‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Indian Economy & mobilization of resources – New GST rate of 3% for gold, diamonds

Rates finalized for all products

    What you need to know:

  • As expected, there is a couple of new tax categories added under the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. Gold, silver and processed diamonds would be taxed at 3% under the GST as against the lowest tax bracket of 5% proposed earlier. Apart from this new tax rate, rough diamonds would be taxed at 0.25%.
  • With this, there are now seven tax slabs under the GST – nil, 0.25% (for uncut diamond), 3% (for gold, silver and processed diamond), 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% — making the new tax regime much more complex than it was earlier conceived.
  • Announcing the new tax rate at the conclusion of the GST Council meeting in New Delhi , Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said,” At present, gold has 1% excise duty and in many states 1% VAT (Value Added Tax).
  • In some states, the VAT is more than 1%. There was an extensive debate (on rate of tax on gold in the meeting and between 2% and 5%, there was almost a vertical.
  • Therefore, we finally reached a consensus of taxing gold and gold jewellery at 3%.”
  • On rough diamond, the finance minister said that a nominal rate of 0.25% was levied to keep the audit trail.
  • Already, the proposed GST has come under criticism for having five tax slabs and different cesses levied on items kept in the highest tax slab of 28%, the two new tax rates would make the tax structure more complex.
  • Suresh Nair, Tax Partner, EY, said, “Inspite of a near vertical division, the GST Council manages a consensus on rate of tax on gold at 3%. This adds on to another new tax rate under GST regime. It would be interesting to watch the trade community reaction in the transition phase given that the GST rate in most states could be higher than the overall current effective tax rate on gold.  States with higher VAT rate would be hopeful of compensation from the Centre to bridge the gap, if otherwise not taken care of.”
  • Meanwhile, the World Gold Council has welcomed the step to apply 3% GST on gold by calling it an ‘encouraging step in the current context to stabilise the industry, it has said that with the current import duty of 10% the total tax on gold is still high and will continue to have an impact on the jewellery industry. Therefore, it has asked to bring down the import duty on gold.

    Source: Business Today

‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Conservation Environmental Pollution & Degradation – City’s vehicle count zooms to 1.05 cr

Experts attribute rise in vehicular population to dismal state of public transport

    What is important to know:

  • The Capital’s vehicular population has officially breached the 1.05-crore mark with over 94% constituting private vehicles. This, along with a proportional increase in road space for a city that has houses over 2.7 crore residents.

   Alarming ozone levels in National Capital Region:

  • Ozone pollution has reached alarming levels in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), which are in the grip of a multi-pollutant crisis, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said on Saturday. Public health crisis The CSE noted that due to the high pollution level and growing heat stress owing to climate change, the ozone level was frequently exceeding the standards as classified by the National Air Quality Index (NAQI).

   1 crore private vehicles:

  • According to the latest figures compiled by the Delhi Transport Department, the city’s population of privately-owned vehicles is just shy of 1 crore, an estimated 99,38,656 till May 25 if one combines the total number of privately-registered cars and twowheelers across categories.
  • This, despite two arguably effective phases of the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme, which sought to affect a behavioural change in vehicle usage patterns and wean the average citizen onto public transport, being implemented in separate phases by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government last year.

   Poor public transport:

  • Expected to breach the 1.6- crore mark by the beginning of next week when fresh figures are compiled, these numbers are also an indication of the fact that Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal’s de-congestion programme, which is expected to be brought in soon in south Delhi, will be relatively more difficult to implement.
  • Experts have attributed the sky-rocketing vehicular population to the dismal state of the public transport system, of which the Delhi Transport Corporation’s (DTC) fleet of 4,000-odd buses is a significant but neglected part. Not just this, lack of last-mile connectivity and technical constraints related to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) network lead Delhiites to keep away from public modes of transport.

   Source: Press Trust of India

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Bilateral & Global groupings agreements effecting India’s interest – India, France to join hands on Paris pact

Leaders of the two countries also vow to unite to boost maritime security and fight against terrorism

    Brief:

  • India and France vowed to work together for the implementation of the landmark Paris climate agreement and fight the challenge posed by terrorism, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron here.
  • Modi said India was committed to “go above and beyond” the Paris deal to protect climate for future generations as he termed the U.N.-brokered agreement a shared legacy of the world, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump walked out of the accord.
  • After holding two hours of wide-ranging talks with Mr. Macron at the presidential Elysee Palace here, Mr. Modi said the Paris climate deal reflects “our duty towards protecting the mother Earth and our natural resources. For us, this (protection of environment) is an article of faith.”

    Shared legacy:

  • “Paris climate agreement is a shared legacy of the world. It will benefit the future generations as well,” Mr. Modi said addressing a joint press event with Mr. Macron.
  • Describing the city of Paris as an important part of his political journey, the Prime Minister said India and France had worked shoulder-to-shoulder for this agreement.
  • On his part, Mr. Macron said he wants to restate France’s full commitment to the fight against climate warming.
  • The two leaders voiced concern over the growing threat of terrorism worldwide. “Terrorism is one of the biggest challenges the world is facing today,” Mr. Modi said. “We cannot see the danger of climate change but we can see the horrific effects of terrorism, we can feel it.
  • Innocent people, women, children lose their lives to terror.
  • Every child in France knows the face of terror,” Mr. Modi said, referring to a series of terror attacks that rocked France in recent years. Mr. Macron said, “We are committed to work together in defence cooperation, maritime security and fighting terrorism on the Internet. France will stand by India in the fight against terrorism.
  • Modi invited the French president to visit India. Mr. Macron said he would visit New Delhi by the end of the year for an international summit on solar power.

     Source: Deccan Chronicle