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Daily Current Events by Civils360 December 9, 2017

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National Green Tribunal: Read Here

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday rapped the Punjab government for not taking comprehensive and effective steps to curb stubble burning in the State.
  • Tribunal also came down heavily on Punjab for not complying with the directions passed by the Tribunal in 2015 with respect to stubble burning and the air pollution caused.NGT also noted that the state government did not provide adequate incentives to the farmers to curb stubble burning.
  • State government informed the Tribunal that it had held a meeting with the NTPC to use crop residue as raw material.However, it largely failed to tie-up with private and public companies tohelp collect crop residue and utilise the same.

Antarctica : Read Here

  • The three ice sheets that cover the continent contain around 70% of our planet’s fresh water, which are very vulnerable to warming air and oceans. If all the ice sheets were to melt, Antarctica would raise global sea levels by at least 56m.
  • In polar regions, surface temperatures are projected to rise twice as fast as the global average, due to a phenomenon is known as polar amplification. Also recent evidence shows global temperatures are close to 1.5°C warmer than pre-industrial times and, after the COP23 meeting in Bonn in November, it is apparent that keeping temperature rise within 2°C is unlikely. Hence it is important to recalculate the impact of climate change to the polar region.
  • It is, therefore, crucial to reduce CO₂ levels now for the benefit of future generations. Technological innovations are providing new ways to reduce CO₂ emissions, and offer the reality of a low-carbon future. This may help minimise sea level rise from Antarctica and make mitigation a viable possibility.

Urban Poverty: Read Here

  • As per the statistics, urban poverty in India is over 25 percent. Around 81 million people live in urban areas on incomes that are below the poverty line. By 2030, urbanisation in India is projected to reach 50 percent as per UN World Urbanisation PRospects report.
  • Even though at the national level, rural poverty remains higher than urban poverty right now. The gap is bound to close in the coming years because of large scale uncontrolled rural- urban migration. Hence, the policy makers have to devise a plan to make our cities sustainable and inclusive. Merely relying upon international support will not suffice.
  • International-development investments are largely focused on rural development, based on theories rooted primarily in rural experiences. Cities are seen by many as locations of economic growth, not locations for aspiration, opportunity, equity and inclusion. In India and other developing countries, the situation is not so similar.

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Wassenaar Agreement: Read Here

  • India is admitted as the 42nd member of the organisation which aims to regulate trade and use of dual use technology.The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday welcomed the decision of the Wassenaar Arrangement.
  • It will also boost New Delhi’s chances of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).Its goal is to promote greater transparency and greater responsibility in transfer of conventional arms and dual use goods and technologies.
  • India’s membership is expected to facilitate high technology tie-ups with Indian industry and ease access to high-tech items for our defence and space programmes.

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Tax Regime: Read Here

  • Tax exemptions must go completely in a bid to improve tax-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio and reduce compliance cost.The tax exemptions cost a revenue loss of about 5% of GDP according to NITI Aayog member, Bibek Debroy.The tax-GDP ratio today, Union and State governments’ combine would have been 22% if there was no exemptions where as it is only about 16% of GDP currently.
  • In India’s tax regime, there are not much tax evasion which is illegal but there are so many instances of tax avoidance which is perfectly legitimate because of the array of exemptions that are allowed.
  • One of the reasons behind setting up six-member task force is to look at the Income Tax Act which intends to address the issue of exemptions.