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Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Current Affairs Update – 4 July, 2017


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 4 July, 2017. These are very important for the upcoming IBPS PO, IBPS RRB, NABARD Grade A & Other Exams.



Banking & Financial News

RBI to issue Rs. 200 notes in coming months


  • The Reserve Bank is expected to introduce Rs. 200 notes in the coming months to ease pressure on lower—denomination currencies that are in short supply.
  • The new notes of Rs. 200 should be out before the end of 2017 and will greatly help in narrowing the demand and supply gap in smaller—denomination currency bills, sources said.
  • They also said that there is no immediate plan to re-introduce Rs. 1,000 notes.
  • Last year in November, the government had demonetised the old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.
  • Soon, a notification may be issued by the Reserve Bank of India with regard to issuance of new Rs. 200 bills.
  • This exercise of printing Rs. 200 denomination notes is being undertaken to further improve the currency situation in the country, sources said, adding the problem people are facing due to high-value Rs. 2,000 notes would also be taken care of with the circulation of Rs. 200 notes.
  • The central bank had reportedly decided to bring in Rs. 200 notes in March after consulting the finance ministry, they said. The notes are going through multiple checks for security and quality at government printing presses.
  • The shortage of currency notes was trigged by the scrapping of high-denomination bills last year.
  • In a surprise announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced scrapping of old notes of Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes, wiping out over 85 per cent of the cash in circulation.
  • The move was aimed at checking black money, counterfeit notes and terror financing.
  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) launched following the closure of 50—day demonetisation period did not draw a good response with only Rs. 5,000 crore unaccounted income being declared under the amnesty scheme.


Adventz Group's Texmaco signs $2-bn MoU for Israel light rail

  • Indian conglomerate Adventz Group has signed a $2-billion-plus memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel’s Lesico group to collaborate in the light rail transit (LRT) projects in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The announcement came on Tuesday against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day visit of Israel.
  • The historic visit – the first by an Indian prime minister – is seen as a watermark in deepening economic and trade relationships between New Delhi and Tel Aviv.
  • The MoU between Lesico and Adventz Group, under which the latter’s group company Texmaco Rail & Engineering Ltd will lend its exeprtise in building the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area Mass-Transit System, will be a first for an Indian conglomerate.
  • Texmaco’s role will involve laying of tracks, installation of signalling, electrification, power sub-stations, and command, control & communication equipment.


Free GST Facilitation Centres set up across Goa

  • In Goa, the Office of the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes has set up GST facilitation centres in ward offices across the state and at the department’s head office in Panaji.
  • The Department of Information and Publicity stated in a release that trained help desk personnel have been appointed for each ward and the head office to assist taxpayers in resolving their technical issues related to migration to GST, registration, amendments, return filing and payments.
  • The release further read that select chartered accountants will provide free consultation services related to GST between 4-6 pm till the 10 July.
  • The Government has identified some Chartered Accountants for this work and the fees of the identified CA’s would be paid by the government itself. The accountants would give free advice or consultation to the taxpayers on the implementation of the landmark Goods and Service Tax system.
  • Besides the Ward Office, the facility will also be available at the Commercial Tax Ward Offices in Panaji, Margao, Mapusa, Ponda and Vasco.
  • All Dealers, Trade and Industry, Tax Practitioners and other stakeholders would be requested to avail this facility and get advice and opinions of the Chartered Accountants on any doubts or issues they have related to the new taxation system.



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Government listed 22 products for physically challenged persons at concessional GST rate of 5%

Union Government on 4 July 2017 explained about the GST rates which were fixed for specific devices for physically challenged persons. In its explanation, it listed 22 products or devices for physically challenged persons that will attract a concessional GST rate of five per cent only.

