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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Current Affairs Update – 19th January, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 19th January, 2016. These are important for the upcoming LIC AAO 2016.


Current Affairs at a Glance - 19th January, 2016
  1. The ‘MUDRA' loan for women entrepreneurs or Boutique Finance for Women Entrepreneurs – a special loan scheme under Prime Minister MUDRA Yojana – has been launched for catering to the financial needs of women entrepreneurs. Under the scheme, State Bank of India too has come forward to participate and provide loans to help women entrepreneurs in West Bengal who are engaged in various handicraft activities.
  2. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) today kept India’s growth projection unchanged at 7.3 per cent in the current fiscal and 7.5 per cent in the next, even as it cut world economic outlook to 3.4 per cent for 2016.
  3. Union Ministry of Finance on 18 January 2016 released the draft report of Justice R V Easwar (Retd) Committee to simplify the provisions of Income-tax Act, 1961.
  4. India is home to the fourth largest population of millionaires in the Asia Pacific region, with 2.36 lakh such high net worth individuals, while Japan topped the list with 12.60 lakh people, a report says. According to the Asia Pacific 2016 Wealth Report, by New World Wealth, India was ranked among the top five Asia Pacific countries in terms of number of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs).
  5. Reflecting an acute shortage of skilled labour force and difficult business conditions, India has slipped 11 places to rank 89th on a global index of talent competitiveness, a list which has been topped by Switzerland.
  6. Indian space agency ISRO is all set to make its first rocket launch of the year and the fifth satellite of India Regional Navigation Satellite System -- IRNSS-1E, on board PSLV-C31 rocket from Sriharikota on Wednesday.
  7. In a global first, the World Bank in third week of January 2016 decided to extend an assistance of 20 million US dollar to help reconstruct the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP), which got devastated during cyclone Hudhud in October 2014, in Visakhapatnam.
  8. The Union Government on 18 January 2016 decided to institute a new award category under the National Film Awards titled The Most Film Friendly State/UT.
  9. French President Francois Hollande on 18 January 2016 declared a state of economic and social emergency to redefine country’s economic and social model.



Finance/Economy/Banking –

SBI offers loans for women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme


  • The ‘MUDRA' loan for women entrepreneurs or Boutique Finance for Women Entrepreneurs – a special loan scheme under Prime Minister MUDRA Yojana – has been launched for catering to the financial needs of women entrepreneurs.
  • Under the scheme, State Bank of India too has come forward to participate and provide loans to help women entrepreneurs in West Bengal who are engaged in various handicraft activities.
  • One such camp was organised by the bank, earlier this month., according to a release issued by the bank.
  • Around 80 women entrepreneurs received sanctioned letters for loan, SBI said.
  • Loans are being provided at a concessional rate of interest. Loans up to Rs. 10 lakh will be provided under the scheme without any collateral security. A maximum loan amount of Rs. 50 lakh can be availed under the scheme.



IMF retains India’s GDP forecast for 2017 at 7.5 %


  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) today kept India’s growth projection unchanged at 7.3 per cent in the current fiscal and 7.5 per cent in the next, even as it cut world economic outlook to 3.4 per cent for 2016.
  • In its update on World Economic Outlook (WEO), IMF said China’s growth would slow to 6.3 per cent in 2016 and further to 6 per cent in 2017, but India would continue to grow at a “robust pace“.
  • As for the world growth, IMF today forecast 3.4 per cent for 2016 and 3.6 per cent for 2017.
  • For India, it retained the growth forecast at 7.3 per cent for the current fiscal and 7.5 per cent for 2016—17 and 2017—18.
  • IMF said the pick—up in global activity is projected to be more gradual than in the October WEO, especially in emerging market and developing economies.
  • In the last WEO update released in October, IMF had projected India to grow at 7.3 per cent in the current fiscal and 7.5 per cent in 2016—17. As for world growth, it had put the figures at 3.6 per cent for 2016 and 3.8 per cent for 2017.



Draft report of R V Easwar Committee to simplify Income-tax Act, 1961 released


  • Union Ministry of Finance on 18 January 2016 released the draft report of Justice R V Easwar (Retd) Committee to simplify the provisions of Income-tax Act, 1961.
  • The draft recommendations of the 10-member committee contain 27 suggestions for amendments under the Income-tax Act, 1961 and 8 recommendations for reform through administrative instructions.

