Daily Current Affairs - 07th Jul 2017

Anti-hijack law comes into effect

  • The Centre has notified the anti-hijacking law that entails capital punishment in case of hijacking an aircraft leads to death of any person, including ground staff, flight crew, passengers and security personnel.
  • The Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016 came into force from June 5, a notification issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry.
  • Union Ministry of Civil Aviation: Ashok Gajapathi Raju

China simulating high-altitude battles

  • The Chinese Army is carrying out exercises simulating real battle scenarios at high-altitude areas in Tibet, testing new equipment, including a light battle tank. The exercises were being carried out at an altitude of 5,100 metres. Besides testing the new equipment, the exercises involve conducting live firing exercises.

EPFO’s buys via ETFs to cross Rs. 45,000 cr.

  • The retirement fund body EPFO’s investment in stocks through exchange traded funds (ETFs) would cross the Rs. 45,000-crore mark by the end of this fiscal. This year the body increased (investment) from 10% to 15% in ETF's. With this, this year alone, it may go in totality to Rs. 45,000 crore.
  • As of April 21 this year, the stock investment stood at Rs. 21,559 crore. The EPFO invested Rs. 6,577 crore in 2015-16 and Rs. 14,982 crore in 2016-17.
  • Union Labour Minister: Bandaru Dattatreya

Experts see growing importance to India in G-20

  • Academic experts see growing importance to India in G-20. They say that India is going to be one of the major global players especially in the wake of merging powers in the East. As India is the third largest economy of the world and it is expected to play a greater role in G20 in the days to come due to its concerns on issues like climate change and economic reforms.
  • G20 (G-20 or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and Central bank governors from 20 major economies founded in 1999. The G20 aims to discuss policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.

FIFA rankings: India rises to World No. 96

  • As India rose to the 96th spot in the latest FIFA rankings issued. Indian football coach Stephen Constantine has cautioned his players against getting carried away after the team achieved its best-ever FIFA rankings in two decades.
  • India was ranked 171 when Constantine took over for the second time in February 2015, and slipped to 173rd next month before the coach’s first game in charge against Nepal, which India won.

France unveils Paris accord plan

  • France will end sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, its new Ecology Minister announced.
  • France, home to Europe’s second-biggest car industry, dominates its market for electric vehicles.
  • French carmakers Peugeot-Citroen and Renault were well equipped to make the switch.
  • Sweden’s Volvo said it planned to phase out production of petrol-only cars from 2019.

India slips to be 4th largest investor into UK

  • According to the official figures, India has slipped by one spot to become the fourth-largest foreign investor into the UK. It lost its position as the third largest investor in the UK to France which set up 131 projects last year.
  • India shares the fourth spot with Australia and New Zealand, which also set up 127 projects collectively.
  • The US remains on the top, investing in 577 projects in the UK, with China (including Hong Kong) remaining in second place with 160 projects.
  • India set up 127 new projects in Britain last year and safeguarded 7,645 existing jobs as a result and created 3,999 new jobs in 2016-17.

Indian, Israeli defence firms join hands

  • On the sidelines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel, Indian and Israeli companies entered into agreements to bid jointly for defence contracts for the Indian military and locally build the systems under “Make in India '' intiative.
  • Bharat Forge and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) have signed an MoU to expand the joint venture as part of a February 2017 agreement meant to develop, build, market and manufacture selected air defence systems and light weight special purpose munitions.
  • The new MoU covers the establishment of a maintenance centre for selected advanced air defence systems in Hyderabad in Telangana in India.
  • Dynamatic Technologies, IAI and Elcom signed a strategic teaming agreement for industrial cooperation and local production of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in India.

IndiGo wants AI’s global operations only

  • India’s top low-cost airline IndiGo is only interested in taking over the international operations of national carrier Air India if the arrangement doesn’t involve the government holding on to any stake in the airline.
  • Its founder said that IndiGo will not bid for the national carrier even if the government holds only a minority stake. He said that acquiring Air India’s entire airline operations would be more challenging and complex.
  • The airline’s interest in acquiring a stake in Air India arose out of its plans to operate low-cost long-haul flights out of India and enables a rapid entry into restricted and closed international markets.
  • IndiGo founder: Rakesh Gangwal

Manpreet Kaur, Govindan Laxmanan win gold in Asian Athletics Championships

  • India’s Manpreet Kaur claimed the gold medal in the women’s shot put, while defending champion Vikas Gowda failed to retain his title in the men’s discus throw event on the opening day of the Asian Athletics Championships at the Kalinga Stadium.
  • While Govindan Laxmanan has won a gold medal in the men’s 5000 metres.

