1. The Government introduced The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2013:
i. V Narayanasamy, The Union Minister of State for Personnel and Training introduced The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2013 in Lok Sabha on 12th Aug 2013.
ii. The Union Cabinet approved the amendments to the RTI Act 2005 on 2nd Aug 2013.
iii. The RTI (Amendment) Act, 2005 was introduced to exclude political parties from the definition of Public Authority.
iv. The Right to Information (Amendment Act) Bill , 2013:
• An explanation in Section 2 of the RTI (Amendment) Act, 2013 says that any association or enterprise or body of individuals registered or recognized as political parties under the representation of the People Act, 1951 will not be considered a Public authority.
• In the reference of CIC Order of June, the bill also states that anything contained in any judgement, decree or order of any court or commission will not affect the status of political parties recognized under the Representation of the People Act.
2. Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) Scheme will be extended to 35 more districts:
i. The Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry decided to extend the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) Scheme to 35 more districts from 1st September 2013.
ii. The decision was made on 13th Aug 2013. The total count of districts will be 55 after this extension.
iii. The district covered by the scheme includes 12 districts in Kerala, seven districts in Himachal Pradesh, five districts in Punjab, two districts in Madhya Pradesh and one in Maharashtra and one in Goa.
iv. As per the Scheme consumers will get 435 rupees advance in their bank accounts. They can use this to buy Gas cylinders at the market price which is double the subsidized rate.
v. Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) Scheme:
• The Union Government on 1st June, 2013 launched this scheme which has the aim of curbing leakages, prevent black marketing and sending gas subsidy to the consumers’ bank accounts.
• When the first cylinder is delivered to such consumers then the next subsidy will be credited to their bank account, which will be utilized to buy the next subsidized cylinder at the market rate.
3. The Tax Administration Reform Commission set up has approved by the Union Cabinet:
i. The proposal of setting up of the Tax Administration Reform Commission got approval of The Union Cabinet on 13th Aug 2013.
ii. The aim of this proposal is to remove ambiguity and the establishment of a stable as well as non-adversarial tax administration.
iii. The Tax Administration Reform Commission:
• The commission will contain a team including a Chairman, two full time members and four part time members. The two part time members will be from the private sector.
• The Chairman will be an expert person having experience of tax administration and policy making. The two full time members will be a worker in revenue service pertaining of Income Tax and Central Excise and Customs respectively.
• The Commission will need to review the application of tax policies and laws of tax in India.
• This commission will aim at removing ambiguity in the application of tax policy and laws, therefore the establishment of a stable tax regime and a non-adversarial tax administration will take place.
4. The World Bank and India signed Agreement for Low Income Housing Finance Project:
i. The World Bank and The Government of India on 14th Aug 2013 signed an Agreement of 100 million US Dollars credit which aimed at helping low income households to secure the loans to purchase, build or upgrading their apartments.
ii. The National Housing Bank (NHB) will implement the Low Income Housing Finance Project.
iii. The credit agreement signed in New Delhi for the Low Income Housing Finance Project.
iv. The purpose of the agreement is to maintain a standard with lower income households.
v. The Low Income Housing Finance Project:
• The project objective is to help households of low income to purchase or build their dwellings with proper upgradation or standard.
5. Israel, Palestinians peace talks resumed in Jerusalem:
i. Israel Government and Palestinians Governments resumed first direct peace talk in Jerusalem on 14th Aug 2013. The peace talk resumed after a three years of gap to resolve the land and border issues.
ii. The President Mahmoud Abbas was leading the Palestinian Authority released 104 prisoners that was a condition for resuming the talks.
iii. In response the Israel Government made the release of 26 prisoners to reopen the paused negotiations.
iv. US mediators were also participating in the peace talks, US Middle East Peace Envoy Martin Indyk and Deputy Frank Lowenstein were present in the talk.
v. They both agreed to work on an agreement after the negotiation on 30th July 2013 in Washington when US interrupt as a mediator.
vi. The agreement has been made to work within nine months to end land and border conflicts.
6. Import duty on Gold, Silver and Platinum has raised to 10 percent by Central Government:
i. The Central Government 0n 13th Aug 2013 hiked import duty on Gold, Silver and Platinum to 10% in a bid to control the suddenly increased imports and rapidly increasing Current Account Deficit.
ii. The step taken by the Government would collect an additional amount of 4830 crore rupees to the treasure.
iii. The Government is also planning to make announcement of more measures to curb other imports which include luxury items.
iv. Current Account Deficit (CAD) is a measurement of the difference between the inflow and the outflow of the foreign currency. The objective of enhancing the import duty is to control the import of precious items or metals to check the Current Account Deficit.