Essential Facts (Prelims): 7th, 8th and 9th January 2019

Essential Facts for Prelims - CSE 2019. Daily Compilation of Important Factual Information from Relevant News Sources for Civil Services Prelims Exam (UPSC)

Taxation

  • Government’s dependence on tax revenue has steadily increased, with tax revenue making up a little more than 70% of its total receipts in 2018-19, up from 65% in 2014-15.
  • Correspondingly, the share of revenue from non-tax sources (such as dividends from PSUs and the RBI) and capital receipts (such as disinvestment proceeds) has been declining.
  • The government cannot take the risk of increasing tax rates, whether direct or indirect, for fear of a backlash from the public. So, the only option it has to boost tax revenues is to increase the tax base and stop evasion.
  • The expansion of the GST taxpayer base, improving the return filings compliance and using the large amount of data available to detect tax evasion would become the cornerstone of the government’s measures to enhance tax revenues.
  • The other trend the government would be banking on is that increased economic activity and a higher GDP growth rate will boost consumption and hence, indirect tax collections, other analysts say.
  • The indirect tax rate is fixed, so if there is price inflation, then the government receives a tax on that as well because product prices go up and so the tax component also goes up.
  • When the GDP grows, consumption also grows, and so more indirect taxes are received.
  • An increasing proportion of its indirect tax collections are coming from a single source — oil.
  • PSU dividends as a proportion of non-tax revenue have been growing over the years, from 16% in 2014-15 to 21.4% in 2018-19.

ATMs

  • There are around 2.2 lakhs Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country.
  • These include 1,43,844 ATMs of public sector banks, 59,645 ATMs of private banks and 18,003 of foreign banks, payments banks, small finance banks and White Label ATMs.
  • White Label ATMs are owned and operated by non-bank entities.

Dark matter

  • In a first, scientists have found evidence that the mysterious dark matter — believed to make up most of the mass of the universe — can be heated up and moved around, as a result of star formation in galaxies.
  • This effect is known as ‘dark matter heating’.
  • Scientists found that galaxies that stopped forming stars long ago had higher dark matter densities at their centres than those that are still forming stars today. This supports the theory that the older galaxies had less dark matter heating.

ISS

  • After cultivating lettuce in space three years ago, crew members aboard the International Space Station could be growing beans in 2021.
  • The food grown in space could be crucial to sustain the crew in future deep space missions.
  • The longest stays at the International Space Station have been six months, while people travelling to Mars will need to be prepared to stay in space for at least a year.
  • The beans would be placed in a centrifuge to sprout and grow in the space station. The centrifuge would be rotated to create different amounts of gravity.

Citizenship Bill

  • The Bill paves the way to grant citizenship to six religious minorities — Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2014.

Gas hydrates

  • Methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) can exist as gas hydrates at temperatures and pressures seen in interstellar atmosphere.
  • Gas hydrates are formed when a gas such as methane gets trapped in well-defined cages of water molecules forming crystalline solids.
  • In terrestrial conditions, gas hydrates are formed naturally under the sea bed and glaciers under high pressure, low temperature conditions.
  • Methane hydrate is a potential source of natural gas.
  • The methane and CO2 hydrates were produced in the lab at very low pressures.
  • The carbon dioxide hydrate produced in the lab raises the possibility of sequestering or storing carbon dioxide as hydrates by taking advantage of ice existing in environmental conditions favourable for hydrate formation.
  • CO2 hydrate is thermodynamically more stable than methane hydrate. So if methane hydrate has remained stable for millions of years under the sea bed, it would be possible to sequester gaseous CO2 as solid hydrate under the sea bed.

DNA technology Bill

  • The Lok Sabha passed a bill that allows regulated use of DNA technology to establish the identity of certain defined categories of persons, including offenders, suspects, and undertrials.
  • The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill allows the use of the technology to establish the identity of persons in matters of crime, parentage dispute, emigration or immigration and transplantation of human organs.
  • The Bill provides for establishment of national and regional DNA data banks and each data will maintain the indices, including crime scene index, suspects’ or undertrials’ index and offenders’ index.

Tokenisation

  • The Reserve of India (RBI) has allowed all card payment networks to offer tokenisation service.
  • Tokenisation involves a process in which a unique token masks sensitive card details.
  • The token is then used to perform card transactions in contact-less mode at Point Of Sale (POS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) code payments, etc.

HD 21749b

  • NASA’s latest planet-hunting probe has discovered a new world outside our solar system.
  • This is the third new planet confirmed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) since its launch last year.
  • The planet is named HD 21749b.
  • It’s the coolest small planet that we know of around a star this bright.
  • We know a lot about atmospheres of hot planets, but because it’s very hard to find small planets that orbit farther from their stars, and are therefore cooler, we haven’t been able to learn much about these smaller, cooler planets.

Credit Guarantee Fund

  • The Government is planning to set up a Credit Guarantee Fund (CGF) for encouraging start-up companies with a view to providing funding facilities in the country.

Sittwe Port

  • Infrastructure at Sittwe Port in Myanmar, constructed with India’s assistance, is ready for operation.
  • The construction of Sittwe Port is part of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project.
  • Its objective is to create a multi-modal sea, river and road transport corridor for shipment of cargo from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar through Sittwe port as well as to North-Eastern part of India via Myanmar..

National Bamboo Mission

  • The restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM) was approved in April, 2018 for implementation till the end of 14th Finance Commission i.e. 2019-20.
  • The scheme aims to inter-alia supplement farm income of farmers with focus on the development of complete value chain of bamboo sector linking growers with industry.
  • The scheme is being implemented in non-forest Government land, farmers field in States where it has social, commercial and economical advantage.

Interest Subvention

  • With a view to ensuring availability of agriculture credit at a reasonable cost/at a reduced rate of 7% per annum to farmers, the Government of India, is implementing an interest subvention scheme of 2% for short term crop loans up to Rs.3.00 lakh.
  • The scheme is implemented through public sector banks and private sector banks {reimbursement through Reserve Bank of India (RBI)}, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperatives {reimbursement through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)}.
  • Currently, besides 2% interest subvention, the farmers, on prompt repayment of crop loans on or before the due date, are also provided 3% additional interest subvention.
  • Thus, in case of prompt payee farmers the short term crop loans are provided at an effective interest rate of 4% per annum.
  • The benefit of interest subvention is extended for a period of up to six months (post-harvest) to small and marginal farmers having KCC on loan against negotiable warehouse receipts with the purpose of preventing distress sale of produce.

National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA)

  • The National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) has been constituted under Section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 to ensure that the reduction in rate of tax or the benefit of input tax credit is passed on to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices.

 

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