Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 26 - MARCH - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 26 - MARCH - 2016
Sunday, 27 March 2016 04:52

 

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DAILY NEWS UPDATES

26-MARCH- 2016

 

AKHILESH RANJAN COMMITTEE ON TAXATION OF E-COMMERCE SUBMITTED REPORT TO UNION GOVERNMENT

A Committee on Taxation of e-commerce constituted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to examine the business models for e-commerce submitted its report.

The Report of the Committee was received by the Government of India and taken into consideration in the preparation of Finance Bill, 2016.

The Report provides the view of the Committee on issues related to taxation of e-commerce and recent international developments in this area.

The Committee included officers of the CBDT, representatives from the industry, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and tax experts. The 8-member committee was headed by Akhilesh Ranjan, Joint Secretary (FT&TR-I), CBDT, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.

Key recommendations of the committee are:

Equalization Levy may be imposed on payments to non-residents for specified services by a separate chapter in the Finance Act, 2016.

The Equalization Levy should be chargeable on any sum that is received by a non resident from a resident in India or a permanent establishment in India as a consideration for the specified digital services.

The rate of Equalization Levy may be between 6 to 8 percent of the gross sum received.

Equalization Levy should not be charged unless the consideration received for specified services in a year from a person in India is more than one lakh rupees.

Equalization Levy should also not be charged on payments received by a permanent establishment of a non-resident in India, which are attributable to that permanent establishment and taxable under Income-tax Act, 1961.

Every person that has received any sum chargeable to Equalization Levy, would be required to pay the Equalization Levy chargeable on that sum to the union government.

Every person that has received any sum chargeable to Equalization Levy, would be required to file a return of Sum chargeable to Equalization Levy as prescribed, if such total sum received by that person in a year exceeds ten crore rupees.

Any income arising from a transaction on which Equalization Levy has been paid should be exempted from income-tax, by necessary amendment in Section 10 of the Income-tax Act, 1961.

The definition of business connection in section 9 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 may be expanded to include the concept of significant economic presence.

Work on exploring the possibility of deduction of Equalization Levy by the payment gateways should be initiated immediately.

The implementation and impact of Equalization Levy may be monitored on a regular basis.

INDIAN AIR FORCE SUCCESSFULLY CONDUCTED EXERCISE IRON FIST IN POKHRAN

The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully conducted Exercise Iron Fist in Pokhran, Rajasthan.

The event was attended by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.

The day-night exercise was aimed at demonstrating IAF’s combat and fire power and reassure the nation about its commitment and capabilities in safeguarding the national interests.

It also showcased more than 22 types of platforms and Weapons Systems including Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-29, Attack helicopters, Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), etc.

The event comprised following six packages depicting six themes in which more than 180 aircraft, including fighters, transport and helicopters participated.

1) Net Enabled Operations

2) Fly Past

3) Air Defence Operations

4) Combat Support Operations

5) Flying Displays

6) All Weather Operations

UNION MINISTRY OF FINANCE NOTIFIED INTEREST RATES ON VARIOUS SMALL SAVING SCHEMES FOR Q1 OF 2016-17

The Union Ministry of Finance notified interest rates on various Small Saving Schemes for the period between April 2016 and June 2016.

Though announcement of revised interest rates in March every year is in tune with the practice established in 2012-13, this is the first revision since the Government decided to implement quarterly revision.

The revised interest rates were recalculated with reference to the G-Sec yields of equivalent maturity for the months December 2015 to February 2016.
The revised interest rates are -

Instrument

Rate of Interest (April 2015 – March 2016)

Rate of Interest (April 2016 – June 2016)

Savings Deposit

4.0

4.0

1 Year Time Deposit

8.4

7.1

2 Year Time Deposit

8.4

7.2

3 Year Time Deposit

8.4

7.4

5 Year Time Deposit

8.5

7.9

5 Year Recurring Deposit

8.4

7.4

5 Year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme

9.3

8.6

5 year Monthly Income Account Scheme

8.4

7.8

5 year National Saving Certificate

8.5

8.1

Public Provident Fund Scheme

8.7

8.1

Kisan Vikas Patra

8.4

7.8

Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme

9.2

8.6

Interest rates on various National Saving Schemes amended to spur economic growth

Background

• Since 2012-13, interest rates on small savings scheme were revised annually. The practice was based on the recommendations of the Shyamala Gopinath Committee.

