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Current Affairs - 05 August 2017

General Affairs 

To China's Latest Warning On Border Row, India Sticks To Diplomacy
  • In line with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj's stress on patience, restraint and diplomacy to resolve the Dokalam standoff, India on Friday refused to be drawn into a tit-for-tat with Beijing, saying New Delhi wanted peace and tranquillity at the border and would achieve this objective through diplomacy.

    Foreign ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay's response comes hours after the Chinese defence ministry delivered another warning. A spokesperson for the defence ministry had insisted that Beijing had "shown utmost goodwill and a high level of restraint with an eye to the general bilateral relations and the regional peace and stability."

    "However, goodwill has its principles and restraint has its bottom line," the defence ministry said, upping the ante.

    "We continue to engage with China through diplomatic channels to find a mutually acceptable solution," Mr Baglay said, reiterating Sushma Swaraj's statement in parliament yesterday that war is not an answer.

    He said India has been coordinating with Bhutan to find a mutually-acceptable solution to the Dokalam standoff and continues to engage with China diplomatically according to Astana consensus, a reference to the broad agreement between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Kazakhstan capital that they must not let differences become a dispute.

Aadhaar Number Required For Death Certificate From October 1

  • An Aadhaar number will be required for getting death certificates from October, the
    Home Ministry announced on Friday, saying the 12-digit unique identification number would be needed to establish the identity of the dead person. The rule will come into force across the country except Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya.

    Under the new rule, applications for a death certificate would have to provide the Aadhaar number, or enrollment number of the dead person.

    In case the person did not have an Aadhaar number, the home ministry said the applicant will have to give a certificate that the dead person did not have an Aadhaar number "to the best of his/her knowledge". The home ministry, however, warned that a false declaration given by the applicant relating to the Aadhaar card would be treated as an offence,

    The applicant's Aadhaar number, as well that of the dead person's spouse and parents would, however, have to be provided.

    The office of the Registrar General, which functions under the home ministry, said the use of Aadhaar card will result in ensuring accuracy of the details provided by the relatives or dependents or acquaintances of those who have died.

    "It will provide an effective method to prevent identity fraud. It will also help in recording the identity of the deceased person. Further, it will obviate the need for producing multiple documents to prove the identity of the deceased person," a home ministry spokesperson said. 

Major Kamlesh Pandey's Last Rites Held With Full Military Honours
  • The last rites of Major Kamlesh Pandey, killed by terrorists during a search operation in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, was held with full military honours near Haldwani in Uttarakhand today, where his parents stay.

    The funeral pyre was lit by Major Pandey's younger brother.

    Chants of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Hindustan Zindabad' rend the air as a large number of people watched his mortal remains being consigned to flames at Chitrashila Ghat, Ranibag near Haldwani.

    Uttarakhand minister Yashpal Arya, District Magistrate Dipendra Chowdhary and Senior Superintendent of Police Janmenjay Khanduri were among those who attended the last rites.
    Major Pandey, Sepoys Tanzin Chhultim and Kirpal Singh were injured in the firing by terrorists at Zainapora in Shopian district during a cordon and search operation launched by security forces yesterday.

    The injured soldiers were evacuated to the Army's 92 Base Hospital in Nainital for treatment but Major Pandey and Sepoy Chhultim died of injuries.

Vice President Election 2017: Date, Schedule, Polling
  • The name of the next vice president of India will be known tomorrow eveningafter members of Parliament cast their ballot during the day in Parliament House.

    Members of Parliament will use special pens for marking their choice in the election during polling which is scheduled to take place on August 5 from 10 am to 5 pm.

    The counting of votes will commence after polling and the results will be declared by 7.00 pm, Election Commission officials said quoting precedents.

    No whip can be issued by political parties as the election is through a secret ballot.

    The ruling NDA, which has a majority in the Lok Sabha, will find it easy to place its candidate as the next vice president.

    Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu is the BJP's choice for Vice Presidential candidate against Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the opposition's nominee.

    Only members of both Houses of Parliament, including nominated members, vote in the election for Vice President, unlike the Presidential election, where state legislators also vote. Lawmakers from the NDA outnumber the opposition when MPs in both houses are counted and only large-scale wrong voting can play spoiler tomorrow for Venkaiah Naidu.

    Mr Naidu faces off with former West Bengal governor, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, fielded by an opposition bloc of 18 parties. The BJP's newest ally, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United, will keep an earlier promise to back Mr Gandhi.

