Late last week, India witnessed its biggest taxation reform Goods and Services Tax (GST). The GST provision, requiring any good more than Rs 50,000 in value to be pre-registered online before it can be moved, is likely to kick in from October after a centralised software platform is ready, a top official said. The provision, called the e-way bill, would be implemented after infrastructure for smooth generation of registration and its verification through hand-held devices with tax officials is ready. The full impact of GST on smartphone prices is still not completely clear, the government’s decision to impose 10% import duty on smartphones is sure to boost ‘made in India’ smartphones. The information technology platform for the e-way bill system is being developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) along with GST-Network — the company which has developed the IT backbone for the new indirect tax regime. The Centre has also decided to relax the timeline provision under which the e-way bill generated by GSTN for 20 days for goods travelling more than 1,000 km. Earlier, this was 15 days. As per the provision, GSTN would generate e-way bills that will be valid for 1-20 days, depending on distance to be travelled — one day for 100 km, 3 days (100 to less than 300 km), 5 days (300-less than 500 km) and 10 days (500-less than 1,000 km).
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will boost the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), noted a recent joint study by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Ashvin Parekh Advisory Services (APAS). It will bring many positives compared to the current systems such as easy process of availing input credit, single point tax, elimination of cascading tax system, and simpler taxation. There is no doubt that GST is aimed to increase the taxpayer base and would put some burden of compliance and associated costs to MSME. But eventually, it will turn these MSMEs more competitive with a level playing field between large enterprises and them.
A lack of strong opening partnerships for India in the Women’s World Cup has become a worrying sign for the team as they succemed to the spirited South African Women as first taste of failure in the tournament. With the competetion growing more competetive and the tournament growing more professional with global exposure and media coverage like never seen before, a strong start is the needof of hour considering the brittle middle order and lac of strong stroke players in the middle line up. India’s openers Punam Raut and Smriti Mandhana scored 22 and 4 respectively as their partnership was broken in the second over of the chase. Since their dominating partnership of 144 in the first match against England, India’s openers have produced stands of 0 against West Indies, 7 against Pakistan and 21 against Sri Lanka. The bowlers have done a decent job of holding in the middle overs and defending any totals their batters have given. India, placed second with eight points, will face Australia and New Zealand in the remaining matches while South Africa, placed fourth with seven points, will take on Sri Lanka and Australia.
Strengthening of health systems is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). India has prioritized strengthening health systems as a non-negotiable strategy towards achieving SDGs. This was stated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare during his addresses at the ‘BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting at Tianjin, China, today. The Union Health Minister spoke on the theme – ‘Strengthen Health System and Achieve Health-Related SDGs.’ In his address, he stressed on the importance of building strong and resilient health systems and said that the case for strengthening health systems stems from the basic realization that even the most well-crafted or well-designed health interventions cannot succeed without a strengthened health system that encompasses improvements in healthcare service provision, utilization, quality and efficiency of healthcare services delivered including adoption of healthy behaviours and practices. The Health Minister further stated that the health sector adds direct economic value by expanding the number of jobs, investing in infrastructure projects and purchasing supplies needed for health-care delivery. He informed the participants that the National Health Policy, 2017 adopted by India is well aligned with the SDG-3 targets. The new policy enunciates health in all policies, comprehensive primary healthcare, organisation of public healthcare delivery, improving vaccines and drug security and progressive movement towards universal health coverage. He further added that the National Health Mission (NHM), one of the largest health programmes in the world, represents the prime vehicle to achieve the SDG-3, and in its next phase is aligning its goals with the National Health Policy 2017 and the SDG-3. Highlighting the achievements of India in the health sector, he stated that India has expanded the number of vaccines under Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) and launched Mission Indradhanush aimed at expanding coverage by reaching the unreached. India has taken various measures to augment both number, quality and skill mix and geographical distribution to address shortage of critical health human resource such as increasing medical seats, upgradation of District Hospitals to Medical colleges in underserved areas, establishing new AIIMS. The Health Minister further informed that free dialysis services are provided free of cost to the poor under the recently launched Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme which is on Public Private Partnership mode. The proposed National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) envisages inclusion of preventive care, robust IT platform, strong grievance redressal mechanism in addition to expanding both population and benefit coverage and providing an additional coverage to senior citizens. He also stated that to address the growing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) on account of premature mortality and morbidity, India has launched a universal Population-based free screening, control and management programme for five common NCDs is envisaged to translate into one of the largest population based screening and management programmes in the world in next few years. Reiterating the commitment of the Government of India, he said that India stands unwavering in its commitment towards synergizing collaboration with BRICS countries especially through the ‘BRICS Framework for Collaboration on Strategic Projects in Health’
Urging scientists to solve the basic issues like water and sanitation, confronting the common people, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that scientific research should reach the public. Launching the National Carbonaceous Aerosols Programme Project (NCAP) on Carbonaceous aerosol emissions, source apportionment and climate impacts (NCAP-COALESCE project) at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay today, the Environment Minister said that scientists should work at the grassroots level. The Minister emphasized that there should be synergy and coordination between the various scientific and technical institutions working for the common goal to combat climate change. The Environment Minister emphasized that climate change and global warming is the talk of the world and this project will be a milestone in our history. He also stressed that carbonaceous aerosols are a matter of great concern on the issue of climate change. He also urged the student community to set ambitious goals and work relentlessly to achieve them. The Minister expressed the hope that project will encourage our scientists to address important questions, generate new and impactful knowledge and produce research outputs which are second to none in the world. The Minister informed that organisations like ISRO are working in the field of Carbon Emissions. He suggested that there should be a synergy between various organisations working in a particular field. He emphasised that the country needs environmental soldiers. The Minister disclosed that a data bank of environment friendly practises is being prepared. For this joint secretaries from the centre are being sent to various regions across the country. The NCAP-COALESCE project was launched as part of India’s National Climate Action Programme. Under the leadership of IIT Bombay’s Interdisciplinary Programme in Climate Studies, this multi-institutional, coordinated project, would enable teamwork in cutting-edge fundamental research to understand the sources, fate and impacts of carbonaceous aerosols, on climate change in the Indian region. The project would be a key step to build a strong knowledge base for India related to short lived climate pollutants, including carbonaceous aerosols, as part of India’s broad commitment to climate action. Research activities in the NCAP-COALESCE project should lead to significant advances in our understanding of key areas within carbonaceous aerosol influence on climate change. Importantly, the project would also contribute towards building scientific capacity, through training of M.Sc., M.Tech. and Ph.D. students as well as the creation of infrastructure and systems at the participating institutions. It is envisaged that the project would strengthen scientific networks and provide key new knowledge to underpin government decision making in regard to climate change. Over a period of time, the NCAP-COALESCE project would emerge as an important knowledge and information resource to support national and state actions responding to climate change caused by carbonaceous aerosols.
