GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World And Society.

Study Links Rising Temperatures To Suicides.

Background-

  • A crop-damaging rise in temperatures may have catalysed about 59,300 suicides in India over the past three-and-a-half decades, a US-based economist said on 31st July, 2017 after a study analysing weather trends and suicides.
  • The analysis by Tamma Carleton, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that when the temperatures are above 20°C, a one degree rise on a single day during the monsoon season can on average be accompanied by about 70 suicides above the usual rate.
  • Her study is based on temperature and rainfall patterns and records of all suicides, not just farmer suicides, documented by India’s National Crime Records Bureau. It has found that rises in temperatures during the main growing season from June through September has a “substantial influence” over suicide rates.

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What is Important –

  • The latest bureau figures show that the annual suicide rate in India has risen by almost 16 per cent between 2004 and 2014, from about 113,000 in 2004 to 131,000 in 2014, although it has shown a slightly declining trend since 2010.
  • While earlier studies had tracked suicide trends, none had quantitatively examined the links between income-damaging changes in the weather and suicide rates. The new study has also used crop yield data from several decades to investigate the correlations between weather and suicides.
  • Temperature rises may have contributed to a cumulative total of 59,300 suicides across all states and all years since 1980, accounting for 6.8 per cent of the national upward trend in suicide rates over this period. The study was published in the US journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • The study also found that an increase in the growing season rainfall by 1cm is associated with a decrease of about 8 suicides per million, lowering the suicide rate by 7 per cent on an average.
  • The results suggest that rainfall may help mitigate the suicide rate in India, presumably through its impact on agriculture.
  • Mental health specialists say the study underscores the inherent occupational risks associated with farming in India and other developing countries, where farmers’ income depends critically on the weather and crop procurement prices.
  • However, sections of crop and weather scientists say that while localised droughts and water shortages have contributed to farmers’ distress, there is little evidence for significant crop failures from warming trends.

Sources- The Telegraph.

GS Paper II- Governance, International Relations.

India-Bhutan New Trade Pact Comes Into Force From July 29, 2017; India Starts Joint Operation Of Border Check-Post With Bangladesh.

Background

  • India and Bhutan mutually decided to bring into force the ‘new’ bilateral Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit with effect from this July 29, 2017, an official statement said on Monday, 31st July, 2017. The new agreement will further strengthen the bilateral trade relations between India and Bhutan.
  • The agreement provides for a free trade regime between the territories of India and Bhutan. The agreement also provides for duty-free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries.
  • It was last renewed on July 29, 2006 for ten years. The validity of this agreement was extended (with effect from July 29, 2016) for one year or till the new agreement comes into force, through exchange of diplomatic notes.

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Key Points Of The Development-

  • The bilateral trade relations between India and Bhutan are supposed to be governed by this pact.     
  • As agreed to by both India and Bhutan, the new agreement has come into force with effect from 29 July, 2017. The new agreement will further strengthen the bilateral trade relations.   
  • The two-way trade stood at USD 808.72 million in 2016-17, up from USD 750.2 million in the previous fiscal.     
  • In a separate statement, the ministry said to facilitate movement of cargo across the Bangladesh border, India and Bangladesh have agreed to operate Petrapole-Benapole integrated check post (ICP) 24×7, with effect from 1st August, 2017. This post is a major route for bilateral trade.     
  • The ministry said that Land Ports Authority of India and Central Board of Excise and Customs have issued necessary instructions in this regard. The 24×7 operationalisation of Petrapole-Benapole ICP is expected to be a significant milestone towards expeditious clearance of cargo and, hence boost the bilateral trade between the countries.     
  • The bilateral trade between the countries has increased to USD 7.43 billion in 2016-17 from USD 6.76 billion in the previous fiscal.

Sources- The Hindu, The New Indian Express.

 

GS Paper III- Economic Development/ GS Paper II- Governance.

Government Enters Into Nine Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPAs) With Indian Taxpayers In July, 2017.

Background

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) entered into nine Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPAs) with Indian taxpayers in the month of July, 2017. Some of the UAPAs signed had rollback provisions also.
  • The APA Scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the Arm’s Length Price of international transactions in advance for a maximum period of five future years.
  • Further, the taxpayer has the option to rollback the APA for four preceding years, as a result of which, a total of nine years of tax certainty is provided.
  • Since its  inception,  the  APA  scheme  has  attracted  tremendous  interest  among  Multi  National Enterprises  (MNEs).

Highlights Of The Development-

  • In a bid to foster a non-adversarial tax regime, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) entered into nine Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPAs) with Indian taxpayers which endeavour to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing.
  • The nine APAs signed in July, 2017 pertain to diverse sectors of the economy. CBDT has signed its first APA with a taxpayer engaged in supplying rigs used in oil and gas exploration. Others pertain to education, banking, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and information technology sectors of the economy.
  • The international transactions covered in these nine APAs include provision of software development services, provision of IT enabled services, provision of engineering design services, distribution and contract manufacturing.
  • The number of UAPAs signed in the current financial year 2017 is 18 and the number of bilateral APAs signed in the current financial year is one.

Sources- The Economic Times, PIB.