Assam parties up in arms against NRC chief (GS-2) (Page-1l) Suggestions to the Supreme Court by the officer heading the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to slash the list of "admissible documents" as citizenship proof from 15 to 10 has stirred a controversy in Assam ahead of the phase for filing of claims and objections. More than 40 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants have been left out of the complete NRC draft published on July 30. While these people await their turn to prove their citizenship with documents other than those already submitted but rejected, State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela, in his latest report to the court, sought the exclusion of five 'list A documents for re-verification of those excluded. These documents are the 1951 NRC; voters' lists and ration cards up to March 24, 1971; citizenship certificates; and refugee registration certificates. March 24, 1971, is the cut-off date for detecting and deporting illegal migrants from Assam under the Assam Accord of 1985 that ended a six-year agitation against foreigners.
Congress seeks ouster Apart from Opposition parties such as the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has found fault with Mr. Hajela's suggestion. BJP State general secretary Dilip Saikia said Mr. Hajela's report has complicated the situation, as "lakhs of Indians belonging to the Gurkha, Bengali and Hindi-speaking communities have been left out" The BJP had a few days ago written to Mr. Hajela, insisting that the migration certificate, citizenship certificate and all variants of refugee cards be accepted in the NRC updating process The Congress went to the extent of demanding Mr. Hajela's removal for "misleading the apex court". Debabrata Saikia, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, said the official had been acting whimsically and playing with the lives of people who did not possess any of the 10 documents now being preferred despite their ancestors being in the 1951 NRC and pre-1971 voters' lists. "If the 1951 NRC won't be accepted, what was the point of an exercise that cost more than Rs. 1,200 crore of the taxpayers' money,"
China denies CPEC backing as 'debt trap' for Pakistan (GS-3) (Page 12) China has rejected accusations that its financial backing for the China PakistanEconomic Corridor (CPEC) was a "debt trap" that could compromise Islamabad's sovereignty China has billed the Gwadar to Kashgar corridor as the flagship of China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) a comprehensive giant connectivity project in Eurasia Mounting a robust defence of its no-strings-attached backing for CPEC, China's visiting state Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, asserted during an Islamabad press conference on Saturday that among the 22 projects within the framework of CPEC, 18 of them are directly invested or offered aid by the Chinese side, and only four of them used China's concessional loan. 70,000 new jobs He stressed that nine of these projects have already been completed and 13 are under construction The Chinese state Councillor clarified that only $19 billion had been invested in the CPEC, which had generated 70.000 new iobs. Pakistan's arowth rate is exnected to bhe nushed bV
* During the first phase, CPEC's focus has been on energy and infrastructure projects. It was now up to the Pakistani side to drive the trajectory of the "next phase" of the undertaking, Mr. Wang said. * An editorial in the Dawn newspaper said Mr. Wang's visit offered a "good opportunity for the government to clarify all issues with the Chinese authorities regarding CPEC, and its own thinking on the project's future" During his talks in Islamabad, Mr. Wang has apparently got solid support for CPEC from the Pakistan's military - an institution that is known to play a decisive role in critical decision- making Army assures support * Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan Army chief, assured Mr. Wang that the military will "guarantee" the smooth development of CPEC, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. * "[Mr.] Wang said that the Pakistani military is the protector of the China-Pakistan friendship, and the bilateral military relations are an important part of the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries and a symbol of their high
Finance Ministry to engage with States to shore up GST revenue (GS-3) (Page-13) * Alarmed by a nearly fourfold rise in GST compensation to States for June-July, the Finance Ministry is crafting a strategy to shore up tax revenues and engaging with States to identify issues hindering their collections. Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia has started meeting GST officers, both from Central and State tax departments, in the State capitals to understand issues plaguing GST collections. * There has been a spike in the bi-monthly GST compensation paid to the States by the Centre. The Centre paid 14,930 crore to compensate states for revenue loss incurred in June and 3,899 crore paid for the months of April and July, a nearly four-fold jump compared to the May.