• As per the earlier practise, the revised rates for the coming financial year were used to be announced in March every year.

• However, to ensure that the interest rates under Small Savings Schemes are more dynamically related to the current market rates the Government notified for quarterly revision in February 2016.

• The quarterly revision of interest rates will enable the Banks to move their interest rates in line with current money market rates.

• As per the notification, the interest rates, beginning from April 2016, will be reset every quarter based on the G-Sec yields of the previous three months.

SUPREME COURT MODIFIED GUIDELINES ON REGULATING GOVERNMENT ADVERTISEMENTS

A Supreme Court (SC) Bench, comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and PC Ghose, modified guidelines on regulating government advertisements.

As per the modified guidelines, pictures of Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, Governors and State Ministers can now appear in government advertisements.

These are in addition to the pictures of the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India that were allowed by the original guidelines issued by the SC in May 2015.

Supreme Court issued Guidelines on Regulating Government Advertisements

Background

• The Supreme Court on 13 May 2015 issued guidelines on regulating government advertisements.

• The guidelines were framed with a view to discourage such advertisements from creating personality cults

• As per the guidelines, only photographs of the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India can feature in the newspaper advertisements released by state and central government departments.

• Contesting the guidelines, the Union Government, states of Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh sought their review.

• The contention was that the guidelines violated Article 19 and federal structure provided in the Constitution.

• The petitioners argued that Article 19 (1) (a) - freedom of speech and expression - empowers the State as well as the citizens to give and receive information and it cannot be curtailed and regulated by the courts.

• The guidelines were termed as anti-federal because, as per the Constitution and the earlier SC orders, every State is an autonomous (not sovereign) political entity, hence, the pictures of Governors and Chief Ministers should be allowed.

• Against this backdrop, the SC took up the review petition and issued modified guidelines.

M SUKUMARAN CHOSEN FOR CV KUNHIRAMAN LITERARY PRIZE

Renowned Malayalam writer M Sukumaran was chosen for the CV Kunhiraman Literary Prize.

The prize consists of 10001 rupees in cash, a citation, and a statuette designed by artist BD Dathan.

About M Sukumaran

M Sukumaran is an author and short story writer in Malayalam.

He was born at Chittur in Palakkad District, Kerala.

He won the Kerala Sahithya Academy award in 1976 for his bookMarichittillathavarude Smarakangal.

The themes of all of his writings deal with the plight of the dispossessed and advocate an armed struggle for the liberation of the oppressed.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND VICTORIA AZARENKA WON BNP PARIBAS OPEN TITLES

World No 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Victoria Azarenka of Belarusia won men's and women’s singles titles of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Southern California.

Novak Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic of Canada 6-2, 6-0 in the men's final while Victoria Azarenka defeated top seed Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic won his fifth Indian Wells title and third in a row. He equaled Rafael Nadal’s 27 ATP Masters titles.

On the other hand, Victoria Azarenka lifted her second BNP Paribas Open crown and her 19th singles title.

About BNP Paribas Open

• It is popularly known as Indian Wells open as it is held in Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Southern California.

• It is the largest two-week combined ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier professional tennis tournament in the world.

• It is held annually in March and features the top men and women professional players competing in a 96 singles draw and 32 doubles draw.

• The tournament offers more than 10 million US Dollars in prize money with each of the Champions earning 1 million US Dollars prize purse.

• It is the only professional tournament in the world that provides Hawkeye, the official line-challenge system for players, on all match courts for both main and qualifying rounds.

ALI MOHAMED SHEIN DECLARED WINNER OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS OF SEMI-AUTONOMOUS REGION ZANZIBAR

Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) declared the incumbent President Ali Mohamed Shein of Tanzania ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) as winner of the presidential elections. He won with 91.4 percent of the votes.

