Daily Current Affairs - 08th Jul 2017

Anti-Qatar bloc threatens further steps against Gulf state

  • The four Arab countries isolating Qatar are vowing to take additional steps against the energy rich Gulf state after it refused to accept their demands over allegations that it supports extremist ideology.
  • Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain said in a statement on the Emirati state news agency WAM that they will “take all necessary political, economic and legal measures” against Qatar in a “timely manner.” They did not specify what those steps could include.
  • The four countries cut diplomatic ties and severed air, land and sea links with World Cup 2022 host Qatar early last month.

Direct tax mop-up rises 14.8% in April-June

  • The Centre’s net direct tax collections grew 14.8 per cent in April-June 2017 at Rs. 1.42 lakh crore. This collection level represents 14.5 per cent of the total budget estimate of direct taxes for 2017-18 (Rs. 9.8 lakh crore).
  • Net corporate income tax (CIT) collection grew 22.4 per cent, while personal income tax recorded 8.5 per cent for the quarter under review.
  • The Centre has up to June 30 this fiscal received an advance tax of Rs. 58,783 crore, reflecting a growth of 11.9 per cent over the advance tax received in the same period last year.

IDFC, Shriram groups in talks to combine businesses in mega union

  • IDFC and Shriram groups are in talks to combine all or some of their businesses in a mega union that could straddle traditional banking, consumer lending and truck financing, apart from providing billionaire Ajay Piramal an entry into a highly regulated industry.
  • Once the merger of Shriram Capital with IDFC Bank is completed, the two Shriram group companies could then combine with IDFC Bank to form a financial services giant.
  • Such an entity could have a combined market cap of Rs 62,000 crore and would be counted among the country’s top financial services firms.

Indian men’s 4x100m relay team disqualified for crossing lane

  • The Indian men’s 4x100 relay team was disqualified after one member of the quartet crossed his lane during the exchange of baton in the final leg at the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar.
  • The Indian team of John Anoorup, V.K. Elakkiya Dasan, J. Debnath and Amiya Kumar Mallick finished the race ahead of Korea in a photo finish but was later disqualified

Kohli surpasses Tendulkar for most centuries while chasing

  • India skipper Virat Kohli has broken Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most centuries in One-day Internationals while chasing.
  • Tendulkar took 232 innings to reach 17, while Kohli has reached the milestone in only 102 innings.
  • Kohli also became the first Indian captain to score two hundreds against the West Indies in the Caribbean.

Mars soil may be toxic to alien life: study

  • The surface of Mars contains a toxic cocktail of chemicals that can wipe out living organisms, according to a study that has dealt a blow to the hopes of finding alien life on the red planet.
  • Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK investigated the behaviour of chemical compounds, called perchlorates, which are found on the surface of Mars.
  • They found that, when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light in environmental conditions mimicking those on Mars, the chemicals can kill bacteria commonly carried by spacecraft.

Ministry of Railways reforms recruitment process through induction of digital technology

  • Ministry of Railways reformed its recruitment process through induction of digital technology in a big way. This has brought transparency & efficiency.
  • Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) have conducted the world’s largest computer based test for about 92 lakh candidates. This examination was conducted in 351 cities across India, including remote areas like North East, Kashmir Valley, Lakshadweep & Andaman Islands.

National ST Commission to take action on video films of Jaravas on YouTube

  • Taking suo-moto cognizance of objectionable video films and pictures of protected Jarava and other tribal communities of Andaman Islands on YouTube social media platform, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribe (NCST) has initiated action on it.
  • As per provisions of Andaman and Nicobar Island (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 (PAT) dated 18.6.1956, the Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Sentinelese, Nicobarese and Shom Pens have been identified as “aboriginal tribes”. The PAT contains the provisions of protection of these communities from the outside interference.

Navies of India, US and Japan to participate in Malabar exercise

  • Naval ships, aircrafts and personnel from India, Japan and the United States will participate in the 10-day long Malabar exercise beginning July 7.
  • The exercise will feature both ashore and at-sea training. Malabar 2017 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises that has grown in scope and complexity over the years to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Asia Pacific.
  • The exercise is one of the biggest exercises conducted in the Indian Ocean Region.

President gives nod to order on GST in J&K

  • President Pranab Mukherjee gave nod to an order pertaining to implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Jammu and Kashmir Assembly had passed a resolution in this regard after which the state cabinet under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti cleared a draft order for concurrence of the President.
  • The presidential order relates to the application of certain provisions of the Constitution of India through an order of the President issued under Article 370 that gives special status to the state.
  • This was the first time in the history of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly that a resolution, seeking a presidential order on a constitutional amendment, was discussed and passed.

RBI allows large NBFCs to offer NPS

  • The Reserve Bank of India has allowed systematically important non-banking finance companies to offer the new pension scheme (NPS).
  • NBFCs with asset size of Rs 500 crore and above, that have made a net profit in the preceding financial year be permitted to offer NPS after registration with the pension regulator.
  • Eligible NBFCs extending such services shall ensure that NPS subscription collected by them from the public is deposited on the day of collection with the trustee bank, the RBI said.

SBI Life gets Irda nod for IPO

  • SBI Life gets Irda approval for initial public offering and will become the second life insurer to be listed on bourses.
  • SBI Life could be country’s biggest insurance listing by value and size of the issue after parent SBI and its foreign partner Cardif said they are selling 12% through an IPO in the next few months.

Scheme for IPR Awareness – Creative India; Innovative India

  • Taking forward the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy 2016, a ‘Scheme for IPR Awareness – Creative India; Innovative India’ has been launched by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the aegis of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
  • The Scheme aims at raising IPR awareness amongst students, youth, authors, artists, budding inventors and professionals to inspire them to create, innovate and protect their creations and inventions across India including Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 cities as well as rural areas in the next 3 years.

Supreme Court seeks response of Election Commission on possibility of using EVMs with VVPATs in Gujarat assembly elections this year

  • The Supreme Court has sought the response of the Election Commission on the possibility of using electronic voting machines, EVMs, with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail, VVPATs, in the Gujarat assembly election this year. A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud yesterday directed the election commission to file an affidavit in four weeks detailing the number of VVPAT machines and the possibility of its use in upcoming elections. The bench said, it may direct the poll panel to use VVPATs with EVMs.
  • The apex court was hearing a plea filed by a Gujarat community leader, seeking the use of either ballot paper or EVMs with VVPAT for the assembly election in the state.

Tokio Marine raises stake in IFFCO-Tokio to 49%

  • Japan-based Tokio Marine raised its stake in general insurance company IFFCO-Tokio from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.
  • IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance is a joint venture between Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) and its associates and Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Group, Japan.
  • The deal values the company at Rs.11,000 crore and Tokio Marine paid Rs.2,530 crore for 23 per cent stake.

UN Security Council Sanctions Splinter Group Of Pakistani Taliban

  • The United Nations Security Council has sanctioned a splinter group of the Pakistan Taliban, subjecting it to assets freeze and an arms embargo. The Security Council's Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee added Jamaat-Ul-Ahrar (JuA) to the ISIS and Al Qaeda sanctions list.
  • According to information on the UN website, Jamaat-Ul-Ahrar is the splinter group of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and is associated with ISIS.
  • Formed in August 2014 in Pakistan, the group operates from Nangarhar Province and Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.