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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS from THE HINDU 18th September 2017 By Jatin Verma Educator Unacademy
Page-11: PDS digitisation moving at snail's pace. . The Govt's claim to ensure end-to-end digitisation of the Public Distribution System (PDS) is coming to naught even after three years of being in mission mode The project was launched in 201 2 at a cost of 84 crore to ensure that at every step from field to fork, the government would be able to track the movement of foodgrains so that they reached the right beneficiaries . Components of Digitisation project [i] Automation of the supply chainonline monitoring of stock positions in godowns, [i] Digitisation of food procurement system (FPS) data, Tiij Tracking the movement of the food grains from the godowns to the fair price shops, [iv] open transparency portals [v] SMS alerts to beneficiaries. [v] Digitisation of Ration cards and [vii]seed Aadhaar card data. Progress so far: [i] Out of 5.26 lakh ration shops, only 51% have been digitised in three years. Thirteen States are yet to take the first step in this direction [i] At least II States have not taken the elementary step of digitising fair price shops and nine other States, including Uttar Pradesh, have hardly made any progress. In Bihar, less than 1% of ration shops are digitised;
The Centre was successful in digitisation of 23.11 crore ration cards as a great success, uncovering 2.48 crore bogus cards, which have been deleted to save the nation a subsidy of 5,000 crore per annum. Reasons behind the delay: Connectivity issues: Many states have cited connectivity issues for their inability to commence the process of digitisation The numbers are most stark in the northeastern states: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. UPSC Mains GS-3  Q. In what way could replacement of price subsidy with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) change the scenario of subsidies in India? Discuss.
Page-12: Russia denies bombing U.S.- backed forces Maono 4 SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC al Bid TURKEY kbc . U.S.-backed militias in Syria came under attack on Saturday from Russian jets and Syrian government forces in Deir al-Zor province, a flashpoint in an increasingly complex battlefield. RIS AR RAQQAH Ac Raman . Russia's Defence Ministry rejected allegations it k to n DAYRAZZA Dayr az Zam had bombed U.S.-backed militias in Syria, saying its planes only targeted Islamic State militants and that it had warned the United States well in advance of its operational plans. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting with the U.S.-led coalition, said six of its fighters Sm had been wounded in the strike MEDITERRANEAN TARTUSY Ash IRAQ Tmam), Jubay National cal Provincial cap LEBANON Arpon aDIMAS Expresay Main road Secondary road AS SUWAYDA JORDAN ISRAEL
Page- 13 International:US could stay in parisaces Tn leate change,Secretary f Sate Rex After a succession of mixed messages on the US stance on climate change, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the Trump administration was seeking ways in which we can work with partners in the Paris climate accord. . Tillerson did appear to signal a softening from Trump's earlier characterisation of the deal as a "draconian" pact that impinged on American sovereignty and unfairly favoured countries like China and India over the US
. Page-13 Business:Gold imports increase threefold to $15 billion. The country's gold imports recorded a three-fold jump to $15.24 billion during the April-August period of the current fiscal. . Gold imports, which has a bearing on the country's current account deficit (CAD), stood at Rs. 5.08 billion in April-August 2016-17 Increase in gold imports last month contributed to the widening of trade deficit to $11.64 billion as against $7.7 billion in August 2016. . The imports are expected to increase on account of the forthcoming festival season, which will start from the end of this month. . Increase in inbound shipments of gold is also one of the reasons for higher CAD. CAD rose sharply to $14.3 billion-or 2.4% of GDP-at the end of first quarter of 2017-18. In general terms, CAD refers to the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign exchange that has an impact on exchange rate. Worried over surge in gold imports from South Korea, with which India has a free trade agreement, the government has restricted inbound shipments of the precious metal.
Business: Tweaks to pact with S. Korea mooted. India-South Korea FTA that allows duty-free import of the precious metal and its articles. India is looking to plug loopholes in its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea following concerns over a recent sudden surge in imports of gold and related articles from that country. GST, the cause The Problem in Figures: Gold imports from South Korea had shot up to about $340 million in the period July I-August 3, 2017, compared with about $71 million for all of FYI7 The implementation of the Good and Services Tax (GST) from July I led to the import surge. Pre-GST, gold imports through the non-FTA channel attracted a 10% basic customs duty (BCD) and an additional 12.5% countervailing duty (CVD), while those from the FTA route were levied a 12.5% CVD (as the FTA eliminated the customs duty on gold imports)-which discouraged such gold imports. Under the new tax regime, a 3% GST replaced the CVD. This meant gold imports from the non-FTA route attracted 10% BCD and 3% GST while those from the (S. Korea) FTA channel paid only 3% GST, which could be later claimed as input tax credit.What has raised eyebrows is that South Korea is not among the world's leading producers or exporters of gold and related items.
. The authorities are examining a possible criminal angle in such transactions as those entities were allegedly sending gold medallion directly from Dubai to South Korea and then exporting to India, violating FTA norms. Under the FTA, duty-free import of gold medallion into India is currently allowed only if it has met the norm of 'Change in Tariff Heading' under the Harmonised System Code. This means one could send gold bars and rods from a third country to South Korea, convert them into medallion there, export to India and avail the zero-duty benefit. Though the Centre had last month 'restricted' imports of jewellery,precious metal and related items from South Korea, but it was only a temporary measure. What is the Solution: 3 options India will push for inclusion of tighter norms in the FTA on imports of gold and its items to prevent misuse. [i]India could insist on a clause in the FTA specifying the criteria of at least 35%"value addition, as well as "Change in Tariff Sub-Heading' to ensure that the item has undergone substantial transformation in South Korea, and not been just routed through that country to take advantage of duty-free norms.
[ii]Only those furnishing the required certificate, stating the criteria have been met, will be allowed FTA benefits. [iii]Else, such imports from South Korea will attract 10% duty. Since gold is a sensitive item for India, the other plan is to shift gold and articles to the negative list in the FTA Work is also on to impose safeguard duty (12.5%) on gold imports from South Korea. Dubai. South Korea[FTA] Pendant
Business: GST Composition Scheme registration open till Sept. 30 The Goods and Services Tax Network announced the opening of the registration window for the Composition Scheme again till September 30. . Under the Scheme, small taxpayers with a turnover of 75 lakh can file quarterly returns instead of the normal monthly returns Many taxpayers who migrated after August 16 could not avail this facility as it was open till August 16, 2017 only. To make this facility available to all those who could not opt for Composition, the facility has been opened again by the GST Council.This is also open to those who registered afresh under GST but did not avail the facility at the time of registration. Advantages: i] For Business: Businesses opting for the composition scheme will see a lesser compliance burden as they will have to file returns only once in a quarter. [ii] For Govt: Govt, in anyway, effectively gets 2-3% tax revenue from these small traders.