Tax Administration Reforms Commission:-Dr. Parthsarathi Shome Panel
The Tax Administration Reform Commission or TARC was a committee appointed by the Government of India for giving recommendations for reviewing the public Tax Administration system of India.The committee was headed by Parthasarathi Shome.
- Income Tax Return forms should also include wealth tax details.
- Retrospective amendments to tax laws should be avoided as a principle and that the post of Revenue Secretary be abolished.
- Merger of the CBDT with the CBEC.
- Widen the use of Permanent Account Number (PAN).
- Separate budget allocation to ensure time bound tax refund and a passbook scheme for TDS (Tax Deduction at Source).
- Cover both central excise and service tax under a single registration as both the taxes are administered by the same department and cross utilisation of credit is permitted between central excise and service tax under the CENVAT credit rules.
- Minimum of 10% of the tax administration’s budget must be spent on taxpayer services. At least 10% of the budget should be alllocated and spent for ICT-based taxpayer services.
Steps taken by Government:-
- Establishment of 24X7 customs clearance facility in 17 airports and 18 seaports
- Customs Single Window Clearance Project for faster customs clearance
- Implementation of e-BRC (BRC-Bank Realization Certificate) module
- Establishment of Help Desk at prominent places at international airports for facilitating passengers including business travelers
- Reduction in number of export and import documents required by customs from 5 to 3 so as to reduce transaction cost
- Integrated customs EDI – SEZ Online system to facilitate paper-less movement of export and import goods between SEZs and Gateway ports
- Customs Accredited Client Programme (ACP) reviewed with a view to allow a graded re-entry to disqualified ACP clients to facilitate major importers
- Rationalization of penal provisions in Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax
- New Central Excise/Service Tax registrations to be given within two days of filing of application, with post facto verification, if required
- E-payment of service tax and central excise made mandatory for all assesses/taxpayers to reduce the cost of compliance for the trade and industry
- Acceptance of digitally signed invoices and providing for maintenance of electronic records with duly authenticated digital signature
- Direct dispatch of goods allowed for job workers as well as registered dealers and importers
- Time limit for availing Cenvat Credit increased from 6 months to 1 year
- Circular issued extending facility to pay arrears in installments extended and for amendment of Garnishee order*
- Rules amended to provide clarity regarding valuation of goods in Central Excise when the transaction value is below the cost of manufacture of goods
*Garnishee Order is an order passed by an executing court directing or ordering a garnishee not to pay money to judgment debtor since the latter is indebted to the garnisher (decree holder). It is an Order of the court to attach money or Goods belonging to the judgment debtor in the hands of a third person.Garnishment is a drastic measure for collecting a debt. A court order of garnishment allows a creditor to take the property of a debtor when the debtor does not possess the property. A garnishment action is taken against the debtor as defendant and the property holder as garnishee. Garnishment is regulated by statutes, and is usually reserved for the creditor who has obtained a judgment, or court order, against the debtor
High Incidence of Anti-Microbial Resistance:-
*Few details are too technical for civil service aspirants, however would benefit the aspirants with medicinal backgrounds,if not in exam , then at least in interview.Rest of us can concentrate on the important scheduled drugs .
It is generally believed that availability of antibiotics over the counter and lack of awareness about using antibiotic drugs only as prescribed by doctors results in inappropriate use of antibiotics.
As per a recent report (2015) released by Global Antimicrobial Resistance Partnership (GARP), it is reported that resistance among common pathogens is increasing worldwide though regional patterns of resistance vary.
Common bacterial pathogens becoming resistant to antimicrobials are Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococus, S. pneumoniae, N. gonorrhoeae, N. meningititidis, E.coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Typhoidal Salmonella, Shigella species, Vibrio cholerae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and in other diseases such as Malaria, Kala azar, HIV etc.
It is estimated that the prevalence of Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in India is 2-3% among notified new pulmonary TB patients and around 15% for re-treatment pulmonary TB patients.
While separate data on disease burden of the Indian population caused by infectious diseases is not available, it is estimated that over-all communicable disease contribute to 37% of the entire disease burden.
ICMR is carrying out surveillance of drug resistance to antibiotics through its Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Research Network (AMRSN) in six pathogenic groups
(i) Diarrhoeagenic bacterial organisms
(ii) Enteric fever pathogens
(iii) Enterobacteriaceae causing sepsis
(iv)Gram negative Non-fermenters
(v) Gram positives including MRSA
(vi) Fungal infections.
To further regulate the sale of antibiotics, the Government of India, in the year 2013, amended the Drug and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 to incorporate a new Schedule H1 containing 46 drugs which also includes IIIrd and IVth Generation antibiotics and anti-TB drugs for a strict control over the sale of these drugs. The Drugs falling under Schedule H1 are required to be sold in the country with the following conditions:
(1) The supply of a drug specified in Schedule H1 shall be recorded in a separate register at the time of the supply giving the name and address of the prescriber, the name of the patient, the name of the drug and the quantity supplied and such records shall be maintained for three years and be open for inspection.
