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♦ India jumps 8 places to 36th on International IP Index
- India has jumped eight places to 36th position on the International Intellectual Property (IP) Index, which analyses the IP climate in 50 global economies, this year. India’s eight-point jump in 2019 from 44th position in 2018 is the highest increase among 50 nations mapped by the index, a release said.
- The US, the UK, Sweden, France and Germany remained the top five economies on the intellectual property index in 2019 retaining their spots from the last year.
- The index brought out by the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) ranks countries based on 45 indicators that are critical to an innovation-led economy supported by robust patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrets protection.
♦ RBI cuts repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25%
- The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to reduce the key policy rate or the repo rate by 25 bps to 6.25% in the last bimonthly policy review of 2018-19 while changing the policy stance to ‘neutral’ from ‘calibrated tightening’.
- The rate cut is in line with expectations as retail inflation grew by 2.2% in December its slowest in the last 18 months.
- While the decision to change the policy stance was unanimous, four out of six members voted for a rate cut while two opted for status quo. This was the first policy under the new Governor Shaktikanta Das.
- While reducing the interest rate, the Central bank said headline inflation is projected to remain soft in the near term reflecting the current low level of inflation and the benign food inflation outlook.
- The RBI has revised the projection for Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation downward.
- “Taking into consideration these developments and assuming a normal monsoon in 2019, the path of CPI inflation is revised downwards to 2.8% in Q4:2018-19, 3.2-3.4% in H1:2019-20 and 3.9% in Q3:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced around the central trajectory,” it said.
- GDP growth for 2019-20 is projected at 7.4% — in the range of 7.2-7.4% in H1, and 7.5% in Q3 — with risks evenly balanced.
♦ Rajasthan Govt Launches ‘Rajiv Gandhi Career Portal’ to Provide Employment-Oriented Education
- Rajasthan School Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara on Wednesday launched ‘Rajiv Gandhi Career Portal’ for students from classes 9 to 12.
- The portal aims to provide career guidance with information on entrance examinations, scholarships and employment-oriented courses.It is a big step of the government towards providing employment-oriented education to students.The portal is developed with support from UNICEF and is a first-of-its-kind in the country, Dotasara said.
- He said the portal will provide information to students on over 200 vocational, 237 professional courses besides online information on over 455 employment areas, 10,000 colleges in the country, 960 scholarship schemes and over 955 entrance examinations.
♦ Macedonia takes major step on road to NATO membership
- Macedonia moved a step closer to NATO membership on Wednesday (Feb 6), signing accession papers after resolving a long-running name row with Greece.
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it was a “historic day” which will lead to Macedonia becoming the 30th alliance member, once the deal has been ratified by all the other capitals.
- NATO and the EU welcomed the move as bringing more stability to the Balkans, but the alliance’s expansion into the region has been opposed by Moscow, which regards it as part of its own “sphere of influence”.
- After signing the accord with representatives of current NATO members at alliance headquarters in Brussels, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said membership would make his country safer.
- “What’s important for us is we’ll never walk alone again and we stand beside these 29 allies able and ready to assume the obligations arising from our full membership,” Dimitrov said.
♦ FIFA rankings: India slips out of top 100 in latest charts
- The Indian football team on Thursday slipped out of the top 100 in the latest FIFA rankings following their back to back group league defeats during the AFC Asian Cup in the UAE.
- Skipper Sunil Chhetri and Co. slumped six places to be ranked 103 with 1219 points in the FIFA rankings released on Thursday.
- India also dropped out of the top 16 in the AFC rankings, plummeting to 18th.
♦ Ranji Trophy 2018-19 Final: Vidarbha claim second successive title
- Vidarbha claimed their second successive Ranji Trophy title and second overall beating Saurashtra in the final of the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 season by 78 runs at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur on Thursday on the final day of the tournament.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♠
- SCALLOP (VERB): pucker 🙁सिकुड़ना)
Synonyms: scrunch, crumple
Antonyms: flatten, smooth
Example: The scallop fishery is becoming more and more valuable.
- INTERLACE (VERB): braid 🙁लपेटना)
Synonyms: curl, enmesh
Antonyms: untwist, untangle
Example: Alice interlaced her hair around her finger.
- CANARD (NOUN): fabrication 🙁झूठी अफ़वाह)
Synonyms: exaggeration, lie
Antonyms: truth, reality
Example: Her statement was full of canard.
- CANDOR (NOUN): complete honesty 🙁निष्कपटता)
Synonyms: directness, fairness
Antonyms: dishonesty, unfairness
Example: She has done her task with complete candor.
- CESSATION (NOUN): abeyance 🙁ठहराव)
Synonyms: breather, discontinuance
Antonyms: activity, continuity
Example: Since the bad weather has caused a temporary building cessation, the office building will not be completed on time.
- AGILE (ADJECTIVE): Flexible: (चुस्त)
Synonyms: lithe, supple
Antonym: rigid, stiff
Example: Monkey is an agile animal.
- SHOVE OFF (VERB): Leave quickly : (निकास)
Synonyms: depart, exit
Antonyms: arrive, come
Example: As soon as the police arrives the goons shove off from the bank.
- SALACIOUS (ADJECTIVE): Indecent: (गंदा)
Synonyms: vulgar, lewd
Antonyms: moral, decent
Example: The salacious ruffians made filthy remarks on her.
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
E) Option A and B both
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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