Companies Act Current Affairs - 2019
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In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of India has made the following observations:
- Electoral bonds, contrary to government claims, wreck transparency in political funding.
- Electoral bonds coupled with the removal of the cap on foreign funding invites foreign corporate powers to impact Indian politics.
- Electoral bonds would cause a “serious impact” on transparency in the funding of political parties.
The Election Commission of India further criticises amendments made to various key statutes through the two consecutive Finance Acts of 2016 and 2017.
What were the amendments made?
The Finance Act of 2017 amends various laws, including the Representation of the People Act of 1951, the Income Tax Act and the Companies Act. The Finance Act of 2016 makes changes in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010.
The amendment to Representation of the People Act allows political parties to skip recording donations received by them through electoral bonds in their contribution reports to the ECI.
The amendments introduced to the Income Tax Act allow anonymous donations. Donors to political parties are not required to provide their names, address or PAN if they have contributed less than Rs. 20,000. The Election Commission notes that many political parties have been reporting a major portion of the donations received as being less than the prescribed limit of Rs. 20,000.
The Finance Act of 2016 allowed donations to be received from foreign companies having a majority stake in Indian companies.
Observations by Election Commission
The Election Commission of India called these measures as a retrograde step and the ECI has no way to ascertain whether the donations were received illegally by the political party from government companies or foreign sources.
The Election commission also expressed concerns that these amendments would pump in black money for political funding through shell companies and allow unchecked foreign funding of political parties in India which could lead to Indian politics being influenced by foreign companies.
Tags: Black Money • Companies Act • ECI • Election Commission of India • Electoral bonds • Finance Act 2016 • Finance Act 2017 • Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010. • Income Tax Act • PAN • Political Funding • Representation of the People Act 1951 • Shell Companies • Supreme Court
The Defence India Startup Challenge has been launched by the Defence Innovation Organisation to boost innovations under the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme. The initiative has been launched with support from the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, Atal Innovation Mission and NITI Aayog.
The Defence India Startup Challenge calls for proposals to address specific technological needs of the Indian defence establishment.
Problem Statements under the Defence India Startup Challenge
The Ministry of Defence has stated 11 problem statements for prospective solutions to be provided by the Indian startup ecosystem. The problem statements are:
- Individual Protection System with built-in sensors
- See Through Armour
- Carbon Fibre Winding (CFW)
- Active Protection System (APS)
- Secure hardware based offline Encrypt or Device for Graded Security
- Development of 4G/LTE based Tactical Local Area Network
- Development of Advanced Technology Based Desalination System (Water Purification) and Bilge Oily Water Separation System
- Artificial Intelligence in Logistics & SCM
- Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles
- Remotely Piloted Airborne Vehicles
- Laser Weaponry
Start-ups showing capability, intent, and promise to be able to produce functional prototypes or to productise existing technologies in areas listed in the problem statement will be awarded up to Rs. 1.5 crores, on a milestone basis in the form of grant/equity/debt/other relevant structures along with incubation and mentoring support.
Defence Innovation Organisation
Defence Innovation Organisation is a ‘not for profit’ company under section 8 of the Companies Act. The Defence Innovation Organisation is funded by two Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), namely Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). The headquarters of the Defence Innovation Organisation is located at Bengaluru.
Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme
Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme is aimed at the creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Startups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs. The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) will function as the executive arm of the Defence Innovation Organisation.