Current Affairs Current Affairs - 6 June 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 6 June 2017

General Affairs 

President, PM Narendra Modi pat ISRO for Made in India GSLV Mk III rocket launch
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today successfully launched its GSAT-19 communication satellite into space using a monster launch vehicle GLSV Mark-III.
    The GSLV-Mark III, or the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III, took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
    The GSLV-Mark III carried a 3,136-kg GSAT-19 communication satellite--the heaviest to be lifted by an Indian rocket till date--to an altitude of around 179 km above the Earth after just over 16 minutes into the flight.
    "It is a historic day... Both the GSLV Mk-III and the GSAT-19 launch have been successful... We are looking forward to its (GSAT-19) operations," ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar said. 
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO for the feat, and said the GSLV Mark-III/GSAT-19 mission takes India closer to the next-generation launch vehicle and satellite capability.
    Congratulations to the dedicated scientists of ISRO for the successful launch of GSLV – MKIII D1/GSAT-19 mission.
    President Pranab Mukherjee also congratulated ISRO scientists and said the nation is proud of the "significant achievement".
    In February, ISRO'S workhorse rocket PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) created history by launching 104 satellites in a single mission from Sriharikota.
    The GSAT-19's successful launch today will now pave the way for the launch of GSAT-11--a heavier communication satellite--into the space in the near future.
    Following the GSLV-Mark III's success, India can now launch four-tonne satellites on its own rocket instead of paying huge amounts of money to foreign space agencies to execute the operation.
    The GSAT-19's launch machine GSLV Mark-III is no less in terms of weight--it weighs 640 tonnes and stands tall at 43.43 metres. The monster rocket weighs as much as 200 elephants or five fully-loaded Boeing Jumbo jets.
    The GSLV-Mark III rocket is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons, a liquid propellant core stage and a cryogenic engine (C25).
    The GSAT-19 is billed as the real game-changer as according to experts it can be the first to provide "Internet services using a space-based platform".

    The GSAT-19 will not have transponders, and instead it will beam data using multiple frequency beams. According to experts, this feature will also let the satellite beam more data to the ISRO.

Commandant Chetan Cheeta gives thumbs up to his CRPF battalion that fought off terror attack
  • A phone call from Chetan Cheeta's battalion in Sumbal in Kashmir's Bandipora informed the brave officer of today's fierce encounter between four foreign terrorists and the CRPF's 45 Battalion. Cheetah listened to the officer on the call who informed him about the CRPF battalion shooting the four militants dead.
    Recounting his initial reaction to hearing news of the encounter, Cheetah says it was the "perfect" response by the soldiers, with no casualties on the CRPF side. On being asked whether he misses the action, he replies saying 'absolutely' and adds, 'Mentally I am there with my men.'
    He says he never anticipated his battalion would come under a fidayeen attack. "I spent few months there. But the morale of our jawans and officer is so high. I want to commend the sentries, who were alert and gave a befitting response killing all four fidayeens. I give my thumbs up to them," Cheetah said.
    The encounter was a setback for the militants as they were not able to enter the camp.

    The brave officer, who is known as "Cheetah" among his soldiers, was hit by 9 bullets during an encounter between terrorists and security forces in February in Bandipora. He was discharged in April after a miraculous recovery.

Mamata Banerjee starts Darjeeling trip amid protests over Bengali-must rule in schools
  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee started her north Bengal trip today amid protests.
    Near Mirik-- Trinamool Congress recently won the civic polls in Mirik--Mamata Banerjee was shown black flags by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activists.
    Mamta Banerjee's decision to make Bengali a compulsory language from Class 1 to Class 10 in all schools across West Bengal has met with stiff opposition in the hills, where many do not speak Bengali.
    "From now on, it will be mandatory for students to learn Bengali in schools. The schools affiliated to other boards (ICSE/CBSE) will have to make Bengali as an optional subject from Class 1, giving students the option to choose it either as second or third language", state education minister Partha Chatterjee said on May 16.
    GJM party Chief Bimal Gurung said, "The imposition of Bengali language is the reason behind this protest because the condition and situation in our area shall change for the bad."
    GJM argued that it should be a student's right to choose his or her third language--in the case of Darjeeling, it could be either Hindi or Bengali as Nepali is taught as the first language in the schools here. "Language, artists should not be dragged into political issues, which is being done by the present state government. I want to appeal to the public that everyone participates in this rally. If needed, we shall reach out to Delhi because this is an attack on our language and the consequences shall have to be borne by the government," the GJM chief said.
    Rabindra Nath Ghosh, who is in-charge of the North Bengal development department, said, "GJM's Bimal Gurung has understood that if Mamata Banerjee comes to Darjeeling she will talk about development because in the past 20 years infrastructural developments in the region have been little".
    The minister in the TMC government said that "people will go to Mamata Banerjee for their betterment".
    "Mamata Banerjee has been setting up medical colleges and universities. Bimal Gurung tends to declare strikes now and then," he said.

