GST rate hike for household items

GS Paper 3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources
Important for:
Prelims exam level: GST and its various tax slabs
Mains exam Level: Not Much
Why in News
From July 18, tax hikes will kick in for over two dozen goods and services, ranging from unbranded food items, curd and butter milk to low-cost hotels, cheques and maps, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council decided after a marathon two-day meet.

What have been changed?

• The hike in GST rates include changes for 17 goods and services, including LED lights, solar water heaters and writing inks, to correct anomalies that had crept in from inverted duty structures where tax rates on inputs were higher than the final product.
• The tax rate on Tetra Pak has been raised from 12% to 18%, while cut and polished diamonds will now attract GST at 1.5% instead of the prevailing 0.25%.
• The GST rate on splints for treating fractures, intraocular lens for those with failing eyesight and ostomy appliances will be reduced from 12% to 5%.
• The Council has also clarified that Assisted Reproductive Technology and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) services are covered under the health care services for the purpose of GST exemption, but stem cell preservation services will no longer be tax-free.

• Hospital room rents over ₹5,000 a day, excluding patients in intensive care units, shall now be taxed at 5%.
Back To Basics:

What is GST?

• GST launched in India on 1 July 2017 is a comprehensive indirect tax for the entire country.
• It is charged at the time of supply and depends on the destination of consumption.
• For instance, if a good is manufactured in state A but consumed in state B, then the revenue generated through GST collection is credited to the state of consumption (state B) and not to the state of production (state A).
• GST, being a consumption-based tax, resulted in loss of revenue for manufacturing-heavy states.

What are GST Slabs?

• In India, almost 500+ services and over 1300 products fall under the 4 major GST slabs.
• There are five broad tax rates of zero, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, plus a cess levied over and above the 28% on some ‘sin’ goods.
• The GST Council periodically revises the items under each slab rate to adjust them according to industry demands and market trends.
• The updated structure ensures that the essential items fall under lower tax brackets, while luxury products and services entail higher GST rates.
• The 28% rate is levied on demerit goods such as tobacco products, automobiles, and aerated drinks, along with an additional GST compensation cess.

Demerit Good

A good or service whose consumption is considered unhealthy, degrading, or otherwise socially undesirable due to the perceived negative effects on the consumers themselves.

NASA’s CAPSTONE Mission

GS Paper 3: Awareness in The Fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology, Pharma Sector & Health Science
Important for:
Prelims exam level: CAPSTONE Mission
Mains exam Level: Not Much

What is CAPSTONE?

• A microwave oven–sized CubeSat weighing just 55 pounds will serve as the first spacecraft to test a unique, elliptical lunar orbit as part of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE).
• It aims to help reduce risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative navigation technologies, and by verifying the dynamics of the halo-shaped orbit.

CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites.

Mission details

• At the Moon, CAPSTONE will enter an elongated orbit called a near rectilinear halo orbit, or NRHO.
• Once in the NRHO, CAPSTONE will fly within 1,000 miles of the Moon’s North Pole on its near pass and 43,500 miles from the South Pole at its farthest.
• It will repeat the cycle every six and a half days and maintain this orbit for at least six months to study dynamics.

Primary Agricultural Credit Society

GS Paper 3: Indian Economy
Important for:
Prelims exam level: PACS
Mains exam Level: Rural Banking

Why in News

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister approved computerisation of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) with the aim of increasing efficiency of PACS, bringing transparency and accountability in their operations.
Primary Agricultural Credit Society
• A Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS) is a basic unit and smallest co-operative credit institutions in India.
• It works on the grassroots level (gram panchayat and village level).
• It constitutes the lowest tier of the three-tier short-term cooperative credit (STCC) in India comprising of nearly 13 crore farmers as its members.
Regulation of PACSs
• PACS are outside the purview of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and hence not regulated by RBI.
• PACS are regulated by State Government and the Registrar of Co-operative Societies appointed by the State.

