Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 22 January 2018
Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 22 January 2018
President accepted disqualification of AAP MLA’s
President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the recommendation of the Election
Commission to disqualify 20 MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling
party in the national capital, for holding offices of profit.
A notification issued by the Law Ministry quoted the President as
saying, “In the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission
(EC), the 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly have been
The AAP MLAs were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries and a
petitioner, in a complaint to the EC and the President in 2015, said being a
parliamentary secretary was holding an office of profit and this invited
disqualification. After the President’s decision, the AAP said it would use
all legal options available.
AAP Delhi convener Gopal Rai said the 20 MLAs had requested for a
meeting with the President to discuss the issue before his decision was
announced. However, they could not get an appointment as the President was
A Parliamentary Secretary assists a Minister, and the office usually
comes with perks as well as a measure of political influence.
However, in a notification confirming the appointment of the 20 MLAs,
the government had said no remuneration or perks would be given to the
The 20 MLAs who are facing disqualification include Transport Minister
Kailash Gehlot, who is the MLA from Najafgarh.
“It is unfortunate that the President took the decision in such haste,
without even giving us a chance to speak. It is a ploy by the Centre, using
constitutional institutions to derail our government. But we will not give
up. We have faith in the judiciary. The doors of the High Court and the
Supreme Court are still open for us,” said Alka Lamba, representing Chandni
Chowk and one of the 20 disqualified MLAs.
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj also questioned the speed at which
the recommendation had been accepted by the President.
EC gives its rulling based upon SC judgements
Even as the AAP has criticised the Election Commission for not giving
its MLAs a proper hearing, the panel has cited several rulings of the
Supreme Court in its recommendation to the President that the 20 legislators
be disqualified for holding office of profit.
The recommendation said the Supreme Court in Maulana Abdul Shakur vs
RikhabChand (1958) had defined the concept of office of profit under the
The court said the government’s power to appoint a person to an office,
or to keep him in that office, or revoke his appointment at its discretion,
and payment from government revenues were important factors in determining
if one held an office of profit. Payment from a source other than government
revenue was not the decisive factor.
In Pradyut Bordoloi vs Swapan Roy (2001), the Supreme Court outlined the
following questions for the test: whether the government makes the
appointment; whether the government has the right to remove or dismiss the
holder; whether the government pays the remuneration; what are the functions
of the holder; does he perform them for the government; and does the
government exercise any control over the performance of those functions?
Three other rulings were cited to highlight the grounds on which a
distinction between the holder of an office of profit and of a post/service
under the government could be made.
In Guru Gobinda Basu vs Sankari Prasad Ghosal (1964), the court said:
“But all these factors need not coexist. Mere absence of one of the factors
may not negate the overall test.
The decisive test for determining whether a person holds any office of
profit under the government, the Constitution Bench holds, is the test of
appointment; stress on other tests will depend on the facts of each case.”
The court said the final query was, whether, on account of holding of
such office, would the government be in a position to influence him so as to
interfere with his independence in functioning as an MLA and/or would his
holding of the two offices involve a conflict of interest.
Citing the judgments, the EC said the AAP MLAs were appointed
Parliamentary Secretaries by the Delhi government, which exercised control
over them. The government had the power to remove them, their work was
allocated by Ministers concerned as delegated authority and expenses of
their office were paid from government revenues.
The Commission concluded that there could be “no dispute that the office
of Parliamentary Secretary was an office under the government.”
CJI might put the system for allocations of PILs in public domain
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has examined suggestions from
stakeholders to bring transparency in allocation of sensitive PILs to judges
and is likely to bring in the public domain soon the system he is going to
adopt for it, sources close to him said on Sunday.
They said the listing of two petitions seeking an independent probe into
the death of CBI special judge B.H. Loya before a Bench headed by the CJI
manifests that all issues, including allocation of cases, raised by the four
seniormost judges on January 12, are being considered.
