How Bollywood turns black money into white – (Security)
- Behind the glitzy silver screen lies a dark secret. A recent report of the Income Tax Department wipes the gloss off Mumbai’s film industry, exposing its bad tax conscience: a combination of dodging and economic offences.
- Tax avoidance, evasion and dodgy financial dealings seem to be more the norm than the exception with producers, distributors, exhibitors, and artists who evade with ease the regulatory framework under the Income Tax Act, 1961, the report reveals.
‘Indians eat less meat, do yoga, are eco-friendly’ – (Environment)
- A brochure released by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar at the India pavilion at the Paris climate change conference on Monday says Indians have an intrinsically climate-friendly lifestyle as the country has 42 per cent vegetarian households, and individuals consume a tenth of the meat compared with the global average.
- People also practise yoga as part of culture.
Piscine diversity under threat in Krishna river – (Environment)
- Research undertaken by Fisheries Development Officer, Gadwal, research scholars and a faculty member of Osmania University, Hyderabad, has revealed that feral fish are causing the decline of presence of other species of Major Indian Carps, Minor Indian Carps and Catfish in river Krishna damaging the piscine diversity of the second largest river in South India.
- The four-member research team led by Fisheries Development Officer, Boini Laxmappa observed the presence of Indian Major Carps has been declining year by year, while the population of Feral Fish Nile Tilapia ( Oreochromis niloticus ), which was introduced for aquaculture purposes in India in 1987, has been going up.
Vacate carbon space: India to West – (Environment)
- Painted as a roadblock in the climate negotiations by many on its plans to use more coal and defer scrutiny for greenhouse gas emissions, India on Monday adopted an aggressive position and asked developed countries how their economies could grow without growth in India and other developing nations.
- India is being asked for a peaking date for coal use, as China has provided, and urged to adopt a five-yearly periodic review of its national emission reduction pledges.
India to have 8 new observatories – (Environment)
- India on Monday announced a programme to open eight more long-term ecological observatories to study the effects of climate change.
- The new facilities under the Indian Long Term Ecological Observatories (I-LTEO) would assess the health of eight different biomes (types of habitat) and come up with long-term research findings on the changes there that were happening due to climate change.
India-based JV being considered for supply of Sukhoi-30 spares – (Defence)
- India and Russia are exploring the possibility of setting up a joint venture in India to improve supply of spares for the Sukhoi-30 frontline fighter aircraft.
- The two sides are also in advance negotiations for a long term agreement for spares for the fleet, of which just over 50 per cent are operational at any given point of time.
Madhesi leaders reject Nepal’s package – (International Relation)
- In a setback to peacemaking efforts by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the United Madhesi Democratic Front of Nepal on Monday rejected the “Framework Agreement” that the Nepal government had presented as a breakthrough solution to the nearly four-month-long economic blockade.
- In a forceful speech presented in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, Ms. Swaraj urged for reconciliation and justice for the impoverished people of Nepal as well as the Madhesi protesters.
Behind the ‘death cult’ lies a methodical bureaucracy – (International Relation)
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has branded its members psychopathic monsters, Francois Hollande calls them barbarians, and David Cameron describes them as a death cult. But Islamic State (IS) is much more than that.
- As newly obtained documents demonstrate, IS is also made up of bureaucrats, civil servants and jobsworths.
French far-right party on the brink of power – (International Relation)
- France’s far-right National Front (FN) on Monday stood at the gates of power in several regions after record scores in the first round of elections, held just three weeks after the Paris attacks.
- Marine Le Pen’s party finished top in six of 13 regions on Sunday, from the economically depressed north where she is standing, to the sun-drenched south where her 25-year-old niece is in poll position.
Test of political will on GST – (Economics)
- The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government has rolled up its sleeves for the ongoing winter session of Parliament in a bid to guarantee the passage of the Constitution amendment Bill that will usher in a Goods and Services Tax.
- The government, which has staked a lot of political capital on ensuring that the April 1 target deadline for the implementation of GST is met, has moved to try to build a consensus through a combination of political outreach and an internal reappraisal of some of the contentious features of the tax measure.
Amber signal on Delhi pollution – (Economics)
- The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has announced a slew of measures to address the very poor air quality and pollution in the nation’s capital. It is, in principle, a largely welcome move that could push the needle for anti-pollution measures to be adopted by other Indian cities as well.
- These are possibly the most significant steps taken after the introduction of Compressed Natural Gas-powered vehicles in the city that are widely accepted as having helped reduce pollution.
Chennai and India’s urban nightmares – (Governance)
- The devastation in Chennai and surrounding areas over the last few days is yet another stark warning that the Indian state is failing miserably in managing its metamorphosis from a largely rural country into an urbanising liberal democracy.
- Blaming excessive rain or unauthorised construction for the latest misery is a very lazy analysis, ignoring the significant contribution of government institutions and political masters to the mismanagement of Chennai, and other cities.
India open to non-binding talks on ‘new’ issues at WTO meet – (Economics)
- In a significant change of tack to project a ‘positive’ approach, India on Monday said it was open to ‘non-binding’ discussions on new issues such as environment and labour that the rich world wants to initiate at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) coming Nairobi meet, provided it is able to protect the interests of poor farmers and food security.
- Ministers from the WTO’s 162 member countries will converge in the Kenyan capital during December 15-18 for negotiations meant to arrive at an agreement to liberalise global trade.
Fitch Ratings affirms India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-’, outlook ‘stable’ – (Economics)
- Fitch Ratings affirmed India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-’, the lowest investment grade and just a notch above ‘junk’ status, and kept the outlook Stable.
- The affirmation balances strong GDP growth outlook and favourable external finances with the high government debt burden and difficult-but-improving business environment, Fitch said in a statement on Monday.