Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 21- OCTOBER - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 21- OCTOBER - 2016
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Friday, 21 October 2016 07:37

 

 

 


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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

21- OCTOBER - 2016

 

:: NATIONAL ::

GST COUNCIL DELIBERATIONS ENDED WITHOUT DECISION ON TAX STRUCTURE

  • The GST Council’s third round of deliberations ended without a decision on the rates structure after most States objected to a proposal to levy an additional cess on demerit goods.
  • The proposal from the Centre that triggered objections was for the imposition of a cess over and above the Goods and Services Tax on ultra luxury and demerit goods such as big cars, aerated beverages and tobacco products.
  • Finance Minister told that the GST Council — comprising Ministers from all the States and headed by him — will meet next on November 3-4 to decide on the GST rates structure.
  • The Centre had proposed the cess as a means to finance the compensation it will have to pay States.

RAILWAY STATION’S TO BE DEVELOPED UNDER SMART CITY PLAN

  • You can’t have a smart city without a smart railway station. Keeping that in mind, more than 500 railway stations in the country will ‘smarten up’ with better passenger amenities, easy access and integrated public transport hubs.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between the Urban Development Ministry and the Railways, expects to redevelop railway stations and surrounding areas under the Smart City plan.
  • To begin with, 100 railway stations and an adjoining area of 300-800 acres would be redeveloped in the Smart Cities and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Cities plans.
  • At present, railway stations in 10 cities could be taken up for the redevelopment with the involvement of the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).
  • They are Varanasi, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Bhubaneswwar, Lucknow, Varnasi, Jaipur, Kota, Thane, Margao (Goa), Tirupati and Puducherry.
  • Mr. Prabhu said that countries like Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, the U.K. and Belgium have shown interest in the redevelopment of railway stations.
  • A meeting of domestic and overseas bankers will be organised next week to discuss the financing of these redevelopment projects.
  • The scope of the MoU will be extended to over 500 cities in time. The cost of redeveloping about 500 acres in the Smart City Plans of 60 approved cities is approximately Rs. 1,500 crore.
  • The validity of the MoU is five years and can be extended with the consent of both the ministries.

:: INDIA AND WORLD ::

INDIA EXTENDED SUPPORT TO MYANMAR

  • India extended support to Myanmar for a “better connected” future while welcoming State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Both countries agreed to cooperate in security and strategic issues and signed three agreements.
  • Both sides signed three agreements following a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ms. Suu Kyi, to assist insurance, power and banking sectors.
  • Reflecting on the agreements, Mr. Modi said the power agreement would help create a framework for advancing linkages between India and Myanmar.
  • The meeting between the two delegations was held three days after Ms. Suu Kyi attended the BRICS-BIMSTEC meet in Goa where she spoke about the “common concern” of terrorism.
  • Myanmar’s western province of Rakhine has been facing unrest since October 9 when a major terror strike killed several security personnel. Subsequently a major military campaign has begun to deal with the militants.
  • Mr. Modi’s comment on security cooperation between two countries came more than a year after India carried out military operation against militants along the Myanmar border.

SINO-INDIAN MILITARY EXERCISE IN LADAKH

  • India and China for the first time conducted military exercises in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in Eastern Ladakh amidst the growing uneasiness in the bilateral relationship.
  • The exercise comes in the backdrop of stalemate over India's multilateral disagreements with China over blacklisting of terrorists at the United Nations and membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
  • In 2010, China had refused to issue a visa to the Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal as part of a high-level exchange saying he “controlled” a disputed area.
  • This is the second joint tactical exercise under the “China-India Cooperation 2016” and was held in the Chushul area, where the two countries fought a brief but intense war in 1962.
  • The first exercise was held on the Chinese side in February in the area of Border Personnel Meeting Hut at Chushul Garrison of Eastern Ladakh, along with Chinese troops of Moldo Garrison.

:: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY ::

DRAFT BANKRUPTCY BILL TO BE READY SOON

  • The draft bill on the resolution of bankruptcy of financial firms would put public sector financial companies on par with their private counterparts, according to Moody's Investors Service.
  • Under existing laws, resolution of public sector banks can only happen by order of the government and in the manner it directs,” according to a note prepared by Moody’s.
  • While the proposed law is a credit positive for banks, Moody's said it would be a deterrent for senior unsecured creditors due to their altered rankings.
  • This bill addresses the lacunae of a having a legally codified framework for resolution, and hence is a credit positive in terms of enhancing overall systemic stability.”
  • The note also highlighted the fact that once enacted, the Bill would create a significant delineation of regulatory powers between the Reserve Bank of India and the Resolution Corporation (RC), the organisation to be formed under the Bill.
  • A key role of the Corporation will be to assign risk ratings to financial sector companies based on their viability, according to the draft Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2016.

REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY PROPOSAL MAY FACE PROBLEMS

  • The government’s plans to boost regional air connectivity could hit a legal air pocket as leading domestic airlines have opposed the proposal to charge a levy on flights on major routes to fund subsidies for regional flights.
  • It said the government is not empowered to levy a tax on airlines to fund the regional connectivity scheme under the Aircraft Act of 1934.
  • As a part of its proposed regional connectivity scheme, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry had mooted amendments to the Aircraft Rules of 1937 in August to set up a regional connectivity fund to subsidise the losses of airlines that wanted to fly on regional routes.
  • The fund was proposed to be financed by a levy on domestic flights along with contribution from states and credit proceeds from other sources.
  • Passengers will be able to fly to unserved and underserved airports for a fare of Rs 2,500 an hour, under the scheme which is slated to be launched on October 21.
  • A levy in the nature of tax can only be levied having regard to the provisions contained in the Article 265 of the Constitution of India i.e. by authority of law.
  • The airlines said imposition of a regional connectivity levy would require amendment to the Aircraft Act, 1934 and not the rule and until then the draft rules would be “beyond the authority of law and in contravention to the Constitution of India.”
  • In its letter, the FIA said that Section 5(2) (ab) of the Aircraft Act of 1934 does empower the Centre to make rules for economic regulation of air services but it doesn’t authorise it “to introduce a levy in the nature of tax on air services.”

:: IMPORTANT DETAILED NEWS ::

BOB DYLAN WINS 2016 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE

Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Dylan was bestowed with the precious award for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.

Who is Bob Dylan?

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer.

Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when his songs chronicled social unrest, although he repudiated suggestions from journalists that he was a spokesman for his generation.

His early songs such as Blowin' in the Wind and The Times They Are a-Changin became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-war movements.

His lyrics have incorporated various political, social, philosophical and literary influences.

His accomplishments as a recording artist and performer have been central to his career, but songwriting is considered his greatest contribution.

Since 1994, he has published six books of drawings and paintings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries.

As a musician, he has sold more than 100 million records, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.

He has also received numerous awards including eleven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award.

The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.

He is the first American to win the prize since novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993.

About Nobel Prize in Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has produced the most outstanding work in an ideal direction in the field of literature.

The Prize has been awarded since 1901.

It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895.

A Literature Nobel Prize laureate earns a gold medal, a diploma bearing a citation, and a sum of money. The amount of money awarded depends on the income of the Nobel Foundation that year.

In 2015, Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time."

UNION CABINET APPROVES MOU BETWEEN EXIM BANK AND NDB

Union Cabinet approved MoU between Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) on General Cooperation with the BRICS promoted New Development Bank (NDB), along with other Development Financial Institutions of BRICS nations. This will be achieved through the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism.

This approval will help in enhancing trade and economic relations among the BRICS countries and benefit the participating institutions from the BRICS nation. There is no financial implication involved in signing of the MoU.

Key Highlights

• The MoU is a non-binding umbrella agreement.

• It aims at establishing a cooperation framework in accordance with the national laws and regulations, besides skills transfer and knowledge sharing amongst the signatories.

Establishment of the NDB reflects the close relations among the BRICS countries and provides a powerful instrument for increasing their economic cooperation and help India play an enhanced international role.

Why the MoU is necessary?

The signing of MoU is necessary in the context of cooperation extended by the Members in various forms for promoting and facilitating trade of goods and services as well as investments in mutual projects among the BRICS countries. It will help in sustainable development and inclusive economic growth of the BRICS nations.

BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism

Five banks from the BRICS nations had established the BRICS Interbank Co-operation Mechanism to enhance trade and economic relations among the BRICS countries. The BRICS Interbank Co-operation Mechanism now proposes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on General Co-operation with the New Development Bank.

GURUMOORTHY MAHALINGAM APPOINTED AS WHOLE-TIME MEMBER OF SEBI

Reserve Bank's Executive Director Gurumoorthy Mahalingam was appointed as a Whole-Time Member of market regulator SEBI. His appointment was approved by the Union Finance Ministry for a period of five years or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

Mahalingam succeeds Prashant Saran as the Whole-Time Member as Saran retired from the post in June 2016.

