a) Back on track: On GST e-way bill system

After an aborted attempt in February, the government has finally managed to successfully roll out the e-way bill system for tracking the movement of goods under the Goods and Services Tax net from April 1. No major execution challenges have been reported by businesses so far, and the IT backbone that generates the e-way bills — that are now required even before goods are loaded for transport — has so far held up without glitches. On the first two days of the e-way system, which included a Sunday, 5.5 lakh e-way bills were generated, and the GST Network has said that the system is now geared to cope with a much higher capacity. Equally heartening is the revival in GST collections, that had dipped to 83,716 crore in November 2017, after a fairly robust 90,000 crore-plus inflow for the first three months of the new indirect tax system. As per final data released by the Centre on Monday, collections for the three months since then are far healthier than initial indications suggested, with February recording 89,264 crore, the highest since September 2017. Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia expects collections to pick up further as the authorities get a better sense of who is regularly filing returns and paying taxes. His confidence reflects the government’s belief that analytics deployed on GST data compiled for nine months would deliver a bigger bounty, even as e-way bills make it tougher to avoid tax dues. The government on Monday said the re-introduction of the e-way bill system for GST has been smooth with no technical glitches. Everyone’s fingers are crossed that the e-way bill portal, which now has over 20,000 registered transporters and 11 lakh taxpayers, will hold up, going forward. It is important to note that since the system for tracking inter-State movement of goods was launched at the beginning of a financial year, the actual load that the portal will have to bear on a normal business day may be much higher than the initial trends. This is because many businesses had already moved and stocked up goods by March 31, ahead of the system kicking in, and are still completing usual year-end processes such as recording closing stock. A staggered schedule for rolling out e-way bills for intra-State trade in a few States at a time is expected soon. Given that India’s transport sector is still largely unorganised, and many vehicle drivers are not fully conversant with the technical nuances, it is important that anti-evasion squads deployed to check e-way bills operate with a light touch to start with and limit the frequency of inspections for goods moving across States. Else, the system could end up creating a bottleneck for transporting goods in a country where goods movement already takes inordinately long due to infrastructure deficiencies. A similar approach would be ideal for other anti-evasion measures in the pipeline, including the matching of invoices from buyers and sellers, and the reverse-charge mechanism (expected by June-end) under which large businesses would need to pay tax on behalf of unregistered small suppliers.

b) Launch lessons: On ISRO’s satellite launch problem

The loss of communication between the ground station and the Indian Space Research Organisation’s latest satellite after its launch on March 29 is deeply disappointing. ISRO’s mission aimed to place the communication satellite, GSAT-6A, in space. However, shortly after the second orbit-raising operation, the ground station lost track of the satellite on March 31, when it was on course for the final firing. Understanding why this happened is crucial. A launch operation can be simplified into the initial three stages, during which the satellite is boosted to different heights by the launch vehicle and then placed in a geosynchronous transfer orbit. This is an elliptical orbit into which a satellite is placed initially before being transferred into a geosynchronous orbit where it maintains a position above a fixed longitude. During each of these stages, a part of the rocket completes its role and disengages from the bulk. Then the satellite moves towards its final and desired orbit. The GSAT-6A was first raised to the elliptical orbit marked by the following parameters: its perigee, or point of closest approach to Earth, was 5,054 km; and its apogee, or point of farthest approach, was 36,412 km. This was followed up by a second orbit-raising operation on March 31. It was after this and during the third such operation that the ground station lost contact with the satellite. This is why it is being conjectured that the failure occurred because of a flaw outside the launch vehicle, the GSLV, perhaps from a short circuit or power glitch within the satellite itself. ISRO’s GSLV-F08 rocket carrying communications satellite GSAT-6A lifts off from the spaceport at Sriharikota on March 29, 2018.The last word has not been said on the mission, as ISRO officials continue to try to establish contact with the satellite. Yet, in complex scientific feats such as ISRO’s projects, there is no mission so devoid of a learning aspect to it that it is deemed a total failure. The GSLV has had several successes in the past, and this is its 12th flight. For instance, it was used to launch the advanced communication satellite, GSAT-6, in August 2015. GSAT-6A’s predecessor, GSAT-6, provides S-band services for two-way communications as in the case of mobile phones. The present mission, launched on March 29, was endowed with additional features, such as the high-thrust Vikas engine that gave it the capacity to carry a heavier payload. It had been reported that the mission would be a testing ground for ISRO’s next moon mission. Given this background, ISRO should be open about the specific learning points from this launch exercise. Space science is exciting not just for the experts, but to many outside the field. Therefore, it is important that the agency presents itself more openly to the world.


1) Roll out

Meaning: The unveiling of a new aircraft or spacecraft.

Example: “The official roll-out is on 30 July”

2) Held up

Meaning: Remain strong or vigorous.

Example: “The Labour vote held up well”

3) Glitches

Meaning: A sudden, usually temporary malfunction or fault of equipment.

Example: “A draft version was lost in a computer glitch”

4) Geared

Meaning: (Of a company) having a specified ratio of loan capital (debt) to the value of its ordinary shares (equity).

Example: “Highly geared companies”

5) To cope with

Meaning: (Of a person) deal effectively with something difficult.

Example: “His ability to cope with stress”

Synonyms: Manage, Survive.

6) Heartening

Meaning: Make more cheerful or confident.

Example: “she was heartened to observe that the effect was faintly comic”

Synonyms: Cheer up.