These 22 items have been kept at the concessional 5 per cent GST rate. Assistive devices and rehabilitation aids for physically challenged persons are listed below
  • Braille writers and braille writing instruments
  • Handwriting equipment like Braille Frames, Slates, Writing Guides, Script Writing Guides, Styli, Braille Erasers
  • Canes, Electronic aids like the Sonic Guide
  • Optical, Environmental Sensors
  • Arithmetic aids like the Taylor Frame (arithmetic and algebra types), Cubarythm, Speaking or Braille calculator;
  • Geometrical aids like Combined Graph and Mathematical Demonstration Board, Braille Protractors, Scales, Compasses and Spar Wheels
  • Electronic measuring equipment such as Calipers, Micrometers, Comparators, Gauges, Gauge Block Levels, Rules, Rulers and Yardsticks
  • Drafting, Drawing Aids, Tactile Displays
  • Specially adapted Clocks and Watches
  • Orthopaedic appliances falling under heading No.90.21 of the First Schedule
  • Wheel Chairs falling under heading No.87.13 of the First Schedule
  • Artificial electronic larynx and spares thereof
  • Artificial electronic ear (Cochlear implant)
  • Talking books (in the form of cassettes, discs or other sound reproductions) and large-print books, braille embossers, talking calculators, talking thermometers
  • Equipment for the mechanical or the computerized production of braille and recorded material such as braille computer terminals and displays, electronic braille, transfer and pressing machines and stereo typing machines
  • Braille Paper
  • All tangible appliances including articles, instruments, apparatus, specially designed for use by the blind
  • Aids for improving mobility of the blind such as electronic orientation and obstacle detecting appliance and white canes
  • Technical aids for education, rehabilitation, vocational training and employment of the blind such as Braille typewriters, braille watches, teaching and learning aids, games and other instruments and vocational aids specifically adapted for use of the blind
  • Assistive listening devices, audiometers
  • External catheters, special jelly cushions to prevent bed sores, stair lift, and urine collection bags
  • Instruments and implants for severely physically handicapped patients and joints replacement and spinal instruments and implants including bone cement.

  • In its notification, the Ministry of Finance said, “Most of the inputs and raw materials for the manufacture of these assistive devices/equipment attract 18% GST. The concessional 5% GST rate on these devices/equipment would enable their domestic manufacturers to avail Input Tax Credit of GST paid on their inputs and raw materials.”
  • Further, the GST law provides for the refund of accumulated Input Tax Credit, in cases, where the GST rate of output supply is lower than the GST rate on inputs used for their manufacture.  Therefore, 5% GST rate on these devices/equipment would enable their domestic manufacturers to claim the refund of any accumulated Input Tax Credit.  That being so, the 5% concessional GST rate on these devices/equipment would result in a reduction of the cost of domestically manufactured goods, as compared to the pre-GST regime.


Infosys Finacle ties up with Singapore firm Active.AI for artificial intelligence in banking services


  • Infosys Finacle, part of Infosys-owned subsidiary EdgeVerve Systems, on Tuesday announced a partnership with Singapore-based fin-tech company Active.AI to offer enterprise Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based platform for banks globally.
  • The platform, in integration with Finacle, will help financial institutions offer conversational banking services through chat and voice-based interfaces across their digital channels. The joint solution will use AI to better understand customer interactions across channels.
  • With this, the end customers will be able to interact with software bots in natural language through voice and chat interface to access account information, pay bills, make transfers and access several other banking services.The solution will be available in multiple languages and will be offered through Finacle digital channels solutions such as Finacle Online Banking and Finacle Mobile Banking.


Reliance Jio launches world’s longest submarine cable system


  • Reliance Jio on 29 June 2017 announced the launch of the Asia-Africa-Europe (AAE-1) submarine cable system. AAE-1 is claimed to be the world’s longest 100Gbps technology-based submarine system.
  • The cable will stretch from Marseille in France to Hong Kong, covering 25000 km. It will have 21 cable landings across Asia and Europe.
  • The project is a combination of leading telecom service providers from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It will feature diversified Points of Presence (PoP) in Asia (Hong Kong and Singapore) with three onward connectivity options in Europe (France, Italy and Greece).
  • AAE-1 will help cater to the increasing demand for video centric data in India and other regions.
  • The cable system will pass through critical hubs, serving the demand for video centric data bandwidth that supports all types of communications, applications and content within India and beyond.
  • It will also seamlessly link with other cable systems and fibre networks to deliver direct access to all global markets.
  • The cable system will come with 100Gbps transmission technology and a minimum design capacity of 40 Tbps.
  • Its advanced design and route will offer one of the lowest latency routes between Hong Kong, India, Middle East and Europe.


News related to India & States

Manipur government declares flood situation a 'State Calamity'


  • An emergency review meeting held on 3 July 2017 to assess the flood situation in Manipur decided to declare the present disaster as a ‘State Calamity.’
  • The meeting, chaired by Chief Minister N Biren Singh, was held at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. It was attended by Irrigation & Flood Control Department (IFCD) Minister Letpao Haokip, Education Minister Th. Radheshyam, Chief Secretary O. Nabakishore, Additional Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Commissioners, DCs and Directors of different Departments.
  • The meeting was called due to the worsening of the flood situation in many localities of the state. The decision was brought upon after thoroughly reviewing the reports presented by the concerned officials and DCs.
  • Besides this, Biren Singh also informed at the meeting that he has requested the Central Government to declare Manipur’s flood situation as a calamity of ‘severe nature’.