MP CM Shivraj Chouhan announces measures to end farmers' agitation, protesters respond with more violence
  • In an attempt to end the ongoing farmers' agitation in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday announced a slew of measures including a minimum support price of Rs 8 per kg for onion and Rs 50 per kg for tur daal.
    Farmers in Madhya Pardesh launched a state-wide agitation after market prices fell to such lows that they were forced to sell onion at Re 1 and Rs 2 per kg and tur daal for Rs 35 per kg.
    Addressing a press conference at the chief minister's residence in Bhopal on Monday, Chouhan said the government will purchase all the farmers' produce at the minimum support price even if market prices are lower.
    "I had started a campaign for increased cultivation of pulses in Madhya Pradesh, the farmers responded, and now we cannot allow the farmers to suffer if the market prices have fallen," Chouhan said.
    The measures announced on Monday came after Chouhan's attempts to persuade the farmers to call off their agitation failed.
    Chouhan on Sunday had announced that the farmers had ended their agitation, quoting his talks with the Shrikant Dikshit of the Bhartiya Kisan Sangh in Ujjain. A government communique on Sunday had quoted Dixit saying that the farmers are ending their agitation.
    Farmer bodies, however, further intensified their agitation calling Srikant Dixit a nobody and accusing the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of employing dirty tricks.
    "Who is Shrikant Dixit to announce the end of the agitation when he has not started it. The Bhartiya Kisan Sangh is an RSS-affiliated organisation and it has nothing to with the agitation. The announcement is ploy of the dirty tricks department of the government to confuse the farmers but they will not succeed," an agitating farmer from Dhar told India Today.
    Meanwhile, violence was witnessed in several towns were the farmers' are agitating. Protesters in various parts of Madhya Pradesh resorted to loot and destruction of vegetables, fruits and dairy products while they were being transported.
    In Ratlam, a police officer lost one eye after being attacked by protestors with stones. The police officer had to be airlifted to Chennai for treatment. A similar incident of violence was reported from Sehore where protestors broke the arm of a police officer.
    Incidents of loot and arson were also reported from Dhar, Indore, Mandsaur and Dewas. In Mandsaur, traders downed their shutters on Monday to protest the looting.
    In Dhar, protestors stopped several vehicles carrying fruits and vegetables and spilled milk from a tanker on to the road.
    In his press conference, Chief Minister Chouhan condemned the incidents of violence and arson, and accused anti-social elements of hijacking the farmers' agitation. "I do not want to name any one at this stage but anti-social elements will not be spared while no case would be registered against genuine farmers," Chouhan said.

