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6th September 2023

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023


Recently, the government introduced the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, reforming three penal Bills in the Lok Sabha, to improve the Indian justice system. However they also need to ensure effective implementation of it.

  • In 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs established a committee led by (Dr.) Ranbir Singh, former Vice Chancellor of National Law University (NLU), Delhi. This committee was tasked with reviewing the three codes of criminal law.
  • The primary objective of the committee was to propose comprehensive reforms to the country’s criminal laws in a manner that is both principled and effective.
  • The committee’s focus was on ensuring the safety and security of individuals, communities, and the nation as a whole.
  • Throughout its deliberations, the committee aimed to uphold constitutional values such as justice, dignity, and the intrinsic value of each individual.
  • In February 2023, the committee successfully submitted its recommendations regarding amendments to the criminal law.
  • These recommendations are intended to serve as a foundation for enhancing the current legal framework.

About the Bill

  • The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 11, 2023.
  • Objective: The Bill repeals the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the principal law on criminal offences
  • Categories of offences covered under it include those affecting:
    • Human body such as assault and murder,
    • Property such as extortion and theft,
    • Public order such as unlawful assembly and rioting,
    • Public health, safety, decency, morality, and religion,
    • Defamation, and
    • Offences against the state.
  • The Bill retains several parts of the IPC. The Changes include;
    • Introduction of offences of organised crime and terrorism,
    • Enhancement in penalties for certain existing offences, and
    • Introduction of community service as a punishment for certain petty offences.
    • Certain offences under the IPC that have been struck down or read down by courts have been omitted. These include offences of adultery and same-sex intercourse (Section 377).

Key points in the Bill

The amendments made under IPC are as follows:

  • Sedition Definition Amendment: Now, IPC replaces sedition with offenses related to secession, separatism, or endangering India's unity, punishable up to seven years or life imprisonment.
  • Terrorism Act Definition: As per the amendments made, Terrorism covers acts threatening India's unity, using deadly means, punishable by death or life imprisonment, and fines.
  • Organized Crime Offenses: Organized crime, will involve violence for financial gain, leads to death penalty or life imprisonment and fines.
  • For less recognized Organized Crime: Lesser organized crimes causing insecurity are punishable with up to seven years imprisonment and fines.
  • Caste/Race-Based Murder: Multiple offenders in caste or race-based murder will face 7-year to life imprisonment or death penalty and fines.
  • Death Penalty for Minor Gang Rape: Gang rape of minors below 18 results in the death penalty.
  • Sexual Intercourse by Deceit: Deceitful sexual intercourse attracts up to 10 years imprisonment and fines.
  • Offenses against Boys: Importing boys under 18 for illicit activities is an offense, paralleling existing laws for girls under 21.

Need for changes

  • Colonial Penal Law Reform: Replacing colonial laws isn't because they were flawed, but lacked input from those they affected.
  • Macaulay's Approach: Macaulay stressed uniformity with diversity where necessary and certainty in law.
  • Reassessing "Undesirable" Behavior: Laws must adapt to changing perceptions, as seen with suicide and adultery. A social audit is needed to define undesirable behavior impartially.
  • Managing Offenses Efficiently: Special laws for new and serious crimes could be separate or consolidated to prevent complexity in the legal system.

Challenges associated

  • Rape Laws and Marital Exception: The Bill's rape definition still excludes sexual intercourse between spouses if the wife is above 18, still the not a gender friendly law.
  • Conflict between General and Special Laws: Retaining clauses in the general exceptions section conflicts with the philosophy of specific laws for children outlined in the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015.
  • Legal complexity: These challenges encompass not only potential opposition and resistance but also legal complexities, practical hurdles, and the need to anticipate unforeseen consequences.

Way forward

  • Harmonizing Special and General Laws: Ensure consistency and alignment between general and special laws, especially concerning children's rights.
    • This requires revisiting and amending conflicting clauses to prioritize the welfare and protection of children.
  • Promoting Constitutional Vision: Implement legal reforms that reflect and fulfill the constitutional vision enshrined in Article 13(2), Article 15(3), Article 51A (e), and the Preamble.
    • This includes promoting gender equality, dignity, and the rights of women and children in the legal framework.
  • Societal Awareness and Education: Launch awareness campaigns and educational programs to sensitize society about the importance of legal reforms and gender equality. Encourage discussions on these issues to challenge traditional norms and beliefs.

‘India or Bharat’ can be interchangeably used?