The presidential elections held on 20 March 2016 was the re-run of the elections held in October 2015, which were cancelled by the ZEC on grounds of fraud.

Shein won 299982 votes against just 6076 votes (1.9 percent) won by his main rival Seif Sharif Hamad of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF), which boycotted the poll. Hamad was first vice president in the unity government headed by Shein that has been ruling Zanzibar since 2010.

Political System in Zanzibar

Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, has its own president and parliament. It has more than 50 seats in the Tanzanian National Assembly, and makes its own laws. However, some union matters are the preserve of the Tanzanian government.

Comment

The election of Shein will lead to easy cooperation between Zanzibar and Tanzania, since he comes from the same party as President John Magufuli on the mainland.

However, the conducting of re-run of October 2015 presidential elections has come in for criticism from the group of 15 nations including the US, the UK and the EU. They called on Tanzanian Government to “exercise leadership in Zanzibar and pursue a negotiated solution between parties, with a view to maintaining peace and unity in the United Republic of Tanzania.’‘

The concern arises from the fact that previous votes especially the votes of 2000 were marred by violence. In 2000, at least 35 people were killed and 600 were wounded in clashes with security forces after CUF supporters accused the CCM, which won the vote, of electoral fraud.

WRESTLER HARDEEP SINGH WON SILVER MEDAL IN ASIAN OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION TOURNAMENT

Indian wrestler Hardeep Singh won silver medal in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Even before the win, by virtue of reaching the final in the 98 kg category, he was qualified for participation in the Rio Olympics 2016 in Greco-Roman category and joined other two Indian wrestlers.

Earlier, Yogeshwra Dutt and Narsingh Yadav qualified for the Olympics in men's freestyle category.

With this win, Hardeep became the first Indian in 12 years to get an Olympic berth in the Greco-Roman category. The previous participation was that of Mausam Khatri in 2004 Athens Games.

In fact, this is also the first time an Indian Greco-Roman grappler has ensured a place in the Olympics in a heavyweight category.

DIRECT BENEFIT TRANSFER SCHEME AND GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES

Genesis

Government of India has launched welfare schemes for the underprivileged section of the society from time to time entailing huge cost to the exchequer in the form of subsidies.

Indian government has been providing subsidy on both merit and non-merit goods. These include subsidy on education, health, fertilizer, power, oil, foodgrains, kerosene and LPG. Out of all these subsidies, petroleum subsidy and subsidy given on foodgrains, kerosene and LPG under the Public Distribution System (PDS) constitute the major challenge for the government in managing subsidies.

These subsidies though necessary from the viewpoint of welfare function of any government, however, demands efficient management so that the subsidy reaches the right person and in time without becoming a burden on the fisc. Numerous surveys and studies have revealed that subsidized goods and welfare benefits have not been reaching to intended beneficiaries.

Subsidy Burden on Government

According to the Economic Survey 2015-16, the subsidy bill for BE 2014-15 was placed at 2.60 lakh crore rupees which was 2.0 percent of GDP. In the post financial crisis period, the subsidy bill increased from 2.2 percent of GDP in 2009-10 to 2.5 per cent of GDP in 2012- 13.

As a percentage of Non-Plan expenditure, the subsidies increased from 23.9 percent in 2010-11 to reach 28.1 percent in 2012-13 before falling to 24.2 percent and 23.4 percent in the years 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively.

The estimated direct fiscal cost of petroleum and food subsidies is about 378000 crore rupees or about 4.24 percent of GDP.

Prima facie, price subsidies do not appear to have had a transformative effect on the living standards of the poor, though they have helped poor households weather inflation and price volatility.

In light of the above problem of managing subsidy, the government introduced the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme (DBTS) in 2013.

What is DBTS?

The Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme (DBTS) provides for direct transfer of money into the bank accounts of eligible persons identified and covered under various Government welfare programs. The money transferred directly into the beneficiary account is the difference between the market price and subsidized price, which is in proportion to the quantity uplifted from the market.

The scheme has been compared with the Brazilian Bolsa Familia. But it differs in that it brings together the delivery of a diverse range of existing social programmes in India, such as social pensions, student scholarships and employment guarantee scheme payments.