Sushma Swaraj slams Donald Trump's billion-dollar charge made while exiting Paris climate deal
  • India today rejected US President Donald Trump's charge that India had signed the Paris climate agreement to get "billions and billions" of dollars in foreign aid.
    "What Trump said is not the reality," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today. "We have signed the Paris accord not under any pressure nor for any money say we did it for money, I totally reject that," she told reporters
    Swaraj said India had signed the accord because of Indian culture and ethos.
    "India and Indians have had a oneness with nature for thousands of years. So for some to say that India has signed the agreement because of being pressured or because of greed for foreign aid in this endeavour is completely baseless and unfortunate. I would like to officially make this clear," the minister said.
    "India has always respected, even worshipped nature. We will be committed to the Paris agreement irrespective of what the United States decides," she said on Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord.
    While withdrawing from the landmark Paris climate accord last week, Trump had said the deal was not tough on India and China.
    "India makes its participation on receiving billions and billions of dollars from developed countries. Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States. The current India will be allowed to double its coal production and so does China," Trump alleged.
    However she said ever since Donald Trump came into power, India's relations with USA is growing at the same pace as it was under Barack Obama.
    "Under Trump administration, India-US relations are growing at the same pace as the Obama administration. There has been no change in that. India and US have a relationship of mutual benefit," Swaraj told reporters here today.
    She stressed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to President Trump thrice.
    "Our officials have also had talks with theirs on many occasions. Every interaction has been positive and good. US is India's major defence partner. And there has been no intimation from their side that might suggest diluting this special relationship we share," Swaraj said.
    On the proposed US cap on H-1B visas which could affect Indian professionals, the minister said New Delhi was in talks with US Congress and Trump administration officials.
    "Yes, the concern is there," she said adding that no changes have been made in the visa policy so far.
    "There are amendments that cannot be made through executive orders," she asserted and denied that the proposed changes in the policy had affected India's relationship with the US.
    On some Gulf nations snapping diplomatic ties with Qatar, she said India will not be impacted.
    "There is no challenge arising out of this for us. This is an internal matter of GCC (Gulf Coordination Council). Our only concern is about Indians there. We are trying to find out if any Indians are stuck there," Swaraj said.
    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.

Business Affairs 

    India to grow at 7.2% in FY17-18, says World Bank
    • A recent World Bank report predicted that Indian economy will maintain a growth rate of 7.2 per cent in the current financial year. This report came close on the  heels of Q4 GDP figures for 2016-17, which saw growth rate plunging to 6.1 per cent due to disruptive effect of demonetisation.
      In its Global Economic Prospects, the World Bank estimates India to see growth rates of 7.5 per cent in 2018-19 and 7.7 per cent in 2019-20. According to this, India retains the title of fastest growing economy, with China still lagging behind.
      As for the neighbouring superpower, the World Bank pegged the growth rate at 6.5 per cent during 2017-18, like the previous year, and 6.3 per cent for 2018-19 and 2019-20.
      However, the World Bank revised India's growth figures by 0.4 percentage points against its January prediction. Predictions for the coming two fiscals have also been downgraded by 0.3 per cent and 0.1 per cent.
      India's economy in 2016 was buoyant from favourable monsoon that supported agriculture and rural consumption, rise in infrastructure spending, and robust government consumption, the report said. This was before demonetisation, though.
      "In India, recent data indicate a rebound this year, with the easing of cash shortages and rising exports. An increase in government spending in India, including on capital formation, has partially offset soft private investment," the report said.
      "In India, recent data indicate a rebound this year, with the easing of cash shortages and rising exports. An increase in government spending in India, including on capital formation, has partially offset soft private investment," the World Bank report said.
      "While manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Indexes have generally picked up, industrial production has been mixed," it said.
      The decline in growth rates projected earlier shows that private investment recovery is taking longer to recover from demonetisation was expected earlier, the World Bank stated in its report.
      "Nonetheless, domestic demand is expected to remain strong, supported by ongoing policy reforms, especially the introduction of the nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST)," it said.
      "Significant gains by the ruling party in state elections should support the government's economic reform agenda, which aims at unlocking supply constraints, and creating a business environment that is more conducive to private investment," the Bank said.
      The World Bank also predicted that the global economy will grow at 2.7 per cent, however, 'substantial risks cloud this outlook', the Bank stated.

