GK Update : 20th July, 2016 (English)
By: D.K Choudhary
1. Govt allocates Rs 22,915 cr capital to 13 PSU banks for FY17
i. The Narendra Modi government has allocated Rs 22,915 crore capital to meet the capitalization needs of 13 Public Sector Banks (PSBs) in the current fiscal. This is in line with its Indradhanush initiative, aimed at restoring banking sector health.
ii. The maximum capital infusion will be for State Bank of India (SBI) at Rs 7,575 crore and the least for Allahabad Bank at Rs 44 crore.
iii. The capital infusion exercise is based on an assessment of need as assessed from the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of credit growth for the last five years, and banks’ own projections of credit growth. Consequent upon the exercise, 75 percent of the amount collected for each bank is being released now to provide liquidity support for lending operations as also to enable banks to raise funds from the market. The remaining amount will be released later based on performance.
2. CBDT signs 7 advance pricing agreements to cut tax litigation with Indian taxpayers
i. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed seven Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers in a moving design to reduce tax litigation.
ii. With this, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 77. This includes 3 bilateral APAs and 74 unilateral APAs. The latest APAs signed with taxpayers pertain to various sectors like banking, information technology, and automotive.
iii. The international transactions covered in these agreements include software development Services, IT enabled Services, Engineering Design Services & Business Support Services. Some of the agreements also have a Rollback provision as well.
iv. The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 while the Rollback provisions were introduced in 2014. APAs provide an appropriate transfer pricing methodology for determining the value of assets and taxes on intra-group overseas transactions.
v. The scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance.
3. Parliament passes Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016
i. On the first day of the Monsoon session, Parliament has passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016 with the Rajya Sabha approving it yesterday.
ii. The bill seeks to establish a Regional Centre for Biotechnology, an institution of education, training and research, under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the National Capital Region. It also confers upon it the status of an institution of national importance.
iii. The Regional Centre is to disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields. Besides, it will help create a hub of biotechnology expertise and promote co-operation at the international level. The government through an executive order in April 2009 had established the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education at Faridabad. Now with approval from Parliament, the institute would be able give Masters and Phd degrees.
4. Rs. 28,000 cr released under MGNREGA
i. The Centre has released more than Rs. 28,000 crore so far this year to States under MGNREGA to clear the last year’s liabilities and for running the programme in the ongoing year.
ii. Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), funds are released to the States on the basis of agreed to labour budget and performance of the States.
iii. For ensuring timely payment of wages, the Centre has started National Electronic Fund Management System in 11 States, Minister of State for Rural Development Ram Kripal Yadav said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
5. Herbalife associates with IOA as nutrition partner
i. Herbalife International India, a global premier nutrition company, has entered into a two-year exclusive partnership with Indian Olympic Association to be the official nutrition sponsor of the Indian Olympic contingent to Rio De Janeiro.
ii. Herbalife International is an American multinational multi-level marketing corporation that develops, markets and sells nutrition supplements, weight management, sports nutrition and personal-care products.
iii. The company was founded by entrepreneur Mark Hughes in 1980, and it employs around 7,800 people worldwide.
6. Dabur acquires South African cosmetic firm Discaria Trading
i. Homegrown FMCG major Dabur has stated that it has acquired South Africa-based Discaria Trading (PTY) Ltd for an undisclosed amount. The South Africa based firm is engaged in manufacturing and trading of cosmetics.
ii. Dabur International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dabur has completely acquired (100% share) Discaria Trading in South Africa. Accordingly, Discaria has become a step down wholly-owned subsidiary company of Dabur India.
iii. This marks Dabur’s entry in the high-potential South Africa market. The company currently has manufacturing in Nigeria and Egypt, which caters to the North and East African markets.
7. Tata STRIVE skill development centre launched in Hyderabad
i. Tata STRIVE, an initiative of Tata Community Initiatives Trust, has been launched its first Skill Development Centre (TSSDC) centre.
ii. The centre will equip the youth in the State with skills in BPO, banking, financial services, insurance and retail industries to make them employable. The 17,000-sq ft facility in Kukatpally was inaugurated by Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao.
iii. The centre can seat 240 students and offers courses that span six weeks to 16 weeks and Anita Rajan is the Chief Operating Officer of Tata STRIVE, the first Group CSR programme of the Tata Group.
