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PIB 7th January 2021

  1. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention 2021
  2. S 301 Report of U.S.
  3. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
  4. Liberalized MSME AEO Package
  5. First Advance Estimates of National Income, 2020-21


Focus: GS 2;Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Why in News?

PM to Inaugurate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention 2021 on 9 January

About Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non-Resident Day) is a celebratory day observed on 9 January by the Republic of India to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community towards the development of India.
  • The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi Ji from South Africa to Mumbai on 9 January 1915.
  • Established in 2000, it is sponsored by the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation of Indian Industries and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.
  • A celebratory event is held on 7–9 January every other year in an Indian city, a forum for issues concerning the Indian Diaspora is organised and the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are given.
  • Every other year, the Government of India(MEA), selects an Indian city to observe this day. 
  • In 2006, the concept of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) was launched during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention at Hyderabad on 9 January.
  • The first time it was observed in 2003, however, and it was made a biennial event from 2015 and has been celebrated in (2015,2017,2019)
  • The theme of PBD 2021 is “Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat” and venue is at New Delhi.
Significance of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
  • To remember the favors and contributions made by Non-Resident Indians to the welfare and development of the nation.
  • It recognizes the role of Indian Diaspora in building New India.
  • These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities.
  • These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.


Focus: GS 2;Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Why in News?

The U.S. administration had announced initiation of investigation under section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act, 1974 against the taxation on digital services adopted or under consideration by countries, including the Equalization Levy applied by India.

Other counties under investigation include Italy, Turkey, and United Kingdom.

About S 301 Report of U.S

  • The Special 301 Report is prepared annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that identifies trade barriers to United States companies and products due to the intellectual property laws, such as copyright, patents and trademarks, in other countries.
  • By April 30 of each year, the USTR must identify countries which do not provide “adequate and effective” protection of intellectual property rights or “fair and equitable market access to United States persons that rely upon intellectual property rights”.
  • The Special 301 Report was first published in 1989.
  • The Special 301 Report is published pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 as amended by Section 1303 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.
  • By statute, the annual Special 301 Report includes a list of “Priority Foreign Countries”, that are judged to have inadequate intellectual property laws these countries may be subject to sanctions.
  • In addition, the report contains a “Priority Watch List” and a “Watch List”, containing countries whose intellectual property regimes are deemed of concern.
About India’s Status in S 301 Report as per 2020 Report
  • According to USTR’s Annual Special 301 Report, India continues to be on the ‘Priority Watch List’ of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for lack of adequate intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement.
  • India remained one of the most challenging economies for IP enforcement and protection. 
  • Though India has made meaningful progress to enhance IP protection and enforcement in some areas over the past year, it did not resolve recent and long-standing challenges, and created new ones.
  • The report also pointed out high customs duties on medical devices and Information and Communications Technology. 
  • Countries like Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela are also on the Priority Watch List.
About Equalization Levy and related to it in India
  • Equalization Levy was introduced in India in 2016, with the intention of taxing the digital transactions i.e. the income accruing to foreign e-commerce companies from India.
  • The Finance Act 2020 amended the Finance Act 2016, introducing a new Equalization Levy at 2% on the consideration received/receivable by an e-commerce operator from the following transactions (e-commerce supply or services)
  • It is aimed at taxing business to business transactions.
  • One of the measures India took early in 2016 was to introduce Equalization Levy (‘EL’) at 6% of online sale of advertisements and related services from non-residents (‘NR’), as a withholding tax on the payers.
About Equalization Levy issue and Indias Response
  • With respect to India, the focus of the investigation was on the 2% Equalization Levy (EL) levied by India on e-commerce supply of services.
  • The U.S. investigation included whether the EL discriminated against the U.S. companies, was applied retrospectively, and diverged from U.S or international tax norms due to its applicability on entities not resident in India.
  • In this regard, the U.S. requested for consultations, and India submitted its comments to the USTR on 15 July 2020, participated in the bilateral consultation held on 5 Nov 2020, emphasizing that the EL is not discriminatory but on the contrary seeks to ensure a level-playing field with respect to e-commerce activities undertaken by entities resident in India, and those that are not resident in India, or do not have a permanent establishment in India.
  • It was also clarified that the EL was applied only prospectively, and has no extra-territorial application, since it is based on sales occurring in the territory of India through digital means.


Why in News?