7) Revival

Meaning: An improvement in the condition, strength, or fortunes of someone or something.

Example: “A revival in the fortunes of the party”

Synonyms: Improvement, Rallying

8) Dipped

Meaning: Lower or move (something) downwards.

Example: “The plane dipped its wings”

Synonyms: Lower.

Antonyms: Raise.

9) Robust

Meaning: Strong and healthy; vigorous.

Example: “The Caplan family are a robust lot”

Synonyms: Strong, Vigorous.

10) Pick up

Meaning: Collect something that has been left elsewhere.

Example: “Wanda came over to pick up her things”

11) Deploy

Meaning: Bring into effective action.

Example: “Small states can often deploy resources more freely”

Synonyms: Use, Utilize.

12) Compile

Meaning: Produce (a list or book) by assembling information collected from other sources.

Example: “The local authority must compile a list of the names and addresses of taxpayers”

Synonyms: Assemble.

13) Bounty

Meaning: A sum paid by the state to encourage trade.

Example: “Bounties were paid to colonial producers of indigo dye”

14) Fingers are crossed

Meaning: To cross one’s fingers is a hand gesture commonly used to wish for luck.

Example: Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain.

15) Stock up

Meaning: To buy a large amount of something so that you will have enough for the future.

Example: I hadn’t stocked up on food, so I wasn’t ready to feed Kate and her friends.

16) Kick in

Meaning: Come into effect or operation.

Example: “The hospital’s emergency generators kicked in”

17) Stagger

Meaning: Arrange (events, payments, hours, etc.) so that they do not occur at the same time.

Example: “Meetings are staggered throughout the day”

Synonyms: Spread (out).

18) Conversant

Meaning: Familiar with or knowledgeable about something.

Example: “You need someone who is conversant with the new technology”

Synonyms: Familiar with, Acquainted with.

19) Nuances

Meaning: A subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound.

Example: “He was familiar with the nuances of the local dialect”

Synonyms: Fine distinction.

20) Evasion

Meaning: An act or instance of escaping, avoiding, or shirking something

Example: “The old political boss was notorious for his practice of evasion”

21) Light touch

Meaning: A friendly, relaxed, or humorous way of doing something.

Example: “She brings a light touch to the office hiring rituals, which makes everyone feel comfortable”

22) End up

Meaning: To finally be in a particular place or situation.

Example: “They’re travelling across Europe by train and are planning to end up in Moscow”

23) Bottleneck

Meaning: A situation that causes delay in a process or system.

Example: “Animated films are still stymied by a technological bottleneck”

24) Inordinately

Meaning: To an unusually or disproportionately large degree; excessively.

Example: “The information was inordinately vetted and censored”

25) Deficiency

Meaning: A failing or shortcoming.

Example: “For all its deficiencies it remains his most powerful play”

Synonyms: Defect, Fault.

26) Ideal

Meaning: Satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable.

Example: “The swimming pool is ideal for a quick dip”

Synonyms: Perfect, Best possible.

27) Launch

Meaning: Start or set in motion (an activity or enterprise).

Example: “The government is to launch a £1.25 million publicity campaign”

Synonyms: Set in motion, Get going.

28) On course

Meaning: Following the intended route.

Example: “He battled to keep the ship on course”

29) Crucial

Meaning: Decisive or critical, especially in the success or failure of something.

Example: “Negotiations were at a crucial stage”

Synonyms: Pivotal, Critical.

30) Disengage

Meaning: Separate or release (someone or something) from something to which they are attached or connected.

Example: “I disengaged his hand from mine”

Synonyms: Remove, Detach.

31) Conjecture

Meaning: Form an opinion or supposition about (something) on the basis of incomplete information.

Example: “Many conjectured that she had a second husband in mind”

Synonyms: Guess, Speculate.

32) Flaw

Meaning: A mark, blemish, or other imperfection which mars a substance or object.

Example: “A flaw in the glass”

Synonyms: Defect, Blemish.

33) Spaceport

Meaning: A base from which spacecraft are launched.

Example: “Flight 152, the next launch from Europe’s spaceport, is scheduled to take place on 5 June”

34) Feat

Meaning: An achievement that requires great courage, skill, or strength.

Example: “The new printing presses were considerable feats of engineering”

Synonyms: Achievement, Accomplishment.

35) Devoid

Meaning: Entirely lacking or free from.

Example: “Lisa kept her voice devoid of emotion”

Synonyms: Lacking, Without.

36) Deem

Meaning: Regard or consider in a specified way

Example: “The event was deemed a great success”

Synonyms: Regard as, Consider.

37) For instance

Meaning: As an example.

Example: “Take Canada, for instance”

38) Endow

Meaning: Provide with a quality, ability, or asset.

Example: “He was endowed with tremendous physical strength”

Synonyms: Provide, Supply.

39) Payload

Meaning: The part of a vehicle’s load, especially an aircraft’s, from which revenue is derived; passengers and cargo.

Example: “The truck is carrying a payload of 2,580 pounds”

40) Reported

Meaning: Present oneself formally as having arrived at a particular place or as ready to do something.

Example: “He had to report to the headmaster at 4 pm”

Synonyms: Arrive, Appear.

Want to learn more , Check the Previous Day of THE HINDU EDITORIAL which was published in our Bankersdaily and learn new words to enhance your Vocabulary.


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