8. NASA announces discovery of 104 new planets outside solar system
i. NASA has announced the discovery of 104 new planets outside our solar system including four that could have Earth-like, rocky surfaces.
ii. Scientists discovered the exoplanets in Hawaii using Kepler space telescope.
iii. The unmanned Kepler mission has been scanning 150,000 stars in the Cygnus constellation for signs of orbiting bodies, particularly those that might be able to support life.
9. SpaceX launched space station docking port
i. US space firm SpaceX has launched supplies to the International Space Station, including a crucial docking port for future American commercial crew vehicles.
ii. The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft lifted off on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket on time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
iii. The cargo is the first of two international docking adapters, which will allow US commercial spacecraft to dock to the station while transporting American astronauts in the near future.
10. Odisha-born bureaucrat Guruprasad appointed as chairman of AAI
i. An Odisha-born bureaucrat Guruprasad Mohapatra has been appointed the chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI). He is a 1986 batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer.
ii. Prior to this, he was posted as Joint Secretary in Union Ministry of Commerce and had served as Municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad for over three years. After about two years of his tenure as Joint Secretary, he was appointed the Chairman of AAI.
iii. He had also served as Municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad for over three years. He started in the State Electricity Sector with the erstwhile Gujarat Electricity Board in 2002 and worked with various Electricity Companies such as GSEC and the distribution companies such as PGVCL, DGVCL & UGVCL.
11. Sidhu resigns as Rajya Sabha MP
i. Navjot Singh Sidhu, former Indian cricketer and Member of Parliament has resigned from his Rajya Sabha seat on the first day of the Monsoon Session.
ii. Sidhu’s resignation was accepted with immediate effect by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.
ii. Sidhu’s resignation was accepted with immediate effect by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.
iii. The cricketer-turned-politician wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, is Chief Parliamentary Secretary in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP government. Sidhu himself was nominated to the Rajya Sabha earlier this year.
12. World Bank Group appoints Paul Romer as Chief Economist
i. World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has appointed Paul Romer as World Bank Chief Economist with effect from September 2016. Romer is a widely respected economist and a successful entrepreneur.
ii. The American economist Paul Romer will succeed Kaushik Basu as Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank. He will join the Bank at a critical time when the field of development is transforming under the forces of rapid technological change, globalization, and demography.
iii. Romer is currently a professor at New York University (NYU) and director of NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management. Romer is also known as a proponent of “endogenous growth theory”, which holds that economic growth is primarily the result of investment in human capital, innovation, and knowledge. He also founded a start-up Aplia, an education technology company dedicated to increasing student effort and classroom engagement.
13. Turnbull sworn in as Australia’s PM
i. Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in for another term as Australia’s prime minister,after a narrow election victory with budget repair and a public vote on same sex marriage among his top priorities.
ii. Malcolm Bligh Turnbull (born 24 October 1954) is the 29th and current Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Liberal Party.
iii. He assumed both offices after defeating Tony Abbott in a leadership election on 14 September 2015. He was subsequently elected in his own right at the 2016 federal election.
14. Legendary singer Mubarak Begum Shaikh passes away
i. Legendary singer and ghazal maestro Mubarak Begum Shaikh has passed away at her residence in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. She was 80 years old and started her career with light music recitals in All India Radio. She was proficient in both Hindi and Urdu.
ii. Rajasthan-born Mubarak Begum is known for the evergreen song ‘Kabhi tanhaiyon mein hamari yaad ayegi’ from the 1961 movie ‘Hamari Yaad Aayegi’, which is, till this day, regarded as a classic rendition.
iii. Her career as a playback singer began in 1949 with the Indian, Hindi-language film Aaiye. That was the launch of a notable singing career spanning over 110 films over four decades till the early 1980s. Besides playback singing, she used to give regular stage performance and musical concerts.
15. Pakistan’s Yasir Shah scales number one spot in ICC Test rankings
i. Wrist spinner Yasir Shah has scaled the number one spot in the ICC Test rankings becoming the first Pakistani bowler to do so since Mushtaq Ahmed in December 1996.
ii. He reached the number-one spot after bowling Pakistan to a 75-run victory over England in the first Test at Lord’s. Yasir, who recorded the figures of six for 72 and four for 69, leapfrogged India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and England’s fast bowling pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
iii. Yasir won the player of the match award in his first Test outside Asia and now leads Ashwin by seven points and Anderson by 10 points. Ashwin, however, still leads the All-rounders rankings. Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan is second.