Apart from the Chairman, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) can have three Whole-Time Members (WTMs).

About Gurumoorthy Mahalingam

• Mahalingam is Executive Director and former regional director of Reserve Bank of India.

• In his current role at RBI, Mahalingam was involved in monitoring and surveillance of money, forex, government securities and derivative markets intervention operations.

• Associated with RBI for last 30 years, he has served in various roles including that of Inspecting Officer, Chief Forex Dealer, Chief Investment Dealer, Head of Internal Debt Management Department.

• He has also been associated with NISM (National Institute of Securities Markets), an educational initiative of SEBI, as part of its visiting faculty.

• He is MSc in Statistics and Operations Research from IIT, Kanpur and an MBA in International Banking and Finance from Birmigham Business School, UK.

PORTUGAL’S ANTONIO GUTERRES APPOINTED UN SECRETARY-GENERAL

Portugal’s former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres was appointed as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations by the General Assembly.

The 193 member states of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by acclamation, appointing Guterres as the ninth U.N. Secretary-General.

Guterres, who succeeds Ban Ki-moon, will assume his new role on 1 January 2017 for a five-year term that can be renewed by member states for an additional five years.

About Antonio Guterres

Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres is a Portuguese politician.

He served as the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.

He also served for a time as President of the Socialist International.

He served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.

About Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the United Nations Secretariat.

The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations.

Their role is laid out by Chapter XV (Articles 97 to 101) of the United Nations Charter.

The Secretary-General was envisioned by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a world moderator.

Article 97 under Chapter XV of the United Nations Charter states that the Secretary-General shall be the chief administrative officer of the Organization, but does not dictate their specific obligations.

WHO RELEASES GLOBAL TUBERCULOSIS REPORT 2016

The World Health Organisation (WHO) released the Global Tuberculosis Report 2016 highlighting that countries need to move much faster to prevent, detect and treat Tuberculosis (TB) in order to meet global targets.

The report highlights the considerable inequalities among countries in enabling people with TB to access existing cost-effective diagnosis and treatment interventions that can accelerate decline in TB worldwide.

Highlights of the report

• The report signals the need for bold political commitment and increased funding.

• While efforts to respond to TB saved more than 3 million lives in 2015, however TB burden is actually higher than previously estimated, reflecting survey data from India.

• In 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide.

• Six countries accounted for 60 percent of the total burden, with India bearing the brunt, followed by Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.

• An estimated 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015, of whom 0.4 million were co-infected with HIV.

• Although global TB deaths fell by 22 percent between 2000 and 2015, the disease was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2015.

• Gaps in testing for TB and reporting new cases remain major challenges. Of the estimated 10.4 million new cases, only 6.1 million were detected and officially notified in 2015, leaving a gap of 4.3 million.

• In addition, the rate of reduction in TB cases remained static at 1.5 percent from 2014 to 2015. This needs to accelerate to 4–5% by 2020 as per World Health Assembly-approved End TB Strategy.

• Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis. WHO estimated that 480000 people fell ill with MDR-TB in 2015.

• Three countries carry the major burden of MDR-TB – India, China, and the Russian Federation – which together account for nearly half of all cases globally.

• In 2015, 22 percent of HIV-positive TB patients were not enrolled on antiretroviral therapy (ART).

• Around 84% of the financing available in low- and middle-income countries in 2016 was from domestic sources, this was mostly accounted by BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

• Other low- and middle- income countries continue to rely heavily on international donor financing, with more than 75 percent coming from The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

• WHO estimates that at least an extra 1 billion US dollar per year is needed to accelerate the development of new vaccines, diagnostics, and medicines.

India under-reported TB for 15 years

• Inaccurate estimates of the tuberculosis burden in India between 2000-2015, has led the World Health Organisation (WHO) to underestimate the global TB epidemic.

• India had reported only 56 percent of its TB burden in 2014 and 59 percent in 2015.

• Since India accounts for more than one quarter of the world’s TB cases and deaths, the revisions in the estimates have had a major impact on global estimates.

• The revised estimates put the incidence of TB in India at 217 per 100000 population in 2015 as against the previously estimated 127 per 100000.

Background
Within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, various governments have agreed on targets to end the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic both at the World Health Assembly and at the United Nations General Assembly.

The targets include 90 percent reduction in TB deaths and an 80 percent reduction in TB cases by 2030 compared with 2015.

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 October 2016 03:54
 
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