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Insights Daily Current Events, November 23, 2013


November 23, 2013


GST Panel rejects proposal to include GST in Union List

  • The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on Goods and Services Tax (GST) has recommended substantial changes in the Constitutional Amendment Bill proposed by the government.

Changes recommended:

  • The panel wants a mechanism for compensation to the States that will lose out on revenue due to the introduction of GST to be finalised and made part of the Constitutional Bill itself.
  • In addition to this provision in the Constitution, the States have recommended that an independent mechanism be created for the purpose.
  • The committee, headed by Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister A.R. Rather, has rejected the Centre’s proposal to include alcohol and petroleum in the GST. It has also rejected the government’s proposal on powers to the Centre to notify ‘declared goods.’ A provision on declared goods would have empowered the Centre to lower GST rates on any item without consulting States.
  • It has also recommended that the special status enjoyed by J&K under Article 370 be maintained even in the case of GST, so the proposed Constitutional amendment should not be applied to it.
  • The committee has unanimously rejected the Centre’s proposal to enter GST in the Union List in the Constitution. “The Constitutional Amendment Bill already proposes a clause, 246A, empowering both the States and the Centre to levy the GST”.

Rational or Apprehensions behind rejection of the proposal:

  • The States feel that when 246A is there, then the Centre should not have to incorporate GST into the Union List.
  • Clause 246A proposes additional powers to the Centre to tax sale of goods and for the States (to tax services). At present, the Centre can tax services but not sale and distribution of goods. The States can now tax sale and distribution of goods but not services.
  • Including GST in the Union List will imply that in case of any disagreement between the Centre and the States, Parliament’s decisions will be overriding and binding on the States.

All you need to Know about GST (and its issues):

  • Goods and Services Tax — GST — is a comprehensive tax levy on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services at a national level.
  • Through a tax credit mechanism, this tax is collected on value-added goods and services at each stage of sale or purchase in the supply chain.
  • The system allows the set-off of GST paid on the procurement of goods and services against the GST which is payable on the supply of goods or services. However, the end consumer bears this tax as he is the last person in the supply chain.
  • Experts say that GST is likely to improve tax collections and boost India’s economic development by breaking tax barriers between States and integrating India through a uniform tax rate.

What are the benefits of GST?

  • Under GST, the taxation burden will be divided equitably between manufacturing and services, through a lower tax rate by increasing the tax base and minimizing exemptions.
  • It is expected to help build a transparent and corruption-free tax administration. GST will be is levied only at the destination point, and not at various points (from manufacturing to retail outlets).
  • Currently, a manufacturer needs to pay tax when a finished product moves out from a factory, and it is again taxed at the retail outlet when sold.

 How will it benefit the Centre and the States?

  • It is estimated that India will gain $15 billion a year by implementing the Goods and Services Tax as it would promote exports, raise employment and boost growth. It will divide the tax burden equitably between manufacturing and services.

 What are the benefits of GST for individuals and companies?

  • In the GST system, both Central and State taxes will be collected at the point of sale. Both components (the Central and State GST) will be charged on the manufacturing cost. This will benefit individuals as prices are likely to come down. Lower prices will lead to more consumption, thereby helping companies.

 Why are some States against GST; will they lose money?

  • The governments of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu say that the information technology systems and the administrative infrastructure will not be ready by April 2010 to implement GST. States have sought assurances that their existing revenues will be protected.
  • The central government has offered to compensate States in case of a loss in revenues.
  • Some States fear that if the uniform tax rate is lower than their existing rates, it will hit their tax kitty. The government believes that dual GST will lead to better revenue collection for States.
  • However, backward and less-developed States could see a fall in tax collections. GST could see better revenue collection for some States as the consumption of goods and services will rise.


 If you still want more insights on this issue 🙂 refer the below link-


Ministries consulted on Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) Bill

  • The government is making modifications to the draft Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2013, to accommodate suggestions made by different Ministries and departments.

Home Ministry lays down conditions for grant of visa to foreign couples commissioning surrogacy in India

  • The Ministry would not give tourist visas to foreigner nationals coming to India for commissioning surrogacy, since tourist visa is not the appropriate visa category (for commissioning surrogacy) and such foreigners would be liable for action for violation of visa conditions. Rather the appropriate visa category would be a medical visa.
  • In order to ensure that the surrogate mother’s interests are protected, such a visa may only be granted if certain conditions are fulfilled — the foreign man and woman must be duly married for at least two years.
  • The Ministry will also insist that the Indian embassy or Foreign Ministry of the country concerned enclose an acknowledgement, along with the visa application, that the country recognises surrogacy and that the child/children to be born to the commissioning couple through the Indian surrogate mother will be permitted entry into their country as a biological child/children of the couple.
  • Besides, the couple should produce a duly notarised agreement between the applicant couple and the prospective Indian surrogate mother. “If any of the above conditions are not fulfilled, the visa application shall be rejected”. The Ministry has informed the Indian missions abroad that the commissioning couple needs to be told that they must obtain“exit” permission from the Foreign Regional Registration Offices before leaving India for their return journey.

Purpose of Assisted reproductive technology (ART):

  • Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are methods used to achieve pregnancy by artificial or partially artificial means. It is reproductive technology used primarily for infertility treatments, and is also known as fertility treatment.
  • Some forms of ART are also used with regard to fertile Couples for genetic reasons (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis). ART is also used for couples who are discordant for certain communicable diseases; for example, AIDS to reduce the risk of infection when a pregnancy is desired.
  • Examples of ART include in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), cryopreservation and intra-uterine insemination (IUI). There is yet no strict definition of the term ART; its usage mainly belongs to the field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Courtesy – Wikipedia

To know more about the ‘Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) Bill’, refer the below article (Times of India)

 Video recording of consent for clinical trials mandatory

  • The Union Health Ministry has made mandatory audio-visual recording of the informed consent each subject in a clinical trial. This is in addition to obtaining his/her written consent.
  • This decision comes in the wake of the Supreme Court pulling up the Ministry for lack of transparency in clinical trials.

