1.Tax trauma (The Hindu)

2.From ocean to ozone (The Hindu)

1.Tax trauma (The Hindu) 

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of Glitches in the GST regime. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • The roll-out of the goods and services tax is off to a less-than-desirable start, as it has been about 80 days after its introduction, the GST Network, its online backbone, is struggling to keep pace with the millions of invoices and returns being filed electronically by businesses across the country.
  • A group of Ministers has recently met to address the mounting complaints about glitches in the GST Network; federal auditors have begun an audit of its technical capabilities to assess if it is ready to handle the massive amounts of transactions.

Untested network

  • The GSTN is the technology backbone for GST and administers registration, invoice uploading, tax return filing and tax payment system under the new indirect tax regime.
  • The government needed to twice extend the deadline for filing GST returns for first month of the GST era. The Finance Minister has an appeal to taxpayers to not wait till the last day, to avoid burdening the GSTN.
  • But even those filing returns well before the last date have struggled. It is clear that the network had not been fully tested for chinks before July.  As India takes pride in its IT edge, the GST glitches is a strange impasse.
  • A ministerial group formed by the GST Council to resolve the GSTN’s glitches gave an assurance that 80% of the problems would be fixed by the end of October. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is expected to look into a host of issues like-bandwidth capabilities of the network, robustness of the software, security aspects, and the architecture of the entire system.
  • The problem can be explain through the example as- Exporters, for instance, have already alerted the Centre that the delayed timelines for filing GST returns, it will mean that no refunds can be expected before mid-November on input taxes paid in advance and the integrated GST levied on goods they imported. By their reckoning, as much as ₹65,000 crore of working capital will get blocked, cramping their ability to ramp up capacity and raw material procurement in time for festive season orders from around the world.
  • The government has asserted that many exporters’ funds were blocked for five-six months even before the GST, even as it said a solution to speed up refunds is being worked out.  With several revisions in deadlines, tax and cess rates, rules, clarifications, the GST regime is turning out to be neither simple nor friendly for taxpayers.
  • India’s GDP growth itself has slowed to 5.7% in the April-June quarter from 7.9% a year earlier, a slowdown also partly blamed on the introduction of the GST, adding to the pressure on the state coffers. If the revenues remain below target, then the government would need to cut spending on railways and road transport.

Question– The introduction of the GST, billed as India’s biggest tax reform in 70 years. Examine how the technical glitches and procedural problems galore on the GST Network have delayed payments and filing of returns under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. Mention about its implications.

 

Explained-

2.From ocean to ozone (The Hindu)

(GS paper III)

The ecological footprint of humanity-

  • There has been consistently decline in the population of vertebrate species on Earth in the wild; it has been a dramatic fall of about 30% between 1970 and 2006, with the worst effects being in the tropics and in freshwater ecosystems. The ecological footprint of humanity has made the natural habitats, such as water and land to be transformed or destroyed as a result of human activity, which has far exceeds the biological capacity of the earth.
  • There is an element of the biophysical world that links us together, which is important to understand the natural world, its relationships with human societies and limits. Often it is regarded as a “safe operating space for humanity”, these planetary boundaries include loss of biodiversity, land-use change, changes to nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, ocean acidification, atmospheric aerosols loading, ozone depletion, chemical production, freshwater use and, of course, climate change.
  • After the last ice age, the Holocene epoch has offered a stable climate, a period of grace for humanity to grow and to flourish, with settlements, agriculture and, more recently, economic and population expansion.
  • This epoch has since given way to the Anthropocene, the exact beginnings of which are debated, but which has led to over-reliance on fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, pollution in water, soils and air, loss of species and so on, which are devastating for many life forms and connected ecosystems throughout the planet.

The irreversible damage

  • Most of the ecosystems which are stressed by their exposure to pollutants, may not recover once the pollutants are removed. Or, some systems may collapse precipitously under conditions referred to as thresholds.
  • When ecological thresholds or tipping points are crossed, significant large-scale changes may occur, such as breakdown of glaciers in Greenland and the Antarctica, the dieback of rainforests in the Amazon, or failure of the Indian monsoons.
  • The cause changes across scales, crossing a threshold in one domain can speed up or undermine processes in another subsystem. For instance, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increase ocean acidification, land-use change often increases GHG emissions, and increasing nitrogen and phosphorus deplete species biodiversity and freshwater resources and increase warming from climate change.

Limitations

  • We are already at critical levels of concern for climate change, fresh water, species biodiversity and changes to nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, which are reaching tipping points. For example, GHG emissions have led to average atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations being about 410ppm. This is well above the 350ppm level considered a ‘safe’ limit, and the earth is already about a degree Celsius warmer than average pre-industrial temperatures.
  • Though the idea of sustainability has been embedded in the human imagination for a very long time and which expressed through our ideas of nature, society, economy, environment and future generations. But it became formally a part of international agreements and discourse when it was recognised at the Earth Summit of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.
  • There is need for some transformative changes to keep the planet safe for the future.