An official invitation from President Droupadi Murmu to G-20 guests where Indian President was described as the “President of Bharat” has triggered speculation that the central government could officially change the name of “India” to “Bharat”.

  • The Constituent Assembly formed in 1949 debated on how India will be mentioned in Article 1 at the time the Constitution was being drafted.
  • Before the Constitutional Assembly, the country was known as Bharat, India, and Hindustan.
  • The committee was divided into two groups, one portion preferred ‘Bharat’, and the other favoured ‘India’.
  • The Constituent Assembly then decided to use both the terms in the statement.
  • Article 1 of the constitution mentions India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.
  • The article serves as a foundational statement that establishes India as a Union comprising individual state.
  • It clarifies the name of the country in both English (India) and Hindi (Bharat) and sets the tone for the federal structure of the Indian state, where power is divided between the central government and the states.

Debate around ‘Bharat’ or ‘India’:

  • The first debate on Article 1 was to begin on November 17, 1948. However, on the suggestion of Govind Ballabh Pant, the discussion on the name was postponed to a later date.
  • On September 17, 1949 B R Ambedkar presented to the House the final version of the provision, which included both ‘Bharat’ and ‘India’.
  • Several members expressed themselves against the use of ‘India’, which they saw as a reminder of the colonial past.
  • Bharat" is a term that resonates with many Indian languages and is viewed as more inclusive than "India," which is of foreign origin.

History of names denoting today’s India:

  • The roots of “Bharat”, “Bharata”, or “Bharatvarsha” are traced back to Puranic literature, and to the epic Mahabharata.
  • The Puranas describe Bharata as the land between the “sea in the south and the abode of snow in the north”.
  • Bharata is also the name of the ancient king of legend who was the ancestor of the Rig Vedic tribe of the Bharatas, and by extension, the progenitor of all peoples of the subcontinent.
  • The name Hindustan is thought to have derived from ‘Hindu’, the Persian cognate form of the Sanskrit ‘Sindhu’ (Indus), which came into light with the Achaemenid Persian conquest of the Indus valley (northwestern parts of the subcontinent).
  • By the time of the early Mughals (16th century), the name ‘Hindustan’ was used to describe the entire Indo-Gangetic plain.
  • From the late 18th century onwards, British maps increasingly began to use the name ‘India’, and ‘Hindustan’.

Arguments in favour of Bharat:

  • “Bharat" emphasizes a sense of national pride and identity, distinguishing India from its colonial past when it was referred to as "India."
  • Proponents of using "Bharat" argue that it has deep historical and cultural significance, tracing back to ancient Indian civilization. It is seen as a way to connect with India's rich heritage and traditions.

Arguments against the use of term ‘Bharat’:

  • Article 348(1) of the Constitution states that all proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High Court shall be in English language until Parliament passes a law.
  • Any change of name of a country would require a constitutional amendment under Article 368.
  • Former Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice mentioned that, an amendment would be required only if the government insisted on the use of any one term or wanted to remove a particular term.
  • Critics of using "Bharat" contend that it may not be as recognizable internationally as "India."
    • They argue that maintaining the name "India" simplifies international communication and relations.
  • The use of "Bharat" may symbolize a more federal and state-centric approach, while "India" emphasizes the unity of the nation.

Do they can be used interchangeably?

  • India, that is Bharat' written in Article 1 of the Constitution is only descriptive and the two cannot be used interchangeably. It will require amendments in the Constitution.

Who has the powers to change the names?

  • India is our official name, and changing that will require a Constitutional amendment, requiring two-third majority votes from both the Houses of Parliament.
  • Also changing of names does not touch upon the basic structure doctrine.

UPI QR Code-Central Bank Digital Currency interoperability


Recently, a few commercial banks, including State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, IDFC First Bank among others, have introduced UPI interoperability on their digital rupee application.

About the initiative:
  • With banks enabling the interoperability of Unified Payments Interface’s (UPI) Quick Response (QR) code with their central bank digital currency (CBDC) or e-Rupee application, the users of retail digital rupee will be able to make transactions by scanning any UPI QR at a merchant outlet.
  • Merchants can also accept digital rupee payments through their existing UPI QR codes.
  • The digital rupee issued by the RBI, or the CBDC, is a tokenised digital version of the rupee.
  • This integration of UPI and CBDC is part of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ongoing pilot project on pushing the retail digital rupee (e?-R).

What is interoperability?

