♠The Hindu Review♠
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♦ IMF forecasts India GDP at 7.5% in FY20 and 7.7% in FY21
- India will further build its lead as the world’s fastest-growing major economy as it picks up pace next year while the global economy is forecast to slow, the International Monetary Fund said.
- India’s GDP is forecast to expand 7.5% in FY20 and 7.7% in FY21. China’s growth is seen at 6.2% in both years.
- “India’s economy is poised to pick up in 2019, benefiting from lower oil prices and a slower pace of monetary tightening than previously expected, as inflation pressures ease,” the IMF said in its update of the flagship World Economic Outlook released in Davos.
- The FY20 forecast has been raised by 0.1percentage point from the projected outlook in October 2018. India’s Central Statistics Office expects gross domestic product to grow 7.2% in FY19, up from 6.7% last year, while the Reserve Bank of India has pegged it at 7.4%.
♦ India among the most trusted nations globally: Report
- India is among the most trusted nations globally when it comes to government, business, NGOs and media but the country’s brands are among the least-trusted, according to a report.
- The The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer report released Monday, ahead of the the World Economic Forum (WEF) meet here, noted that the Global Trust Index witnessed a marginal increase of 3 points to 52.
- China topped the Trust Index among both the informed public and the general population segments, with scores of 79 and 88 respectively.
- India was at the second place in the informed public category and third place in the general population category.
♦ Yes Bank partners with Maharashtra government for electronic PDS
- Private sector lender Yes BankNSE 0.13 % has partnered with Government of Maharashtra to onboard PDS shops which are popularly referred to as ration shops onto the electronic PDS initiative through which they can become agents of the bank.
- Under the partnership, Yes Bank will empower more than 20,000 ration shops which can offer last mile basic banking services to more than seven lakh beneficiaries. The bank will cover almost 40% of all the PDS shops across locations like Palghar, thane Kolhapur, Latur, Pune and others.
- Customers at these shops will be able to make payments using Aadhaar Pay, small value cash deposit or withdraw cash using AePS (Aadhaar enabled Payment Systems), bill payments recharges and even undertake remittance activities across different bank branches. Customers at these shops will be able to make payments using Aadhaar Pay, small value cash deposit or withdraw cash using AePS (Aadhaar enabled Payment Systems), bill payments recharges and even undertake remittance activities across different bank branches.
♦ UN’s International Day of Education tomorrow
- To celebrate the role of education for peace and development, the United Nations General Assembly on December 3 adopted a resolution declaring January 24 as ‘International Day of Education.’ In India, National Education Day is observed on November 11 to commemorate the birth anniversary of the first education minister of independent India — Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
- The proclamation of January 24 as the International Day of Education is an important step to promote education as a critical aspect of sustainable development. The UN resolution also mentioned every member states, organisations of the UN system, and civil society, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, the private sector, individuals and other relevant stakeholders to observe the International Day of Education.
- The adoption of the resolution ‘International Day of Education’, co-authored by Nigeria and 58 other member states, demonstrated the unwavering political will to support transformative actions for inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.
- Marie Paule Roudil, Director of UNESCO New York Office, stressed that education is not only a key goal on its own in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development but the one goal that gives people the means to realise it.
- “Gaining the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to out sustainable development into practice and craft innovate solutions is crucial for global goals,” she said.
♦ Virat Kohli becomes first cricketer in history to win ICC’s Test, ODI and overall Player of the Year awards
- Indian captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday became the first cricketer to make a clean sweep of individual honours in the ICC annual awards, claiming the Test, ODI and overall Player of the Year trophies besides being named captain of the world body’s all-star teams.
- Kohli has become the first player in history to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year, his second consecutive, the ICC Test and the ODI Player of the Year awards following an extraordinary 2018.
- “Not only is Kohli the first player to win these three major ICC awards together but he has also been named the captain of the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year for a fabulous run in international cricket,” the ICC said in a statement.
- Kohli scored 1,322 runs at an average of 55.08 in 13 Tests with five hundreds during the calendar year while in 14 ODIs he amassed 1202 runs at an astonishing average of 133.55 with six centuries. He also scored 211 runs in 10 T20Is.
- “It’s a reward for all the hard work that you do throughout the calendar year. Having recognition at the global level from the ICC is something you feel proud of as a cricketer because you understand that there are many players playing the game,” Kohli was quoted as saying by the world body in a release.
♦ Assam approves 10% quota for economically weaker sections of general class
- The Assam Cabinet has approved 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker sections of the general category in government jobs and education, officials said.
- The meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal here on Monday night also the approved the guidelines for disbursement of Rs 5,000 each to five lakh farmers of the state under the Mukhya Mantri Krishi Sa Sajuli Yozana for the purchase of farm tools and implements, an official spokesman said on Tuesday.
- The Cabinet approved a loan amount of Rs 95 crore from NABARD, he said.
- The loan amount will be utilised to construct and strengthen embankments, dykes and other infrastructure across the state, he added.
♦ Rao chosen for Sheikh Saud International Prize for Materials
- Eminent scientist and recipient of Bharat Ratna C N R Rao has been chosen for the first Sheikh Saud International Prize for Materials Research, given by the Centre for Advanced Materials of the UAE.
