Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 26 April 2017

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 26 April 2017

:: National ::

India Sri Lanka to dicuss various important issues

  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister is set to announce several MoUs on developing energy and infrastructure projects in Trincomalee and fast-tracking negotiations for an upgraded free trade agreement — the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA).

  • Mr. Wickremesinghe, whose visit is expected to confirm a number of agreements to be announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka from May 12 to 14, will meet Mr. Modi, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari.

  • Indian Govt hoped to see the agreement on the Trinco Oil storage and the development of infrastructure — highways, power plants, a refinery and an SEZ — around the key port town of Trincomalee to be wrapped up.

  • Oil union workers in Colombo went on a strike against the planned MoU with India for 84 tanks in the Trincomalee upper oil tank farm, of which Sri Lanka is keen to retain at least 10 for use by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.

  • The unions called off the strike that hit fuel supplies in the country on Monday, but claim they have an assurance that their concerns over leasing the tanks to India will be taken into consideration before any announcement is made.

  • Commerce Ministry said India had sent a team to Sri Lanka recently to make presentations on the benefits of widening the FTA and had formally asked the government for a list of perceived “non-tariff barriers” that businessmen were complaining about.

India assured Nepal of all possible help for elections

  • PM Modi assured his Nepali counterpart of “all possible help” in organising the three-phase election — covering covering local, provincial and central levels — that will begin in the Himalayan country on May 14.
  • The PM’s statement, which indicates a softening of official policy towards Nepal’s democratic process, came two days after Madhesi agitators agreed to participate in the elections.
  • The breakthrough was achieved after two days of consultations between the Madhesis and the government. This comes after Mr. Dahal received a financial package from Beijing.

No change in policy do deal with Naxals

  • The government has no plans to deploy the Army to tackle the Naxals, notwithstanding reverses being faced by paramilitary and police forces.
  • It is an internal security issue. There is no question of deploying the Army in the anti-Naxal operations said the govt.
  • Since the Naxal violence is considered a law and order problem, paramilitary and police forces will continue to deal with the Maoists, though there have been casualties among security forces.

India's longest bridge to come up over Brahmaputra river

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the country’s longest bridge over the Brahmaputra river in Assam on May 24.
  • Mr. Modi will visit Assam to inaugurate the Dhola-Sadiya bridge.

:: International ::

China bans some muslim names in western China

  • The Chinese government, further tightening its grip on Muslims in western China, has prohibited parents from choosing names like “Muhammad,” “Arafat” and “Jihad” for their children.
  • The ban, introduced this month, as part of an effort to “curb religious fervour” in the western region of Xinjiang, home to more than 10 million Uighurs.
  • The government considers Xinjiang a hotbed of Islamic extremism, violence and separatist thought. But many Uighurs say the government’s strict limits on worship and speech are responsible for tensions in the region.
  • The list of names, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times by Uighur activists, is titled, “List of Banned Ethnic Minority Names.” It bans more than two dozen names, including “Mujahid” and “Medina.”
  • Rights advocates said the ban showed the lengths to which the government would go to limit the civil liberties of Uighurs in the name of fighting terrorism.

:: Business and Economy ::

RBI Governor says consolidation of banks will reduce stressed assets

  • RBI Governor Urjit Patel has said the Indian banking system could be better off if some public sector banks are consolidated to have fewer but healthier entities, as it would help in dealing with the problem of stressed assets.
  • He said since there were cooperative banks and micro-financial institutions to provide community-level banking, “some banks can be merged, as a quid pro quo for timely government technical injection.”
  • Dr. Patel said a challenge that India’s central bank was grappling with was the large stressed banking sector balance sheets.
  • He noted that a series of measures have been taken in the past year on resolving the problem of the non-performing assets, including completion of a comprehensive asset quality review of the banks.
  • In the instance of the insolvency and bankruptcy code, the RBI has been preparing actively for the next step in an orderly resolution and this will be undertaken concomitantly with the resolution of the weakest bank balance sheets under a revised prompt corrective action framework.
  • Dr. Patel also said that consolidation of banks could also entail sale of real estate where branches are redundant as well as offering voluntary retirement schemes to manage headcount and adding younger, digital-savvy personnel.
  • Improved market valuations would create an opportune time for the government to divest some of the ownership in the restructured banks and this would reduce the overall amount that the government needs to inject into them to deal with the problem of NPAs and stressed assets, he said.
  • Cautioning against protectionism, Dr. Patel said “I don’t think that we have heard the last word on U.S. policy talk about this because there is a push back internationally that the world has benefited from an open trading system.”

Fourteen state legislatures will approve their respective SGST laws by mid-May

  • Fourteen state legislatures will approve their respective State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) laws by mid-May, according to Revenue Secretary.
  • He said all states were expected to pass their SGST laws by May-end to ensure that the GST regime was rolled out by July.
  • Bihar and Telangana had already passed the SGST laws while Rajasthan was likely to approve the bill.
  • Mr. Adhia said the new regime would not have any inflationary impact on the economy since the country would be shifting away from the multiple-level taxes that had a cascading effect. The GST regime would also aid in easing inflation.
  • Allaying fears that consumers would have to pay more for goods and services under the GST regime due to an increase in tax rates, Mr. Adhia said the prices of most items would decrease while those of services might stay at the same level.
  • Also, though a majority of the services would see service tax rising to 18% under the GST regime from the current 15%, most services would get the benefit of input tax credit on purchases and, therefore, the overall tax incidence wouldstay the same.
  • All foodgrains and absolute essential items for people were likely to be exempted from GST. Therefore, GST would not have an inflationary impact.
  • The GST Council’s next meeting is scheduled for May 18-19 and is expected to discuss fitment of commodities in the four-tier tax structure under GST.
  • Under GST, every registered person would be assigned a compliance rating on the basis of the record of compliance in respect of specified parameters. The ratings would be made public.

NITI Aayog wants agriculture income to come with in personal income

  • Government think-tank NITI Aayog has suggested that agriculture income be brought under the purview of personal Income Tax in a bid to curb tax evasion.
  • In its three-year action agenda, discussed at the Governing Council meeting, the Aayog reasoned that non-agricultural entities sometimes use the blanket relief to evade taxes.
  • All agricultural income is currently exempted from Income Tax regardless of its size. While the provision is meant to protect farmers, non-agricultural entities sometimes use it to evade taxes by declaring agriculture as the source of their income.
  • A key limitation of personal Income Tax regime is the small tax base. In assessment year 2014-15, only 3.65 crore individuals filed returns. Of this group, only 1.91 crore individuals or around 1.5% of the population paid any Income Tax at all.
  • NITI Aayog Member Bibek Debroy said this would widen the tax base and more funds could be made available for the social sector schemes.

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