The leaders of the 5 BRICS countries held an informal meeting on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. This was in run up to the forthcoming 9th BRICS Summit in September in Xiamen, China. President Xi of China said he looked forward to welcoming the BRICS leaders. In their interventions, the leaders discussed preparations and priorities for the forthcoming Xiamen BRICS Summit. Prime Minister mentioned that BRICS has been a strong voice and needs to show leadership on terrorism and global economy. He stressed that G20 should collectively oppose terrorism financing, franchises, safe havens, support and sponsors. Referring to reforms in India, including the recent introduction of GST, PM stated that it was necessary to work together for sustained global economic recovery. He advocated collective voice against the practices of protectionism, especially in the spheres of trade and movement of knowledge and professionals. He reiterated India’s commitment to implementing Paris Agreement in letter and spirit and described its implementation globally as essential to fighting climate change. He called for expeditious action to establish BRICS rating agency and stated that cooperation on development of Africa should be a priority. He also called for greater people-to-people exchanges. The Prime Minister appreciated momentum in BRICS under the Chairmanship of President Xi and extended full cooperation and best wishes for the BRICS Xiamen Summit. Concluding the meeting immediately after PM’s remarks, President Xi appreciated India’s strong resolve against terrorism and the momentum in BRICS introduced under India’s Chairmanship and through the outcomes of the Goa Summit in 2016. He also appreciated India’s success in economic and social development and wished India even bigger success.
The condition of our forests, rivers, air and land is a matter of serious concern. The reason for this is the modern lifestyle adopted. Leading the plantation drive at District Park, Paschim Vihar to mark Van Mahotsav celebrations here today, the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said. He added that climate change and global warming are burning issues of the world and attempts are being made at various levels to resolve these issues. He also said that the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was established with the cooperation of France and ISA’s office was established in Gurugram. He also said that environment protection is connected to our culture, but we have forgotten this cultural heritage.
With a view to promote and create awareness about the National Pension System (NPS) and improve the quality of services provided to the subscribers, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is observing NPS Service Fortnight from 27th June, 2017 to 11th July 2017. During this period all the nodal offices, Pay and Account Offices and DDOs under the Central and State Governments, Points of Presence/ banks/ aggregators/ banking correspondents etc. involved with the acquisition and servicing of NPS subscribers across the country are required to provide all necessary assistance to the subscribers/ prospective subscribers, create awareness about the National Pension System, attend to their services requests, etc in a proactive manner. In order to promote awareness regarding importance of updation of latest contact details in PRANs and to provide basic facilities on the spot, the NPS Service fortnight is being organised. On this occasion, besides sharing information on the range of functionalities and services now available under the NPS, the subscribers need to be apprised about the need for constant updation of data/information under various fields to enable the system to operate at its optimum service level and enable the subscribers to make the best use of the functionalities available under NPS.
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries has established a four member GST Facilitation Cell at its office to guide the industry about the new tax regime. The ministry has created a GST cell for the purpose of implementation and facilitating the rollout of GST with immediate effect. The GST facilitation cell will provide all possible support for the rollout of the levy to the major industry and business associations related to MoFPI. This cell will serve as the first point of contact to address any issue being faced by any sector related to the ministry. The GST cell will be equipped with the complete knowledge of the relevant GST Act, rules, rate structure etc. The Ministry is in the process of organising several programmes for the industry to sensitise associates about GST, and has also planned to conduct seminars to disseminate information about the new tax regime.
In view of extremely heavy rainfall in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, North Bengal, Sikkim and parts of Bhutan in association with vigorous south west monsoon conditions and very heavy rainfall forecast in these states for the next a couple of days, river Brahmaputra and its tributaries are rising very rapidly and are threatening to flow in high flood situation in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim and North Bengal.