PM Modi embarks on his two-nation tour to Israel and Germany


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 July 2017 embarked on a two-nation tour to Israel and Germany. On the first leg of his visit, Modi will go to Israel on three-day tour where he will hold talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on all matters of mutual interest.
  • Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to ever visit the country.
  • In a Facebook message, Modi said, both leaders will also discuss major common challenges like terrorism. Modi said, as the first Indian Prime Minister to visit that country, he will engage with a cross section of Israeli society.
  • The Prime Minister said he is looking forward to interacting with the large vibrant Indian diaspora in Israel that represents an enduring link between the two countries. Modi will also call on President Reuven Rivlin.
  • Indian Ambassador to Israel Pavan Kapoor said Modi's visit will strengthen the relations between the two countries.
  • Kapoor said the discussions between the two Prime Ministers will focus on agriculture, water management, defence, science, technology and space. Agreements on cybersecurity, science and technology and space are expected to be signed during the visit.
  • The Prime Minister, in Israel, will also attend a CEO forum in which CEOs of companies from both the nations will participate to discuss their shared priority of expanding the bilateral trade and investment.


Law Commission recommends compulsory registration of marriages, defaulters to be fined

  • The Law commission of India recommended the compulsory registration of marriage in its 270th Report called ‘Compulsory Registration of Marriages’ submitted to the Government under the Chairmanship of Dr. Justice B S Chauhan.
  • The Report starts by recognizing that notwithstanding endeavors from all divisions, the general public is still tormented with social indecencies, for example, polygamy, child marriage and gender violence.
  • During the UPA Government's 2nd term, the Rajya Sabha had passed an amendment to make  marriage registrationnecessary under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.
  • The Bill, notwithstanding, couldn't be passed by the Lok Sabha, and later,lapsed.
  • Subsequently, in 2014 the same bill was supported by law minister in this present NDA government.
  • Therefore, it is being circulated that the present government is in favour of these recommendation, and they may bring and introduce this bill again freshly.


Appointments

Natarajan Chandrasekaran named Chairman of Tata Global Beverages


  • Tata Global Beverages Ltd (TGBL) on 3 July 2017 appointed Tata Sons head Natarajan Chandrasekaran as its Chairman with immediate effect.
  • The TGBL board approved the "appointment of N. Chandrasekaran as an additional director and as chairman of the board of the company in place of Harish Bhat who expressed a desire to step down as chairman."
  • The board also appointed Siraj Azmat Chaudhry as a Non-Executive Independent Director in the company.


Former French judge Catherine Marchi-Uhel to lead UN Syria war crimes probe

  • The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on 3 July 2017 appointed a French legal expert and former judge Catherine Marchi-Uhel as the head of the independent panel to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for most serious violations of international law in Syria.
  • Marchi-Uhel is the first Head of the Mechanism.
  • The former judge has been serving as the ombudsperson for the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS) group and al-Qaeda.


Awards & Honors

Indian-Americans Shantanu Narayen and Vivek Murthy to be honoured with Great Immigrants Award


  • Two Indian-Americans, Adobe Chief Shantanu Narayen and former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, are among 38 immigrants to be honoured with the Great Immigrants Award.
  • They will be honoured for their role in helping advance the country's society, culture and economy on 4 July 2017, the Independence Day of the United States of America.
  • Among other honourees include Canadian-origin social entrepreneur Jeff Skoll, who has been awarded the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, PayPal cofounder of Ukrainian origin Max Levchin, Iranian-origin philanthropist and entrepreneur Hushang Ansary.


World News

WHO declares end to Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) on 2 July 2017 declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
  • The announcement comes 42 days after the last confirmed Ebola patient in the affected Bas-Uélé province that tested negative for the disease for the second time.
  • Though the agency marks an end to the outbreak in the country, enhanced surveillance will continue, as well as strengthening of preparedness and readiness for Ebola outbreaks.
  • On 11 May 2017, WHO was notified by the Ministry of Public Health of the virus among a cluster of undiagnosed illnesses and deaths with haemorrhagic signs in Likati Health Zone. It was the country’s eighth outbreak of EVD since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976. 


NASA developing first planetary defence mechanism


  • NASA is developing the first-ever mission that will work as a planetary defence mechanism against potential cosmic body impacts in the future.
  • The mission, The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), is being designed, built and managed by the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The mission has moved from concept development to preliminary design phase, following NASA’s approval on 23 June 2017.
  • It is the first-ever design that will have the capability of deflecting a near-Earth asteroid.
  • It would demonstrate the kinetic impactor technique by knocking the hazardous object into a different flight path that would not threaten the planet
  • The approval by NASA advances the project towards a historic test with a non-threatening small asteroid.
  • The target for DART would be an asteroid that will have a distant approach to Earth in October 2022 and then again in 2024.









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