    Tax rates under GST: The gains and losses for the Indian middle class
    • It's only less than a month left until Goods and Service Tax (GST) sees the light of the day. India's biggest tax overhaul crossed its final hurdle last week when GST Council agreed to tax gold and silver jewellery at 3 per cent tax rate.
      With GST to be implemented from July 1, it's the ideal time to check if your monthly budget will be affected under the new tax regime. We've put down a list of goods and services that will become cheaper or costlier once GST comes into force.
      Gold: GST Council has fixed the tax rate of the precious metal at 3 per cent. GST Council on June 3 created a new tax bracket for gold, diamonds and silver. The current excise duty on gold was 1 per cent and 1 per cent VAT in many states. With 3 per cent GST, Gold is set to become costlier July onward.
      Insurance: Premiums are set to rise on car, health and and term insurance with the government. Currently, insurance is taxed at 15 per cent. Under GST, this would go up to 18 per cent.
      Banking Charges: Transaction fee on various banking and financial services are expected to go up as GST will tax these services under 18 per cent tax rate from the current 15 per cent.
      Hotel Bookings: GST on hotel services will depending on the kind of room you stay in. If the room tariff is less than Rs 1,000, your stay will be tax free. However, if the room tariff is between Rs 1,000 - Rs 2,500, you'll be taxed 12 per cent. It the tariff is between Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000, the stay will be taxed at 18 per cent. For luxury hotels, where the tariffs are more than Rs 5,000, GST rate of 28 per cent will be applicable.
      Eating Out: There are different tax slabs for restaurants depending on their turnover and whether they have air-conditioning or or not.
      Restaurants with a turnover of less than Rs 50 lakh will be levied a tax rate of 5 per cent.
      Non-AC restaurants will be charged 12 per cent GST on food bill. Tax rate for AC restaurants and those with liquor licence will be 18 per cent, whereas restaurants in 5-star hotels will attract a GST rate of 28 per cent.
      Eating out will get costlier in cities like Mumbai where the existing tax rate is around 10.6 per cent - which includes both VAT and Service tax. Post GST, the customers will be taxed at 18 per cent in AC restaurants.
      For a non-AC restaurant in Mumbai, the current tax rate is at 6 per cent. From July 1, small joints will be taxed at 12 per cent. 
      Telecom Bills: Your mobile and internet bills are expected to rise once GST comes into force. Currently, there is a 15 per cent service tax on telecoms services. Under GST, the tax rate applicable will be 18 per cent. The industry, which is already stressed with the launch of Reliance Jio, is expected to pass on these charges to customers.
      Movie Tickets: During a GST Council meet in Srinagar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said movie tickets in cinema halls will be taxed at 28 per cent.
      Currently, there is service tax on cinema and states have separate entertainment taxes. Maharashtra levies more around 50 per cent entertainment tax on movie tickets. In Uttar Pradesh (UP) entertainment tax is around 30-40 percent.
      Even though the tax rate under the GST will be lower than entertainment taxes levied in some states, movie ticket prices in big multiplexes may remain same as the government plans to increase tax on junk food and aerated drinks.
      Medicines: While there may not be a huge impact of GST on medicines, but a tax rate of 5 per cent on life-saving drugs that treat diseases like malaria, HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis, and diabetes is expected to marginally increase prices of these drugs.
      Until now, these drugs were exempted from excise and customs duties. However, a few states were charging 5 per cent tax on these drugs which will now be subsumed under GST. Under GST, there will be a 12 per cent on formulations and 18 per cent on APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) - the bulk drugs that go into the making of final pills and tablets.
      Cab rides: Cab fares could get marginally cheaper for customers from July 1 as the incidence of tax will come down to five per cent for bookings made on cab aggregators like Ola and Uber. Currently, a tax of six per cent is levied on rides booked through cab aggregators.
      Tobacco products: Filter and non-filter cigarettes not exceeding 65 mm will attract cess of 5 per cent plus Rs 1,591 per 1000 sticks. For cigars, a hefty levy of 21 per cent or Rs 4,170 per 1000 sticks, whichever is higher, would be levied. Branded gutkha will be slapped with a cess of 72 per cent, while smoking mixtures for pipes and cigarettes will attract a levy 290 per cent.
      Bikes: Motorcycles of more than 350 cc engine capacity will attract a total of 31 per cent tax under the GST regime, same as the tax incidence on private aircraft and luxury yachts.
      Cars: All cars fall in the 'luxury bracket' of GST. That means they will attract 28 per cent tax. However, depending on their size, extra cess will be levied.
      Small cars or cars under four-metre length powered by a petrol engine not greater than 1.2-litre or a diesel engine not greater than 1.5-litre by displacement will be taxed at 28 per cent. For petrol cars, the effective tax rate will be 29 per cent. However, for diesel cars the effective tax rate will be 31 per cent.
      For mid-size, luxury cars and SUVs the effective tax rate will be 43 per cent. The prices of SUVs are expected to come down as they are currently taxed at 48-55 per cent.
      The government said it would tax hybrid vehicles at a rate as high as 43 percent. This would be significantly higher than the prevailing tax of about 29 percent on such cars.

