(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
The government is expected to record a significant shortfall in estimated revenues for 2020-21 as the projected receipts from disinvestment and strategic stake sales are unlikely to materialise.
What are Non-Tax Receipts?
- The Non-Tax Revenue is the recurring income earned by the government from sources other than taxes.
- The government collects interest as non-tax revenue on the loans and funds advanced to states for various purposes.
- The government collects non-tax revenue in return for providing/facilitating any goods or services.
- Tax revenue is charged on income earned by an individual or an entity (direct tax) and on the value of transaction of goods and services (indirect tax) while non-tax revenue is charged against services provided by the government.
Impact of Disinvestment and Spectrum Auction on Non-Tax Receipts
- According to Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), the government has raised only 6.6 per cent of the Rs 2.1 lakh crore of targeted disinvestment receipts for 2020-21.
- The disinvestment receipt has been raised through offer for sale (OFS) of HAL and IRCTC buybacks by state-owned companies.
- In the last seven years, the government has missed disinvestment collection targets in four years and thrice exceeded it.
- The industry experts have estimated that like the 2016 auctions, the actual receipts from the spectrum auction could be only about 10 per cent of the reserve price.
Implication of shortfall in Non-Tax Receipts
- The non-tax receipts form a crucial portion of revenues for the expenditure requirements of the central government.
- With a shortfall in non-tax revenues, the concern is of excess reliance on off-balance sheet borrowing through internal and extra-Budgetary resources (IEBR).
Components of Non Tax Revenue
- Interest: It comprises of interest of loans given to states and union territories like non-plan schemes (e.g. flood control) and planned schemes with maturity period of 20 years.
- Dividends and profits: This includes dividends and profits from PSEs as well as the transfer of surplus from Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- Petroleum license: This includes fees to get the exclusive right for exploration in a particular region.
- Power supply fees: This includes fees received by Central Electricity Authority from the supply of power under the Electricity (Supply) Act.
- Fees for Communication Services: This mainly includes the license fees from telecom operators on account of spectrum usage charges that licensed Telecom Service Providers pay to the Department of Telecom (DoT).
- Broadcasting fees: It includes license fee paid by DTH operators, commercial TV services, commercial FM radio services etc.
- Road, Bridges usage fees: This includes receipts through toll plazas on account of the usage of national highways, permanent bridges etc.
- Examination fees: This includes fees paid by applicants of competitive examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Staff Selection Commission (SSC) to fill up vacancies in government offices.
- Fee for police services: This includes fee received for supplying central police forces to state governments and other parties like Central Industrial Police Force (CISF) to industries etc.
- Sale of stationery, gazettes etc: This includes receipts under ‘Stationery and Printing’ relating to the sale of stationery, gazettes, government publications, etc.
- Fee for Administrative Services: This includes fees received for providing services like audit services, issuance of passport, visa etc.
- Receipts relating to Defence Services: This relates to services provided through Canteen Stores Department (CSD).
Source: Indian Express
National Informatics Centre (NIC), MeitY along with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Ministry of Education is jointly launching CollabCAD Software.
- CBSE under the leadership of Chairman, Shri Manoj Ahuja, IAS will introduce CollabCAD Software for Engineering Graphics (Subject Code 046) at the Senior School Level for Class XI and XII.
- CollabCAD software will be used for Practical assignments as part of the subject curriculum for making different types of 3D designs and 2D Drawings.
- Students from around 140 plus schools across the country and the schools in the Middle East (affiliated with CBSE, New Delhi) will have access to this software which can be used for practical projects and understanding concepts of Engineering Graphics.
Source : PIB
ADULTERY TO STAY CRIMINALISED FOR ARMED FORCES
Recently, the Supreme Court has agreed to examine the Central government’s request to keep adultery a crime in the armed forces.
Supreme Court’s judgement on Adultery
- In September 2018, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code that makes adultery a punishable offence for men.
- In four separate but concurring judgments, the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court said the 158-year-old law was unconstitutional and fell afoul of Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) and Article 14 (Right to equality).
- The apex court also declared Section 198(1) and 198(2) of the CrPC, which allows a husband to bring charges against the man with whom his wife committed adultery, unconstitutional.
- The then Chief Justice of India pronounced the judgment that while adultery could be a ground for civil issues, including dissolution of marriage, it could not be a criminal offence.
- The court had ruled that the 19th century law “treats a husband as the master”.
Government’s arguments on Criminalizing Adultery in Armed Forces
- The Centre has pleaded that the 2018 verdict should not apply to armed forces where personnel can be cashiered from service on the grounds of unbecoming conduct for committing adultery with a colleague’s wife.
- The government said in the petition that personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were a “distinct class” as they were governed by special legislations i.e. the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act.
- There is no offence specified as ‘Adultery” in the entire Armed Forces Act or the Rules made thereunder as the provisions of the Army Act, Air Force Act and Navy Act deal with “unbecoming conduct”.
