Current Affairs 20th August 2019

Current Affairs 20th August 2019

Current Affairs 20th August 2019 covers some important current affairs based on the examination point of view. All Current Affairs are mentioned below:-

Content Table:-

  • Panel on Direct Tax Code
  • Retirement in Central Armed Police Force's
  • Nicotine as Class A Poison
  • Environment Clearance
  • Biosimilar medicine for Cancer
  • Odisha to conserve two of its largest lakes

Panel on Direct Tax Code:-

Recently, the panel on re-writing the direct tax legislation has submitted its report and a draft of the new proposed version of the Income-tax law to the Government.

The proposals in the draft code are aimed at bringing more certainty to the taxation of personal and corporate income and capital gains, and at bringing the gist of numerous judicial pronouncements made since 1961, when the current tax law came into force, in one place for easy reference. It could improve ease of doing business and reduce the compliance burden as well as tax disputes.

Income Tax:- The Income-Tax (I-T) Act, which was drafted almost 60 years ago, needs an overhaul, but at the same time, it should be in sync with the economic circumstances of the country.

The panel on the Direct Tax Code (DTC) has suggested a rejig of personal income tax slabs, a roadmap of a corporate tax rate cut to 25% for companies, provisions to reduce the compliance burden by simplification of procedures and litigation management. It has also suggested some changes in Dividend Distribution Tax and Minimum Alternate Tax.

Background:- The Task Force, initially headed by former CBDT Member (Legislation) Arbind Modi and later on by Akhilesh Ranjan, was constituted in November 2017 in order to review the Income-tax Act and to draft a new Direct Tax Law.

Key Suggestions:-
  • In the four slabs of personal income tax currently, the panel has suggested a rejig in rates between 5 % to 20 %. As of now, for taxpayers below 60 years of age, there’s nil tax on income up to Rs 2.5 lakh, 5 % tax rate for income between Rs 2.5-5 lakh, 20 % tax rate for income between Rs 5-10 lakh and 30 % for income above Rs 10 lakh.
  • Some tweaks have also been suggested for dividend distribution tax and minimum alternate tax.
  • It has also made suggestions on reducing the compliance burden by simplification of procedures, and litigation management.

Retirement in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs):-

Union Home Ministry has directed all Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to adopt uniform retirement age of 60 years. The latest Home Ministry direction comes in the wake of a January order of the Delhi High Court where it had called the policy of different age of superannuation as discriminatory and unconstitutional and said it created two classes in the uniformed forces.

  • All personnel working in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) will now retire at a uniform age of 60 years.
  • A Home Ministry order issued has corrected the anomaly where personnel between the ranks of Constable to Commandant in four forces – CRPF, BSF, ITBP, and SSB – superannuated at the age of 57, instead of 60.
  • Officers from the rank of Deputy Inspector General up to the top-most rank of Director General in these four forces retired after attaining the age of 60.
  • However, in two other forces of the CISF and the Assam Rifles, all personnel retired at the age of 60.

Nicotine as Class A Poison:-

Karnataka has amended Poisons (Possessions and Sale) Rules 2015 by notifying nicotine as Class A poison. The move aims at strengthening the enforcement of the ban on production and sale of electronic cigarettes though Karnataka had banned the sale and production of e-cigarettes in June 2016, illegal sale and smuggling of nicotine cartridges and e-cigarettes are rampant in the State.

Background:- In August 2018, the Union Health Ministry had instructed all the States to put a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) under their jurisdiction.

  • Nicotine is a plant alkaloid that contains nitrogen, which is found in several types of plants, including the tobacco plant and can also be produced synthetically.
  • Nicotine is both a sedative and a stimulant.
  • Nicotine is used as a direct substance in e-cigarettes and the content ranges up to 36 mg/mL. Although regular cigarettes to have nicotine, it ranges between 1.2 to 1.4 mg/mL.
  • Chewing or snorting tobacco products usually releases more nicotine into the body than smoking.

Harmful Effect of Nicotine:-
  • Nicotine in humans causes irritation and burning sensation in the mouth and throat, increased salivation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • It also increases pulse rate and blood pressure.

Environment Clearance:-

The government is working to limit procedural delays to reduce the time for environment clearance to 60 days.

  • To meet the ambitious goal of $5-trillion economy, the government intends to increase investment by fastening the process of environmental clearances to businesses.
  • As claimed by Environment Minister, environmental clearances usually took around 640 days before 2014, which has been reduced to 108 days.

Environmental Clearance Process: The process of granting environment clearance includes:
  • Specifying Terms of Reference(ToR).
  • Preparing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.
  • Holding Public Consultation.

Biosimilar Medicine for Cancer:-

Pharma major Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd has launched ‘Versavo (bevacizumab)’, a biosimilar of Roche’s Avastin in India. The drug is for the treatment of several types of cancers.

What is Biosimilar & Biological Products?
A biosimilar is exactly what its name implies — it is a biologic that is “similar” to another biologic medicine (known as a reference product). Biosimilars are highly similar to the reference product in terms of safety, purity, and potency, but may have minor differences in clinically inactive components.

Biologics or biological products are medicines made from living organisms through highly complex manufacturing processes and must be handled and administered under carefully monitored conditions. Biologics are used to prevent, treat or cure a variety of diseases including cancer, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and autoimmune disorders.

Odisha to conserve two of its largest lakes:-

The Odisha Wetland Authority has approved the implementation of an integrated management plan to conserve two of its largest lakes i.e is Chilika and Ansupa.

  • The integrated management plan has been approved for Chilika and Ansupa at an estimated investment of ₹180 crore.
  • The five-year management of lakes is intended at strengthening the livelihood of thousands of fishermen relying on the two water-bodies. Besides, tourism promotion and conservation of ecology will be taken up.

Ansupa:- State’s largest freshwater lake, is spread over almost 2 sq km. Ansupa is famous for its sweet water fish, especially Labeo bata is locally known as pohala. It is also the wintering ground for 32 species of migratory birds.

Chilika:- The country’s largest brackish water lagoon, is spread over 1,100 sq km. Lakhs of tourists visit the lake to watch endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and migratory birds during winter.

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