      Air Travel:
       Economy class air travel will become cheaper with tax rate fixed at 5 per cent against the existing 6 per cent, under the upcoming goods and services tax (GST) regime from 1 July. However, for those travelling business class, tickets will become dearer as the tax will go up from 9 per cent to 12 per cent.
      No Tax Items: Daily items like milk, paneer and curd won't be taxed under the GST. The GST Council decided not to tax metro travel, religious travel and Haj yatra under the new tax structure. There won't be any tax on healthcare and education under the new taxation system. Basic food items like cereals, eggs and meat will attract no tax after the GST is effective.
      Prices of food grains, especially wheat and rice, will come down as they will be exempt from the GST. However, packaged food items will be taxed at 5 per cent. 
      Coal: electricity generation will get cheaper as the GST council has brought down the current tax on coal to 5 per cent from the current tax rate of 11.69 per cent. Sweets will attract 5 per cent tax under the GST.
      Daily use items: Household items like sugar, tea, coffee (barring instant coffee) and edible oil will attract the lowest tax rate of 5 per cent, almost the same as under the current tax structure.
      Common use products like hair oil, soaps and toothpaste will be charged with a single national sales tax or GST of 18 per cent instead of present 22-24 per cent tax.
      The highest slab of 28 per cent under GST has also been applied on chewing gums, white chocolate, chocolates containing cocoa, wafers coated with chocolate, instant coffee, custard powder, students' colours, paints, varnishes, perfumes, beauty products, sunscreen, shampoos, hair dyes, after-shave lotions and deodorants.
      Meat: Animal slaughtering and services provided by veterinary clinics will be exempt from GST.

      Entertainment: Visits to theme parks and sporting events like IPL will attract a levy of 28 per cent under the new indirect tax regime kicking in from July 1.

       Non AC train travel, including in local trains and metro, has been exempt from GST, while AC train travel will attract 5 per cent service tax. Ticket prices for AC trains will increase marginally as current service tax is at 4.5 per cent.
      Maintenance Charges: Flat owners who pay Rs 5,000 or more every month as maintenance charges, excluding property tax, stamp duty and utilities charges, will have to pay GST on the increased tax rates. As of now, tax levied is levied at 15.55 per cent on maintenance charges, which will be replaced with 18 per cent after GST is implemented.
      Smartphones: A smartphone currently attracts two per cent central excise duty, besides the value-added tax (VAT), which vary from state to state (five per cent to 15 per cent). Under GST, smartphones will be taxed at flat 12 per cent.
      Cement: Prices of packaged cement is expected to come down marginally as it would be taxed at 28 per cent under the GST as against 31 per cent currently on account of different indirect taxes.
      Ayurveda: Ayurvedic products are set to get costlier as the government has kept these products in the 12 per cent bracket. Ayurveda products currently attract a 8-9 per cent levy.

