By: D.K Choudhary
Union Budget 2017
i.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union budget 2017-2018 in Lok Sabha today (01 February 2017).
ii.This is the fourth budget by the Narendra Modi government. It was broadly focused on 10 issues farming sector, rural population, youth, poor and health care for the underprivileged, infrastructure, financial sector for stronger institutions, speedy accountability, public services, prudent fiscal management and tax administration for the honest.
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Basant Panchami is being celebrated today (01st February 2017)
i.Basant Panchami is being celebrated today (1 February 2017). The festival marks the beginning of the spring season. The festival is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the month of ‘Magha’. Basant means spring and Panchami means “the fifth day”.
ii.On this day, Hindus wearing yellow clothes visit temples and pray to Goddess Saraswati the goddess of knowledge, and celebrate the day as Saraswati Puja. Schools and educational institutes celebrate Saraswati Puja. Kite flying competitions will also be held. iii.The festival is mostly celebrated mostly in northern states of Punjab and Bihar.In Allahabad, Basant Panchami bathing is taking place at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna and other Ghats of holy rivers from this morning. Besides elaborate arrangements for the bathing, security has been tightened at the Sangam area. Police and paramilitary forces are keeping vigil and drones and CCTV cameras have been put into service in the area.
Fiscal deficit reaches 94% of the budget estimate
i.Fiscal deficit in the first nine months of 2016-17 touched 93(point)9 per cent of the Budget estimate. The fiscal deficit had stood at 87.9% in the corresponding nine months a year ago. The fiscal deficit is the gap between expenditure and revenue.
ii.According to data released by the Controller General of Accounts, tax revenue was 71.4% of the full-year budget estimate. Total expenditure, Plan and Non-Plan, was 74.3% of the government’s full-year estimate. The revenue deficit during April-December 2016 stood at 100.1% of the budget estimate.
Rajasthan, Telangana bag eGov awards
i.This year (2017), under the State category, Rajasthan and Telangana emerged Winners of Excellence while the Award of Recognition went to Odisha and Nagaland.
ii.Instituted by the Computer Society of India’s (CSI) Special Interest Group with sponsorship from Nihilent Technologies, these awards help recognise the efforts of eGovernance practitioners from across central and state departments, projects and in district administrative units as well.
Railway Ministry Requests Separate Fund for Rashtriya Rail Safety Fund
i.The Ministry of Railway has proposed the Finance Ministry to create a non-lapsable safety fund named ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ over five years with initial corpus of Rs. 20000 crore and contribute a portion to fund it in the Budget 2017 .
ii.The decision to set up the safety fund is based on the recommendation of a high-level safety review committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission.
SAARC programming committee meeting begins in Kathmandu
i.The programming committee meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has began at Kathmandu.Senior officials of all eight member countries are participating in the meeting.
ii.Indian delegation is lead by Shri Prashant Agarwal, Joint Secretary (SAARC).During the two day meeting number of issues including budget of SAARC secretariat and its 5 regional centres and regular activities of the Associtation will be discussed.
iii.This is the first senior level meeting of Association since postponement of 19th SAARC Summit in November last year. Nepal, the current chair of SAARC had postpone the summit after Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India had decided to boycott SAARC summit scheduled in Islamabad last year.
Ministry of Defence to Set up Rs 1500 cr Defence Unit in Madhya Pradesh
i.The Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar stated that the Ministry of Defence is set to open its Defence Unit in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh.
ii.The unit would be set up in Kailaras and Sabalgarh tehsil areas and span over 969.735 hectare of land at a cost of Rs. 1500 crore.
E-Paathsala Launches Unique Technology-Backed Services for Educational Institutions in India
Bangalore based Start-up firm E-paathsala has launched an integrated accreditation and ERP technology solution for the colleges and universities to enable them better manage their multiple accreditation standards in an easy, efficient and fast manner and bridge the gap identified for specific accreditations.
Income Tax Department (ITD) launches Operation Clean Money
i.Income Tax Department (ITD) lead by Sushil Chandra has launched Operation Clean Money to verify the cash deposited in the banks during November 9th to December 30th 2016.
ii.An online Verification process will be carried out by comparing the demonetisation data CBDTwith information in ITD databases.This information will be available at the portal https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.
iii.The PAN holder can view the information using the link ‘Cash Transactions 2016’ under ‘Compliance’ section of the portal.
