Latest Developments pertaining to Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation in India is being considered is considered as biggest tax reform since independence in 1947.GST will be rolled out in India from July 1, 2017.
i. FM Chairs 17th meeting of GST Council in New Delhi and sets tax rate on state-run lottery at 12% and govt-authorised pvt lottery at 28%
ii. GST Council has laid out a relaxed timetable and exemption from penalties and late fees to industry while filing GST returns in the first two months.
iii. On June 20, 2017, the government notified 18 sections relating to registration of current central excise, service tax and VAT payers with the GST-Network (GSTN). Besides, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has also notified two rules — registration and composition levy.
iv. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has launched a dedicated webpage.The webpage can be accessed through Ministry’s Web Portal meity.gov.in.
K Kasturirangan heads panel on National Education Policy
Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) head Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan has been appointed by Union Ministry of Human Resource Development to head the committee to draft the National Education Policy.
The National Policy on Education was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992.
♦ The government has now appointed a committee to draft the final policy document.
♦ Consultations on the policy started during the tenure of the previous HRD minister Smriti Irani.
Other Members of the Committee:
i. HRD ministry has also chosen eight other experts and educationists from various backgrounds.
ii. Other members include Vice-Chancellor of SNDP University, Mumbai, and educationist Vasudha Kamat; retired bureaucrat J. Alphonse; Princeton University Mathematics professor Manjul Bhargava; Baba Saheb Ambedkar University of Social Sciences, Mhau, Vice-Chancellor Ram Shankar Kureel; Vice-Chancelllor of Tribal University, Amarkantak, TV Kattamani; KM Tripathy from Uttar Pradesh; Gauhati University Persian language professor Mahzar Asif, and Central Advisory Board on Education member M.K. Shridhar.
Indian Army rethinking on Sahayak system, may induct civilians in peace stations
Indian Army is actively considering recruiting civilian staff in peace stations to do away with the colonial-era Sahayak system, in the wake of some army jawans openly voicing their anger against it.
Sahayaks/Buddy System in Indian Army:
i. Sahayaks are soldiers and their duties include protecting the officers, maintaining their weapons and equipment and helping them in carrying out their responsibilities.
ii. In recent months, a number of videos had surfaced wheresome army jawans were seen voicing their anger over the Sahayak system with some even alleging that they are treated as servants by the officers whom they are attached to.
Replacing Sahayaks with Civilians:
♦ Army officials have said the option of deploying civilian staff at peace stations instead of Sahayaks will help the Army in economising on its man power. However, Sahayaks cannot be replaced in field units.
♦ As of now, Army officials have stated that Sahayaks will continue be deployed in key bases and field areas as they have defined military duties.
Arunachal Pradesh govt raises retirement age of employees to 60 years
Arunachal Pradesh government has decided to increase the retirement age of regular state government employees to 60 years. It will be implemented from 1st of January 2018.
i. The government observed that there are various categories of employees who are already having the benefit of retirement age of 60 years.
ii. The state government decided to implement the retirement age of such employees from existing 58 to 60 years.
iii. The matter was under consideration of the state government for past many months and was discussed in the cabinet in two separate occasions.
About Arunchal Pradesh
♦ Capital: Itanagar
♦ CM: PemaKhandu
♦ Governor: Padmanabha Acharya
Aadhaar details mandatory for subsidy on Delhi e-rickshaws: State govt
The Delhi government has made Aadhaar card details compulsory for those seeking subsidy on e-rickshaw registered in the city. It has been announced by the government on 26th of June 2017.
i. It has been done in order to “prevent duplicacy” in grant of the financial assistance.
ii. As per latest figures, there are over 31,000 registered e-rickshaws in the city.
iii. Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has streamlined the process of registration and grant of subsidy to e rickshaws and avoid duplicacy, by making Aadhaar card details mandatory.
iv. As per the government the registered owners of e-rickshaws in Delhi will be considered for a subsidy of Rs 30,000 after providing their Aadhaar card details.
v. All the registered e-rickshaw owners whose subsidy claims are pending are now required to submit the photo copies of their Aadhaar card and registration certificate at the office of concerned motor licensing officers (MLO) by June 30.
vi. The claims of subsidy will not be considered if the Aadhaar card and registration certificate copies are not submitted by the due date.
vii. Delhi government in its current financial year budget has earmarked Rs 1.06 crore for providing subsidy to e-rickshaw owners.
viii. The subsidy scheme was launched by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a rally of e-rickshaw drivers in February last year.
ix. According to the committee In the case of already registered e-rickshaws, the concerned MLOs will obtain Aadhaar card number from the beneficiaries before reimbursements of subsidy.