- The prize committee unanimously decided to award this to Professor Rao of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre forAdvanced Scientific Research, JNCASR said in a statement.
- It said, the award involves a plaque, a medal and a cash prize of USD 100000.
- The award will be presented to Rao during the International Workshop on Advanced Materials in Ras Al Khaima,UAE, on February 25.His Highness Sheikh Saud will be presenting the award to Rao, the release added.
- Professor Rao is the National Research Professor, Linus Pauling Research Professor and Honorary Presidentof Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.
- He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of India in 2014.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♠
- UNLETTERED (ADJECTIVE): (निरक्षर)Uneducated
Synonyms: ignorant, illiterate
Antonyms: educated, literate
Example: Such misconceptions have not been confined to the unlettered masses.
- SPRIGHTLY (ADJECTIVE): (प्रमुदित)Lively
Synonyms: agile, active
Antonyms: spiritless, lethargic
Example: The sprightly old woman walks two miles every day.
- SANCTIMONIOUS (ADJECTIVE): (पाखंडी)Self-righteous
Synonyms: insincere, hypocritical
Antonyms: honest, sincere
Example: His sanctimonious expressions explained his intentions.
- SULLEN (ADJECTIVE): (उदास)Morose
Synonyms: gloomy, brooding
Antonyms: cheerful, pleasant
Example: The offenders lapsed into a sullen silence.
- WREAK (VERB): (बदला लेना): avenge
Synonyms: destroy, demolish
Antonyms: construct, repair
Example: Terrorists love to wreak damage wherever they can.
- WANE (VERB): (अलग करना):separate
Synonyms: disconnect, detach
Antonyms: attach, connect
Example: She waned her individual ideas from the group.
- NADIR (NOUN): (निम्नतम):lowest point
Synonyms: base, bottom
Antonyms: top, highest point
Example: The sun does not spring at once from the nadir to the zenith.
- ODIUM (NOUN): (घृणा):shame, dishonor
Synonyms: abhorrence, antipathy
Antonyms: affection, approval
Example: Because of my odium for the politician’s views, I have no plans to vote for him.
RC Based on The Hindu Editorial
Revenue collections from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) are going too far off the mark for comfort. Inflows declined for the second consecutive month in December to ₹94,726 crore from ₹97,637 crore in November and ₹1,00,710 crore in the month before. Between April and December, GST collections have averaged about ₹96,800 crore, and have not even once met the monthly target of ₹1,06,300 crore, going by the Union Budget math for 2018-19. Now in order to achieve the year-end target, GST collections over the next three months will have to reach an average of ₹1,34,900 crore. But given the spate of tax rate cuts announced by the GST Council in December that kick in this month and Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinting at further rationalisation of rates for construction materials soon, the pressure on revenues is likely to persist. Separately, as the government looks to woo traders and small businesses back to its electoral fold, the Council is considering a relaxation in the GST norms for micro, small and medium enterprises by raising the annual sales threshold for compulsory GST registration from ₹20 lakh to over ₹50 lakh. Such a relaxation, along with regulatory steps like greater forbearance for small business loans, will boost sentiment among such firms, but it will further dent the tax kitty. Other revenue heads, including direct tax or disinvestment receipts (even via innovatively structured intra-public-sector deals), are unlikely to be adequate to plug the GST shortfall.
This poses a challenge for the Centre at a time when it would have been hoping to announce some populist measures ahead of elections, while retaining its macro-economic management credentials. States’ revenue collections under the GST regime have been uneven and a GST Council panel is examining inter-State variations. But the Centre is bound to compensate States for revenue shortfalls for the first five years of the GST regime. Unless the Centre decides to drop its fiscal deficit goals, a squeeze on spending, including planned capital expenditure, may be the only option. There is a more problematic aspect to the dip in GST collections, based on economic activity and compliance trends in November. The total number of returns filed that month hit a high of 72 lakh from 55 lakh at the beginning of the fiscal, yet revenues fell. November also marked the onset of India’s festive season, with a late Deepavali. Yet, the higher compliance and the festive fervour translated into collections lower than the average monthly receipts for the year till date. Though India’s growth fell to 7.1% in the second quarter of this fiscal, an uptick in private investment over the same period was considered a sign of revival. But if consumers are not confident enough to spend, a consumption-led investment revival to take the economy to an 8% growth path seems elusive again.
Question 1- What according to the passage can improve the growth rate of Indian economy?
A)Meeting the year end revenue collection targets.
B)Providing relaxations in GST rates.
C)Increasing consumer spending spending.
D)None of these
Question-2 How has the government planned to diffuse the interstate variations in revenues from GST?
A) Rationalizing the GST rates.
B)Raising the annual sales threshold for compulsory GST registration.
C) Center will compensate the state for any shortfall in revenue.
D) Option A and C
Question 3- Which among the below options is not putting pressure on government tax collections?
A)Drop in number of returns filed.
B)Relaxation on threshold for compulsory GST registration
C)Rationalization of Rates for construction materials.
D)Option A and C
Question-4 What was the GST revenue collection in the month of December?
Question 5: Select the word which is most nearly the SAME MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
Question 6: Select the word which is most nearly the OPPOSITE MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
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