Current Affairs 2nd November 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Palpreet Singh, winner of National Finals of ACG-NBA Jump, India's first national basketball talent search program, was selected 11th in the fourth Round of the NBA D-League Draft held in New York. Satnam Singh, who became the first Indian to be drafted into the NBA when he was selected 52nd overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2015 NBA Draft, represents the Texas Legends, the minor league affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. The NBA D-League's 16th season tips off on Nov. 11 with record 22 teams. The teams will hold training camps beginning on Oct. 31, and will trim their rosters to 10 players on Nov. 10, in advance of the start of the season. The Long Island Nets will play in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division, along with the Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics), Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks), Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors),Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers) and Erie BayHawks (Orlando Magic).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched theSaur Sujala Yojana in Chhattisgarh that would provide solar powered irrigation pumps to farmers at a subsidized price. Chhattisgarh would be the first state to implement the scheme. The Centre is taking all necessary measures to promote farmers, villager and poor people,” Modi said while launching the scheme at Chhattisgarh’s foundation day function in Naya Raipur . Under the scheme, solar powered irrigation pumps of 3HP and 5HP capacity worth Rs 3.5 lakh and Rs 4.5 lakh respectively would be distributed to the farmers by March 31, 2019. The beneficiaries would get the pumps at the subsidised price. Chhattisgarh’s additional chief secretary (energy) N Baijendra Kumar informed that 51,000 farmers would be benefitted in the state with the launch of the scheme in next two years. The scheme will be given priority in those areas where electricity connection has not reached yet. The Prime Minister applauded Chhattisgarh government for implementing the schemes.The effect of the foundation that Chhattisgarh is laying (for the growth) and the schemes it is designing and implementing for the welfare of poor people will remain for the century.

The Australian government on Wednesday announced 19 grants worth $6,30,000 dollars for several projects in the field of education, science, sports, arts and culture. Australia announces 19 grants worth $6.3 million for projects with India The successful grants include an exchange betweenTAFE NSW and India's Centurion University to share expertise for training indigenous learners, collaboration between University of New South Wales and Indian scientists to develop effective new water purification systems for the country's water supply. It also includes development of a website by Women's Legal Service Tasmania and TRS Law Offices in India to provide young Indian women with information about their rights. Sports programme will also be undertaken jointly in Indiaby Hockey Australia and Dabang Mumbai Hockey Club to share expertise in hockey training. The grant has also been assigned to a project by Soft Tread Enterprises to tell the story of historical links between Australia and India through theatrical and literary performances and for a collaboration between Queensland University of Technology and KM Music Conservatory Chennai to develop new approaches to music curriculum and facilitate ongoing exchanges with New Colombo Plan students.

ICICI Bank has launched a credit facility against home loans for salaried customers. The Home Overdraft facility will enable a salaried customer to seek loans up to Rs. 1 crore for personal needs against his/her property. This offering provides customers with the dual advantage of a term loan and an overdraft facility.While the term loan provides customers with quick funds for immediate needs, the overdraft facility offers them the flexibility to access funds instantly for expenses, as and when required.Customers can use the funds for an array of personal requirements, including education, medical treatment, home renovation, marriage and overseas travel, the statement added. The minimum and maximum loan over the Home Overdraft facility is Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 1 crore, respectively. Customers can avail themselves of minimum 10 per cent of the total amount as term loan and maximum 90 per cent as overdraft. The bank said for term loan, equated monthly instalment (EMI) will be applicable. For overdraft, interest is charged only on the utilised amount for the period the funds are used.The new product will offer the flexibility of sweep in and reverse sweep facility. The overdraft account will be linked to the customers’ savings account. In the sweep-in facility, money will be seamlessly made available in the savings account from the overdraft account, as and when the customer requires it. Similarly, in the reverse-sweep facility, excess funds available in the savings account will be swept back into the overdraft account, thus reducing the interest cost of the customer. Salaried individuals, who have a home loan and a salary account with ICICI Bank, are eligible to apply for the ‘Home Overdraft’ facility. Also, salaried borrowers of preferred corporates who do not have home loans with ICICI Bank can transfer their home loans to the bank to avail themselves of this service.  