    India's NSG bid has become 'more complicated': China
    • China on Monday said India's membership bid in the NSG has become "more complicated" under the "new circumstances" as it again ruled out backing New Delhi's entry in the grouping, saying there should be non-discriminatory solution applicable to all non-NPT signatory countries.
      China has been blocking India's membership in the 48-nation grouping which controls the nuclear commerce even though India has the backing of majority of the members.
      The group goes by consensus approach on the admission of new members.
      "About the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) it is a new issue under the new circumstances and it is more complicated than the previously imagined," China's assistant minister of foreign affairs Li Huilai told media briefing here.
      He, however, did not elaborate what are the new circumstances and complications.
      "China supports the NSG to have consultation for reaching non-discriminatory and universally applicable solution, applicable to all members of the NSG," he said.
      Pakistan has also applied for the NSG membership. While China has not openly supported Pakistan's membership, it came with a two-step approach which stipulates that the NSG members first need to arrive at a set of principles for the admission of non-NPT states into the NSG and then move forward discussions of specific cases.
      Last month, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told the media that there is no change in China's stand on admission of non-NPT states into NSG, ruling out any chances of India's entry into the elite grouping.
      Asked about the chances of India's admission into the grouping during this month's plenary session expected to take place in the Swiss capital Bern, he said, "China's position on the non-NPT members' participation in the NSG has not changed."
      Li, who interacted with media to highlight Chinese President Xi Jinping's participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit to be held at Astana Capital of Kazakhstan on June 8-9, said China wants to deepen relations with India.
      "China and India are important neighbours and both are fast developing, both are emerging new market economies. Both are important forces upholding peace and stability," he said.
      In recent years, relations between India and China are developing "sound and at quite fast speed".
      President Xi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meetings have agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation and make joint efforts to build even closer development partnership, he said.
      The highlight of the SCO summit is the admission of India and Pakistan as new members of the organisation.
      Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to take part in the SCO summit where his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif is also expected to be present.
      Modi is also likely to meet Xi on the sidelines of the summit though officials say the meeting has not been confirmed.
      Li said the six-member grouping will be strengthened by the entry of India and Pakistan and it will extend the group's reach from Central Asia to South Asia.
      He said the entry of the two countries will cover three fifth of Euro Asian continent and will account for half of the world's population.
      China will take the rotating Presidency of the group next year, Li said.
      He also said Iran, which is the observer, has expressed interest to join the organisation and its application will come up for discussion at the Astana summit.
      The SCO comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan acts as China-dominated security group focussing on Central Asia.
      India and Pakistan till now had the status of observers along with Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia in the group.
      Asked about Afghanistan blaming Pakistan's intelligence agency for recent massive bomb attacks in Kabul, Li said China condemned recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Britain and Philippines.

    Sensex, Nifty dips on profit-booking, mixed Asian cues
    • Stock markets came off their peak and turned weak at the strike of the opening bell, likely on the back of profit-booking after recent rally amid mixed Asian cues.
      At 10.50 am, the Sensex was trading at 31,288.01, up 14.72 points (0.05%) while Nifty50 was trading at 9,666.30, up 12.80 points (0.13%).
      The 30-share Sensex, which had gained 135.70 points to close at record high at 31,273.29 on Friday's trade, slipped by 40.64 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 31,232.65 with sectoral indices like FMCG, Metal and IT trading in the negative zone, falling by up to 0.27 per cent.
      On similar lines, the NSE Nifty retreated from life-time high as it succumbed to profit-booking to quote 11.75 points lower, or 0.12 per cent, at 9,641.75. It had closed at an all-time high of 9,653.50 on Friday.
      According to V K Sharma, Head (PCG), HDFC Securities, the Nifty is expected to build on its gains this week. Here's why:
      The first is that the GST council will give final touches to the GST rates when it announces rates for Gold, Gold Jeweller, Apparels, Textiles and Biscuits on Saturday. The markets are also hopeful that the council will consider raising input tax credit from the current 40 per cent.
      The second reason is that the RBI is likely to sound more accommodative when it meets on the 6th and 7th of June given the lower than expected Q4 GDP growth and falling inflation expectations.
      The third reason is that the markets are confident that a rate hike in the U.S. on the 14th of June will be easily absorbed. The weak Non-farm Pay Roll numbers that came in worse than expected at 1,38,000 on Friday and a downward revision of earlier numbers will make the Fed policy less hawkish going forward. A 0.25% hike is already baked in.
      Analysist attribute a lacklustre US jobs report and London terrorist attack on Sunday that weighed in on the market sentiment today.
      Among Sensex-30 constituents, major losers were ITC, Coal India, Lupin, Wipro, HDFC Ltd and HDFC Bank, falling by up to 1.17 per cent.

    How to buy and sell bitcoins? Are bitcoins legal in India?
    • With a 300 per cent increase in its value in just one year, Bitcoins could well be the kind of investment you may be looking for.

      However, in spite of all the curiosity, many of us have wondered if it is safe to buy, store and sell bitcoins in India.

