07th September 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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The power to increase the number of judges in the Supreme court of India is vested in

  1. The Parliament
  2. The President of India
  3. The Chief justice of India
  4. Law Commission of India

2)Consider the following statement regarding Financial Management Index:

1. It is published by Ministry of Panchayati Raj

2. Social Audit is one of the key parameter to judge the efficiency of state performance

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

1 only

2 only

Both 1 and 2

Neither 1 and 2

3)Konkan exercise, in news, held between India & which of the following countries

USA

Japan

UK

Australia

Prelims Specific News Items

1) The historic tripartite Karbi Anglong Accord was signed on September 4, 2021 between the government of India, government of Assam and six factions of the Karbi.

As per the accord, the armed groups shall shun their path of violence, surrender their weapons and disband their organisations within one month of the date of signing of the Karbi Anglong Peace Accord.

Under it, all camps occupied by karbi groups shall be vacated right after.

Thousands of militants would return to the mainstream and will also lay down about 300 sophisticated arms they possess.

Salient features of this agreement:- 

  1. The agreement provides that, the Government of Assam will consider favourably a proposal of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) to notify Karbi as official language of KAAC. English, Hindi and Assamese will continue to be used as official languages.
  2. Government of India will allocate Rs 500 crore (Rs 100 crore a year) to development KAAC.
  3. Government of Assam will allocate Rs 500 crore for the development projects that will be taken up as part of special package.
  4. Army, paramilitary forces and police will have to organise a special drive to recruit the Karbi youth.
  5. Non-heinous cases filed against the armed groups will be withdrawn by the Assam government in accordance with the law. However, the call for heinous cases will be taken on a case-to-case basis.
  6. Assam government will be providing financial compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the next of kin of persons who lost their lives in agitations demanding autonomous State.

2)Tamil Nadu recently announced its plan to set up India’s first Dugong Conservation Reserve in the Palk Bay on the southeast coast. Highlights Dugong or sea cow is an endangered marine mammal. It is facing extinction because of habitat loss, sea pollution, and loss of seagrass. Dugong is found in Gulf of Mannar and palk bay.

Dugong is a sea mammal and is the only living species of the order Sirenia. The mammal is restricted to coastal habitat because of seagrass, which is a major part of its diet. They have a distinct dolphin-like tail, different skull form and teeth pattern. Its closest relative is Steller’s Sea cow, which got extinction in eighteenth century. The IUCN has listed dugong as a “vulnerable to extinction species”.

3) India to be the first Asian Country to launch a plastics pact:– World-Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF India) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have joined hands to develop a platform to promote a circular system for plastics. The new platform called, the ‘India Plastic Pact,’ was launched by British High Commissioner to India, Alexander Ellis.

India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, of which 40 per cent is not collected; about half of all plastics produced in the country are used in packaging, most of it is single use in nature. 

Commitments made under the pact aim to keep plastic packaging in the economy and out of the natural environment. 

The pact, like similar one, has time-bound targets for reducing, innovating and re-imagining plastic packaging. Targets to be achieved by 2030 include defining a list of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging and items and take measures to address them through redesign and innovation. About 100 per cent of plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable, 50 per cent of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled and 25 per cent average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

4) Manda buffalo gets ‘unique breed’ tag :– The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has recognised the Manda buffalo, found in the Eastern Ghats and plateau of Koraput region of Odisha, as the 19th unique breed of buffaloes found in India.

The Manda are resistant to parasitic infections, less prone to diseases and can thrive on modest resources.
This buffalo germplasm was first identified through a survey conducted by the Animal Resource Development (ARD) department of Odisha in collaboration with the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT)

5) What is the ‘food emergency’ in Sri Lanka? :- There are two three specific reasons for this :-

  • Ban on import on certain chemicals used for Farming due to push for organic farming. This has lead to a great impact on the productivity.
  • Loss of Productivity leads to Inflation and rise of Price.
  • There is very little FOREX Reserve available with Sri Lanka and that is Causing the currency to weaken further which further raises the Inflation and is causing a serious BOP Crisis type situation.

6) Greece creates a Ministry to deal with climate crisis :- Greece’s center right government has created a new Ministry to address the impact of climate change and named former European Union commissioner Christos Stylianides as Minister. Mr. Stylianides, 63, who served as commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management between 2014 and 2019, was appointed in the wake of wildfires that burned more than 1,000 square km of forest on the island of Evia and in southern Greece

Island of Evia

Editorial of the Day THE LONG AND SHORT OF NMP

Synopsis: Pertinent questions, in the light of the recently announced NMP, have been raised in the article. Questions are related to the impact of NMP on ordinary citizens, whether NMP was the only option before the govt, and whether public sector enterprises are actually inefficient.

Background
How will NMP impact the citizens of India?

Double taxation: With private companies getting the sole responsibility of running all these assets, from highways and railways to all the major utilities such as power, telecom and gas, the citizens of India would be double-taxed. First, they paid taxes to create the assets, and would now pay higher user charges. Private sector is geared towards profit maximisation, not social benefit. Therefore, as the Government prepares to transfer “performing assets” to the private companies, it has the responsibility to ensure that user are not charged very high prices. This critical dimension has not clearly been spelt out even in the NITI report.

Was asset monetisation the only option?

Since the proposed asset monetisation has resulted from the resource shortage faced by the Government, a pertinent question is whether there were other avenues that it could have been tapped for plugging the resource gap.

Increase tax revenue: One possibility was to increase the tax revenue. At 17.4% in 2019-20, India’s tax to GDP ratio was relatively low, as compared to most advanced nations. Improvements in tax compliance and plugging loopholes have long been emphasized as the surest way to improve tax revenue, but little has been done, on this front.

Example: Since 2005-06, the Government has been providing data on the profits declared and taxes paid by companies that file their returns electronically.This data reveals that in 2005-06, 40% of these companies had declared that they were not earning any profits, and this figure had increased to over 51% in 2018-19.Further, the share of the reporting companies earning profits of ₹1 crore or less was 55% in 2005-06; this figure had declined to 43% in 2018-19.

These numbers show that India’s large companies have been exploiting the loopholes for reporting lower profits and to escape the tax net.

Are public enterprises inefficient?

According to NITI Aayog, the “strategic objective of the Asset Monetisation programme is to unlock the value of investments in public sector assets by tapping private sector capital and efficiencies”.

The NITI Aayog objective assumes that public sector enterprises are inefficient, which is contrary to the reality. In 2018-19, while 28% of these enterprises were loss-making, the corresponding figure for large companies was 51%.

So is it realistic to assume that the asset monetisation programme would deliver efficiencies?

Source: This post is based on the article “The long and the short of the NMP” published in The Hindu on 7th Sep 2021.

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