  • Interoperability is the technical compatibility that enables a payment system to be used in conjunction with other payment systems, according to the RBI.
  • Interoperability between payment systems contributes to achieving adoption, co-existence, innovation, and efficiency for end users.

What is UPI QR code-CBDC interoperability?

  • Interoperability of UPI with the digital rupee means all UPI QR codes are compatible with CBDC apps.
  • Initially, when the pilot for the retail digital rupee was launched, the e-Rupee users had to scan a specific QR code to undertake transactions.
  • However, with the interoperability of the two, payments can be made using a single QR code.
  • The e-Rupee is held in a digital wallet, which is linked to a customer’s existing savings bank account.

UPI is directly linked to a customer’s account.

How will it benefit customers and merchants?

  • The interoperability of UPI and CBDC will ensure seamless transactions between a customer and merchant without having the need to switch between multiple digital platforms.
  • It will allow a digital rupee user to make payments for their daily needs, such as groceries and medicines, by scanning any UPI QR codes at any merchant outlet.
  • Even merchants are not required to keep a separate QR code to accept the digital rupee payments. They can accept CBDC payments on their existing QR code.
  • There will be one QR code, and you can scan the QR code using the CBDC app. If the merchant has a CBDC account, the payment will be settled in the CBDC wallet.

QR code:

  • A Quick Response (QR) code consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device such as a camera.
  • It contains information about the item to which it is attached, according to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • QR code is an alternate contactless channel of payments. It allows merchants or businesses to accept payments from their customers directly into their bank accounts.

UPI and Benefits:

  • Currently, UPI is a widely used payment method, and the interoperability between it and the CBDC will propel the adoption of the digital rupee.
  • At present, more than 70 mobile apps and over 50 million merchants accept UPI payments.
  • In July, RBI Deputy Governor Sankar said there were 1.3 million customers and 0.3 million merchants using the retail digital rupee.
  • The daily per-day e?-R transactions in July were around 5,000-10,000.
  • SBI said the seamless integration of CBDC with UPI will enhance the acceptance and utilization of digital currencies in everyday transactions.
  • This integration will be a game changer for the digital currency ecosystem.

Assessing State level finance model in India


During a recent interview, the Prime Minister underscored the need for fiscal discipline for state governments, which essentially refers to governments spending within their means.

How should state government finances be judged?

They analysed data for 27 states on four different counts:

  • Fiscal Deficit (which refers to the amount of money a state government has to borrow to meet its annual expenditure) expressed as a percentage of overall size of the state’s economy (the gross state domestic product or GSDP).
    • It is related to how state government has to borrow in the current financial year to meet the gap between its expenditures and revenues.
    • Fiscal deficit should not exceed more than 3% of a state’s GDP.
  • Debt (that is, the accumulated borrowings by the government over the years) expressed as a percentage of GSDP.
    • Debt levels should not go beyond 20% of a state’s GDP.
  • Outstanding guarantees that a state government provides; again expressed as a percentage of the GSDP.
    • They refer to debts that are on the books of state government-run entities but are effectively backed by the state government.
  • Percentage of the total revenue income that a state government has to spend towards paying off the interest component of its debt.

Status of India’s states in finances:

  • On debt levels, only three states i.e. Odisha, Gujarat and Maharashtra — in India manage to meet the prudential norm.
  • On the fiscal deficit front, three states — Punjab, Manipur and Arunachal — have fiscal deficit of 5% and above.
  • There are four states — Karnataka, Telangana, Assam and Chhattisgarh which are at a debt level of less than 25%.
  • Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh — have debt ratios between 25%-30%.

Odisha’s performance:

  • Amongst all states, Odisha stands out with the lowest debt levels, indicating effective management of annual fiscal deficits.
  • Odisha emerges as the best-performing state with low debt, fiscal deficit, and outstanding guarantees, underscoring its strong fiscal position. In contrast, Punjab faces pressure on multiple financial fronts.
  • Despite being one of larger producers of paddy, have the lowest debt to GDP ratio.

How state government manages their finances?