Initial Phase of DBTS

The DBTS root lies in the Dilli Annashree Yojana launched by the Delhi Government in December 2012 which used DBT mechanism for delivering entitlements. The scheme transferred 600 rupees per month to the account of the senior-most female member of the eligible household. This was the first cash transfer scheme for food security in the country.

Subsequently, the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme (DBTS) was launched by the then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh on 1 January 2013 in 20 districts of India. The scheme was inaugurated at Gollaprolu in East Godavari district on 6 January 2013. By the end of March 2013 it was envisioned to be cover 26 social welfare programmes in 43 districts of 16 states.

It was launched by linking it with biometric-based Unique ID programme Aadhaar so as to eliminate ‘duplicates’, i.e., one person getting benefits multiple times, and ‘ghosts’, i.e., non-existent people getting benefits.

This phase also envisioned the use of Micro-ATMs and use of Banking Correspondents (BCs) to leverage the Core Banking infrastructure of commercial banks for transfer of benefits.

DBT for LPG Consumers (DBTL) Scheme

The DBTS for LPG consumers (DBTL) was launched at Tumkur near Bangalore on 1 June 2013 by the Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, M Veerappa Moily in 20 high Aadhaar coverage districts. Under this, the subsidy on LPG cylinders in the districts was provided directly to consumers in their Aadhar linked bank accounts.

Later on 15 November 2014, NDA Government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the Modified Version of DBTL Scheme in 54 districts in 11 states including all in Kerala. Under this, LPG consumers who have not yet availed the benefit will be able to get cash subsidy amount transferred into their accounts to buy Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders at market price. It was extended in the rest of the country on 1 January 2015 under the scheme PAHAL.

On 1 January 2016, riding on the fiscal success of DBT in LPG, the Union Government decided to launch the similar DBT for kerosene subsidy. This was aimed at cutting down the diversion and black marketing of the fuel.

DBTS for Kerosene

According to government estimates, the subsidy outgo for kerosene for the financial year 2014-15 was about 24799 crore rupees. Also, the allocation of subsidized PDS kerosene at 86.85 lakh kilolitres was more than the consumption at 71.3 lakh kilolitres.

In light of this, Union Government announced in January 2016 to launched the DBTS in Kerosene. It will be rolled out in 26 districts across eight states from 1 April 2016 including Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan.

In order to incentivise states to implement DBT in kerosene, they will be given cash incentive of 75% of subsidy savings during the first two years, 50% in the third year and 25% in the fourth year.

The JAM Solution

Eliminating or phasing down subsidies is neither feasible nor desirable unless accompanied by other forms of support to cushion the poor and vulnerable and enable them to achieve their economic aspirations. The JAM Number Trinity – Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile numbers – allows the state to offer this support to poor households in a targeted and less distortive way. It was introduced in Economic Survey 2014-15.

Besides this, government is also mulling upon introducing Mobile Money and using the Post Office network to directly transfer the subsidy into the beneficiaries account.

DBTS and Subsidy Saved

One of the primary goals of launching DBTS was reducing the burden of subsidy on the government through proper management of it. This could be done through reducing leakages in the many welfare programmes by solving the ‘problem of exclusion’, i.e., identifying the right beneficiaries.

According to the Economic Survey 2015-16, since the introduction of DBTL the subsidy bill for BE 2014-15 was placed at 2.60 lakh crore rupees which was 2.0 percent of GDP compared to 2.5 per cent of GDP in 2012- 13.

Further, as a percentage of Non-Plan expenditure, the subsidies decreased to 24.2 percent and 23.4 percent in the years 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively after increasing from 23.9 percent in 2010-11 to reach 28.1 percent in 2012-13.

The deregulation of diesel price in October 2014, along with the introduction of direct benefit (subsidy) transfer into the bank accounts of domestic LPG consumers, coupled with a sharp decline in global crude oil prices will help contain the petroleum subsidy bill. The centre saved around 14000 crore rupees in fiscal year 2014-15 due to weeding out of the fake and, duplicate LPG connections through DBTL.