The Loya case petitions will come up for hearing. Justice Misra held
deliberations with fellow judges and also took into account the suggestions
put forth by the Supreme Court Bar Association, and a clear-cut roster
system is likely to be followed in the Supreme Court for the allocation of
“The court registry is very likely to upload on its website the decision
of the CJI on allocation of matters. The system will be brought in the
public domain as to who will hear what categories of cases,” a highly placed
Om prakah rawat to be next CEC
The Union Law Ministry on Sunday appointed seniormost Election
Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat as the next Chief Election Commissioner (CEC)
as the incumbent A.K. Joti will retire on Monday.
Former Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa was appointed as Election
Commissioner to fill the vacancy created by Mr. Rawat’s elevation.
Mr. Rawat, who will take charge on Tuesday, will have a tenure of almost
a year till his retirement in December 2018. He will oversee elections in
Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland scheduled next month.
Crucial States like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and
Chhattisgarh will also go to the polls under his watch.
Sunil Arora, presently the second seniormost Election Commissioner, will
continue until April 2021.
As per convention, Mr. Arora will be the CEC during the 2019 Lok Sabha
elections.Mr. Lavasa, due to demit office in October 2022, will be the Chief
Election Commissioner after Mr. Arora.
Election Commissioners have a fixed term of six years but have to step
down if they reach 65 years of age before their term expires.
A Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer, Mr. Rawat has served as secretary,
Department of Public Enterprises in the Ministry of Heavy Industries.
Mr. Rawat had also served as principal secretary to Babu Lal Gaur, the
former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, between 2004 and 2006.
Mr. Rawat has a post graduate degree in Social Development Planning from
the United Kingdom, completed in 1989, and has been a recipient of the
Madhya Pradesh Award for recognition of forest rights in 2009.
Mr. Lavasa, before retiring as the finance secretary, served in the
Ministries of Environment and Forests, Civil Aviation, Power, Home and
Finance at the Centre and in the department of industries, tourism and
public relations in his home cadre of Haryana.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday launched a fresh attack on his
opponents ahead of a new effort in the bitterly divided U.S. Congress to end
a government shutdown.
“Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and
Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our
nation unchecked,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.
He also encouraged the Senate’s Republican leaders to invoke a
procedural maneuver known as the “nuclear option” to change the chamber’s
rules to allow passage of a budget by a simple majority of 51 votes to end
Senate leaders have been wary of such a move in the past, as it could
come back to haunt them the next time the other party holds a majority.
“If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option)
and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!” he tweeted. Late on
Saturday, top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell set a key vote for a funding
measure for 1 a.m. on Monday, with both houses of Congress set to reconvene.
At the heart of the dispute is the thorny issue of undocumented
Democrats have accused Republicans of poisoning chances of a deal and
pandering to Mr. Trump’s populist base by refusing to fund the programme
that protects an estimated 700,000 “Dreamers” — undocumented immigrants who
arrived as children — from deportation.
Vital Abu Duhur military airport captured back by the Syrian forces
Syria's Army announced it had captured the vital Abu Duhur military
airport in the country's northwest, more than two years after losing it to
rebels and jihadists.
"After a string of special operations, units from our armed forces in
coordination with allied fighters succeeded in their military operation and
took control of the Abu Duhur military airport in Idlib province," the Army
said in a statement.
"Engineering units are now dismantling and clearing mines, explosives,
and bombs planted by terrorists in the area," he said.
An alliance of jihadists and rebels overran the vast majority of Idlib
province in 2015, seizing Abu Duhur in September of that year.
Syrian troops had been advancing on the northwest province of Idlib, and
Abu Duhur in particular, as part of a fierce offensive launched in late
December with Russian backing. Moscow on Sunday confirmed that allied troops
were now in control of Abu Duhur.
Business and Economy
GST leads to budget making problems
As a watershed tax reform, Goods and Services Tax (GST) promised to have
a profound impact on India’s budget-making exercise.
