•  The GST Council is likely to consider next month a proposal for setting up a national bench of the Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) to reconcile the contradictory orders on similar issues passed by AARs in different states, a move aimed at providing certainty to taxpayers.
  • It is said that a National Bench/ Regional Benches needs to be implanted in the quasi-judicial decision-making process of AAR so that decisions of the lower authority could be re-calibrated by a higher centralised authority freeing them from revenue bias and passing on relief of certainty by preserving a nation-wide single line of verdicts.
  •  India has registered trade deficit in 2018-19 with as many as 11 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member countries – including China, South Korea and Australia.
  • The RCEP bloc comprises 10 Asean group members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
  • India’s trade deficit with Brunei, Japan and Malaysia increased in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18. While Trade deficit with Australia, China, Indonesia, Korea, New Zealand and Thailand narrowed in the same period.
  • India had trade surplus with Cambodia, Myanmar and Philippines in 2018-19. But trade surplus with Singapore in 2017-18 has turned into deficit in 2018-19.
  • India did not carry out any trade with Laos in 2018-19.
  •  Industry body Association of Power Producers (APP) has urged the Finance Ministry to provide relief from double taxation on imported coal for the dry fuel-starved electricity generating firms.
  • APP has written to Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey seeking removal of Good and Services Tax (GST) on import freight for coal.
  • Power producers’ troubles have mounted since the GST regime came into effect in mid-2017. They are compelled to pay GST on import freight for coal even after paying tax on the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value of the imported dry fuel.
  •  The top 12 major ports in the country recorded 2.41% growth in cargo handling at 116.26 million tonnes in the first two months (April-May) of the financial year 2019-20.
  • Nine Ports – Kolkata (including Haldia), Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Kamarajar, Chennai, Cochin, New Mangalore, JNPT and Deendayal have registered positive growth in traffic.
  • The highest growth was registered by Kamarajar Port (11.69%), followed by Kolkata (11.33%), Cochin (8.70%), Paradip (7.61%) and New Mangalore (6.66%).
  • Commodity-wise share of POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant) was the maximum at 29.54%, followed by Container at 20.36% and thermal & steam coal at 16.58%.
  • Coal despatches by Coal India Ltd (CIL) to the power sector increased marginally by 1% to 40.7 million tonnes in April 2019 compared to 40.3 million tonnes in April 2018.
  • However, coal supply by Singareni Collieries Co Ltd (SCCL) declined by 2% to 4.7 million tonnes in April 2019 compared to 4.8 million tonnes in April 2018.
  • Coal India Ltd had supplied 488 million tonnes of fuel to the power sector in 2018-19, registering an increase of 7.4% over 454.2 million tonnes in 2017-18.
  • Indian railway is progressing as a clean and green transporter through tapping renewable energy, fuel blending, converting waste to energy on a fast track mode
  • In 2015, the railways constituted Directorate of environment and housekeeping management to spearhead its green initiatives. In this bid, railways also earmarked one percent lump sum in all work projects towards environment related works.
  • The Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuel (IROAF) also initiated collaborations with esteemed institutions to develop solar assisted production of methanol and biofuels, which they use in blending purpose.
  • Being country’s third largest consumer of water, Indian railways’ plan for water-use-efficiency include rain water harvesting and setting up water recycling plants alongside of automatic coach washing facilities for reduction of fresh water use,
  • Besides other schemes and initiatives, Railways mentioned a potential worth 17.6 MwH through waste to energy projects alone.