Autonomous Information Exchange (AEOI) Framework’s Purpose
Tags: GS 2, Agreements Involving India &/or Affecting India’s Interests
- India is urging the G20 to expand the scope of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) to include non-financial assets such as real estate under the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) among OECD nations.
The rationale behind India’s Demand
- According to the OECD’s Tax Transparency report, there is a need to curb tax evasion and illicit financial transfers in the midst of the current geopolitical and debt crisis, particularly among Asian nations, which are estimated to have lost €25 billion in revenue in 2016.
- The current global environment makes the struggle against tax evasion and other illicit financial flows (IFFs) even more urgent: the COVID-19 pandemic and the geopolitical crisis have slowed economic growth.
- Tax evasion and other forms of IFFs are a global issue that hinders the mobilization of domestic revenues.
- As a result, it is necessary to broaden the scope of AEOI so that the information can be used not only to detect tax evasion but also for other non-tax law enforcement purposes.There is also a need to expand the CRS beyond financial accounts and assets to include new non-financial accounts and assets, as tax evasion is a risk in non-financial and real assets, properties, etc.
About Automatic exchange of information (AEOI) framework
- It enables the automatic exchange of a predefined set of information between tax authorities.
- The AEOI Standard mandates the annual exchange of information in a predefined format regarding financial accounts held by non-resident individuals and entities.
- The information exchanged includes details about the financial account (such as the institution that maintains it, the account number, and the account balance) and account holder information (such as their name, address, date of birth, and taxpayer identification number).
- Importance: Under the AEOI framework, signatory countries adhere to a CRS, collect information from their financial institutions, and automatically share that information with other jurisdictions annually.
- The AEOI Standard provides a potent instrument for discouraging and identifying offshore tax evasion by holding financial assets abroad.
- It allows signatory nations to share financial account information in an effort to combat tax evasion.
- Developments: In August 2022, the OECD also authorized the Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF), which enables the reporting of tax information on transactions involving crypto assets in a standardized manner, with the goal of automatically exchanging this information.
- Indian Scenario: Currently, India has AEOI with 108 jurisdictions for receiving financial information and 79 jurisdictions for autonomously sending information.
|The Common Reporting Standard (CRS)
· It was created in response to a request from the G20 and accepted by the OECD Council in 2014.
· It requires jurisdictions to collect information from their financial institutions and exchange it automatically with other jurisdictions on an annual basis.
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PRET Initiative: Preparedness and Resilience for Emerging Threats
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a new initiative to better prepare for future pandemics of comparable magnitude and devastation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More about the PRET Initiative
- Global Meeting for Future Respiratory Pathogen Pandemics:
- The initiative was disclosed during the Global Meeting for Future Respiratory Pathogen Pandemics, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The Preparedness and Resilience for Emerging Threats (PRET) Initiative aims to provide “guidance on integrated planning for responding to any respiratory pathogen, such as influenza or coronaviruses”
- Immediate focus of the mission:
- While the current focus of PRET will be on respiratory viruses — against the backdrop of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak — the mission’s immediate emphasis will be on emerging infectious diseases.
- Possibility of an avian influenza pandemic Assessing the next group of pathogens to be mitigated under this initiative is already in progress.
- The three-pronged approach includes:
- Updating preparedness plans that affirm priority actions;
- Increasing connectivity among stakeholders in pandemic preparedness planning through systematic coordination and cooperation, and committing sustained investments;
- Financing and monitoring pandemic preparedness with a particular emphasis on bridging the gaps highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The PRET monitoring framework:
- The framework, which is anticipated to be defined in the near future, will enumerate a number of actions on which countries will be expected to make progress by December 2025.
Challenges faced globally, during COVID pandemic
- All nations had inadequate health care capacities. This made the world extremely susceptible to future health crises.
- No nation is adequately prepared for future epidemic and pandemic threats, including those with the potential to be more destructive than COVID-19.
- Sixty-five percent of assessed nations had not published and implemented a comprehensive national public health emergency response plan for diseases with the potential to become epidemics or pandemics.
