Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - March 1, 2018

Defence

Lamitye 2018 8th Edition of bilateral Exercise

  • It is the joint military exercise between the Indian Army and Seychelles People’s Defence Forces.
  • India and Seychelles have been conducting this joint exercise since 2001 with the aim of enhancing military cooperation and interoperability be between the armies of the two countries.

Successful Flight Test of ATGM NAG 3RD Generation Fire and Forget Missile

  • Anti Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) NAG were successfully flight-tested today in desert conditions against two tank targets at different ranges and timings.
  • NAG ATGM has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and today’s flight tests have once again proved its capability.
  • With this, the developmental trials of the missile have been completed and it is now ready for induction.

Enlighten about ATGM- NAG

  • It is equipped with many advanced technologies like IIR Seeker with integrated avionics, a capability possessed by few nations in the world.
  • The missile is developed to support both mechanised infantry and airborne forces of the Indian Army.
  • The missile incorporates an advanced passive homing guidance system and possesses high single-shot kill probability.
  • It is designed to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured target

Environment

Dr Harsh Vardhan App Green Good Deeds

  • Dr Harsh Vardhan App has been launched.
  • The App is intended, among other things, to promote the theme of ‘green good deeds’ and engage with the public at large.

Enlighten about “Green Good Deeds” campaign:

  • The campaign has been launched by the Environment Ministry to sensitise the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming.
  • The objective of the campaign is to restore and return the clean and green environment to the next generation.

Cabinet Decisions

Cabinet approves Action Plan for Champion Sectors in Services

It was proposed by

  • The Department of Commerce

Why -

  • To give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development, and realizing their potential.

Champion Sectors -

  • These include Information Technology & Information Technology enabled Services (IT & ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Medical Value Travel, Transport and Logistics Services, Accounting and Finance Services, Audio Visual Services, Legal Services, Communication Services, Construction and Related Engineering Services, Environmental Services, Financial Services and Education Services.

Fund -

  • A dedicated fund of Rs. 5000 crores has been proposed to be established to support initiatives for sectoral Action Plans of the Champion Sectors.

Enlighten about the benefits -

  • This initiative will enhance the competitiveness of India's service sectors through the implementation of focused and monitored Action Plans, thereby promoting GDP growth, creating more jobs and promoting exports to global markets.
  • As the Services sector contributes significantly to India's GDP, exports and job creation, increased productivity and competitiveness of the Champion Services Sectors will further boost exports of various services from India.
  • Embedded services are substantial part of 'Goods' as well. Thus, competitive services sector will add to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector as well.

Enlighten about the Background

  • The Group of Secretaries in their recommendations to the Prime Minister, had identified ten Champion Sectors, including seven (7) manufacturing related sectors and three (3) services sectors, for promoting their development and achieving their potential
  • It was subsequently decided that Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the nodal department for 'Make in India', would spearhead the initiative for the Champion Sectors in manufacturing and Department of Commerce would coordinate the proposed initiative for the Champion Sectors in Services.
  • Accordingly, Department of Commerce, with wide stakeholder consultation coordinated the preparation of draft initial sectoral reform plans for several services sectors and, subsequently the action plan.

Health Care Sector

Pharma promotions tax exempt: tribunal Ruling allowing companies to claim benefit on funds spent on doctors sparks off ethics debate

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal decision -

  • A recent decision of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal’s Pune bench allowing pharmaceutical companies to account for their spending on doctors as a deductible expenditure has sparked off a fresh debate on ethics.
  • Since the companies are out of the purview of the Medical Council of India (MCI), money spent on promotions, which in some cases could be gifts, travel, hospitality and so on for doctors, besides medical conferences and samples, can be claimed as deductible expenditure.
  • Doctors accepting such promotions may be violating the code of ethics of the MCI.

Enlighten about the case -

  • The tribunal’s order came in a case involving Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which filed returns in which expenses of ₹2.07 crore were claimed as ‘advertisement sales promotions’.
  • Of this, about ₹50 lakh was for ‘print and promotion’ and the remaining ₹1.57 crore was for ‘sales promotions’.
  • The pharma company’s claim was disallowed by the IT department on the ground that it violated the MCI code of ethics.
  • A Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) circular disallows deductions that violate MCI regulations.

Tribunal decision -

  • The IT Appellate Tribunal reversed the decision by the assessing officer and ruled in favour of the company.

Reason cited -

  • The bench noted that pharma companies organised seminars and discussions to upgrade the knowledge of doctors, and such activities were undertaken to make doctors aware of products.
  • The order noted that only when the companies made doctors or medical practitioners aware of such products and medicines could they be “launched successfully”.

Code of ethics for pharma companies (way forward)

  • The MCI code may not govern pharma companies. But there are ethical problems as it directly affects patients
  • The companies should also have a code of ethics
  • Freebies and favours taken by doctors pushed up the cost of healthcare.

Defence Acquisition Council

Defence Acquisition Council gives its approval for the procurement proposals for the three services

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal decision -

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave approval for various procurement proposals estimated at about ₹9,435 crore.
  • The purchase will include 41,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and over 3.5 lakh close quarter battle (CQB) carbines for the three services.
  • The approval is the first step in the long-drawn defence procurement procedure, and conclusion of the final deals will take several years. All these deals had been repeatedly cancelled in the past.
  • Of the purchases, 75% will be through Indian industry under the “Buy and Make (Indian)” category and the balance through the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

Enlighten about DAC –

  • The Government has set up a Defence Acquisition Council headed by the Raksha Mantri for decision making in regard to the totality of the new planning process.
  • Which inter-alia involves according ‘in principle’ approval of Capital Acquisitions in the long term perspective plan and for each Capital Acquisition programme.
  • The decision flowing from the Defence Acquisition Council are to be implemented by the following 3 Boards –

1. Defence Procurement Board headed by the Defence Secretary
2. Defence Production Board headed by the Secretary (Defence Production)
3. Defence Research & Development Board headed by the Secretary (Defence Research & Development)

Sources – BS,PIB,THE Hindu, IE