    The NDA is set to have a Vice-President of its choice after 10 years.

    The total strength of the two Houses is 790, but there are two vacancies in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha.

    In the 545-member Lok Sabha, the BJP has 281 members. The NDA led by BJP, has 338 members.

    The one who bags 50 per cent plus one vote of the total valid votes cast will win the poll.

This Is Why 400 Indian Languages Are At 'Risk Of Dying In 50 Years'
  • More than half of the languages spoken by India's 1.3 billion people may die out over the next 50 years, scholars said on Thursday, calling for a concerted effort to preserve the tongues spoken by the nation's endangered tribal communities.

    The People's Linguistic Survey of India (PSLI) raised the alarm during the launch of the latest 11 volumes in its planned 50 volume survey of the country's languages. India's people speak as many as 780 different languages, the PSLI said.

    "At least 400 Indian languages are at the risk of dying in coming 50 years," GN Devy, the chairman of PSLI, said.

    Each time a language is lost, the corresponding culture is killed, Mr Devy said, adding that India had already lost 250 languages in the last five decades.

    The group of scholars and teachers at PSLI documents Indian regional languages in order to conserve cultural heritage and diversity.

    Most at risk are marginal tribal communities whose children receive no education or, if they do go to school, are taught in one of India's 22 officially recognised languages.

    "Maithili, which is spoken in the eastern state of Bihar, is at least 1,000 years old. Similarly there are several old languages which are surviving somehow in India, but we are hardly passing them on," said political psychologist Ashis Nandy.

    Mr Devy said the PSLI will start work on a project to document about 6,000 living languages spoken around the world. The report is scheduled to come out by 2025.

Business Affairs

Markets may remain bullish in near term; FMCG, IT likely to gain
  • The Sensex has been trading above the 30,000 mark for more than two-and-a-half months and recording new highs. The index grew 4.1 per cent last month although it grew just 0.1 per cent this week, closing at 32,325.4 points. The week concluding on August 4 was an action-packed one, witnessing a high-voltage political drama in Bihar, a cautious repo rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India and stimulated investment demands.
    The markets are expected to remain bullish in the near term. According to Mustafa Nadeem, Chief Executive, Epic Research, "In the short term, we expect to have a sideways-to-bullish market since the overall liquidity in equities is still there and we have not seen any negative signal. Some minor corrections can be seen, but that is part and parcel of a bullish trend."
    "The recent rate cut was very much discounted, but as soon as it is passed on, we believe the growth cycle will improve, and that is one of the factors to be driving [growth] in the near term," he adds.
    The biggest sectoral gainer this week was the Consumer Durables index, gaining around 7 per cent. It was followed by Metals, which rose 3.1 per cent, and the Auto index scaling around 2 per cent. The Healthcare index was hardest hit, declining around 4 per cent, and FMCG lost 2 per cent over the week. Indian pharma companies, which had earlier faced regulatory sanctions and warnings over quality control from the US health regulator, had yet another blow after the US Food and Drug Administration found quality lapses at a Biocon unit.
    Nadeem believes sectors such as FMCG and IT are expected to do well. "We have FMCG as our first pick among sectors since it looks ripe at this point of time, nearly finishing its due correction and about to rebound. IT is another sector that has almost finished its down move and is looking encouraging in terms of risk-reward. Some stocks in this category may see positive momentum."

