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Current Affairs - 22 April 2017

General Affairs 

Yogi Adityanath Tells Cops to Change Work Culture, Make People Feel Secure
  • Asserting that the rule of law was the top priority of his government, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the state police to change its work style so as to make the common people feel secure.

    The chief minister, who reviewed a presentation by the state's Home, Vigilance and Jails department late last night, expressed unhappiness over the working of the anti-corruption wing of the state police and ordered its reorganisation.

    He also directed that a toll-free number be provided to common people for lodging complaints in corruption cases.

    "There is a need to improve the image of the police in the eyes of the people and it should be such that people feel secure while criminals feel the fear," an official spokesman said yesterday quoting the chief minister.

    UP Chief Minister Adityanath directed officials to launch of a drive against mafia and also asked them to ensure that those who provide information on 'Dial 100' were not subjected to harassment.

    Stressing on effective check on corruption in all cells of the police and identification of staff members having links with criminals and anti-social elements, the chief minister asked for a direct dialogue between police and people and taking note of even minor incident and prompt action on them.

    He also stressed on corruption-free and transparent recruitment in the police force, construction of new police thanas and prompt action in cases of terror, acid attack and atrocities, the spokesman added.

    The chief minister cautioned the officials of the jails department against any leniency towards notorious criminals and said that they should not be allowed to use medical treatment as excuse.

    The chief minister also said same food should be given to all convicts-petty criminals or mafia dons -- lodged in jails and ordered foolproof arrangement of installing mobile phone jammers, the spokesman added.

Restaurants Cannot Force Customers To Pay Service Charge, Says Ram Vilas Paswan
  • Restaurants cannot force customers to pay a service charge and customers have the right to decide if they should pay extra, the Centre has said in a fresh set of guidelines for state governments. Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the guidelines, cleared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office, were being sent to state governments for enforcement.

    Mr Paswan announced the Centre's move in a series of tweets on Thursday. "Service charge is totally voluntary and not mandatory now," the minister said. Hotels and Restaurants should not decide how much service charge is to be paid by the customer and it should be left to the discretion of customer," he said.

    This is the second advisory to the states over the last five months to get them to reach out to hotels and restaurants and make sure they desist from adding a service charge to their customers' food bills. States would also be asked to make sure that restaurants put up a board at an appropriate place that makes it clear that "service charges" was a voluntary payment and consumers dissatisfied with the services can have it waived off.

    But previous attempts to nudge the restaurants to give up the charge, that they insist goes to their staffers, have been unsuccessful. Since one of the arguments against the service charge was that restaurants could not levy a charge other than the published price on the menu, many restaurants put up notice at the entrance that declared customers would have to pay the additional 8-10 per cent service charge.

Union Minister Rajnath Singh Urges States To Ensure Safety Of Kashmiri Students
  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has condemned the attack on a group of Kashmiri students at Rajasthan's Mewar University and appealed to all state governments to ensure safety of Kashmiris.

    "I appeal to all the chief ministers to ensure safety of Kashmiri youths. No Kashmiri should be harassed. If such incidents happen, immediate action should be taken," Mr Singh said.

    Calling the incident as "unfortunate", the minister said, "Kashmiris are citizens of India and part of our family. They should not be harassed."

    The minister has also asked the home ministry officials to issue an advisory in this regard.

    Six Kashmiri students studying at Mewar University were beaten up by some locals in Chittorgarh district.

    In another occurrence, banners calling for boycott of Kashmiris and asking them to leave Uttar Pradesh came up in Meerut in the wake of rising incidents of stone throwing on security forces in Kashmir.

    The minister said proper inquiry should be initiated in each case and strongest possible action should be taken against the guilty in both the states.

    The police have registered an FIR against Amit Jani, chief of Uttar Pradesh Nav Nirman Sena, a little-known group that had put up the hoardings.

    Mr Jani claimed they have put up these banners and hoardings along the Partapur bypass outside the colleges where Kashmiri students study.

    The outfit had warned of a full-blown "Halla Bol" campaign from April 30 to "banish" Kashmiris who do not leave the state on their own.

    Partapur Station House Officer Dinesh Sharma said the banners have been taken down and an FIR has been registered against accused persons for "promoting or attempting to promote disharmony on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community".

Devendra Fadnavis, Again. Latur, Congress Turf, Picks BJP
  • The BJP has won civic elections in Latur, the district in Maharashtra that has been wrecked by five years of consecutive drought. The state's ruling party beat the Congress by a whisker, winning 36 seats to the rival party's 33, but it counts as huge win. The Congress had never lost the 70-member corporation since Independence. In the last election five years ago, the Congress had won 49 seats. The BJP had won zero.
    It's another victory for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who led the campaign. "If the BJP is voted to power," Mr Fadnavis said, the party would "ensure Latur becomes drought-free". Latur voted on Wednesday.