MRP to be sole price decider from Jan. 1

  • From January 1, 2018, the price of a packaged good would no longer depend on where it was bought— be it a local kirana store, a mall, a five-star hotel or an airport. The Consumer Affairs Ministry has amended the rules that govern packaged commodities.
  • As per the amended Legal Metrology rules for packaged commodities, which will come into effect from the next calendar year, the Centre has clarified that the retail sale price shall be the maximum retail price (MRP) inclusive of all taxes, with the provision to round off the price to the nearest rupee or 50 paise.
  • Further, to curb the possibility of any vendor charging differential prices for the same product, a new legal provision has been inserted that no person shall declare different MRPs on an identical pre-packed commodity.
  • The new norms also require sellers to enhance the size of letters and numerals for making declarations about the packaged goods, such as their best before date, month and year to indicate their shelf life, for making it easier for consumers to read vital information.
  • For e-commerce marketplaces, declaring the month and year in which a commodity is manufactured or packed is not mandatory and if they fulfill certain conditions, they will not be held liable for whether the declarations were correct or incorrect.

New services to ease GST compliance

  • The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) introduced two new services, for the registration of input service distributors, and for opting for the composition scheme. With a majority of taxpayers having successfully transitioned to GST, GSTN are now launching the two services to allow them to further integrate into the new regime.
  • These two services will ease and simplify the taxation process for a large number of taxpayers and will help significantly reduce compliance burden.
  • Chairman of the GSTN: Navin Kumar

No-detention policy to go from 2018

  • The Union government has decided to do away with the no-detention policy for students from the next academic session. The decision was taken following representation from most of the States as they said the standard of education had deteriorated because of the policy.
  • Under the Right to Education Act, 2009, no child admitted to a school will be held back in any class or expelled till the completion of elementary education covering classes 1 to 8.
  • There has been a unanimous decision of withdrawing the no-detention policy from the Right to Education Act 2009.

RBI: Bank customers won’t have to bear loss from fraudulent transactions

  • The Reserve Bank of India said that customers will not suffer any loss if unauthorized electronic banking transactions are reported to the bank within three days thus putting the onus of such transactions largely on the banks.
  • The amount involved will be credited in the accounts concerned within 10-days. In case the third party fraud is reported with a delay of four to seven working days, a customer will face liability of up to Rs 25,000.
  • In a notification titled 'Customer Protection Limiting Liability of Customers in Unauthorised Electronic Banking Transactions', the RBI stated in cases where the loss is due to negligence by the account holder such as sharing of payment credentials, the customer will bear the entire loss until the unauthorised transaction is reported to the bank.
  • Any loss occurring after reporting of the unauthorised transaction will be borne by the bank.

Renewable firms plan $2.5 bn in dollar bonds

  • Four Indian renewable power producers which include Azure Power Global Ltd, Continuum Energy, Greenko Group and IL&FS Energy are planning to raise up to $2.5 billion via dollar bonds offshore.
  • The fifth firm, Adani Group, has already raised $250 million via an offshore loan to invest in its solar power project in Karnataka.
  • Foreign borrowing was attractive for these players because state banks were reluctant to lend due to existing bad loans to the power sector, while domestic banks worried about falling tariffs for solar power.
  • Foreign investors have been attracted to the sector by India’s commitment to expand renewable power capacity, with plans to invest close to $150 billion to meet its 2022 targets.
  • India, a signatory to the Paris climate accord, has an ambitious plan to raise renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatts (GW) by 2022 from a current capacity of 57 GW.

Rights group says Pakistan among leading executioners

  • A human rights group said in its report Justice Project Pakistan, Pakistan has executed 464 prisoners since it lifted a moratorium on capital punishment after a Taliban attack on a school in late 2014. It now has the fifth highest rate of executions after China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Virat Kohli’s 28th ton powers India to series win

  • Indian Captain Virat Kohli made his 28th ODI ton as India beat West Indies by 8 wickets to take the five-match series 3-1. Dinesh Karthik remained unbeaten on 50.
  • Earlier Mohammed Shami had taken four for 48 as India restricted the hosts to 205 for nine in their allotted 50 overs

World Gold Council: GST may dampen gold demand

  • A hike in taxes on gold sales in India could pressure short-term demand from the world’s No.2 consumer of the metal, the World Gold Council (WGC) said in a report.
  • As part of a new nationwide sales tax regime that kicked in on July 1, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on gold has jumped to 3% from 1.2% previously.
  • The tax increase could curb gold purchases as it could encourage gold shoppers to buy smaller amounts of gold spread over more transactions; or it could push a large part of demand underground and encourage a black market in gold.
  • The WGC also said that the government move to ban cash transactions more than Rs. 2,00,000 ($3,090) from April 1 could hurt gold demand in rural areas where farmers often purchase the metal using cash. Two-thirds of gold demand comes from rural areas.
  • The WGC group kept its demand estimate for India at 650 to 750 tonnes for 2017, well below average annual demand of 846 tonnes in the past five years.