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News Analysis

News no.1

Context: The government proposes to slowly phase out the hike in Customs duties levied earlier for protection of domestic manufacturing. High, arbitrary Customs duty rates breed inefficiencies and there is a need to have “judicious use” of Customs duty, Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Economy

What is customs duty?

  • Customs Duty is levied when goods are transported across borders between countries. It is the tax that governments impose on export and import of goods.
  • Customs Duty is beneficial for many reasons. For instance, it ensures a country’s economic stability, jobs, environment, among others.
  • It regulates the movement of goods in and out of the country. It keeps a check on restricted items.
  • The custom duty in India is regulated by Customs Act of 1962.
  • This duty is one of the most important duty because it hampers illegal import and export of goods.
  • What is Countervailing duties?Countervailing duties (CVDs), also known as anti-subsidy duties, are trade import duties imposed under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules to neutralize the negative effects of subsidies.
  • What is anti-dumping duty?It is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.

What is excise duty?

  • According to Central Excise act 1944 and the Central Excise Tariff Act 1985, every manufacturer of the goods in the country has to pay Excise duty.
  • Most of the products attract 16% excise duty but in case of some products it more than that.

News no.2

Explained: The purpose, participants of the Malabar Navy Exercise.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims & mains – International relations (GS-2)

What is Malabar naval exercise?

  • Exercise Malabar is a trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Japan and India as permanent partners.
  • Originally begun in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the United States, Japan became a permanent partner in 2015
  • The annual Malabar series began in 1992 and includes diverse activities, ranging from fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers through Maritime Interdiction Operations.

Why is Australia’s participation important?

  • As the standoff in eastern Ladakh continues, the participation of four large navies from the Indo-Pacific region will send a message to China.
  • Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat had said Quad is “a good arrangement”, which “will ensure, that the Indian Ocean Region and all other oceans around there is complete freedom of navigation, without fear of any other nation singularly trying to dominate the oceans”.

Does India conduct any other naval exercises with these countries?

  • Over the last few months, the Indian Navy has conducted a number of Passage Exercises (PASSEX) with navies from Japan, Australia and the US. But those were basic exercises to increase operability between the navies, while Malabar involves simulated war games.
  • In July, India conducted a PASSEX with the US carrier strike group led by one of the largest warships in the world, USS Nimitz.
  • A similar exercise was conducted with Japan Maritime Self Defence Force in June.

News no.3

Context: A­G declines consent for contempt case against Jagan

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Polity

Who is Attorney general?

  • He is the first Law Officer of the Government of India.
  • Though the Attorney-General of India is not (as in England) a member of the Cabinet, he shall also have the right to speak in the Houses of Parliament or in any Committee thereof, but shall have no right to vote.
  • He is entitled to the privileges of a member of Parliament. In the performance of his official duties, the Attorney-General shall have a right of audience in all Courts in the territory of India.
  • He shall receive such remuneration as the President may determine.

Who is solicitor general & his hierarchical position?    

News no.4

Context: There is an article in the Hindu named ‘Traffic cops of space’. (A Canadian company called north star is trying to solve the problem of space debris)

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Science & Technology

What is space debris?

  • Space debris is a term for defunct human-made objects in space—principally in Earth orbit—which no longer serve a useful function.

Recent technology to eliminate space debris:

  • To tackle the problem of space debris, a company called Tethers Unlimited has demonstrated an easy solution to get rid of satellites once they are of no use.
  • The solution involves a 230-feet long strip of conductive tape, which is delightfully called the Terminator Tape.
  • ‘Terminator Tape’ can pull down dead satellites, minimise space debris.

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