Monday, 07 March 2016 04:12


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07-MARCH- 2016


Three British scientists, Tim BlissGraham Collingridge and Richard Morris, won the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize, largest prize for neuroscience in the world.

The trio have won the award for their seminal work on understanding what happens in the brain when humans make and lose memories.

This is the first time the Brain Prize has been won by an entirely UK team.

The award ceremony will take place in Copenhagen on 1 July 2016, where the prize will be presented by Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Key findings of the trio

The three researchers have shown how neurons in the hippocampus, the brain's learning portal that enables humans to store information, collaborate and provide a basis for understanding how humans go about remembering.

They have shown how the connection between brain cells in the hippocampus can be strengthened through repeated stimulation, a phenomenon that is called long-term potentiation.

The scientists have also described the mechanisms behind the phenomenon and have proven that long-term potentiation is the very basis for humans’ ability to learn, remember and navigate their surroundings.

Their research results show that the brain is able to handle and adapt to new impressions and events, and this plasticity enables the brain to reorganise itself after damage such as stroke or sudden blindness.

About Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize

The Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize, also known asThe Brain Prize, is an international scientific award.

It honours one or more scientists who have distinguished themselves by an outstanding contribution to European neuroscience and who are still active in research.

It was founded in 2011 by the Lundbeck Foundation.

The prize is associated with a 1 million euro award to the nominees, who can be of any nationality. However, the research for which they are nominated must have been in Europe or in collaboration with researchers in Europe.


The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Annual Financial Statement or the Union Budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha. In his budget speech the minister listed nine pillars on which the Government will focus on in order to transform India into a developed nation.

The nine pillars are - Agriculture and farmers' welfare, rural sector, social sector including healthcare, education, skills and job creation, infrastructure and investment, financial sector reforms, governance and ease of doing business, fiscal discipline, tax reforms to reduce compliance burden.

In the tax reforms segment, the following new initiatives were proposed in the Budget 2016-17. Broadly, the provisions are related to small tax payers, growth, employment generation and Make in India initiative.

Relief to small tax payers

• In order to lessen tax burden on individuals with income not exceeding 5 lakhs rupees per annum, the ceiling of tax rebate under section 87A was proposed to raise from 2000 to 5000 rupees. There are 2 crore tax payers in this category that will get a relief of 3000 rupees in their tax liability.

• The limit of deduction in respect of rent paid under section 80GG from was increased to 60000 per annum. At present, the people who do not have any house of their own and also do not get any house rent allowance from any employer get a deduction of 24000 rupees per annum from their income to compensate them for the rent they pay.

Measures to boost Employment and Growth

• The turnover limit under Presumptive taxation scheme under section 44AD of the Income Tax Act, 1961 will be increased to 2 crore rupees to bring big relief to a large number of assessees in the MSME category. At present, the turnover limit is 1 crore rupees and 33 lakh small business people are benefitting from it.

• The presumptive taxation scheme will be extended to professionals with gross receipts up to 50 lakh rupees with the presumption of profit being 50 percent of the gross receipts.

• The following 4 proposals were made in relation to phasing out deduction under Income Tax

1) The accelerated depreciation provided under IT Act will be limited to maximum 40 percent from 1 April 2017.

2) The benefit of deductions for research would be limited to 150 percent from 1 April 2017 and 100 percent from 1 April 2020.

3) The benefit of section 10AA to new SEZ units will be available to those units which commence activity before 31 March 2020.

4) The weighted deduction under section 35CCD for skill development will continue up to 1 April 2020.

• Following 2 changes were proposed in corporate income-tax rates

1) The new manufacturing companies which are incorporated on or after 1 March 2016 are proposed to be given an option to be taxed at 25 percent plus surcharge and cess provided they do not claim profit linked or investment linked deductions and do not avail of investment allowance and accelerated depreciation.

2) Lower the corporate tax rate for the next financial year for relatively small enterprises that is companies with turnover not exceeding 5 crore rupees (in the financial year ending March 2015), to 29 percent plus surcharge and cess.