Goa CM Manohar Parrikar inaugurates 3 day MODI Fest in Panaji
Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar has inaugurated the three-day MODI (Making of Developed India Festival) Fest at Kala Academy in Panaji on 26th of June 2017.
i. It is a programme for taking the achievements of the government to the common people.
ii. Parrikar mentioned that after taking initiatives, it is also important for the government to inform people about them.
iii. The MODI Fest showcases the progress of various policies and programmes of the central government and its achievements in the last three years.
iv. It also includes economic and infrastructure development, budget reforms, women empowerment, skill development for youth, Digital India, financial inclusion and incentives for the farming sector.
♦ Capital: Panaji
♦ CM: Manohar Parrikar
♦ Governor: Mridula Sinha
China’s fastest bullet train makes debut
China’s next generation bullet train, with a maximum speed of 400 kilometer per hour, made its debut on 26th of June 2017. It has been run on the country’s busiest Beijing-Shanghai line.
i. Fuxing is a CR400AF model which boasts a top speed of 400 kilometres per hour and a consistent speed of 350 kilometres an hour.
ii. It took 5 hours 45 mins to reach Shanghai from Beijing, covering 1200 km.
iii. Beijing-Shanghai is China’s busiest route used by 5 lakh passengers daily.
iv. The train was designed and manufactured by China, state-run Xinhua.
v. The new bullet trains, also known as electric multiple units (EMU) and on its way, it stopped by 10 stations, including Jinan, Shandong province and Tianjin.
vi. It includes a sophisticated monitoring system that constantly checks its performance and automatically slows the train in case of emergencies or abnormal conditions.
vii. China has the world’s longest railway network with 22,000 km by the end of last year, about 60% of the world’s total.
♦ Capital: Bejing
♦ Currency :Renminbi
♦ President: Xi Jinping
BANKING & FINANCE
World Bank Clears $250-Million Loan to Train India’s Job Seekers
The World Bank has cleared a USD 250-million loan, referred to as Skill India Mission Operation (SIMO) for making Indian youth more employable through reskilling.
More Details about SIMO:
i. World Bank’s SIMO is a six- year programme in support of the Indian government’s National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (2017-23).
ii. SIMO will be implemented through the National Skill Development Mission and will specifically target labour market entrants.
iii. Utilising funds procured through this loan will increase the market relevance of short-term skill development programmes (3-12 months or up to 600 hours) at the national and state level.
iv. Under the programme, adults in 15-59 years of age, underemployed or unemployed, will get the skill training.
v. It will also include the 1.2 crore youngsters in the age group of 15-29 years who are entering the labour market every year.
vi. As per the Bank’s estimate, skill development capacity of the system would increase by the end of the programme so that at least 8.8 million youth with relevant training have an improved employment opportunity to raise their earnings.
vii. The programme will benefit approximately 15,000 trainers and 3,000 assessors.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Manushi Chhillar from Haryana wins the title of Miss India 2017
On June 25, 2017, Manushi Chhillar from Haryana won Femina Miss India 2017 title. Sana Dua from Jammu and Kashmir is the first runner-up and the second runner-up is Priyanka Kumari from Bihar.
i. The event was held at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai on June 25, 2017.
ii. Karan Johar and Riteish Deshmukh hosted the event; whereas Sonu Nigam, Alia Bhatt, Sushant Singh Rajput and Ranbir Kapoor performed live on-stage to entertain the guests.
iii. Following a new format this year, the beauty pageant toured 30 states/UTs across India and young girls from various states including Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand participated in the contest.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
J-K Governor N N Vohra appointed as president of IIC
Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has been appointed the President of the India International Centre (IIC) – one of the premier cultural institutions in the country.
i. N N Vohra was appointed as the president at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held on June 23, 2017.
ii. The appointment was made after eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee quit the presidential post.
iii. The India International Centre (IIC) is a well known non-official organisation located in New Delhi, India.
iv. Its foundation stone was laid in 1960 by Japanese prince Akihito, future Emperor, and it was inaugurated in 1962.
