What is it? Multiple by which the dosage of an existing anti-cancer drug, paclitaxel, can be reduced to achieve the same results as earlier, as per research by a team of scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Why is it important? Reduces the extent of side effects of the chemotherapy drug, which include hair loss, muscle and joint pain, diarrhea and increase the chances of infection. Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths in the world – there were 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012. India had 1.8 million people living with cancer in 2012 (within five years of diagnosis) and 683,000 deaths due to cancer.
Tell me more: Paclitaxel, used for treatment of breast, lung and pancreatic cancers, was packed in containers that were derived from the patient’s own immune system to protect it from being destroyed by the body’s defence system and deliver them directly to the tumours.
Rs 75 crore
What is it? Alleged service tax evasion by online travel company MakeMyTrip. The Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI) has filed a case against the company for purportedly not depositing service tax collected from customers.
Why is it important? Highlights the need for clearer tax policies for new-age companies. Questions that need to be addressed are: whether online companies like MakeMyTrip and Ola are technology or travel firms; and whether they are sellers or intermediaries need to be resolved to give greater clarity on taxation issues.
Tell me more: MakeMyTrip is collecting two types of taxes: service tax on 60% of the rate the company negotiates with the hotels towards renting of rooms and service tax on 10% of the gross value on the customer vouchers. The DGCEI has alleged that the company has deposited only the second category of service tax it has been collecting.
Rs 5,000 crore
What is it? Total funding three distribution companies have received from the Delhi government in the form of equity, debt, transferred assets and receivables since their inception on July 1, 2002, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). The three discoms are: Reliance Power-promoted firms BSES Yamuna Power (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power (BRPL) and Tata Power Delhi Distribution (TPDL).
Why is it important? The CAG has filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the quashing of its audit of the discoms. The Arvind Kejriwal-government had requested the CAG to audit the discom companies amidst allegations that they had been inflating expenses. But, after two of the discoms moved the Delhi High Court questioning the legality of the CAG auditing them, the court ruled in favour of the companies.
Tell me more: Delhi government holds 49% stake in these three power distribution companies, with majority control with private players.
What is it? Number of Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers who have been fired after not having reported to work for over five years.
Why is it important? Shows the inflexibility of service rules governing government employees, and slow decision making process. The officers have been absent at work for 8-18 years. The reasons for their absence is unknown. Though the Central Civil Service (Leave) Rules state that officials who are absent from duty for over five years (excluding foreign service) are considered to have resigned from the government service, it raises questions as to why action against them was not taken earlier.
Tell me more: The list of officers sacked include two Joint Commissioners, five Deputy Commissioners, three Assistant Commissioners and one Additional Commissioner.
What is it? Number of years for which Indian startups can avail the three-year tax holiday plan as part of the Startup Action Plan announced by the government recently.
Why is it important? Widens the scope as a higher number of start-ups can enjoy the three-year tax benefits. The government has announced that startups would be exempted from paying income tax on their profits for three years, subject to meeting a set of eligibility criteria. With the five-year window, if a startup makes profit on the first year and avails this tax holiday and makes losses the next two years, it will not lose out on the exemption.
Tell me more: Those availing this benefit cannot distribute dividend while receiving the tax exemption.