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Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Hindu Editorial: Delivering The Goods

Mahendra Guru
The Hindu Editorial: Delivering The Goods

Title: Delivering the goods 

(GST revenue increase suggests the indirect tax regime is overcoming teething problems) 

Context:- Collections from the Goods and Services Tax crossed the ₹1 lakh crore mark in April. 

The total revenue from the new indirect tax in April was ₹1,03,458 crore, the highest recorded in a single month since its implementation in July 2017. 

Separate data released last week suggest the number of registered tax-payers filing GST returns by the specified deadline has risen from 57% for July to nearly 63% for March. 

Overall tax compliance for July 2017 is now over 96% of registered taxpayers who are required to file, and ranges from 92% to 80% for each month thereafter, till December. 

Though it referred to the record GST collections as a sign of an upswing in the economy, the government, to be fair, also stressed that this number may be driven by the human tendency to wrap up pending official dues at the last moment — which in this case is the last month of the financial year. Yet, even delayed compliance is a welcome ‘new normal’. 

It is fair to say that the new tax system has ended its first three quarters on a robust note. By virtue of just the April inflows, the average monthly collection has gone from ₹89,885 crore in the first eight months to over ₹91,300 crore. 

Final Words: 

Fresh anti-evasion measures introduced in the past few weeks, such as the e-way billing to track movement of goods, could plug leakages to some extent. 

Idioms & Phrases 

1) Cow college = A school where farming or 

agriculture is studied 

1) Eager beaver = Someone who works very hard and is very enthusiastic 

One word Substitution 

1) Full of criticism or mockery = Satire 

2) To give one’s authority to another = Delegate 

Title: Call to action 

(WHO highlights the air pollution crisis in urban India; things are no better in rural areas) 

Context:- A new report from the World Health Organisation highlights not only how widespread air pollution is in urban India, but also how deficient air quality monitoring is. The report, which summarised 2016 data for 4,300 cities, ranks 14 Indian cities among the 20 most polluted ones globally. 

While Delhi comes in at number six, Kanpur, Faridabad, Varanasi, Gaya and Patna are ranked ahead of it, by PM 2.5 levels. And yet, Kanpur, Faridabad and several other pollution-choked cities have only one PM 2.5 monitoring station each, while Delhi has several. 

While Europe has the most extensive monitoring network, countries in Africa and the Western Pacific region perform poorly. This means data from these regions are of poor quality, and likely underestimates, resulting in an under-count of the disease burden as well. 

The report puts the global death toll from air pollution at seven million a year, attributable to illnesses such as lung cancer, pneumonia and ischemic heart disease. 

In 2016 alone, it says, around 4.2 million people died owing to outdoor air pollution, while 3.8 million people succumbed to dirty cooking fuels such as wood and cow dung. About a third of these deaths occurred in Southeast Asian countries, which include India. Once monitoring improves in these regions, the numbers will likely be revised upwards. 

The report had words of praise for India’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana scheme, which has provided 37 million women living below the poverty line with LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections. 

As the recently published draft National Clean Air Programme noted, there are currently no air pollution monitoring stations in rural India. 

This does not mean outdoor air pollution is not a problem here. Studies have shown that ozone levels are higher in rural areas, as is pollution from insecticide use and crop-burning. 

Final Words: 

The WHO has asked Southeast Asian countries to take swift action to tackle the twin problems of indoor and outdoor pollution. India must realise that its problems are larger than the WHO estimates, and take the call to action seriously. 

Phrasal Verb 

Drop in = To make an unexpected visit 

Drop off = A sharp decrease, to deliver 

Succumb (verb) = Die from the effect of a disease or injury 

Silver lining (phrase) = Emphasise the hopeful side of a situation 

Teething problems (idiom) = Short term problems that occur in the early stage of a new project 

Hearten (verb) = Make more cheerful or confident (खुशी) 

Arrears (noun) = Indebtedness, dues (बकाया) 

Hang fire (idiom) = To delay or wait to take any action 

Wrap up (phrasal verb) = Be quiet 

Influx (noun) = An inflow of water, things or a large number of people 

Tumult (noun) = A state of confusion or disorder (कोलाहल) 

Evasion (noun) = An indirect answer, avoidance (टालमटोल) 

Tumble (noun) = Fall suddenly, collapse (गिरावट) 

Uptick (noun) = A small increase or slight upward trend (इजाफा) 

Echelon (noun) = A level or rank in an organisation 

Enviable (adj) = Desirable, attractive 

Prevalent (adj) = Widespread, prevailing (प्रचलित)


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