• Start-ups: 100 percent deduction of profits for 3 out of 5 years will be allowed to startups which are setup between April 2016 and March, 2019. However, Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) will apply in such cases. And, capital gains will not be taxed if invested in regulated/notified Fund of Funds and by individuals in notified startups, in which they hold majority shares.

• 10 percent rate of tax on income from worldwide exploitation ofpatents developed and registered in India by a resident.

• Period for getting benefit of long term capital gain regime in case of unlisted companies is proposed to be reduced from 3 to 2 years.

• Complete pass through of income-tax to securitization trusts including trusts of Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) will be allowed. This measure was announced to get more investment in ARCs which play a very important role in resolution of bad debts.

• Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) will be eligible for deduction the extent of 5 percent of its income in respect of provision for bad and doubtful debts.

• The determination of residency of foreign company on the basis of Place of Effective Management (POEM) was proposed to be deferred by one year.

• The Government expressed its commitment to implement General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) from 1 April 2017. It was introduced for the first in the 2012-13 Budget and since then its implementation got delayed due to opposition from business firms.

• Service tax on services provided under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana, universal rural electrification scheme, and services provided by Assessing Bodies empanelled by Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship will be exempted.

• Exemption of service tax on general insurance services provided under Niramaya Health Insurance Scheme launched by National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability was proposed.

• In order to meet the Government’s commitment to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative of OECD and G-20, the Finance Bill, 2016 included provision for requirement of country by countryreporting for companies with consolidated revenue of more than 750 million euros.


Changes in customs and excise duty rates were announced in order to reduce costs and improve competitiveness of domestic industry.  Few of the beneficial sectors are -

• Information technology hardware

• Capital goods

• Defence production

• Textiles, mineral fuels & mineral oils

• Chemicals & petrochemicals

• Paper, paperboard & newsprint

• Maintenance repair and overhauling [MRO] of aircrafts and ship repair


The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Annual Financial Statement or the Union Budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha. In his budget speech the minister listed nine pillars on which the Government will focus on in order to transform India into a developed nation.

The nine pillars are - Agriculture and farmers' welfare, rural sector, social sector including healthcare, education, skills and job creation, infrastructure and investment, financial sector reforms, governance and ease of doing business, fiscal discipline, tax reforms to reduce compliance burden.

In the tax reforms segment, the following new initiatives were proposed in the Budget 2016-17. Broadly, the provisions are related to pensions, provision of affordable housing and mobilization of resources for agriculture, rural economy and clean environment.

Moving towards a pensioned society

• Withdrawal up to 40 percent of the corpus at the time of retirementto be tax exempt in the case of National Pension System (NPS).Annuity fund which goes to legal heir will not be taxable.

• In case of superannuation funds and recognized provident funds, including Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), 40 percent of corpus will be tax free in respect of corpus created out of contributions made after 1 April 2016.

• The above two measures were announced to achieve the objective of uniform tax treatment across different defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans. However, the PFO related measure became controversial as millions of middle class salaried employees in the private sector will be effected it.

• Monetary limit for contribution of employer in recognized Provident and Superannuation Fund was proposed at 1.5 lakh per annum for taking tax benefit.

• Exemption will be made from service tax for Annuity services provided by National Pension Scheme (NPS) and services provided by EPFO to employees.

• Service tax on Single premium Annuity (Insurance) Policies will be reduced from 3.5 to 1.4 percent of the premium paid in certain cases.

Measures for promoting affordable housing

• 100 percent deduction for profits to an undertaking from a housing project for flats up to 30 sq. metres in four metro cities and 60 sq. metres in other cities, approved during June 2016 to March 2019, and is completed within three years of the approval. Minimum Alternate Tax will, however, apply to these undertakings.

• Deduction for additional interest of 50000 per annum for loans up to 35 lakh rupees will be sanctioned in 2016-17 for first time home buyers, where house cost does not exceed 50 lakh rupees.

• Distribution made out of income of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to the Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (INVITs) having specified shareholding will not be subjected to Dividend Distribution Tax, in respect of dividend distributed after the specified date.