    In February, the 46-year-old Chief Minister was credited with the BJP's resounding victory in local elections in regions like Amravati and Pune. In Mumbai, the BJP was a close runner-up to the Shiv Sena in its best result ever for the vastly-rich corporation in the financial capital. In rural areas where the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party have traditionally been strong the ruling party has made major inroads in local elections.

    Earlier this month, the Chief Minister told voters in Latur that farmers who could not use electric pumps because of a power shortage would not have to pay electricity bills.  

    "In order to provide better electricity, we will provide 561 crore for Marathwada region. Previously, the governments used to provide around 
    s. 300-400 crore for the purpose," he also said and pledged more water tankers, better electricity and education for children in rural areas.

    Last year, trains carrying water pulled into Latur every day for nearly four months as an intervention after a severe crisis in the area due to the monsoon failing for the fifth year.

    The loss today severely dents the Congress party, already reeling from its losses in a state that it ruled for 10 years till 2014. In last time's civic elections in Latur the Nationalist Congress Party, that had held 49 seats, has won one seat today. 

    The win today consolidates the BJP's position as Maharashtra's number one party, up from number four only a few years ago.

No Indication Paris Gunman Was Belgian: Belgium Prosecutor
  • The identity of a man responsible for a shooting in central Paris remains unclear and there is no indication he was Belgian, Belgium's federal prosecutors said on Friday.

    Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for Thursday's shooting, in which a French policeman was shot dead, via its Amaq news agency, naming the attacker as Abu Yousif al-Belgiki.

    "Al-Belgiki means the Belgian but it is a very vague identity," a spokesman for Belgium's federal prosecutor said, adding he had no indication the gunman was from Belgium.

    In November, 2015, when Paris was rocked by near simultaneous gun-and-bomb attacks on entertainment sites, two of the 10 known perpetrators were Belgian citizens.

Business Affairs 

Sensex, Nifty end in the red; Sun Pharma, Adani Ports top losers
    Wipro sacked 600 employees post performance appraisal
    Tata Steel board has given its approval for issuing debt securities worth up to Rs 9,000 crore to meet working capital requirements and general corporate purposes.
    US FDA finds incomplete lab records at Sun Pharma's Dadra plant.

