• In a major milestone, the naval variant of the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) landed on the first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, on Monday. This is also the maiden landing of a fixed-wing aircraft on the carrier.
  • The LCA’s feat was followed by the landing and take-off by a twin-engine MiG-29K fighter jet.
  • “A historic milestone achieved towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat [self-reliant India] by the Navy as naval pilots carry out landing of LCA [Navy] onboard INS Vikrant,” Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said. “It demonstrates India’s capability to design, develop, construct and operate IAC with indigenous fighter aircraft.”
  • Madhwal further added: “Indian Navy takes a significant step towards operationalising the IAC by successful landing of MiG-29K on INS Vikrant by naval pilots…”
  • Post commissioning, efforts are currently under way to operationalise the aviation complex of the carrier after which it would be ready for operational deployment.
  • In January 2020, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had demonstrated a successful arrested landing of the naval LCA on INS Vikramaditya and subsequently, 18 take-offs and landings were conducted in five days. However, the Navy has projected a requirement for a twin-engine aircraft to operate from the carrier, and the DRDO has now embarked on developing a twin-engine deck-based fighter.
  • INS Vikrant, displacing a weight of 42,800 tonnes, was commissioned into the Navy last September.
  • The aviation trials are to be carried out post commissioning. The ship uses an aircraft-operation mode known as short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) for which it is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft, and a set of three “arrester wires” for their recovery onboard.
  • Advanced fighter
  • Initially, the carrier would be operating the existing MiG-29Ks in service, while a decision on procurement of an advanced fighter, between the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and Rafale, is expected in a few months.
  • The TEDBF being developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency of the DRDO is expected to be the mainstay. The project is expected to get approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security by mid-2023.

Salaried will surely pick new tax regime on retirement’

  • Leave encashment benefits received by the salaried class at retirement, whose limit has been raised from ₹3 lakh to ₹25 lakh in the Budget, will be tax-free in their hands under the new income tax regime even if they switch to it in the year of retirement, Revenue Secretary Sanjay Malhotra told The Hindu on Monday.
  • “If you ask how it helps the middle class, 50% of personal income taxpayers are salaried and they will benefit from the higher leave encashment limit at the time of retirement whether they choose the new tax regime now or the old today… That’s what a lot of people are missing,” he said, dismissing critiques of limited gains for the middle class beyond the new tax system.
  • “So it benefits all the salaried class… there is something for them which they are not realising today. But everyone has to retire someday and I’m pretty confident that in the year they retire, they will all opt for the new regime,” he asserted, explaining that this would translate into savings of almost ₹7 lakh in taxes under the old system on the ₹22 lakh hike in the limit.


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