• Exemption from service tax on construction of affordable houses up to 60 square metres under any scheme of the Central or State Government including Public-private partnership (PPP) Schemes.

Resource mobilization for agriculture, rural economy & clean environment

• Additional tax at the rate of 10 percent of gross amount of dividend will be payable by the recipients receiving dividend in excess of 10 lakh per annum. It will be in addition to the Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) that uniformly applies to all investors irrespective of their income slabs. This measure was announced in tune with the progressive taxation philosophy.

• Surcharge to be raised from 12 percent to 15 percent on persons, other than companies, firms and cooperative societies having income above 1 crore rupees.

• Securities Transaction tax in case of Options was proposed to be increased from .017 to .05 percent.

• Equalization levy of 6 percent of gross amount for payment made to non-residents exceeding 1 lakh rupees a year in case of Business-to-Business transactions. This was announced in order to tap tax on income, especially on online advertisements, accruing to foreign e-commerce companies from India like Google, Facebook, etc. In informal sense it is referred to as “Google Tax”.

• Krishi Kalyan Cess (KKC)at 0.5 percent will be imposed on all taxable services starting from 1 June 2016. Proceeds would be exclusively used for financing initiatives for improvement of agriculture and welfare of farmers. Input tax credit of this cess will be available for payment of this cess.

• Infrastructure cess, of 1 percent on small petrol, LPG, CNG cars, 2.5 percent on diesel cars of certain capacity and 4 percent on other higher engine capacity vehicles and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs). No credit of this cess will be available nor credit of any other tax or duty be utilized for paying this cess.

• Excise duty of 1 percent without input tax credit or 12.5 percent with input tax credit on articles of jewellery [excluding silver jewellery, other than studded with diamonds and some other precious stones], with a higher exemption and eligibility limits of 6 crores and 12 crores respectively was proposed.

• Excise on readymade garments with retail price of 1000 or more raised to 2 percent without input tax credit or 12.5 percent with input tax credit.

• Clean Energy Cess levied on coal, lignite and peat renamed to Clean Environment Cess and rate increased from 200 per tonne to 400 rupees per tonne.

• Excise duties on various tobacco products other than beedi raised by about 10 to 15 percent. This measure was announced in order to discourage consumption of tobacco products that kill around 1.5 million Indians per annum.

• Assignment of right to use the spectrum and its transfers has been deducted as a service leviable to service tax and not sale of intangible goods.

• An amendment to the Finance Act, 1994 was proposed in order to make it clear that assignment of right to use the spectrum is a service leviable to service tax and not sale of intangible goods. With this amendment the Government is expected to generate 50000 crore rupees additional revenue.


The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Annual Financial Statement or the Union Budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha. In his budget speech the minister listed nine pillars on which the Government will focus on in order to transform India into a developed nation.

The nine pillars are - Agriculture and farmers' welfare, rural sector, social sector including healthcare, education, skills and job creation, infrastructure and investment, financial sector reforms, governance and ease of doing business, fiscal discipline, tax reforms to reduce compliance burden.

In the tax reforms segment, the following new initiatives were proposed in the Budget 2016-17. Broadly, the provisions are related to tax litigation, simplification and rationalization of taxation and use of Technology for creating accountability.

Measure to reducing litigation and provide certainty in taxation

The following measures were announced to curb black money, provide a stable and predictable taxation regime.

Black Money

•    Domestic taxpayers can declare undisclosed income or such income represented in the form of any asset by paying tax at 30 percent and surcharge at 7.5 percent and penalty at 7.5 percent, which is a total of 45 percent of the undisclosed income.

•    Surcharge levied at 7.5 percent of undisclosed income will becalled Krishi Kalyan Surcharge (KKS) to be used for agriculture and rural economy.

•    The window under this Income Disclosure Scheme will be availablebetween 1 June 2016 and 30 September 2016 with an option to pay amount due within two months of declaration.

•    Declarants will have immunity from prosecution under the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the Wealth Tax Act, 1957. Immunity from Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988 was also proposed subject to certain conditions.

