- India-Indonesia ties strengthen
- India and Indonesia elevated their bilateral ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
- The two countries condemned terrorism in all its forms.
- The two countries also signed 15 agreements, including one to boost defence cooperation, and called for freedom of navigation in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
- It was the first official visit to Indonesia by PM Modi.
- The two leaders discussed areas of strategic cooperation and ways to ensure better economic ties and closer cultural relations, besides regional and global issues of mutual interest.
Convergence between the two countries:
- In a joint press statement after the meeting, Mr. Modi said India’s Act East Policy and the vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) matched Mr. Widodo’s Maritime Fulcrum Vision.
30-day free visa
- Modi announced a free 30-day visa for Indonesian citizens and invited the diaspora to travel to their country of origin to experience the ‘New India.’
Act East Policy
- India’s Act East Policy focusses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region.
- The policy which was originally conceived as an economic initiative has gained political, strategic and cultural dimensions including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation.
- Further, apart from ASEAN, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and East Asia Summit (EAS), India has also been actively engaged in regional fora such as Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
- The Objective of ”Act East Policy” is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop the strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels thereby providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region including Arunachal Pradesh with other countries in our neighbourhood.
Source: The Hindu
- PRAAPTI App and Web portal
- A Web portal and an App namely PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of generators), praapti.in, has been officially launched by Hon’ble Minister of State (I/C) for Power.
- It has been developed to bring transparency in power purchase transactions between Generators and Discoms.
Benefits for each stakeholder
- It will help the stakeholders in getting month-wise and legacy data on outstanding amounts of Discoms against power purchase.
- The app will also allow users to know the details related to the payments made by the Discoms to the power generation company and when they were made.
- PRAAPTI will also enable the consumers to evaluate the financial performance of their Discoms in terms of payments being made to the generation companies.
- The Portal would also help DISCOMs to reconcile their outstanding payments.
- The portal would facilitate relative assessment of various State DISCOMs on “Ease of making payments” to various Generation Companies, and will also help make transactions in the power Sector more transparent.
- Auto fuels under GST: Pros and Cons
- With the prices of automobile fuels surging, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas said that bringing petroleum products under the ambit of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) was being considered by the government as part of a “holistic strategy” to address the issue.
- The benchmark Brent crude crossed the $80 per barrel mark earlier this month.
How will bringing it under GST help?
- When India moved to the GST regime last July, petroleum products were excluded, along with alcohol, real estate and power.
- In the current structure, both the central and state governments levy a tax on petrol, diesel, crude, and natural gas.
- The Centre charges excise duty, while each state has its own Value Added Tax (VAT).
- Added to these are the dealer commissions, all of which inflates the price that consumers pay at the retail pumps.
- Bringing petroleum products under GST would mean a single rate — 18% or 28% — in place of excise duty and state VAT, and lower pump prices.
- It will also be in keeping with the idea of a ‘single nation, single tax’, which is aimed at improving production and employment while taxing consumption.
But there are disadvantages as well
- For both the federal and state governments, petroleum products, like alcohol, are huge revenue earners.
- Revenue considerations are likely to drive the decision on bringing petroleum products under GST.
- The decision will have to be taken by the GST Council, in which states have a major say.
- Even if they agree to have petrol, diesel and other products under GST, they will still have the autonomy to levy an additional or top-up tax, which can vary across states.
- Even the Centre will have reasons to worry as not only the centre shall lose huge revenue from petroleum products but it is committed to compensating states for any shortfall in revenues for five years.
Source: The Indian Express
- S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems
- India has concluded price negotiations with Russia for the deal to procure S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems for Indian Air Force (IAF).
- Both countries are now trying to find the way out to evade provisions of CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).
- CAATSA is a stringent US law that seeks to punish countries and entities engaged in transactions with defence or intelligence establishment of Russia.
- The US had announced sanctions against Russia under CAATSA for its alleged meddling in the presidential election in 2016.
- India wants to procure long-range missile systems to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along its nearly 4,000-km-long border.
- In 2016, India had signed an agreement with Russia on Triumf interceptor-based missile system.
- But there has been mounting concerns in India over US sanctions against Russian defence majors export as billions of dollars of military purchases may be impacted because of punitive measure.
S-400 Triumf Air Defence System
- It is long-range air defence missile system and is one of most advanced long-range defence systems in the world.
- It is an upgraded version of the S-300 defence system and is manufactured by Almaz-Antey.
- It has been in service in Russia since 2007.
- It is capable of firing three types of missiles, creating a layered defence, and simultaneously engaging 36 targets.
Source: Economic Times
- Andhra Pradesh notifies new state symbols after bifurcation
- Andhra Pradesh Government notified its new state symbols after four years after bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2014 into two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
- These states symbols were notified by State department of environment, forest, science and technology.
New state symbols of Andhra Pradesh
- State bird: Rose-ringed parakeet.
- State tree:
- State animal: Black-buck.
- State flower:
State symbols of Telangana
- State bird: Indian Roller. It is also the state bird of Odisha and Karnataka.
- State tree: Jammi Chettu.
- State animal: Spotted deer.
- State flower: Tangidi Puvvu.