Current Affairs Current Affairs - 12 April 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 12 April 2017

General Affairs 

'Be Like Hanuman,' Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tells BJP Lawmakers
  • BJP lawmakers must work like Lord Hanuman, not waiting for instruction to carry the government's work to the people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today, also declaring the Budget session of Parliament that ends tomorrow a "winner."

    "When Lakshman went into a coma, Hanumanji went to find a cure without any prodding. Similarly, MPs must go ahead without waiting for instructions. They need to carry forward the government's work among the masses," PM Modi was quoted as saying at a weekly meeting of party MPs, the last this session.  

    Tuesday was celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti. PM Modi spoke at length, urging his party colleagues to "take inspiration from Hanuman. He never took anything from anyone but he kept giving. You also need to give to people like him."

    MPs, he said, must make a mark in their parliamentary constituencies and be known for their work.

    "Modi ji said the budget session was very meaningful and useful. It was a 'Vijay Prapti Satra (Winning session)," said Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar after the meeting. He congratulated the MPs for 21 bills being passed in the Lok Sabha and 14 in the Rajya Sabha, including four crucial Goods and Services Tax or GST-related Bills.

    The Prime Minister, Mr Kumar said, also spoke about a "positive mood among people" that was reflected in the BJP's sweep of the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly elections. The environment in the country, he said, was in favour of the BJP and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) it leads.

    It was also, PM Modi said, "a golden opportunity" for lawmakers to "lift the lives of the poor, the deprived. This is the time for doing more development and reforms."

268 Ceasefire Violations By Pak Troops Along Line Of Control In Last 1 Year
  • Pakistani security forces violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir 268 times in the last one year, as per government.

    Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said "appropriate retaliation" to the ceasefire violations was carried out by the Indian Army.

    "All violations of ceasefire are taken up with Pakistan authorities at the appropriate level through the established mechanism of hotlines, flag meetings as well as weekly talks between the Directorate Generals of Military Operations of the two countries," he said.

    As per details provided by Mr Bhamre about ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops between April 2016 and March this year, the maximum of 88 violations were witnessed in November followed by 78 in October and 22 last month.

    Nine fatal casualties were reported during the period. To a separate question, he said a total of 25,472 posts of Junior Commissioned Officers and those of equivalent ranks are lying vacant in the Army, while the number of vacancies for officers is 7,986.

    The number of posts lying vacant in Navy is 14,041, while that in Indian Air Force is 13,614.

    Replying to another query, the Minister said government has given in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of some Central Public Sector Enterprises including the BEML Ltd.

    "Disinvestments through strategic sale are being considered based on recommendations of the NITI Aayog after taking into consideration all aspects of the matter. However, after completion of the process, specific approval of government would be sought again," Mr Bhamre said.

    To a query on defence indigenisation, he said 20 Indian vendors have been introduced to the Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to find out the feasibility of transfer of technology for manufacture of spare parts of Su-30 MKI aircraft.

    As part of artillery modernisation approval (acceptance of necessity) has been accorded for procurement of artillery guns including Ultra-Light Howitzers for which orders have already been placed, he said.

Another Big Yogi Adityanath Order In 2nd Cabinet Meeting, This Time On Power
  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has in his second cabinet meeting held this morning ordered 18-hour power supply in villages and 24 hours in district headquarters of the state. A farm loan waiver had headlined the new Chief Minister's first cabinet meeting last week and has built pressure on his counterparts in other states to make similar announcements.

    The Chief Minister has directed officials to ensure that there is uninterrupted supply to villages from 6 in the evening to 6 in the morning to ensure that students preparing for exams are not disturbed. And also to ensure that defective or burnt transformers are replaced soon so that agriculture is not disrupted.

    "It is the dream of BJP chief Amit Shah and the Chief Minister that every house, every poor, and every village get power by 2018," said UP's Power Minister Shrikant Sharma after the three-hour cabinet meeting.

    This would be the first time that UP's villages would get 18 hours of assured power supply, the minister said, also announcing that the Bundlekhand region would get 20 hours of electricity every day.

    Mr Sharma said the BJP government, which took charge three weeks ago, had successfully provided uninterrupted 24-hour power supply at all "shaktipeeths" during the Navratri festival that ended last week.

    Before the cabinet meeting senior minister Sidharth Nath Singh had tweeted that today's agenda was "to serve the common man."

