Who founded the Indian Home Rule Society, India House and The Indian Sociologist in London?
WHY IN NEWS?
The Prime Minister paid tributes to revolutionary freedom fighter Shyamji Krishna Varma on his birth anniversary (4th October).
- Shyamji Krishna Varma was born on 4thOctober, 1857 in Mandvi town of Kachchh district of Gujarat.
- He was an expert in Sanskrit and other languages.
- His deep knowledge of the Sanskrit language caught the attention of Monier Williams, a professor of the subject in Oxford University.
- He was inspired by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and Herbert Spencer.
- He founded the Indian Home Rule Society, India House and The Indian Sociologist in London.
- Indian Home Rule Society and the India House worked towards inspiring youngsters in Britain to take up revolutionary activities against their own representatives in India.
- The monthly Indian Sociologist became an outlet for nationalist ideas and through the Indian Home Rule Society, he criticised the British rule in India.
- Varma became the first President of Bombay Arya Samaj. He inspired Veer Savarkar who was a member of India House in London. Verma also served as the Divan of a number of states in India.
- Swami Dayanand Saraswati was the founder of the Hindu reform organisation Arya Samaj.
- He was a barrister in London, when in 1905, he was barred from practising law by the Inner Temple following charges of sedition for writing against the colonial government.
- The move was significant as the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple is one of the four professional associations for barristers and judges in London.
- He was posthumously reinstated by the Inner Temple in 2015 after the Inn’s governing council noted that Varma “did not receive an entirely fair hearing”.
- In the face of criticism by the British, Varma shifted his base from England to Paris and continued his movement.
- After the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-45), however, he moved to Geneva in Switzerland and spent the rest of his life there. He died on 30thMarch, 1930
Tax Inspectors Without Borders Programme, a joint OECD/UNDP initiative, was launched in-
WHY IN NEWS?
Recently, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), have launched the Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Programme in Seychelles.
India has been chosen as the Partner Administration and has provided Tax Expert for this programme.
- It is expected to be of 12 months duration where India aims to aid Seychelles in strengthening its tax administration by transferring technical know-how and skills to its tax auditors through sharing of best audit practices.
- It focuses on Transfer Pricing cases of tourism and financial services sectors.
- Transfer Price, also known as transfer cost, is the price at which related parties transact with each other, such as during the trade of supplies or labor between departments. Multinational companies can manipulate transfer prices in order to shift profits to low tax regions.
- It is the sixth TIWB programme which India has supported by providing Tax Expert.
- Fifth TIWB programme with India was launched in Bhutan in June 2021.
Tax Inspectors Without Borders Programme:
- TIWB is a capacity-building programme.
- It is a joint OECD/UNDP initiative launched in July 2015 to strengthen developing countries’ auditing capacity and multinationals’ compliance worldwide.
- It deploys qualified experts in developing countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean to help build tax capacity in the areas of audit, criminal tax investigations and the effective use of automatically exchanged information.
- TIWB assistance has led to increased domestic resource mobilisation in some of the least developed countries in the world.
Pandora papers are associated with-
WHY IN NEWS?
Recently, several prominent Indian names have been included in the Pandora Papers leak.
- There are over 300 Indian names in the leak, including over 60 prominent ones.
- Pandora Papers are 11.9 million leaked files from 14 global corporate services firms which set up about 29,000 off-the-shelf companies and private trusts.
- The Pandora Papers reveal how trusts are used as a vehicle in conjunction with offshore companies set up for the sole purpose of holding investments and other assets by business families and ultra-rich individuals.
- The trusts can be set up in known tax havens which offer relative tax advantages.
- For Example: Samoa, Belize, Panama, and the British Virgin Islands.
- They reveal how the rich set up complex multi-layered trust structures for estate planning, in jurisdictions which are loosely regulated for tax purposes, but characterised by air-tight secrecy laws.
- Businesses have created a new normal after countries have been forced to tighten the laws on such offshore entities with rising concerns of money laundering, terrorism funding, and tax evasion.
- The Panama and Paradise Papers dealt largely with offshore entities set up by individuals and corporations respectively.
Reasons for Setting up Trusts Overseas:
- Overseas trusts offer remarkable secrecy because of stringent privacy laws in the jurisdiction they operate in.
