Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 01 - SEPTEMBER - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 01 - SEPTEMBER - 2016
Monday, 12 September 2016 05:37

 

 

 


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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

01- SEPTEMBER - 2016

 

:: NATIONAL ::

PM TOUCHES IMP. ISSUES IN MANN KI BAAT PROGRAM

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked of the tense situation in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that any loss of life, whether of any youth or security personnel, is “our loss, a loss of our own people and our country.”
  • He warned those pushing youngsters towards violence that they would be held accountable some day.
  • Unity and compassion in dealing with the situation in the State were the two things that the Prime Minister said he took away from his recent interactions with various political groups on the Kashmir policy.
  • “It’s a view of 125 crore people of this country ... from a pradhan of a village to the Prime Minister, that if any life is lost in Kashmir it is our loss, a loss of our people and our country.”
  • The Prime Minister said the country had always made sincere efforts to strengthen its relationship with its neighbours.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee launched Akashvani Maitri channel, which will connect us with Bangladesh in a deeper way.
  • Mr. Modi also touched upon a variety of subjects, among them GST. He credited all parties with unanimously approving the GST Bill which, he said, displayed the strength of unity.

INDIA BECAME ONLY THE FOURTH NATION TO FLIGHT-TEST A SCRAMJET ENGINE

  • India became only the fourth nation to flight-test a scramjet engine, a technology that scientists claim could change the way space travel is undertaken.
  • Though the full development of the engine, for an “air breathing” propulsion system that significantly reduces the amount of fuel needed to fire up engines on a rocket, is “decades away”.
  • ISRO conducted its first trial of the engine, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. It used an Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), a sounding rocket, for the test.
  • The ATV with the scramjet engines weighed 3,277 kg at lift-off.

INDIA IS PLANNING A MAJOR DIPLOMATIC OUTREACH AHEAD OF THE UNGA

  • India is planning a major diplomatic outreach ahead of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in order to push through the ‘Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism’ (CCIT).
  • CCIT addresses, among other things, the issue of Pakistan’s alleged support for cross-border terrorism in south Asia.
  • India will brief visiting Peter Thomson, President-elect of the U.N. General Assembly, on CCIT, and launch the campaign during the September 13-18 Non Aligned Movement summit in Venezuela.
  • The run-up to the UNGA session has been tense after the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed “deep concern” over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistan reached out to the OIC on the issue.
  • India’s strategy for the CCIT is independent of the one on Kashmir as it is a bilateral issue.

THE U.S. WILL PUSH FOR INDIA’S MEMBERSHIP OF THE NUCLEAR SUPPLIERS GROUP

  • The U.S. will push for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group when the issue is taken up later this year, at the “highest levels”, U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma has said.
  • The Obama administration will hold its last round of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) with India, when Mr. Kerry and U.S. Commerce Secretary will meet their counterparts Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • U.S. will take up India’s case at the “highest levels”, i.e. between President Obama and President Xi, possibly during their upcoming meeting at G-20 next week.
  • In 2008, former President George Bush’s phone call to former Chinese President Hu Jintao swung a waiver from the NSG in India’s favour.
  • Indicating that China’s tough position on the South China Sea and the Indo-U.S. ‘Joint vision for the Asia Pacific’ will also be discussed during the S&CD meet.
    Bahrain government has offered to extend financial help to the Odisha family
  • Moved by reports of a man carrying his wife’s body on his shoulder for burial in Odisha, the Bahrain government has reportedly offered to extend financial help to the grieving family.
  • The Indian embassy in Bahrain is, however, yet to receive an official confirmation from the office of Bahrain Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa about the amount.
  • The Bahraini Prime Minister responded to media reports on the episode and has made an offer for humanitarian assistance.
  • He has decided to make a contribution but we have not yet received any official confirmation regarding the amount of money or when it will be made.

:: INTERNATIONAL ::

UN URGED AFRICAN NATIONS TO CLOSE A GENDER GAP THAT ALSO HAS ECONOMIC COST

  • The UN on Sunday urged African nations to close a gender gap that is costing an estimated $95 billion a year in lost economic potential.
  • “Where there are high levels of gender inequality, societies are missing out,” UN Development Fund (UNDP) director Helen Clark told AFP.
  • “They are not harnessing the full potential of women, and that costs economically, at the family level, community level and the national level.”
  • In many African nations, women are banned from owning or inheriting land, making it hard for them to borrow money.

DCNS WILL GO TO COURT AGAINST PUBLISHING LEAKED DOCUMENTS ON THE SCORPENES

  • French submarine manufacturer DCNS, which is set to seek an injunction in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, to stop The Australian from publishing more leaked documents on the Scorpenes.
  • A report in the newspaper said DCNS has also filed a complaint against unknown persons for breach of trust with the Paris prosecutor which includes “receiving stolen goods and complicity.”
  • It also contested Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s claim that the impact of the leak was minimal as, among other things, it does not include weapons details as they are from a different manufacturer.

:: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY ::

TRADE MINISTERS FROM WTO MEMBER NATIONS TO MEET IN OSLO

  • Trade ministers from various World Trade Organisation (WTO) member nations are slated to gather at the Norwegian capital, Oslo, in October to discuss the need for further liberalisation of global trade amid growing protectionism.
  • The ‘special’ meet will also deliberate upon the WTO’s future role in the context of ‘new’ challenges for the global trading system and some ‘troubling’ international political developments.
  • The high-level political convergence comes against the backdrop of WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo’s statement last month in his ‘Mid-year Report on Trade-related Developments’.
  • The report showed “a worrying rise in the rate of new trade-restrictive measures put in place each month (by WTO member countries) — hitting the highest monthly average since 2011.”
  • It is also being planned at a time when the progress in the WTO’s nearly 15-year-old Doha Round negotiations — to further open up international trade — is seen to be “very slow” especially due to the perceived ‘disengagement’ of the U.S.
  • The Oslo meet is also likely to discuss the so-called ‘new issues’ considered important by the rich nations in today’s global trade.
  • These include efforts to reach an agreement at the WTO-level to eliminate tariffs on environmental & sustainable goods produced using clean & green energy.
  • India is preparing to take the lead in WTO-level talks to open up global services trade, especially to ensure easier movement of skilled professionals for short-term projects overseas.
  • India — with a strong services sector and a huge pool of skilled professionals — had informally pitched for a WTO-level ‘TFA in Services’ at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ministerial council meeting in Paris.
  • The ‘TFA in Services’ proposal, similar to the WTO’s TFA for Goods (aimed at easing customs norms & boosting global merchandise trade), was then welcomed by Azevêdo and several trade ministers.
  • India had also objected to Britain tightening norms for foreign skilled workers.

THE JOURNEY AHEAD FOR INTRODUCING THE GST MAY NOT BE EASY

  • In a historical move for the country, the 122nd Constitutional Amendment Bill to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was unanimously passed by Parliament this session.
  • Widely believed to be the most important tax reform since 1991, the GST will transform India into a unitary market, lower transaction and logistics costs, spread the tax net wider and propel investments and growth.
  • Given the multiplicity of taxes at the Central and State Government levels, evolving a single indirect tax was a challenge; but all political parties came together in a paradigm of cooperation and consensus to make it a reality.
  • The journey ahead for introducing the GST will not be easy as a number of steps are required from different stakeholders.
  • For industry too, conforming to the new administrative processes within a compressed time-frame will be challenging.
  • One of the first tasks for the new GST Council proposed to be set up under the Bill would be to decide on the applicable tax rate.
  • This rate will be central to the success of the endeavour as it would impact India’s macroeconomic indicators, including GDP growth rate, inflation, the fiscal condition of the Central and State governments, and so on.
  • It would also impact the common man’s daily life, employment creation and external trade as well as the competitiveness of industry in a difficult global environment.
  • The revenue neutral rate (RNR) ranged from 11.6 per cent to 17.7 per cent. The committee, after a detailed study, recommended a reasonable RNR of 15-15.5 per cent which would determine the standard rate of 17-18 per cent and a lower rate of 12 per cent for essential goods.
  • CII broadly concurs with this standard rate plus a merit and demerit rate for identified goods and services. There are several compelling reasons for keeping the standard rate at around 18 per cent.
  • For one, the standard rate of 18 per cent ensures that the tax revenues of the Centre and States would not be adversely impacted by the introduction of GST.
  • The Centre has also assured the States of full compensation for five years.
  • Second, the key impact of a higher rate would be on prices which would create an adverse consumer mindset and would hamper buy-in.
  • For example, the tax on services is currently set at 15 per cent including cesses, and a sudden increase beyond an acceptable standard rate of 18 per cent would lead to lack of confidence in the GST as a beneficial tax reform.
  • Third, the impact on inflation arising from a tax rate that is set too high would be inimical to the entire economy.
  • A reasonable standard tax rate of 18 per cent would not only deter inflation build-up, but would also protect the consumer’s incomes and interests.
  • The Subramanian Committee estimated the impact of a standard rate of 22 per cent on inflation as 0.3-0.7 per cent and stated that a lower RNR would ensure consumer buy-in, as also be less regressive relative to direct income taxes.

:: IMPORTANT DETAILED NEWS ::

UNU-EHS RELEASES WORLD RISK REPORT 2016: INDIA RANKED 77TH IN WORLD DISASTER RISK INDEX

The United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and Bundnis Entwicklung Hilft released the World Risk Report 2016, that analyzes the role of infrastructure in shaping a country's disaster risk.

The World Risk Index is an integral part of the report as it ranks 171 countries according to the risk of becoming a victim of a disaster as a result of natural hazards such as floods, cyclones, or earthquakes.

The Index was prepared and calculated by the University of Stuttgart in Germany.

Highlights of the Report

• It finds that inadequate infrastructure and weak logistic chains substantially increase the risk that an extreme natural event will become a disaster.