Russia has invited India to join in developing next-generation nuclear reactors and to participate in its fast-reactor research project. The multipurpose fast research reactor project known by Russian acronym MBIR is coming up as the International Research Centre (IRC) in Dimitrovgrad located in the Ulyanovsk region. Creation of a new technological platform for nuclear energy, which will be based on the closed fuel cycle with fast neutron reactors It will be used to conduct a large number of reactor studies of Generation 4 nuclear systems, including the fast neutron reactor with closed fuel cycle, as well as small and medium power thermal neutron reactors. The MBIR project is based on the closed fuel cycle which involves recycling the nuclear waste as new fuel. It essentially signifies research on a sodium-cooled Generation 4 fast reactor to design an advanced fast neutron reactor for use in nuclear power plants. MBIR’s design includes three independent loops that can be used to test different coolants like gas, lead, molten salt, among others. Therefore it makes possible to conduct material testing research in those different environments It is a type in which the nuclear fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons. It also known as a fast reactor. Such a reactor needs no neutron moderator like normal water, which serves such a purpose in thermal reactors. With these types of reactors it is possible to solve the major ecological problem of reprocessing and deactivation of accumulated radioactive waste, at same time provide much needed energy. It will lead to the solution of the five key problems safety, shortage of fuel, competitiveness, reprocessing and refabricating used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and enforcing non-proliferation of fission materials and weapons technologies.

The 15 Asia-Pacific nations including India of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are concern to give greater market access to Chinese goods without gaining in return. All these countries in the RCEP grouping are also worried about agreeing to eliminate tariffs altogether, a move that will mainly help China.  These 15 Asia-Pacific nations including India fear that China may dump its excess capacity in several items including steel, as well as highly subsidised items which may harm local industry of importing countries and distort trade. Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership : RCEP is the proposed mega-regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between 16 Asia-Pacific countries. It includes India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10-member ASEAN bloc.  The RCEP negotiation process had started in 2013 and is unlikely to be concluded by the end of 2016. The proposed FTA aims to open up trade in goods and services as well as liberalise investment policies. It will cover a market of over 3 billion people in these 16 countries — whose total combined GDP is more than $17 trillion and collectively account for 40% of world trade.  

Twitter India Head Rishi Jaitly has resigned from the company. He made the announcement on his twitter handle on 1 November 2016 . Jaitly, who formerly worked at Google India, had joined Twitter in November 2012 to lead the microblogging giant's expansion to India. In 2014, Jaitly took on additional responsibility as Twitter’s Market Director for India and South East Asia, leading the company’s growth and media partnerships across SE Asia. Prior to joining Twitter, Jaitly worked at Knight Foundation as Program Director. However, he is better known for his stint as the head of Public-Private Partnerships at Google India. Twitter : Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and read short 140-character messages called tweets. It is based in San Francisco and has more than 25 offices around the world. It was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams. However, the site was officially launched in July 2006. In 2013, it was one of the ten most-visited websites and has been described as the SMS of the Internet. As of March 2016, it had more than 310 million monthly active users.

Arnab Goswami has resigned as the Editor-in-Chief of Times Now, the Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd-run news channel on 1 November 2016.Goswami was the anchor of Newshour, the prime time news programme which he anchored on weekdays at 9 pm everyday. Arnab Goswami : Goswami started his career as a print journalist in The Telegraph, before joining NDTV in 1995.  He later shifted his career in TV news broadcast with NDTV 24x7 in 1995, where he anchored daily newscasts and reporting for News Tonight, a programme telecast on DD Metro. He hosted one of the channel's top rated news analysis show Newsnight, which won him an award for the Best News Anchor of Asia 2004 in the 2004 Asian Television Awards.  In 2006, he helped launch Times Now and since then he has been at the helm of affairs.On Times Now, he anchored The Newshour, a live debate at 9 pm on weekdays.He also hosted a special television programme Frankly Speaking with Arnab.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has announced that renowned South Korean director Im Kwon-taek will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. The IFFI will take place from 20 November to 28 November 2016. The festival will pay a special tribute to late Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda and late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. The 47th edition of IFFI will have its country focus on Republic of Korea under which the best of Korean films will be screened. Im Kwon-taek : Im Kwon-taek is one of South Korea's most renowned film directors. In an active and prolific career, his films have won many domestic and international film festival awards as well as considerable box-office success.He has directed over 100 films including award-winning titles like Chihwaseon, Gilsoddeum, Chunhyang and Seopyeonje.  He was rewarded with the Best Director award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2002 for his film Chihwaseon.