The debut year has proved something of a disappointment. But as teething
troubles with the new tax regime are addressed, there are three key areas
where its reformative impact on the budget process may be felt.
One reason why Indian Finance Ministers (FMs) have such a tough time
balancing their budgets is the our narrow tax base. While a crackdown is on
to identify evaders, the GST was expected to expand the indirect tax base
and plug leaks in the indirect tax compliance structure.
The GST was expected to deliver an expansion in the indirect tax base,
sweeping more small and mid-sized businesses under its ambit, compared with
the excise duty regime. It mandates registration for all entities with an
annual turnover of Rs. 20 lakh or above.
To ensure better compliance, GST has a self-policing mechanism by way of
invoice matching of supplies by every registered assessee, a reverse charge
mechanism for unregistered suppliers and e-way bills to check
So has GST managed to net new taxpayers? It started off well by
reporting 72 lakh registrations at the outset, which has steadily climbed to
99 lakh by December 2017.
While the bulk of these numbers came from the automatic migration of
erstwhile state VAT, excise and service tax assessees to the GST network,
government estimates suggested that about 18 lakh new assessees had
The GST tax base of 99 lakh is prima facie a good number, given that the
combined taxpayer base under all the taxes that GST subsumed (excise,
service tax, VAT, sales et al) was estimated at 75-80 lakh.
Some official estimates have placed the revenue foregone due to these
rate cuts at Rs. 20,000 crore a year.
The other reason for moderating collections though, is lacklustre
compliance. Even as registrations have been growing significantly, the
number of GST return filers has dwindled from about 59 lakh in July to 53
lakh for November.
Excluding taxpayers under the composition scheme who are supposed to
file their returns only on a quarterly basis, this suggests that less than
two-thirds of registered 99 lakh entities, are filing their returns and
paying the tax due.
With filers dwindling and rates declining, GST collections have
predictably headed south. With the monthly run rate on collections for the
first five months of FY18 at about Rs. 88,000 crore, doubts are now emerging
as to whether GST will even match the taxes it has subsumed this year.
While there are no official targets for this year, analyst estimates
suggest GST will have to mop up anywhere from Rs. 10 lakh crore to Rs. 12
lakh crore for FY18, for the fisc to remain revenue neutral.
While the Central budget at least used estimates, State budgets were a
complete black box. By unifying central and State levies, GST is expected to
render budget revenue forecasts more reliable. The monthly return filings
are designed to give the FM a real-time handle on collections, with rich
data to assess compliance.
But while GST can help the FM arrive at better forecasts in the long
run, transitional issues in GST have made this year’s budget exercise more
The 2017 Budget had to skip GST targets as the law was still in the
making, and presented numbers for excise and service taxes alone. The Budget
may now have to sum up excise/service tax mop-ups until June, patching on
GST collections from July to measure the annual mop-up.
In India, one aspect of the annual budget spectacle is industry groups
lobbying for indirect tax cuts. The FM, after considering conflicting
demands, doled out cuts or effected increases, with the stock markets
eagerly hanging on to his every word.
But with excise duty and service tax now under GST and the
decision-making powers on rates vesting with the Council, the FM may have
limited room for such giveaways.
Budget speeches from now on may have to dwell more on direct taxes and
basic customs duty changes. And yes, products still outside the GST ambit
(alcohol, fuel and energy, land) offer scope for rate changes.
But then, this may be a good development from a policy perspective.
Without all the trimming and tucking on rates, the Budget exercise can now
focus on aspects of government finance that really matter — measuring the
outcomes of allocations made in previous budgets, changing the skewed
capital-revenue mix of the fisc, reforming the draconian tax administration
and attacking the bloat in unproductive revenue expenditure.
World Inequality Report 2018
The Union Budget will be presented soon. The twin disruptions of
demonetisation and GST have left the poor in India poorer and the rich,
richer. This is no empty rhetoric of a roadside romantic. These are the
findings of the World Inequality Report 2018 released recently.
