Current Affairs 17th December 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) notified along with other provisions of Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 came into effect from 17 December 2016. It will remain open until March 31, 2016. PMGKY is Union Government’s second income disclosure scheme (IDS) to allow tax evaders to come clean with unaccounted wealth. It provides for 50 per cent tax and surcharge on declarations of unaccounted cash deposited in banks. Declaration under it can be made by any person in respect of undisclosed income in the form of cash or deposits in an account with bank or post office or specified entity. Declarant of undisclosed income needs to pay 30% tax, 10% penalty and 33% Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Cess on the tax, all of which add up to around 50%. Besides, declarant must make mandatory deposit of 25% of undisclosed income in the zero-interest Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016 with lock-in period of 4 years.  The income declared under it will not be included in the total income of the declarant under the Income-tax (IT) Act for any assessment year. Besides, declarations made under it will be kept confidential and shall not be admissible as evidence under any Act (ex. Wealth-tax Act, Central Excise Act, Companies Act etc.).  However, declarant will have no immunity under Criminal Acts mentioned in section 199-O of the Scheme. Non declaration of undisclosed cash or deposit in accounts under this Scheme will render tax, surcharge and cess totalling to 77.25% of such income, if declared in the return of income. In case the same is not shown in the return of income a further penalty @10% of tax shall also be levied followed by prosecution.

State-owned power producer National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and aluminium producer National Aluminium Co. Ltd (NALCO) have signed MoU to establish a 2.4 giga watt (GW) Coal based power project at Gajmara, Odisha. The MoU will facilitate setting up of a Joint Venture (JV) Company between NTPC and NALCO. It also seeks to set up one million tonne aluminium production facility in Odisha. The proposed 2.4GW power plant at Gajmara will comprise three units of 800 megawatts (MW) each. It will source coal from the mines operated by NALCO.  The power from plant will be provided to NAlCO’s factory at Angul which is aluminium smelter project (that converts raw material alumina into aluminium) and also Greenfield project at Kamakhyanagar in Dhenkanal district of Odisha. This JV project will act as a catalyst for industrial growth in the region creating direct and indirect employment for engineers, supervisors and skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. It will strive to keep the cost of power generation to a minimum so as to benefit aluminium production for automobile and aerospace industries to improve energy efficiency. National Thermal Power Corporation Limited  : NTPC limited is a Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU), operational under the aegis of Union Ministry of Power. It is engaged in the business of generation of electricity and allied activities. It is India’s largest power generator company and accounts for 25% of total electricity generated in the country.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar , UK-based scholar John Ralston Marr and Hari Katha exponent Kamala Murthy have been selected for SIES-Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati National Eminence Award. They will be presented awards in different categories.  ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar will be presented award for Science & Technology category. Mahrashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will be presented award for Public Leadership. Hari Katha exponent Kamala Murthy presented in with this award in Social Thinkers, Philosophers and Pravachana Karthas category. John Marr will be felicitated for his work in the International category. He is a scholar in Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. He has been teaching Carnatic music theory for 30 years in England. SIES-Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati National Eminence Award  : The awards were instituted by South Indian Education Society (SIES) in 1998 in memory of the late Seer of Kanchi Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati who passed away at the age of 100 in 1994. It is presented in four different categories viz. Science & Technology category, Public Leadership, Social Thinkers, Philosophers and Pravachana Karthas category and the International category. Each award carries a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh, a citation, a shawl and an ornamental lamp. Some of previous recipients are Shankar Dayal Sharma, A P J Abdul Kalam, R Chidambaram, Jayant Narlikar, Anil Kakodkar, Somnath Chatterjee, M S Subbulakshmi, Verghese Kurien, Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan.  

Rajasthan Government has launched Annapurna Rasoi Scheme to provide quality meal at cheap price to poor and needy on lines with Tamil Nadu Government’s Amma canteens. It was launched by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at Jaipur Municipal Corporation campus. The tagline for the scheme is: “Sabke liye bhojan, sabke liye sammaan (Food for all, respect for all)”. The food under this scheme will be provided at subsidized rates, breakfast at Rs 5 per plate and lunch/dinner at Rs 8 per plate. Local Self Government department of Rajasthan is the nodal agency for the scheme.  The meals will be cooked and served by staff trained in hospitality. It will be distributed by 80 mobile vans at locations decided by local self-help agencies in districts. The main beneficiary of the scheme will be rickshaw pullers, labourers, auto drivers, students, working women, elders and other weaker section. In the first phase the scheme will be started in 12 districts. They are Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Bharatpur, Bikaner, Pratapgarh, Kota, Banswara, Dungarpur, Baran and Jhalawar. The remaining 21 districts of state will be covered in second phase.  

