Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 05 - MARCH - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 05 - MARCH - 2016
Saturday, 05 March 2016 03:20

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

05-MARCH- 2016

 

VICE ADMIRAL HCS BISHT TOOK CHARGE AS COMMANDING-IN-CHIEF OF EASTERN NAVAL COMMAND

Vice Admiral HCS Bisht took over as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.

Besides, Atul Kumar Jain took charge as the Chief of Staff of Eastern Naval Command on 27 February 2016. He succeeded Vice Admiral Bimal Verma.

Bimal Verma was transferred as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command at Port Blair.

Indian Naval Commands

Indian Navy is organized into four commands. These are

• Eastern Naval Command: Headquartered at Visakhapatnam

• Western Naval Command: Headquartered at Mumbai

• Southern Naval Command: Headquartered at Kochi

• Andaman and Nicobar Command: Headquartered at Port Blair

VEDANTA LIMITED WON FIRST EVER AUCTION OF AN INDIAN GOLD MINE

Vedanta Limited won the nation’s first-ever gold mining lease auctioned by the Chhattisgarh Government. The company acquired the Baghmara (Sonakhan) gold mine with its highest bid of 12.55 percent of Indian Bureau of Mining (IBM) price of 74712 rupees/ troy ounce.

Following the auction, Vedanta will get the composite licence that includes prospecting as well as cum-mining lease.

The auction is expected to yield 82 crore rupees to the state exchequer in addition to the royalty of 25 crore rupees.

The mine is situated in Balodabazaar-Bhatapara district of Chhattisgarh, 130 km north-east of the state capital Raipur. It is one of the oldest explored deposits of the precious metal in Central India.

An estimated reserve found during the initial prospecting for gold in the region, that spreads over 607 hectares, is 2700 kg.

The four companies that participated in the auction were Rungta Mines Ltd, Vedanta Limited, Krishna Global Minerals Ltd and Sainik Mining and Allied Services Ltd.

The state government had invited bids for granting of mining lease through the auction of one gold block and the four limestone blocks on 8 December 2015.

KERALA DECLARED FIRST DIGITAL STATE OF INDIA BY PRESIDENT PRANAB MUKHERJEE

President Pranab Mukherjee formally declared Kerala as the first digital state of India. The declaration was made after President launched a digital empowerment campaign in Kozhikode aimed at bridging the digital divide by 2020.

Besides the digital empowerment campaign, President Mukherjee also inaugurated Cyber Park, IT Park under the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society. He also launched the Kanivu Scheme and dedicated the Gender Park of the Department of Social Justice.

The State has a mobile tele-density of 95 percent and internet covered over 60 percent of the population.

UNION BUDGET 2016-17: INFRASTRUCTURE AND INVESTMENT

The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Annual Financial Statement or the Union Budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha. In his budget speech the minister listed nine pillars on which the Government will focus on in order to transform India into a developed nation.

The nine pillars are - Agriculture and farmers' welfare, rural sector, social sector including healthcare, education, skills and job creation, infrastructure and investment, financial sector reforms, ease of doing business, fiscal discipline, tax reforms to reduce compliance burden.

The objective of the initiatives under the infrastructure sector is to build modern infrastructure for a growing India in order to enhance efficiency and quality of life.

Road Sector

Construction

• Sanction for construction of 10000 kms of new National Highwayswill be given in 2016-17. This will be much higher than in the two previous years.

• In addition, nearly 50000 kms of State highways will also be taken up for up-gradation as National Highways.

Policy reforms

Following procedural and policy reforms were suggested to fast-track the development of road sector.

• In the medium term, permit-raj will be abolished in the passenger traffic segment so that it will benefit the common man and the middle class.

• Government will enact necessary amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and open up the road transport sector in the passenger segment.

• An enabling eco-system will be provided for the States which will have the choice of adopting the new legal framework.

• Under the new frame work, entrepreneurs will be able to operate buses on various routes, subject to certain efficiency and safety norms.

• The suggested policy changes will result in more efficient public transport facilities, greater public convenience, new investments, creation of new jobs for our youth, growth of start-up entrepreneurs and other multiplier effects.

Ports

• 450 crore rupees were allocated for Sagar Mala Project in 2016-17.The Union Cabinet gave its in-principal approval to the project in March 2015 to promote port-led direct and indirect development in the country.