  • Revenue Generation:
    • Taxation: State governments have the authority to levy and collect various taxes, including state-level income tax, sales tax (GST), excise duties, and stamp duties. These taxes contribute significantly to their revenue.
    • Non-Tax Revenue: States also generate income through sources such as fees, fines, penalties, and revenue from state-owned enterprises.
    • Grants: The central government provides grants to states as part of its revenue-sharing mechanism. These grants can be in the form of grants-in-aid or specific-purpose grants.
  • Borrowings:
    • Market Borrowing: State governments can borrow funds from the financial markets through the issuance of bonds and securities. These borrowings are an essential source of long-term financing for development projects.
    • Bilateral and Multilateral Loans: States may also seek loans and grants from international and national agencies for specific development programs.
    • Ways and Means Advances: The Reserve Bank of India provides short-term credit facilities to states to manage temporary mismatches in cash flows.
  • Debt Management:
    • States are required to manage their debt prudently to ensure that it remains within sustainable limits. This includes monitoring debt levels, debt service obligations, and refinancing options.
    • Debt sustainability is essential to maintain favorable credit ratings and access to financial markets.

Forest (Conservation) Act amendments and impacts on Northeast


Recently, the Mizoram Assembly unanimously rejected the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023, which permits forest land use near international borders without prior clearance, citing concerns for their people's rights and interests of Northeast.

What are the Key Provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023?

  • Scope of the Act:
    • The Bill broadens the scope of the Act by inserting a Preamble.
    • The Act's name was changed to Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, 1980 to reflect the potential of its provisions.
  • Applicability on Various Lands:
    • The Act, which was initially applied to notified forest land, was later extended to revenue forest land and lands recorded as forest in government records.
    • The amendments seek to streamline the application of the Act to recorded forest lands, private forest lands, plantations, etc.
  • Exemptions:
    • The Bill proposes certain exemptions to encourage afforestation and plantation outside forests.
    • These exemptions include strategic projects related to national security within 100 km of the International Borders, Line of Actual Control (LAC), Line of Control (LoC) etc.

Forest land in Northeast:

  • Most of India’s Northeast falls in the 100 km range.
  • More than half of the Northeast region is classified as Recorded Forest Area (RFA).
  • Within this category, 53% consists of unclassed forests, managed by individuals, clans, village councils, or communities and governed by customary practices. The rest is notified forest under the control of State Forest Departments.
  • RFA varies across Northeastern states, ranging from 34.21% in Assam to 82.31% in Sikkim.
  • Unclassed forests constitute a significant portion in several states, with the highest percentage in Nagaland at 97.29%.

What are the limitations of forest laws in Northeast India?

  • Special Constitutional Protections: Article 371A for Nagaland and Article 371G for Mizoram provide constitutional safeguards that prevent the application of certain parliamentary laws affecting customary laws, land ownership, and resources in these states without the approval of their Legislative Assemblies.
  • Nagaland's Limited Application: Nagaland extended the Forest (Conservation) Act (FCA) only to government forests and some wildlife sanctuaries, covering a small portion of its forested land.
  • Contradictory Notifications: There have been conflicting notifications regarding the applicability of the FCA in Nagaland.
  • FCA Applicability in Northeast: Apart from Nagaland and Mizoram, the FCA applies to other Northeastern states, including Meghalaya, Tripura, Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh, with varying extents of forest land clearance under the FCA in each state.

Judicial Interventions:

  • Since 1980, the Forest (Conservation) Act (FCA) has facilitated the diversion of over a million hectares of forest land across India.
  • In 1996, the Supreme Court, in the Godavarman case, broadened the definition of "forest land" in the FCA.
    • It included not only areas recognized as forests in the dictionary sense but also any land recorded as forest in government records, regardless of ownership.
  • This expansion extended the FCA's scope to unclassed forests, which are recorded but not officially designated as forests.
  • The Supreme Court's 1996 ruling brought unclassed forests under the purview of the FCA, except in Nagaland, following the 1997 Home Ministry clarification.
  • Additionally, there are forests outside RFA that remain unrecorded or unsurveyed in various states, further complicating the forest land scenario.

Concerns associated:

  • FCA and Forest Rights conflict:
    • The Environment Ministry initially mandated compliance with the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and prior informed consent from the Gram Sabha before approving forest diversion proposals.
    • However, the 2022 Forest Conservation Rules shifted this compliance from the initial approval stage to later stages, potentially undermining forest rights.
  • Neglecting autonomy of States:
    • States can take proactive measures to ensure that FRA requirements are met before recommending forest diversion proposals.
    • This includes formulating and enforcing legal measures that prioritize the settlement of forest rights and Gram Sabha consent before any forest land is handed over for non-forest purposes.