(2) The drug specified in Schedule H1 shall be labeled with the symbol Rx which shall be in red and conspicuously displayed on the left top corner of the label, and shall also be labeled with the following words in a box with a red border:
“Schedule H1 Drug-Warning:
-It is dangerous to take this preparation except in accordance with the medical advice.
-Not to be sold by retail without the prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner.”
An insertion has been made in the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 to specify the withdrawal period of antibiotics in case of egg, milk, poultry and fish before these enter the human food chain. The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has also issued Advisories in 2014 addressed to all States and Union Territories regarding judicious use of antibiotics to prevent AMR.
A National Programme for Containment of AMR has also been initiated in 12th Five Year Plan with the following objectives.
- To establish a laboratory based surveillance system by strengthening laboratories for AMR in the country and to generate quality data on antimicrobial resistance for pathogens of public health importance.
- To generate awareness among healthcare providers and in the community regarding rational use of antibiotics.
- To strengthen infection control guidelines and practices and promote rational use of antibiotics
Panel for promoting organ donation:-
An Inter-Ministerial Committee headed by Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has been constituted to coordinate all activities related to promotion of organ donation in the country.
Government has launched National Organ Transplant Programme. Inter alia, the programme has a provision for giving awards for promoting cadaver donations to institutions, doctors, transplant coordinators, and donor families.
The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) has become operational only in 2014 and is, as such, at a very nascent stage. Presently, it is functioning under the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It will, alongwith Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organizations (ROTTOs) and State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organizations (SOTTOs), be strengthened over a period of time.
Integrated Health Information System:-
The Government has plans to set up an e-health body or institution to look after the development of an integrated health information system in the country. National Centre for Health Informatics (NCHI) is being setup under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The proposed institution will be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The setting up of Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) in India is one of the objectives of NCHI.
Online Sale of Medicines:-
In accordance with the provisions of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules made thereunder, the sale of drugs in the country is regulated by State Licensing Authorities. As per the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, drugs specified in Schedule H, H1 or Schedule X cannot be sold except on and in accordance with the prescription of a Registered Medical Practitioner. The supply of prescription drugs can be effected only by or under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist from a licensed premises. As such, the State Licensing Authorities are required to monitor the sale of medicines and take regulatory action in case of any contravention in terms of the Rules.
The Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC), in its 48th meeting held on 24th July, 2015, constituted a sub-committee to examine the issue of sale of drugs on internet, after taking into account the risks and concerns related to such sales. The report of the sub-committee has not been finalised.
The Drug Controller General (India) has sent a letter on 30.12.2015 to all State/UT Drug Controllers requesting them to put a strict vigil on the online sale of medicines and take action against those indulging in online sale of medicines in violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules.
Model Police Act:-
Government had constituted a Committee to draft a Model Police Act, which was published in 2006. A copy of the draft Model Police Act, as framed by the Committee, was forwarded to States for consideration and appropriate action, on 31st October, 2006. The Model Police Act, 2006 was studied again and reviewed in line with the changing realities and making ‘Police’ more responsive, efficient and citizen friendly. Thus, a revised Model Police Bill, 2015 has been prepared and placed in public domain for comments.
The Model Act emphasized the need to have a professional police ‘service’ in a democratic society, which is efficient, effective, responsive to the needs of the people and accountable to the Rule of Law. The Act provided for social responsibilities of the police and emphasizes that the police would be governed by the principles of impartiality and human rights norms, with special attention to protection of weaker sections including minorities (preamble to the Act). The other salient features of Model Act include:
• Functional autonomy: While recognising that the police is an agency of the State and therefore accountable to the elected political executive, the Committee has specifically outlined the role of Superintendence of the State Government over the police. (Section 39). The Model Police Act suggested creation of a State Police Board (Sections 42-50) to frame broad policy guidelines for promoting efficient, responsive and accountable policing etc. Merit-based selection and appointment of the Director General of Police, ensuring security of tenures (Section 6), setting up of Establishment Committees (Section 53) to accept and examine complaints from police officers about being subjected to illegal orders, to recommend names of suitable officers to State Government for posting to all positions in the ranks of Assistant/ Deputy Superintendents and above in the police organisation in the State excluding the DGP etc.
• Encouraging professionalism: To ensure an efficient, responsive and professional police service, the Model Act sought earmarking dedicated staff for crime investigation; and distinct cadre for Civil police vis-à-vis Armed Police (Chapter III & IV).
