GST collections touch an all-time high in December

Paper:

Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

Gross revenues from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) hit a record high in December 2020, with collections of ₹1,15,174 crores, 12% higher than last year.

Key details

  • December marks the 4th month in a row that GST collections have grown year on year, after revenues collapsed in the first quarter of 2020-21 amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • The highest monthly GST kitty since the introduction of the indirect tax in 2017, is a reflection of rapid economic recovery under way.
  • This has been due to the combined effect of the rapid economic recovery post pandemic and the nation-wide drive against GST evaders and fake bills along with many systemic changes introduced recently.
  • So, what could be the reasons for such jump in collection in December?
  • One of the obvious explanations for the jump in GST collection could be revival in the economy as lockdown rules were relaxed and daily cases started coming down.
  • Festive sales in November and restocking by retailers ahead of Diwali festivities could have also resulted in bumper collection during December.
  • The government statement says that GST collections due to domestic transactions registered 8 per cent growth while GST from imports rose by 27 per cent.
  • The increase in the GST collections on imports indicates that international trade is coming back to normal.
  • Some experts also attribute this growth to the heightened vigilance by revenue department against evasion. The government has been going after non-filers and fake billers with a vengeance for past few months.
  • The continued uptick in GST collections would give confidence in the resilience of the economy and indicates that business activities have completely resumed and demand for goods and services continue to be high.

In 2020, Rajya Sabha saw lowest number of sittings ever

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

The Rajya Sabha sat for just 33 days in 2020, its lowest-ever tally of sittings in a year.

Key details

  • This is in backdrop, as the government refuses to call the winter session of Parliament.
  • There are only three other occasions when the Upper House sittings were below 50 days in a year.
  • Both sessions of Parliament – Budget session and the monsoon session – had to be cut short due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Budget session which was scheduled to have 31 sittings was brought to a close after 23.
  • Similarly, the monsoon session which was to have 18 sittings, could manage to have only 10 as the number of COVID-19 positive cases among the Parliamentarians and the supporting staff started spiralling.
  • As per an analysis by the Rajya Sabha secretariat, the limited number of sittings did not hurt the productivity. “During the year 2020, the annual productivity of Rajya Sabha has been 82.7%, the highest annual productivity during the last 11 years.”

PM unveils project for affordable housing

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of six Light House Projects in six cities as part of the Global Housing Technology Challenge-India (GHTC – India) initiative.

Key details

  • Reiterating the Centre’s commitment to provide housing to all, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched Light House Projects in six cities to build 1,000 ready-to-move-in houses in a year.
  • The projects, under government’s Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC), will kick start from today in Indore, Rajkot, Chennai, Ranchi, Agartala and Lucknow, and will use innovative technology to complete 1,000 housing units.
  • The projects will use a range of modern housing technologies from France, US, Finland, Germany, New Zealand and Canada to build earthquake-resistant units and save construction time.
  • He urged students, planners and architects to visit project sites and grasp new technologies for future alterations to suit domestic needs.


RBI launches Digital Payments Index

Paper:

Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Key details

  • RBI has constructed a composite Digital Payments Index to capture the extent of digitisation of payments across the country.
  • RBI-DPI will be published on a semi-annual basis from March 2021 onwards.
  • The RBI-DPI has been constructed with March 2018 as the base period.
  • The RBI-DPI comprises 5 broad parameters that enable measurement of deepening and penetration of digital payments in the country. These parameters are:
  • Payment enablers
  • Payment infrastructure- demand side factors
  • Payment infrastructure- supply side factors
  • Payment performance
  • Consumer centricity