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19th August Current Affairs

Supreme Court orders status quo on move to put panel in charge of Indian Olympic Association

(GS-II: Governance)

In News:

The Supreme Court ordered the status quo on the implementation of a Delhi High Court order to hand over the affairs of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to a Committee of Administrators (CoA).

Details:

FIFA had recently gone ahead and suspended the AIFF, citing “third party interference.

Key Highlights:

Previously, Delhi HC has set up a three-member CoA: The Delhi High Court had directed the setting up of a CoA comprising:

  • Former Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R. Dave
  • Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi
  • Former Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup.

Assisted by eminent sports persons: High court has directed the Executive Committee of the IOA to forthwith hand over the charge to the CoA, which would be assisted by three eminent sportspersons, namely, Olympians Abhinav Bindra, Anju Bobby George and Bombayla Devi Laishram.

According to the rules of the International Olympic Committee: The representation of a national-level body like the IOA by a non-elected body would be treated as a third party interference.

The IOA is bound by these rules. Every country in the world is bound by it.

Third-party interference: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is a unit of the International Olympic Committee and they have their own rules and according to them

If any national-level body like petitioner IOA here is represented by a non-elected body then it is treated as a third-party interference.

Federation Internationale de Football Association(FIFA):

It is the highest governing body of football in the world.

It is the international governing body of association football, futsal, and beach soccer.

FIFA is a non-profit organization.

Founded in 1904, FIFA was launched to oversee international competition among the national associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

FIFA now comprises 211 member nations.

It is headquartered in Zurich.

The All-India Football Federation (AIFF):

It is the organization that manages the game of association football in India.

It administers the running of the India national football team and also controls the I-League, India’s premier domestic club competition, in addition to various other competitions and teams.

The AIFF was founded in 1937, and gained FIFA affiliation in the year 1948, after India’s independence in 1947.

Currently, it has an office in Dwarka, New Delhi.

India was one of the founding members of the Asian Football Confederation in 1954.

An India Blockchain Platform

(GS-III: S&T/ Governance)

In News:

The author argues for use of blockchain technology for e-governance in India

Details:

A digital infrastructure based on blockchain technology will transform the digital ecosystem in India and will enable the future of digital services, platforms, applications, content, and solutions.

Recent steps for digital infrastructure:  Digital India mission in 2015, our payments, provident fund, passports, driving licenses, crossing tolls, and checking land records all have been transformed with modular applications built on Aadhaar, UPI, and the India Stack.

Limitations of public digital infrastructure:

Low availability and affordability: It is well established that digital infrastructure should be designed based on principles of availability, affordability, value, and trust.

Current digital ecosystem is not interconnected as a design; a technical integration is required to make them conversant and interoperable.

Validation of data is becoming complex: Information has to travel across multiple systems to complete the interaction and rely on private databases, which makes the validation of data more complex as the network grows, driving up costs and creating inefficiencies.

Solutions:

Web 3.0: It is the next iteration of the internet. It heavily relies on blockchain technology, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI). It aims to create a decentralized internet with open, connected, intelligent websites and web applications.

Benefits:

  • Data Ownership. In Web 2.0, tech giants control and exploit user-generated data.
  • Fewer Intermediaries
  • Transparency
  • Efficient searching and information linking
  • Personalized Web Surfing Experience
  • Uninterrupted services
  • Auto verification: A blockchain-based infrastructure can provide all of these attributes without the need of trusting any particular actor to verify a ledger’s history.
  • The blockchain records could be visible, compiled, and audited by the regulators in real-time.

Need for an All-India Blockchain Platform for India:

A digital infrastructure based on blockchain technology will transform the digital ecosystem in India and will enable the future of digital services, platforms, applications, content, and solutions.

Conclusion:

The Indian digital community, including fintech, academia, think tanks, and institutions, should focus on supporting research in standards, interoperability, and efficient handling of current known issues with the distributed technologies, e.g., scalability and performance, consensus mechanisms, and auto-detection of vulnerabilities.

Resurrecting the extinct Tasmanian Tiger

In News:

Scientists in the US and Australia have embarked on a $15-million project to resurrect the thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger, a marsupial that went extinct in the 1930s, using gene-editing technology.

Details:

Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus), the only animal in the Thylacinidae family to survive in modern times, was a marsupial mammal that raises young ones in a pouch.

They were slow-paced carnivorous that usually hunted alone or in pairs at night. The sharply clawed animal had a dog-like head and ate kangaroos, other marsupials, small rodents, and birds.

The animal was at the top of the food chain, and hence played a significant role in balancing the ecosystem of its habitat by removing the weak animals and maintaining species diversity. As the thylacine was the only apex predator in its ecosystem, its absence impacted the Tasmanian Devil, which was almost wiped out by a facial tumour disease.

Modified Interest Subvention scheme (MISS)

In News:

Government will provide interest subventions (kind of subsidy) to all financial institutions (Banks) for short-term agriculture loans given to farmers. This will be valid for FY22 to FY24 (2 years) and up to 1.5% interest subvention.

What is interest subvention:

It is a form of waiver of some percentage of interest from the total interest that one has to pay on a loan taken from financial institutions.

g., If banks provide loans on 8.5% interest rate to farmers. And if the government provides interest subvention of 1.5%. Then farmers have to pay only 7% interest rate to bank. The difference will be paid by government as subsidy.

About MISS:

  • Under this, bank provides short term loans upto 3 lakh for all agriculture and allied activities at 7% per annum.
  • For prompt repayment of loans: Farmers repaying loans before due data are given extra 3% subventions (i.e., they will have to pay just 4% interest rate)
  • Funding: 100% by centre
  • Nodal agency: NABARD and RBI

Other schemes for interest subvention: Kisan Credit Card, Agri Market Infrastructure Fund (provide subsidized loans to state and UT) and PM Fasal Bima Yojana.

Global Tax deal

In News:

India and other countries (of the G24 grouping) have objected to the proposal that they can’t levy any future digital service tax (similar to an equalization levy)

Background:

In order to streamline the global governance of digital companies such as Google, and Facebook, a global tax deal under OECD’s two-pillar plan was agreed upon in 2021 (including by India)

Two pillars:

Under pillar 1: All multinational enterprises (with turnover over 20bn Euro and profit of over 10%) will have to relocate part of their profit to the place where they sell their products.

Under Pillar 2: All enterprises (with revenue over EUR 750mn) will have to give a minimum corporation tax of 15%. It will bring in ‘global minimum corporation tax’ to be implemented from 2023.

What is Equalization Levy?

Equalization Levy is a direct tax (of 6%), introduced in India in 2016 to tax foreign firms (such as Google, and Facebook) with now permanent establishments in India but profits from it. It was reaffirmed in Finance Act 2020 and expanded to include non-resident e-commerce operators (such as Amazon), by a new levy of 2% (digital service tax)

What is the digital tax scheme?

Government in Finance Bill of 2020-21, imposed a 2% digital service tax on trade and services of foreign e-commerce companies such as Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart and others having an annual turnover of ₹2 crores or more.

Group of 24:  It was established in 1971 as a chapter of the Group of 77 of developing countries in order to coordinate on monetary and developmental issues.