• Accountability paramount: the Act prioritized police accountability, both for their performance and their conduct (Chapter V & Chapter XIII).
• Improved service conditions: The Act also aimed to provide better service conditions (Chapter XIV) to the police personnel including rationalising their working hours, one day off in each week, or compensatory benefits in lieu. It suggested creation of a Police Welfare Bureau to take care, inter alia, of health care, housing, and legal facilities for police personnel as well as financial security for the next of kin of those dying in service. It further mandates the government to provide insurance cover to all officers, and special allowances to officers posted in special wings commensurate with the risk involved.
“Public Order” and “Police” are “State subjects” falling in Entry 1&2 of List-II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. It is the State Governments/UT Administrations, which have to implement the various police reforms measures. The Centre persuades the States from time to time to bring the requisite reforms in the Police administration to meet the expectations of the people.
Key Achievements 2015-2016: Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship:-
The huge mismatch between education, employability and employment has been staring in the face of the country since the last 40 years now.
The country had more than 70 odd programs on skill development being run across 29 states through 21 different ministries. Each one had their own norms and outcomes and tracking mechanism. The multiplicity of these initiatives had diffused the impact that Skill Development could have had for the youth of India. There was no rationalisation of the process and system and the training were never outcome focused. There was limited emphasis on mapping of the skilled workforce that was required across sectors.
There have been no focused efforts towards streamlining entities working in the skill ecosystem. The country stood on the global map with the maximum number of people in the employable age-group (population between 15-60 years); waiting for some synergies to happen.
The first and foremost step that the current incumbent government took in shaping the skills landscape was the creation of a separate Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship which in the last one year has invested heavily, on restructuring and re-energising the skill ecosystem in the country. It has made some significant efforts in ensuring coordination and convergence across all initiatives and schemes that were active in the skill ecosystem.
The year 2014 saw the launch of Skill India, lead by the newly created Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), to leverage the potential of India’s aspiring youth by equipping them with the skills required to acquire sustainable livelihoods. In just 15 months MSDE has made great strides in streamlining and reinvigorating India’s skilling ecosystem. MSDE’s journey and its key achievements to date are detailed below.
1)The birth of India’s first Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
India’s challenge is immense. 54% of India’s population is below 25 years of age and over 62% of the population is the working-age group. Over 109 million incremental human resources will be required in India alone, across 24 key sectors by the year 2022. Yet, only 4.69% of the Indian population has undergone formal skills training. The lack of coordinated action dedicated to addressing the above challenges, has left India far behind, with India’s demographic dividend on the verge of transforming into a demographic nightmare.
The newly elected government created India’s first Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in July 2014 under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, to rapidly address the above challenges.
2)Key Challenges: Cementing a Fractured Ecosystem
In November 2014, India’s skilling ecosystem was highly fragmented.21 Central government Ministries and departments were implementing over 50 skill training programmes, operating in silos.
Conflicting norms between schemes, poor monitoring mechanisms, varying assessment and certification systems and the absence of a coherent vision of success, limited the effectiveness of these initiatives. Further, the government vocational training ecosystem, led by the Directorate of Training (DGT) under the Ministry of Labour was entirely divorced from the private skill training ecosystem system created by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). Entrepreneurship and vocational training were separated from each other. Therefore, MSDE, as the lead Ministry for skill training and entrepreneurship and was tasked with coordinating, steering and ensuring coherence within this fractured ecosystem.
MSDE’s first step was to connect the different elements of the ecosystem together. Two verticals from DGT (Training and Apprenticeship), were transferred to MSDE in April 2015. Further, two major Entrepreneurship Development Institutes, were also shifted under MSDE, from the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises.
With the bulk of Skill training and Entrepreneurship efforts now firmly under its ambit, MSDE made three crucial policy interventions, focussed on articulating an overarching vision for skill development in India, and ensure coordination, coherence and consistency of all skill training efforts across the country.
3)Policy Interventions: A Clear Policy Framework for Skilling Established for the first time in India
- India’s First National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 created to rejuvenate India’s skill ecosystem: The Policy articulates an overarching framework for skilling at scale and speed while ensuring high quality outcomes.
- India’s first National Skill Development Mission launched in July 2015 to coordinate and Scale up Skilling Efforts. The Mission seeks to converge, coordinate, implement and monitor skilling activities on a pan-India basis.
- Common Norms for skill development schemes across India notified to ensure standardisation: In November 2014, there were 52 programs running across different Ministries, each of which had their own training norms and standards. To ensure standardisation and consistency in the structure of skill training initiatives across India, Common Norms forall skill development programmes across Central Ministries/Departments were notified on 15 July 2015, after extensive Inter-Ministerial Consultations
- Operationalisation of National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) in progress: The NSQF was created to ensure consistency in measuring the outcomes of skill training. Over 1461qualifications from both the NSDC and ITI ecosystems have been already been aligned to NSQF. By December 2016, all government skill training programmes will be NSQF aligned.
