Current Affairs Current Affairs - 29 July 2016 - Vikalp Education

Online Vikalp, Current Affairs, Current Awareness, General Awareness, Aptitude Classes, Daily News, General Knowledge, General Awareness For All Competitive Exam, current affairs quiz,current affairs in india, current affairs about sports, current affairs and gk, current affairs about india, current affairs daily quiz, current affairs dairy, current affairs education, Top News, Breaking News, Latest News

Current Affairs - 29 July 2016

General Affairs 

Chinese Troops In Uttarakhand Border A 'Transgression', Says Manohar Parrikar
  • NEW DELHI:  The incident regarding Chinese troops entering the border district of Chamoli in Uttarakhand is that of "transgression" and not "incursion", the government said today.
    Responding to queries from the opposition in Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the border has not been demarcated and the two sides have a "different perception" about it.
    He said on July 22, two Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers entered 200 metres in Barholi area of Uttarakhand inside the Indian territory and the villagers warned them.
    "The Line of Actual Control (LAC) has not been formally demarcated. So there is different perception about this of both the sides," he said, adding that there are mechanisms like flag meetings by both the sides to resolve such issues.
    "During such meetings, we have made our protests to the Chinese side. There was no incursion, only transgression," Mr Parrikar said.
    The minister said every year, there are about 400-500 incidents of transgression, but this year it has come down.
    Mr Parrikar also noted that it is the Indo Tibetan  Border Police (ITBP) under the Ministry of Home Affairs that takes care of the LAC and not the Defence Ministry.
    The debate also saw a bonhomie between the Congress and the BJD. The Congress members were aggressive over the issue and asked Mr Parrikar to respond.
    When the minister said the boundary has not been demarcated, Bhartruhari Mahtab, BJD, strongly objected to it.
    At this point, Congress President Sonia Gandhi intervened and lauded Mahtab for raising the point.

In Rahul Gandhi's Parliament Speech, A Jibe At Poonam Mahajan Too
  • NEW DELHI:  In his speech on rising prices, replete with jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his policies, Rahul Gandhi today also took a dig at BJP lawmaker Poonam Mahajan, who sat right opposite the Congress vice president in the government benches of the Lok Sabha.

    "When someone goes to the market...well you wouldn't be going to the market, someone else would do that for you," Mr Gandhi said to Ms Mahajan, 35, the MP from Mumbai North Central and the daughter of former union minister and BJP leader Pramod Mahajan.

    While the ruling party largely made an effort not to disrupt the Congress leader's speech, some lawmakers were moved to ask when Mr Gandhi, 46, a member of the Congress' first family the Gandhis had last been to the market.

    When asked if he knew what the prices of goods were in the market, Mr Gandhi reeled off a rate list for pulses and vegetables, alleging a 300 per cent inflation in the cost of some. "There is a new slogan doing the rounds, Arhar Modi, Arhar Modi, Arhar Modi," he said, referring to pulses or dal, the prices of which have spiralled in recent months.

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who took notes as Mr Gandhi spoke, in his reply to the debate made a strong counter to the Congress leader's attack on the Prime Minister and the government, pointing out that the previous Congress-led UPA government had "left double digit inflation. And now you have a government that is taking a step by step approach to fix everything."

    The government, Mr Jaitley said, was making a lot of efforts in the rural sector and that he was "confident that the high prices of dal is being looked into seriously, and will be taken care of in the time to come."

    With a smile he also referred to Mr Gandhi's comment about Ms Mahajan, when he said, "Everyone is claiming to go to the market every day."

Uttarakhand To Spend Rs. 25 Crore To Search For Mythical Herb Near China Border
  • Uttarakhand will soon begin a multi-million dollar search in the Himalayas for the mythical Sanjeevani Booti plant believed to hold life-saving properties, a minister told news agency AFP today.

    Uttarakhand will spend Rs. 25 crore of tax-payers money to hunt for the herb, referred to in the Ramayana.

    While many wild plants with medicinal properties grow in the Himalayas, there is scant evidence that the plant ever existed, with sages and modern researchers failing for centuries to find it.

