Insights Daily Current Events, 31 January 2015
Gold award for the Income Tax Department
The Income Tax Department has been awarded GOLD by the Government of India under category “Cat-I-Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering” for National Award on e-governance 2014-15.
The award has been conferred for “TDS Reconciliation Analysis & Correction Enabling System (TRACES)” project launched by the Department.
Details of the Project:
- The Project marks a major step in ensuring TDS compliance through the processing of TDS returns and comprehensive data processing of TDS statements using technology driven end-to-end processes.
- At present 15 Lakh deductors and 2.5 crore tax payers are using various e-enabled online services through the CPC (TDS).
This third award on e-governance to the Income Tax Department in the last 5 years speaks volumes about the commitment of the Department to e-governance and to move towards a non-adversarial and tax-payer friendly regime.
National e-governance Awards:
National Awards on e-Governance are presented every year to recognize and promote excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives.
The purpose of the award is to:-
- Recognize achievements in the area of e-Governance
- Disseminate knowledge on effective methods of designing and implementing sustainable e-Governance initiatives
- Encourage incremental innovations in successful e-Governance solutions
- Promote and exchange experiences in solving problems, mitigating risks, resolving issues and planning for success
There are 12 categories and there would be only one award for each category.
These awards recognize achievements in the area of e-Governance; disseminate knowledge on effective methods of designing and implementing sustainable e-Governance initiatives; encourage horizontal transfer of successful e-Governance solutions; promote and exchange experiences in solving problems, mitigating risks, resolving issues and planning for success.
National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) is a plan of the Government of India to make all government services available to the citizens of India via electronic media. NeGP has been formulated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG). The Government approved the National e-Governance Plan, comprising 31 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) and eight components, on May 18, 2006.
Sources: PIB, Wiki.
Telepresence Service of Railtel
Four Express trains were flagged off from Bengaluru remotely through Telepresence Service of RailTel, a PSU of Railways by the Union Rail Minister recently.
Benefits of Telepresence service:
- Telepresence offers a more engaging video conference with cutting edge technology, so that the parties involved feel the immersive presence of participants at different locations.
- The service is designed to improve collaboration, save executive time, reduce costs and carbon footprint with no capital investment and obsolescence risk.
- RailTel Corporation a “Mini Ratna (Category-I)” PSU of Ministry of Railways, is the largest neutral telecom services providers in the country owning a Pan-India optic fiber network covering all important towns & cities of the country and several rural areas covering 70% of India’s population.
- RailTel is in the forefront in providing nationwide Broadband Telecom & Multimedia Network in all parts of the country in addition to modernization of Train operations and administration network systems for Indian Railways.
- With its Pan India high capacity network, RailTel is working towards creating a knowledge society at various fronts and has been selected for implementation of various mission-mode Govt. of India projects in the telecom field.
CIL sale garners Rs. 22k cr., retail investors lukewarm
The Centre has raised Rs. 22,557.63 crore from the sale of its 10 per cent shareholding in Coal India Ltd. (CIL). It is the largest ever disinvestment.
The issue was however, under-subscribed in the retail investors segment; government-owned insurance companies bought a huge proportion of the shares.
The major highlights of the issue are as under:
- The CIL disinvestment has attracted the largest FII participation in a Government Offer for Sale (OFS).
- Out of the total shares offered for sale, 20% were allocated for Retail Investors i.e. those investors who placed bids for shares of total value of not more than Rs. 2.00 lakh. Rs 1852.55 have been received from the retail investors, the largest in any OFS so far.
- Government of India offered 5% discount to Retail investors on price bid to attract more Retail Investors.
- Government fixed Rs. 358/- floor price for the auction of shares which was 4.5% less than the closing price on 29.2.2015.
- With this divestment, the Government of India’s share in CIL would come down to 79.65%.