Miroslav Klose, the all-time World Cup top-scorer, announced his retirement from football on 1 November 2016. Klose, 38, the leading scorer of Germany with 71 goals in 137 internationals, was without a club after his Lazio contract expired last season. Now, the former world-class striker plans to join Germany's coaching staff after an invitation from head coach Joachim Loew. For the purpose, he will have to attend a set coaching programme for the national team as well as the required qualifications for an A-license. His first match of the coaching team for national side will be on 11 November 2016 for the World Cup qualifier against San Marino. Miroslav Klose : He is the most successful goal scorer ever for Germany and the second most-capped player behind Lothar Matthaus (150 appearances). He holds the record for most goals scored at the World Cup finals, hitting the back of the net 16 times. The 38-year-old took part in a total of four World Cups between 2002 and 2014, and three European Championships. Last time, he wore a Germany shirt in the World Cup on 13 July 2014 at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. He celebrated a 1-0 victory over Argentina in the World Cup final.He scored 121 goals in 307 matches in Germany's top flight and managed 68 goals in 173 Series A games during five years with Lazio, who he joined in 2011. He also played for FC Homberg, Kaiserslautern, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich.

Vigilance Awareness Week was observed across India beginning from 31 October 2016 to promote probity in public life and achieve a corruption free society.The theme of the Vigilance Awareness Week 2016 was Public participation in promoting integrity and eradicating Corruption. Highlights of the Week : The observance of week commenced with pledge taking by public servants in the Ministries, Departments, PSUs, Banks and all other Organisations.  Several functions were organised to create awareness among the people about the corrupt practices as it adversely affects the development of the country. In addition to these activities, the concept of Integrity Pledge was envisaged for enlisting support and commitment of the citizens and corporate and firms to prevent and combat corruption. The Week is organized every year by the Central Vigilance Commission as part of its efforts to promote probity in public life and to achieve a corruption free society. The Central Vigilance Commission, under Para 3(v) of Government of India Resolution no 371/20/99/AVD-III dated 4 April 1999, declared that the week beginning from 31 October every year should be observed as the Vigilance Awareness Week.  The significance of 31 October is that it is the birthday of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. He integrated the country and also was a shining example of probity in public life.It is a five-day programme beginning from 31 October to 4 November.  

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) asked the public sector banks to share their reports relating to all loan frauds involving funds over one crore rupees. Till date, such reports were shared with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) only. With this, the banks will have to report the modus operandi of all the alleged frauds to the CVC, which will share these details with other banks to prevent such cases being repeated. Besides, the commission also decided to call regular monthly meetings of senior officials of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), CBI and banks to monitor probe in suspected bank frauds of 50 crore rupees and above. CBI data says, in 2015, the agency had probed 171 cases of bank frauds involving funds of 20646 crore rupees. In addition, CBI is also investigating the Ponzi schemes involving funds of over 1.20 lakh crore rupees.

Supreme Court has ruled that election of a candidate could be set aside for making false declaration on educational qualifications in the nomination paper on 1 November 2016. It held that the right to vote would be meaningless unless citizens were well-informed about the antecedents of candidates, including their educational qualification. The ruling came by a bench of Justice A R Dave and Justice L Nageswara Rao while hearing a plea of Mairembam Prithviraj and Pukhrem Sharatchandra Singh against each other challenging the judgment of the High Court of Manipur. The court quashed the election of Manipur Congress MLA, Mairembam Prithviraj, for falsely declaring in his nomination papers that he had an MBA degree. Earlier, the High Court had declared election of Prithviraj as void. He had contested the 2012 polls from Moirang Assembly seat in Manipur. Highlights of the observation : The apex court said all information about a candidate contesting elections must be available in public domain as exposure to public scrutiny was one of the surest means to cleanse the democratic governing system and have competent legislators. Placement of information on the public domain would act as an exposure to public scrutiny, which is one of the surest means to cleanse the democratic governing system and have competent legislators. It held that voters have a fundamental right to know the academic qualification of a candidate. For the purpose, the court highlighted the provisions of the Act, Rules and Form 26 which says that there is a duty cast on the candidates to give correct information about their educational qualifications.