    "We have to try and it will never go to waste. If we are determined we will certainly find it," Surendra Singh Negi, the state's minister for alternative medicine, told AFP. The Congress governs the hill state. The minister said the search will focus on the Dronagiri range of Himalayas near the Chinese border, one mountain of which is mentioned in the epic Ramayana as being the site where the magical herb grows.

    Scientists will start work in August, the minister said, adding that the central government has refused to fund the project.

    Ancient texts say the plant has life-restoring properties, grows in the high mountains of the Himalayas and glows in the dark.

    According to the Ramayana, the monkey god Hanuman was asked by Lord Rama to fetch the herb after a healer said it would cure Laxman, who was severely injured.

    But Hanuman failed to identity the plant, instead uprooting the entire mountain and carrying it thousands of miles to treat the mortally injured prince during a war with demons in what is now Sri Lanka.

Rajnath Singh To Raise Issue Of Pak Support To Terror In SAARC Meet
  • NEW DELHI:  Pakistan's sustained support to cross-border terrorism will be raised by Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his two-day visit to Islamabad to attend the SAARC ministerial conference beginning August 3.

    Mr Singh, who will attend the SAARC Home Interior/Home Ministers' conference, is expected to bluntly ask Pakistan to stop sponsoring acts of terror in India, official sources said.

    This will be the first visit to Pakistan by a senior Indian leader after the Pathankot attack on January 2, which created tension between the two countries.

    The home minister may provide documentary proof of involvement of Pakistan's state and non-state actors in terror acts in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts. He is likely to have separate meetings with his counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

    Describing Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani as "martyr", Nawaz Sharif had recently said that "Kashmir will one day become Pakistan", prompting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to say that his dream of the state becoming a part of his country "will not be realised even at the end of eternity".

    Rajnath Singh will also raise the issue of slow pace of probe into the terror attack in the Pathankot airbase, which was carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the the trial into the Mumbai terror attack case in that country, sources said.

    Mr Singh will be accompanied by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and several other senior officers of the Home Ministry.

    Key issues like fight against terrorism, illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and small arms and how to make coordinated and concerted efforts to combat such menace will figure in the SAARC meet.

    The three-tier meeting will begin at the joint secretary-level and then move on to secretary and home minister-level.

    The meeting will also focus on strengthening networking among police authorities of SAARC member-countries and also enhance information-sharing among law enforcement agencies.

    The last meeting of SAARC Interior/Home Ministers' conference was held in Kathmandu in 2014 when Rajnath Singh had said that member-nations of the group were facing common challenges and they should cooperate with each other to address them.

    Mr Singh had also voiced concern over the new threats of terrorism and violence to South Asia and asked SAARC countries to chalk out strategies to check radical groups and extremist ideologies.

Provide Details Of Soldiers Whose Bodies Were Mutilated By Enemy, Information Commission Tells Army
  • NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the army to provide details of soldiers whose bodies were mutilated by insurgents and soldiers during skirmishes on Pakistan and China borders.

    "People of the country have right to know about the soldiers who lay down their lives in the line of duty," Information Commissioner Divya Prakash Sinha said.

    The case resulted from a RTI application filed by Abhishek Shukla in 2013 as the army decided to keep information under cover in this regard about the soldiers who had sacrificed their lives for the country fighting enemies.

    The army which was supposed to respond to an RTI application within 30 days, according to the law, took nearly 78 days to give its first response, after repeated reminders.

    However, the army declined to share any detail citing section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act to withhold the information. Section 8(1)(a) exempts information which can prejudicially affect security of the country.

    The first appeal before the senior officials of the army challenging the decision of the Central Public Information Officer was also summarily rejected without going into the merits of arguments presented by the appellant.

    Reluctant to share any information, the army raised an additional argument during the hearing before Divya Prakash Sinha, saying that its headquarters does not maintain the information of soldiers whose bodies have been mutilated by the enemy or terrorists.

    The appellant countered it saying if they do not maintain the information, how was the army citing national security to deny it.