• New greenfield ports will be constructed both in the eastern and western coasts of the country.

• 800 crore rupees were allocated for the development of this sector including development of National Water Highways.

Civil Aviation

• The Government will announce a comprehensive action plan for revival of unserved and underserved airports in the country.

• At present, there are about 160 airports and air strips with State Governments which can be revived at an indicative cost of 50 crore to 100 crore each. The Union Government will partner with the State Governments to develop some of these airports for regional connectivity.

• Similarly, 10 of the 25 non-functional air strips with the Airport Authority of India will also be developed.

Oil and Gas

• Amidst declining domestic production and raising imports, the stated objective is to achieve self-sufficiency in this sector through policy means.

• Gas production from deep-water, ultra deep-water and high pressure-high temperature areas, which are presently not exploited on account of higher cost and higher risks will be incentivized through appropriate policy changes.

• A proposal is under consideration for new discoveries and areas which are yet to commence production, first, to provide calibrated marketing freedom; and second, to do so at a pre-determined ceiling price to be discovered on the principle of landed price of alternative fuels.

Reforms in Public Private Partnership Policy

In order leverage the potential of private sector in the development of infrastructure following three new initiatives were proposed to the policy on Public Private Partnership.

1) A Public Utility (Resolution of Disputes) Bill will be introduced during 2016-17 to streamline institutional arrangements for resolution of disputes in infrastructure related construction contracts, PPP and public utility contracts

2) Guidelines for renegotiation of PPP Concession Agreements will be issued, keeping in view the long term nature of such contracts and potential uncertainties of the real economy, without compromising transparency

3) A new credit rating system for infrastructure projects which gives emphasis to various in-built credit enhancement structures will be developed, instead of relying upon a standard perception of risk which often results in mispriced loans

Reforms in FDI Policy

Following reforms were suggested in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and related policies in sectors covering the areas of insurance and pension, Asset Reconstruction Companies, Stock Exchanges, etc.

• 100 percent FDI will be allowed through FIPB route in marketing offood products produced and manufactured in India. This will benefit farmers, give impetus to food processing industry and create vast employment opportunities.

• Foreign investment will be allowed in the insurance and pension sectors in the automatic route up to 49 percent subject to the extant guidelines on Indian management and control to be verified by the regulators.

• 100 percent FDI in Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) will be permitted through automatic route. Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) will be allowed up to 100 percent of each tranche in securities receipts issued by ARCs subject to sectoral caps.

• Investment limit for foreign entities in Indian stock exchanges will be enhanced from 5 to 15 percent on par with domestic institutions. This will enhance global competitiveness of Indian stock exchanges and accelerate adoption of best-in-class technology and global market practices.

• The existing 24 percent limit for investment by FPIs in Central Public Sector Enterprises, other than Banks, listed in stock exchanges, will be increased to 49 percent to obviate the need for prior approval of Government for increasing the FPI investment.

• The basket of eligible FDI instruments will be expanded to include hybrid instruments subject to certain conditions.

• FDI will be allowed beyond the 18 specified Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) activities in the automatic route in other activities which are regulated by financial sector regulators.

• With a view to promote Make In India and following the practices in advanced countries, foreign investors will be accorded Residency Status subject to certain conditions. Currently, these investors are granted business visa only up to 5 years at a time.

A Centre State Investment Agreement was proposed. This will ensure fulfillment of the obligations of the State Governments under Bilateral Investment Treaties. States which opt to sign these Agreements will be seen as more attractive destinations by foreign investors.

Central Public Sector Enterprises related

• The Department of Disinvestment was renamed as the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM).

• In order to utilize the assets of CPSEs for generation of resources for investment in new projects a new policy was approved by the Government.

• For this, divestment of individual assets like land, manufacturing units, etc. to release their asset value for making investment in new projects will be encouraged.

• In this regard, the NITI Aayog will identify the CPSEs for strategic sale.

• A comprehensive approach will be adopted for efficient management of Government investment in CPSEs by addressing issues such as capital restructuring, dividend, bonus shares, etc.

Funds Allocation

• For roads and highways 55000 crore rupees proposed for 2016-17. In addition, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will be allowed to raise 15000 crore rupees through bonds.

