IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


21st September, 2019


Plastic waste of brand owners: NGT raps Govt for delay in drawing up recycle norms

Plastic Ban

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled up the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for a three-year delay in drawing up a national framework for recycling of plastic waste by brand owners and plastic producers.

Court Observation:

-       The tribunal directed the ministry to finalise the guidelines within two months.

-       Petition was seeking direction over Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), under which plastic producers and brand owners are required to recycle their plastic waste.

-       It will be appropriate that the MoEF&CC concludes the long pending issue of framing a national framework on EPR within two months instead of adopting long winding procedure which has been going on for more than two years.

-       The issue has been going for last two years.

-       The last such meeting was held on 31.05.2019. The minutes of the meeting do not indicate any tangible action beyond recording suggestions.

-       The minutes of the meeting also show that except a joint secretary, all other participants representing government are of junior level.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/plastic-waste-of-brand-owners-ngt-raps-govt-for-delay-in-drawing-up-recycle-norms-6015208/


Northern Zonal Council meet Shah calls upon states to discuss, resolve water issues

The issues of sharing water and power dominated the 29th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah here on Friday.

-       States to give their suggestions for improvements in the Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code.

-       Quite a few inter-state water and power issues were discussed in detail to consider view points of various sides involved.

-       It was decided that all Chief Ministers concerned need to sit once again together at the Government of India level along with organisations concerned to resolve the same in a time-bound manner.

-       CM of Haryana requested the Centre to set up a “statutory empowered Board or Authority for effective coordination among member states in the region on the pattern of NCR planning board.

-       Himachal Pradesh CM pointed out five issues including “rehabilitation of Pong Dam ousters; representation of Himachal Pradesh as partner State in the BBMB”.

-       Punjab CM raised the problem of drug-addiction and said that Punjab has no surplus water to share with them.

About Zonal Councils:

-       The idea of creation of Zonal Councils was first of all mooted by the first Prime Minister of India, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956.

-       The zonal councils have been established by the state reorganization act 1956 to advise on matters of common interest to each of the five zones, into which the territory of India has been divided.

Northern Zonal Council: Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Central Zonal Council: Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Eastern Zonal Council: Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Sikkim and West Bengal.

Western Zonal Council: Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

Southern Zonal Council: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

The North Eastern States i.e. (i) Assam (ii) Arunachal Pradesh (iii) Manipur (iv) Tripura (v) Mizoram (vi) Meghalaya and (vii) Nagaland are not included in the Zonal Councils and their special problems are looked after by the North Eastern Council, set up under the North Eastern Council Act, 1972

Organization Structure of Zonal Councils:

Chairman - The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.

Vice Chairman - The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.

Members- Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.

Objectives of the Zonal Councils:

-       Bringing out national integration;

-       Arresting the growth of acute State consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic tendencies;

-       Enabling the Centre and the States to co-operate and exchange ideas and experiences;

-       Establishing a climate of co-operation amongst the States for successful and speedy execution of development projects.

Functions of Councils:

-       Any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning;

-       Any matter concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport;

-       Any matter connected with or arising out of, the re-organization of the States under the States Reorganisation Act.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/northern-zonal-council-meet-shah-calls-upon-states-to-discuss-resolve-water-issues-6015057/


E-cigarette ban: WHO lauds India’s move, says ‘definitive’ step to protect public health

On September 18, the Indian government approved an ordinance that prohibits the production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes, and proposes a jail term for violating the provisions.

WHO comments:

-       Congratulated the Indian government.

-       Termed the government’s move as ‘strong and definitive step’.

-       This will go a long way in protecting public health and wellbeing of future generations.

-       Use of these products has increased exponentially acquiring epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among the youth and children.

South Korea and India this week were the latest countries after Brazil and Thailand to ban or warn about the sale of e-cigarettes.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/e-cigarettes-ban-india-who-6014340/


Corporate tax rates slashed to 22% for domestic companies and 15% for new domestic manufacturing companies and other fiscal reliefs

The Government has brought in the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 to make certain amendments in the Income-tax Act 1961.

Provisions of the amended act:

-       It allows any domestic company an option to pay income-tax at the rate of 22% subject to condition that they will not avail any exemption/incentive.

-       The effective tax rate for these companies shall be 25.17% inclusive of surcharge & cess.

-       It allows any new domestic company incorporated on or after 1st October 2019 making fresh investment in manufacturing, an option to pay income-tax at the rate of 15%. This benefit is available to companies which do not avail any exemption/incentive and commences their production on or before 31st March, 2023. The effective tax rate for these companies shall be 17.01% inclusive of surcharge & cess.

-       Company which does not opt for the concessional tax regime and avails the tax exemption/incentive shall continue to pay tax at the pre-amended rate.

-       Further, in order to provide relief to companies which continue to avail exemptions/incentives, the rate of Minimum Alternate Tax has been reduced from existing 18.5% to 15%.

-       The Government has also decided to expand the scope of CSR 2 percent spending. Now CSR 2% fund can be spent on incubators funded by Central or State Government or any agency or Public Sector Undertaking of Central or State Government, and, making contributions to public funded Universities, IITs, National Laboratories and Autonomous Bodies (established under the auspices  of ICAR, ICMR, CSIR, DAE, DRDO, DST, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) engaged in conducting research in science, technology, engineering and medicine aimed at promoting SDGs.

Impact of Steps:

-       Decision will attract private investment from multinational companies and result in employment generation.

-       Lowering of taxes will give a “great stimulus to Make In India initiative”.

-       It will improve competitiveness of our private sector.

-       It will create more jobs and result in a win-win for 130 crore Indians.

-       The decisions will add up to build a ‘$5 Trillion economy’.

-       It will improve opportunities for all sections of society and increase prosperity.

-       The lower corporate tax rates will better prepare Indian companies to compete with South East Asian economies with lower tax regimes, ahead of India concluding negotiations for a free trade agreement with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in November.

-       It increases post-tax earnings of companies for reinvestment and distribution to shareholders.

-       It will help India become part of global supply chains of multinationals, especially those operating in the electronic manufacturing sector.

-       The move is likely to help the Centre achieve the target of growing India’s exports to $1 trillion in the next five years, as lower taxes will help home-grown firms compete with global peers.


-       The government needs to focus on land and labour reforms to attract foreign investors.

-       The tax cut is essentially a supply side measure and has very little effect on the demand constraint the economy is facing.

-       Higher fiscal deficit due to a revenue loss of up to รขโ€šยน1.45 trillion could force the central bank to cut policy rates at a slower pace than it might have contemplated.

-       It will lead to revenue of 1.45 trillion rupees.

-       Congress alleged that short term measures require fiscal room, which unfortunately isn’t there.

-       Questions is where will the resources to compensate the revenue loss come from? Will they come by taxing the common man and the farmer in shape of taxes on petrol, diesel, electricity…?

-       CPM said What is needed is large doses of public investment to create employment and increase people’s purchasing power (but) the government is pursuing the exact opposite.

Source : The Pib