Highlights of the draft report

Recommendations to facilitate speedier disposal of tax disputes-
  • Amendment to Section 255(3) to enhance the monetary limit for Single Member Bench (SMC) cases before the Tribunal to rupees one crore from the present rupees 15 lakhs
  • Amendment to Section 254(2) to reduce the time-limit for rectification of orders of the Tribunal from the present four years to 120 days
  • Deletion of section 143(1D) – Avoiding undesirable delay in issue of refunds

Recommendations to promote ease of doing business and simplify procedures-
  • Tax deduction at source (TDS) rates for individuals and Hindu undivided families (HUFs) to be reduced to 5 percent as against the present 10 percent
  • Proposal for certain amendments in rule 30 and 31 in relation to time and mode of payment of TDS and filing of statement of TDS under the provisions of section 200
  • A presumptive income scheme for professionals should be launched. The presumptive tax is levied on an estimated income.


Reports/Indexes –

India home to 2.36 lakh millionaires: Report


  • India is home to the fourth largest population of millionaires in the Asia Pacific region, with 2.36 lakh such high net worth individuals, while Japan topped the list with 12.60 lakh people, a report says.
  • According to the Asia Pacific 2016 Wealth Report, by New World Wealth, India was ranked among the top five Asia Pacific countries in terms of number of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs).
  • HNWIs (millionaires) were defined as those individuals with net assets of $1 million or more.
  • At the end of 2015, there were, 12,60,000 millionaires in Japan, while China ranked second with 654,000 HNWIs and Australia was at the third place had 290,000.
  • Others in the top 10 in terms of number of HNWIs in Asia Pacific include, Singapore at the fifth place with 224,000 millionaires, Hong Kong (6th, 215,000), South Korea (7th, 125,000), Taiwan (8th, 98,200), New Zealand (9th, 89,000) and Indonesia (10th, 48,500).


India slips to 89th rank on global talent competitiveness


  • Reflecting an acute shortage of skilled labour force and difficult business conditions, India has slipped 11 places to rank 89th on a global index of talent competitiveness, a list which has been topped by Switzerland.
  • Switzerland is followed by Singapore, Luxembourg, the United States and Denmark in the top five positions on the annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTC) released on Tuesday by INSEAD business school in partnership with Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore.
  • India’s ranking is worst among the five BRICS countries, with China leading the pack with a global rank of 48.
  • Last year, India was ranked 78th on the index that measures a nation’s competitiveness based on the quality of talent it can produce, attract and retain. It is released every year on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting here.


Oxfam released report titled An Economy for the 1%

  • Oxfam on 18 January 2016 released a report titled An Economy for the 1%. The report analysed growing trends of concentration of wealth across the world and suggested remedies to correct the anomaly.
  • Further, the report was named as such by taking a cue from the report of Credit Suisse, a global financial services company, which revealed that the richest 1 percent had accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together.

Highlights of the report
  • In 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of humanity. This figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010.
  • The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44 percent in the five years since 2010 – that's an increase of more than half a trillion dollars (542 billion US dollars) to 1.76 trillion US dollars.
  • The wealth of the bottom half fell by just over a trillion dollars in the same period (2010-15) – a drop of 41 percent.


UNWTO released World Tourism Barometer

  • The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on 18 January 2016 released the World Tourism Barometer, which reviewed trends in tourism at the regional and global level for 2015 and enumerated prospects for 2016.
  • As per the publication, international tourist arrivals grew by 4.4 percent in 2015 to reach a total of 1184 million in 2015. In numbers, around 50 million more travelers were recorded in 2015 compared to that 2014.
  • 2015 marks the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4 percent or more every year since the post-crisis year of 2010.


India –

World Bank approves 24 x 7 water project for Belagavi

  • A Rs. 663-crore World Bank-assisted Karnataka Urban Water Sector Improvement Project to provide 24 x 7 drinking water supply for Belagavi has been approved and bids are being evaluated.
  • The duration of project-implementation is 12 years, i.e., four years for implementation and the remaining time for operation and maintenance.
  • Now, the 24 x 7 drinking water supply is under implementation in 10 demo zones in as many wards of the corporation.
  • The project had been evolved considering the demand for the next three decades and availability of water. As against the projected population’s water needs of 184 million litre a day, the availability was 115 million litre a day.
  • The Irrigation Department has accorded approval for additional allocation of about one tmcft from the Hidkal Dam across the Ghataprabha, which would be sufficient to bridge the gap of 69 million litre a day.