With the introduction of Jan Dhan Yojana, the number of bank accounts is expected to increase further and offering greater opportunities to target and transfer financial resources to the poor. Indeed, the government is already attempting this transition in certain areas by paying cooking gas subsidies directly via Direct Benefit Transfer into the bank accounts of 9.75 crore recipients.

LORI ROBINSON NOMINATED AS FIRST US FEMALE COMBATANT CHIEF

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter announced that President Barack Obama has nominated General Lori Robinson to lead the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and NORAD. This will make her the first woman to command a major Unified Combatant Command.

The position is one of the most senior in the US military and must be confirmed by the Senate. If approved by the Senate, US Air Force General Lori Robinson will be the new North command chief and will be responsible for any missile threats against the homeland.

Who is Lori Robinson?

Lori J. Robinson is a United States Air Force general who is Commander of Pacific Air Forces, Air Component Commander for United States Pacific Command, and Executive Director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

She entered the Air Force in 1981 through the ROTC program at the University of New Hampshire.

On 21 September 2007, she became the first Air Battle Manager and first woman 552nd ACW commander to be frocked to brigadier general while stationed at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.

In 2014, she was chosen to be the new commanding general of the Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii, making her the first U.S. female four-star commander of combat forces.

About United States Northern Command

United States Northern Command is a Unified Combatant Command of the U.S. military tasked with providing military support for civil authorities in the U.S., and protecting the territory and national interests of the United States within the contiguous United States, Alaska, (not Hawaii), Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico (and the air, land and sea approaches to these areas).

USNORTHCOM was created on 25 April 2002 when President George W. Bush approved a new Unified Command Plan, following the September 11 Attacks.

USNORTHCOM went operational on 1 October 2002.

5TH NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS PRESENTED

The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jailey presented 5th National Photography Awards in New Delhi.

The annual awards are meant to honour and recognize those creative professionals who defined moments in history through their creative pictorial mastery.

In addition to the Life Time Achievement Award, a total of 12 awards were presented on this occasion to various amateur and professional photographers.

While awards in the amateur category were given for works on the theme – ‘Save Mother Earth’, the theme for professional photographers was ‘festivals of India’.

Recipients of major awards

• Bhawan Singh - Life Time Achievement Award

• Javed Ahmed Dar - Professional Photographer Award

• Himanshu Thakur - Amateur Photographer

About the National Photography Awards

• They constitute a total of 13 awards in 3 categories.

• They are presented annually by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 3 categories.

• The Awards conferred are an attempt to capture the growth of professionalism and creativity within the growing dimensions of photojournalism.

• The awards carry a cash prize and medals or Plaques and citations. The cash prize for Life Time Achievement Award is 150000 rupees. The cash prize for the Best Photographer of the year in Professional and Amateur category is 175000 rupees.

• The Special Mention Award carries a cash prize of 15 thousand rupees for each in professional category and 10 thousand rupees for each in Amateur category.

CENTRE INCREASED DEARNESS ALLOWANCE BY 6 PERCENT

  • In a decision described as a Holi gift to over one crore Central government employees and pensioners, the Union Cabinet increased Dearness Allowance by 6 per cent to 125 per cent of their basic pay with effect from January.
  • The decision will cost the exchequer Rs. 14,724.74 crore a year.
  • Of this, Rs. 6,795.5 crore will go to employees and Rs. 7,929.24 crore to pensioners during 2016-17.

MORE LOWER BIRTH SEATS WOULD BE RESERVED FOR SENIOR CITIZENS

  • The government announced an increase in lower berth quota for senior citizens in trains from April 1.
  • There will be 80-90 seats reserved for senior citizens on every train as against 50-60 at present.
  • Now, each sleeper class coach will have six lower berth seats reserved for senior citizens, female passengers above 45 years and pregnant women, up from four at present.
  • In 3AC and 2AC classes, three lower berths will be kept reserved for senior citizens. In Rajdhani, Duronto and fully AC Express trains, four lower berths in every coach will be reserved in 3AC class, as against three per coach that are reserved in Mail or Express trains.
  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced the proposal in the Budget 2016-17 presented last month.
  • In another move, the government also announced decreasing freight rates on dedicated merry-go-round systems – rail tracks that connect coal mines and power plants.
  • The freight rates for transporting goods have been revised down to Rs. 47 per tonne effective April 1 from Rs. 63 per tonne at present, Railway Board member (Traffic).
  • This would make transportation of goods by train cheaper than roads where Rs. 72 per tonne was charged for covering 18 km.