State-run NHPC today announced commissioning of a 50 MW wind power project in Rajasthan. NHPC has commissioned its 50 MW wind power project in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The project consist of 25 nos wind turbine generators each of 2 MW capacity, which has been successfully synchronised with grid in October 2016.

Kerala has become the third Open Defecation Free state in the country after Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) (Gramin).  The announcement in this regard was made by the Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer in New Delhi on the occasion foundation day of Kerala (1 November).  With this Kerala becomes first high density populated state in the country to achieve Open Defecation Free status. All 14 districts, 152 blocks, 940 Gram Panchayats and 2117 villages of the State have been declared free from open defecation.  Freedom from open defecation has been proven to lead to significant health benefits in terms of incidences of water-borne diseases, especially in children, and provide safety and dignity for all, especially women and senior citizens.

The International Forum on adopting ICT Perspective to Education and Learning has begun in New Delhi. It will be held from 31th October to 4th November 2016. It has been organised by the International Bureau of Education (IBE), UNESCO in partnership with Google and the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. The forum targets mainly countries which are implementing the UNESCO developed General Education Quality Analysis Framework (GEQAF).  Participating countries include Egypt, Azerbaijan, Botswana, Gabon, India, Lithuania, Oman, Seychelles, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mauritius, US and Swaziland. It has been designed differently than the common practice of conferences and workshop characterized by extensive presentations. It seeks to build on concrete cases of ICT integration and inclusion thought practical hands-on activities. Best practice cases from countries will be presented. International Bureau of Education (IBE) :  IBE is a UNESCO category 1 institute mandated as the Centre of Excellence in curriculum and related matters.  It supports countries efforts both through direct technical assistance and also by proving platform to share experiences and best practices from around the world. It also helps to build country’s capacity to harness technology to strengthen education systems for sustained improvement of education quality, equity and inclusion.  

Odisha government has launched Madhubabu Aain Sahayata Sibir’ (MASS) scheme to provide legal assistance to deprived sections of the society at the grassroots level. The scheme has been named after great Odia lawyer Madhu Babu, who is considered as the first lawyer of Odisha. Features : State government will provide free legal consultations to deprived sections of the society by setting up legal assistance cells in all 6,812 gram panchayats across the state. Legal assistance will be given in shape of free legal aid in order to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen for economic and other reasons.  A practicing lawyer with minimum three years of experience would head the legal cells. The lawyer who will give legal assistance will receive Rs 500 per sitting as remuneration. It will help people especially the women, senior citizens, children, SC, ST and socially and educationally backward to resolve long pending litigations.

The Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises Sunil Bharti Mittal was appointed as Chairman of GSM Association (GSMA).  He succeeds Jon Fredrik Baksaas who will step down at the end of 2016. In his new role, Mittal will oversee the strategic direction of the organisation. Besides, Mari-Noëlle Jego-Laveissiere, Executive Vice President, Innovation, Orange Group was re-elected as Deputy Chairman of GSM Association. It also elected the new members of the 26-member Board of the company. Sunil Bharti Mittal :  Sunil Mittal is Indian telecom tycoon, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the founder, chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises, which has interests in telecom, financial services, retail and agri business. The Group’s flagship company Bharti Airtel is India’s largest telecom company and world’s third largest mobile operator. It has its presence in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and customer base of over 275 million. Presently, he serves on many international bodies and think-tanks and currently is the Chair of the World Economic Forums (WEF) Telecommunications Steering Committee. He is listed as the eight richest person in India by Forbes with a Net worth of 7 billion dollars. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour. GSM Association  : The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. It unites nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.  The GSMA Board has 26 members, including 25 operator representatives from world’s largest operator groups as well as smaller, independent operators. It produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences. 

The Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has launched Employees Online (EO) App.  The mobile application aims to update on Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointments and postings on real time basis and to bring transparency.  The EO App has been developed keeping in mind the spirit of maximum Governance, minimum Government and meet the need of the hour to bring high-tech systems in the governance. Enable its users, to stay updated on real time basis with appointments and postings approved by the ACC and vacancies at senior level in the Central Government. Eliminate the information asymmetry in appointments and postings and will reduce speculations regarding transfers and postings in the Union Government.  Make the system completely transparent as all the relevant orders and notifications will now be instantly available in the public domain. Provide personal records like Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR), Immovable Property Return (IPR), Executive Record (ER) sheet to IAS officers on Pan India basis and officers serving under Central Staffing Scheme.

The Union Government has reconstituted the Inter State Council (ISC) and the Standing Committee of the ISC under Clause 2 of the Inter State Council order,1990. The Inter-State Council is a constitutional body to facilitate coordination between states and the centre. It will be headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Members : Chief Ministers of all states and Union Territories (having legislative Assembly), Six Union Ministers. Besides, administrators of Union Territories which do not have legislative Assembly are also members of the Council. Six Union Ministers : Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Minister for Information and Broadcasting M Venkiah Naidu and Road Transport Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari. The Inter-State Council is a constitutional body to facilitate coordination between states and the centre. It is a recommendatory body to investigate and discuss subjects, in which some or all of the states or the Central government have a common interest. It is set up on the basis of provisions in Article 263 of the Constitution of India by a Presidential Order, 1990 based on the recommendation of Sarkaria Commission. The Inter-state council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the states and Central government. Rather, President can establish it at any time if it appears to him that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a council. The Council is headed by Prime Minister (Chairman).  Besides, Chief Ministers of all states and UTs (having legislative Assembly) are its members. Six Union ministers of cabinet rank nominated by the Prime Minister are also members.

The European Union (EU) and Canada have signed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a landmark trade deal. The deal was signed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and top European Union officials in Brussels, Belgium. Now all 28 European Union states are required to endorse it. CETA is a free free-trade agreement (FTA) between Canada and the EC. It aims to revoke roughly 9,000 tariffs, covering many industrial goods and agricultural and food items.  It links single European Union market with Canada, world’s 10th largest economy. It will add around €11.6 billion to the EU economy and around €8.2 billion to Canada’s economy It also promises to open up competition and cooperation in the services sector ranging from regulations, to financial services, and telecoms. It remove customs duties, open-up the services market, end restrictions on access to public contracts, offer predictable conditions for investors and help prevent illegal copying of EU innovations and traditional products

The first meeting of National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) was held in New Delhi to discuss ways for developing roadmap for implementation of WTOs trade facilitation agreement. It was headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha and was attended by all 24 members along with secretaries of various ministries and departments like Home, Shipping, Civil Aviation. National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) :  The NCTF is a mandatory requirement under the WTOs Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).  It is a national level body to facilitate domestic co-ordination and implementation of TFA provisions. It aims to develop the pan-India road map for trade facilitation. It will have three tier structure with main national committee for monitoring implementation of TFA. Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) :  TFA is the WTO’s first-ever multilateral accord that contains provisions for expediting the movement, clearance and release of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.

According to recently released new 2011 census data, nearly two-thirds of the disabled population in the age-group of 5-19 in 2011 were attending educational institutions. It was mentioned in the table C-22 of census which gives distribution of the disabled population in the age-group 5-19 by their attendance status in educational institution, type of disability, sex, age and residence. Highlights of the table C-22 of census  : As many as 40.2 lakh (61.2%) out of the total of 65.7 lakh disabled population in the specified age group were attending educational institutions in 2011.  Besides, 8.0 lakh (12.1%) had attended educational institutions earlier and 17.5 lakh (26.7%) never had attended any educational institutions.  The census shows improvement of 11% points from 2001 when 33 lakh (50%) of the 65.3 lakh differently abled persons had attended educational institutions.  The enrolment figure is 10% points lower than that of the total population — 71% attending educational institutions. 27% of the disabled people in the age group of 5-19 have never attended any educational institute.  Data show those who reported to have ‘any other disability’ has the highest percentage (71.2%) of the people attending any educational institution.  This was followed by those having visual disability (68%) and hearing difficulty (67%), Movement (59.6%), Speech (58.9%), Mental retardation (47.2%), Multiple disability (37.2%) and Mental illness (34.1%).

