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February 17, 2021
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16th Feb Current Affairs

Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR)

In News:

The Delhi High Court has ordered the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to ensure “complete and strict” implementation of the regulation issued by it in 2018 for curbing unsolicited commercial communications (UCC).

Details:

The Court has also directed the telecom service providers (TSPs) to ensure strict compliance with the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018 issued by TRAI.

What’s the issue?

The court’s direction came while disposing of a plea by One97 Communications Ltd, which runs Paytm, claiming that millions of its customers have been defrauded by the phishing activities over the mobile networks and the failure of the telecom companies to prevent the same has “caused financial and reputational loss”.

About the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation (TCCCPR), 2018:

The regulation says that the companies will have to register themselves for commercial SMS and calls. This will help the regulator to regulate the fraud companies.

The telecom companies are required to verify purported telemarketers seeking registration (called registered telemarketers or RTMs) with them before granting access to their customer data and also take action immediately against all fraudulent RTMs.

It suggests adoption of Distributed Ledger Technology (or blockchain) as the RegTech to ensure regulatory compliance while allowing innovation in the market.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana

In News:

The scheme has crossed 1.75 crore eligible women till financial year 2020.

About PMMVY:

It is a Maternity Benefit Programme that is implemented in all the districts of the country in accordance with the provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013.

Under PMMVY, pregnant women and lactating mothers (PW&LM) receive ₹5,000 on the birth of their first child in three instalments, after fulfilling certain conditionalities.

It excludes those PW&LM who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.

The direct benefit cash transfer is to help expectant mothers meet enhanced nutritional requirements as well as to partially compensate them for wage loss during their pregnancy.

The scheme was announced on December 31, 2016.

The eligible beneficiaries would receive the incentive given under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) for Institutional delivery and the incentive received under JSY would be accounted towards maternity benefits so that on an average a woman gets Rs 6000 / – .

International Criminal Court

In News:

The International Criminal Court convicted a former commander (Dominic Ongwen) in the notorious Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army of dozens of war crimes and crimes against humanity ranging from multiple murders to forced marriages.

About ICC:

The International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, is the court of last resort for prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

It is the first permanent, treaty based, international court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002.

Funding: Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

Composition and voting power:

The Court’s management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, consists of one representative from each state party.

Each state party has one vote and “every effort” has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote.

The Assembly is presided over by a president and two vice-presidents, who are elected by the members to three-year terms.

Criticisms:

It does not have the capacity to arrest suspects and depends on member states for their cooperation.

Critics of the Court argue that there are insufficient checks and balances on the authority of the ICC prosecutor and judges and insufficient protection against politicized prosecutions or other abuses.

The ICC has been accused of bias and as being a tool of Western imperialism, only punishing leaders from small, weak states while ignoring crimes committed by richer and more powerful states.

ICC cannot mount successful cases without state cooperation is problematic for several reasons. It means that the ICC acts inconsistently in its selection of cases, is prevented from taking on hard cases and loses legitimacy.

National Agriculture Market (e-NAM)

In News:

So far, more than 1.69 crore Farmers & 1.55 Lakh traders are registered on e-NAM platform.

What is e-NAM?

E-NAM (National Agriculture Market) is an online trading platform for agriculture produce aiming to help farmers, traders, and buyers with online trading and getting a better price by smooth marketing.

Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.

NAM has the following advantages:

For the farmers, NAM promises more options for sale. It would increase his access to markets through warehouse-based sales and thus obviate the need to transport his produce to the mandi.

For the local trader in the mandi / market, NAM offers the opportunity to access a larger national market for secondary trading.

Bulk buyers, processors, exporters etc. benefit from being able to participate directly in trading at the local mandi / market level through the NAM platform, thereby reducing their intermediation costs.

Budget proposes tax on EPF interest

In News:

In the Union Budget 2021, Finance Minister announced a decision to tax interest incomes on annual Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF) contributions of over Rs 2.5 lakh.

Implications:

The interest income earned by an individual will be taxed at current income tax rates if the contribution exceeds Rs 2.5 lakh per annum; the same rule applies to VPF contributions.

This will only be applicable to the employee’s share of provident fund and not the employers.

Impact:

The move will impact high-income earners or high net-worth individuals (HNIs) who make large voluntary contributions to provident fund annually.

Need for:

So far, many people put huge sums of money annually towards EPF and earned interest income from it without having to pay any tax. An anomaly is created due to this. The latest move will help restore equality and discourage HNIs from making high annual contributions towards provident fund.

What is EPF?

It is mandatory for any company with 20+ employees to comply with the EPF schemes of the government. As per this scheme, the employer, as well as the employee, are required to contribute some part of the monthly salary of the employee (generally 12%) into the EPF investment account.

What is VPF?

As the name suggests, it is a voluntary scheme which allows employees to voluntarily contribute to their PF account after contributing 12% as per the EPF guideline. The interest rate with VPF is similar to EPF and employees can contribute up to 100% of their salary.

Key features:

Applicability: Only salaried working professionals can open EPF and VPF.

Contribution: For EPF, the minimum contribution for employee and employer is 12 per cent of the basic pay + dearness allowance of the employee. With VPF, an employee can contribute any amount up to 100% of their salary + dearness allowance.