- 73% of countries were unable to provide expedited approval for medical countermeasures, such as vaccines and antiviral drugs, during a public health emergency.
- The majority of countries, including those with high incomes, have not made dedicated financial investments in strengthening epidemic or pandemic preparedness.
India’s Health Sector
- The government healthcare system focuses on establishing primary healthcare centers (PHCs) in rural areas while maintaining a small number of secondary and tertiary care facilities in major cities.
- The private sector operates the majority of secondary, tertiary, and quaternary care facilities, with a concentration on metropolises and tier-I and tier-II cities.
- According to the Economic Survey of 2022, India’s public healthcare expenditures accounted for 2.1% of GDP in 2021-22, up from 1.8% in 2020-21 and 1.3% in 2019-20.
- Unequal distribution:
- The majority of India’s population resides in rural areas, but the country’s health care system is primarily concentrated in urban areas.
- Low Budget Spending:
- In 2021-22, India’s public expenditure on healthcare represents only 2.1% of GDP, whereas Japan, Canada, and France spend approximately 10% of GDP on public healthcare.
- Lack of Medical Research:
- In India, research and development (R&D) and cutting-edge technology-driven new ventures receive little attention.
- Low doctor-patient ratio:
- The doctor-to-patient ratio in India is approximately 1:1500, which is significantly higher than the WHO standard of one doctor per 1,000 persons.
- Pradhan Mantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM):
- It seeks to improve India’s primary, secondary, and tertiary care facilities and strengthen the country’s health infrastructure.
- Ayushman Bharat:
- Ayushman Bharat follows a two- pronged approach:
- The establishment of health and wellness centers to bring health services closer to residential areas.
- Development of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) to protect impoverished and vulnerable families from the financial risk posed by health episodes.
- Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission:
- Its purpose is to link the digital health solutions of hospitals across the nation. Every citizen will receive a digital health ID, and their health records will be digitally secured.
- National Ayush Mission:
- It is a centrally sponsored scheme for the development of traditional medicines
- Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY):
- It seeks to rectify regional disparities in the availability of affordable/reliable tertiary healthcare services, as well as to increase the country’s capacity for quality medical education.
Suggestions for effective pandemic preparedness:
- Prioritizing health security:
- Prioritize the development and maintenance of health security capacities in national budgets, as they are essential for responding to routine health hazards and can contribute significantly to the health and development of nations as a whole.
- Transparency in capacities and risk factors:
- National decision-makers require readily accessible information about their country’s plans and other capacities, and increased transparency is essential for global epidemic and pandemic prevention, detection, and response.
- Conducting post COVID pandemic surveys:
- Conduct comprehensive COVID-19 pandemic after-action reports so that they can learn from this crisis and ensure that capacities developed during the pandemic are sustained for future public health emergencies.
- Global support:
- Assist countries in addressing the urgent global need to strengthen health systems as part of their efforts to develop their public health capacity.
- Community engagement and equity:
- Just as health crises affect multiple sectors, so must our preparedness and response efforts encompass multiple sectors, disciplines, and pathogens.
- It is also crucial that community engagement and equity are at the center of our efforts, particularly for marginalized and at-risk populations.
- The PRET Initiative ushers in a new era of pandemic preparedness and represents an evolution of WHO’s primary activities to assist all member states in enhancing their emergency preparedness, prevention, and response capacities and capabilities.
NET zero innovation virtual hub for India and the UK
Tags: GS 2, India & Foreign Relations
- India and the United Kingdom have agreed to establish a virtual center for India-UK NET zero innovation.
About India-UK NET zero innovation virtual center
- It will provide a forum for stakeholders from both countries to collaborate on the decarbonization of manufacturing processes and transportation systems, as well as the use of green hydrogen as a renewable energy source.
- An ambitious “Roadmap 2030” provides a framework for UK-India relations in the areas of health, climate, trade, education, science and technology, and defense, thereby strengthening the India-UK partnership.
- the MOES-NEKTON joint research programme towards exploration and conservation of marine biodiversity under the Deep Ocean Mission in India.
