Daily Current Affairs 15th March 2018

Daily Current Affairs 15th March 2018


Indian Neutrion Observatory

  • The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project is finally set to take off with the conditional recommendation for environmental clearance by the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF&CC).
  • The observatory proposed to be constructed in Bodi West Hills on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border in Theni district.
  • It is one of the largest basic science projects in the country that would primarily study atmospheric neutrinos produced by cosmic rays in a 1,200 meters deep cave under a mountain.

What are Neutrinos?

Neutrinos are one of the fundamental particles which make up the universe.
Neutrinos are similar to the more familiar electron, with one crucial difference : neutrinos do not carry electric charge. Because neutrinos are electrically neutral, they are not affected by the electromagnetic forces which act on electrons. Neutrinos are affected only by a “weak” sub-atomic force of much shorter range than electromagnetism, and are therefore able to pass through great distances in matter without being affected by it.

Further clearances needed :-

  1. The consent to establish and operate needs to be obtained from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).
  2. Also, the INO team has to obtain the necessary forest and National Board for Wild Life clearances as per law

Concerns among NGO Poovulagin Nanbargal :-

INO project should not be considered as a mere construction project because it involves blasting of lakhs of tonnes of rocks using a huge quantity of explosives that would cause a big impact on the environment.

MoEF’s Expert Appraisal Committee (Infra 2) :-

The Expert Appraisal Committee Infra 2 of the Ministry of Environment and Forests deals with projects related to all “Ship breaking yard including shipbreaking unit, airport, common hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities, ports and harbours, aerial ropeways, Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP), common municipal solid waste management facility, building/construction projects, townships and area development projects “

Importance :-

Prelims Level :- It is important to know about Neutrinos & INO Project related to it.

Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill without discussion

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill 2018 with 21 amendments.

Grandfather clause amended

  • Regarding the long-term capital gains tax (LTCG) one of the major amendments was made. The grandfathering of gains till January 31, 2018, will now be incorporated in the computation of LTCG itself, rather than for the purposes of computing tax at the rate of 10%
  • This resolves the ambiguity contained in the language of the Finance Bill 2018 on the need for a duplicated computation.
  • There would have been computing first for LTCG without grandfathering and then for applying 10% tax rate with grandfathering.

Other important provisions

  1. Finance Bill 2018 clears the air on the valuation of securities held as inventory by scheduled banks and public financial institutions.
  2. The amended Finance Act also made changes to the rules regarding how start-ups can avail of tax deductions on profits.

Importance :-


Prelims levelFinance Bill 2018, long-term capital gains tax (LTCG), Grandfathering of gains clause

DBT scheme for fertilizer subsidies gets cabinet nod

The government on Tuesday decided to implement direct benefit transfer (DBT) for fertilizer subsidy payments across India, seeking to prevent diversion of fertilizers for commercial use and generate data on the usage of the nutrients to help farmers.

The department of fertilizers has already rolled out the programme in most states which shows certain impact :-

  • Data shows that transaction time and alleged instances of overcharging by retailers have come down.
  • Offtake has moderated, suggesting that overuse of subsidized fertilisers and their diversion for industrial use have declined. As a result, the Union government could limit the fertilizer subsidy for 2017-18 to Rs64,999 crore in the revised budget estimate, down more than 7% from the initial estimate made at the beginning of the fiscal year.

How DBT scheme for fertilisers would be different from others DBT scheme ?

  • DBT would entail 100% payment to fertilizer companies on sale of fertilizers to farmers at subsidized rates.
  • At the time of the sale, details of the buyer, the quantity, Aadhaar number, land records wherever available and soil health will be captured using a point-of-sale machine.
  • The subsidy amount will be settled in a few days with the manufacturer, which will end the precedence of subsidy in the fourth quarter spilling over to the next fiscal.

Importance :-

Prelims Level :- DBT Scheme for fertilizers

Mains Level :- Steps taken to prevent diversion of fertilizers for commercial use


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