    There was buzz that the second cabinet meeting could be held in Allahabad in an effort to take governance to the doorstep of people and assess local issues closely, but the offsite meeting plan has not been implemented just yet. Today's meeting, like the first last week, was being held in UP capital Lucknow's Lok Bhawan.

    Yogi Adityanath, 44, a saffron-robed monk, had held his first cabinet meeting a full fortnight after he was sworn in on March 19, not calling a meeting of his new ministers immediately after the oath as most Chief Ministers do. He delayed the meeting to be able to announce a waiver of loans for UP's small and marginal farmers as promised by his party the BJP.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in campaign speeches that a farm loan waiver would be announced in the first cabinet meeting if the BJP came to power, and Yogi Adityanath did that at the meeting last week, announcing a write-off of loans worth more than 36,000 crore.

    He has also lost no time in making announcements on other election promises of the BJP like the closing of illegal slaughterhouses and setting up anti-Romeo squads to target men who harass women.

Tata, Adani Can't Raise Power Tariff In 5 States, Says Supreme Court
  • Tata Power and Adani Power cannot charge consumers more in the five states they supply power to, the Supreme Court ruled today, setting aside an order for compensatory tariff to the companies. This means in Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, there will be no hike in electricity bills.

    The companies wanted to increase tariff as they said a change in Indonesian laws on coal export prices in 2010 had raised costs - both source raw coal from Indonesia.

    The Central Electricity Regulatory Authority or CERC had allowed the companies to charge more in December, agreeing that the change in Indonesian laws was outside their control.

    State power companies challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.

    The two companies produce 8620 MW of power in the five states.

    The shares of Tata Power fell about four per cent and that of Adani Power slumped 16 per cent in afternoon trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

NASA To Reveal New Discoveries On Oceans Beyond Earth
  • NASA is set to reveal this week at a news conference new results about ocean worlds in our solar system.

    The announcements will be related particularly to findings from the agency's Saturn probe Cassini spacecraft and the Hubble space telescope, NASA said in a statement.

    These new discoveries will also help inform future ocean world exploration - including NASA's upcoming Europa Clipper mission planned for launch in the 2020s - and the broader search for life beyond the Earth.

    The event, to be held at the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington on Thursday at 11.30 pm India time (2:00 pm EDT) will include remote participation from experts across the US.

    NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which was launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004, is set to end its 20-year journey on September 15 this year with a planned plunge.

    The agency's planned Europa Clipper would place a spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter in order to perform a detailed investigation of the giant planet's moon Europa -- a world that shows strong evidence for an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust and which could host conditions favourable for life.

Business Affairs 

PAN and TAN to be issued within a day in a move to improve ease of doing business
  • In order to improve the ease of doing business for newly incorporated companies, the Income Tax department has tied up with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to issue Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN) in one day.
    The Finance Ministry on Tuesday issued a press statement saying, "Applicant companies submit a common application form SPICe (INC 32) on MCA portal and once the data of incorporation is sent to Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) by MCA, the PAN and TAN are issued immediately without any further intervention of the applicant."
    The Certificate of Incorporation (COI) of newly incorporated companies includes the PAN in addition to the Corporate Identity Number (CIN). TAN is also allotted simultaneously and communicated to the Company, the statement reads.
    The move is expected to significantly improve the ranking of India in the Ease of Doing Business Study conducted by World Bank by reducing the number of processes of registration before various authorities under law. It will also make the entire registration process for new companies much simpler.
    The Ministry highlighted the number of PAN cards allotted to newly incorporated Companies. It said: "Till March 31 2017, 19,704 newly incorporated Companies were allotted PAN cards in this manner."
    The department has also introduced the Electronic PAN Card (E-PAN) which is sent by email, in addition to issue of the physical PAN Card to all applicants including individuals where PAN is allotted.
    "Applicant would be benefited by having a digitally signed E-PAN card which they can submit as proof of identity to other agency electronically directly or by storing in the Digital Locker," the press statement said.