- The United Kingdom has become India’s second-largest international partner in research and innovation.
- The Science and Technology (S&T) collaboration between India and the United Kingdom is expanding at a rapid rate, and the joint research programme has increased from almost nothing to between £300 and £400 million.
- The partnership will provide an excellent mechanism to support research and innovation in both countries for long-term, sustainable development by maximizing cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
- The revival of the DST Innovate UK Industrial R & D program will afford Indian and British academia and industry the opportunity to collaborate on the development of novel products and processes for the economic growth of both nations.
|Do you know?
CGTMSE Scheme Updated
Tags: GS 3, Indian Economy & Related Issues
- CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises) has received an additional corpus support of?9,000 crore in the Union Budget for FY 2023-24 in order to revamp its Scheme and guarantee an additional?2 lakh crore to Micro & Small Enterprises.
More changes in CGTMSE
- The modifications included a 50 percent reduction in guarantee fees for loans up to?1 crore, bringing the annual minimum guarantee fee to 0.37 percent.
- Another significant modification was the increase of the guarantee ceiling from?2 crore to?5 crore.
- Increasing the minimum threshold for claim settlement without legal action to?10 million.
What is CGTMSE?
- The Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Government of India, and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) established CGTMSE to facilitate the passage of institutional credit to Micro & Small Enterprises (MSEs).
- Since its founding in 2000, CGTMSE has played a significant role in providing:
- Guarantee protection for collateral and/or third-party credit facilities
- During the 2022-23 fiscal year, CGTMSE reached a new benchmark by approving guarantees worth one trillion rupees.
|Manufacturing Enterprises and Service-Providing Enterprises||
Investment of 1 billion and Revenue of 5 billion
|Investment of 10 billion and Revenue of 50 billion||Investment of 20 billion and Revenue of 250 billion|
Increased sea level
Tags: GS 3, Environmental Pollution & Degradation
- According to WMO’s ‘State of the Global Climate 2022’ report, the sea level is rising at an unprecedented rate.
More about Report
- The rate of global mean sea-level [GSML] rise has doubled in thirty years, from 2.27 millimeters per year (1993-2002) to 4.62 millimeters per year (2013-2022).
The global mean temperature in 2022 was 1.15 0.13 °C higher than the average of 1850-1900. 2015 to 2022 were the eight warmest years since record-keeping began in 1850.
- Ocean Heat content (OHC) reached a new record high in 2022. The ocean absorbs approximately 90 percent of the energy stored in the climate system by greenhouse gases.
- 58% of the ocean surface was affected by at least one marine heatwave event in 2022, while 25% of the surface was affected by at least one marine cold period.
- In 2021, the concentrations of the three most important greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide — reached record highs.
- The ice layer known as the cryosphere has shrunk. Since 1970, the cumulative thickness loss equates to nearly 30?m. Since 2015, six of the ten years with the most negative mass balance on record (1950-2022) have occurred.
- Ocean Acidification: Since at least 26,000 years ago, the global mean ocean pH has been consistently declining at rates not seen before.
What causes accelerated sea-level rise?
- According to the report during 2005-2019:
- An increase in the frequency of cyclones will have a negative impact on coastal communities and result in significant economic losses for densely populated tropical nations such as India and South Africa. In 2022, South Africa was affected by five cyclones in less than two months.
- Salinization of Groundwater: More seawater could percolate into the ground, causing the
- normally fresh groundwater to become increasingly salty. In turn, this can exacerbate water shortages in coastal regions as well as the agriculture in neighboring regions.
- Forced migration could “completely transform” coastal ecosystems. Rising sea levels and coastal erosion in the Sundarbans delta in West Bengal have forced local communities to relocate.
- Unprecedented precipitation led to extensive inundation in Pakistan, for example.
- Europe experienced record-breaking heat surges during the summer. China experienced its most comprehensive and protracted heatwave since records began.
