1. Government is attempting to classify cryptocurrencies as either a good or a service under the GST law.
- Currently, government levies 18% GST only on service provided by crypto exchanges.
- GST law does not specify how cryptocurrencies should be classified.
- As per the tax officers, cryptos are similar in nature to lottery, casinos, betting, gambling and horse racing.
- Lottery, casinos, betting, gambling and horse racing have 28% of GST on the entire value.
- From April 1, a 30% Income Tax plus cess and surcharges will be levied on crypto currency transactions.
- In Budget 2022-23, 1% TDS was proposed on payments towards virtual currencies beyond Rs 10,000 in a year. This provision will come into effect from July 1, 2022.
Topic: Indian Economy/Financial Market
2. Rating agency Fitch has cut India’s GDP forecast for FY 2022-2023 from 10.3% to 8.5%.
- It has revised GDP growth forecast for current fiscal by 0.6 percentage points to 8.7%.
- While cutting India’s GDP forecast, the agency cited high energy prices because of Russia-Ukraine war.
- In its Global economic Outlook-March 2022, the agency said that global supply shock is hitting post-Covid-19 pandemic recovery.
- Fitch has cut world GDP growth forecast by 0.7 percentage points to 3.5%.
- Russia supplies nearly 10% of world's energy, which include 17% of natural gas and 12% of oil.
3. Supreme Court appointed 3-member committee has recommended that three farm laws should not be repealed.
- The committee submitted its report to the Supreme Court on 19 March, 2021. The report has been made public on 21 March 2022.
- The committee has recommended many changes in the farm laws. It recommended that states should be given freedom to make Minimum Support Price (MSP) system legal.
- It also recommended abolishing of Essential Commodity Act or substantial liberalization of its provisions.
- It further recommended formation of an Agriculture Marketing Council (AMC) similar to GST Council.
- AMC was to be headed by the Minister of Agriculture, with all States and UTs as members.
- The committee said that States can be given flexibility in implementation and design of the laws, with approval from centre.
- It gave the option of setting up of Farmers Courts at district level under the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 by the state governments.
- The Committee recommended MSP and procurement support policy needs to be revised with a cap on procurement of wheat and rice in line with the needs of Public Distribution System (PDS).
- As per the Committee, beneficiaries of PDS should be given freedom to choose cash transfer equal to MSP plus 25% for every kg of grain entitlement or get wheat or rice.
- Three members of the committee were Anil Ghanwat, Ashok Gulati and Pramod Kumar Joshi. The committee was headed by Ashok Gulati. Bhupinder Singh Mann withdrew from the Committee.
- Parliament had repealed three farm laws in November 2021. They came into force in June 2020. The three laws were:
- Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act
4. Indian economist Jayati Ghosh has been appointed by UN to high-level advisory board on effective multilateralism.
- Ghosh has been appointed to a 12-member board that will be supported by the United Nations University's Centre for Policy Research.
- She is also a member of the UN's high-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs.
- The setting up of Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism has been announced by UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres on 18 March 2022.
- Former Liberian President and Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven will co-chair it.
- UN Secretary-General's report on ‘Our Common Agenda’ was released in September 2021. It proposed a Summit of the Future in 2023.
- The new advisory board will be asked to build on the ideas in ‘Our Common Agenda’.
5. Merger of BBNL with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to be completed this month.
- BSNL CMD Pravin Kumar Purwar said that government has taken policy decision to merge BBNL with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).
- With the merger, BSNL will get 5.67 lakh kilometer of optical fibre network. BSNL already have 6.8 lakh kilometer of optical fibre cable network.
- Bharat Broadband Nigam Ltd (BBNL) was formed in February 2012 to lay optical fibre network across 2.5 lakh village panchayats across the country using Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
- BSNL CMD said that provision of around ₹45,000 crore has been made for BSNL in budget.
- Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL):
- It was founded in 2000. It is a Public Sector Undertaking wholly owned by Government of India.
- Pravin Kumar Purwar is its chairman & MD. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
- It provides telecom services all over India except Delhi and Mumbai.
6. Japan announced that it will invest ₹3.2-lakh crore over next five years in India.
- Japan has made this announcement of investment target of five trillion yen ($42 billion or Rs 3.2 trillion) in next five years after 14th India-Japan Annual Summit.
- India and Japan have signed six agreements after the 14th India-Japan Annual Summit.
- PM Modi and Japanese PM Fumio Kishida addressed a special session on India-Japan Economic Forum.
- During the Forum, Suzuki group’s investment of ₹10,400 crore in a new EV unit and battery making facility in its Gujarat unit (Maruti Suzuki) was also announced.
- On the occasion, Gujarat government and Maruti Suzuki signed an agreement under the scrappage policy.
Topic: Regulatory Bodies/ Financial Institutions
7. Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) has exempted small sized M&A deals from CCI merger control norms for 5 more years.
- MCA has said that small sized M&A deals need not be reported or notified to Competition Commission of India till March 2027.
- In small sized M&A deals, target has an asset size of less than ₹350 crore or turnover of less than ₹1,000 crore.
- The exemption was granted for five years by the government in March 2017.
- With the notification of Sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act, 2002, the Indian merger control regime took effect on June 1, 2011.
8. India’s maize exports have increased 28.5% to $816.31 million in April-January FY22.
- In April-January period of last financial year, India’s maize exports stood at $634.85 million.
- Some major importers of India’s maize are Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.
- Maize is the third most important cereal crop in India after rice and wheat.
- It is grown throughout the year in India. It is mainly a Kharif crop.
- It is primarily cultivated in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
- Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are the highest producer of Maize in India followed by Bihar.
9. Rajesh Gopinathan reappointed as MD and CEO of TCS for five years.
- He has been appointed as MD and CEO from February 21, 2022 to February 20, 2027.
- N Ganapathy Subramaniam has been reappointed as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director from February 21, 2022 to May 19, 2024.
- Rajesh Gopinathan has been MD and CEO of TCS since 2017.
- Tata Consultancy Services (TCS):
- It is an Indian multinational information technology services company.
- It is headquartered in Mumbai. Its largest campus located in Chennai. It is a subsidiary of the Tata Group.