ELECTRICITY DE FRANCE AND NPCIL SIGNED MOU FOR JAITAPUR

  • India and France have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, two months after the two countries decided to conclude the techno-commercial negotiations for the project by the year end.
  • The pact was inked at the end of the two-day visit of a high-level delegation of Electricite de France (EDF) — French public utility — to Mumbai for holding discussions with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) on the construction of the plants.
  • French Ambassador to India Francois Richier, who was present on the occasion, reiterated his country’s commitment to working seamlessly with India through a collaborative approach to enable both sides to contribute collectively to the development of nuclear energy in India in the most economical manner.

BANGLADESH WILL LEASE 10 GBPS INTERNET BANDWIDTH TO INDIA IN RETURN OF 100 MW POWER

  • Sheikh Hasina joined a video conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, jointly inaugurating the supply of 100 MW power from India and leasing of 10 GBPS Internet bandwidth from Bangladesh.
  • Inaugurating the power supply from Tripura, Mr. Modi described it as a “historic occasion”, and “an example to the world” on how Bangladesh and Tripura, which share historic relations as the tiny Indian State had given millions of Bangladeshis shelter during the nation’s liberation war in 1971.
  • Bangladesh allowed the transport of over-dimensional cargo through its territory during the construction of the Palatana power plant in Tripura in 2011.
  • The power grids of the two countries have been hooked up with the supply of 500 MW of power to Bangladesh through transmission cable.
  • The supply of another 500 MW through the same interconnection was also announced during Mr. Modi’s Dhaka visit in 2015.
  • Mr. Modi has expressed his ‘earnest desire’ to take the country’s cooperation with Bangladesh to the sphere of space.
  • Referring to the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) connectivity deal, the Indian PM said, “We have already started working together on road connectivity. Today, we are forging a new bond through electricity sharing. We are also working together on digital connectivity, a must for the 21st century.
  • Bangladesh hopes to launch the Bangabandhu-1 Satellite by the end of 2017.

HILLARY CLINTON AND DONALD TRUMP CONTINUES TO WIN

  • Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton used the backdrop of the Brussels terror attack to drive home their respective political messages after securing new victories in presidential nomination contests.
  • Mr. Trump reiterated his call for a ban on Muslims travelling to the U.S, and waterboarding of terror suspects to extract information from them, while Ms. Clinton said in her victory speech that “the last thing we need are leaders who incite more fear”.
  • Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton won Arizona, the State that had the highest number of delegates.
  • Senator Ted Cruz defeated Mr. Trump in Utah, and on the Democratic side, Senator Bernie Sanders won Utah and Idaho and promised to take the contest all the way to the convention.
  • Occasional terror strikes through the campaign season have helped Mr. Trump’s tactics.
  • Mr. Trump has effectively used the Paris and California terror strikes to bolster his campaign and Brussels happened just as his rhetoric may have plateaued.
  • Meanwhile, in a TV interview, Mr. Trump said Muslim communities are “absolutely not reporting” suspected terrorists and need to “open up to society”.
  • Meanwhile, Mr. Cruz won the endorsement of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who dropped out of the race last month.
  • Differentiating between Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump may be more a question of semantics than substance.
  • Mr. Cruz called for higher border security to stop “terrorist infiltration”, and increased surveillance of Muslim neighbourhoods in U.S.
  • Ms. Clinton said. “What Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and others are suggesting is not only wrong, it’s dangerous. It will not keep us safe, this is a time for America to lead, not cower.”