Impact of decriminalizing Adultery in Armed Forces
- The Centre said that decriminalizing adultery may cause ‘instability’ within armed forces as defence personnel are expected to stay separated from their families for long durations.
- There will always be a concern in the minds of the army personnel who are operating far away from their families under challenging conditions far away from their families about the family indulging in untoward activity.
Source: The Hindu
ICT GRAND CHALLENGE FOR DEVELOPMENT OF ‘SMART WATER SUPPLY MEASUREMENT AND MONITORING SYSTEM’
National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM), Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology launched an ICT Grand Challenge, for development of a ‘Smart water supply measurement and monitoring system’ on 15th September, 2020.
- Jal Jeevan Mission would be the user agency of the Grand Challenge and C-DAC, Bangalore is the implementing agency, providing technical support for the challenge.
- Total 218 applications were received, from various sectors like LLP Companies, Indian Tech start-ups, Individuals etc.
- Results of ICT Grand Challenge were announced on 20th November 2020, based on the recommendations of the jury.
- 10 applicants have been selected for ideation to prototype stage and each are being supported with Rs. 7.50 Lakhs.
- Currenty the prototypes are being developed which are going to be evaluated during the last week of January, 2021 by the jury. A water test bed is set up in C-DAC Bangalore Electronics City Campus for these evaluations.
Source: DD News
LUMPY SKIN DISEASE
Recently, a Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) has been infecting India’s bovines.
- The disease is being reported for the first time in India.
- The LSD is caused by infection of cattle or water buffalo with the poxvirus Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV).
- The virus is one of three closely related species within the genus capripoxvirus, the other two species being Sheeppox virus and Goatpox virus.
- It appears as nodules of two to five centimetre diameter all over the body, particularly around the head, neck, limbs, udder (mammary gland of female cattle) and genitals.
- The lumps gradually open up like large and deep wounds.
- Other clinical signs include general malaise, ocular and nasal discharge, fever, and sudden decrease in milk production.
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) the mortality rate is less than 10%.
- It spreads through mosquitoes, flies and ticks and also through saliva and contaminated water and food.
- Control and prevention of lumpy skin disease relies on four tactics – movement control (quarantine), vaccination, slaughter campaigns and management strategies.
- There is no treatment for the virus, so prevention by vaccination is the most effective means of control.
- Secondary infections in the skin may be treated with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs) and also antibiotics when appropriate.
- LSD is endemic to Africa and parts of West Asia, where it was first discovered in 1929.
- In Southeast Asia the first case of LSD was reported in Bangladesh in July 2019.
- In India, which has the world’s highest 303 million heads of cattle, the disease has spread to 15 states within just 16 months.
- In India it was first reported from Mayurbhanj, Odisha in August 2019.
- This will have a devastating impact on the country, where most dairy farmers are either landless or marginal landholders and milk is among the cheapest protein sources.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION BETWEEN INDIA AND UAE
Recently, the Union Cabinet has given its approval to the MoU on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) India.
Key Highlights of Scientific and Technical Cooperation
- The MoU provides for sharing of knowledge, data and operational products for meteorological, seismological and oceanic services, such as Radar, Satellite, Tide gauges, seismic and Meteorological stations.
- The exchange of experience/visits in term of scientists, research scholars and specialists, etc. for the purpose of research, training, consultation, focused on climatic information services, satellite data utilization for now casting and tropical cyclones forecasting.
- It provides for organization of bilateral scientific and technical seminars/ workshops/ conferences and training courses on problems related to the fields of cooperation.
- It has called for deployment of Meteorological observation networks on mutual agreement over Ocean waters.
- It also provides for cooperation in the development of special capacities of Tsunami models researches for faster and more reliable forecasts of Tsunamis propagating through the Oman Sea and Arabian Sea which affect the coastal areas of India and North East of UAE.
- It aims to strengthen cooperation to support the Tsunami Early Warning Centre (TEWC) in the form of forecast modelling software, specifically designed to support the Tsunami forecasting operations.
- It focussed on sharing the real-time seismic data of some of Seismic stations situated in south and west of India and North of the UAE for monitoring the seismic activities which may generate Tsunami in Arabian Sea and Sea of Oman.
Significance of Regional Cooperation on Weather Forecast
- The weather services make critical contributions in enhancing efficiency of weather dependent sectors of economy; and in managing risk in weather-dependent economic sectors such as agriculture, transport, water etc.
- The resilience can be strengthened through regional and global cooperation as countries invest in early warning systems and modernize weather and forecasting services.
- The regional collaboration can help improve understanding of changing weather patterns, devise effective response strategies, lower investment costs, and foster regionally relevant technological innovation
- The collaborative participation within MoES (India) and NCM-UAE in terms of activities related to multi-hazard early warning system and climate resilience can significantly contribute to economic growth in the region.