Hello and welcome to exampundit . Here are the important Current Affairs of 3rd November, 2016. These are important for the upcoming IBPS PO Mains, IBPS Clerk Mains, NIACL AO Mains, IPPB PO mains exams 2016.
Four-tier GST structure of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% finalised
- The GST Council on Thursday decided to have four slabs under the GST regime with some changes from what union finance ministry proposed and a cess over the peak rate of 28% on luxury and sin goods for five years to compensate states for any revenue loss.
- A four-tier GST rate structure would be 5%, 12%, 18%, 28%, finance minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the meeting. The finance ministry had earlier proposed to have 6%, 12%,18% and 26%.
- Most of the food items would attract zero% rate. As much as 50% of consumer price index would be zero rated.
- 5% rate would be on other necessary goods such as soaps and others needed for daily uses.
- Earlier proposal of the finance ministry to have 26% would be hiked to 28% but many items that were to attract 26% earlier would be brought down to 18%. These would include some white goods.
- Above 28% would be a cess to be imposed on luxury cars, aerated drinks and tobacco.
- Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac instead had pitched for GST rate of 40% above 28% on these items.
- The proposal of cess was made by the union finance ministry.
- This cess, coupled with one on clearn energy, would yield the government Rs 50,000 crore, which is expected to be revenue loss for states in a year. However, cess would be reviewed every year on the basis of revenue loss to states.
- The earlier proposal of levying 2% rate on gold was put on hold. The duty on gold would be decided later after assessing impact of these GST rates.
- The council would now take up the issue of administrative control on assessees on Friday.
RBI allows banks to issue masala bonds
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday allowed banks to issue rupee denominated bonds, or masala bonds, in the overseas market to shore up their capital base as well as for financing infrastructure and affordable housing.
- To strengthen their capital base, banks can raise perpetual debt instruments, which can be considered for calculating a bank’s additional tier 1 capital, or debt capital instrument that can go into calculating a bank’s tier-2 capital. These bonds will be issued as per the Basel III norms and therefore, will have loss absorption clause. Under this clause a bank can chose not to honur the coupon payment in case of financial stress.
- For financing infrastructure and affordable housing, the banks can issue long term bonds, which doesn’t have the loss absorption clause.
- The central bank had first announced its intention for letting banks tap the overseas market with rupee bonds on August 25 when RBI announced a slew of measures to develop the bond and currencies market. Companies were already allowed to raise money through masala bonds and a few issuances totaling Rs 7,472 crore have been done.
Tata Motors signs MOU with Indonesia’s PT Pindad for armoured vehicles
- Indian automobile manufacturer Tata Motors has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indonesian state-owned enterprise specializing in military and commercial products - PT Pindad, to effectively explore market potential of Tata Armoured Vehicles in Indonesia and other agreed regions of ASEAN.
- The MoU further includes a study to check the feasibility of locally assembling Tata Armoured Vehicles at PT Pindad’s facility, in Bandung in West Java province of Indonesia.
- Tata Motors has created a focused division to design and develop defence technologies and products at its facilities in Jamshedpur and Pune.
India hosts ICANN's 57th annual general meeting in Hyderabad
- The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN), which is a private non-profit organisation managing internet protocol numbers and domain name system roots, began its 57th annual general meeting on Thursday in Hyderabad.
- The seven-day-long meeting, which is the first gathering after the United States relinquished its stewardship over internet governance, focuses on enhancing its outreach and engagement with a global audience, besides improving capacity building measures.
- The conference, scheduled to take place between November 3 and 9, would discuss the transition of internet governance into a multi-stakeholder community model, besides speaking about issues related to domain name system.
- This is the second time India is hosting the meeting. The first time when an ICANN meeting was held in India was in 2008. The Union Ministry of Electronics and Communication, which has been hosting the annual meeting, is pursuing some of the issues with the company that involve establishing a root server that handles domain name functions.
PM Narendra Modi launches Saur Sujala Yojana in Chhattisgarh
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 November 2016 launched the Saur Sujala Yojana in Chhattisgarh. The scheme aims at providing solar powered irrigation pumps to farmers at a subsidized price.
- With the launch of the scheme, Chhattisgarh becomes the first state to implement the scheme.
Key highlights of the scheme
- Under the scheme, solar powered irrigation pumps of 3HP and 5HP capacity worth 3.5 lakh rupees and 4.5 lakh rupees respectively will be distributed to the farmers by 31 March 2019.
- The beneficiaries will also get the pumps at the subsidised price.
- Around 51000 farmers will be benefitted in the state with the launch of the scheme in next two years. The selection of the farmers will be done by the State Government’s organization, which looks after the development of renewable sources of energy.
- Priority will be given in those areas where electricity connection has not reached yet.
- The Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) will be responsible authority for the installation as well as maintenance of the solar pumping devices to the eligible farmers.
SC grants pension to fake freedom fighters
- The Supreme Court (SC) on 2 November 2016 granted pension to the fake freedom fighters on humanitarian grounds. However, on the other hand, the court ordered inquiry into alleged forging of freedom fighter certificates to claim pension.
- In August 2005, SC appointed Justice A B Palkar Commission to examine the case of a large number of people claiming pension as freedom fighters by allegedly forging certificates in Beed district of Maharashtra.
- The court said that those falsely claiming to have participated in the freedom struggle should be dealt sternly as they were traitors. It directed the Palkar panel to complete the inquiry into claims of 354 people for freedom fighter pension and submit a report to the Maharashtra government.
India invited to join Russia’s fast reactor research project
- Russia in November 2016 invited India to join in developing next-generation nuclear reactors and participate in its fast reactor research project, known as MBIR (Russian acronym).