Last day to file income tax returns: Guide for both who have filed and not filed I-T returns
  • Get a move on - there remains only a little over 24 hours to file your income tax return. The Income Tax Department had extended the original July 31 deadline to August 5 after taxpayers complained of technical glitches holding up e-filing of I-T returns.
    With only a day left, here is what taxpayers need to do if they have not filed their I-T returns yet. Even for those who already are done with it, there still remains a fair bit to be done.
    Here's what taxpayers need to do if they have filed their I-T returns, and if they have not:
    For those who have filed income tax returns
    Done with filing your income tax return and planning to kick back and relax during the long weekend. Think again. There still remains a fair bit to be done even if you are done with your tax return. Here's what that you need to do now:
    i)  Verify your tax return: After filing their returns, taxpayers need to have them verified. Failing to do so will render their I-T return invalid.
    ITR verification can either be done electronically or physically by sending a signed copy of ITR-V to Central Processing Centre (CPC).
    For the electronic verification, taxpayers need to go to and click on 'e-Verify Return' option at the left-hand panel of the homepage.
    For those who wish to do this the old-school way will have to send a signed copy of ITR-V to CPC, Bangalore within 120 days of e-filing. ITR-V is the acknowledgement form generated after ITR is successfully filed.
    Those who choose the latter way will then have to wait for verification to be completed by the CPC. This involves tracking the status of ITR-V as the taxpayer.
    ii)  Keep tabs on intimation status: After getting your ITR verified, you will have to wait a month for an email confirming Intimation under Section 143(1).
    Intimation carries details like the total TDS deducted, total tax paid, and deductions. This reflects whether or not the income tax department has accepted the details you have put in your income tax return. In other words, intimation under section 143(1) informs whether any corrections are to be made in the income tax return or will a refund be paid to the taxpayer.
    iii)  Pay the difference, or receive the refund: If the income tax you have paid is less than what the intimation specifies then you will have to pay the additional tax. The difference can be deposited in the bank account mentioned in the I-T return. If you disagree with the additional tax then you need to prove your case.
    If the tax paid is higher than what the intimation specifies, the balance will again be transferred to the bank account mentioned in the ITR. Taxpayers entitled to a tax refund will have to keep an eye on their bank accounts to ensure that the additional tax is deducted or their tax refund is credited to their bank accounts.
    For those who haven't filed income tax returns
    Well, get going then. Here's what you have to keep in mind if you are yet to file your income tax return:
    i)  Link your PAN and Aadhar: The government has made it mandatory to link your Aadhar and PAN for filing income tax returns. Go to, click on 'Link Aadhar', and then follow the instructions as they come. The process is simple and barely takes five to ten minutes.
    ii)  Have relevant documents handy: Keep your Form 16, Form 16A, Form 26AS and other in order and close by when you sit down to file your income tax returns either through the income tax department website or at the income tax office.
    iii)  What if you miss the deadline: In case you do miss the deadline, you can file a belated tax return. The process remains the same, more or less, only you will have to select Return filed under Section 139(4) in the dropdown menu.
    Missing the deadline will also keep you from revising your income tax return or carry forward your losses.

Govt launches new exchange-traded fund 'Bharat 22' to divest stake in 22 firms
  • It's not just Air India where the government is looking to sell its stake. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday launched 'Bharat 22' Exchange Traded Fund to divest government assets in 22 state-run and private firms.
    The new exchange traded fund consists of stocks in various CPSE (Central Public Sector Enterprises), PSB (Public Sector Banks) and strategic holding of SUUTI (Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India). 
    "Compared to energy heavy CPSE ETF, Bharat 22 is a well Diversified portfolio with 6 sectors (Basic Materials, Energy, Finance, FMCG,  Industrials & Utilities). The Bharat 22 Index will be rebalanced annually. ICICI Prudential AMC will be the ETF Manager and Asia Index Private Limited (JV BSE and S& P Global) will be the Index Provider," government said in a press release. 
    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had promised to use ETF as a vehicle for further disinvestment of shares in his Budget Speech of 2017-18. 
    The target for CPSE's disinvestment in 2017-18 was set at Rs 72,500 crore. During the current Financial Year 2017-18, the government has realised approximately Rs 9,300 crore through nine disinvestment transactions so far, a government release said. 
    Jaitley has budgeted to raise Rs 725 billion ($11.39 billion) through the asset sale programme in the fiscal year to end-March 2018.
    The fund will trade government shares in four state-run energy companies - ONGC Ltd., BPCL, IOC and Coal India, he said.
    It will also include banking and finance companies such as SBI, Bank of Baroda, Indian Bank, Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd., Power Finance Corp. Ltd. and Axis Bank .
    New Delhi will sell shares, via the fund, in utilities like Power Grid Corp., NTPC, Gail, NHPC, NLC and SJVN.
    Industrials included in the fund are: Bharat Electronics, Engineers India and NBCC.
    The fund will sell government shares in ITC Ltd. and National Aluminium Co. Ltd. as well, Jaitley said.
    ICICI Prudential will manage the fund, he added.
    In the first four months of the 2017/18 financial year, the government has, thus far, raised 93 billion rupees($1.46 billion) through the asset sale programme, he said.
    India raised 85 billion rupees $1.34 billion)through a similar fund as part of its 2016-17 asset sales programme.
    Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are essentially Index Funds that are listed and traded on exchanges like stocks. An ETF is a basket of stocks that reflects the composition of an Index. 