- The total receipts accruing to the Government from the CIL disinvestment are Rs 22557.63/-
Disinvestments in India:
Disinvestment of minority shares in Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) has become an important source of raising resource for the Government. The policy of ‘disinvestment’ in CPSEs has evolved over the years. Disinvestment of government equity in CPSEs began in 1991-92 following the Industrial Policy Statement of 1991, which stated that the Government would divest part of its holdings (minority share-holding) in select CPSEs.
Objective: The main objective of disinvestment is to put national resources and assets to optimal use and in particular to unleash the productive potential inherent in our public sector enterprises.
Current Policy on Disinvestment:
The current Government policy on disinvestment envisages people’s ownership of CPSEs while ensuring that the Government equity does not fall below 51% and Government retains management control. Keeping this objective in view of disinvestment policy, the Government has adopted the following approach to disinvestment:
- Already listed profitable CPSEs (not meeting mandatory shareholding of 10%) are to be made compliant by ‘Offer for Sale’ (OFS) by Government or by the CPSEs through issue of fresh shares or a combination of both.
- Unlisted CPSEs with no accumulated losses and having earned net profit in three preceding consecutive years are to be listed.
- Follow-on public offers (FPO) would be considered in respect of profitable CPSEs having 10 percent or higher public ownership, taking into consideration the needs for capital investment of CPSE, on a case by case basis and Government could simultaneously or independently offer a portion of its equity shareholding in conjunction.
- Since each CPSE has different equity structure; financial strength; fund requirement; sector of operation etc., factors that do not permit a uniform pattern of disinvestment, disinvestment will be considered on merits and on a case-by-case basis.
- CPSEs are permitted to use their surplus cash to buy-back their shares; one CPSE may buy the shares of other CPSEs from the Government.
The Department of Disinvestment was set up on December 10, 1999, with the responsibility to deal with all matters relating to disinvestment of Central Government equity in Central Public Sector Undertakings.
This department now works under the Ministry of Finance.
National Investment Fund:
- The proceeds from disinvestments of Government’s equity in Central Public Sector Enterprises would be channelised into the National Investment Fund (NIF).
- The corpus of NIF will be of a permanent nature.
- NIF would be professionally managed to provide sustainable returns to the Government, without depleting the corpus.
- Selected Public Sector Mutual Funds are to be entrusted with the management of the corpus of NIF.
- 75% of the annual income of NIF will be used to finance selected social sector schemes, which promote education, health and employment. The residual 25% of the annual income of NIF will be used to meet the capital investment requirements of profitable and revivable CPSEs that yield adequate returns, in order to enlarge their capital base to finance expansion/diversification.
Sources: The Hindu, PIB.
A village in Rajasthan yields artefacts of yore
Artefacts such as perforated jars, shell bangles, terracotta beads, shells and the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, different types of pottery and two hearths have been found during excavation under way at Pachamta, a village 100 km from Udaipur in Rajasthan.
About the Village & its culture:
- Pachamta belongs to the Ahar-Banas culture in the Mewar region, which was contemporaneous with the early and mature Harappan culture.
- The Ahar culture, datable to 3,000-1,700 BCE, was chalcolithic (the Bronze Age), and its people had trade links with the Harappans.
- Sites in the Ahar-Banas complex are situated in the valleys of the rivers such as Banas, Berach, Gambhiri and Bhari and their tributaries. Its peoples were agriculturalists who grew wheat, barley and pulses and reared buffaloes, sheep, goats and chicken.
- The village is close to Gilund, an important Ahar-Banas culture site.
Gilund provided important information about the transformation of life from hunting-gathering to agriculture in the Mewar region around 4,000 BCE.
- The Ahar-Banas people introduced reserved slip ware, which was later adapted by the Harappans, and learnt the standardised brick ratio from the Harappans.
- The peoples of Ahar culture were the first farmers of the region. They were engaged in small-scale craft production and developed a complex trade and exchange network with each other, and the Harappan sites and the sites of the Deccan.
