Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 21 February 2023

49th GST Council met

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

The 49th GST Council met under the Chairpersonship of Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi. The GST Council has, inter-alia, made the following recommendations relating to GST compensationGST Appellate Tribunal, approval of the Report of Group of Ministers (GoM) on Capacity Based Taxation and Special Composition Scheme in certain Sectors on GST, recommendations relating to GST rates on Goods and Services and other measures for facilitation of trade.


  1. GST Compensation - Government of India has decided to clear the entire pending balance GST compensation of Rs. 16,982 crore for June’2022 Since, there is no amount in the GST compensation Fund, Centre decided to release this amount from its own resources and the same will be recouped from the future compensation cess collection.
  2. GST Appellate Tribunal - The Council adopted the report of Group of Ministers with certain modifications. The final draft amendments to the GST laws shall be circulated to Members for their comments. The Chairperson has been authorised to finalise the same.

GST Rate Rationalization of some products:

  1. Raab (liquid jaggery) rate was reduced from 18% to Nil (if loose)
  2. Raab (liquid jaggery) rate was reduced from 18% to 5% (if packaged & pre-labeled)
  3. Pencil Sharpener rate was reduced from 18% to 12%.
  4. Data Loggers rate was reduced from 18% to 0.

Other changes relating to Goods and Services

  1. It has been decided Compensation Cess (Rate) so that exemption benefit covers both coal rejects supplied to and by a coal washery, arising out of coal on which compensation cess has been paid and no input tax credit thereof has been availed by any person.
  2. It has been decided to extend the exemption available to educational institutions and Central and State educational boards for conduct of entrance examination to any authority, board or a body set up by the Central Government or State Government including National Testing Agency for conduct of entrance examination for admission to educational institutions.
  3. It has been decided to extend the dispensation available to Central Government, State Governments, Parliament and State Legislatures with regard to payment of GST under reverse charge mechanism (RCM) to the Courts and Tribunals also in respect of taxable services supplied by them such as renting of premises to telecommunication companies for installation of towers, renting of chamber to lawyers etc.


Panel to monitor Mission Karmayogi

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba will head a top panel comprising a senior official from the Prime Minister's Office, seven secretaries, among others, to monitor the implementation of the government's ambitious Mission Karmayogi programme for training of government employees.


  1. Envisioned as one of the largest capacity-building initiatives in government organisations anywhere in the world, Mission Karmayogi aims to create a competent civil service rooted in Indian ethos with a shared understanding of the country's priorities, and working in harmonisation for effective and efficient public service delivery.
  2. The mission seeks to keep the civil service at the centre of all change, empowering them to deliver in challenging environments. Thus, by design, Mission Karmayogi adopts a citizen-centric approach for civil service reforms.
  3. The government has recently approved setting up a Cabinet Secretariat Coordination Unit or CSCU as part of the institutional framework under the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) or Mission Karmayogi.
  4. The CSCU will monitor the implementation of NPCSCB and undertake activities like overseeing the formulation of the National Capacity Building Plan (NCBP) and place it for approval of the Prime Minister's Human Resource Council (PMHRC) and to periodically monitor the implementation of Annual Capacity Building Plans, among others.
  5. The CSCU will also review the monitoring and evaluation framework reports and place them before the PMHRC, "function as the secretariat for the PMHRC" and to align all the stakeholders.
  6. The meeting of CSCU will be convened quarterly or as and when deemed appropriate.


India's first human space mission

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

The US has proposed training to an Indian astronaut as part of future cooperation in the space sector. But the proposed training is not for the astronauts who are part of India's first human space mission Gaganyaan, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.


  1. The US has proposed to train an Indian astronaut. It is part of the future engagement and not for Gaganyaan. No plan has been finalised on training of the Indian astronaut by the US.
  2. Four Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots have undergone astronaut training in Russia for the Gaganyaan mission.
  3. India plans to send two/three astronauts to space under its first human space mission.
  4. In 1984, an IAF pilot Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian to fly into space on a Soviet Union's Soyuz T-11 spacecraft.
  5. Sharma and another IAF pilot Ravish Malhotra underwent training at a Soviet Union facility.


  1. Gaganyaan project envisages demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching crew of 3 members to an orbit of 400 km for a 3 days mission and bring them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters.
  2. The project is accomplished through an optimal strategy by considering inhouse expertise, experience of Indian industry, intellectual capabilities of Indian academia & research institutions along with cutting edge technologies available with international agencies.


Navy Plans for another Vikrant-Size Carrier

GS Paper - 3 (Security)

As aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya gets ready to sail out of the dockyard after a long refit, the Indian Navy is finalising plans to repeat the order for an INS Vikrant-size Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)-2, with some modifications, which, given the long timelines, may be close to the time INS Vikramaditya leaves service, effectively becoming its replacement. 

Need of third Carrier

  1. The Indian Navy requires three aircraft carriers because when the ship undergoes maintenance, it takes time given it’s very big size, and there may also be delays.
  2. Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has acquired considerable expertise in building an aircraft carrier with INS Vikrant and that would not go idle on a repeat order, “That can also be utilised.”

INS Vikrant

  1. The country’s first IAC, INS Vikrant, was commissioned in September 2022 and is currently undergoing aviation trials.
  2. It is expected to be operationally ready by the end of 2023.
  3. The 262m-long and 62m-wide INS Vikrantdisplacing 44,800 tonnes, is powered by four General Electric LM2500 engines, which give it a maximum speed of 28 knots and an endurance of 7,500 nautical miles.
  4. The ship uses an aircraft-operation mode known as Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), for which it’s equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft, and a set of three “arrester wires” for their recovery onboard. 
  5. Earlier, the Navy had envisaged an IAC-2 with a displacement of 65,000 tonnes, Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) for launching aircraft, and full electric propulsion.
  6. INS Vikramaditya, which has been undergoing a refit since December 2020, had a fire onboard in July 2022 that delayed its return to active service, in addition to delays in supplies from Russia, for which CSL and the Indian Navy reached out to local industry.

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