Sensex ends 200 points higher, Nifty settles above 9,200; Adani Ports fall 4.85%
  • The Indian benchmark indices started off the day on a tepid note but rallied over 200 points in midday trade to end today's trading session at 29,788.35, 212.61 points higher.
    The NSE Nifty Index reclaimed its 9,200-mark by late morning trade to end the day at 9,237.00, up 55.55 points.
    The biggest laggard in today's trade was Adani Ports that plunged nearly 5 per cent in trade on the BSE after the Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside an order by the Appellate Tribunal For Electricity allowing compensatory tariff to Tata Power Ltd and Adani Power Ltd, sending down shares of both companies.
    Shares of Tata Power fell nearly 2 per cent on the BSE.
    The biggest movers on the bourses were ITC which logged over 3 per cent in trade on the BSE and NSE.
    Among other gainers were Bank of Baroda and ICICI Bank on the 50-share index and Power Grid and Larsen and Toubro on the BSE Sensex.
    Infosys is due to release its earnings report on Thursday.
    In other news, tech major HP today said it has elevated Rajiv Srivastava to the newly created regional position of chief operating officer and head of sales strategy and operations for its Asia Pacific (APAC) and Japan operations.
    India Ratings, the domestic subsidiary of Fitch Ratings, appointed Rohit Sawhney as the chief executive.
    The Reserve Bank of India today fixed the reference rate of the rupee at 64.5438 against the US dollar and 68.3067 for the euro.
    Passenger vehicle sales in India crossed the three million milestone for the first time in 2016-17, with the segment witnessing a growth of 9.23 per cent.
    For the fiscal ended March 2017, domestic passenger vehicles (PV) sales were at 30,46,727 units as against 27,89,208 in the previous year, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

    3.07 PM:
    Sensex soars to 222 points reaching its highest level of 29,804. 
    1.24 PM:
    State-owned power major Bhel announced that it has bagged an order from Indian Railways for installing 2 MW roof-top solar photo voltaic systems at Diesel Locomotive Modernisation Works (DMW) in Patiala.
    "Bhel has bagged one more order of 2 MW roof top SPV systems at Diesel Locomotive Modernisation Works (DMW), Patiala," the company said in a statement.
    It envisages design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of grid connected roof top solar photo voltaic power plant with all electrical and associated equipment including civil works, Bhel said.
    Bhel stock was trading at Rs 176.10, up 0.77 per cent, on BSE.
    12.41 PM:
    The shareholders of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd have agreed and approved the conglomerate's plan to merge with Grasim Industries Ltd that would create a $9 billion revenue earning entity. 
    83 per cent of Aditya Birla Nuvo's minority shareholder votes were cast in favour of a merger with Grasim, reported Livemint, while Grasim's minority shareholders had already voted their consent.
    Shares of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd were 0.07 per cent down and Grasim was 0.06 per cent lower on Tuesday's trade on the BSE.
    12.10 PM:
    German luxury car maker Mercedes Benz reported its best ever quarterly sales in India at 3,650 units, albeit just a marginal increase from the year-ago period.
    The sales growth in January-March period this calendar year has been driven by the E-Class sedan and SUV portfolio led by GLC, Mercedes Benz India said.
    "After the lost opportunities in 2016, we are seeing growth momentum returning. What we saw in the first quarter of this year is as per our expectations," Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Roland Folger told PTI.
    So far, Mercedes Benz has launched four different new products, including the hot selling long wheel base E-Class.
    In the first quarter of 2017, E-Class sedan has re-emerged as the highest selling model for Mercedes-Benz, the firm said.
    Launched on February 28, the model had sold 500 units within six days.
    12.02 PM:
    Shares of Adani Ports dipped 2.66 per cent on the BSE.
    11.57 AM:
    Shares of ITC gains 2.23 per cent on the BSE after the company announced that it is planning on expanding its juice portfolio to 20 per cent of market share in five years.
    Apart from adding new flavours and focusing on local fruits, the company is expanding its sales network to meet the target.
    The Kolkata-based firm also plans to expand retail points of its luxury chocolate brand Fabelle and take it outside its hotel premises, where it is only available currently. "We are going to add 2 to 3 percent market share every year and in next five years. It should be around 18 to 20 per cent in the next five years," ITC Foods Division Divisional Chief Executive Hemant Malik told PTI.
    10.25 AM:
    Indian rupee
    The cup of woes for the rupee seems to be brimming over as it weakened 13 paise more to 64.69 against the dollar in early session today as US rate hike fears come back to haunt participants.
    Fed officials' highly hawkish comments mainly soured forex market sentiment.
    Dealers said dollar flexing muscles overseas and its increased demand from importers put the squeeze on the rupee.
    They said, however, a higher opening in the domestic stock market limited the rupee losses.
    Yesterday, the rupee had retreated after a three-session winning run and lost 28 paise to end at 64.56 against the dollar with simmering geopolitical tensions taking the centre-stage at the global level.
    10.23 AM:
    The BSE Sensex reversed its tepid start of the day to trade at 29,693.66, suring 117.92 points.
    The Nifty50 was ruling at 9,206.95, 25.50 points higher.
    Sectoral indices such as IT, oil and gas, capital goods and technology were in the lead, giving the sentiment a lift.
    Optimistic buying in blue-chip stocks ahead of industrial production (IIP) data for February and retail inflation for March tomorrow kept stocks on course.
    Asian markets were muted over weak global cues.
    In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.76 per cent and Japan's Nikkei fell 0.48 per cent while Shanghai Composite shed 0.36 per cent in early trade today.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.01 per cent higher yesterday.
    9.22 AM:
    The Indian benchmark indices opened flat on the green with a positive bias.
    The S&P BSE Sensex was trading at 29,604.09, up 28.35 points while the Nifty50 was trading at 9,183.45, 2.00 points higher.
    Infosys gained 1.11 per cent on the BSE after closing as the top loser on the bourse yesterday.
    The company is expected to release their earning results on Thursday.
    State Bank of India, Sun Pharma and ONGC were other gainers on the BSE.
    BPCL and Infosys added over 1 per cent to the NSE Nifty Index in morning trade. 