BRUSSELS TERRORISTS ALSO LINKED WITH PARIS TERROR ATTACK

  • The two brothers who blew themselves up in the deadly train and airport attacks in Brussels were known by police for serious crimes and are linked to November’s Paris massacre.
  • Khalid (27), who blew himself up on Tuesday at the Maalbeek metro station, is a convicted car-jacker. His brother Ibrahim (30), who was one of two suicide bombers at the airport, had been handed a nine-year sentence for firing his gun at police, local media say.
  • Belgian media reports said a joint squad of Belgian and French police approached the property because it was rented under a false name used by Khalid to secure a hide-out months earlier for the Paris attackers.
  • Khalid is suspected of having rented other properties used to prepare the November tragedy in Paris, including one in the city of Charleroi from where ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud set off to lead the assault in the French capital.
  • The brothers are not believed to have been present in those events, but their connection to Islamic State jihadism was established.
  • Turkish authorities in June 2015 detained and later deported one of the Brussels attackers, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said as a media report named him as Ibrahim El Bakraoui.

ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY TIGHTENED RULES FOR E-WASTE

  • The Environment Ministry has tightened rules by putting the onus on manufacturers, dealers, retailers and refurbishers of electronic goods to ensure that electronic or e-waste goods are collected and “scientifically” recycled.
  • The new norms include fines, a greater involvement of states in policing and collection as well as bringing exhausted compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and other mercury-containing lamps in to the purview of electronic waste.
  • The actual date of the rules and quantum of fines would be announced later this year after discussions with states.
  • With nearly 1.7 million tonnes of e-waste reportedly produced in India in 2014 and increasing annually at between four and five per cent, a variety of experts have warned of its dangers to the environment as well as health.
  • This is because defunct laptops, phone and other electronic goods are usually broken down by hand for precious metals and hacked down manually or crudely burnt.
  • The residue is frequently thrown in rivers, drains and/or disposed in solid waste dumps that over time can contribute to degraded land and water quality as well neurological and skin diseases, genetic defects and cancer in the workers who deal with them, the ministry added.
  • The rules governing electronic, or e-waste, have been in place since 2011. The new rules say that producers will have to ensure 30 per cent e-waste collection, based on their projected sales, by 2018 and 70 per cent by 2023.
  • They can do this through a variety of ways such as a deposit refund scheme, an e-waste exchange and they also have to pay for publicity and awareness programmes.
  • Later this year, when the rules come into effect, state will have to set up e-waste dismantling and recycling units in industrial park as well as register the workers involved with the e-waste business and finally, take up industrial skill development activities and ensure health and safety of workers.

2.95 CRORE HOUSES TO BE CONSTRUCTED IN RURAL AREA UNDER HOUSING FOR ALL SCHEME

  • The Union Cabinet approved the construction of 2.95 crore houses in rural areas under ‘Housing for All’ scheme wherein financial assistance of up to Rs.1.30 lakh will be provided for construction of pucca houses to homeless families.
  • The target will be achieved by 2022 —the 75th year of India's Independence, he told reporters after a Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The programme will be implemented in two phases.The government proposes to provide assistance for one crore households in the next three years (by 2018-19) at an estimated cost of Rs. 81,975 crore.
  • Mr. Prasad said Rs. 60,000 crore will come from Budgetary provisions.
  • The additional financial requirement of Rs. 21,975 crore will be met by borrowing through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to be amortised through budgetary allocations after 2022.
  • An eligible family living in plains will get Rs. 1.20 lakh and those living in “hilly and difficult” areas will receive an assistance of Rs. 1.30 lakh under the scheme.
  • The identification and prioritisation of beneficiaries will be done using information from Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC).
  • The beneficiary will be entitled to 90 days of unskilled labour from MGNREGA.
  • The cost of unit assistance to be shared between Central and State Governments in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for North Eastern and hilly states,” according to an official statement.
  • The scheme would be implemented in rural areas throughout India except Delhi and Chandigarh.
  • Under the existing rural housing scheme ( Indira Awaas Yojana ), financial assistance of Rs. 70,000 in plains areas and Rs. 75,000 in hilly/difficult areas is provided.

 

 

 

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Last Updated on Sunday, 27 March 2016 05:01