Aadhaar not mandatory for booking rail tickets, says government
  • The Aadhaar number is not mandatory for booking rail tickets, the Centre told the Rajya Sabha today.
    In a written reply in the Upper House of Parliament, Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said as of now, his ministry had no plans to make the 12-digit unique identification number compulsory for booking rail tickets.
    "At present, there is no proposal to make the Aadhaar number compulsory for booking tickets for rail journey.
    However, with effect from January 1, 2017, the requirement of Aadhaar verification for getting concessional railway tickets for senior citizens has been introduced on a voluntary basis," he said.
    The minister's statement comes on a day the home ministry made the Aadhaar number mandatory for registration of death with effect from October 1, 2017.
    Over the last few months, the Aadhaar number has been made mandatory for a range of services and schemes -- for bank accounts, to file taxes, for tuberculosis patients to avail treatment under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), to avail the benefits under the Maternity Benefit Programme and Integrated Child Protection Scheme and other schemes for farmers, labourers, students etc.

Jet Airways takes a leaf out of Air India's book, cuts down meal preferences to just 7
  • Days after debt-laden Air India announced scrapping of non-veg meals for economy class passengers, Jet Airways has begun trimming of its meal preference from existing 23 to just seven.
    Small plate of fruits for lunch or dinner could be the only meal choice for flyers allergic to lactose or gluten on Jet Airways as the full-service carrier looks to cut back its long 23-meals menu for both economy and business class in domestic flights.
    "Going by trends we have seen certain special meal options have a higher consumption pattern than others on our domestic flights. While finalising our list of special meals available to our domestic flyers, we have ensured meal options like the fruit platter to be included to serve guests requesting bland food or gluten free meals. The special meals served on board Jet Airways' domestic flights are Child Meal/Baby Meal/ Jain Meal/Diabetic Meal/Fruit Platter, and all - time popular vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian meals," the report quoted Jet Airways spokesperson as saying.
    The full-service carrier which earlier offered Vegan Meal option for domestic flyers has now narrowed down to only 7 options - vegetarian/non-vegetarian, Jain, diabetics, vegetarian/non-vegetarian, fruit platter and Muslim meal.
    Earlier, the government had said that national carrier Air India's decision to stop serving non-vegetarian meals to economy class passengers on domestic flights is expected to save Rs 8-10 crore annually.
    Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said the move is to save costs, reduce wastage, improve service and also avoid any chances of mix-up of meals.
    "The annual saving is expected to be around Rs 8-10 crore per annum," he said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
    On whether the views of air passengers were solicited before taking the decision, Sinha replied in the affirmative and added that passenger feedback through cabin crew was received.
    The debt-laden national carrier has been taking various steps to reduce costs and revive its financial fortunes.

General Awareness

India’s first private missile sub systems production facility inaugurated at Hyderabad

  • On August 3, 2017, India’s first private sector missile sub-systems manufacturing facility, a joint venture between the $2.5 billion Kalyani Group and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., was inaugurated near Hyderabad, Telangana.
    About Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) plant:
    KRAS is a 24,000-sq ft facility, located about 40 km from Hyderabad and is close to the new international airport.
    • The project has been set up in a record time, and is considered first such facility which makes missile systems by a private player in India.
    • This is in line with the Government’s Make in India initiative, where the joint venture will invest in high-end technology and advanced manufacturing techniques to design, develop and manufacture weapon systems for the Indian Armed Forces.
    • Set with an initial outlay of about Rs. 70 crore, the facility may see additional investment as the product range goes up.
    • The project is expected to create about 1,300 jobs both direct and indirect and will play a critical role in import substitution.
    • To begin with, the Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) plant will make anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Spike and the production is expected to begin in a few weeks.
    • Gradually it will develop a wide range of advanced capabilities like Command Control and Guidance, Electro-Optics, Remote Weapon Systems, Precision Guided Munitions and System Engineering for System Integration.
    • After inaugurating the facility, Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, Minister for Industries, Commerce, and IT, Telangana, said that the State Government will extend all necessary support for further expansion plans.
    • The facility is the culmination of a seven-year-long process, which began with India floating the Request for Interest and Rafael later joining hands with the Kalyani Group for the job.

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