• Total investment in the road sector, including Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) allocation of 27000 crore rupees, would be 97000 crore rupees during 2016-17.

• Together with the capital expenditure of the Railways, the total outlayon roads and railways will be 218000 crore in 2016-17.

• To augment infrastructure spending further, Government will permit mobilisation of additional finances to the extent of 31300 crore by NHAI, PFC, REC, IREDA, NABARD and Inland Water Authority through rising of Bonds during 2016-17.

• Overall, outlay for infrastructure is pegged at 221246 crore rupees in 2016-17. It is an increase of 22.5 percent over the 2015-16 for which 180610 crore rupees were allocated.

JUSTICE HL DATTU TOOK CHARGE AS CHAIRPERSON OF NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

Former Chief Justice of India Justice Handyala Lakshminarayanaswamy Dattu took charge as the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India.  He is the seventh Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission.

He became the 42nd Chief Justice of India on 28 September 2014 and demitted office 2 December 2015.

Appointment of Chairperson and other Members

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was constituted under The Protection of Human Rights Act and it comprises of a Chairperson and four members. Chairperson of the NHRC is necessarily the former Chief Justice of India.

The Chairperson and the Members is appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of a Committee consisting of–

(a) The Prime Minister — Chairperson

(b) Speaker of the House of the People — Member

(c) Minister in-charge of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs — Member

(d) Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha — Member

(e) Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha — Member

(f) Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha — Member

• No sitting Judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of a High Court shall be appointed except after consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

• No appointment of a Chairperson or a Member shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy of any member in the Committee.

DOCUMENT FOR LALIT MODI’S EXTRADITION SUBMITTED

  • Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers submitted documents for the extradition of former cricket administrator Lalit Modi to the Prevention of Money Launder- ing Act (PMLA) court.
  • Interpol had asked for certain documents from ED to be sent to the London court, as a requirement for Lalit Modi’s extradition. It is part of the procedure followed as per the extradition Act.
  • Despite several efforts, Interpol had not issued a Red Corner Notice against Mr Modi.

SUPREME COURT QUESTIONS THE VALIDITY OF ALL-INDIA BAR EXAMINATION

  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned whether the conduct of the All-India Bar Examination (AIBE) is a violation of the fundamental right to practise a profession, leaving the Bar Council of India in the dock.
  • Law graduates are required to clear the AIBE within two years of their enrolment in order to practise law. Its rules notified in 2010, the AIBE was advertised by the BCI as a positive step to improve the quality of the profession.
  • “To say that one has to pass an examination for practising as an advocate will negate his or her right to profession.
  • “He has a fundamental right to practise. Conditions can’t be put after enrolment. If, at all, it is required, the condition should be put at the enrolment stage,” the Bench said.
  • The apex court has called for Law Commission reports on the issue of holding such an examination and posted the case for March 2.

INDIA WOULD ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT PAK TEAM TO PROBE PATHANKOT ATTACK

  • As the decks were cleared for the visit of Pakistani investigators to India to probe the attack on the Pathankot airbase, India will ask the neighbouring country about the “composition of the team” and the “contents of the evidence required by them.”
  • India has accused the Pakistan-based outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) of planning and executing the attack on the airbase on the intervening night of January 1-2.
  • The decision to let the Pakistani team access the airbase, a highly sensitive defence installation, would be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Mo- di and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
  • After India gave evidence, Pakistan registered a First In- formation Report (FIR) a few days ago. The Counter Terrorism Division (CTD) of the Pakistani Police arrested three suspects.
  • The three accused arrested by Pakistan have been identified as Khalid Mahmood, Irshadul Haque and Muhammad Shoaib. They had allegedly facilitated the attack.

FIRST RAISINA DIALOGUE STARTED IN NEW DELHI

  • The Raisina Dialogue conference, attended by speakers from 40 countries, is being seen as the government’s attempt to rival conferences around the world that attract global players such as the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore, and the Munich Conference on national security.
  • Speaking at the inauguration, Ms. Swaraj and her Bangladesh counterpart Mahbboob Ali spoke of the importance of building road and rail connectivity through the “BBIN” grouping of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
  • Tensions between India and Pakistan have held back South Asian integration, said former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, calling for greater South Asian cooperation and economic integration.