    Asian markets rose on the back of strong US earnings and US tax reform.
    The euro retreated from a three-week high as jitters returned over French presidential elections on Sunday after a shooting in Paris.
    Wall Street indexes closed between 0.75 percent and 0.9 percent higher on rising expectations for first-quarter corporate profits.
    3.35 PM:
    Sensex ends the day at 29,365.30, down 57.09 points while the Nifty50 settles the day at 9,119.40, down 17.00 points.
    HDFC, Reliance, NTPC were the top gainers on the BSE Sensex adding as much as 2.59 per cent, 2.38 per cent and 2.83 per cent respectively.
    On the NSE Nifty Index, Bharti Infratel was the top gainer.
    Sun Pharma (down 2.65 per cent), Adani Ports (down 1.85 per cent) and CIPLA (down 1.84 per cent) on the BSE Sensex
    Sun Pharma (down 2.45 per cent), Bank of Baroda (down 2.09 per cent) and Adani Ports (down 1.87 per cent)
    3.08 PM:
    HDFC Bank reported an 18.2 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 3,990 crore for the March quarter.
    3.00 PM:
    Twenty-two stocks trade in the red as Sensex slips 60 points. 
    Sun Pharma, ITC and CIPLA are top losers. 
    1.12 PM:
    Indian markets reverse morning gains to plunge in the red. 
    Sensex falls 75 points to trade at 29,346 while the Nifty50 was trading at 9,113.60, down 22.80 points. 
    12.36 PM:
    Tata Power today said it has signed an agreement with Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (AVVNL) for electricity distribution in Ajmer for 20 years.
    Tata Power signed the Distribution Franchise Agreement (DFA) with AVVNL to cater to power requirements of customers in Ajmer for a period of 20 years, Tata Power said in a regulatory filing.
    Subsequent to winning the bid for distribution franchise of Ajmer circle, Tata Power has formed a special purpose company (SPC), TP Ajmer Distribution Ltd.
    Tata Power CEO and MD Anil Sardana said: "We welcome all our customers in Ajmer to a world class reliable power experience that is backed by best-in-class customer service."
    The SPC will be operating and maintaining the distribution network in the Ajmer city, which includes city division 1 and 2 areas, and would also be responsible for managing the billing and collections, it said.
    Shares of Tata Power were trading at Rs 84.50, up 0.42 per cent on BSE.
    12.30 PM:
    Shares of Mawana Sugar Ltd rose 2.76 per cent on the Sensex.
    Another UP based company called Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd that operates a sugar refinery in bahadurgarh district saw a rise in stock price.
    Shares of Triveni were trading 2.90 per cent on the Sensex.
    Shares of Dwarikesh Sugar Industries Ltd rose 2.99 per cent on the 30-share index.
    11.55 AM:
    Jain Irrigation Systems has bagged a Rs 569-crore contract from Karnataka government for Poorigali Integrated Micro Irrigation Project.
    The company has been awarded the Poorigali Integrated Micro Irrigation Project by Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd, Government of Karnataka through National competitive bidding, Jain Irrigation Systems said in a BSE filing today.
    The project is based on the concept of 'resource to root' aimed at providing more healthy crops to farmers.
    It will cover 25,317 acres of farm area spread over 51 villages in Karnataka.
    Shares of Jain Irrigation Systems were trading 0.88 per cent higher at Rs 68.55 apiece on BSE today.
    11.11 AM:
    Larsen & Toubro has signed a contract with South Korea's Hanwha Techwin (HTW) for the supply of self propelled guns for the Indian army.
    Larsen was the sole qualified bidder based on the trials and performance of the K9 VAJRA-T gun, customised by L&T with HTW as the technology partner.
    Shares of L&T were trading 0.53 per cent higher at Rs 1,690 apiece on BSE
    11.03 AM:
    Reliance Industries Ltd gained the most on the BSE Sensex, rising 2.71 per cent.
    NTPC and ONGC gain over 1 per cent to trade among the top gainers on the 30-share Index.
    CIPLA and Sun Pharma were the top laggards on the Index falling 1.56 per cent and 1.82 per cent respectively.
    Market gains are in-line with global markets with Midcap stocks.
    Jain Irrigation bags a Rs 570 cr order from Karnataka government, reports CNBC TV 18.
    The stock is up 1.05 per cent
    10.20 AM:
    Jay Bharat Maruti stocks gains for the fifth day, rising 11.66 per cent. 
    9.32 AM:
    BSE Midcap gainers were led by Sun TV, gaining 2.81 per cent and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd, gaining 2.17 per cent.
    9.27 AM:
    Gains on the BSE were led by Reliance, up 1.65 per cent, GAIL, up 1.28 per cent and Axis Bank, up 0.88 per cent.
    On the NSE Index, Gains were led by Bharti Infratel while Grasim was the top loser, shedding 1.38 per cent.
    9.17 AM:
    The S&P BSE Sensex was trading at 29,528.22, soaring 105.83 points while the Nifty50 was trading at 9,173.65, 37.25 points higher.
    9.15 AM:
    Indian benchmark indices open in the green with Bharti Infratel leading the pack on the NSE.
    Tech Mahindra among other tech stocks were trading higher.
    Sun Pharma was trading 1.5 per cent lower after US FDA inspection at its Dadra plant.
    The Midcap Index is up 6 per cent with a positive bias.
    Sugar stocks are trading higher after UP CM Yogi Adityanath promised reforms for the industry.

Two mega projects for Andhra
  • The Andhra Pradesh State Investment Promotion Board, at its meeting on Friday under the chairmanship of the state Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, has granted approval for setting up of two mega projects in the State. Tremag Alloys Private Limited and Tata Chemicals Limited have been granted approval for setting up of units to manufacture Magnesium Ingots and prebiotics respectively.
    In a note by the Andhra government says, Tremag Alloys had come forward to set up a Magnesium Ingots manufacturing plant spread across 100 acres in the Kadapa Mega Industrial Park. "While the total investment proposed by the company is Rs.660 crore, it will provide direct employment to over 1200 people and indirect employment to 6000 people. The phase one of the project will commence in November 2018 and second phase will start from May 2019. The expected turnover is Rs. 800 crore.'  Also, it says, "this is first  such project in India to use Pidgeon process to produce magnesium ingots; used primarily for steel, auto, aviation industries."
    On the Tata Chemicals project, it says, the company was "keen on setting up a Prebiotics Manufacturing Plant to manufacture FOS (Fructo-oligosaccharides) and GOS (Galacto-oligosccharides) powders." The plant will come up in APIIC Industrial Park, Mambattu Village, Tada Mandal, Nellore district in an area of 39.81 acres with a total investment of Rs 400 crore. The expected turnover is Rs 183.crore by 2021 and will provide direct employment to 150 people and indirect employment to 80 people. The plant will be completed in two phases and the production will start in December 2018."