ISRO is all set to make its first rocket launch of the year


  • Indian space agency ISRO is all set to make its first rocket launch of the year and the fifth satellite of India Regional Navigation Satellite System -- IRNSS-1E, on board PSLV-C31 rocket from Sriharikota on Wednesday.
  • The 48-hour countdown for the launch scheduled at 9.31 am from the second launch pad began on Monday at the spaceport of Sriharikota, about 100 km from here, and was progressing "smoothly", ISRO said.
  • IRNSS-1E is the fifth navigation satellite in the IRNSS space system, comprising seven satellites, which would be on par with US-based GPS once the full complement of spacecraft is launched.
  • It has configurationsimilar to its predecessors IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C and 1D and carries two types of payloads -- navigation and ranging payload.


World Bank to fund 20 million US dollar for reconstructing Indira Gandhi Zoological Park


  • In a global first, the World Bank in third week of January 2016 decided to extend an assistance of 20 million US dollar to help reconstruct the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP), which got devastated during cyclone Hudhud in October 2014, in Visakhapatnam.
  • It is the very first time in the history of the World Bank that it is directly involved in a zoo. The decision is a new addition in the portfolio of the bank as part of its ever-expanding work on urban regeneration.
  • The funding is a part of the 370 million US dollar Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project for which the bank is extending assistance of 250 million US dollars from 2015-2020.
  • The four coastal districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and East Godavari are expected to get 20 million US dollar for forest restoration and disaster prevention measures.


Union Government to introduce new category of award for Most Film Friendly State/UT

  • The Union Government on 18 January 2016 decided to institute a new award category under the National Film Awards titled The Most Film Friendly State/UT.
  • The new award will be conferred for the first time at the 63rd National Film Awards to be held on 3 May 2016. 
  • The decision to create a new category of award was taken as part of the government’s effort to promote the Indian film industry and India’s Soft Power.


ReNew Power commissioned 40 MW wind project in Karnataka

  • Clean energy firm ReNew Power Ventures on 18 January 2016 announced the commissioning of 40 megawatt wind power project in Karnataka.
  • With this, the total wind capacity commissioned by ReNew Power has reached 693 megawatts and in Karnataka, it raised to 68.4 megawatts from earlier 28.4 megawatts.
  • It commissioned first of its kind wind project at Bhesada, Rajasthan.
  • It installed tallest Hybrid Towers in India for the first time with 30 meters higher than conventional towers.


World –

French President Francois Hollande declared economic emergency


  • French President Francois Hollande on 18 January 2016 declared a state of economic and social emergency to redefine country’s economic and social model.
  • To tackle the emergency, Hollande unveiled a 2 billion euro plan to revive hiring and catch up with a fast-moving world economy.
  • Also, the government has proposed series of economic measures to revive long-stagnant economic growth and reduce chronic unemployment, which has been around 10 percent for years.
  • Under a two-year scheme, companies employing fewer than 250 people will receive a 2000 euro bonus for each new employee with a contract of more than six months, under certain conditions.


Sports –

Viktor Troicki defeated Grigor Dimitrov to win 2016 WTA Apia International Sydney title

  • Viktor Troicki on 16 January 2016 outlasted Grigor Dimitrov in an epic 82-minute third set to claim the 2016 WTA Apia International title of Tennis in the men’s single category.
  • Troicki defeated Bulgaria’s Dimitrov by 2–6, 6–1, 7–6, (9–7) score in the final match played at Sydney, Australia. The Serbian player has become the fourth player in the Open era to claim back-to-back Sydney International titles.


Obituaries –

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Daulatrao Aher died

  • Former Maharashtra health minister and Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dr Daulatrao Aher died on 19 January 2016 following prolonged illness in Nashik. He was 74.
  • He was a member of the 13th Lok Sabha of India from Nashik constituency in 1989-1991 and was elected MLA from Nashik for three terms -- 1985-90, 1995-99 and 1999-2004.


The Eagles' guitarist Glenn Frey passed away


  • Glenn Frey, a founding member and guitarist of the Eagles, one of the most popular and commercially successful artists of the 1970s, passed away on 18 January 2016 in New York, the USA. He was 67.
  • Frey succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia.
  • He was also one of the primary singers of the Eagles. He sang lead vocals on songs such as Take It Easy, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Tequila Sunrise, Already Gone, Heartache Tonight, and so on.



Yasutaro Koide, world’s oldest man, dies at 112


  • The world’s oldest man, a Japanese, died Tuesday at the age of 112 after suffering chronic heart problems, officials said.
  • Yasutaro Koide had said his secret to a long life was not to smoke, drink or overdo it.
  • Mr. Koide, who was born on March 13, 1903, died two months short of his 113th birthday.
  • In the year he was born, the Wright brothers made their historic first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and a modernising Japan was embroiled in a dispute with Russia over Manchuria that would erupt into the Russo-Japanese War in early 1904.







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