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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Current Affairs Update – 6th August, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 6th August, 2015. These are Important for the upcoming UIIC Assistant and IBPS RRB 2015 Exam.

Finance –

CBDT signed two unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements to usher in tax certainty

  • Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 3 August 2015 signed two unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with two Multi-National Companies (MNCs). The aim of the APAs is to user in an era of certainty in taxation.
  • This includes for the first time an APA with “Rollback” provision which means extending the tax certainty for nine financial years as against five years in APAs without “Rollback”.
  • With this, the CBDT has so far signed 14 APAs of which 13 are unilateral APAs and one is a bilateral APA. The 14 APAs signed relate to various sectors like telecommunication, oil exploration, pharmaceuticals, finance/banking, software development services and ITeS (BPOs).
  • APAs are a means to settle transfer prices and of setting prices of international transactions in advance. There are two types of APAS, viz., unilateral APA and bilateral APA.

Centre liberalises single-brand retail norms

  • India might see a flurry of single-brand retailers entering , with the government allowing them to operate across multiple platforms. As a result, a number of proposals, including ones by Tommy Hilfiger, Swarovski, H&M, Nike and Adidas, among others, might soon get the government's nod to open stores here.
  • The government believes there was an "anomaly" in the previous policy that had "confused" the retailers who wanted to expand here in a big way. The policy, as was drafted by the previous government, did not explicitly clarify that retailers could operate in multiple formats as long as the investment was done through different entities.
  • Several single-brand retailers might soon get government approval to operate in multiple formats
  • Government has now allowed single-brand retailers to operate their own outlets, franchise stores and wholesale
  • Large number of investment proposals by marquee international brands were held up due to lack of clarity in policy
  • Government believes since franchise money comes into the current account and FDI proceeds in capital account, there is no violation of rules
  • Single-brand retailers have also been demanding government relax mandatory 30 per cent sourcing norms

FICCI, ILO signed MoU to establish National Coordination Centre for SCORE Training Services

  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on 5 August 2015 signed the Phase II of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation for establishing a National Coordination Centre for Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Training Services in India.
  • The MoU will contribute to holistic development of the SMEs in India from the perspective of skill development, employees’ relation and better business efficiency.
  • The objective of the MoU is to draw a framework for coordination and cooperation between the ILO and AIOE/FICCI that will result in phase-wise capacity building of the ‘Centre’ in the national coordination of SCORE training services in India.

Murugappa Group signed agreement with Organo Corp to form Joint Venture

  • The water treatment engineering company Polutech Limited of Murugappa Group on 4 August 2015 signed an agreement with Japan-based Organo Corp to form a Joint venture (JV) of an industrial water treatment requirement company.
  • As per the agreement, the Murugappa Group will hold 51 percent in JV and the remaining portion will be with the Organo Group. The estimated new venture will deal in industrial water treatment requirements services to meet growing demand of industries for waste water management.
  • Murugappa Group’s Polutech manufactures equipment and designing systems for water and waste water treatment plants. It is a complete turnkey solution provider in raw water and effluent treatment systems and claims to have executed numerous projects over 30 years across industries.
  • While, Organo is a key player in general water treatment engineering. It provides water treatment systems, management and maintenance of delivered systems and also deals in sales of standard products and chemicals.

Union Cabinet approved direct release of wages into bank accounts of MNREGA workers

  • The Union Cabinet on 5 August 2015 approved release of wages directly to the accounts of the workers engaged under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
  • The decision in this regard was taken by the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi.
  • As per the scheme, the wage component of MGNREGA will be released following the State Employment Guarantee Fund window directly to the worker's accounts. The transfer will be based on a fund transfer order to be generated by states' implementing agencies in accordance with procedures prescribed by Rural Development Ministry.
  • The decision is aimed at further streamlining the flow of funds and to empower state governments to deliver entitlements as per the objectives of the Act.

