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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 26, 2017

 


The Hindu


NATIONAL


[1]. Name bridge after Hazarika’

[2]. Prices of 31 more drugs capped


EDITORIAL


[1]. Bail or jail

[2]. Should agricultural income be taxed?


ECONOMY


[1]. In-Fight Wi-Fi Net access soon

[2]. Centre alters definition of a start-up


NATIONAL


[1]. Name bridge after Hazarika’

The Hindu

Context

Ahead of the inauguration of India’s longest bridge, there are calls to name it after the legendary Assamese singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika

The Dhola-Sadiya Bridge

PM will inaugurate the 9.15-km Dhola-Sadiya Bridge over Lohit river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra. The bridge in Tinsukia district is located over 500-km from Assam’s Capital Dispur and 300-km from Arunachal Pradesh’s Capital Itanagar

  • The bridge will bring upper Assam closer to eastern Arunachal Pradesh and is estimated to reduce travel time by four hours
  • The bridge will also make it much easier for Army convoys to reach outposts near the China border

Sadiya

Sadiya had served as one of the administrative headquarters of the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA), as Arunachal was known as earlier, when Hazarika was born in 1926 until the devastating earthquake in 1950.

Why Hazarika?

A cultural icon, he can be identified as a man of assimilation, who connected various big and small communities of the region like a golden thread in the North East

[2]. Prices of 31 more drugs capped

The Hindu

Context

What has happened?

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) capped the prices of 31 more drugs

Additions to price control

The notification brings under price control

  • Intrauterine devices used for birth control
  • Factor VIII, a life-saving medicine for haemophilic patients
  • Morphine, a pain killer
  • Rifampcin, a powerful antibiotic used to treat infections such as tuberculosis and leprosy

So, how many drugs are now under price control?

With these 31 drugs, the NPPA has brought 791 medicines under price control

  • There are 829 drugs on the National List of Essential Medicines, 2015, all of which will be brought under price control

Backdrop

In December 2015, the government had updated the NLEM list


Editorial


[1]. Bail or jail

The Hindu

Context

Article talks about the latest report of the law commission

Author’s contention

Author states that the report of Law commission deserves urgent attention

Observations

  • Inadequate bail system: The existing system of bail in India is inadequate and inefficient to accomplish its purpose
    • The main reason that 67% of the current prison population is made up of undertrials is the great inconsistency in the grant of bail
    • Poverty: Many undertrials are not able to fulfill the financial obligations i.e. bail bonds, to avail a bail

Recommendations

The Law Commission recommends,

  • Those detained for an offence that would attract up to seven years’ imprisonment be released on completing one-third of that period, and those charged with offences attracting a longer jail term, after they complete half of that period
  • For those who had spent the whole period as undertrials, the period undergone may be considered for remission
  • An illustrative list of conditions that could be imposed in lieu of sureties or financial bonds. It advocates the need to impose the “least restrictive conditions”

Way forward

Bail reform is not a panacea, as per the report of law commission. Be it overcrowded prisons or unjust incarceration of the poor, the solution lies in expediting the trial process

[2]. Should agricultural income be taxed?

The Hindu

Context

Article centers on the recent debate of taxing agricultural income in India

Not a new issue

  • In 1925, a committee was set up to assess the feasibility of taxing agriculture income
  • KN Raj committee: The most famous attempt in post-Independence India was the K.N. Raj committee report of 1972, which also examined feasibility and implementation issues
  • Kelkar task force: The Kelkar task force report of 2002 estimated that 95% of the farmers were below the tax threshold

The underlying argument

Author states that the underlying argument in the current discussion is to bring more people under the tax net to expand the tax base and also curb tax evasion because income from other sources is usually shown as agricultural income and thus evasion is easy

Two alarming features of post-reform era

  • Poor growth of agriculture sector: The relative contribution of agricultural income to India’s gross domestic product has shrunk at an alarming rate
    • High workforce dependence: During the period 1991 to 2016, the share of agriculture decreased from 32% to 15%. Compared with this, the workforce dependence on agriculture is still very high, at 49.7%
  • Unequal concentration of wealth: the process of economic development has led to the concentration of income and wealth in a few hands, leading to the unprecedented rise of the number of billionaires in India

Other issues

  • Education and health privatisation has increased the cost of rural households and the burden of all this has adversely impacted agricultural households

Agrarian distress

  • The average per month income of a farm household in India in 2012-13 as per the National Sample Survey Office was just Rs. 6,491
  • The income-expenditure gap for a majority of farmers is in the negative
  • More than one-third of the farmers have expressed their choice to leave the non-remunerative occupation
  • The agrarian distress has been deepening, and there has been a rise in farmer suicides

Conclusion

The agrarian sector is in deep crisis. Instead of finding a viable policy to solve the crisis, floating the idea of taxing farming income is a great disservice to the sector

Read More: You can read more on this issue here


Economy


[1]. In-Fight Wi-Fi Net access soon

The Hindu

Context

Live Internet streaming is not possible on flights over India under present law

What has happened?

On-board Wi-Fi may soon become a reality as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sent a revised proposal that will enable in-flight access to voice, data and video services. A large number of countries, including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, permit the use of Internet on flights

What the centre needs to do?

The Centre will need to amend the Telegraph Act, 1885, as well as the related Indian Telegraphy Rules to provide on-board Wi-Fi services

Present situation

  • At present, both domestic and international passengers are unable to use in-flight Internet services over Indian airspace
  • Even international airlines that offer such a facility to its passengers have to discontinue the service while the aircraft is flying over the Indian airspace

Importance of IFC

  • Improvement in safety: In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) promises to substantially improve safety of airlines as it enables
    • Flight tracking in respect of aircraft in near real time reporting latitude, longitude, altitude, true heading and ground speed
    • Streaming of flight data recorder of the aircraft in real-time
    • Facilitation of real time intervention for safety and security based on flight data monitoring

[2]. Centre alters definition of a start-up

The Hindu

Context

Broadening of the definition of a start up

What has happened?

The Centre has amended the definition of a start-up by broadening the term to include scalability of business model with a potential for employment generation or wealth creation.

  • Moreover, an entity shall be deemed as a start-up up to seven years from the date of its incorporation

Earlier situation

  • A Letter of Recommendation from an incubator/industry body for recognition or tax benefits has been done away with
  • For the biotechnology sector, the period is up to 10 years

 

 

 

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