Litigation related measures

Dispute Resolution Scheme

•    Under this proposed scheme, no penalty will be imposed in respect of cases with disputed tax up to 10 lakh rupees.

•    Cases with disputed tax exceeding 10 lakh rupees to be subjected to 25 percent of the minimum of the imposable penalty. 
•    Any pending appeal against a penalty order can also be settled by paying 25 percent of the minimum of the imposable penalty and tax interest on quantum addition.

•    Certain categories of persons including those who are charged with criminal offences under specific Acts are proposed to be barred from availing this scheme.

•    This scheme is of significance as at present there are about 3 lakh tax cases pending with the 1st Appellate Authority with disputed amount being 5.5 lakh crore rupees.

Retrospective Taxation

Taking into account opposition from various quarters on the sensitive issue of retrospective application of tax the Government announced following measures.

Future cases

Formation of Committee: A High Level Committee will be constituted to oversee any fresh case where the assessing officer proposes to assess or reassess the income in respect of indirect transfers by applying the retrospective amendment. The committee will be chaired by the Revenue Secretary and consist of Chairman, CBDT and an expert from outside.

In relation to past cases

•    One-time scheme of Dispute Resolution: It will be introduced for ongoing cases under retrospective amendment.

•    Penalty rates to be 50 percent of tax in case of under reporting of income and 200 percent of tax where there is misreporting of facts. This new graded regime will replace the existing authority given to the Income-tax Officer who can levy penalty at the rate of 100 to 300 percent.

•    Disallowance will be limited to 1 percent of the average monthly value of investments yielding exempt income, but not exceeding the actual expenditure claimed under rule 8D of Section 14A of Income Tax Act.

•    Time limit of one year for disposing petitions of the tax payers seeking waiver of interest and penalty.

•    Mandatory for the assessing officer to grant stay of demand once the assesse pays 15 percent of the disputed demand, while the appeal is pending before Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals).

•    Monetary limit for deciding an appeal by a single member Bench of ITAT enhanced from 15 lakhs to 50 lakhs rupees.

•    11 new benches of Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) will be set up

Simplification and rationalization of taxation

•    Many of the following measures were based on the recommendations of the Justice R V Easwar (Retd) Committee on simplification of the provisions of Income-tax Act, 1961 that submitted its report in January 2016.

•    13 cesses, levied by various Ministries in which revenue collection isless than 50 crore rupees in a year will be abolished. This measure was announced to reduce multiplicity of taxes, associated cascading and to reduce cost of collection.

•    Non-residents without PAN are currently subjected to a higher rate of TDS. It was proposed to amend the relevant provision to provide that on furnishing of alternative documents, the higher rate will not apply.

•    The facility for revision of return, hitherto available to a service tax assessee only, will be extended to Central Excise assessees also.

•    Additional options to banking companies and financial institutions, including NBFCs, for reversal of input tax credits with respect to non-taxable services.

•    The Customs Act, 1962 will be amended to provide for deferred payment of customs duties for importers and exporters with proven track record. The proposed amendments seeks to reduce the cargo release time and the transaction costs of EXIM trade.

•    Indian Customs Single Window Project to be implemented at major ports and airports starting from beginning of 2016-17. The project was announced in the 2014-15 Budget. The aim of this project is to provide a common platform to trade to meet the requirements of all regulatory agencies (including Animal Quarantine, Plant Quarantine, Drug Controller, Textile Committee etc.) involved in EXIM trade through message exchange.

•    Increase in free baggage allowance for international passengers. The filing of baggage declaration will be required only for those passengers who carry dutiable goods.

Use of Technology for creating accountability

Following measures were announced in order to augment usage of technology in taxation Department and make life simpler for a law abiding citizen and also for data mining to track tax evaders.

•    e-assessment: Expansion in the scope of e-assessments to all assessees in 7 mega cities in the coming years. A pilot was run in 2015-16 for e-assessment to obviate the requirement for tax payers to visit the Income-tax offices.