Bureau of Indian Standards celebrates the 74th foundation day on 6th January 2021

About BIS

  • The Bureau of Indian Standards is the national Standards Body of India working under the aegis of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India.
  • It is established by the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 which came into effect on 23 December 1986.
  • The Minister in charge of the Ministry or Department having administrative control of the BIS is the ex-officio President of the BIS.
  • The BIS Act, 1986 provides for the establishment of a Bureau for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for connected matters.
  • BIS has its Headquarters at New Delhi. 
  • The Vision of BIS is to be the leader in all matters concerning Standardization, Certification and Quality.
  • BIS thereby plays a very important role in the economic development of the country.
  • BIS also operates Certification Schemes that assure quality, safety and reliability to the users.
  • The BIS Product Certification Scheme is one of the largest in the world .
  • BIS gives utmost thrust for safeguarding and protecting consumer interest.
  • BIS has well laid down mechanisms and procedures to address public grievances related to consumer complaints against BIS services and ISI marked products.
Statutory Framework of BIS
  • The Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016, has been implemented since 12 October 2017.
  • The highlights of the new BIS Act are as follows;-
  1. Allows multiple conformity assessment schemes in line with global practices.
  2. Enables the Government to authorize any agency apart from BIS to certify and enforce conformity to a standard.
  3. Enables the Government to include products under mandatory certification on grounds of health, safety, environment, national security and prevention of deceptive practices.
  4. Enables the Government to bring Hallmarking of precious metal articles under mandatory certification.
  • Provides consumer protection measures like recall of non-conforming standard marked products, compensation to the consumer and more stringent penal provisions.


Why in News?

CBIC introduces flagship Liberalized Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Package for MSMEs

About Liberalized MSME AEO Package

  • Recognizing their critical contribution in supporting the economy especially during the present difficult times of COVID-19 pandemic, Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has taken a new initiative to introduce its flagship “Liberalized MSME AEO Package” for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  • CBIC’s flagship “Liberalized MSME AEO Package” scheme is a voluntary compliance programme which enables swifter Customs clearance for accredited stakeholders in the global supply chain viz. importers, exporters, logistic service providers, custodians etc.
  • The approved AEOs derive various benefits such as, inter alia, the facility of Direct Port Delivery (DPD) of imported containers, Direct Port Entry (DPE) of their Export Containers, high level of facilitation in customs clearance of their consignments thereby ensuring shorter cargo release time, exemption from Bank guarantees, priority for refund/ rebate/ duty Drawback, as well as a Client Relationship Manager at the customs port as a single point of interaction.
  • Another important benefit available to specified AEOs is that their payment of Customs duty is deferred and need not to be paid before the clearance of the imported goods by Customs.
  • Through “Liberalized MSME AEO Package”, CBIC encourages all eligible MSMEs to avail advantages of faster Customs clearances and other related benefits.
About AEO
  • Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) is a programme under the aegis of the World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate Global Trade.
  • The programme aims to enhance international supply chain security and facilitate the movement of goods.
  • An entity with an AEO status is considered a ‘secure’ trader and a reliable trading partner.
  • It enables Indian Customs to enhance and streamline cargo security through close cooperation with the principal stakeholders of the international supply chain.


Why in News?

First Advance Estimates of National Income, 2020-21

About First Advances Estimates of National Income, 2020-21

  • The National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the First Advance Estimates of National Income at both Constant (2011-12) and Current Prices, for the financial year 2020-21 along with the corresponding estimates of expenditure components of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • The First Advance Estimates of GDP have been released in accordance with the release calendar of National Accounts. 
  • The approach for compiling the Advance Estimates is based on Benchmark-Indicator method.
  • The country’s real GDP will shrink by 7.7 per cent in 2020-21, lower than the 4.2 per cent growth rate in 2019-20.
  • India’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020-21 dropped 8.7 per cent from last year, according to the First Advance Estimates of National Income, released by the government January 7, 2021.
  • The country’s gross value added (at 2011-12 prices), which is 7.2 per cent lower than last year.
  • It is the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy.
  • The sector-wise estimates are obtained by extrapolation of indicators like:
    1. IIP of first seven months of the financial year
    2. Financial performance of listed companies in the private corporate sector available up to quarter ending September,2020
    3. First Advance Estimates of crop production
    4. Accounts of Central and state governments
    5. Information on indicators like deposits and credits, passenger and freight earnings of Railways, passengers and cargo handled by civil aviation, cargo handled at major sea ports, sales of commercial vehicles, available for the first eight months of the financial year.
About National Statistical Office (NSO)
  • The Statistics Wing called the National Statistical Office(NSO) consists of the Central Statistical Office (CSO), the Computer center, and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).
  • Recently, the government has cleared the formation of an overarching body National Statistical Office (NSO) through the merger of the NSSO and CSO under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
  • The new NSO as an agency was envisaged firstly by Rangarajan Commission to implement and maintain statistical standards and coordinate statistical activities of Central and State agencies as laid down by the National Statistical Commission (NSC).
  • This commission had also recommended setting up of the NSC, headed by a person with a Minister of State-level designation, to serve as a nodal and empowered body for all core statistical activities of the country.

December 2023