The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists was observed globally on 2 November 2016.The Day is celebrated to spread awareness against the violence and crimes done to journalists and media workers and to bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.  It aims to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference. Over the past decade, more than 800 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public. However,  only one in ten cases committed against media workers over the past decade has led to a conviction.  The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 in 2013 which proclaimed 2 November as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.  The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity.  The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013. This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers.

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 came into effect on 1 November 2016. The Act was formulated to curb black money. An official release of Central Board of Direct Taxes said, after coming into effect, the existing Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 will be renamed as the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions (PBPT) Act, 1988. The new legislation provides for seven years imprisonment and fine for those indulging in illegal transactions. The previous Act provided for up to three years if imprisonment or fine or both. It says that properties held as Benami are liable for confiscation by the government without payment of compensation. The act has amended the definition of benami transactions and establishes adjudicating authorities and an Appellate Tribunal to deal with benami transactions. Highlights of Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act : It expands the definition of benami transaction by including following Transaction is made in a fictitious name Owner is not aware of and denies knowledge of the ownership of the property Person providing the consideration for the property is not traceable Earlier, it defined benami transaction as a transaction where a property is held by or transferred to a person, but has been provided for or paid by another person. Exemptions : Specific cases will be exempted from the definition of a benami transaction. These include cases when a property is held by  A member of a Hindu undivided family, and is being held for his or another family member’s benefit, and has been provided for or paid off from sources of income of that family.A person in a fiduciary capacity. A person in the name of his spouse or child, and the property has been paid for from the person’s income. Section 58 empowers government to exempt the genuine properties of religious organisation like a church or a mosque or a gurdwara or a temple from the action.  But the exemption to such entities cannot be a pretext for tax evasion. Four Authorities for conducting Inquiry : The Act establishes four authorities to conduct inquiries or investigations regarding benami transactions and they are Initiating Officer Approving Authority Administrator Adjudicating Authority Penalty :  Rigorous imprisonment from one year to seven years, and a fine which may extend to 25% of the fair market value of the benami property. The previous penalty under the Act for entering into benami transactions was imprisonment up to three years, or a fine, or both. Specifies the penalty for providing false information to be rigorous imprisonment of six months up to five years, and a fine which may extend to 10% of the fair market value of the benami property.Certain session courts would be designated as Special Courts for trying any offences which are punishable under the Act.

Indian Revenue Service Officer Sushil Chandra took over as the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Chandra replaced Rani Singh Nair, who retired on 31 October 2016. Central Board of Direct Taxes : The Central Board of Direct Taxes provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India. It is the policy-making body of the Income Tax Department under the Union Finance Ministry.It is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The Chairperson of the CBDT is the senior-most IRS civil servant in the Government of India. The Chairperson of Central Board of Direct Taxes is the ex officio Special Secretary to the Government of India and also cadre controlling authority of the Indian Revenue Service. The CBDT Chairperson is placed above the officers of the rank of Lieutenant-General, Vice-Admiral or Air Marshal, CBI Director and Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General in the Order of Precedence.

Indo-Nepal joint military exercise Surya Kiran-X commenced on 31 October 2016 at Army Battle School, Saljhandi, Nepal. The exercise will conclude on 13 November 2016. The joint military exercise is the tenth in the series of such exercise between the two nations. The Surya Kiran series of exercises are being conducted annually, alternatively in Nepal and India. In the series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries, Surya Kiran series with Nepal is the largest in terms of troop’s participation.             Highlights of the exercise :  Indian Army is represented by the elite Kumaon Regiment. Jabar Jung Battalion of Nepal Army is participating in the tenth edition of the joint exercise on behalf of Nepal Army. The aim of the exercise is to conduct battalion level joint training with emphasis on Counter Terrorism in mountainous terrain.Aspects of Disaster Management have also been included in the exercise.The Joint Battalion Level Exercise will enhance defence co-operation and relations between the two nations.   It is an ideal platform for the contingent of both nations to share their experience and gain mutually. The Exercise will be yet another step towards taking traditional friendship between the two nations to greater heights.