The top 1% income earners received 6% of the total income in the early
1980s; it went up to 15% in 2000 and today stands at 22%. IMF research
papers give country-wise figures of the share of the billionaires in the GDP
of each country.
The worth of dollar billionaires is most skewed in Russia, the U.S. and
India which are home to a substantial number of billionaires.
World Inequality Report points out that inequality actually declined in
China in the past decade and growth was faster compared to India. China’s
per capita income was five times that of India in 2016.
Data from India’s Income Tax department showed that 59,830 individuals
reported gross total income more than Rs. 1 crore. Over 30,500 individuals
reported earning salary income of over Rs. 1 crore.
Five individuals reported earning salary income between Rs. 100 crores
and Rs. 500 crore. Thirty two persons showed gross total income over Rs. 100
crore. Only one individual showed the income over Rs. 500 crore.
The 10% tax on dividends above Rs. 10 lakh is a mirage; it should have
been at least 25% with exemption for dividends up to Rs. 10,000.
Additional resource mobilisation is concentrated on indirect taxes with
a slew of relief measures in direct taxes, benefiting only the rich.
The stock market boom calls for revisiting the present policy of
exempting long term capital gains on shares held for 12 months and more.
India’s market to GDP ratio stands at 104%.Inheritance tax, abolished in
1987, should be reintroduced.
Every time the question of taxing the super-rich is raised, the affluent
lobby comes out with the criticism that growth will be affected adversely
and there can be a flight of capital to lower tax jurisdictions. Think of
the poorer sections.
The International Food Policy Research Institute has come out with a
Global Hunger Index. India is Ranked 100 among 119 countries behind North
Korea, Bangladesh and Iraq this year. It was ranked 97 last year. The remedy
lies in introducing Universal Basic Income as done in rural Kenya.
In contrast, there has been steady growth in the numbers belonging to
the million-dollar salary club from 94 in 2013-14 to 100 in 2014-15 and 119
in 2015-16. It now stands at 120.
The total compensation its members earn has risen from Rs. 1,528 crore
in 2015 to Rs. 1,979 crore in 2017. Average compensation is about Rs. 17
crore. Among 190 CEOs in the club, 61 are professional CEOs and 59 are
Promoter CEOs gained from equity appreciation and commissions. The
Ambanis, the Birlas and the Marans figure at the top of this club.
Credit scores to get the credit worthiness of a person
A credit score determines how creditworthy a person is and helps banks
and financial institutions decide on loans. A person with a high credit
score enjoys access to credit facilities without hassles.
In India, the scores are issued by credit reporting agencies such as
CIBIL, Equifax, Experian and the like. These agencies are regulated by the
RBI and collect data from banks on their loans and come up with credit
scores through use of algorithms. The data is updated frequently. Credit
scores in India range from 300-900.
A credit report may be obtained for free once a year from every credit
reporting agency. However, what is free is a matter of debate. More frequent
reports cost Rs. 300-Rs. 400 apiece.
Arun Ramamurthy, founder, Credit Sudhaar, a credit advisory, points out
that data in the credit bureau is critical to lending and pricing decisions
made by banks and errors in them affect credit scores. The errors include:
Reporting error: sometimes, banks report wrong client data to the bureau
which can, in turn, lead to errors in the credit report.
Algorithmic error: the bureau uses a matching algorithm to generate a
credit report based on multiple data sets (pertaining to each bank)
submitted by banks. Often, due to the lack of unique identifiers, the
matching logic can go wrong which can lead to errors
Identity theft error: this happens when someone impersonates another
person (who has a good credit record) to take a loan and then defaults on
Mr. Ramamurthy suggests customers monitor credit reports at least once
in two months and protect them from identity fraud by using good firewall
protection on their devices.
If an error is spotted, a customer should write to the bureau concerned
for a resolution on the link provided on the respective bureau website.