Need of Digitization

• PACS account for 41 % (3.01 Cr. farmers) of the KCC loans given by all entities in the country and 95 % of these KCC loans (2.95 Cr. farmers) through PACS are to the small and marginal farmers.
• The other two tiers viz. State Cooperative Banks (StCBs) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) have already been automated by the NABARD and brought on Common Banking Software (CBS).
Significance of digitization
• Computerization of PACS will increase their transparency, reliability and efficiency, and will also facilitate the accounting of multipurpose PACS.
• Along with this, it will also help PACS to become a nodal centre for providing services such as direct benefit transfer (DBT), Interest subvention scheme (ISS), crop insurance scheme (PMFBY), and inputs like fertilizers and seeds.
Marine Product Export
GS Paper 3: Trade and export policy
Important for:
Prelims Exam level: Production and export of marine products
Mains Exam level: Marine product export promotion policy, sustainable production and livelihood
Why in news
India’s marine product exports record an all-time high in FY 2021-22.
Key Highlights
● India shipped 13, 69,264 MT of seafood worth Rs 57,586.48 crore (USD 7.76 billion) during 2021-22, despite heavy odds.
● During the FY 2021-22, the export improved in rupee terms by 31.71%, in USD terms by 30.26% and in quantity terms by 19.12%. In 2020-21, India had exported 11,49,510 MT of seafood worth Rs 43,720.98 crore (USD 5,956.93 million).
● Frozen shrimp remained the major export item in terms of quantity and value. Frozen shrimp, which earned Rs 42,706.04 crore (USD 5,828.59 million), accounted for a share of 53.18 per cent in quantity and 75.11 per cent of the total dollar earnings.
○ Shrimp exports during the period increased by 31.68 per cent in USD value and 23.35 per cent in quantity.
○ The overall export of frozen shrimps during 2021-22 was pegged at 7,28,123 MT.
○ USA, the largest market, imported (3,42,572 MT) of frozen shrimp, followed by China (1,25,667 MT), European Union (90,549 MT), South East Asia (44,683 MT), Japan (38,492 MT), and the Middle East (37,158 MT). Export of Frozen shrimp showed an increase in all the markets by value.
● Other items, the second largest export item, fetched Rs 3,979.99 crore (USD 540.73 million), accounting for 12.96% in quantity and 6.97 % in dollar earnings. The export of other items increased by 43.8 % in rupee value and 42.94 % in dollar value. Other items comprise surimi and surimi analogue products by 56.55% in USD terms.
● Frozen fish, the third largest export item, fetched Rs 3471.91 crore (USD 471.45 million), accounting for 16.55 per cent in quantity and 6.08 per cent in dollar earnings. The export of frozen fish increased by 20.44% in quantity and 17.19 % in dollar value.
● India’s largest marine product importer are:
○ USA continued to be the major importer of Indian seafood in value and volume terms both with an import worth USD 3371.66 million, accounting for a share of 37.56 % in terms of dollar value.
○ China emerged as the second largest seafood export destination from India in terms of quantity with an import of 2,66,989 MT worth USD 1,175.05 million, accounting for 19.50% in quantity and 15.14% in dollar terms.
○ Other importer- European Union is the third largest, South east Asia fourth and Japan is at fifth position.
● Exports to the Middle East also showed a growth of 20.2% in quantity, 21.27% in rupee and 20.7% in dollar terms.
Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) was set up by an act of Parliament during 1972. The erstwhile Marine Products Export Promotion Council established by the Government of India in September 1961 was converged into MPEDA on 24th August 1972. MPEDA is given the mandate to promote the marine products industry with special reference to exports from the country.

ABHYAS – High speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT)
GS Paper 3: Achievements of India in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.
Important for:
Prelims Exam level: Aircraft’s Capabilities and manufacturer etc.
Mains Exam level: Indigenization of Defence Technology.
Why in news

ABHYAS – High speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) was successfully flight-tested from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha on June 29, 2022.
About ABHYAS – High speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT)
● ABHYAS is designed & developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
● The air vehicle was launched using twin under-slung boosters which provide the initial acceleration to the vehicle.
● It is powered by a small gas turbine engine to sustain a long endurance flight at high subsonic speed.
● The target aircraft is equipped with Micro-Electromechanical Systems-based Inertial Navigation System for navigation along with the Flight Control Computer for guidance and control along with Indigenous Radio Altimeter for very low altitude flight and Data Link for encrypted communication between the Ground Control Station and Target Aircraft.
● The vehicle is programmed for fully autonomous flight.
● Development of this system will meet the requirements of aerial targets for the Armed Forces.