• When it comes to aid measures following extreme natural events, the challenges mostly lie in the last mile of the logistics chain: organising transportation despite destroyed streets or bridges.

• Crumbling transport routes, unreliable electricity grids and dilapidated buildings not only hinder humanitarian aid from overseas, but also delay crucial aid for those affected in the disaster.

• Sufficient, high-quality infrastructure cannot only prevent the often catastrophic consequences of natural hazards such as flooding or storms.

• Critical infrastructure can thus reduce the risk of natural hazards for populations and it can mitigate economic losses.

• Over the last few decades, the world has experienced an increasing number of catastrophic earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, storms and droughts.

• Disasters are not natural per se. A disaster occurs when natural hazards hit a highly vulnerable society. Vulnerability results from the complex interplay of social, economic, environmental and governance-related factors like public infrastructure, poverty and inequality.

• Infrastructure can be decisive in determining the impact of disasters. Countries and their economies depend on critical infrastructure like communication, transportation public institutions to function.

• Having infrastructure in place is only the first step. People and the institutions should ensure that critical infrastructure is maintained and managed properly to mitigate the negative impacts of natural hazards.

• Southeast Asia, Central America, Oceania and the Southern Sahel are consistently disaster risk hotspots. These regions consistently face higher disaster risk due to their high vulnerability and high exposure to natural hazards such as earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts and to sea level rise.

• It identifies a strong need for action for improving the logistics and infrastructure in the countries Benin, Burundi, Haiti, Cambodia, Cameroon, Madagascar, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Chad, which are at severe risk of extreme natural events.

Highlights of the World Risk Index 2016

• Vanuatu is the country with the highest risk of disaster (index value: 36.28) among the 171 countries included in the World Risk Index 2016.

• Tonga (index value: 29.33) and the Philippines (index value: 26.70) rank number 2 and 3.

• Germany is ranked at number 147 (index value: 2.95).

• The hotspot regions for the risk of disaster are located in Oceania, South-East Asia, Central America and in Southern Sahel.

•Netherlands is a country with a very high hazards exposure (rank 12), meaning that almost one third of its population is exposed to floods, storms, sea-level rise, or other hazards.

• Bangladesh also has high hazards exposure level (rank 10) but ranks near the top (5) on the overall risk index.

• Pakistan ranks 72th while Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at 63rd and 5th position respectively.

• China and Nepal are ranked at 85th and 108th position respectively.

India's position in World Risk Index 2016

India ranks 77 on the World Risk Index, marginally better positioned than Pakistan which is placed at 72nd position.

MUKESH MEHTA APPOINTED AS PRESIDENT OF INDIA BULLION AND JEWELLERS ASSOCIATION

Mukesh Mehta was appointed as the President of India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA). He is also a Director on the Board of IBJA.

Mehta succeeds Mohit Kamboj, who resigned in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of IBJA on 24 August 2016.

Mukesh Mehta is director of Mark Bangles and has already been on the board since the last four years. He has also served on various committee's in the last four years.

IBJA is a 97 year old apex organization for bullion dealers and jewellers and any change at the top leadership is microscopically viewed by its members and other allied associations.

INDIA, MYANMAR SIGNED FOUR AGREEMENTS TO BOOST BILATERAL COOPERATION

India and Myanmar signed four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation and bilateral relations between the two countries.

The pacts were inked after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Myanmar U Htin Kyaw in New Delhi. President Kyaw was on a four day visit to India from 27 August to 30 August 2016.

The four agreements signed include

• MoU on cooperation in the construction of 69 Bridges including AP Aproach Roads in the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa Road Section of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar.

• MoU on cooperation in the construction / upgradation of the Kalewa – Yagyi Road Section.

• MoU on cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energy.

• MoU on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.

India–Myanmar relations

Bilateral relations between Myanmar (Burma) and India have improved considerably since 1993, overcoming tensions related to drug trafficking, the suppression of democracy and the rule of the military junta in Burma.

Myanmar that is located south of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India acts as a bridge that connects India with South East Asia. The Indo- Myanmar border stretches over 1600 kilometers.

INDIA, US SIGNED LEMOA

India and the United States signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). The logistics agreement will enable the forces of the two nations to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.

The agreement was signed in Pentagon during Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to the US. The two leaders had agreed on the memorandum in principle when they last met in India in April 2016.

Highlights of the agreement

• It makes joint operations easier and more efficient.

• It does not allow each nation to set up bases on the other, but to use bases and equipment only for operating together when they choose to.

On arrival at the Pentagon, Parrikar was given an enhanced honour cordon. The enhanced honour is reserved for valued guests and visitors during which national anthems are played. After the ceremonial welcome, Parrikar laid wreath at the 9/11 Memorial, following which the two leaders headed for talks.

The talks between the two defence leaders at Pentagon, the sixth meeting between the two defense chiefs, comes ahead of key annual exercises in India between US and Indian forces. The joint drills of the two forces named Yudh Abhyas will take place in the mountain of the northern India on September 2016.

 

 

 

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