- As of 2021, 2,3 billion people confronted food insecurity, with 924 million facing severe food insecurity.
|Additional Reports and Data
|About World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
The AJEYA WARRIOR exercise
- From 27 April to 11 May 2023, the seventh iteration of the joint military exercise “AJEYA WARRIOR-23” between India and the United Kingdom was conducted on Salisbury Plains, United Kingdom.
About Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR
- It is held every two years with the United Kingdom and alternates between the United Kingdom and India.
- The final event took place in Chaubatia, Uttarakhand, in October 2021.
- Soldiers from the 2 Royal Gorkha Rifles and the BIHAR Regiment of the Indian Army are participating in the exercise.
- It includes a Command Post Exercise (CPX) at the Battalion level and a Field Training Exercise (FTX) at the Company level.
- During the exercise, participants will engage in a variety of missions designed to test their operational prowess in simulated scenarios, demonstrating and refining their tactical exercises, and learning from one another’s operational experience.
Objectives and Importance
- To cultivate positive military relations, adopt each other’s best practices, and foster the capacity to operate cooperatively.
- To foster cooperation, goodwill, camaraderie, and friendship between the two armies.
Army will expand Command Wings for Cyber Operations and Support
- The conclusion of the Army Commanders Conference (ACC) occurred recently.
Major decisions Taken
- The (ACC) determined to make Command Cyber Operations and Support Wings (CCOSWs) operational in the near future.
- From January 2024, convert the five-year Technical Entry Scheme (TES) for entry of officers to four years
About Command Cyber Operations and Support Wings (CCOSWs)
- These organizations will assist Army formations in carrying out mandated cyber security functions, thereby enhancing the Army’s cyber security posture.
- CCOSWs are being increased in order to protect networks and enhance preparedness in this specialized domain.
- Cyberspace has emerged as an essential component of the military domain for both gray-zone and conventional operations.
- The Indian Army is swiftly transitioning to a network-centric structure, which necessitates a heightened reliance on modern communication systems at all levels.
- The Indian Army is acquiring a large quantity of niche (specialized) technology-enabled equipment, such as swarm drones, loitering weapon systems, and ant-drone equipment.
- India presently employs the five-year Technical Entry Scheme (TES) model. There will be three years of technical training at CTW (Cadet Training Wings), followed by one year of Basic Military Training (BMT) at the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun.
· The Indian Armed Forces’ Defence Cyber Agency (DCyA) is a tri-service command. The agency, headquartered in New Delhi, is entrusted with addressing cyber security threats.
· Army General Insurance Fund (AGIF)
Climate Change and Sonorous Behavior
Tags: GS 3, Conservation Biodiversity and Environment
- In order to comprehend the behavior of marine organisms in the coral reefs off the coast of south Goa, scientists have recorded the noises they make.
More about the News
- Researchers from the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) of the Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research used hydrophones to listen in on submerged organisms in an Arabian Sea reef.
- Hydrophones are a low-cost method for monitoring species. o The technology can assist scientists in studying the abundance, diversity, and behavior of organisms. In addition, it can disclose how they react to climate change and human disturbances.
- Most fish vocalize in the frequency range of 100 to 2,000 Hertz (Hz), whereas crustaceans use the range of 2,000 to 20,000 Hz.
- Hydrophones also detect wind sounds (50-20,000 Hz) and oceanic traffic noises (10-10,000 Hz).
Key findings of the study
- Link Between coral reef & Soniferous: If the coral reef ecosystem is robust, fish will be present, and the presence of soniferous (sound-producing) fish will result in the production of sound. This is observable using rudimentary hydrophone sensors.
- Soniferous fish are a set of vocal vertebrates that generate sounds during a variety of social interactions.
- Fish communication: If the coral reef ecosystem is robust, fish will be present, and the presence of soniferous (sound-producing) fish will result in the production of sound. This is observable using rudimentary hydrophone sensors.
- Soniferous fish are a set of vocal vertebrates that generate sounds during a variety of social interactions.
- International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE)
- The objective of this program is to learn more about the effects of sound on marine organisms.
- They used artificial intelligence and other techniques to identify the species producing the sounds, which included snapping shrimp as well as choruses of plankton-eating fish.