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‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Bilateral & Global agreements effecting India’s interest – Think tank snub clouds India-Singapore ties

Delhi pulled out of the strategic Shangri-La Dialogue after Minister was ranked lower than Pakistan’s head of Joint Chiefs of Staff committee

    What you need to know:

  • A snub from Singapore’s annual Shangri-La dialogue led to India’s decision to withdraw its delegation led by Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre last week, officials have confirmed to The Hindu.
  • According to senior officials privy to the decision, organisers of the prestigious conference informed the government that the Indian Minister did not rank as highly as Pakistan’s Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, as “civil military relations in Pakistan are different from those in India.”

   Panel presence:

  • Organisers at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), which runs the conference for the Government of Singapore, told the Ministry of External Affairs that, as a result, Mr. Bhamre, who was filling in for Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, would only be accommodated at a “plenary session” on the last day of the three-day event ( June 2-4), and not on one of the main panels as General Hayat was. “
  • Obviously, we were not going to accept this kind of differentiation between India and Pakistan,” an official told The Hindu. Accordingly, the Indian High Commission in Singapore then informed the Singapore MFA that “under the circumstances,” the delegation from New Delhi was pulling out as the speaking slot confirmed was “not in line with their expectations.” When asked, the IISS “regretted” the Indian decision, and said the MEA had informed them very late, only a week before the start of the conference that they wanted a “speaking role” for Mr. Bhamre.
  • . Consequently India, which has attended 12 of the 16 Dialogues since 2002, had no speaker at the event this year, although Indian High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf did attend all sessions of the conference.

   Crucial bilateral talks:

  • The Shangri-La Dialogue, funded and hosted by the Singapore government, is a unique “track-one” conference that Defence Ministers, officials and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific countries, including China and the United States, attend each year.

   Source: Hindu

‘’Paper 3-GS-II: Topic: Important aspects of e-Governance and accountability – Aadhaar or enrolment number must for returns

Validity of unlinked PAN cards to continue, says govt.

    What is important to know:

  • A day after the Supreme Court upheld the amendments to the Income Tax Act making Aadhaar numbers or Aadhaar enrolment numbers for new PAN card applications and linking the UID number to the PAN card mandatory to file returns.
  • The government said PAN cards would not be cancelled for taxpayers who do not wish to obtain an Aadhaar number for now.
  • The Finance Ministry said in a statement : “From July 1 onwards, every person eligible to obtain Aadhaar must quote their Aadhaar number or their Aadhaar enrolment number for filing income tax returns as well as applications for PAN.
  • The statement, drafted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes, also said: “Everyone who has been allotted PAN as on the 1st day of July, 2017, and who has Aadhaar number or is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number, shall intimate his Aadhaar number to Income Tax authorities for  linking PAN with Aadhaar.
  • The statement notes that for not linking the two unique numbers, ‘only a partial relief’ has been given by the Court to persons without an Aadhaar number or those who do not wish to obtain an Aadhaar for the time being in that “their PAN will not be cancelled so that other consequences under the Income Tax Act for failing to quote PAN may not arise.”

   SC ruling:

  • The Supreme Court, the government said, had upheld Section 139 AA (1) of the Income Tax Act which mandatorily requires quoting of Aadhaar for new PAN applications as well as filing returns.
  • It has also upheld section 139 AA (2) which requires that the Aadhaar number must be intimated to the prescribed authority for the purpose of linking with PAN.
  • It is only the proviso to Section 139 AA (2) where the Supreme Court has granted a partial stay for the time being pending resolution of the other cases before the larger bench of the Supreme Court,” the Finance Ministry said, referring to the Aadhaar-related matters pending before the court.

    Source: Press Trust of India

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: India & its neighborhood relations – MoU moots ties with Mauritius Parliament

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan calls the agreement a ‘visionary step’

    Brief:

  • India and Mauritius on Saturday signed a pact to institutionalise cooperation between the parliaments of the two countries.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Speaker of National Assembly of Mauritius Santi Bai Hanoomanjee after their meeting here.
  • Mahajan, who is leading an Indian parliamentary delegation to Mauritius, said there is a lot to be learnt by sharing the best practices and experiences as parliamentary democracies.

   Joint framework:

  • In this regard, she said the MoU on joint framework for parliamentary support and capacity building is a “visionary step forward”, according to a statement issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
  • She said the Parliament of India accords great importance to the steady development of parliamentary relations between the two countries.
  • Mahajan said the relations between the two countries are based on centuries of cultural, linguistic, social and spiritual links that transcend extraneous considerations.
  • More than political and other considerations, it is the commonality between the two societies and depth and nature of their peopleto-people contacts which provide a platform for the sustained growth of friendship and partnership, she said.
  • Noting that there is a lot to be learnt by sharing the best practices and experiences as parliamentary democracies, she said that the MoU on a joint framework for parliamentary support and capacity building is a visionary step forward.
  • She added that the Indian Parliament accords great importance to the steady development of bilateral parliamentary relations between the two countries.
  • She is leading an Indian parliamentary delegation to Mauritius, said that relations between the two countries are based on centuries of cultural, linguistic, social and spiritual links that transcend extraneous considerations.

    Source: Times of India