Can't pass an order on reclaiming Kohinoor: Supreme Court
  • The Supreme Court on Friday said it could not pass an order for reclaiming the Kohinoor from the United Kingdom or to stop it from being auctioned.
    Disposing of a plea seeking directions to bring the treasured diamond back to India, a bench headed by chief justice J.S. Khehar said it could not ask a foreign government not to auction a property.
    The court made it clear it could not pass an order with regard to a property which was in another country.
    "We are quite surprised that such petitions are filed for properties which are in the USA and the UK. What kind of a writ petition is this," the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, said.
    The apex court referred to an affidavit filed by the Centre and said, "The government of India continues to explore ways and means with the UK government on the issue."
    The petitions, filed by an NGO, the All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front, and Heritage Bengal, a registered organisation, were tagged together by the court last year.

    Making investment declarations? New income tax rules you should know
    • It is that time of the year when many of you would be giving your investment declarations for the year to your employer. Based on the investment declaration given by the employee in the beginning of the financial year, the employer deducts  tax from the salary every month. So, before making the investment declaration it will be good to know the new tax rules applicable from the current financial year 2017-18.
      1) The tax rate for income slab of Rs 2.5 lakh - Rs 5 lakh  has been reduced from 10 per cent to five per cent. This reduction in tax rate will result in a tax benefit of Rs 12,500 for taxpayers. If you add education cess (2 per cent), and higher and secondary education cess (1 per cent) to it, the tax saving will increase to Rs 12,875.
      2) The tax rebate enjoyed by the taxpayers under Section 87A has been reduced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 2,500. Earlier, it was available to those with a taxable income of Rs. 5 lakh, whereas now the limit has been reduced to Rs 3.5 lakh.
      3) In case of let out property, the set-off of 'loss from house property' from other income streams  has been limited to Rs 2 lakh in a financial year. There was no cap on it earlier . So, if there was a loss from house property as the entire interest of home loan for a let out property was tax deductible, you could set off the entire loss against any other source of income hence reducing the tax burden substantially. But now, you can set off losses only up to Rs 2 lakh while can carry forward the loss for next eight years. But as in the initial years the interest cost is high, the tax savings will reduce substantially due to the Rs 2 lakh cap.

      4) In another move to encourage people to save more for their retirement, partial withdrawals from National Pension System (NPS) - up to 25 per cent of the contribution made by the employee - have been made tax-free. Moreover, self-employed individuals will now be eligible to claim deduction of up to 20 per cent of their gross total income, as against the existing 10 per cent, in respect of contribution made to NPS. This would be subject to the overall deduction limit of Rs 1.5 lakh.
      5) The tax break on Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme available to first time equity investor will not be available from this year.
      6) Any taxpayer who is eligible to file tax return will face higher penalty in case he or she delays the filing of income tax return after the due date - July 31 of the assessment year is generally the last date. A tax penalty of Rs 5,000 will be levied if returns are filed after this date, and Rs 10,000, if filed after December 31 of the assessment year. However, for small taxpayers with income not exceeding Rs 5 lakh for a financial year, the penalty will be Rs 1,000 for delay in filing tax return. Earlier a taxpayer could file return till the end of the assessment year, and was penalised with a fine of Rs 5,000 at the discretion of the tax officer in case of delay.
      7) The time period for revising a tax return has been reduced to 12 months from completion of the financial year. The time frame for scrutiny assessments has been reduced from 21 months to 18 months for the next financial year, and is slated to be reduced further to 12 months from 2018-19.
      8) The holding period for computation of long term gains in case of property has been reduced to two years, from the existing period of three years.  
      9) The base year for indexation has been shifted from 1-4-1981 to 1-4-2001. Indexation means adjusting the impact of inflation during the holding period of the capital asset so that it reflects the current market prices. The shift in base year will result in less tax liability for the buyer.
      10) It will be now be mandatory for those claiming a House Rent Allowance (HRA) of more than Rs 50,000 per month to deduct tax at source at the rate of 5 per cent. The TDS will have to be deducted on the last month of the year in which rent is paid or the last month of tenancy. In case the landlord (payee) does not have a Permanent Account Number (PAN), the tax deduction shall not exceed the amount of rent payable for the last month of the previous year, or the last month of the tenancy.

