India daily

India daily: 04/05/2018

1. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme

Context: The Ministry of Women and Child Development recently held a National Conference of 244 Districts under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) in New Delhi. The Nodal Officers of 244 Districts, State Nodal Officers and Senior officers were part of the conference.

 

About BBBP:

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched in January, 2015. The scheme is aimed at promoting gender equality and the significance of educating girls.
  • The Scheme is targeted at improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral interventions including prevention of gender biased sex selection and promoting girls’ education and her holistic empowerment.
  • It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.

 

Concerns:

  • The low and falling child sex ratio in the country is a matter of policy concern, not only because it violates the human rights of unborn and infant girls but also because it deprives the country of the potential economic and social contribution of these ‘missing women’.
  • In addition, there may be longer-run adverse impacts from a marriage market squeeze caused by an excess supply of male relative to female youth. Already, states like Haryana and Punjab, where the sex ratio has been extremely distorted for several decades, have been experiencing bride trafficking.

 

Way ahead:

Declining sex ratio is a silent emergency. But the crisis is real, and its persistence has profound and frightening implications for society and the future of humankind. Clearly, there is a need to go beyond slogans and institute tangible schemes. Enforcement of the law that prohibits determination of the sex of the foetus must go hand in hand with massive social investments to protect both immediate and long-term prospects of girls — in the form of cash incentives through registration of births, a continuum of health care, early educational opportunities and social protection. Half-measures cannot produce a dramatic reversal of the shameful national record.

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2. Umang App

Context: EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) has announced the introduction of a new service for pensioners through the Umang App. Under the new facility, a pensioner can view his pension passbook on the app.

 

About Umang app:

What is it?

  • Umang is an initiative to promote Digital India program. The term — Umang stands for Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance and is envisaged to make e-governance. The application is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) in order to drive Mobile Governance in India.
  • The key goal of launching this application is to allow the citizens of India do everything online, at just a click – be it making a passport, Aadhaar or Pan, book a gas cylinder, know about your Provident fund account or resolving an Aadhaar related. Umang app basically provides a unified approach where you can install one application to avail multiple government services — almost over 100 of them.

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3. Asian Development Bank (ADB)

 

Context: 51st Annual Meeting of Asian Development Bank (ADB) is being held in Manila, Philippines. The Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors is an opportunity to provide guidance on ADB administrative, financial, and operational directions.

 

About ADB:

It is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 and is headquartered in Philippines. It aims to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia. It also aims for an Asia and Pacific free from poverty.

 

Membership:

  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly known as the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East) and non-regional developed countries.
  • Currently, it has 67 members – of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.

 

Voting:

ADB was modelled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with member’s capital subscriptions.

 

Funding:

  • ADB raises funds through bond issues on the world’s capital markets.
  • ADB also rely on its members’ contributions, retained earnings from its lending operations, and the repayment of loans.
  • Japan holds the largest proportions of shares at 15.67%. The United States holds 15.56%, China holds 6.47%, India holds 6.36%, and Australia holds 5.81%.

 

Board of Governors:

  • It is the highest policy-making body of the bank.
  • It is composed of one representative from each member state.
  • The Board of Governors also elect the bank’s President who is the chairperson of the Board of Directors and manages ADB.
  • The Alternate Board of Governors are nominated by Board of Governors of ADB’s 67 to represent them at the Annual Meeting that meets formally once year to be held in a member country.

 

Loans:

It offers both Hard Loans and Soft loans. The ADB offers “hard” loans from ordinary capital resources (OCR) on commercial terms, and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) affiliated with the ADB extends “soft” loans from special fund resources with concessional conditions.

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4. World Gold Council

Context: As per WGC’s ‘Gold Demand Trends’ report, the global gold demand fell by 7% to 973 tonne during the January-March period this year as compared to the same period last year mainly due to a decline in investment demand.

 

Highlights of the report:

  • ETF inflows were down year-on-year.
  • Investment in gold bars and coins was down.
  • Jewelry demand was flat.
  • Central banks bought more gold.
  • Gold supply up 3 percent year-on-year.

 

About World Gold Council:

  • The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry. It works across all parts of the industry, from gold mining to investment, and their aim is to stimulate and sustain demand for gold.
  • The World Gold Council is an association whose members comprise the world’s leading gold mining companies. It helps to support its members to mine in a responsible way and developed the Conflict Free Gold Standard.
  • Headquartered in the UK, they have offices in India, China, Singapore, Japan and the United States.

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5. Advance Pricing Agreement

Context: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) recently achieved another milestone of having signed its 200th Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (UAPA). The total number of APAs entered into by CBDT has gone up to 220, which, inter alia include 20 Bilateral APAs.

 

About the APA scheme:

  • The APA scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the “rollback” provisions were introduced in 2014. The scheme endeavors to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the prices of international transactions in advance.
  • Since its inception, the APA scheme has evinced a lot of interest from taxpayers and that has resulted in more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) being filed so far in about five years.
  • The progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime. The Indian APA program has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.

 

About CBDT:

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. It is a part of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
  • It provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is also responsible for administration of the direct tax laws through Income Tax Department.
  • It is also India’s official Financial Action Task Force unit.
  • The CBDT Chairman and Members of CBDT are selected from Indian Revenue Service (IRS) whose members constitute the top management of Income Tax Department.

 

 

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