Daily Current Affairs, 28th January, 2019

New NITI Aayog or NITI Aayog 2.0

Former Finance Commission Chairman Vijay Kelkar has proposed for setting up a new Niti Aayog giving it the responsibility for allocating capital and revenue grants to the States.

Need for NITI Aayog 2.0

  1. It has reduced the government’s policy reach.
  2. Lack of any institution to solve the structural issues like removal of regional imbalances in the economy.

Suggestion for the functions of the revamped NITI Aayog 2.0

  1. Allocating development or transformational capital or revenue grants to the states.
  2. To make NITI AAyog more effective, the vice-chairman of the new NITI Aayog will need to be a permanent invitee of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
  3. No involvement in the approval of the state’s annual expenditure programmes.
  4. However, it should have financial resources of 1.5-2.0% of GDP annually to provide grants to states and help mitigate the developmental imbalances.

Composition of NITI Aayog

Source: The Hindu

Falling GST revenue and Input tax credit

Due to the shortage of GST collection, The tax officials are planning to examine the high usage of the input tax credit to settle the tax liability by the businesses.

Input Tax Credit

It is a tax that a business pays on the purchase of the goods and services and use the tax credit to reduce the tax liability during the sale of goods and services. A business under Composition Scheme can’t avail the input tax credit. Neither for personal use or goods that are exempted under ITC.

Image result for input tax credit
Source: Excel data Pro

Importance of Input Tax Credit

Unlike previous tax regime, one single tax and input tax credit prevents the cascading effect of tax on tax.

Concerns over the misuse of Input Tax Credit

  1. Unscrupulous businesses generate fake invoices to claim the input tax credit.
  2. There is no real time mechanism for Input Tax Credit claims with the taxes already paid by the supplier.
  3. Under the present system, the matching is done on the basis of system generated GSTR-2A, after the credit has been claimed. The revenue department send notices based on the mismatch between GSTR-2A and ITC claims.

Way Forward

A new return filing system has been proposed for the real time update to check for the taxes paid and input tax credit claimed.

Source: The Hindu

Zearalenone – A fungal toxin

Zearalenone is a fungal toxin infesting cereals such as wheat, maize and barley. It attacks crops while they are growing, but can also develop when cereals are stored without being dried fully.

Issue

A new study detected zearalenone in wheat, rice, corn and oats from markets in Uttar Pradesh.

Toxicity and impact

  • Zearalenone behaves like oestrogen, the female sex hormone, and could cause endocrine disturbances in humans.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSAI) does not impose maximum limits for zearalenone, though the European Union (EU) does.
  • The FSAI regulates the levels of some of these, including aflatoxin, deoxynivalenol, ergot and patulin.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies aflatoxin as a Group 1 carcinogen. 
  • IARC classifies Zearalenone as a Group 3 carcinogen, which means evidence is not sufficient for an evaluation yet.

Way Forward

There is a need for more research work and collection of samples in different states to establish the linkage of this toxins to breast cancer, etc.

Source: The Hindu

World Malaria Report 2018 – WHO

As per WHO report, India is the only country among the 11 highest-burden countries that saw a substantial reduction in disease burden: it saw a 24% decrease in 2017 compared to 2016. This shows that India has assumed a leadership role in global efforts to end malaria.

National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination

  • India pledged to eliminate the disease by 2030.
  • India launched the five-year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination.
  • The plan provides a roadmap to achieve the target of ending malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.

Way Forward

The Plan requires a holistic approach and coordinated action plan between governments, civil society and philanthropic donors. Since Health is a state subject. State government like Odisha.

Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative:

Jointly Implemented by Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR-NIMR), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Odisha and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).

It aims to deliver services to the most inaccessible and hardest hit people of the State. It has in-built innovative strategies to combat asymptomatic malaria.

Source: The Hindu

Demand for implementation of Charter of Patients’ Rights

The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), a national platform working on health and healthcare services, urged the Ministry of Health to immediately implement the Charter of Patients’ Rights and ensure the inclusion of the entire range of patients’ rights without any dilution.

Charter of Patients’ Rights and its importance

Patients will have the right to emergency medical care and informed consent, non-discrimination, seek a second opinion, and choose alternative treatment options, if available.

Draft Charter of Patients’ Rights released
Source: The Hindu

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the charter for public comments in September 2018. There is no progress till now.

Charter has been prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The charter also prescribes certain responsibilities for patients such as

  1. Providing all required information to their doctor to ensure a correct diagnosis and treatment.
  2. Patients should respect the dignity of the doctor and other hospital staff.

Source: The Hindu

Jan Sampark project for PVTGs in Odisha

Odisha government in collaboration with UNICEF has launched the Jan Sampark project for the welfare of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

Aim of the project

To generate awareness among PVTGs in Odisha on various development and welfare initiatives of skill development, empowering communities, cooperation and innovation and women and child welfare.

Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).

Source: The Hindu

Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS)

Under the Ministry of Skill development and Entrepreneurship

It has been established to provide vocational training to non-literate, neo-literate as well as school dropouts by identifying skills as would have a market in the region of their establishment.

The government has unveiled new guidelines for Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) aligning them to the National Skills Qualification Framework with an aim of providing standardised training across sectors.

New guidelines

  • Alignment of JSS course and curriculum with National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) to standardize training.
  • Decentralization of powers for JSSs by providing accountability and independence to district administration.
  • To identify and promote traditional skills in the district through skilling / upskilling.
  • Easy Online certification.
  • Linking JSS to Public Finance Management system to maintain transparency and accountability of the ecosystem.
  • Training of Trainers to develop the capacity through National Skills Training Institutes.

Source: PIB