Daily Current Affairs - 19th Aug 2017

Call drops: Telcos may be fined up to Rs. 10 lakh

  • Telecom operators may face a maximum penalty of Rs 10 lakh for call drops which will now be measured at mobile tower level instead of telecom circle, as per the new quality of service rules issued by regulator TRAI.
  • The new rules will come into effect from October 1.
  • Under the previous quality of service rules, penalty on call drop was Rs 1 lakh per violation and could go up to Rs 2 lakh in case of third subsequent violation.

CBDT denies data inconsistency over new taxpayers after note ban

  • With doubts over official data on the number of taxpayers added post demonetisation, the Finance Ministry issued a long explanation stressing that there is no inconsistency in the statistics and said that 56 lakh additional Income tax returns were received in 2017.
  • In contrast, the growth in the number of taxpayers in the Economic Survey is based on the number of new taxpayers assuming the previous year’s growth rate as the reference growth rate.

FM asks states to cut VAT on petro products

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has written to all Chief Ministers urging them to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products used in the manufacture of goods as the current system was leading to cascading of taxes on such goods under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
  • Currently, crude oil, natural gas, petrol, diesel and aviation turbine fuel are out of GST purview. All other petroleum products fall under the new indirect tax.

Govt threatens Philip Morris with ‘punitive action’ over alleged violations

  • The Indian government has threatened Philip Morris International Inc. with “punitive action” over the tobacco giant’s alleged violation of the country’s anti-smoking laws.
  • Philip Morris’ marketing methods, included cigarette advertisements at kiosks, the free distribution of Marlboro smokes at nightclubs and bars, and the use of TV screens to promote the world’s best-selling cigarette brand at these events.
  • These promotional activities are a violation of the country’s tobacco control law and are subject to punishment under the act.

HDFC Life files draft prospectus

  • HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company (HDFC Life) has filed its draft red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for an initial public offering (IPO).
  • The firm may offer 29.98 crore equity shares constituting 14.97% of the fully diluted post-offer paid-up equity capital.
  • HDFC Life revived the IPO plan after its proposed merger with Max Life failed due to regulatory hurdles.

India needs to grow at 9-10 per cent to lift millions out of poverty

  • Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, India needs to grow at 9-10 per cent per annum for the next three decades for lifting millions of people out of poverty.
  • Kant further said there is a need to make India an easy place to do business. He also said India needs to become more integral part of global economy.

India's forex reserves increases by 163.8 m US Dollars

  • India's foreign exchange reserves have increased by 163.8 million US Dollars to touch a new lifetime high of 393.612 billion dollars in the week ended 11th August 2017.
  • An RBI release said foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves rose by 175.6 million Dollars to 369.899 billion dollars.
  • In the previous week, the reserves had increased by 581.1 million dollars to 393.448 billion dollars. Gold reserves remained unchanged at 19.943 billion dollars.

Indian stars shine in '40 Under 40'

  • Five Indian-origin persons have featured on Fortune’s annual list of 40 young and influential people in the field of business inspiring others with their work.
  • Fortune's 2017 ‘40 Under 40’ list is an annual ranking of the most influential young people who are under 40 in business, whom the magazine termed as “disruptors, innovators, rebels and artists” inspiring others. The list has been topped by 39-year-old French President Emmanuel Macron.
  • The India-origin persons who made it to the list are: Leo Varadkar, Divya Nag, Rishi Shah, Shradha Agarwal, Leila Janah.

Israel freezes disputed settlement law

  • Israel’s Supreme Court froze implementation of a law legalising Jewish settlements built on private Palestinian land, which the UN labelled a thick red line.
  • The decision was condemned by rightwing Israeli politicians who accused the judiciary of overruling the will of Israel's parliament.
  • The decision was in response to a petition brought by 17 Palestinian local councils on whose land the settlements are built. Israeli and Palestinian rights groups were also parties to the petition.

Power Grid, ADB ink $500 mn loan pact

  • Power Grid has entered into a loan agreement with ADB, for an amount of $500 million.
  • According to the statement, the proceeds of the loan are proposed to be utilised for funding of Green Energy Corridor (Part D) and other projects.

RBI to shortly issue new Rs 50 currency note

  • RBI will shortly issue new banknotes of Rs 50 denomination in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series.
  • A RBI press release has informed that the base colour of the new notes will be fluorescent blue and its dimension will be 66 mm x 135 mm.
  • RBI has clarified that all banknotes in 50 rupee denomination issued in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender.

Rohan Bopanna, Sania Mizra crash out from Cincinnati Masters

  • Indian challenge in the Cincinnati Masters has ended with Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mizra crashing out from the tournament in their respective doubles categories.
  • Bopanna with his Croatian partner Ivan Dodig lost the quarterfinal to the wimbledon winner duo Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot, 6-1,7-6, 10-7 in the men's doubles.
  • Sania Mirza with her Chinese partner Shuai Peng lost to Taiwanese Romanian pair of Su-Wei Hsieh and Monica Niculescu 6-4,7-6.

SBI collects Rs235 crore in minimum balance fine in 1st quarter

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has realised Rs235.06 crore as penalty from 388.74 lakh accounts for not maintaining monthly average balance in the first quarter of the current fiscal.
  • However, the country’s top bank has not revealed the categories of accounts on which the fine has been levied for non-compliance with its minimum balance requirements.

Tamil to head Sri Lanka Navy, first since 1970

  • Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena appointed an officer from the island’s Tamil minority to head the Navy for the first time since a separatist war erupted 45 years ago.
  • Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah is the first Tamil to head a wing of the military since 1970, even though Tamils make up around 15% of Sri Lanka’s population.

Virat Kohli continues to top ICC ODI rankings for batsmen

  • India captain Virat Kohli continued to be the world's top-ranked One-day batsman in the latest ICC ODI rankings.
  • Other Indian batsmen in the top-15 are former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni 12th, Shikhar Dhawan 13th and vice-captain Rohit Sharma 14th.