- Maintain a Degree of Separation:
- Businesspersons set up private offshore trusts to project a degree of separation from their personal assets.
- Avoid Tax in the Guise of Planning:
- Businesspersons avoid their Non-resident Indians (NRI) children being taxed on income from their assets by transferring all the assets to a trust.
- Prepare for Estate Duty Eventuality:
- There is a pervasive fear that estate duty, which was abolished back in 1985 will likely be re-introduced soon.
- Setting up trusts in advance will protect the next generation from paying the death/inheritance tax, which was as high as 85% in the more than three decades after its enactment (The Estate Duty Act, 1953).
- Flexibility in a Capital-Controlled Economy:
- India is a capital-controlled economy. Individuals can invest only USD 2,50,000 a year under the Reserve Bank of India’s Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS).
- To get over this, businesspersons have turned to NRI , and under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, NRIs can remit USD 1 million a year in addition to their current annual income, outside India.
- Further, the tax rates in overseas jurisdictions are much lower than the 30% personal Income-Tax rate in India
- Grey Areas of Indian Taxation:
- There are certain grey areas of taxation where the Income-Tax Department is in contest with offshore trusts.
- After the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, came into existence, resident Indians have to report their foreign financial interests and assets.
- NRIs are not required to do so.
- The I-T Department may consider an offshore trust to be a resident of India for taxation purposes if the trustee is an Indian resident.
- In cases where the trustee is an offshore entity or an NRI, if the tax department establishes the trustee is taking instructions from a resident Indian, then too the trust may be considered a resident of India for taxation purposes.
- Government’s Initiatives:
- The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018
- The Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017
- The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016
- The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015
- Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
- Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs):
- India is proactively engaging with foreign governments with a view to facilitate and enhance the exchange of information under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs)/Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs)/Multilateral Conventions.
- Automatic Exchange of Information:
- India has been a leading force in the efforts to forge a multilateral regime for proactive sharing of financial information known as Automatic Exchange of Information which will greatly assist the global efforts to combat tax evasion.
- Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of USA:
- India has entered into an information sharing agreement with the USA under the act.
What is the name of robot launched by Amazon to assist in tasks like home monitoring?
WHY IN NEWS?
Recently, Amazon has unveiled its ‘Astro’ home robot, which is designed to help customers with a range of tasks like home monitoring and keeping in touch with family.
- However, civil society has highlighted the concerns of privacy issues of 24×7 surveillance
- About Astro Robot:
- Astro is primed to be a home security device. It is designed to move around the home and keep a check on pets, and detect something unusual in the absence of the owner.
- It comes with a “periscope” camera that pops up from its head and can be used to keep an eye on the home.
- It is basically a combination of the Echo Show (smart speaker) and sophisticated Ring security camera integrated into one single device.
- The device captures live videos, recognises faces, plays music or videos, and delivers a beer across the home.
- It can recognise the faces of people and analyse them until it figures out if it’s a family member or an outsider.
Issues Related to Privacy:
- Civil society is worried that the amount of data Amazon gets to fetch with the Astro, giving the company easy access to the household,
- This is going one step beyond Alexa which had access to vocals and sound until now.
- Amazon has asserted that Astro stores face data locally rather than in the cloud, but it is still a privacy concern as with any internet-connected device.
- There are concerns of stealing or hacking of the device. Due to this, the perpetrator can get access to the digital map that the robot creates of someone’s home.
- The prime concern, in the long-run, could contribute to greater public acceptance of Artificial Intelligence-powered surveillance.
- In the past, hackers have managed to access Ring cameras, used in the devices of Amazon technologies.
Other Recent Experiments:
- Softbank earlier this year “suspended” the production of Pepper, one of the first humanoid robots able to “read” emotions.
- Jibo has started an Indiegogo project, which aims to build a world’s first social robot for the home.
i–Drone used to deliver Covid vaccine in northeast is developed by-
WHY IN NEWS?
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya launched an initiative on October 4, 2021 to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine delivery using “made in India drones” in the tough & hard-to-reach terrains of Northeast.
- For the purpose, ICMR has designed a delivery model called “Drone Response and Outreach in North East (i-Drone)”.