Business Affairs 

FM Arun Jaitley hits back at Rahul Gandhi, says NDA has brought down inflation
  • Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday reeled out statistics in Lok Sabha to assert that the NDA government had brought down inflation and expressed hope that prices of essential commodites will come down further after a "good" monsoon.
    After Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and alleged that the government had failed to control prices, particularly of the essential commodities, Jaitley contended that the NDA government had inherited high inflation from the UPA dispensation.
    "Any form of bluster is not substitute of statistics," he told the Congress Vice President while intervening in a debate on price rise and asked him to compare the status of inflation during the UPA government and that prevailing now.
    Referring to Gandhi's attack on Modi for criticising the then Congress-led government over inflation in February 2014, Jaitley said, "This is a topic of statistics and not sloganeering. The UPA had left government in a serious state and it is but natural that any contesting candidate before election would say that if I come to power, I will try to bring inflation down. No one should have any objection to that."
    Insisting that the Modi government had reduced inflation and kept it under control, the Finance Minister said he expects it to reduce further with a "good" monsoon.
    He acknowledged that high prices of pulses is a concern and said steps are being taken to address this by narrowing the mismatch between demand and supply.
    Noting that India has the highest production along with highest consumption of pulses, he said while the demand is for 23 million tonnes, the production was 17 million tonnes, leaving a gap of six million tonnes.
    The output of pulses is expected to go up to 20 million tonnes this crop year, Jaitley said, adding steps are also being taken by the Food Ministry to create a buffer of 20 lakh tonnes of pulses to keep the prices under control.
    He also criticised Gandhi for asking the Prime Minister to set a date by when the prices will come down, saying issues are settled through policies rather than giving dates.
    The government is working on policies to encourage farmers to produce more and India is moving towards self sufficiency in pulses produce, he said.
    "You are talking about a government which left behind double digit inflation and today we have a situation where steps have been taken in each sector to contain inflation. Any form of bluster is not a substitute for statistics. These are backed by hard facts," Jaitley said. 

    The recent data price war triggered by Reliance Jio's 'soon-to-be' launched services is not likely to make a difference to the 4G market.
    • In May, Reliance Communications announced a 10 GB-4G data offer for just Rs 93. It grabbed everyone's attention instantly as the price was unbelievably low. Till then, no telecom operator had come up with such an aggressive offer. But as it turned out, the offer was valid for just 28 days for existing RCom subscribers who were upgrading from CDMA to 4G.
      In India, a bulk of data users are on 2G networks and are largely prepaid customers who do not want to spend more than Rs 100 per month on the Internet. For greater reach of 4G services, it was crucial to keep the tariffs below Rs 100 for a 1 GB plan. Else, consumption would largely remain restricted to postpaid, high-value customers in metros and other major cities.
      The latest price cuts for 4G data plans were triggered by Airtel, which announced 25-67 per cent more data at existing rates. Idea Cellular responded by slashing 3G/4G data rates by 67 per cent. Reportedly, Vodafone is also planning to cut rates. However, despite the cuts, the cheapest 1 GB data plan offered by Airtel costs Rs 259 for 28 days.
      In fact, relatively high costs of 3G data packs and patchy services have not really caught the fancy of the masses. There are just over 100 million users in the six years since the launch of 3G services. Now, the early adopters of 4G have also been a section of 3G subscribers.
      At best, the current price cuts by telcos are attempts to retain their user base and increase data consumption of existing users, instead of creating a new set of 4G customers. The only options before the service providers to woo 2G customers to 4G are low data prices and cheap handsets. RCom's offer was attractive because it offered high-speed Internet below Rs 100 for 1 GB data.
      Experts are keeping a close watch on Reliance Jio, which claims a 1.5-million subscriber base, even before its launch, and has indicated its intentions to offer data at disruptive prices. At present, it is testing the market with its own 4G smartphone brand LYF, which is bundled with 90 days of free unlimited 4G mobile Internet and voice calling. The cheapest handset costs Rs 2,999.
      "The offer on recharge packs is aimed at delivering significantly higher value to our regular Internet users. Our consumer research studies have indicated growing demand for affordable high volume internet packs," Sashi Shankar, CMO, Idea Cellular, had said at the time of reducing data tariffs. However, it is going to be tough for telecom operators to bring down tariffs given the cost of operations.
      The only way tariffs can come down is a price war by one player. It will then force others to adopt a similar price band. And, RJio, the new entrant with deep pockets, could make that happen.

