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Insights Daily Current Events, 17 March 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 17 March 2015


Don’t insist on Aadhaar: SC

The Supreme Court recently asked the central and state governments not to insist on possessing Aadhar card for availing benefits under the various social security schemes as it reiterated an order it passed in September 2013.


The verdict has come after a PIL drew the attention of the court towards the Delhi government directive insisting on an Aadhar card for the registration of marriages.


Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification number which will serve as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.

How the scheme is helpful:

  • Aadhaar-platform is aimed at providing social security benefits / subsidies based on eligibility through direct benefit transfer.
  • It provides access and options to rural and poor people.
  • It helps bring transparency and eliminate corruption, leakage and inefficiency.
  • It was conceived as an initiative that would provide identification for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services.
  • It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government.

Who assigns the number?

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) assigns Unique Identification Number “Aadhaar” to residents of India on voluntary basis.


The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is an agency of the Government of India responsible for implementing the Aadhaar Identities. The agency was established in January-2009, and owns and operates the Unique Identities database. The Unique Identification Authority of India had been established under the Planning Commission by an executive order.

  • The agency provides a unique identification number to all persons resident in India on voluntary basis. The agency maintains a database of residents containing biometric and other data, and is headed by a chairman, who holds a cabinet rank.
  • UIDAI is the Registrar of Identities i.e. it registers, assigns and verifies the unique identities. It is supposed to register two types of unique identities:
    • Residents of India (called Aadhaar)
    • Corporate entities (Corporate-UID) for company, bank, NGO, trust, political party etc.: Corporate-UID has been provisioned within 12-digit UID number system. Corporate-UID is supposed to produce the similar effect as Aadhaar for corporate entities i.e. identification and traceability of transactions. It is supposed to bring transparency on financial transactions, donations; and to prevent corruption, money laundering, benami transactions (i.e. under a fictitious name), allocation of natural resources like land, spectrum, mining of sand, iron-ore, coal-blocks, etc.


  • Aadhaar lacks legal or statutory authority as of now.
  • The AADHAAR number is not recognized as a legal proof of residence due to issues with the data protection.
  • India’s Intelligence Bureau claims anyone with an Aadhaar number can introduce others without any documentation to get the identity number, which makes it vulnerable to terrorism and other issues.

Present situation:

Total number of AADHAAR cards generated so far: 70.43 crore

AADHAAR saturation level:

  • more than 90% in nine States / UTs
  • between 75 and 90% in seven States /UTs and
  • between 50 and 75% in another eight States / UTs
  • In remaining twelve States /UTs, the Aadhaar saturation level is under 50%
  • Total money sanctioned for this project: Rs. 13663.22 crore.

A target of universal enrolment has been set by the government.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, UIDIA.


Cow protection Bill passed

The Haryana Assembly recently passed the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Bill with two amendments, paving the way for prohibiting the slaughter of cow and its progeny and providing punishment of up to 10 years with a fine ranging from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 1 lakh for any violation.


  • The new bill states that “any person who attempts to export cows for slaughter would be imprisoned for not less than three years and up to seven years. Fine imposed would not be less than Rs 30,000 and may extend up to Rs 70,000”.
  • It also says that in case of default in payment of fine, an additional imprisonment that may extend up to one year can be imposed.
  • The Bill provides that any person who has to export cows will have to seek permit for the same, stating the reasons for export. Besides, no permit would be issued for export of cows to states where cow slaughter is not banned by law.
    The government would have the power to issue special permits for export of cow in case where it is of the opinion that it shall be in public interest to do so
  • The government has also banned sale of beef or beef products except for medicinal purposes.
  • As per the Bill, the government shall establish laboratories to differentiate beef from the meat of other animals, testing and identification of various constituents of milk and milk products.
  • It has also been approved that any vehicle used in the commission of such offence would be liable to be confiscated by the police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector or any person authorised on behalf of the government.
  • Now, the government would make schemes for conservation and upgradation of indigenous breeds of cow. Incentives would be provided for production, processing and marketing of milk or milk products obtained from indigenous breeds of cows.

Sources: The Hindu, IE.



Australia may seek membership of the China-led infrastructure Bank

After Britain, it may be Australia’s turn to seek membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) — a move, if it materialises, will signal a revolt by core members against the United States, which is discouraging the participation of its allies in the China-led initiative.

  • Britain had recently said that it has sought to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), making it the first Western nation to embrace the China-backed institution.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB):

The AIIB was launched in Beijing last year to spur investment in Asia in transportation, energy, telecommunications and other infrastructure. It is an international financial institution proposed by China. The purpose of the multilateral development bank is to provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • AIIB is regarded by some as a rival for the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which the AIIB says are dominated by developed countries like the United States and Japan.
  • Presently there are 22 members including China.
  • The authorised capital of AIIB will be $100 billion. AIIB’s headquarters is to be located in Beijing.
  • India is the second largest shareholder in the Bank after China.
  • It is being called as a very positive development in the sense that it opens up more borrowing opportunities.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


Centre notifies rollback norm under transfer pricing pact

Government has notified rules for rolling back advance pricing agreements (APA) that seek to provide predictability and stability to taxpayers.

  • It is also being said that this is one retrospective tax application that no one is likely to complain about. Multinational companies will now be able to not only ascertain their tax liability in advance but also use that principle for past four years.
  • Now, the agreement will contain rollback provisions in respect of an international transaction. Rollback provisions essentially mean that a negotiated position on pricing of an international transaction reached under the advance pricing arrangement can be applied to a similar transaction for up to four years in the past.

Why such move?

The move aims at curtailing disputes that arise from transfer pricing issues between MNCs and the Revenue Department. It is a major area of litigation for resident and non-resident taxpayers. Under this mechanism, parent companies sell goods and services to their subsidiaries that reduce their profits, lowering their tax liabilities.

Advance Pricing:

An APA is essentially a contract between a taxpayer and the tax authorities that sets out beforehand the method for determining transfer pricing pertaining to transactions between a subsidiary and its foreign parent.

  • Under the APA, introduced in 2012, companies could enter into an agreement with tax authorities for the next five years. Now, with the roll-back norms notified they can enter into such pacts for the previous four years as well.
  • This relates to the pricing of assets, tangibles and intangibles, services, and funds that are transferred within an organisation in a cross-border transaction.
  • Transfer pricing transactions have been the source of a large number of high-profile tax disputes in India in the recent past and the APA programme launched in 2013-14 has been appreciated globally for its fairness and quick disposal.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


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