•    e-Sahyog: Income-tax Department (ITD) will fully expand this pilot initiative with a view to reduce compliance cost, especially for small taxpayers. The e-Sahyog seeks to provide an online mechanism to resolve mismatches in income-tax returns without requiring taxpayers to attend the Income-tax office.

•    In matters pertaining to Income-tax Act, 1961 Government will pay interest at the rate of 9 percent per annum against normal rate of 6 percent per annum in case there is delay in giving effect to Appellate order beyond 90 days. The officers, who delay it, will be accountable for this loss to Government.


India signed a financing agreement for IDA credit of 300 US dollars for the Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project with the World Bank.

The project was designed as a result based financing programme in which the funds will be released based on the achievement of specific results or disbursement linked indicators (DLIs).

The DLIs are designed to ensure increase in enrolment of full time students and transition rate, to achieve NAAC accreditation criteria by the participating Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and strengthening of governance structure.

The project has three components

• Grants Support to Higher Education Institutions

• State Level Initiatives

• Improving System Management.

Objectives of the Project:

• To increase the effectiveness of the Higher Education System in Madhya Pradesh

• To improve the standards of disadvantaged groups of students in selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

The Project will be closed on 31 August 2021.


Veteran playwright and director Ratan Thiyam was named for Lifetime Achievement Award of the 11th edition of the Mahindra Excellence Theatre Awards (META).

He was selected for the award for creating a new language in theatre and enriching the art form in various roles as writer, director, designer, composer and choreographer. He is the current chairman of the National School of Drama.

In the past, this award has been given to theatre greats such as Zohra Sehgal, Badal Sarkar, Khaled Chowdhury, Ebrahim Alkazi, Girish Karnad and Heisnam Kanhailal.

About META awards

META, instituted by the Mahindra Group, is one of the Indian theatre industry’s premier awards. It is recognise and reward all aspects of theatre production and stage craft.

The awards consist of a specially designed trophy and a cheque of 100000 rupees for the best production, 75000 rupees for best original playwright and 45000 rupees for all other award categories.

The Mahindra Group, through META, aims to increase awareness and appreciation of Indian theatre, making it the only national platform for recognising and rewarding theatre.


  • The Centre was examining the Tamil Nadu government’s request for freeing the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, but made it clear that the government was constitutionally bound to act by the ruling of the Supreme Court
  • This happened a day after the State government wrote to the Centre to seek its opinion necessary under Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure — on its decision to remit the life sentences of all the seven convicts
  • On December 2, 2015, the Supreme Court held that the Centre and not the State government would have the “primacy” and that the States could not exercise suo motu the power to decide whether or not those convicted in the cases investigated by the CBI or another Central agency could be released.


  • The State Cabinet approved the final draft notification on banning the utilisation of non-essential plastics. Officials of the Department of Forest, Environment and Ecology, who drafted the notification, believe that this will spur the use of ecofriendly materials, and reduce the amount of plastics in garbage dumps
  • Took the decision to ban the manufacture, storage, sale, distribution, and use of plastic carry bags, irrespective of their thickness
  • The decision goes beyond the 2011 notification that banned plastic below 40 microns and aims at banning products for which eco-friendly alternatives are available
  • Additions include thermocol, micro-beads and even plastic cutlery — which were suggestions given by activists and citizens.
  • The ban is expected to reduce non-degradable plastic content in municipal waste by over a third.


  • Giving no quarter, even as BCCI or State cricket associations blamed the Lodha Committee for keeping them in the dark about its recommendations
  • SC rejected the statements saying it was international news that SC had formed the Justice Lodha Committee to suggest reforms in cricket. The whole world knew it.
  • The court allowed a batch of State cricket associations and former players like Bishan Singh Bedi and Kirti Azad to intervene in the case.
  • One of the questions was why the BCCI and State cricketing bodies have ministers as members. The Lodha report had banned government servants and ministers
  • To the BCCI's objection to the Lodha panel’s recommendation on an age cap of 70 years for cricket administrators, Chief Justice Thakur replied, tongue-incheek, “Lawyers like you get better with age, is that so with cricketers also? We feel 70 is a good age for retirement. At 70, they should sit at home and watch cricket on TV.”
  • The BCCI complained that Justice Lodha had recommended voting rights based on territorial boundaries of States and did not take into account historical demarcation of boundaries among members as per the levels of cricket played. This had led to Maharashtra and Gujarat having multiple existing members in BCCI.