FIGHT AGAINST SUNNI MILITANCY ON CARDS IN IRAQ

  • Recent gains against the Islamic State (IS) in eastern Syria have helped sever critical supply lines to Iraq and set the stage for what will be the biggest fight yet against the Sunni militancy, the battle to retake Mosul.
  • U.S.-backed forces had begun laying the groundwork for the fight by moving to isolate Mosul from the IS’s de facto headquarters in Raqqa, Syria.
  • Kurdish and Arab forces retook the town of Shaddadi in eastern Syria last week, cutting of what Defense Secretary called the last major artery between Raqqa and Mosul.
  • Retaking Mosul could also sharply demoralise IS fighters, raising questions about whether the group could still credibly call itself a caliphate.
  • The long fight by Iraqi security forces to take back Ramadi from the IS, which concluded in December, offers a preview of the battle to come over Mosul.
  • Advancing inch by inch, Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, took more than five months to gain control of the city centre of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.

CONSTITUTIONAL RESTRICTIONS MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR SUU KYI TO GET COUNTRIES TOP POST

  • Myanmar’s Parliament will bring forward a vote for the next President to March 10, it was announced on Tuesday, leaving little time for Aung San Suu Kyi to strike a deal to let her take the top office.
  • The country’s democracy figurehead is currently banned from becoming President under the junta-era Constitution.
  • Ms. Suu Kyi has held several rounds of closed-door talks with the powerful military since her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won crushing victory at elections.
  • But news that the presidential vote has been brought forward by one week suggests negotiations have failed to reach a deal to clear her path to power.

FACED BY BACKLASH FROM SALARIED CLASS GOVERNMENT TO LOOK INTO EPF TAX

  • Faced with a strong and immediate backlash from the salaried class, political parties and trade unions, the Prime Minister’s Office stepped in to take stock of the issue as well as the intent behind the proposal early in the day, holding a fairly long parley with Finance Minister.
  • By noon, the revenue secretary had clarified in an interview to All India Radio that the tax would only be applicable on interest income paid on EPF savings and if an employee chose to buy an annuity with 60 per cent of his EPF account balance at retirement, it would be tax-free.
  • This position, however, changed further, with the finance ministry issuing a clarification.
  • Clarification stated that the idea to tax interest income was only based on some representations received today and will be considered by the FM before passage of the Finance Bill, along with other suggestions on the proposal.
  • When NPS (created in 2004) was not there, EPF was given the exempt-exempt-exempt (EEE) tax status mainly for the 3 crore people, not the 70 lakh high-income people who were allowed to join EPF on a voluntary basis.
  • An investment instrument with EEE status means that all contributions, the return on them and the withdrawal of the accumulated corpus are tax-free. The NPS so far has an EET regime that taxes only withdrawals on retirement.

RBI UNLOCKED ADDITIONAL CAPITAL TO INDIAN BANKS

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revised norms on capital recognition, making available an additional Rs.40,000 crore to Indian banks.
  • The move comes at a time when public sector banks are facing pressure on their profitability due to a sharp rise in non-performing assets, which is eroding their capital base.
  • The announcement is a big relief for, mainly, public sector banks, after finance minister Arun Jaitley announced in his budget speech a capital infusion of Rs. 25,000 crore for the fiscal year starting in April.
  • RBI said banks can recognise foreign currency reserves arising due to translation of financial statements of foreign operations to the re- porting currency as common equity tier-I (CET1) capital.
  • Deferred tax assets arising due to timing differences may be recognised as CET1 capital up to 10 per cent of a bank’s CET1 capital, it added.

AGRICULTURE MINISTER BELIEVES BUDGET WILL HELP IN GETTING 4 PERCENT IN AGRICULTURE

  • Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the Union Budget would put the agricultural sector towards path of progress and would help in addressing agriculture distress and achieve 4 per cent growth.
  • “Budgetary provision of Rs.35,984 crore for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry – 2016-2017 manifests that NDA government is committed to villages, the poor and farmers,” Mr. Singh said.
  • “Governments positive steps coupled with a good monsoon could help agriculture sector grow at 4 per cent in the next fiscal year,” he added.
  • He said the government aims to double the in- come of farmers in the next five years.
  • “We also intend to multiply yield per unit, a better return of the products related to farmers,” he said.

 

 


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Last Updated on Saturday, 05 March 2016 03:33
 

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