Indian Navy’s eight landing craft utility (LCU) L-58 was launched by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) in Kolkata, West Bengal. It is the last vessel in a series of eight ships of LCU MK-IV project designed and built by GRSE for the Indian Navy. It was launched by Neelam Pratap Singh Rudy, wife of Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy. LCU L-58 is fully designed in-house by GRSE. It has displacement of 830 tonnes. It can attain a maximum speed of 15 knots with an endurance of more than 1,500 nautical miles. It can be deployed for multiple activities like operations for landing troops ashore, disaster relief operations and humanitarian aid operations and evacuation of personnel from distant islands.  It is capable of carrying two tanks or four special vehicles and 160 troops for landing at remote beach heads. It is armed with two CRN 91 naval guns, two heavy machine guns, four medium machine guns and portable air defence system. All 8 LCU vessels have almost 90% of their components indigenous. They are deployed for maritime security of Lakshadweep Islands in Arabian Sea and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in Bay of Bengal.

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued the draft notification for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2016 to regulate pet shops The objective of these proposed new rules is to make pet shops accountable and to prevent cruelty inflicted on animals kept in such pet shops. Mandatory for all pet shop owners to register themselves with the State Animal Welfare Board (AWB). Pet shops will be registered only after inspection by the representatives of AWB, a veterinary practitioner and a representative of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Pet shops must ensure that animals are kept in comfortable surroundings and as per define space requirement for birds, cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pig, hamster, rats and mice in the pet shops. Pet shops must have basic amenities, general care, veterinary care, power back-up and other operational requirement for animals in it. Mandatory for pet shops to maintain proper records of sale, purchase, death of animals and sick animals etc. in the shop. Pet shop owner must submit yearly report to State AWB regarding animals, sold, traded, given away, boarded or exhibited during previous year or any other information asked for by the State AWB. Non-compliance of the proposed rules will lead to cancellation of registration of pet shop and pet animals in the shop will be confiscated shall be handed over to a rescue centre recognised by the Board or Animal Welfare Organisation. MoEFCC has the mandate to implement the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals. The provisions of the PCA Act are general in nature, and rules dealing with specific situations have to be notified by MoEFCC from time to time.

Bangladesh celebrated 45th anniversary of victory over Pakistan and its emergence as a new country on the map of the world on 16 December 1971.  On this day, Chief of Pakistani Army General AAK Niazi along with 93,000 Pakistani troops surrendered to allied forces of Mukti Fouz and Indian Army at Ramna Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka following a defeat.  India had entered war on 3rd Dec 1971 after being attacked by Pakistan on the western front. The 13-day war culminated in birth of the new Bangla nation from eastern Pakistan.

Cyrus Mistry was removed as director from the Tata Teleservices Board. The decision was taken at an extended general meeting (EGM) of the company in Mumbai. Tata Teleservices Maharashtra, the listed unit of Tata Teleservices, communicated this decision to the stock exchange. With this removal, the Tata Teleservices has joined other Tata Group companies that removed Mistry from key positions. Earlier, Tata Industries and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) removed Mistry as a director. In November 2016, the Tata Global Beverages removed him as the Chairperson. The slew of actions against Cyrus Mistry began with his removal as Tata Sons Chairman on 23 October 2016. Though the specific reasons for Mistry’s removal are not clear, it is understood that differences between Ratan Tata and Mistry on the core philosophy of the company led to his removal. Tata Teleservices Ltd :  It spearheads the Tata Group’s presence in the telecommunication sector. It is one of India’s leading mobile telecom service providers delivering mobile connectivity and services to consumers across the country.  It offers integrated telecom solutions to its customers across wireline and wireless networks on GSM, CDMA and 3G platforms.It offers the services under two brand names – Tata Docomo and Tata Photon. The company’s promoters are Tata Sons and NTT Docomo. They own 36.17% and 26.5% shares respectively.Tata Group companies that own shares in Tata Tele are Tata Communications (9.33%), Tata Power (6.97%), Tata Industries (5.46%), Tata Steel (1.37%) and Tata Capital Financial Services (1.32%). At present, Ratan Tata is its interim chairperson. He is also the interim chairperson of the Tata Sons Ltd.  

Sushma Swaraj, the Indian Minister of External Affairs was named a ‘2016 Global Thinker’ by Foreign Policy magazine for her 'novel Twitter diplomacy'. Swaraj’s name featured in the ‘decision makers’ category along with the names of other world-renowned leaders such as US Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The major credit of the Minister’s inclusion in the list goes to her prompt twitter responses since she took office. The magazine recalled a particular instance when Swaraj had tweeted about the huge food crisis faced by thousands of Indian workers in Saudi Arabia due to sudden job layoffs. Swaraj had treated the situation with great swiftness, launching a week-long operation on social media, giving migrants all the required information that would keep them properly fed and get them back home safely. The magazine especially praised Swaraj for her ability to reach out to people abroad, be it Indians or non-Indians. From helping Indians evacuate from war-torn Yemen to more recently providing a passport to an Egyptian woman suffering from a rare disorder so that she can get her treatment done from India, the Minister has immediately come to the rescue of those seeking her help. Apart from Swaraj, other Indians to feature in the Foreign Policy list are Gursaram Prasad Talwar and Anupama and Vineet Nayar.  While Talwar is an immunologist who has developed a vaccine for leprosy, Anupama and Vineet are co-founders of Sampark Foundation, who have been selected for their work towards revamping of rural India’s primary education system with the help of basic teaching tools.  

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