  • Military personnel of adversarial world powers converged upon the Aundh Military Station in Pune to thrall spectators with the largest Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX) ever conducted on Indian soil
  • ‘Force 18’ (initially labelled ‘FTX-2016’) is an elaborate and ambitious military training exercise involving Army units from eighteen countries, often locked as adversaries in the arena of global realpolitik.
  • They include nine members of the Association of South East Asian Nations and eight observer States: India, Japan, Korea, China, Russia, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Myanmar was compelled to back out owing to elections and security issues pertaining to border infiltration.
  • The broad objective of ‘Force 18’ was to build common understanding and achieve inter-operability among the 18 ASEAN-Plus countries
  • The drill also aims at reaffirming India’s expertise as the lead agency in Southeast Asia for Peacekeeping Operations and Humanitarian Mine Action
  • A unique facet of the exercise is that the Indian Army contingent of 40 soldiers is being led by Lt Col Sophia Qureshi, a woman officer from the Corps of Signals, who now has the rare distinction of becoming the first woman officer to lead an Indian Army training contingent in such a multinational exercise


  • Following widespread outrage over the Union Budget proposal to tax Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) held a review with top officials
  • The Union Labour and Employment Ministry made a strong case for a rollback of the proposal to tax 60 per cent of EPF savings at the time of withdrawal,
  • This is the second intervention by the PMO on the issue, the first one being an hour-long discussion with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Mr. Adhia
  • Initially it was said that only the interest earned on EPF savings would be taxed. Later, the Ministry said taxing interest income was just one among the representations the government had received. It said those who bought an annuity product with 60 per cent of their EPF corpus would not be taxed


  • Union Budget 2016-17 holds another tax whammy for employees’ provident fund savings which will particularly hurt millions of low-income workers earning as little as Rs.5,000 a month.
  • Such employees would be taxed at the highest marginal income tax rate of 34.6 per cent if they withdraw EPF savings of Rs 50,000 or more, before completing five years of continuous service.
  • The tax, is to be levied at the highest personal tax rate for those members who don’t have a PAN card, according to the Finance Ministry. For those with a PAN card, the tax is levied at 10.3 per cent
  • Those with a balance of just Rs.50,000 in their EPF account, after, say 59 months of service, are essentially low income workers who are not liable to pay tax to begin with. Yet they will be taxed at the rate applicable for those earning over a crore of rupees a year
  • To put that in perspective, banks deduct income tax at 10.3 per cent on interest income of over Rs.10,000 earned from fixed deposits. In cases where a depositor hasn’t shared his PAN card details with the bank, such interest income is taxed at 20.6 per cent.
  • Separately, a PAN number is mandatory for jewellery purchases over Rs. one lakh. Personal income is tax free in the country for those earning about Rs.21,000 a month or Rs.2.5 lakh a year
  • An EPF account is mandatory for all employees earning up to Rs.15,000 per month (raised recently from Rs.6,500 per month) in firms employing over 20 workers. As per the law, 24 per cent of an employee’s salary is contributed to EPFO as a social security net for old age – a part of that (8.33 per cent) is diverted to an employees’ pension scheme (EPS).
  • “This is a very regressive move and would not only lead to taxing those who are not part of the tax net or pushing them to get a PAN card though their income is well below the taxable limit, but also create a huge compliance and paperwork headache for employers as well as the EPFO, who would have to issue tax deduction certificates
  • The government has defended its proposal to tax 60 per cent of EPF savings as a tool to push people into the pension habit and said that only high-income workers would be affected, while those earning upto Rs.15,000 a month won’t be taxed.


