1. Centre may relax angel tax norms for start-ups, sets up panel
- The government decided to set up a five-member working committee to look into the angel tax issue and come up with guidelines.
- The panel also agreed to implement some key changes requested by start-ups regarding the issue.
- According to a January 16 notification, start-ups whose aggregate amount of paid-up share capital and share premium after the proposed issue of share does not exceed ₹10 crore are eligible for exemption from the tax. But now officials representing the government agreed to raise this limit to ₹25 crore.
- They also agreed to amend the definition of a start-up to include companies that have been in operation for up to 10 years rather than the previous limit of seven years.
- On the investor side, the notification had said that the angel investor should have filed income tax returns of at least ₹50 lakh for the year preceding the year in which the investment was made and have a net worth of ₹2 crore. Now according to a source who attended the meeting, would be modified to be ₹25 lakh and ₹1 crore, respectively.
About Angel Tax
- The ‘angel tax is a tax on the excess capital raised by an unlisted company through the issue of shares over and above the fair market value of those shares.
- This excess capital is treated as income and taxed accordingly.
- This tax most commonly affects start-ups and the angel investors who back them.
2. Fundraiser to secure 96 elephant corridors
In News: “According to a recent survey, seven elephant corridors in Jharkhand, U.P., Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have already been impaired due to land use changes.
- To tackle this problem the Asian Elephant Alliance, an umbrella initiative by five NGOs, has come together to secure 96 out of the 101 existing corridors used by elephants across 12 States in India.
- These are – NGOs Elephant Family, International Fund for Animal Welfare, IUCN Netherlands and World Land Trust have teamed up with WTI in the alliance.
- The joint venture is aiming at raising £20 million (₹187.16 crore) to secure the 96 remaining elephant corridors, old and new, in the next ten years.
Why Only 96 out of 101?
- It is because out of 101 elephant corridors identified by the WTI in its 2012-15 study, five of them — two in Meghalaya and one each in Assam, Kerala and Karnataka — have already been secured by the WTI (Wildlife Trust of India’s) with the help of conservation partners and the support of State governments.
About Indian Elephant
- The Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant and native to mainland Asia.
- Since 1986, the Asian elephant has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List as the wild population has declined by at least 50% since the 1940s to 1930s, i.e. three elephant generations.
- The Asian elephant is threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.
3. Emission levels rising faster in Indian cities than in China
- Recently study analysed link between population density and emissions from vehicles across the districts in the country.
- Urbanisation is accelerating greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in India at a faster than in
Finding of Studies
- On an average, an Indian emitted about 20 kg per capita while commuting for work, with the highest (140 kg CO2) in Gurugram district (Haryana) and the lowest (1.8 kg CO2) in Shrawasti district (Uttar Pradesh).
- The experience in most developed countries was that urbanisation led to a reduction in emissions — more urbanisation meant shorter distances between the workplace and home and thereby, a preference for public transport.
- However this didn’t effectively apply to developing countries, the authors argue.
- In China a 1% increase in urbanisation was linked with a 0.12% increase in CO2 emissions whereas, in India, it translated into 0.24% increase in emissions, said the study, to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters.
- India’s CO2 emission grew by an estimated 4.6% in 2017 and its per-capita emission was about 1.8 tonnes.
- In spite of being the 4th largest emitter, India’s per capita emissions are much lower than the world average of 4.2 tonnes.
- But those emissions have been growing steadily, with an average growth rate over the past decade of 6%, according to data from the Global Carbon Project.
- Delhi had the highest commuting emissions per capita — a factor that also contributed to its high level of pollution — and the national capital region had 2.5 times higher commuting emissions than Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.
- “Delhi’s higher socio-economic status and heavy reliance on private travel modes led to higher commuting emissions than in other megacities.
4. Braille voter slips for blind
- The Election Commission of India will be issuing Braille voter slips for the visually impaired and blind voters in the Lok Sabha elections 2019 .
- It is part of its strategy framework for ‘accessible elections’, the commission has told all chief electoral officers to issue accessible photo voter slips with braille to voters who are visually impaired or blind.
- The Electronic voting machines already have the Braille feature.
- The ballot paper pasted on the machine with name and symbol of candidates is Braille enabled.
- The Strategic Framework on Accessible Elections is a compilation of guidelines issued by Election Commission of India and the Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social justice and Empowerment, Government of India.
- The guidelines aim to build on sensitization through education and training, community involvement of different sections of society, effective partnership with institutions and originations and creation of facilities to cater to the specific needs of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) with a view to increasing their participation
5. Ministry of Coal signs an MoU with Ministry of Energy, Republic of Poland
- Ministry of Coal entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Ministry of Energy, Republic of Poland.
- The objective of this MoU is to foster relations in the field of coal mining and clean coal technologies through the already established Joint Coal Working Group as well as research institutes and academia between the two countries covering the following areas.
- To promote trade and investment in the coal sector, enhance the understanding of coal related energy issues, particularly clean coal technologies, and promote the exchange of information on policies, programmes and technologies with special emphasis on coal exploration and exploitation, research and development, technical cooperation and capacity building.
- To review the activities implemented under MoU.
- To identify other forms of cooperation mutually agreed upon by the Participants.
- India and Poland celebrated 60 years of vibrant diplomatic relations and also formalized cooperation agreements in different areas.
- This MoU signed would further strengthen these efforts.
- The MoU will greatly benefit in the field of clean technologies and would provide opportunities to both our countries to augment trade and investment in diverse areas in mining and energy sectors.
6. Report of Shekatkar Committee
- Recently the report of Shekatkar Committee was taken up by the Ministry of Defence to frame key action points and roadmap for implementation.
- The Committee of Experts (CoE) constituted by the Ministry of Defence under the chairmanship of Lt. Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces, submitted its report in December 2016.
Measures as recommended by the Committee and taken up for implementation include:
- Optimization of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
- Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static / Station Workshops in the field Army.
- Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
- Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport units.
- Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
- Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
- Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.
7. National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE)
- Ministry of HRD, Department of School Education and Literacy is implementing ‘National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE).
- It provide scholarships for Girls to encourage better education and career opportunities
Objective of the scheme
- To establish an enabling environment to reduce the drop outs and to promote the enrolment of girl child belonging to SC/ST communities in secondary schools.
- To ensure their retention up to the 18 years of age.
The scheme covers:
- all girls belonging to SC/ST communities who pass class VIII and
- all girls who pass class VIII examination from Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalayas (irrespective of whether they belong to SC/ ST) and enroll in class IX in State/ UT Government, Government-aided and Local Body schools.
- According to the scheme, an amount of Rs.3000/- is deposited in the name of eligible unmarried girls as fixed deposit on enrolment in class IX, who are entitled to withdraw it along with interest thereon reaching on 18 years of age and passing class 10thclass examination.
- The scheme is covered under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme.
- The scheme is on-boarded on National Scholarship Portal (NSP) since 2015-16.