      After govt's amendments, how GST Bill is placed in Rajya Sabha today
      • As the Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared some of the crucial amendments in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill including  scrapping of the proposed 1 per cent tax on inter-state transactions, demanded by the main opposition party Congress, the Bill appears moving closer to passage in the Rajya Sabha.
        The Bill has also got a boost from the support of non-NDA, non-UPA parties like Janta Dal (United), Nationalist Congress Party, All India Trinamool Congress, Biju Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.
        However, it's not yet a done-deal given the Congress, despite the recent Rajya Sabha elections where BJP gained 11 seats, continues to hold sway in the Upper House as being the single-largest party with 60 seats.
        Now let us look at the Rajya Sabha seat positions and how the GST Bill is placed.
        For the GST Bill to get passed, the government needs the support of two-third of the members - 164 members. BJP and its allies have 71 seats, and other pro-GST parties have 70 members, which puts the figure at 141 members in favour of the GST Bill, if placed today in Rajya Sabha.
        Even if the 13 members of the AIADMK, which has some reservations with the Bill in its current form, support the Bill, the government would still require the support of 10 more members to get the bill passed.
        Rashtriya Janta Dal, which has three MPs in the house, has promised to support the bill. However, its stand is not clear yet. The left parties (with nine members) have been opposing the Bill saying that it would kill the federal structure of the country.
        However, even as the government's last-minute negotiations with Congress continues, a senior Congress leader told Business Today on the condition of anonymity that the Bill would get passed. "GST would lead to inflation in the initial years, and that may prove to be politically negative for BJP," says the senior Congress leader saying that the party should have called BJP's bluff on GST in the Winter Session only.
        Meanwhile, the Cabinet yesterday cleared changes in the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill. It scraped the one per cent origin tax, which the manufacturing state was supposed to get. It is one of the changes that the Congress has demanded in the bill. The Cabinet also cleared the proposal to compensate 100 per cent of the loss incurred by the states in the first five years due to implementation of GST. Earlier, the Bill had proposed to make good of 100 per cent of the loss in the first three years and 75 per cent and 50 per cent in the fourth and fifth year respectively.
        However, the Cabinet has not agreed on two other key demands of the Congress - putting a cap on the GST rate in the Constitutional Amendment Bill itself and setting up an independent dispute-resolution mechanism.

      Oil price hits 3-month lows below $43 as oversupply weighs
      • Oil prices fell to three-month lows on Thursday as producers continued to pump more than needed, filling inventories, and economic growth prospects darkened.
        Brent crude oil was down 50 cents at $42.97 a barrel by 1010 GMT, after touching $42.88, its lowest since April 20. US light crude was down 20 cents at $41.72.
        US government data on Wednesday revealed a surprise rise in crude and gasoline inventories. The build added to an already huge global refined product glut just as slowing economic growth dents the demand outlook.
        "US commercial stocks are a good reflection of the oversupplied nature of the global oil market," said Tamas Varga, lead oil analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.
        Oil markets have been dogged by oversupply for the last two years and fell by as much as 70 percent between 2014 and early 2016, when Brent hit the lowest in more than a decade at around $27 per barrel.
        Markets have since recovered some ground but oil remains very weak and low refining margins are hurting energy companies.
        Energy major Royal Dutch Shell reported a more than 70 percent fall in quarterly profit on Thursday, well below analysts' estimates, as weak oil and gas prices further ate into revenue.
        Shell's net income came in at $1 billion in the second quarter, compared with expectations of $2.2 billion and $3.8 billion achieved in the same period last year.
        "Lower oil prices continue to be a significant challenge across the business, particularly in the upstream (operations)," said Chief Executive Ben van Beurden.
        Mihir Kapadia, CEO at wealth management firm Sun Global Investments, said oil was still being depressed by concerns over a supply glut and waning demand from key international markets.
        In China, rail freight volume fell 7.5 percent in the first half of 2016 from the same period a year earlier to 1.58 billion tonnes, the country's top economic planner said on Thursday.
        Varga at brokerage PVM said record high stocks and oversupply could drive crude prices down into the mid $30 per barrel area before a significant rally.
        "The trend is still down and the bears seem to be in control," Varga said, adding: "But we could see an upside correction before driving lower again."