Practo raises $90mn in series C funding led by Tencent

  • Healthcare platform Practo today announced that it has raised $90 million (Rs. 574 crore) in Series C funding. This round was led by Tencent, with participation from investors including Sofina, Sequoia India, Google Capital, Altimeter Capital, Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital Global Equities and Yuri Milner.
  • This round of funding comes a few months after closing a $30 million (Rs. 191 crore) Series B round of funding from Sequoia India and Matrix Partners. After the three series of funding, total funds raised by Practo is $125 million (Rs. 797 crore).
  • After the successful funding, Practo plans on expanding the product lines and look for potential acquisition of companies over the next three to six months. Practo also plans on adding to its team of 1,500 ‘Practeons’.

India –

India, Mozambique signed MoU to boost ties in Renewable Energy Sector

  • India and Mozambique on 5 August 2015 signed Memorandum of understanding (MoU) to deepen cooperation in New and Renewable Energy Sector. The agreement was signed during the official visit of Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique to India.
  • Moreover, both nations also agreed to intensify cooperation in maritime security and ocean economy as both the countries have large coastlines and are linked by Indian Ocean.
  • India’s strong relation with this south eastern African nation will play important larger role in its foreign policy in Africa and the Indian Ocean region. Mozambique will also play prominent role to meet India’s energy security as it is a proximate source of natural gas, coal and other minerals.

Airtel Becomes First Telco to Launch 4G Services Across India

  • Bharti Airtel on 6 August 2015 launched pan-India 4G high-speed data services. The service was launched in 296 towns across India and it will be available to customers through 4G-enabled mobile phones, internet dongles and Wi-Fi routers.
  • With this the largest telecom company of India became the first company to roll out the pan-India 4G network which is built on an open partner ecosystem model.
  • In order to roll out the 4G services, Airtelhas exclusively partnered with mobile manufacturer major Samsung and 4G service will be available at 3G prices with packs starting at 25 rupees.
  • Besides, Airtel also announced the launch of a carrier agnostic mobile app ‘Wynk Movies’ that offers a library of thousands of movies and other popular videos.

Haryana’s CM Manohar Lal launched ‘Thari Pension Thare Pass’ scheme

  • Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar on 4 August 2015 launched scheme named Thari Pension Thare Pass in Chandigarh.
  • Khattar launched the scheme by pressing a button that allowed transfer of social security pensions of July 2015 amounting to about 119 crore  rupees directly into the bank accounts of eligible beneficiaries under the scheme.
  • He also transferred the arrear of pension from March to June 2015 amounting to 13.23 crore rupees.
  • The scheme launched with a view to ensure transparency in disbursement of social security pensions will be implemented phase wise.

Appointments –

Indian-American Atul Keshap confirmed Ambassador to Sri Lanka

  • Indian-American Atul Keshap has been confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, becoming the second Indian-origin diplomat to be posted to the region after Richard Rahul Verma.
  • Mr. Keshap (44), a former official at the US Embassy in India, was on Wednesday confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the country’s envoy which would be his first Ambassadorial posting.
  • He is currently working as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in South and Central Asian Affairs Bureau of State Department. He joined the Foreign Service in 1994.
  • Mr. Keshap and Mr. Verma, the U.S. envoy to India, both trace their origin to Punjab.
  • He was the deputy political counsellor at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi from 2005 to 2008.
  • Mr. Keshap also served as special assistant for the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia for the under secretary of state for political affairs.

Ashish Dasgupta assumes charge as Air India Engineering Services' new ED

  • Ashish Dasgupta has taken over as Executive Director-Engineering, Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL), at the airline’s headquarters in New Delhi with effect from August 3.
  • Prior to this, he was holding the position of GM (Engineering), Station Head Hyderabad.
  • He was involved with the operation of the brand new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Hyderabad.
  • Ashish Dasgupta is a qualified aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) having DGCA licence on all Airbus family aircraft.
  • He joined Indian Airlines in the year 1981 as a AME trainee in eastern region and held several top managerial positions at the airline’s headquarters in New Delhi, southern region and was also associated with the engineering activities in western region, Mumbai.

Awards & Honors –

Zhanna Nemtsova awarded with Poland's Solidarity Prize 2015

  • Zhanna Nemtsova, the daughter of slain Russian politician Boris Nemtsov, was on 5 August 2015 awarded with Poland's Solidarity Prize 2015. Nemtsova received the award for championing democracy and human rights.
  • She received 1.1 million US dollars human rights prize as a recognition. Presently, Nemtsova works for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in Berlin.
  • Nemtsova, a former journalist at Russian business news channel RBK, left Russia in June 2014 after her father was assassinated by unknown assailants on 27 February 2014.