  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha. The Bill provides statutory backing to Aadhaar, the unique identity number through which the government plans to target delivery of subsidy benefits and services. The expenditure for the nationwide Aadhaar exercise is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • The Bill provides for the establishing of the Unified Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the establishment, operation and maintenance of the Central Identity Data Repository. The Authority shall ensure the security, confidentiality and protection of identity information and authentication records of individuals in its possession or control, including the information stored in the repository, according to the Bill. These include biometric information collected, created and stored in electronic form.
  • The Supreme Court has restricted the use of the Aadhaar number until a Constitution Bench delivers its verdict on a number of cases concerning privacy and other issues
  • Under the provisions of the Bill, the Aadhaar number cannot confer right of or proof of citizenship of domicile
  • Mr. Jaitley introduced the measure as a money Bill, which can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and to which the Rajya Sabha where the NDA government does not enjoy a majority cannot make amendments. The Upper House can only make recommendations to money Bills and must return such legislation to the Lok Sabha within 14 days from the date of their receipt, thus ensuring a time-bound process
  • The Opposition also demanded to know if the Bill can be referred to the standing committee on finance. Money Bills cannot be referred to a joint committee of Parliament


  • A reduction in the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) will not be possible until all corporate tax exemptions are rolled back
  • The rate of the Minimum Alternate Tax — a tax put in place to bring into the net companies that have been not been paying tax due to the various exemptions granted to the corporate sector—is between around 19 per cent and 21.34 per cent for Indian companies, and between 19 per cent and 20 per cent for foreign companies
  • Companies have been demanding a reduction in the MAT rate as well as in the corporate tax rate, which, till recently, was at a flat 30 per cent (plus cesses and surcharges)
  • Manufacturing companies that are incorporated after March 1, 2016 will be given an option to be taxed at 25 per cent plus cesses and surcharges as long as they do not avail of profit and investment-linked deductions or certain other tax exemptions.
  • In addition, the finance minister proposed to lower the corporate tax rate for companies with a turnover not more than Rs. five crore a year to 29 per cent


  • India and China jockeyed over their plans to build connectivity during the Ministry of External Afairs’ first ‘Raisina Dialogue’ international conference with India projecting its own plans in the Indian Ocean and across Central Asia as a counter to China’s estimated 1-trillion dollar One Belt One Road (OBOR) project.
  • Comparing India’s approach to China’s (without referring directly to either China or the OBOR), India’s plans for connectivity were “cooperative rather than a unilateral approach”, adding that an “environment of trust and confidence is the pre-requisite for a more interconnected world.”
  • China views South Asian countries as very important partners and stands ready to focus on roads, manufacturing, free trade zones. OBOR is not an exclusive initiative, so welcomes participation of various countries and regional organisations


  • Rafael of Israel and Kalyani group are setting up a joint venture (JV), Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems, to build weapon systems in India. It could start with the production of Spike AntiTank Guided Missile (ATGM) which the Indian Army is in the process of procuring.
  • Under a tripartite agreement the JV is expected to manufacture sub-assemblies and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will do electro optics and do hot integration at its Hyderabad facility which currently manufactures French Milan ATGMs
  • Conforming to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms in defence the Kalyani group will hold 51 percent stake with Rafael holding the rest. The initiative is in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ policy and will enable the development and production of high end technology systems within the country.
  • The Rs.3,200 crore deal for the ATGMs was cleared in 2014 by the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley which put an end to uncertainty after the U.S. ofer of joint production of Javelin missiles.
  • The deal includes 8,000 plus missiles, 300 plus launchers and requisite technology transfer to the Indian entity which was initially supposed to be BDL. Spike is a third generation, fire and forget anti-tank missile


  • Astronomers have, for the first time, detected repeating short bursts of mysterious and powerful radio waves from an enigmatic source that is likely located well beyond the edge of the Milky Way galaxy
  • The findings indicate that these “fast radio bursts” come from an extremely powerful object, which occasionally produces multiple bursts in under a minute
  • All previously detected fast radio bursts (FRBs) have appeared to be one-of events as a result, most theories about the origin of these mysterious pulses have involved cataclysmic incidents that destroy their source — a star exploding in a supernova, for example, or a neutron star collapsing into a black hole
  • The new finding, however, shows that at least some FRBs may have other origins. The FRBs, which last just a few thousandths of a second, have puzzled scientists since they were first reported nearly a decade ago. Despite extensive follow-up eforts, astronomers until now have searched in vain for repeat bursts
  • The finding suggests that these bursts must have come from an object, such as a rotating neutron star having unprecedented power that enables the emission of extremely bright pulses
  • Scientists believe that these and other radio bursts, originate from distant galaxies, based on the measurement of an efect known as plasma dispersion.




