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Economic Survey 2018 reveals 10 new facts about Indian economy

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Economic Survey

New Delhi, Jan 29: Highlighting the key achievements of the current fiscal — the impact of GST, India’s egalitarian export structure, the preference of the Indian society for a male child and lower tax collections — the Economic Survey 2017-18 has unveiled 10 new facts about the Indian economy.

(1) There has been a large increase in registered indirect and direct taxpayers: A 50 per cent increase in unique indirect taxpayers under the GST compared with the pre-GST system. Similarly, there has been an addition (over and above trend growth) of about 1.8 million in individual income tax filers since November 2016.

(2) The formal non-agricultural payroll is much greater than believed: More than 30 per cent when formality is defined in terms of social security (EPFO/ESIC) provisions; more than 50 per cent when defined in terms of being in the GST net.

(3) The prosperity of the states is correlated with their international and inter-state trade: states that export more internationally, and trade more with other states, tend to be richer. But the correlation is stronger between prosperity and international trade.

(4) India’s firm export structure is substantially more egalitarian than in other large countries: The top one per cent of Indian firms account for 38 per cent of exports; in all other countries, they account for a substantially greater share (72, 68, 67, and 55 per cent of exports in Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and US, respectively). And this is true for the top five per cent, 10 per cent, and so on.

(5) The clothing incentive package boosted exports of ready-made garments: The relief from embedded state taxes (ROSL) announced in 2016 boosted exports of ready-made garments (but not others) by about 16 per cent.

(6) Indian society exhibits strong son “Meta” preference: Parents continue to have children until they get the desired number of sons. This kind of fertility-stopping rule leads to skewed sex ratios but in different directions.

(7) There is substantial avoidable litigation in the tax arena which government action could reduce: The tax department’s petition rate is high, even though its success rate in litigation is low and declining (well below 30 per cent). Only 0.2 per cent of cases accounted for 56 per cent of the value at stake; whereas about 66 per cent of pending cases (each less than Rs 10 lakh) accounted for only 1.8 per cent of the value at stake.

(8) To re-ignite growth, raising investment is more important than raising saving: cross-country experience shows that growth slowdowns are preceded by investment slowdowns but not necessarily by savings slowdowns.

(9) Own direct tax collections by Indian states and local governments are significantly lower than those of their counterparts in other federal countries: This share is low relative to the direct taxation powers they actually have.

(10) The footprint of climate change is evident and extreme weather adversely impacts agricultural yields: The impact of weather is felt only with extreme temperature increases and rainfall deficiencies. This impact is twice as large in unirrigated areas as in irrigated ones.

India

Govt to move six Bills in LS for passage on Monday

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Parliament of India

The central government is slated to move six Bills, including four pertaining to ordinances, for passage in the Lok Sabha on Monday. These Bills will be moved soon after the House assembles for the day at 3 pm.

The Bills are related to the Ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, and Health.

These are the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020; Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020; Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

As per the legislative Business of the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah’s name is listed to move the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, for passage.

The FCRA Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Sunday to make earlier law more stringent and make Aadhaar number mandatory for registration and give government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.

The Bill, which seeks amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, proposes to include “public servants” in the prohibited category and decrease administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20 per cent from 50 per cent earlier.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, as passed by the Rajya Sabha, for consideration and passage.

The Bill will replace the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on June 5 this year.

She will also move the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill provides amendment to the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will move the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill will replace the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 22 this year.

The Minister will also move the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

Harsh Vardhan will later move the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for its passage. The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

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SC on Shaheen Bagh: Right to protest must not hamper right to mobility of others

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday said Right to Protest of one section has to be in balance with others’ Right to Mobility on a public road, as everyone has the right to move from one place to another and this right cannot be prejudiced by blocking a public road to hold protests.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Krishna Murari and Aniruddha Bose after nearly a gap of seven months took up the pleas against the anti-CAA protesters blocking the public road at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi.

At the beginning of the hearing the bench queried the petitioners if they were willing to withdraw the plea. One of the petitioners replied that they were not.

Advocate Amit Sahni, another petitioner in the matter, argued that these kind of incidents should not repeat in future and in the larger public interest a decision must be taken in the matter.

Advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for intervenors, argued before the bench that right to peacefully protest is absolute, and it is the right of the people to protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens as a concept.

Justice Kaul said we are not disputing your right to peacefully protest. Sahni urged the bench to keep this matter pending and an elaborate order may be passed.

Pracha submitted that “some people went to the protest place and then riots happened, and I don’t want to name them”. He added that the number of protesters cannot be shown in bad light by misusing the state machinery.

“It is not that state machinery is absolutely right. Why a person connected with a political party went their and riots happened,” argued Pracha, citing need for a universal policy on right to protest peacefully.

Justice Bose replied that the right to protest needs to be balanced out with the mobility on public road. Justice Kaul said there cannot be a universal policy as situation vary and cited process of debate in the Parliament.

“The place where it becomes problematic, we have to see where it can be balanced out,” noted the bench. Justice Kaul also appreciated the interlocutors, who helped the court in finding a solution to the matter.

The bench noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created another dimension.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, objected to Pracha’s argument. ‘Right to assemble is subjected to reasonable restrictions….We have places like Jantar Mantar, where protest can be held, but blocking of roads cannot be allowed,” said Mehta.

The bench agreed with Centre’s contention that people can’t claim absolute right to hold protest but said that people have right to hold peaceful protests, and this shouldn’t cause inconvenience to general public.

The bench, reserving the order in the matter in the petitions seeking removal of protestors from Shaheen Bagh, said that the matter has become infructuous due to supervening circumstance of Covid with protestors vacating the road, but added that it will pass a short order to deal with such situations.

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Mamata fumes at suspension of MPs

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Mamata Banerjee

 West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday condemned the suspension of eight MPs who fought to protect the interests of farmers in Parliament, dubbing the move as “unfortunate”.

Banerjee also came down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre protesting its “undemocratic norms and principles” of functioning.

“Suspension of the eight MPs who fought to protect farmers’ interests is unfortunate and reflective of this autocratic Government’s mindset that doesn’t respect democratic norms and principles,” Banerjee tweeted.

Eight opposition members, including Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien, were suspended from the Rajya Sabha this morning for the rest of the session over unprecedented chaos in the Upper House during the passing of controversial farm bills on Sunday.

Besides O’Brien, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Sanjay Singh, Congress’s Rajeev Satav and CPI-M’s KK Ragesh, were told they had displayed “unruly behaviour especially with the Chair and gross disorderly conduct”.

“We won’t bow down and we will fight this fascist Government in Parliament and on the streets,” the Trinamool supremo added in her tweet, accusing the BJP of killing democracy in the country.

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