Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2017

हिंदी करंट अफेयर्स प्रश्नोत्तरी 2017 के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें.

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Government to wind up 8 tribunals

The Lok Sabha has approved amendments to The Finance Bill, 2017 proposed by the Union Government to wind up eight tribunals

These eight tribunals currently exclusively deal with disputes pertaining to employees’ provident fund (EPF), Competition law, Airports economic regulation, IT law, National highways, railways, copyrights and Forex.

The amendments in the Finance Bill of 2017 also has proposed changes in the norms for tribunals, appellate tribunals and other boards associated with the administration of 17 central laws.

8 major tribunals that will cease to operate are
  • Competition Appellate Tribunal: Its work now has will be transferred to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.
  • Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal (AERAAT) and Cyber Appellate Tribunal: Their functions will now be discharged by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).
  • EPF Appellate Tribunal: Its works will be transferred to the Industrial Tribunal that examines matters under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947.
  • Cases under the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999: They will be transferred to Appellate Tribunal constituted under Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976.
  • National Highways Tribunal: Now Highway disputes will now be adjudicated by the Airport Appellate Tribunal set up under the Airport Authority of India (AAI) Act,1994.
  • Railways Rates Tribunal: It was established for hearing matters under the Railways Act, 1989. Its workload will be transferred to the Railway Claims Tribunal.
  • Copyright Board: It was responsible for enforcing of the Copyright Act of 1957. Now it will be transferred to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board set up under the Trademarks Act of 1999.

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Government to enact law to enforce dam safety regulations

The Union Water Resources Ministry has drafted new dam safety bill to contemplate an institutional mechanism to improve safety of around 5300-odd dams across in India.

The new law has been vetted by the Union Law Ministry. It will now go to the Union Cabinet for approval and its introduction in Parliament. 

Need for such law

  • There are around 4900 large dams in India and several thousand smaller ones. However, large reservoirs and water storage structures, in the past few decades, are not seen as a model of safety.
  • The failure of these dams due to lack of safety could cause massive disaster such as the 1979 Machchu dam failure in Morbi, Gujarat, in which estimated 25,000 people were killed.
  • Recent analysis of the state of India’s dams also has found that half of them did not meet contemporary safety standards. So there is need of much stricter safety criteria.

Key facts

  • Currently, dam safety guidelines are not effectively enforced by the States. The dam safety bill, proposes a Central authority and State-level bodies that will enforce regulation.
  • It proposes safety criteria including increasing the spillway (a design structure to ease water build-up) and preventing ‘over-topping’ in which the dam overflows and causes it to fail.
  • It also proposes fine on dam and project proponents in the fall short, though they are unlikely to face imprisonment.

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Government notifies third Protocol amending India-Singapore DTAA

The Union Finance Ministry has notified hird Protocol amending India-Singapore Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA). The agreement came into force in February 2017and was signed in December 2016.

The Third Protocol amends the DTAA between both countries to provide for source-based taxation of capital gains arising on sale of shares in a company.

Key Facts

  • The India-Singapore DTAA at present provides for residence-based taxation of capital gains of shares in a company.
  • The addition of provision of source-based taxation of capital gains in DTAA, will help to curb revenue loss, prevent double non-taxation and streamline the flow of investments.
  • It also provides certainty to investors, investments in shares made before April 1, 2017 subject to fulfilment of conditions in Limitation of Benefits clause as per 2005 Protocol.
  • Further, it also provides a two-year transition period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019 during which capital gains on shares will be taxed in source country at half the normal tax rate.
  • It also facilitates relieving of economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases. It is a taxpayer-friendly measure and is in line with India’s commitments under Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan.
  • It also enables application of domestic law and measures concerning prevention of tax avoidance or tax evasion.

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