L&T arm wins its single-biggest order of Rs 5,250 cr from Qatar firm
  • Engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro's construction arm has secured its single-biggest order worth Rs 5,250 crore from Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation for power transmission and network expansion.
    "The power transmission and distribution business of L&T Construction has won its single-largest order from its esteemed customer Kahramaa, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation for its ongoing Qatar electricity transmission and network expansion," the company said in a BSE filing today.
    The contract involves engineering, procurement and construction of 30 new gas insulated sub-stations of varying voltage levels of 220 kv, 132 kv, and 66 kv, it added.
    It also includes 132 kv and 66 kv underground cables for approximately 560 km under various definitive and framework packages.
    L&T Deputy MD and President, S N Subrahmanyan, who is set to take over as MD soon, said: "We have been associated with Kahramaa for over a decade, which has put in place a programme well ahead of the times to provide sufficient power and water for the Sultanate."
    The project work is spread across the state of Qatar, including both freshly developed as well as already developed areas.
    The project is scheduled for completion in phases in 15-32 months.
    The L&T stock was down 0.51 per cent at Rs 1,677.90 on BSE today.

    Paying rent to kin for tax relief? You may be denied tax exemptions
    • If you have been paying rent to your relatives, or at least showing it in your tax return, you could be denied tax exemptions under HRA.
      Income tax appellate tribunal (ITAT) in Mumbai had denied a claim on house rent allowance exemption to a taxpayer who had paid rent in cash to her mother, as she was unable to give proof. However, the Ahmedabad ITAT allowed the HRA exemption claimed by a taxpayer who had paid rent to his spouse.
      To make the 'best' use of income tax exemption available under HRA, some salaried employees pay rent to their family members to claim tax deductions under the house rent allowance.
      "Payment of rent to a parent or spouse will not impact the eligibility to claim HRA exemption as long as the above mentioned conditions are met and the transaction is genuine." "The transaction should not be a mechanism to avoid tax," Amarpal S Chadha, partner, people advisory services at EY-India told TOI.
      Tax department may soon be asking for proof to check whether the taxpayer claiming deductions under HRA is staying at the rented property.
      The Income Tax department will now scrutinise receipts submitted under HRA with more diligence and may ask you to provide more proof to show that you are staying in the accommodation.
      Tax authorities may soon be able to deny tax relief where house rent allowance (HRA) is claimed by fabricating bills. The assessing officer can now ask for proof of rent agreement, letter to the housing society informing about the tenancy, electricity bill, water bill etc. from those claiming tax deductions for house rent allowance.
      In this year's annual budget, the Finance Minister had proposed that those who are claiming a House Rent Allowance (HRA) of more than Rs 50,000 per month will have to deduct tax at source at the rate of five per cent.
      The TDS will have to be deducted on the last month of the year in which rent is paid or last month of tenancy .
      From Government perspective this amendment would ensure that there are no revenue leakages on account of such rental income. This will also discourage people who were claiming the HRA deduction fraudulently quoting wrong Permanent Account Number (PAN) of the landlord. Quoting PAN of the landlord was mandatory in case the rent paid during the year was more than Rs one lakh a year. 

