12th April Current Affairs
April 12, 2021
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April 14, 2021
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13 April Current Affairs

Harmonized System of Nomenclature Code

In News:

It has been made mandatory for a GST taxpayer having a turnover of more than Rs 5 crore in the preceding financial year, to furnish 6 digits HSN Code (Harmonized System of Nomenclature Code). This comes into effect from April 1.

What does the HS code mean?- Harmonised System, or simply ‘HS’:

It is a six-digit identification code. Of the six digits, the first two denote the HS Chapter, the next two give the HS heading, and the last two give the HS subheading.

  • Developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
  • Called the “universal economic language” for goods.
  • It is a multipurpose international product nomenclature.
  • The system currently comprises of around 5,000 commodity groups.

Need for and significance:

Over 200 countries use the system as a basis for their customs tariffs, gathering international trade statistics, making trade policies, and for monitoring goods.

The system helps in harmonising of customs and trade procedures, thus reducing costs in international trade.

Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021

In News:

The President of India has promulgated the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021.

Details:

The proposed changes are based on the directions issued by the Supreme Court last year in the Madras Bar Association case.

Key changes:

The ordinance seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies.

It seeks to empower the Central Government to make rules for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals.

It provides that the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee.

It also provides the composition of the Committee, to be headed by the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him.

Tenure: Chairperson of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. Other Members of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.

The Ordinance omits following Tribunals/ Appellate Authorities from the purview of Finance Act:

Airport Appellate Tribunal established under the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994.

Appellate Board established under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

Authority for Advance Ruling established under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Film Certification Appellate Tribunal established under the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

What are tribunals?

Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution that is set up to deal with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes. It performs a number of functions like adjudicating disputes, determining rights between contesting parties, making an administrative decision, reviewing an existing administrative decision and so forth.

Constitutional provisions:

They were not originally a part of the Constitution.

The 42nd Amendment Act introduced these provisions in accordance with the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee.

The Amendment introduced Part XIV-A to the Constitution, which deals with ‘Tribunals’ and contains two articles:

Article 323A deals with Administrative Tribunals. These are quasi-judicial institutions that resolve disputes related to the recruitment and service conditions of persons engaged in public service.

Article 323B deals with tribunals for other subjects such as Taxation, Industrial and labour, Foreign exchange, import and export, Land reforms, Food, Ceiling on urban property, Elections to Parliament and state legislatures, Rent and tenancy rights.

E9 initiative

In News:

Consultation meeting of Education Ministers of E9 countries on E9 initiative to be held tomorrow.

Details:

The consultation is the first of a three-phased process to co-create an initiative on digital learning and skills, targeting marginalised children and youth, especially girls.

What is E9 initiative?

The initiative aims to accelerate recovery and advance the Sustainable Development Goal 4 agenda by driving rapid change in education systems in three of the 2020 Global Education Meeting priorities: (i) support to teachers; (ii) investment in skills; and (iii) narrowing of the digital divide.

Participants:

Spearheaded by the UN, the E9 countries include Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Benefits:

Building on the established partnership of E9 countries allows these nine countries the opportunity to benefit from this global initiative and accelerate progress on digital learning and skills towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education.

Who are Uighurs?

In News:

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has expressed strong concerns to his Chinese counterpart about the human rights situation of China’s Uighur minority.

Who are Uighurs?

Uighurs are a Muslim minority community concentrated in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang province.

They claim closer ethnic ties to Turkey and other central Asian countries than to China, by brute — and brutal — force.

Why is China targeting the Uighurs?

Xinjiang is technically an autonomous region within China — its largest region, rich in minerals, and sharing borders with many countries, including India, Russia and Afghanistan.

Over the past few decades, as economic prosperity has come to Xinjiang, it has brought with it in large numbers the majority Han Chinese,who have cornered the better jobs, and left the Uighurs feeling their livelihoods and identity were under threat.

This led to sporadic violence, in 2009 culminating in a riot that killed 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, in the region’s capital Urumqi. And many other violent incidents have taken place since then.

Beijing also says Uighur groups want to establish an independent state and, because of the Uighurs’ cultural ties to their neighbours, leaders fear that elements in places like Pakistan may back a separatist movement in Xinjiang.

Therefore, the Chinese policy seems to have been one of treating the entire community as suspect, and launching a systematic project to chip away at every marker of a distinct Uighur identity.