v. It serves as a meeting place for the various cultural and intellectual offerings the city has to offer, while maintaining its non-official character, non-aligned motivations and remains uncommitted to any particular form of governmental, political, economic or religious affiliation
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
SpaceX successfully completes two Falcon 9 landings in one weekend
SpaceX has successfully launched and landed the second Falcon 9 rocket in roughly 48 hours. It gives SpaceX two wins in its “weekend doubleheader.”
i. It’s the company’s ninth launch of 2017, and, six months in, are the most completed by SpaceX in a single year.
ii. The rocket took off on 26th June from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:25PM ET.
iii. It delivered 10 satellites into orbit for the communications company Iridium.
iv. Today’s Falcon 9 was a new one sporting larger, upgraded titanium hypersonic grid fins.
v. These are made out of a single piece of cast and cut titanium, and that they can withstand the heat of reentry without shielding.
vi. They should be capable of an indefinite number of flights with no service.
vii. The rocket’s 230-foot-tall first stage, which houses 9 engines, then touched down on the drone ship called Just Read the Instructions floating in the Pacific Ocean.
viii. SpaceX’s marks the 13th successful landing overall and its 8th at sea.
ix. The successful delivery of 10 Iridium satellites to space brought Iridium’s satellite count up to 20.
x. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk
NASA’s opportunity Mars rover finds evidence of Ancient Lake
NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover is examining the edge of a crater on the red planet that may once have been a lake of liquid water.
i. The Opportunity rover found rocks at the edge of Endeavour Crater that were either transported by a flood or eroded in place by wind.
ii. The crater is about 22 kilometres across.
iii. The features were seen just outside the crater rim’s crest above “Perseverance Valley,” which is carved into the inner slope of the rim.
iv. Researchers plan to drive Opportunity down Perseverance Valley after completing a “walkabout” survey of the area above it.
v. The Opportunity mission has been investigating sites on and near the western rim of Endeavour Crater since 2011.
vi. The walkabout is designed to look at what’s just above Perseverance Valley.
vii. Looking at a lake one possibility is that this site was the end of a catchment where a lake was perched against the outside of the crater rim.
viii. Another possibility is that the area was fractured by the impact that created Endeavour Crater and then rock dikes filled the fracture that’s why these effects of wind erosion on those filled fractures are to be seen.
ix. The team is analysing images of Perseverance Valley, taken from the rim, to plot Opportunity’s route.
x. The valley extends down from the crest into the crater at a slope of about 15 to 17 degrees for a distance of about two football fields.
World mayors urge G20 leaders to ‘save the planet’
On June 26, 2017, city mayors from around the world including Washington, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney called on G20 leaders to stick to their commitments on tackling climate change.
i. In a joint text distributed to media outlets worldwide and posted online, the C-40 mayors of the world’s great cities urged leaders from the Group of 20 to deliver on their respective commitments to tackle climate change.
ii. The joint statement added that in light of US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate change pact the resolve of the other 19 leaders at the upcoming G20 Summit to safeguard the future of our planet is more important than ever.
iii. The world city mayors, led by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, said they were inspired by the courage shown by more than 300 mayors in cities across the United States who have committed to upholding the Paris Agreement despite Trump’s decision.
iv. G 20 leaders will gather in Hamburg, Germany on 7th and 8th July, 2017.
Srinivas Gokulnath becomes first Indian to solo finish Race Across America
Col Dr Srinivas Gokulnath of Nashik became the first Indian to complete solo Race Across America (RAAM) cycle race of 5,000 kms on 25th of June 2017.
i. Srinivas has completed the toughest cycle race in the world in 11 days and 11 hours in the 18-49 age categories.
ii. The time given was 12 days to complete the race that is 13 hours earlier than the scheduled time.
iii. The race concluded at Odenton.
iv. Srinivas completed the race from West coast to East coast of the US in his second attempt.
v. He had failed in his first attempt in 2016.
vi. Srinivas said he attempted the race with a mission for cancer prevention.
India’s Yashaswini Deswal bags gold in 10m air pistol
Yashaswini Singh Deswal of Chandigarh has won Gold Medal in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol at the end of day two of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior World Championship Rifle/Pistol, in Suhl, Germany.
