.


Context:


The goverment has said, that after detailed and long-drawn deliberations and devised a formula to soften the blow of the October 24, 2019 judgement. “All licensees impacted by the judgment be allowed to pay the unpaid or remaining amount of past DoT assessed/calculated dues in annual installments over 20 years (or less if they so opt), duly protecting the net present value of the said dues using a discount rate of 8% (based on one year marginal cost of lending rate of SBI which is currently 7.75%),” the application said.


5. Rajasthan moves SC against CAA


The Congress government in Rajasthan has moved the Supreme Court over the validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). It has held the law as against the country’s secular fabric and fundamental rights. They have filed this piece under Article 131.


Before Rajasthan, Jerala had filed a plea against the law in the Supreme Court.


6. Gantz chose to form Israel government.


The ex-military chief of Israel Benny Gantz was nominated to form the government after he won recommendations from 61 MPs in the 120-member Knesset. This is, however which is actually a thin majority.


Context


Gantz has served as military chief of Army in Israel is the head of centrist Blue and white party was chosen to form the government by the president Reuven Revlin of the Israel. The President did this after Israel went through three inconclusive elections within a year.


The stability of MrGantz's government is uncertain as there are divisions in the factions which have backed him.This includes the mainly Arab Joint list and nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu.Gantz has been granted only 28 days officially to form the government.


Netanyahu has served as the longest prime minister of the country.In the March 2 election, though the likud secured the most seats but it fell 3 seats short of majority.

There is an urgent need to form the government in the country to beat back the COVID-19 pandemic which has globally claimed thousands of lives till now.


7. 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.


Annual Return:

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


8. 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.


9. 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.


10. 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.

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