A National Board for Skills Assessment and Certification will be established to ensure quality and consistency of skill training qualifications. The Board will combine industry-led SSC certification processes and government authorized NCVT certification and will act as a one stop shop for examinations, assessments and awarding national level certificates in compliance with NSQF, for skill development courses in the country.
Nari Shakti Puraskar-2015’ conferred on 22 Institutions/Individuals by the President:-
Nari Shakti Puraskar include Institutional awards in 6 categories instituted in the name of illustrious daughters of India i.e. Rani Rudramma Devi, Mata Jijabai, Kannagi Devi, Rani Gaidinliu Zeliang, Devi Ahilyabai Holkar and Rani Lakshmibai. Besides, there are Individual awards in two categories for courage & bravery and for making outstanding contributions to women’s endeavour / community work/ making a difference / women empowerment.
‘Chaitanya Prem Rath’:-
To commemorate the “500th Anniversary of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s coming to Vrindavan”, Vrindavan Research Institute, Vrindavan has been organizing a number of programmes with the financial support of Ministry of Culture.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ( 1486 – 1534 ) was a Bengali spiritual teacher and a Bhakti saint. He is believed by his devotees to be Krishna himself who appeared in the form of His own devotee in order to teach the people of this world the process of Bhakti and how to attain the perfection of life. He is considered as the most merciful manifestation of Krishna. Chaitanya was the proponent for the Vaishnava school of Bhakti yoga (meaning loving devotion to God), based on Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita.Of various incarnations of Vishnu, he is revered as Krishna, popularised the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra and composed the Siksastakam (eight devotional prayers) in Sanskrit. His followers, Gaudiya Vaishnavas, revere him as a Krishna with the mood and complexion of his source of inspiration Radha
The Vaishnavite movement spread in the east through the efforts of Chaitanya (1484-1533). Chaitanya considered Krishna not as a mere incarnation of Vishnu but as the highest form of God. The devotion for Krishna was expressed through Sankirtans (hymn session by devotees) which took place in homes, temples and even street processions. Like other Bhakti saints, Chaitanya too was willing to welcome everyone, irrespective of caste, into the fold. The saints thus promoted a sense of equality amongst the people.
Achievements made by DRDO:-
Some of the major products/systems developed by DRDO and accepted/inducted by Armed Forces are:
- Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’
- Remotely Piloted Vehicle ‘Nishant’
- Pilotless Target Aircraft ‘Lakshya-I’
- Main Battle Tank ‘Arjun Mk-I’
- Armoured Amphibious Dozer Mk-I
- Armoured Engineer Recce Vehicle
- NBC Recce Vehicle
- Bridging Systems ‘Sarvatra’
- Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C)
- Integrated Sonar System for EKM Submarine.
- Hull Mounted Sonar.
- Short Range Battle Field Surveillance Radar
- Weapon Locating Radar ‘Swathi’
- 3D Low Level Light Weight Radar ‘Aslesha’ Mk-I
- 3D Surveillance Radar ‘Revathi’
- Electronic Warfare System for Navy ‘Sangraha’
- Electronic Warfare System for Army ‘Samyukta’
- Electronic Warfare System ‘Divya Drishti’
- Electronic Support Measure ‘Varuna’
- Commander’s Thermal Imager Mk-II for T-72, T-90 and BMP tanks
- Holographic Sights for Small Weapons
- Akash Weapon System
- Prithvi Missile for Army and Air Force
- Supersonic Cruise Missile ‘BrahMos’
- Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher System ‘Pinaka’ Mk-I
- Torpedo Advanced Light
- Heavy Weight Ship Launched Torpedo ‘Varunastra’
Soldier Support Systems:
- Computerised Pilot Selection System for Indian Air Force
- Telemedicine System for Navy
- Submarine Escape Suit
- Flame Retardant Gloves
- NBC products
- Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise GARUDA SHAKTI is conducted as part of military diplomacy between Indian and Indonesian Army alternatively in India and Indonesia respectively.
“Exercise Force -18”, the largest ground forces multinational field training exercise on ‘Humanitarian Mine Action and Peacekeeping Operations’ culminated at Pune with a closing ceremony which was presided over by General Dalbir Singh, Chief of Army Staff. The week long exercise witnessed participation of over 300 foreign participants and observers from ASEAN Plus countries.
- Archaeologists have discovered many Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Megalithic, and Neolithic tools and several Megalithic sites in north Kerala.Sites- Vanimel river basin (Kozhikode) ,Anakkayam and Cheerkkayam river basin of Chandragiri (Kasaragod).