NLC confers ‘Most Influential CFOs of India’ award on Director, Finance

  • The Chartered Institute of Management Accounts, (CIMA) has conferred on Rakesh Kumar, Director, Finance, NLC the prestigious award the “Most Influential CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) of India”.
  • He was honoured in recognition of his contribution and outstanding work in the field of finance for more than three decades.
  • The award was instituted by CIMA, the world’s largest and leading professional body of management accountants, to honour CFOs with a proven track record of performance, achievements and contribution to the business.
  • B. Surender Mohan, CMD, NLC congratulated the NLC Finance Director and handed over the award to him at the NLC corporate office, Neyveli.

List –

Forbes released the World's Highest-Paid Actors 2015 list

  • Forbes on 4 August 2015 released the list of 2015 World's Highest-Paid Actors. The list, that includes names of 34 global actors, was topped by Robert Downey Jr., for the third year in a row, with earnings of 80 million US dollars.
  • Jackie Chan was placed at the second place in the list with earnings of 50 million US dollars. Vin Diesel stood at the third spot with earnings of 47 million US dollars.

Top ten in the list are
  1. Robert Downey Jr. stood at top position in the list with earnings of 80 Million US dollars
  2. Jackie Chan stood at second position with earnings of 50 Million US dollars
  3. Vin Diesel stood at third position with earnings of 47 Million US dollars
  4. Bradley Cooper stood at fourth position with earnings of 41.5 Million US dollars
  5. Adam Sandler with stood at fifth position with earnings of 41 Million US dollars
  6. Tom Cruise stood at sixth position with earnings of 40 Million US dollars
  7. Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan stood at seventh position with earnings of 33.5 Million US dollar
  8. Akshay Kumar stood at ninth position with earnings of 32.5 Million US dollars
  9. Mark Wahlberg stood at tenth position with earnings of 32 Million US dollars

World –

NASA signed 490 million US dollars contract with Russia for International Space Station travel

  • NASA on 5 August 2015 signed a contract worth 490 million US dollars with Russia's space agency Roscosmos for carrying the US astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The contract was signed amid a lack of Congressional funding.
  • The US space agency in a statement said that the US will continue to rely exclusively on Russia to take astronauts to the orbiting outpost under the new contract, which runs until 2019.
  • NASA further said a lack of funding for development of private vessels by US companies Boeing and Space-X over the last five years has left NASA with no other option. As a result, the US will pay for use of space vessels belonging to the Roscosmos.

Ukraine Lifts Ban on HIV-Positive Visitors

  • Ukraine said today it had removed its restriction on entry and foreign travel for HIV-positive people as part of growing efforts to improve relations with Europe after decades of Moscow rule.
  • The ex-Soviet state's Deputy Health Minister Igor Pereginets said the repeal of the 14-year ban was one of the conditions put forward by the European Union in the ongoing visa-free travel talks.
  • Kiev hopes to strike an unrestricted travel agreement with Brussels next year and apply for EU membership by 2020.
  • Ukraine's human rights commissioner called the health ministry's decision "a significant step forward in our defence of human rights."

Obituaries –

World War-II hero Colonel Harwant Singh passed away

  • Colonel Harwant Singh (retd), a World War-II hero, died on 4 August 2015 at Patiala. He was 95. He was officer-in-charge of the flag hoisting ceremony on the first Independence Day of India in 1947.
  • Commissioned in 2nd battalion of the Sikh Regiment in September 1941, Singh served in Iraq, Palestine, North Africa, Cyprus and Italy during World War-II for the British Army. On the outbreak of hostilities with Pakistan in October 1947, colonel Harwant Singh was one of the leading company commanders who was airlifted to Srinagar.
  • Later in 1951, he was transferred to the Rajputana Rifles when the state forces began to be merged with the Indian army. He commanded 18 Rajputana Rifles, 6 Rajputana Rifles and the Rajputana Regimental Centre.


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