The mind is almost always impure, and it almost always brings in unaspiring thoughts. Even when it is not doing this, the mind is still a victim to doubt, jealousy, hypocrisy, fear and other undivine qualities. All negative things first attack the mind. The mind may reject them for a minute, but again they knock at the mind's door. This is the nature of the mind. Purification of the mind therefore means to purify it from all undesirable impressions. Not only of the shortcomings of others, but one must arrive at the stage where one forgets one's own shortcomings.

In as much as it is necessary to cleanse and purify the body, so necessary, or perhaps even more necessary, is it that the mind be cleansed and purified. All impurity causes diseases as well as irregularity in the working of the physical system. The same applies to the mind. There are impurities belonging to the mind, which may cause different diseases, and by cleansing the mind one helps to create health both in body and mind.

Mental purification can be done in three different ways. The first way is the stilling of the mind, because it is very often the activity of the mind, which produces impurities. The stilling of the mind removes impurities from it; it is like tuning the mind to its natural pitch. The mind can be likened to a pool of water. When the water in the pool is undisturbed, the reflection is clear; and so it is with the mind. If the mind is disturbed, one does not receive intuition, inspiration, clearly in it. Once the mind is still it takes a clear reflection, as the pool of water does when the water in the pool is still.

The best way is Meditation and other way of purifying the mind is by attitude; by the right attitude towards life. That is the moral way and the royal road to purification. A person may breathe and sit in silence in a thousand postures, but if he does not have the right attitude towards life, he will never develop. That is the principle thing. But the question is, what is the right attitude? The right attitude depends on how favorably one regards one's own shortcomings. Very often one is ready to defend oneself for one's faults and errors, and is willing to make one's wrong right. But one has not the attitude towards others. One takes them to task when it comes to judging them. It is so easy to disapprove of others! It's so easy to take a step further and to dislike others, and not at all difficult to take a step further still and to hate others. And when one is acting in this manner, one does not think one does any wrong. Although it is a condition which develops within, one only sees it without. All the badness, which accumulates within, one sees in another person. Therefore man is always in an illusion; he is always pleased with himself and always blaming others. And the extraordinary thing is, that it is the most blameworthy who blames most. But it is expressed better the other way around. Because one blames most, one becomes most blameworthy.

By a wrong attitude, therefore, a person accumulates in his mind undesirable impressions coming from people, since no one in this world is perfect. Everyone has a side, which can be criticized and wants repairing. When one looks at that side, one accumulates impressions, which make one more and more imperfect because they collect imperfection, and then that becomes one's world. And when the mind has become a sponge full of undesirable impressions, then what is emitted from it is undesirable also. No one can speak ill of another without making it his own. Because the one speaking ill of others is ill himself.

Thus the purification of the mind, from a moral point of view, should be learned in one's everyday life. By trying to consider things sympathetically, favorably, by looking at others as one looks at oneself, by putting oneself in their position instead of accusing others on seeing their infirmities. Souls on earth are born imperfect and show imperfection, and from this they develop naturally, coming to perfection. If all were perfect, there would have been no purpose in their creation. And manifestation has taken place so that every being here may rise from imperfection towards perfection. That is the object and joy of life and for that this world was created. And if we expected every person to be perfect and conditions to be perfect, then there would be no joy in living and no purpose in coming here.
‪#‎RAY‬ - ‪#‎Empowering‬ ‪#‎Talent‬ ‪#‎Since‬ 1971


Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 March 2016 02:43