Daily Current Affairs with Gist of PIB (6th March - 2017)

National

UIDAI plugging data leak: Author

  • In the dock for writing an article on the “security loopholes” in the Aadhaar system, Sameer Kochhar, head of a Gurgaon-based think tank, says he has only done his “patriotic duty” and the Unique Identification Authority of India has taken corrective measures after his “expose”.
  • Mr. Kochhar is the author of Modinomics, a book on the development model followed in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister.
  • “I have only done my patriotic duty by writing a story on the vulnerability in the Aadhaar system, based on the inputs and evidence received.
  • UIDAI has not only accepted the vulnerability but is also working overtime to take corrective action to make Aadhaar more secure.

INS Viraat to be decommissioned today: A 56-year voyage ends for Grand Old Lady

  • The world’s oldest serving aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, will be withdrawn from service on 06-03- 2017, ending a 56-year- long sea odyssey that saw the British-build ship serve two countries and sail a distance that would have taken it around the globe 27 times.
  • The decommissioning ceremony at the Mumbai dockyard will be attended by India’s chief of naval staff S Lamba and the British Royal Navy’s 1st Sea Lord, admiral Sir Phillip Jones.
  • The ship will be dismantled in four months if there are no buyers, NDTV quoted the navy chief as saying ahead of the decommissioning ceremony at 5.45 pm.
  • Referred to as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ in the naval community, Viraat was completed and commissioned in 1959 in the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom as HMS Hermes.
  • It was decommissioned in 1984 and subsequently commissioned in the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.
International

Trump grants exemption to oil pipeline project partly manufactured by Welspun

  • Keystone XL oil pipeline, a long-running project killed by President Barack Obama and resurrected by President Donald Trump, has been exempted from his January directive to use only American-made steel in new, expanded or retrofitted lines.
  • Welspun India and its US arm Welspun will manufacture 10% and 50% respectively — total of 60% — of the US portion of the pipeline (660,000 tons of steel), according to an earlier media advisory from TransCanada Corporation, the energy company that owns the project, which remains unchanged. Evraz, a Canadian company, and Ilva from Italy, will do the rest, 24% and 16% respectively. Welspun India is a $3 billion multinational considered to be one of India’s fastest growing global conglomerates, Welspun, is its US arm based in Arkansas.
  • The Keystone XL project (also called KXL — XL stands for “export limited”) is a planned 1,179-mile (1,897km) pipeline — of 36-inch diameter — bringing oil from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, in the US, where it would join an existing pipe. It’s the fourth phase of a project that was commissioned in 2010, and the rest of the pipelines are already in place and working.
  • In his first week in office, Trump, who, like most Republicans, supported the pipeline, issued a presidential memorandum inviting TransCanada to apply, effectively overturning Obama. He said it will create 22,000 jobs.
Economy

SOME FACTS ABOUT GST

The Goods and Services Tax GST) Council, in its meeting held today in Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley has approved the draft CGST Bill and the draft IGST Bill as vetted by the Union Law Ministry. This clears the deck for the Central Government to take these two Bills to the Parliament for their passage in the ongoing Budget Session.

Some of the main features of the two Bills, as finalized by the GST Council, are as follows:


  1. A State-wise single registration for a taxpayer forfiling returns, paying taxes,and to fulfil other compliance requirements. Most of the compliance requirements would be fulfilled online, thus leaving very little room for physical interface between the taxpayer and the tax official.
  2. A taxpayer has to file one single return state-wise to report all his supplies, whether made within or outside the State or exported out of the country and pay the applicable taxes on them. Such taxescan be Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST), State Goods and Services Tax (SGST), Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (UTGST) and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST).
  3. A business entity with an annual turnover of upto Rs. 20 lakhs would not be required to take registration in the GST regime, unless he voluntarily chooses to do so to be a part of the input tax credit (ITC) chain. The annual turnover threshold in the Special Category States (as enumerated in Article 279A of the Constitution such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and the other States of the North-East) for not taking registration is Rs. 10 lakhs.
  4. A business entity with turnover upto Rs. 50 lakhs can avail the benefit of a composition scheme under which it has to pay a much lower rate of tax and has to fulfil very minimal compliance requirements. The Composition Scheme is available for all traders, select manufacturing sectors and for restaurants in the services sector.
  5. In order to prevent cascading of taxes, ITC would be admissible on all goods and services used in the course or furtherance of business, except on a few items listed in the Law.
  6. In order to ensure that ITC can be used seamlessly for payment of taxes under the Central and the State Law, it has been provided that the ITC entitlement arising out of taxes paid under the Central Law can be cross-utilised for payment of taxes under the laws of the States or Union Territories. For example, a taxpayer can use the ITC accruing to him due to payment of IGST to discharge his tax liability of CGST / SGST / UTGST. Conversely, a taxpayer can use the ITC accruing to him on account of payment of CGST / SGST / UTGST, for payment of IGST. Such payments are to be made in a pre-defined order.
  7. In the Services sector, the existing mechanism of Input Service Distributor (ISD) under the Service Tax law has been retained to allow the flow of ITC in respect of input serviceswithin a legal entity.
  8. To prevent lock-in of capital of exporters, a provision has been made to refund, within seven days of filing the application for refund by an exporter, ninety percent of the claimed amount on a provisional basis.
  9. In order to ensure a single administrative interface for taxpayers, a provision has been made to authorise officers of the tax administrations of the Centre and the States to exercise the powers conferred under all Acts.
  10. An agriculturist, to the extent of supply of produce out of cultivation of land, would not be liable to take registration in the GST regime.
  11. To provide certainty in tax matters, a provision has been made for an Advance Ruling Authority.
  12. Exhaustive provisions for Appellate mechansim have been made.
  13. Detailed transitional provisions have been provided to ensure migration of existing taxpayers and seamless transfer of unutilised ITC in the GST regime.
  14. An anti-profiteering provision has been incorporated to ensure that the reduction of tax incidence is passed on to the consumers.
  15. In order to mitigate any financial hardship being suffered by a taxpayer, Commissioner has been empowered to allow payment of taxes in instalments. The remaining two Bills namely, State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) Bill and the Union territory Goods and Services Tax (UTGST) Bill, which would be almost a replica of the CGST Act, would be taken-up for approval after their legal vetting in the next meeting of GST Council scheduled on 16 March 2017.