· India, Singapore has agreed to conduct the trilateral maritime exercise
- India and Singapore have agreed to conduct the trilateral maritime exercise involving Singapore, India, and Thailand annually from 2020. The agreement was made by the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during the 4th India-Singapore Defence Ministers’ Dialogue (DMD).
- The first Singapore-India-Thailand maritime exercise (SITMEX)was held in the Andaman Sea in September 2019 as part of the security and safety of Indo-Pacific sea lines.
- The SITMEX exercise highlighted the shared responsibility of the three countries to work together in keeping sea lines of communications open.
- It also strengthens interoperability among the three countries.
· Cabinet approved the MoU signed between India and Finland to boost tourism
- The Cabinet led by PM Modi approved an MoU signed betweenIndia and Finland to strengthen cooperation in the field of Tourism.
- The MoU will establish the basis for a cooperative relationship to encourage and promote successful bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism
- It allows the countries toshare data, knowledge, expertise, etc. related to tourism.
- Both the countries can also share their experiences in making policies, regulation and standards in planning, implementation, and development of
· Cabinet approved the extension of pharmaceuticals purchase policy
ð The Union Cabinet has approved the renewal and extension of the Pharmaceuticals Purchase Policy (PPP) for pharmaceutical Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) till their closure and strategic disinvestment
- The extension will help the pharma CPSUs in the optimum utilization of their existing facilities.
- It will enable them to generate revenues to pay salaries to their employees and help them in keeping the costly, sophisticated machinery in running condition. It will result in higher returns at the time of disposal in case of CPSUs under closure and better valuation in the case of CPSUs under disinvestment.
· Cabinet approved introduction of 2019 Industrial Relations Code in Parliament
- The Union Cabinet approved the introduction of theIndustrial Relations Code, 2019, in the Parliament. The draft code on Industrial Relations was prepared after amalgamating, simplifying, and rationalizing the relevant provisions of following three Central Labour Acts namely:
? The Trade Unions Act, 1926
? The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946
? The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
- The Bill will set up of two-member tribunal instead of one member and introduce a concept that some important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single member resulting in speedier disposal of cases.
- The Bill will let the re-skilling fund to be utilized for crediting to workers in the manner to be prescribed.
· Cabinet approved the proposal to mitigate financial stress in the Telecom Services Sector
- The Union Cabinet approved the proposal forMitigating financial stressbeing faced by the Telecom Services Sector.
- Under the approval, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) will give an option to the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to defer payment of the spectrum auction installments that are due for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, either for one or both years.
- The deferred amounts bill be equally divided among the remaining installments to be paid by TSPs.
- As per the approval, interest will be charged as stipulated while auctioning of the concerned spectrum in order to protect the Net present value (NPV).
· Cabinet approves 2019 Taxation Laws Amendment Bill
- The PM Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet approved the proposal for introducing the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019.The Bill replaces the Ordinance that was promulgated in September 2019. The Ordinance made certain amendments in the Income-Tax (IT) Act 1961and the Finance (No.2) Act 2019.
- The reduction of the rate of corporate income tax by many countries world over necessitated the provision of additional fiscal stimulus to attract investment, generate employment, and boost the economy.
- Existing domestic company:Under this provision, an existing domestic company can opt to pay tax at22% plus surcharge at 10% and cess at 4%, if the firm does not claim any incentive or deduction. The effective tax rate for the companies was reduced to 17% and will not be subjected to Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).