    HDFC Bank posts stellar Q4 earnings: Top ten things to take note
    • Private sector lender HDFC Bank on Friday reported earnings for the quarter and fiscal ending March 31, 2017. The earnings were above street expectations. We look at top ten takeaways of the earnings of the Mumbai-based lender.
      HDFC Bank reported an 18.2 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 3,990 crore for the March quarter. The country's second-largest private sector lender had posted a net profit of Rs 3,374 crore in the January-March period of 2015-16 fiscal. It posted Rs 3865.33 crore net profit during the third quarter of last fiscal. 
      BAD LOANS 
      Bad loans provisioning rose sharply during the quarter to Rs 1,261 crore, up from Rs 662 crore in the January-March period of 2015-16, it said. It had provisions of Rs 717.78 crore in the third quarter of last fiscal. 
      Its gross non-performing assets rose to Rs 5,885.66 crore for the quarter ending March 31, 2017. The bank reported Rs 4392.83 crore in Gross NPAs for the quarter ending March 31 , 2016. For the quarter ending December 2016 too, the bank posted rising NPAs of Rs 5233.37 crore.
      Total income during the fourth quarter rose to Rs 21,560 crore, up from Rs 18,862 crore in the same quarter of the previous fiscal.
      Net revenues (net interest incomes plus other income) rose 21.1 percent to Rs 12,501.4 crore in the fourth quarter compared with Rs 10,319.2 crore for the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
      Net interest income (NII: interest earned less interest expended) for Q4 of last fiscal rose 21.5 percent to Rs 9055.1 crore from Rs 7453.3 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2016. The Bank's total capital adequacy ratio (CAD) as per Basel III guidelines stood at 14.6 percent as of quarter ended March 31 as against a regulatory requirement of 10.25 percent.
      Operating expenses for Q4 stood at Rs 5222.0 crore, a rise of 13.9 percent over Rs 4584.3  crore  during the corresponding quarter of the previous year. 
      For full 2016-17 fiscal, HDFC Bank reported a net profit of Rs 14,549 crore, a growth of 18.3 per cent over the previous financial year. Gross non-performing assets (NPA) of the bank as a percentage of total advances rose to 1.05 per cent during the March quarter, from 0.94 per cent in the same quarter of 2015 -16 fiscal.
      The bank's board has recommended a dividend of Rs 11 per equity share of Rs 2 each (550 per cent) out of the net profits for the year ended March 31, 2017. 
      Total balance sheet size as of March 31, 2017 was Rs 863,840 crore as against Rs 740,796 crore as of March 31, 2016.  Total deposits on March 31, 2017 were Rs 6,43,40 crore, an increase of 17.8 per cent over March 31, 2016.  Current account deposits rose 30.7 percent on an year on year on year basis to reach Rs 115,574 crore and savings accounts deposits by 30.9 percent to reach Rs 193579 crore.

    General Awareness

    Modi, Paytm founder among Time’s 100 most influential people of 2017

    • This year Margot Robbie has been featured in Time’s 100 Most Influential People Of 2017.Margot Robbie is an Australian actress. She started her career in his late 2000s.
      Important Highlights:
      • She was honoured by The Wolf of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese.
      • He applauded Margot Robbie and said ‘Margot is stunning in all she is and all she does, and she will astonish us forever.’
      • This year’s 14th annual issue features five worldwide covers.
      • President Donald Trump and Pope Francis join the likes of singer Demi Lovato and actress Viola Davis on Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People.100 most influential people of 2017
      • The Australian actress was joined on the list by fellow Hollywood stars Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and James Corden.
      • In Time’s 100 two Indians are on the list Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
      • Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm founder is selected for his huge venture growth of Paytm with 177 million users, compared with 122 million at the beginning of the year.
      • Modi is described as a maestro of the art of political seduction, playing on the existential fears and cultural insecurities of people facing downward or blocked mobility.
      • Each featuring a member of the TIME 100: singer John Legend, actress Viola Davis, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, philanthropist Melinda Gates, and British actor Riz Ahmed.
      • The latest edition of the magazine’s annual list also includes Chance the Rapper, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and FBI Director James Comey.
      • This is the second time when Donald trump has made the list.
      • He’s joined by daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
      • Other names which are included are Russian President Vladimir Putin; Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, basketball superstar LeBron James, actress Emma Stone and singers John Legend and Ed Sheeran.
      About Time 100
      • Time 100 (often written in all-caps as TIME 100) is an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world created by the American news magazine Time.
      • It was first published in 1999 as the result of a debate among American academics, politicians, and journalists; the list is now an annual event.

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