Way forward:

  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs can play a crucial role by issuing legally binding directives under the FRA or even enacting a separate law to address the recognition and settlement of forest rights when forests are diverted for other purposes, especially when forest-dwellers are relocated.
  • States and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs can simultaneously ensure tenurial security for forest-dwellers and promote forest conservation, striking a balance between development and environmental protection.

Short News Article

International Relations (GS-II)

PM Modi to attend ASEAN, East Asia Summit

Prime Minister is going to Indonesia to attend the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and 18th East Asia Summit.


  • Indonesia is hosting the summits in its capacity as the current Chair of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
  • The 10 member countries of ASEAN are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
  • The ASEAN is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region, and India and several other countries including the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners.

Polity and Governance (GS-II)


  • PM-DAKSH (Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi) Yojana was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MoSJ&E) in 2020-21.
  • It is a National Action Plan for skilling marginalized persons covering SCs, OBCs, EBCs, DNTs, Sanitation workers including waste pickers.
  • Objective: The main objective of the PM-DAKSH Yojana is to increase the skill levels of the target youth by providing them short term and long term skills, followed by assistance in wage/self-employment.


    Candidates of age group 18-45 years belonging to any of the following categories can apply for the training programme under PM-DAKSH:

    • Persons belonging to Scheduled Castes.
    • Other Backward Classes (OBCs) having annual family income below Rs. 3 lakh.
    • Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) having annual family income below Rs. 1 lakh.
    • De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribe (DNT).
    • Safai Karamcharis (including waste pickers) and their dependants.

    Economy (GS-III)

    One-hour trade settlement

    SEBI plans to reduce trade settlement time from T+1 to just one hour for faster transactions.

    About One-hour trade settlement:

    • Settlement is a two-way process which involves the transfer of funds and securities on the settlement date.
    • A trade settlement is said to be complete once purchased securities of a listed company are delivered to the buyer and the seller gets the money.
    • The current cycle of T+1 means trade-related settlements happen within a day, or 24 hours of the actual transactions.
    • India became the second country in the world to start the T+1 settlement cycle in top-listed securities after China.
    • The technology for implementation of one-hour trade settlement exists but for instantaneous trade settlement, the system needs some additional technology development, which may take more time.

    Benefits of One-hour trade settlement:

    • Under the current T+1 settlement cycle, if an investor sells securities, the money gets credited into the person’s account the next day.
    • In one-hour settlement, if an investor sells a share, the money will be credited to their account in an hour, and the buyer will get the shares in their demat account within an hour.


    Supreme Court hearing on Article 370 abrogation


    The Supreme Court heard the rejoinder arguments of senior advocates on the concluding day of the hearing on constitutional challenges against Article 370, which went on for 16 days.

    Supreme Court's Decision

    • Submission Opportunity: The Supreme Court has provided an opportunity for lawyers representing petitioners and respondents in the cases related to Article 370's removal and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 to present their arguments in writing.
    • Page Limit: The submissions must adhere to a strict page limit, not exceeding two pages, ensuring brevity and focus in the legal arguments presented.
    • Time Frame: Lawyers are required to submit these written arguments within the next three days, indicating a prompt and efficient process in addressing the legal challenges surrounding these critical issues.

    Issues Discussed in Court

    • Constitutionality of Article 370 Removal: The Attorney General and Solicitor General, engaged in a legal debate over the constitutionality of the government's decision to revoke Article 370.
    • Validity of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019: The focus was on determining whether this act, which led to the bifurcation of the region into two Union Territories, stood on solid legal ground and aligned with the Indian Constitution.
    • Governor and President's Rule Imposition: Lawyers presented arguments regarding the legality and necessity of these interventions in the erstwhile state's governance. The court considered these issues as part of the broader legal context.

    Ensuring Constitutional Interpretation

    • Rejecting Emotional Interpretations: Mohd Akbar, a leader from the National Conference, emphasized the importance of avoiding emotional interpretations of the Indian Constitution.
    • Unique History of Jammu and Kashmir: Unlike other princely states, Jammu and Kashmir was never required to sign a merger agreement with India, which set it apart in terms of its relationship with the Indian Union.
    • Sovereignty of India Unchallenged: He argued that the state's distinct history and constitutional framework should be considered when evaluating its relationship with the rest of India, urging a more thoughtful and nuanced examination of the matter.
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    Central bank digital currencies: Reducing friction


    RBI should carefully examine data on digital currencies to determine the way forward.

