GST inflows top ₹ 1 lakh crore for second month in a row Paper:
Mains: G.S. III Economy
Why in news?
Gross revenues from the Goods and Services Tax crossed ₹ 1lakh crore for the second month in a row, with ₹ 1,04,963 crore collected in November 2020.
- The pick-up in GST revenues over the last two months could reduce the shortfall in GST compensation dues to the States.
- But economists urged caution till December to assess if the economy is truly out of the woods after the festive demand factor has played out.
- The GST revenues from the first eight months of 2020-21 add up to ₹6,64,709 crore, reflecting a 17.4% dip from the ₹8,05,164 crore collected in the same period of 2019-20.
- The revenues for November 2020 are 1.4% higher than GST revenues in the same month last year.
- The average pace of growth in GST collections in October-November 2020 stood at moderately healthy 6%.
- The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a value-added tax levied on most goods and services sold for domestic consumption. The GST is paid by consumers, but it is remitted to the government by the businesses selling the goods and services.
- Main features of GST :
- Applicable on supply side
- Destination based tax
- Dual GST
- Multiple rates
- Central GST to cover Excise duty, Service tax etc, State GST to cover VAT, luxury tax etc.
- Integrated GST to cover inter-state trade. IGST per se is not a tax but a system to coordinate state and union taxes.
- GST is a positive step towards shifting Indian economy from the informal to formal economy. It is important to utilise experiences from global economies that have implemented GST before us,to overcome the impending challenges.
Slow progress Paper:
Mains: G.S. I & III Issues of social importance, Science and Technology
Why in news?
As COVID-19 is spreading ruthlessly to the whole world it’s source is still unknown even 11 months after WHO reported the first case.
- In 2003, a WHO team was able to identify the animal source of SARS coronavirus within weeks despite its arrival in China.
- In the case of MERS coronavirus, the intermediate host was identified more than a year after the first human case was reported.
- However, in the case of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), its source is still unknown even 11 months after WHO reported the first case.
- Knowing the natural reservoirs and intermediate hosts and the events that allowed the virus to jump across the species barrier are important in prevention.
- Soon after the virus spread around the world, there was heightened demand to identify its origin in China’s Wuhan where the first case cluster was reported.
- Even as the global focus shifted to therapeutics and vaccine trials, it is reassuring that the global health body is still determined to find the virus’s origin.
- But the pace of investigation leaves much to be desired. Efforts began in February but it was only in early August that WHO completed the mission to lay the groundwork for joint efforts to identify the origin; its two-member team did not visit Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
- It was only in late October that China began early studies for the two-phase investigation. In the first phase, short-term studies will be undertaken to better understand how the virus might have begun circulating in Wuhan. Longer-term studies will follow based on these results. It is only then that a WHO-led team can operate in China to collaborate with Chinese scientists.
- If China failed to alert WHO immediately after a Wuhan cluster was reported, its reluctance to quickly and earnestly investigate the source can partly be explained by U.S. President Donald Trump’s attempt to politicise the issue.
- The reluctance has only increased after mounting international ire over its reporting the outbreak and the huge economic cost of the pandemic globally.
- There is strong evidence that the virus originated in bats and probably spread to humans through an intermediate species. One way to find this out is to know the susceptibility of different animal species.
- With the virus spread so wide, zeroing in on the intermediate host becomes more difficult as the possibility of humans having spread the virus to animals cannot be ruled out.
- A multi-pronged approach with an emphasis on investigating China’s wildlife farms becomes crucial. This highlights the importance of working alongside China to uncover the virus’s origin.
China, Pakistan sign military deal Paper:
Mains: G.S. II & III International Relations, Border Security
Why in news?
China and Pakistan have signed a MOU to boost their already close defence relationship.
- People’s Libeartion Army Genral Wei met Pakistan’s President and PM and he called on both countries to push the military-to-military relationship to a higher level, so as to cope the various risks and challenges.
- The MOU exchanged in-depth views on the international and regional situations, the relations between two countries and militaries, equipment and technology cooperation and other issues.
- Wei also discussed ongoing projects under the CPEC, in which Pakistani military is playing an increasingly important role.
- Both the sides reaffirmed their commitment to Iron Brotherhood and All-Weather
- President of Pakistan conveyed that Pakistan firmly supports China’s stand on issues related to the South China Sea, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and so on.
- Wei’s visit followed his visit to Nepal, where he was the highest ranking Chinese official to visit since President Xi Jinping’s visit.
- Pakistan and China’s love for each other started with their mutual interests in countering the threat from their neighbour, India, as India has had border disputes with both these nations and has seen wars with both of them. As a result we have seen China supporting Pakistan on Kashmir issue while Pakistan has always supported China on issues of Tibet, Arunachal Pradesh, Taiwan and Xinjiang.
- China, who has always considered Pakistan as its younger brother, has always helped it by providing it with military, economic and technical assistance. China has assisted Pakistan in setting up of nuclear power plants and in various infrastructure projects.
- Hence, both these nations have helped each other to curtail India’s emergence as an economic and military superpower.
- As China is increasing it’s foothold in the region, it is becoming tough for India to how to maintain it’s credibility in its neighbourhood despite not forging it’s strategic interests.
- The threat of growing two front axis and the paradox of two front war is becoming more and more real. New Delhi has to took suitable steps to tackle this dilemma.
Democracy Report 2020 Paper:
Mains: G.S. II Polity and Governance
Why in news?
According to Democracy Report 2020 prepared by the V-Dem Institute, the quality of democracy in India decreased alarmingly in the last decade.
- University of Gothenburg (Sweden) has recently published the “Varieties of Democracy Report” (V-Dem) .
- The report provides the most sweeping global examination of democracy, and India has seen a downgrade in its overall status.
- The fall in democratic values in India over the past decade was the sixth highest in the world.
- The regression started in 2014. Indices such as civil liberties and academic freedom went below the levels recorded during the emergency period.
- India has slipped 10 places in the 2019 Democracy Index to 51st position. In 2018, India was ranked at 41.
- Various categories for classification:
- Liberal Democracy: Every citizen is guaranteed and equal rights and full freedom of
- Electoral Democracy: All citizens have vote but certain people suffer exclusion due to their socio-economic status.
- Electoral Autocracy: All citizens have the vote but repression, censorship and institutionalised intimidation are very visible.
- What is India’s situation?
- India saw a slide in its ranking over the years as the quality of democracy has noticeably declined over the past decade (especially after 2014).
- India retains a system of free & fair multi-party elections and thus, qualifies as an electoral democracy.
- But it has seen major erosion in indicators such as Freedom of Expression, Rule of Law and Freedom of Association.