Yashaswini Deswal’s Accomplishment:
i. On course to winning the Gold, Yashaswini Deswal equalled the junior world record score of 235.9.
ii. Earlier, she topped the qualification round with a score of 385 that included 11 perfect ten shots.
iii. She won gold medal with a difference of 4.1 points over second position Korean shooter Woori Kim. Guilia Campostrini of Italy won the Bronze in the event.
iv. This is Yashaswini’s ninth final at the youth and junior level over the past three years and her first Gold. She had last year won Silver at the Junior World Cup stage at the same venue and an Asian Championship Bronze back in 2014.
Doon girl Bhumika Sharma wins Miss World title in bodybuilding championship
Bhumika Sharma, an another Indian has become Miss World in bodybuilding championship on 26th of June 2017.
i. Bhumika is from Dehradun and gained maximum points in three categories – individual posing, body posing.
ii. She bagged the Miss World title and the gold medal at the world championship.
iii. Bodybuilders from 60 countries participated for the Miss and Mr Universe titles.
iv. The Bodybuilding championship held in Venice, Italy.
v. The championship drew 50 competitors from different countries.
vi. It is organised by National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association (NABBA) of United
Boxer Ankush Dahiya wins gold in Ulaanbaatar Cup
The fast-rising Ankush Dahiya (60kg) clinched a gold medal and L Devendro Singh (52kg) got a silver medal in Ulaanbaatar Cup boxing tournament on 26th of June 2017.
i. The Ulaanbaatar Cup held in Mongolia.
ii. The 19-year-old Ankush, who is a former Asian youth silver-medallist, defeated Korean Man ChoeChol.
iii. Devendro lost to Indonesia’s AldomsSuguro.
iv. India got 1 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze medal from the tournament.
v. K Shyam Kumar (49kg), Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) and PriyankaChaudhary (60kg), lost semifinal and settle with bronze medals.
vi. This is Ankush’s first international medal at the senior level.
♦ Capital: Ulaanbaatar
♦ Currency: togrog
♦ President: Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
♦ Prime Minister: Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat
Lupin founder and Chairman Desh Bandhu Gupta passes away
Desh Bandhu Gupta, a founder and chairman of Lupin Limited died on 26th of June 2017.He was 79 years old.
i. Lupin has acquired as many as 12 companies, with six of those purchases materialising in the last two years alone.
ii. Lupin today sells its products in nearly 40 countries with direct presence in 13 of them.
iii. Lupin also acquired the US-based generic drug maker Gavis for $880 million in July 2015. It is the biggest foreign acquisition by an Indian pharma company.
iv. He was born in a family of teachers in Rajasthan.
v. In 1968, he started Lupin named after the flower that is known to nourish the land on which grows with an aim to nourish, protect and nurture life of people.
vi. In 50 years Lupin has become India’s third pharma company by global sales.
vii. As on March 31st 2017, Lupin is the 4th largest generics pharma company by market capitalisation and 6th by sales (as on Dec 31st 2016).Its current market cap is Rs 47918 crore.
viii. CEO of Lupin is Vinita Gupta and MD is Nilesh Gupta.
Noted Malayalam filmmaker KR Mohanan passes away
Noted filmmaker K.R. Mohanan passed away on 25th of June 2017. He was 69.
i. His prominent films include “Ashwathama” (1978), “Purushartham” (1987) and “Swaroopam” (1992).
ii. Mohanan played a key role in setting up the CPI-M-backed Kairali TV in the nineties and also headed the programme division of the channel during its formative period.
iii. He was also an accomplished documentary filmmaker.
iv. He is graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India and also headed the Kerala State Chalachithra Academy.
v. Vice-chairperson of Chalachithra Academy is Bina Paul.
International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
The 2017 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was observed on 26 June 2017.
i. The theme of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is Listen First – Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe.
ii. It is an initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.
iii. On 7 December 1987, the United Nations general Assembly (UNGA) via resolution 42/112 decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
iv. It was decided to observe the day and to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
v. In April 2016, the United Nations held a Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs.
vi. This session marked an important milestone in achieving the goals. It is set in the policy document of 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.
vii. The plan defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019.
Advices to address the documents were:
♦ To address demand and supply reduction and to improve access to controlled medicines while preventing diversion.
♦ The text puts new emphasis on national sentencing policies and practices for drug-related offences, and features a strong focus on prevention and treatment.
♦ It also cover the areas of human rights, youth, children, women and communities; emerging challenges, including new psychoactive substances; strengthening international cooperation; and alternative development.