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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 13 August 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. New emails for IT Faceless assessment process grievances
  2. National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)
  3. EAC-PM releases Quality of Life for Elderly Index

New emails for IT Faceless assessment process grievances

Context:

The Income Tax department has notified three official email IDs for taxpayers to register their grievances over different aspects of faceless assessment scheme.

Relevance:

GS-II: Governance (E-Governance, Government Policies & Interventions), GS-III: Indian Economy (Economic Development, Taxation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Transparent Taxation – Honouring the Honest (T2-H2)
  2. Faceless Tax Assessment
  3. Criticism of Faceless Tax Assessment and Appeal System
  4. E-Assessment v/s Faceless Assessment

Transparent Taxation – Honouring the Honest (T2-H2)

  • The Transparent Taxation – Honouring the Honest [T2-H2] is an extension of E-assessment scheme 2019 launched by Government of India.
  • The new platform will be having Faceless Assessments, Faceless Appeal and Taxpayer Charter.
  • Government has acknowledged that the country can move forward and can develop when the life of honest taxpayer is made easy and the launch of Taxpayer’s Charter is to ensure fair, courteous, and rational behaviour to the honest taxpayers.
  • The issue of tax harassment by officers has gained a lot of attention in India and the government introduced faceless income tax assessment to reduce the scope for corruption and overreach by officials.
  • The CBDT has given a framework and put in place a system in the form of this platform using technology such as data analytics and AI, a transparent efficient and accountable tax system.

Faceless Tax Assessment

  • The Faceless Assessment aims to eliminate human interface between the taxpayer and the income tax department and the selection of a taxpayer is possible through systems using analytics and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Faceless assessment is administered through separate units within the tax department each of which has a specific and important role in the process, viz assessment units, verification units, technical units and review units. All these units work closely with the National e-assessment Centre (NeAC) and Regional e-assessment Centre (ReAC).
  • The scheme brings greater flexibility for taxpayers and professionals representing before tax authorities. It has resulted in substantial time savings on account of travel to the tax office, waiting time over there, etc.

Faceless Appeal System

Under the Faceless Appeal system, appeals will be randomly allotted to any officer in the country. The identity of the officer deciding the appeal will remain unknown.

Dispute Resolution Committee:

  • In Budget 2021, the Minister of Finance has proposed the formation of a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) in order to provide quicker relief to taxpayers in tax disputes.
  • The DRC will cater to small taxpayers having a taxable income of up to Rs. 50 lakh and a disputed income of up to Rs. 10 lakh.

Criticism of Faceless Tax Assessment and Appeal System

  • In a joint letter sent to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) this month, representatives of the Income Tax Employees Federation and the Income Tax Gazetted Officers’ Association voiced their displeasure.
  • Concerns were raised but tax officials that faceless tax assessment may reduce tax collection and raise pressure on officers that are under stress to meet lofty tax targets for the current fiscal year.

E-Assessment v/s Faceless Assessment

  • In E-assessment the assessee will be aware of the assessing officer who will be carrying out the assessment proceedings.
  • In Faceless Assessment, the assessee will not be aware of assessing officer who will be doing his tax assessment.
  • The e-assessment was more of one assessing officer carrying out the assessment whereas in faceless assessment there will be a team of assessing officers who will be carrying out the assessment.

-Source: Livemint


National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)

Context:

The Centre will spend ₹11,000 crore for a new mission – National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).

Relevance:

GS-III: Agriculture (Agricultural Resources, Food Security), GS-II: Governance (Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About India’s Oilseeds Production and Imports
  2. About National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)
  3. Alternative sources

About India’s Oilseeds Production and Imports

  • India’s vegetable oil economy is world’s fourth largest after USA, China & Brazil.
  • India is also third largest cultivator of oilseeds in the world and paradoxically meets into more than 50% requirement through imports.
  • Major Oilseeds Producing Areas in India are: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Due to diverse agro-climatic conditions and geographical locations, farmers are able to grow all the nine annual oilseeds viz. groundnut, rapeseed, soybean, sunflower, sesame, safflower, niger, castor and linseed.
  • In India, oilseeds are second most important crop after cereals sharing 14% of the country’s gross cropped area and accounting for nearly 3% of GDP.
  • Oilseed accounts for 13% of the Gross Cropped Area, 3% of the Gross National Product and 10% value of all agricultural commodities.
  • India needs a threefold increase in the oilseeds production in the next 35 years as – like pulses, oilseeds face severe challenges in terms of climatic stresses and unfavourable farming conditions.
  • Oilseed cultivation is mainly undertaken on marginal land by resource poor farmers who are generally reluctant to provide necessary inputs for increasing the productivity.
  • Nearly 82% of the oilseeds area fall under rainfed farming where climatic vagaries cause severe damage to crops.
  • Out of the total requirement, 10.50 million tonnes are produced domestically from primary (Soybean, Rapeseed & Mustard, Groundnut, Sunflower, Safflower & Niger) and secondary sources (Oil palm, Coconut, Rice Bran, Cotton seeds & Tree Borne Oilseeds) and remaining 60%, is met through import.
  • Despite the oilseed production of the country growing impressively, there exists a gap between the demand and supply of oilseeds, which has necessitated sizeable quantities of imports.