"A strategy is to be devised to shore up GST revenues. The amount of compensation to be paid to each State varies every month and there is no set pattern," an official told PTI. The reason for increased compensation also varied from State to State. For instance, in one of the cases, a State saw a huge outgo on account of VAT refund following a court verdict, the official added Talks with four States A discussion to shore up revenues has already happened with four States Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry and Jammu and Kashmir, while a dialogue with Bihar and Uttarakhand is slated to take place later this month The official said that one of the options being considered is stepping up anti-evasion measures with a focus on top 30 taxpayers.
Govt. panel to look into e-com issues (GS-3) (Page-13) * With concerns being raised on some proposals of the draft e-commerce policy, the government has set up a group of secretaries to look into the issues, according to an official The group will be chaired by the Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) The other members of the group include Secretaries of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Department of Commerce. "The group would look into all the issues of e-commerce sector," the official said. The first meeting of the group is likely to be held this week.
'Free data flow will aid economy' (GS-3) (Page-13) Batting for free flow of data across borders, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has written to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad saying such a step will encourage global fhrms to contribute to India's digital economy as well as benefit Indian start-ups mulling global expansion. * This comes at a time when the Centre is readying a data protection framework. In July, a panel had suggested steps for safeguarding personal data. It also suggests that every data fiduciary in India shall ensure the storage of at least one copy of personal data on a server or data centre located in India.
Indian economy: Deja vu? But things seem better than in 2013 (GS-3) (Page-14) Macros management How 2018's numbers look, versus 5 years ago 68.8 Rupeevs $ Crude oil(S/bbl)a Petrol AUG.-SEP. 2018 Dlesel 108,16 71.08 70.33 78.52 AUG.-SEP. 2013 51.4 70.21 Aug.-Sep. '18 CAD(% of GDP)+ Fiscal deficit (% of GDP) # GDP growth(%) ^ Aug.-Sep. '13 4.8 4.9 4.4 2.4 3.5 8.1 Closing value on Aug. 28, 2013 and Sep. 7, 2018 respectively l Average for Aug. 2013 &2018 respectively l +Pertains to 2012-13&01, 2019, respectively ! # Pertains to 2012-13 & 2017-2018 respectively l A Pertains to Q1, 2013-14& Q1, 2018-19 respectively Petrol and diesel prices are as of the last day of August
Those with a long memory must be consumed by a sense of deja vu over developments in the past few weeks. In many ways, the present turbulent times are reminiscent of what happened in 2013. The rupee was in a tailspin. Oil prices were booming at over $110 a barrel, exerting upward pressure on domestic retail prices of petroleum products. The current account deficit was in dangerous territory at 4.8% and the country was headed for general elections in a just a few months. It is almost a repeat now even if some of the macro numbers are not as dramatically These are without doubt challenging times but the picture is not as dismal as it was in * First and most important, growth is on the ascendant. The economy seems to havee negative as they were then. 2013. And that's because of three major factors. shrugged off the twin shocks from the note ban and introduction of the GST. Admittedly, the 8.1% GDP growth in the first quarter of this fiscal was amplified by the lower base in the same period last year when manufacturers slowed down ahead of the introduction of GST. But there is no mistaking the strong underlying growth impulse supported by a return
Similarly, the reaction of the RBI and the Centre to the rupee's fall has been prudent. The rupee has been allowed to find its natural level and the central bank has stepped in only to smooth volatility; no reactionary measures such as forex deposits swap or restrictions on capital outflows as in 2013. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may be anxious but he has exhibited none of it in public as he held on to the refrain that the rupee is not alone in its predicament and that global factors are more responsible for the weakness than domestic ones. So, do all these mean that there's nothing to worry about? Certainly not. The biggest risks are external and how they will play out domestically. The combined impact of elevated oil prices and a weak rupee can cause serious damage to the economy. The pass-through of higher fuel prices is sure to push up retail inflation; the impact may be seen as early as in the August print expected tomorrow. This could prompt the RBI to front load its second rate hike for this fiscal as early as in October.
Graduate in Economics. Gold medal in Dissertation, Prepared various documents on Demonetisation and GST, Share-trading and many more