Indian Express Explained 04/05/2020

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1)Explained: Why states are so keen about Excise Duty on liquor

Liquor shops reopened across several parts of the country.

Why is Liquor an important source of Revenue:-

  • Liquor contributes a considerable amount to exchequers of all states and Union Territories except Gujarat and Bihar which have prohibited sales.
  • some states like Tamil Nadu also impose Value Added Tax (VAT). Besides, they also charge special fees on imported foreign liquors, transport fee and label & brand registration charges.
  • few states like Uttar Pradesh have imposed “special duty on liquor” to collect funds for special purpose such as maintenance of stray cattle.

What is State Excise?

State Excise is levied mainly on liquor and other alcohol-based items.

The revenue receipts comes mainly from commodities such as country spirits, country fermented liquors, malt liquor, liquor, foreign liquors and spirits, commercial and denatured spirits and medicated wines, medicinal and toilet preparations containing alcohol, opium etc, opium, hemp and other drugs, Indian made foreign liquors, spirits and sales to canteen stores depots (CSD).

Besides, a considerable amount comes from licences, fine and confiscations of alcohol products.

What are the other sources of state’s revenue?

States’ revenue comprises broadly two categories

  1. tax revenue and
  2. Non-tax revenue.

Tax revenue is again divided into two categories: state’s own tax revenue and share in Central taxes.

State’s own tax revenue comprises mainly three principal sources:

  1. taxes on income (agricultural income tax and taxes on professions, trades, callings and employment),
  2. taxes on property and capital transactions (Land Revenue, Stamps and Registration Fees, Urban Immovable Property Tax), and
  3. taxes on commodities and services (Sales Tax, State Sales Tax/VAT, Central Sales Tax, Surcharge on Sales Tax, Receipts of Turnover Tax, Other Receipts, State Excise, Taxes on Vehicles, Taxes on Goods and Passengers, Taxes and Duties on Electricity, Entertainment Tax, State GST, and Other Taxes and Duties).

Non Tax Revenue definition: While taxation is a primary source of income for the government, it also earns some recurring income other than tax, which is called non-tax revenue.

For instance, when people avail services offered by the government, like electricity, telecommunication, DTH, broadband etc, they pay bills, which include the share of non-tax revenue as the government provides infrastructure support to facilitate the services.

The government also collects interest as non-tax revenue on the loans and funds advanced to states for various purposes. So, the government collects non-tax revenue in return for providing/facilitating any goods or services.

Explained – 2 :-India slips in press freedom rankings; Javadekar slams report

Prakash Javadekar, speaking on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day(3rd May), said his government “will expose” the surveys that portray a “bad picture about ‘Freedom of Press’ in India”.

The Minister’s comments come in the backdrop of the latest survey of the global body, Reporters Without Borders, that shows India dropping two places on the global press freedom index ranking to 142nd place in the list of 180 countries.

India’s neighbours — Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka — are ranked higher in the list.

  • Norway is ranked first in the Index for the fourth year running. China at 177, is just three places above North Korea, which is at 180.
  • PCI rejects World Press Freedom Index citing ‘lack of clarity’.

Explained 3:- Ecotone

An ecotone is an area that acts as a boundary or a transition between two ecosystems. A common example could be an area of marshland between a river and its riverbank.

Characteristics of Ecotones

  • It may be wide or narrow.
  • It is a zone of tension (as it has conditions intermediate to the bordering ecosystems).
  • It could contain species that are entirely different from those found in the bordering systems.
  • Ecotones can be natural or man-made. For example, the ecotone between an agricultural field and a forest is a man-made one.

Edge Effect

Edge effects refer to the changes in population or community structures that occur at the boundary of two habitats. Generally, there is a greater number of species found in these regions (ecotones) and this is called edge effect. The species found here are called edge species.

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