    Global Trend in CBDC Development

    • International Momentum: Nineteen G20 nations are in advanced stages of developing Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), marking a global shift toward digital currency.
    • Pilot Projects and Launches: Twenty-one nations have launched CBDC pilot projects, with eleven having already introduced digital currencies, showcasing diverse modernization efforts in finance.
    • India's Progressive Steps: The RBI joined the global trend by issuing a CBDC concept note and launched wholesale and retail pilot programs, demonstrating commitment to digital currency exploration in India.

    RBI's CBDC Initiatives and Their Impact

    • Pilot Expansion: RBI expands CBDC pilots to cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, and Kochi, gathering insights from diverse regions.
    • Growing Retail Adoption: RBI's retail CBDC gains a million users, 2.6 lakh merchants, aiming for 10 lakh transactions per day, indicating rising popularity.
    • Interoperability with UPI: RBI aims to enhance CBDC adoption by aligning it with the widely used Unified Payments Interface (UPI) infrastructure.

    Benefits and Caution Surrounding CBDCs

    • Operational Efficiency: CBDCs promise to reduce operational costs related to physical cash management, making financial transactions more efficient and cost-effective.
    • Cross-Border Payment Improvements: CBDCs provide quick settlement, improving cross-border payments' cost-effectiveness and security, benefiting countries like India with significant remittance flows.
    • Cautious Approach Required: CBDC's far-reaching impact on financial and monetary systems requires cautious progress. Thorough data analysis and prudent decision-making are crucial for success.
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    A Less taxing Time


    As India grows into a higher-income nation with more organized businesses, the government will earn more money, so it must spend it wisely.

    Expanding Taxpayer Base and Lower Tax Rates

    • Growing Taxpayer Base: India has seen an increase in both direct and indirect tax payers, including individuals and companies, despite slower economic growth.
    • Shift to Lower Taxes: The government's decision to lower tax rates, such as corporate tax and personal income tax, has contributed to a stable tax-to-GDP ratio.
    • Formalization's Role: The formalization of the economy and simplified tax processes have discouraged tax evasion but not significantly boosted tax revenue.

    Impact of Tax Cuts on Revenue

    • Corporate Tax Reduction: Corporate tax rates were reduced from 30% to 22%, leading to a decline in the corporate tax-to-GDP ratio from 3.5% to around 3.1%.
    • Personal Income Tax Changes: Tax rebates for individuals with taxable income up to Rs 5 lakh increased the tax-to-GDP ratio but also led to more individuals with zero tax liability.
    • GST Rate Cuts: Despite a weighted average GST rate reduction from 14.4% to 11.6%, GST collections remained stable at 6.6% of GDP in 2022-23.

    Fiscal Foundations Strengthening

    • Future Revenue Potential: As India progresses towards upper-middle-income status with an expanding organized sector, tax revenue gains are expected to increase, providing more fiscal space.
    • Caution against Overspending: While revenue growth offers opportunities for government spending, it's essential not to squander gains through excessive giveaways.
    • Policy Considerations: Policymakers must strike a balance between lower tax rates and revenue requirements to sustain economic development.
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    Time to decide


    Recent floods in northern India raised alarms. This is an indication that Infrastructure development and needs in the hills cannot be the same as in the plains.

    Concerns over Himalayan Region

    • Flood Devastation: The Chief Justice suggested a study on the Himalayan region's carrying capacity amid the recent floods.
    • Challenging Balance: Balancing rising population, infrastructure needs, and fragile geography in hill-stations and Himalayan States is complex.
    • Past Challenges: Previous efforts to assess environmental impacts, like after the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, faced stakeholder resistance and limited impact.

    Sustainable Development Challenges

    • Long-Standing Proposal: Since 2020, guidelines on carrying capacity assessment were circulated to Himalayan States, but progress has been slow.
    • Conflict between Development and Ecology: Recent incidents like land subsidence in Joshimath and unexpected floods in Himachal Pradesh highlight the conflict.
    • Need for Sustainable Practices: Himalayan infrastructure must prioritize sustainability or designate no-go zones. Avoiding this issue is no longer an option.

    Way forward

    • Scientific Engagement: Collaborate with scientists, local communities, and policymakers to assess carrying capacity and plan sustainable development practices.
    • Stringent Regulations: Enforce strict regulations on infrastructure projects in ecologically sensitive Himalayan areas, prioritizing safety and sustainability.
    • Public Awareness: Raise awareness about the environmental risks and consequences of unchecked development, encouraging responsible decision-making and policy changes.
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