        Sensex surges 184 points, Nifty ends above 8,650 on GST hopes; Asian Paints top gainer, up 6%
        • The S&P BSE Sensex on Thursday gained 184 points to end above 28,000 level, while the broader Nifty50 jumped above its key 8,650-mark.
          The headline indices edged higher as hopes of the passage of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill seeing the light of the day in the monsoon session held stronger, but broader gains were capped as monthly derivatives contracts were to expire at the end of the session.
          Sentiment also got a boost after US Federal Reserve stayed put on US interest rates, and said "the near-term risks to US economic outlook have diminished".
          The 30-share index ended the day at 28,208, up 184.29 points, while broad-based 50-share index quoted 8,666, up 50.50 points at close.
          "We have witnessed multiple FII (foreign institutional investor) buying take place and the current trend in earnings is only acting as a catalyst," said Rajesh Agarwal, director of research at Eastern Financiers.
          Bharti Airtel rose as much as 2.5 pe rcent as June-quarter net profit beat analysts' estimates.
          Asian Paints hit a record high after posting a 19 per cent increase in profit in the June quarter. It was the top percentage gainer on both the benchmark indices.
          Shares of Multi Commodities Exchange of India (MCX) rose 5.5 per cent after the government raised the foreign investment limit in stock exchanges to 15 percent from 5 per cent.

        General Awareness

        A new Breakthrough – Cabinet approves the changes to GST Bill

        • Cabinet cleared changes in the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill, dropping 1 per cent manufacturing tax and providing guarantee to compensate states for any revenue loss in the first five years of roll out of the proposed indirect tax regime.
          What is a GST Bill?              
          Goods and Services Tax is a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India, to replace taxes levied by the Central and State governments.
          • Goods and services tax would be levied and collected at each stage of sale or purchase of goods or services based on the input tax credit method.
          • The Goods and Services Tax Bill or GST Bill officially known as The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2014, proposes a national Value added Tax to be implemented in India from June 2016. This method allows GST-registered businesses to claim tax credit to the value of GST they paid on purchase of goods or services as part of their normal commercial activity.
          • Taxable goods and services are not distinguished from one another and are taxed at a single rate in a supply chain till the goods or services reach the consumer. Administrative responsibility would generally rest with a single authority to levy tax on goods and services. Exports would be zero-rated and imports would be levied the same taxes as domestic goods and services adhering to the destination principle.
          • The tax rate under GST may be nominal or zero rated for the time being. It has been proposed to insulate the revenues of the States from the impact of GST, with the expectation that in due course, GST will be levied on petroleum and petroleum products.
          What are the GST impacts on common people?
          • The GST shall have two components: one levied by the Centre and the other levied by the States.
          • Rates for Central GST and State GST would be prescribed appropriately, reflecting revenue considerations and acceptability. This dual GST model would be implemented through multiple statutes
          • The Central GST and the State GST would be applicable to all transactions of goods and services made for a consideration except the exempted goods and services, goods which are outside the purview of GST and the transactions which are below the prescribed threshold limits.
          • To the extent feasible, uniform procedure for collection of both Central GST and State GST would be prescribed in the respective legislation for Central GST and State GST.
          • The administration of the Central GST to the Centre and for State GST to the States would be given. This would imply that the Centre and the States would have concurrent jurisdiction for the entire value chain and for all taxpayers on the basis of thresholds for goods and services prescribed for the States and the Centre.
          • The taxpayer would need to submit periodical returns, in common format as far as possible, to both the Central GST authority and to the concerned State GST authorities.
          • Each taxpayer would be allotted a PAN-linked taxpayer identification number with a total of 13/15 digits. This would bring the GST PAN-linked system in line with the prevailing PAN-based system for Income tax, facilitating data exchange and taxpayer compliance.
          Keeping in mind the need of tax payer’s convenience, functions such as assessment, enforcement, scrutiny and audit would be undertaken by the authority which is collecting the tax, with information sharing between the Centre and the States.

        No comments:

        Featured post

        Current Affairs - 16 December 2018

        General Affairs   Cyclone Phethai Gathers Over Bay Of Bengal, May Hit Andhra On Monday ...

        Copyright © 2016. Vikalp Education