The Union Government has notified the rules for Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (General) Rules, 2016 that seeks to regulate the housing sector besides bringing transparency and ensuring timely completion of projects in five Union Territories. The rules notified by the Housing Ministry will be applicable to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep. Ministry of Urban Development will come out with such rules for the National Capital Region of Delhi while the other States and UTs will come out with their own rules. The Act, which is touted as a major reform measure to regulate the vast real estate sector, requires registration of all projects with state-level Real Estate Regulatory Authorities to ensure protection of the interests of both buyers and builders. The Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 was partly brought into effect on 1 May 2016.

The 51st Haryana Day was observed on 1 November 2016. The day was observed as Haryana Golden Jubilee (Swarna Jyanti) across the state. The day marks completion of 50 years of Haryana’s existence as a state of the federal map of India. The year will be celebrated as Haryana Swarna Jyanti from 1 November 2016 to 31 October 2017. Haryana Swarna Jyanti celebrations : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the Chief Guest of the opening ceremony of the year-long golden jubilee celebrations. The opening ceremony will be held in Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Gurugram.  Prof. Kaptan Singh Solanki, governor the state will be the Guest of Honour of the celebrations.The state government declared 1 November 2016 as a public holiday in Gurugram district under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. To mark the occasion, the Chief Minster Manohar Lal Khattar announced a string of incentives for people of the state on 31 October 2016. The incentives include Social security pension : Grants for existing schemes like old age pension, widow pension and pension for those with special needs was hiked from 1400 rupees per month to 1600 rupees per month. The notification that will benefit some 11 lakh people will come into effect from 1 November 2016.  This would entail an expenditure of 88 crore rupees. Financial assistance to destitute children: It was hiked to 700 rupees per month from existing 500 rupees. The sum for non-school going differently-abled children was raised to 1000 rupees per month from 700 rupees. Fiscal help to ex-servicemen (aged 60 and above), those disabled or paraplegic, their orphaned children and 1962, 1965 and 1971 war widows, has been raised to 3000 rupees per month.Khattar also announced raise of honorarium of home guards to 572 rupees per day from 300 rupees. Besides, the Chief Minister also launched web portal ‘Saksham (Shikshit Yuva-Sammanit Hua)’. Under Saksham, the honorarium of 9000 rupees would be given to the post-graduate unemployed youth in lieu of 100 hours of work. The government would spend 324 crore rupees on the initiative. Haryana : Haryana, one of the 29 states in India, was carved out of the former state of Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis.  In terms of area, the state stands at 21st position with an area of about 44212 kilometer square (17070 square miles).  As of 2011 census of India, the state is eighteenth largest by population with 25353081 inhabitants. The city of Chandigarh is its capital while the NCR city of Faridabad is the most populous city of the state.

Himachal Pradesh was declared India’s second Open Defecation Free (ODF) State on 28 October 2016. The first state to achieve the feat was Sikkim. Himachal Pradesh successfully achieved total rural sanitation coverage of 100 per cent in the state, with all 12 districts in the state being both, declared as well as verified as ODF. The state is also the first among bigger Indian states to become ODF under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachch Bharat Abhiyan. Open defecation is the practice of people defecating outside and not into a designated toilet.The term is widely used in literature about water, sanitation, and hygiene issues in developing countries. Open defecation causes public health problems in areas where people defecate in fields, urban parks, rivers, and open trenches in close proximity to the living space of others.High levels of open defecation in a country are usually correlated with high child mortality, as well as high levels of undernutrition, high levels of poverty, and large disparities between rich and poor. About one billion people around the globe practice open defecation.India has the highest number of people practicing open defecation (around 190 million people). The other countries with the highest number of people openly defecating are Indonesia (54 million), followed by Pakistan (41 million), Nigeria (39 million), Ethiopia (34 million), and Sudan (17 million).  

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