    Car sales cross 3 million in 2016/17
    • Despite demonetisation, ban on diesel cars in NCR and uncertainty over emission norms, India witnessed record car sales of 3,046,727 units in 2016/17. It is a consequence of a splendid 30 per cent growth of utility vehicles, largely led by new models such as Hyundai Creta, Maruti Brezza and Innova Crysta. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) released the sales data and projected a much higher growth in 2017/18.
      "We are projecting a 7-9 per cent growth in 2017/18 on better fiscal payouts and higher agri incomes. Also, the clarity over BS-4 emission norms and GST implementation will pave the way for higher sales," Vishnu Mathur, Director General of SIAM told the media. SIAM is expecting to inch closer to Germany in terms of car sales, which sold a 3,351,607 units in 2016 and is the fourth largest passenger car market in the world.
      Similar sentiments were echoed by analysts tracking the sector. Abdul Majeed, Partner at Price Waterhouse, says that Indian automotive industry has performed extremely well in the last fiscal. "In the passenger car segment, OEMs with new launches and a fantastic distribution network across the country, continue to grow. The commercial vehicles and two-wheeler vehicle segments saw a boost due to the implementation of BS IV norms from April 1, 2017. We no longer see the impact of demonetisation," he said, adding that the introduction of GST from July 1, 2017, will boost consumption. The overall GST rates on different segments of the automotive sector during the year are likely to be favourable -- it may bring down the prices of the vehicles and keep the growth momentum going in the fiscal.
      Despite the bloom, the auto industry remained cautious on future growth because of a sharp increase in commodity prices on the back of increase in international raw material prices. Abrupt policy changes also continue to affect long term sustainable growth of the industry. On the fiscal front, the vehicle finance rates still remain high and a cause of worry for the industry, especially the two wheeler segment.
      SIAM gave a positive outlook on growth. Passenger vehicles segment is expected to grow by 7 to 9 per cent, commercial vehicles segment in the range of 4 to 6 per cent, the crucial two wheelers segment by 9-11 per cent and the three-wheeler segment is expected to claw back into positive terrain with 4-6 per cent gain in 2017/18.
      Major Highlights of the Year:

      • Passenger vehicle sales crosses 3 million mark
      • Record sales in passenger car and utility vehicle segments
      • Record two-wheeler sales at 17.6 million
      • Record sales in scooters, mopeds and motorcycles segments
      • Record passenger vehicle exports. Growth again in double digits
      • Record exports of cars and utility vehicles
      • Record exports of commercial vehicles
      • Record exports of scooters

    General Awareness

    Survey General Of India Completes 250 Years

    • The Survey General of India completes 250 years on 10th April, 2017. The center launched a website which allows the public access to 3000 maps which are prepared by Survey General of India. It also made a subscription to Aadhaar mandatory for the service.
      Nakshe Portal:
      Nakshe Portal was launched by the Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on the occasion of 250th anniversary of Survey of India in New Delhi
      • Topographic Maps or Open Series Maps (OSM) contains natural and man- made geographical features which includes terrain and topography.
      • It is prepared by Survey of India since 1767 and is in conformity with the National Map Policy-2005.
      • These OSM maps have been made available for free download from “nakshe”web portal through Aaadhar enabled user authentication process.
      Major Highlights:
      • Making the Aadhaar mandatory for entering the website would ensure that only Indians used it.
      • The SGI has provided a link on which one can download up to 3 maps a day using one’s Aadhaar number.
      • One’s Aadhaar number would be the login ID.
      • The site has been designed, developed and hosted by the National Informatics Commission Uttarakhand.
      • The SGI has an abundant collection of more than 3000 maps of which 3000 have now been accessible to the public.
      • The SGI includes differentiation of state and International boundaries, mapping of topography, making maps for urban planning, mapping rivers, flood plains and roads.
      • Through the Survey of India, The East India Company mapped the entire region and its data like the measurement of the sea level.
      • It also being a reference point for several South and East Asian countries.
      • The Institute first published ‘A Map of Hindoostan’ in 1783 which depicts the subcontinent comprising India Pakistan besides part of Afghanistan and Burma.
      • It also prepared maps for neighbouring countries like Myanmar and Srilanka, Burma, Ceylon.
      • The bulk of the work done by SGI revolves around defence- It prepares a different sets of maps for the armed forces.
      • After the 2005 “National Policy of 2005”,the open series maps that can be accessed by general public and while the maps that are made for defence are restricted to armed forces.
      History of Survey General of India:
      The Surveyor General of India is the Head of Department of Survey Of India a department under a ministry of Science and Technology of Government of India.
      • HQ- Dehradun
      • 23 Geo—Spatial Data centers
      • SGI acts as adviser to the Government of India on all survey matters.

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