      In the news recently for being the only payment method to pay ransoms to WannaCry attackers, Bitcoins can be used for a host of other things. And countries such as Japan and South Korea are leading the way.

      One of Japan's biggest electronics retailers, Bic Camera, began accepting bitcoin at two stores in Tokyo last month.

      Another Japanese firm, Recruit Lifestyle announced it will add bitcoin acceptance to its mobile point of sale tool AirRegi, which is used in 260,000 merchant and restaurant locations across Japan.

      How are Bitcoins created?

      Unlike paper currencies, Bitcoins cannot be minted, they can only be mined. There are only 21 million bitcoins that have been created.

      At present, only 16.8 million or 80 per cent of all the bitcoins have been mined.

      Value of Bitcoins may not come down as there is a limited number of Bitcoins and more people are interested in investing in the cryptocurrency.

      How to buy Bitcoins?

      You can look for various digital currency exchanges to buy bitcoin.

      You can purchase Bitcoins with a credit card. and are two of the largest, and offer tutorials on digital currencies.

      In India, you can purchase Bitcoin from Zebpay exchange. Zebpay has Android and iPhone apps which lets you link your bank account for quick transfers.

      You can buy Bitcoins by making a payment to Zebpay's bank account. You can also remit the money to your bank account, and track data on Bitcoin valuation.

      There is a KYC requirement and you need to verify your ID by simply clicking a photo of your PAN card.

      Unocoin, another India-based exchange, lets you trade Bitcoins. enables Indians to buy, sell, store, use and accept bitcoin.

      The company, that claims to have over 1,50,000 customers, says it has raised funding from more than 30 investors.

      With Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government going the whole hog to make India a less cash economy, digital cryptocurrency has caught the attention of many Indians.

      Post demonetisation, leading Bitcoin exchanges in India witnessed a rise in user base by up to 250 per cent.

      Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of popular bitcoin wallet Unocoin had told BT that after demonetisation demand from India has increased manifold.

      Sandeep Goenka, CEO of Zebpay, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the country had said, "Indians are enquiring about bitcoins as an alternative and safe investment option. They are downloading Zebpay as they want to experiment with digital currencies. There has been a 50% increase in Zebpay downloads."
      To be able to store Bitcoins, you'll need a wallet which can be in your computer or smartphone. To play safe, you can back up the wallet at another location in case of any hard disk wipe out. Depending on your requirement, you can choose a wallet.

      How much returns can you get if you invest in Bitcoins?

      The decentralized virtual currency that took the world by storm has witnessed a 300 per cent rise in value in just one year. Its value hit an all-time high when Japan passed a law to accept bitcoin as a legal payment method.

      Despite RBI's reluctance to recognize the cyptocurrency, the interest in Bitcoins in India has far from waned. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation move, Ahmedabad-based bitcoin trading start-up witnessed a 25 per cent surge in revenue.

      Unocoin, another bitcoin trading firm which had received funds from Blume Ventures, saw a threefold rise in users to 120,000 following demonetisation.

      Are Bitcoins legal in India?

      Even as economies like Japan and Russia move to legalize the use of Bitcoins, India, despite being at the cusp of a digital revolution is yet to officially recognize the cryptocurrency.

      India's central bank, the Reserve bank of India or the RBI, which regulates Indian rupee, had earlier cautioned users, holders and traders of Virtual currencies (VCs), including Bitcoins.

      "The creation, trading or usage of VCs including Bitcoins, as a medium for payment are not authorised by any central bank or monetary authority. No regulatory approvals, registration or authorisation is stated to have been obtained by the entities concerned for carrying on such activities," the central bank had said.

      In March, RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi warned against crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin. "They pose potential financial, legal, customer protection and security-related risks," Gandhi said. "Payments by such currencies are on a peer-to- peer basis and there is no established framework for recourse to customer problems, disputes, etc. Legal status is definitely not there," he added.

      However, the central bank hasn't unequivocally banned Bitcoins in the country.

      Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin

      Although Bitcoin is yet to become mainstream in India, the underlying technology behind it, the blockchain technology has caught the attention of several Indian banks. Last year, ICICI Bank announced that it successfully executed transactions in international trade finance and remittances using blockchain technology.

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