- This delivery model has been designed to endure that life-saving COVID-19 vaccines reach everyone.
- This initiative was launched in line with government’s commitment to “Antyodaya in health” that makes healthcare accessible to every citizens in India.
- Significance of the initiative
This was the first time that a “Make in India’ drone has been used in South Asia for transporting COVID-19 vaccine for an aerial distance of 15 km. This distance was covered in 12-15 mins from Bishnupur district hospital to Loktak lake, Karang island in Manipur. Road distance between both the locations is 26 kms.
Use of drones
- Drones can be used to deliver important life-saving medicines as well as for collecting blood samples.
- It can also be used in critical situations in difficult terrains.
- It will address the challenges in health care delivery, especially for delivery of health supplies in difficult areas.
Which states are running similar projects?
Currently, drone-based delivery projects are being run in Manipur & Nagaland as well as Andaman & Nicobar Islands to overcome the challenges by deploying Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones in remote areas.
Which institution transferred the drone technology?
ICMR conducted the initial study in association with “Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur” for testing the capacity of drones to transfer and carry vaccines safely. ICMR conducted the study in Manipur, Nagaland and Andaman & Nicobar.
Dare to Dream contest has been recently launched by-
WHY IN NEWS?
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh felicitated the winners of ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ Contest organised by Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
- Awards were given to 40 winners, including 22 in Individual category and 18 in Start-up category.
- On the occasion, ‘Dare to Dream 3.0’ was also launched to promote innovators & start-ups and provide a platform for the young ignited minds in the country.
- Minister also presented “DRDO Young Scientists awards” for the year 2019. 16 DRDO scientists, aged under 35 years, were awarded for their outstanding contribution in fields of their expertise.
Dare to Dream Contest
Dare to Dream contest was launched by DRDO across India to promote Indian academicians, individuals and start-ups for developing emerging defence and aerospace technologies or systems. Under the contest, DRDO provides technical and financial support to the winners, in a bid to realise their ideas under “Technology Development Fund (TDF) scheme”.
New system developed by DRDO
On the occasion, three indigenously developed products or systems by DRDO were handed over to Armed Forces:
- ARINC818 Video Processing and Switching Module: It has been developed for Indian Air Force. The state-of-the-art module comprises of high bandwidth, channel bonding, low latency and easy networking. It was provided for 5thgeneration aircraft development programmes.
- Sonar Performance Modelling System: It was developed for the Indian Navy. It is useful for Indian Naval Ships, submarines as well as under water surveillance stations etc.
- Bund Blasting Device Mk-II: This device has been developed for Indian Army. It will help in reducing the height of Ditch-cum-Bund obstacles for enhancing mobility of mechanised infantry during wartime.
The Nobel Prize for economics was first conferred in-
WHY IN NEWS?
American scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian won the prestigious “2021 Nobel Prize for Medicine”.
- They won the prize for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.
- According to award-giving body, these discoveries could make way for new pain-killers.
- These findings have allowed to understand how heat, cold and mechanical force initiate the nerve impulses which in turn allow humans to perceive and adapt to the world around.
- This development and knowledge are being used to develop treatments for a several disease conditions, including chronic pain.
- This year, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was shared in equal parts by the two laureates.
- But medicine has been into the spotlight because of COVID-19 pandemic. There were recommendations that, those who developed covid-19 vaccines could be rewarded with Nobel Prizes.
About Nobel Prizes
The prestigious Nobel prizes for “science, literature and peace” were created and funded in the name of Swedish dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel. The prize is awarded since 1901. The Nobel prize for economics was first conferred in 1969. This century-old prize is worth 10 million Swedish crowns.
Who is Ardem Patapoutian?
Ardem Patapoutian was born in 1967 in Lebanon, to Armenian parents. He moved to Los Angeles in his youth and currently he is a Professor at Scripps Research, La Jolla, California. He has done research at the University of California, San Francisco as well as at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. He was awarded with The Nobel Prize for finding a cellular mechanism and underlying gene which translates a mechanical force on our skin into an electric nerve signal.
Who is David Julius?
Davis Julius was born in New York. He is a Professor at University of California, San Francisco. He was awarded for his findings on the skin’s sense of temperature on the basis of how certain cells react to capsaicin.