- The information was given by ROSATOM’s project manager, Alexander Zagornov, who was in India for the opening of the company’s south Asia regional centre. ROSATOM is the nuclear corporation of Russia.
- This multipurpose reactor is a type of reactor in which nuclear fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons. This project is coming up at the International Research Center in Dimitrovgrad, located in the Ulyanovsk region.
PM Modi inaugurated Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 3 November 2016 inaugurated the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in New Delhi. Aim of the 3-day conference is to find ways for better management of disaster risk.
- The conference will come out with a declaration consolidating the political commitment of governments towards preventing and reducing risk as well as strengthening resilience by accelerating implementation.
- Inaugurating the Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Modi outlined a ten-point agenda for renewing efforts towards disaster risk reduction.
Kristalina Georgieva appointed as CEO of IBRD & IDA of World Bank
- Kristalina Georgieva was on 2 November 2016 appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group with effect from January 2017.
- Her appointment was confirmed by the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. IBRD and IDA are the lending arms of the World Bank.
Bindeshwar Pathak appointed as brand ambassador of Swachh Rail Mission
- Ministry of Railways on 2 November 2016 appointed Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International, as a Brand Ambassador for Swachh Rail Mission. Minister of Railway Suresh Prabhu felicitated Pathak at a function in New Delhi.
- As part of the mission, Sulabh International has been assigned the task to clean some important railway stations across the country. Sulabh International is an India-based social service organization which works to promote human rights, environmental sanitation, non-conventional sources of energy, waste management and social reforms through education.
- Bindeshwar Pathak is an Indian sociologist and the founder of Sulabh International.
Sarabjit Singh Marwah becomes Canada's first Sikh Senator
- Kolkata-born Sarabjit Singh Marwah on 2 November 2016 became the first Sikh to be appointed to the Canadian Senate.
- Toronto-based Marwah is among six people from Ontario who have been appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Mariano Rajoy re-elected as Prime Minister of Spain
- Mariano Rajoy on 29 October 2016 was re-elected as the Prime Minister of Spain after winning a parliamentary vote. 170 lawmakers voted for him, 111 against and 68 abstained.
- With this, Spain has its first fully functioning government since December 2015, when a general election left no party with a majority.
Freedom of the Press 2016 report released
- Freedom House, a non-government watchdog, on 2 November 2015 released the Freedom of the Press 2016 report. The report was released with theme, The Battle for the Dominant Message.
- As per the annual report, press freedom declined to its lowest point in 12 years in 2015. It happened because the political, criminal, and terrorist forces sought to co-opt or silence the media in their broader struggle for power.
- With respect to India, the report found that freedom to the press is partly free with a total score of 41 on a 0 to 100 scale with 0 representing the best level of freedom on the net progress and 100 the worst.
Highlights in context of India
- In terms of stories related to environment and land development, the report highlighted the story of two Indian journalists, namely Sandeep Kothari and Jagendra Singh, who were killed. Kothari who covered illegal mining and land grabs was killed in June 2015 and his body was found burned and heavily bruised. Jagendra Singh also died from burns allegedly inflicted by local police.
Indian shuttler Pratul wins men’s singles title at Bahrain International Challenge
- Indian shuttler Pratul Joshi on 30 October 2016 won the men’s singles title of the Bahrain International Challenge badminton tournament. This was his maiden international title.
- In the summit clash played at Segayya in Bahrain, Pratul defeated Aditya Joshi 21-17, 12-21, 21-15.
- On the other hand, the women’s singles title went to Sri fatmawati of Indonesia. In the final clash, she defeated compatriot Asty Dwi Widyaningru.
- Indians to reach the finals in the tournament were
- Men's doubles: Indian pair of Vighnesh Devlekar and Rohan Kapoor lost 18-21 17-21 to Russian pair of Evgenij Dremin and Denis Grachev.
- Women's doubles: Indian pair of Farha Mather and Ashna Roy lost the finals 12-21 18-21 to Bahrain's Tanisha Crasto and Aprilsasi Lejarsar Variella of Indonesia.
Awards & Honors –
PM Narendra Modi presents Ramnath Goenka Awards for Excellence in Journalism
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2 November 2016 presented the Ramnath Goenka Awards for Excellence in Journalism at a function in New Delhi.
- The honour acknowledges exceptional work across 28 categories in print, broadcast and online journalism in English, Hindi and regional languages.
- Ramnath Goenka was an Indian newspaper publisher. He launched The Indian Express and created the Indian Express Group with various English and regional language publications.
Sanjiv Sinha Memorial Award for Excellence in Reporting
- Aditi Vatsa (The Indian Express)
Priya Chandrashekar Memorial Award for Excellence in Editing
- Saikat Kumar Bose (The Indian Express)
Prakash Rakesh Kardaley Memorial Award for Civic Journalism
- Christin Mathew Philip (The Times of India)
Uncovering India Invisible
- Print: Ashwaq Masoodi (Mint)
- Broadcast: Sarada Lahangir (Kalinga TV)
NASA completes construction of James Webb Space Telescope
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 2 November 2016 completed the construction of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) after more than 20 years of hard work.
- This largest-ever space telescope is expected to launch in 2018 following the in-depth testing.
- The telescope has 18 large mirrors that will collect infrared light, sheltered behind a tennis-court-size sun shield.
- It is considered as the successor to NASA's iconic Hubble Space Telescope.
- It is a 8.8 billion US dollars worth space observatory built to observe the infrared universe like never before.
- Earth's atmosphere glows in the infrared, so such measurements can't be made from the ground. Hubble emits its own heat, which would obscure infrared readings.