Rajasthan has several Harappan sites, including Kalibangan, Karanpura, Bijnor and Tarkkhanewaladera.
Sources: The Hindu.
‘Muslims, Dalits better off in developed districts’
A new research data has shown that being a resident of a big city or a more developed district can offset some of the disadvantages of being from a marginalised community.
- The data shows that in majority of India’s districts, Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis had worse education, health, economic and material well-being levels.
But in India’s better-developed districts, these groups had better development outcomes than upper caste Hindus in the less-developed districts of north and east India.
- India’s big cities dominate the top of the list, with Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai in the top 20, along with Mohali, Chandigarh and Aizawl and Goa. The southern States, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana in the north and the north-eastern States dominate the list of 107 districts which make up the “most-developed” section of the index. The bottom 100 is dominated by Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.
- The research looked at 17 parameters under four heads — economic, education, health and material well-being. Each of the four was equally weighted to construct a composite District Development Index.
- Of the four sub-indices, districts do better on material well-being — access to LPG, electricity and assets. In some States, districts do worst on economic sub-indices — monthly per capita income, number of households below the poverty line, households with earning family members — while in others, health is the stumbling block.
The report derived its data from the 2011-12 round of the National Sample Survey Office and 2007-8 Health Ministry data.
Sources: The Hindu.
FDI inflows beat global trends, surge 26%
The United Nations report on global investments, released recently, shows that Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to India increased by about 26% to $35 billion in 2014, despite macroeconomic uncertainties and financial risks.
Important observations made by the Report:
- China received inflows worth $128 billion and with a modest increase of 3%, went on to become the world’s largest recipient of FDI. Brazil, another BRICS country and an emerging market like India, received $62 billion of FDI inflows.
- The U.S. fell to the third position, with inflows plummeting to almost a third of the 2013 level. Global FDI flows declined 8% to an estimated $1.26 trillion, down from a revised $1.36 trillion in 2013.
- Among the top five FDI recipients in the world, four are developing economies — Hong Kong ($111 billion), Singapore ($81 billion) and Brazil ($62 billion).
Global FDI inflows fell due to the fragility of the global economy, policy uncertainty and geopolitical risks.
Sources: The hindu.
Base year revision impact: FY14 GDP at 6.9%, FY13 at 5.1%
The central statistical office (CSO) has come out with a new series of national accounts with 2011-12 as base year for computing economic growth rate. This will increase the size of economy which in turn will help in lowering of fiscal deficit, computed as a proportion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
These changes are done once in five years to keep pace with the changes in the economy.
The base year was last revised in January 2010. From now on, CSO will measure growth by gross value-added at basic prices, instead of by GDP at factor cost.
Various estimates according to changed Base Year:
- The change has pushed up the economic growth rate for 2013-14 to 6.9 per cent, while earlier estimate on the basis of old series was 4.7 per cent.
- The economic growth rate for 2012-13 has been revised upwards to 5.1 per cent, compared with 4.5 per cent estimated earlier.
- The rate of Gross Capital Formation at constant (2011-12) prices has decreased from 37.2 per cent in 2012-13 to 33.4 per cent in 2013-14.
- As per the new series, the nominal Net National Income (NNI) for 2011-12 stands at Rs 78.5 lakh crore, while the estimates for 2012-13 and 2013-14 are Rs 88.4lakh crore and Rs 100.6 lakh crore respectively, showing an increase of 12.7 per cent and 13.7 per cent respectively.
- Per capita income at current prices has been estimated at Rs 64,316, Rs 71,593 and Rs 80,388 for the years 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 respectively.
- The Gross National Disposable Income (GNDI) at current prices is estimated as Rs 90.6 lakh crore for 2011-12, while the estimates for 2012-13 and 2013-14 stand at 102.2 lakh crore and Rs 116.0 lakh crore.
A base year is the year used for comparison for the level of a particular economic index.