Textile Ministry Inaugurates Meghalaya’s First Ever Apparel and Garment Centre at Ampati
i.Meghalaya’s first ever Apparel and Garment Making Centre was inaugurated on January 30, 2017 jointly by Union Textiles Minister Smriti Zubin Irani and Chief Minister of Meghalaya Dr. Mukul Sangma near Ampati in South West Garo Hills.
ii.The centre would enable to create job opportunity for both men and women of the region and make them economically empowered.The facility has been set up in an area of 45,000 sq feet at an approximate cost of Rs 14.26 crore. It has been set up under North East Region Textiles Promotion Scheme (NERTPS).
Lakshmi Vilas Bank Partners with Fisdom for Mission FINFIT
i.The private sector lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank in partnership with Bangalore based fin-tech startup firm Fisdom, has launched a mobile application Mission FINFIT to offer the customers of the bank financial planning and personal wealth management services based on Robo advisory.
ii.The mobile app would enable the customer of the bank to plan their finances in an effective manner using the online platform for wealth management thus encouraging them to invest smarter.
ICRA Estimates Banks Credit Growth to Remain Subdued at 5-6% in FY17
i.As per the report of the rating agency, ICRA, the bank credit growth rate is likely to float between 5-6% in the current fiscal year (2017).
ii.The reason cited includes weak loan demand as the rate of return offered by debt market is better in comparison to banks.Besides, the deposit rate was also projected to drop to 12% from the current 14.7% this fiscal ending March 2017 due to better cash flow in the system and cut in the deposit rate by the banks.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Presents 2016 National Entrepreneurship Awards
i.The First ever National Entrepreneurship Awards 2016 was presented by the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh at Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi on January 30, 2017.
ii.Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State (I/C) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was the guest of honour on the occasion.The National Entrepreneurship Awards was instituted by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE) to recognize and honor the entrepreneurial spirit of India’s youth and encourage more and more young Indians to become entrepreneur.
iii.The awards were given in 11 different categories divided into two groups: Award Track and Recognition Track.
UNICEF launches 3.3 bln USD to aid millions of children
i.UN children’s agency UNICEF has launched an appeal for 3.3 billion US Dollar to help 48 million children caught up in crises worldwide amid fears of a funding cut from top donor the United States. This year’s appeal represents a 18% increase from the initial request for funding in 2016.
ii. Donors contribute to the appeals on a voluntary basis. The United States is by far the top donor to UNICEF, followed by Germany, Britain and the European Commission. According to UNICEF, Almost one in four of the world’s children now lives in a country affected by conflict or disaster.
Alok Verma takes charge as new CBI Director
i.Former Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma today took charge as the new CBI Director. He will hold the charge of the premier investigating agency for a period of two years.
ii. A 1979-batch IPS officer, Mr Verma was selected by a three-member committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice J S?Khehar and Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
Moussa Faki Mahamat appointed as new African Union AU head
Chadian foreign affairs minister Moussa Faki Mahamat has been elected as the head of AU Headthe African Union Commission. He will replace Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
US House of Representatives Introduces H-1B Visa Reform Bill
i.The US House of Representatives has introduced a legislation on January 30, 2017 making it mandatory to raise the minimum salary of the H-1B visa holders to more than double at USD 1,30,000 from the previous USD 60,000.
ii.If the legislation is passed, it would highly impact American companies as they may face difficulty in replacing the American employees with foreign workers including IT professionals from India.
iii.The High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 introduced by California Congressman Zoe Lofgren prioritises
Ireland became the world’s first country to stop investing in fossil fuels
Ireland has become the first country in the world to divest coal, oil and gas investments from Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.The bill was passed in the Irish parliament by gaining 53 votes out of 90. It was introduced by Deputy Thomas Pringle.
Former Minister E Ahamed Dies After Suffering Cardiac Arrest
Former Union Minister E Ahamed, who collapsed in parliament, has died. He was 78. Mr Ahamed was admitted at Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital after he suffered a cardiac arrest while both houses of parliament were being jointly addressed by President Pranab Mukherjee