About National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)

  • National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) was implemented during the 12th Five Year Plan, to expand the oil palm areas and increase the production of edible oils.
  • It was later merged with the National Food Security Mission.
  • NMEO-OP aims resolve to allow India to be independent or self-reliant in edible oil production.
  • Through this mission, more than ₹11,000 crore will be invested in the edible oil ecosystem.
  • The government will ensure that farmers get all needed facilities, from quality seeds to technology.
  • Along with promoting the cultivation of oil palm, this mission will also expand the cultivation of our other traditional oilseed crops.

Need for NMEO-OP

  • During the last few years, the domestic consumption of edible oils has increased substantially and has touched the level of 18.90 million tonnes in 2011-12 and is likely to increase further.
  • A substantial portion of our requirement of edible oil is met through import of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • It is, therefore, necessary to exploit domestic resources to maximize production to ensure edible oil security for the country.

Alternative sources

  • Oil Palm is comparatively a new crop in India and is the highest vegetable oil yielding perennial crop.
  • With quality planting materials, irrigation and proper management, there is potential of achieving 20-30 MT Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs) per ha after attaining the age of 5 years.
  • Therefore, there is an urgent need to intensify efforts for area expansion under oil palm to enhance palm oil production in the country.
  • Tree Borne Oilseeds (TBOs), like sal, mahua, simarouba, kokum, olive, karanja, jatropha, neem, jojoba, cheura, wild apricot, walnut, tung etc. are cultivated/grown in the country under different agro-climatic conditions.
  • These TBOs are also good source of vegetable oil and therefore need to be supported for cultivation.

-Source: The Hindu


EAC-PM releases Quality of Life for Elderly Index

Context:

Quality of Life for Elderly Index was released by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to Health of the Elderly, Management of Social Sector or Social Services)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Quality of Life for Elderly Index
  2. Highlights of Quality of Life for Elderly Index
  3. Directive Principle that talks about supporting the elderly
  4. Steps taken by the government to support the Elderly

About the Quality of Life for Elderly Index

  • The Quality of Life for Elderly Index as been created by the Institute for Competitiveness at the request of EAC-PM and it sheds light on an issue often not mentioned- problems faced by the elderly.
  • The report identifies the regional patterns of ageing across the Indian States and assesses the overall ageing situation in India.
  • The report presents a deeper insight into how well India is doing to support the well-being of its ageing population.
  • The Index framework includes four pillars:
    • Financial Well-being
    • Social Well-being
    • Health System and
    • Income Security
  • It has eight sub-pillars: Economic Empowerment, Educational Attainment & Employment, Social Status, Physical Security, Basic Health, Psychological Wellbeing, Social Security and Enabling Environment.

Significance of the report

  • This index broadens the way we understand the needs and opportunities of the elderly population in India.
  • It goes far beyond the adequacy of pensions and other forms of income support, which, though critical, often narrows policy thinking and debate about the needs of this age group.
  • The index highlights that the best way to improve the lives of the current and future generations of older people is by investing in health, education and employment for young people today.
  • India is often portrayed as a young society, with a consequent demographic dividend. But, as with every country that goes through a fast process of demographic transition, India also has greying cum aging problem.
  • Without a proper diagnostic tool to understand the implications of its ageing population, planning for the elderly can become a challenge for policymakers.

Highlights of Quality of Life for Elderly Index

  • The Health System pillar observes the highest national average, 66.97 at an all-India level, followed by 62.34 in Social Well-being.
  • Financial Well-being observes a score of 44.7, which is lowered by the low performance of 21 States across the Education Attainment & Employment pillar, which showcases scope for improvement
  • States have performed particularly worse in the Income Security pillar because over half of the States have a score below the national average, i.e., 33.03 in Income Security, which is the lowest across all pillars.

Performance of the states

  • Among all the states, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are top-scoring regions in the aged states and relatively aged states categories.
  • Rajasthan has a score of 54.61 in the aged states category while Himachal Pradesh has a score of 61.04 in relatively aged states.
  • Mizoram has a score of 59.79 among northeastern states while Chandigarh scored 63.78 among the Union Territories.
  • Jammu and Kashmir scored the lowest 46.16 among Union Territories.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, among the northeastern states, scored the lowest score with 46.16.
  • In the aged states and relatively aged states categories, Telangana and Gujarat scored the lowest with 38.19 and 49.00, respectively.

Directive Principle that talks about supporting the elderly

  • Article 41: Support regarding Work, Education and Public Assistance in certain cases (Socialist Principle) – seeks to establish a Welfare State that provides assistance to citizens who are at a disadvantage due to disability, old age, sickness, unemployment etc.
  • Article 41 is used as a guiding principle for various social sector schemes such as social assistance programmes, right to food security, old age pension scheme, schemes for sick and disabled, MGNREGA etc.

Steps taken by the government to support the Elderly

  • SAGE (Seniorcare Aging Growth Engine): It is a “one-stop access” of elderly care products and services by credible start-ups.
  • Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP): To improve the quality of life of older persons by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and entertainment opportunities, etc.
  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY): Aids and assistive living devices are provided to senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category who suffer from age-related disabilities such as low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth and locomotor disabilities.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana: It is a pension scheme for senior citizens that comes with guaranteed returns on monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or on an annual basis for a period of 10 years. It is exclusively available to those who are 60 years of age and above.

-Source: Hindustan Times

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