What are Clinical Trials? What is the purpose of such trials?

  • Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. These studies also may show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of people. Clinical trials produce the best data available for health care decision making.
  • The purpose of clinical trials is research, so the studies follow strict scientific standards. These standards protect patients and help produce reliable study results.
  • Clinical trials are one of the final stages of a long and careful research process. The process often begins in a laboratory (lab), where scientists first develop and test new ideas.
  • If an approach seems promising, the next step may involve animal testing. This shows how the approach affects a living body and whether it’s harmful. However, an approach that works well in the lab or animals doesn’t always work well in people. Thus, research in humans is needed.
  • For safety purposes, clinical trials start with small groups of patients to find out whether a new approach causes any harm. In later phases of clinical trials, researchers learn more about the new approach’s risks and benefits.
  • A clinical trial may find that a new strategy, treatment, or device:
    1.   Improves patient outcomes
    2.   Offers no benefit
    3.   Causes unexpected harm
  • All of these results are important because they advance medical knowledge and help improve patient care.

Courtesy –


India rejects WTO Peace Clause proposal

  • It has been decided by the Government of India that, it would not agree to the Peace Clause for agriculture subsidies that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo has proposed for Bali.
  • India would not agree to any deal at Bali until it was certain that the proposed interim solution would be available till a permanent solution to the issue of India’s minimum support prices (MSP) breaching the WTO norms has been found and agreed to.

Why did India reject the Peace clause?

  • The deal breaker for India is the lack of clarity on when the proposed Peace Clause, an interim safeguard for MSPs in breach of the WTO caps, will expire. India also cannot afford to not have any deal at all at Bali for then there will be no safeguards against the breaches of the WTO caps.
  • The Peace Clause “will remain in force until the 11th Ministerial Conference (presently, the 11th Ministerial Conference would be held in December, 2013) at which time the next workable plan be arrived at.
  • The clause can imply that should no solution or agreement be reached at the eleventh Ministerial conference, the protection from the Peace Clause will end and its extension will be have to be renegotiated — an eventuality that India doesn’t want
  • The Peace Clause is conditional on full disclosures on the MSPs that are at risk or have breached the WTO limits and the annual procurements undertaken for food security purposes for each public stockholding programme.
  • There were also apprehensions that excessive conditionalities imposed on a Peace Clause would lead to serious concerns that would require a change in India’s domestic policy.

A weak Warsaw mechanism on Loss and damage almost final

  • There is finally a breakthrough over the ‘contentious issues’, though a partial one on creation of a mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change at the Warsaw meet.
  • The part about deciding how this mechanism would get the funds in future remained the only unresolved piece of the puzzle.
  • Placing the mechanism under the Conference of Parties (CoP) is a compromise for both the US and the G77+ China group. CoP refers to the highest and most empowered body of the U.N. convention where each country is represented.
  • The COP is empowered to make the most fundamental and critical decisions that lesser bodies are not. But housing the mechanism under the COP leaves the window open of shifting it one way or the other in next couple of years.
  • The U.S. wanted that the mechanism should not become an independent body and be placed under the existing Adaptation body. This would have ensured that the idea of compensation, reparation and guilt of the developed countries for being the largest emitters of accumulated greenhouse gases (GHG) is done away with. The G77+ China group wanted just the opposite.
  • In the end, the compromise has ensured that while a channel of funding would be made available to address loss and damage the wordings that the U.S. had a problem with ‘compensation’ has been dropped entirely.
  • The issue of finance and building the new agreement under the existing principles of the convention remained open. Almost all developed countries had made clear that there was no hope of them committing either to a timeline for delivery of promised funds at Warsaw.

U.S. backtracking throws climate finance into disarray

The U.S has back-tracked on the following issues at the Climate meet:

  • On its obligation to a $100-billion fund, which the industrialised nations promised the poor countries by 2020 to help them cut emissions and adapt themselves to a changing climate.
  • Instead, it demanded that the developing countries also be asked to contribute to it.
  • This new fundamental idea, which militates against the decisions taken at previous U.N. climate negotiations, angered the G77 countries, which complained that the negotiations were being conducted in bad faith.
  • With regard to Private investments –the U.S has said that the developing countries should also contribute to this fund.

Mali’s return to democracy to be complete with parliamentary polls

  • Ravaged by war, hamstrung by political chaos and mired in poverty, Mali sets out on the road to recovery with the first parliamentary polls since the 2012 military coup.
  • The election will complete its return to democracy, finalising a process which started with the election of its first post-conflict President in September, 2013.
  • But the vote takes place amid an upsurge in violence by al-Qaeda-linked rebels who stalk the vast northern desert, an ever-present danger to French and African troops tasked with providing security for the election alongside the Malian army.
  • Islamists ousted by French and African troops in January, 2013 from the northern towns they had occupied last year (2012) resumed their deadly insurgency in September. Since then, a dozen civilians as well as Malian and Chadian soldiers in the United Nations Multi dimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (Minusma), a peacekeeping mission, have been killed.

(To know More about Mali and its issue refer our – ‘INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS OCTOBER – 2013’ MAGAZINE)