1) Guillotine: In legislative parlance, to “guillotine” means to bunch together and fast-track the passage of financial business. It is a fairly common during the Budget Session in Lok Sabha.
- Parliament goes into recess for about three weeks after budget presentation, during which the House Standing Committees examine Demands for Grants for various Ministries, and prepare reports. After reassembly, the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) draws up a schedule for discussions on the Demands for Grants. Given the limitation of time, the BAC identifies some important Ministries for discussions.
- Once the House is done with these debates, the Speaker applies the “guillotine”, and all outstanding demands for grants are put to vote at once. This usually happens on the last day earmarked for the discussion on the Budget.
2) Long-term capital gains (LTCG): The Union Government has scrapped the long-term capital gains treatment (with indexation benefits) for income from debt mutual funds and other schemes that invest up to 35% in equity shares of domestic companies.
- Currently, capital gains arising from transfer of mutual fund units, other than equity-oriented funds held for more than three years, are considered as long-term investments and taxed at 20% with indexation benefits. The returns from such funds will now be treated as short term capital gains. These tax changes will also apply to categories such as gold funds, international funds and domestic fund of funds that have an equity exposure of upto 35%.
3) Abel Prize: Luis Caffarelli has won the 2023 Abel Prize “for his seminal contributions to regularity theory for nonlinear partial differential equations including free-boundary problems and the Monge-Ampère equation”.
- First awarded in 2003, the Abel prize “recognises pioneering scientific achievements in mathematics”. It is named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel. It is often considered to be an equivalent of the Nobel prize – which does not have a category for mathematics. It is awarded and administered by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters on behalf of the Norwegian government.
- Niels Henrik Abel: His most famous single result is the first complete proof demonstrating the impossibility of solving the general quintic equation in radicals.
4) Foreign law Firms in India: Bar Council of India (BCI) has notified Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022, allowing foreign lawyers and law firms to practice in India, if they are entitled to practice law in their home countries.
- However, they cannot practice Indian law or appear before courts, tribunals or other statutory or regulatory authorities.
- They shall be allowed to practise on transactional work/corporate work such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, drafting of contracts etc and have to register with BCI. They shallnot be involved in any work pertaining to the conveyancing of property, title investigation etc.
- The reciprocity rule, however, will not apply if the foreign lawyer or law firm works on ‘fly in and fly out’ basis to advise Indian clients on foreign law.
- Indian lawyers working with foreign law firms will also be subject to the same restriction of engaging only in “Non-Litigious Practice.”
5) GST Appellate Tribunal: Under GST, if a person is not satisfied with the decision passed by any lower court, an appeal can be raised to a higher court, the hierarchy for the same is as follows: Adjudicating Authority, Appellate Authority, Appellate Tribunal, High Court, Supreme Court
- The CGST Act empowers the Central Government to constitute, on the recommendation of the GST Council, the GST Appellate Tribunal.
- It is the forum of second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between Centre and States.
- The GST Appellate Tribunal is likely to be headed by a former Supreme Court (SC) judge or a former Chief Justice of a High Court (HC) and its framework may permit the resolution of disputes involving dues or fines of less than Rs. 50 lakh by a single-member bench.