Indian Current Affairs | Current Affairs India - September 2011

South Asian Free Trade Area
The Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is an agreement reached in 2004 at the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad, Pakistan. It created a free trade area of  Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The seven foreign ministers of the region signed a framework agreement on SAFTA to reduce customs duties of all traded goods to zero by the year 2016.Indian Government said that it will meet its commitment of reducing tariff lines under sensitive list by 20% for all by next month. This will fulfil a critical requirement of the SAFTA agreement signed by SAARC member countries. India’s trade with SAARC stands at mere US$ 13 billion at a time when our global trade has expanded to cross US$ 600 billion. Indian companies have stepped out and engaged in foreign shores investing over US$ 100 billion and more than 90% of this investment has been outside South Asia. India investment flows into SAARC have been around US$ 10 billion.

India Signs DTAA with Uruguay
India signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with the Oriental Republic of Uruguay for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital. The DTAA provides that business profits will be taxable in the source state if the activities of an enterprise constitute a permanent establishment in that state. Such permanent establishment includes a branch, factory, etc. Profits of a construction, assembly or installation projects will be taxed in the state of source if the project continues in that state for more than six months. Profits derived by an enterprise from the operation of ships or aircraft in international traffic shall be taxable in the country of residence of the enterprise. Dividends, interest and royalty income will be taxed both in the country of residence and in the country of source. However, the maximum rate of tax to be charged in the country of source will not exceed 5% in the case of dividends and 10% in the case of interest and royalties. Capital gains from the sale of shares will be taxable in the country of source.

Gross Direct Tax Collections up by 25.89 Percent
Gross direct tax collections during the first five months of the current fiscal (April - August 2011) were up by 25.89 percent at Rs.154,360 crore as against Rs.122,618 crore in the same period last fiscal.
  • Corporate taxes up 29.72 percent  to Rs.96,597 crore
  • Personal income tax up by 19.91 percent to Rs.57,582 crore
  • Wealth tax tax up by 22.14 percent to Rs.160 crore
  • Securities transaction tax down by 9.09 percent to Rs.2,021 crore

Net collections, however, stood at Rs.96,738 crore, down from Rs.100,113 crore in the same period last fiscal on account of an increase of 156.04 percent in tax refunds, which stood at Rs.57,622 crore as against Rs.22,505 crore last fiscal. 

Causes of Death of Children in India
According to Registrar General of India, nutritional deficiencies are responsible for only 2.8% death of children aged 0-4 years and 1.8% in the age group 5-14 years. Some of the major causes of death of children below 4 years are perinatal conditions (33%), respiratory infections (22%), diarrheal diseases (14%), other infections and parasitic diseases (11%), accounting for 80% of the deaths in this age group. 

Subarnarekha Barrage Project
A tripartite agreement was concluded between the Governments of undivided Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal is August,1978 regarding Subarnarekha river. Consequent to this agreement, each of the three Co-basin states (Orissa, West Bengal and now Jharkhand) have drawn up their own programme to harness the water resources of the Subarnarekha river basin.The Subarnarekha multipurpose project envisaged the construction of two dams, at Chandil and Chaibasa both in Jharkhand, three barrages at Galudih,Ganjia and Bhosraghat (WB) and a network of canals from these. Three small storage reservoirs and a network of canals from these reservoirs are in Orissa. Started in 1982-83, the multipurpose project was planned for irrigation, hydropower generation and water supply. While the Chandil dam and Galudih barrage are almost complete, the other components are still incomplete. The Subarnarekha barrage project of West Bengal is targeted to be completed by 2015-16 and Subarnarekha multipurpose project of Orissa is scheduled to be completed by March,2014.

Census town in India
In India, a census town is one which has:
    A minimum population of 5,000
    At least 75% of male working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits
    A density of population of at least 400 persons per km2.