Daily Current Affairs - 27th Dec 2017

Canara Bank to raise up to Rs. 3,500 crore

  • Canara Bank said it would raise up to Rs. 3,500 crore capital through the qualified institutional placement (QIP) route. The board of the bank has decided to raise additional equity share capital up to Rs. 90 crore through qualified institutional placement route, by issuing up to 9 crore equity shares of a face value of Rs. 10 each with a premium to be decided as per the applicable guidelines/regulations for an aggregate amount not exceeding Rs. 3,500 crore,

China building Bangladesh's first eco-friendly thermal plant

  • A Chinese consortium has been constructing Bangladesh's first eco-friendly power plant with ultra modern clean coal technology at Payra some 204 km south of capital Dhaka. The 1320 MW Thermal Power Plant Project (1st phase will be eco-friendly with clean coal technology and have two units which are expected to be commissioned in April and October, 2019 respectively. The project will cost an estimated 1.56 billion U S. dollars.
  • In March last year, Bangladesh signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with the consortium of two Chinese firms for the installation of some 1.56 billion U.S. dollars coal-fired power plant.

China moots Afghan entry into CPEC

  • China is suggesting the possible inclusion of Afghanistan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a move that is likely to irk India. India has opposed CPEC, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), on the grounds that it infringes on its sovereignty.
  • China has called CPEC a flagship project of its Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at building connectivity along the Eurasian corridor.

China promises information on Tibet lakes

  • China will maintain communication with India on efforts to manage the massive lakes formed by landslips on the Brahmaputra in Tibet following an earthquake last month. The formation of these lakes had triggered fears of a sudden flooding on the Indian side. The Chinese side, through the existing channels, will maintain communication with the Indian side on the cross-border rivers.
  • Reports say three huge artificial lakes, whose size and the volume of water impounded are yet to be ascertained, were formed in the Brahmaputra due to landslips after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Tibet.
  • The massive accumulation of water has caused concerns that if the lakes merge or overflow, millions of people downstream along the banks of both the Siang (in Arunachal Pradesh) and the Brahmaputra (in Assam) would be affected.

DGCA allows commercial flight nod to made-in-India plane

  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)-manufactured Dornier 228 to be used for civilian flights. The DGCA has given type certification to HAL's Dornier 228 aircraft, besides giving it the certificate of airworthiness.
  • With a maximum cruise speed of 428 kmph, the non-pressurised plane has a range of 700 km and is also capable of night flying.
  • Now, HAL can sell this plane to airlines in India and it can be used for regional flights under the Modi's government's ambitious UDAN scheme. HAL may also look at selling this plane for civil use in neighbouring countries such as Nepal and Sri Lanka.

DIPP nod for 2 retail FDI proposals

  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has given nod to two foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals, including that of Damro Furniture worth more than Rs. 400 crore.
  • Damro Furniture would undertake single brand retail trading of ‘Damro’ branded products in India.
  • FDI inflow into the country grew 17% to $25.35 billion during April-September this fiscal.

Finance Ministry to issue recapitalisation bonds to PSBs in January

  • The Ministry of Finance is likely to issue the first tranche of recapitalization bonds to public sector banks (PSB) in early January. The recapitalisation bonds will not be sold in open market and will be issued to all banks.
  • Apart from this, the government will also infuse capital worth Rs 8,000 crore on the basis of performance.
  • The government plans to infuse capital of Rs 76,000 crore by giving it space in budgetary allocation and through markets, and the rest Rs 1.35 lakh crore by issuing recapitalisation bonds.

Government to roll out Condonation of delay scheme

  • The Condonation of Delay Scheme, which would be rolled out by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, is expected to come as a relief for disqualified directors. According to this scheme only bona fide directors will benefit from the proposed scheme that will provide a three-month window for defaulting companies to submit their filings. It is to be operational from January 1 to March 31, 2018.
  • The scheme is not open for directors of struck-off companies. They can come only when they [those companies are restored through the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
  • After submitting the filings under the scheme, a company concerned would have to file a separate form seeking condonation of the delay along with a fee of Rs.30,000
  • As part of clamping down on illicit fund flows, the corporate affairs ministry has disqualified more than 3.09 lakh directors of companies which failed to submit annual filings for a long time.

GST collection goes down again

  • According official data released, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection in November fell further to Rs. 80,808 crore from Rs. 83,346 crore in October. The dip in collection for November is on expected lines, as the rates of over 175 items were reduced from November 15 and refunds to exporters started recently.
  • The government collected as much as Rs. 92,283 crore in July, Rs. 90,669 crore in August, and Rs. 92,150 crore in September.
  • 99.01 lakh taxpayers have been registered under the GST till December 25, of which 16.60 lakh are composition dealers who are required to file returns every quarter. A total of 53.06 lakh returns have been filed for November till December 25.
  • The government has suspended GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 owing to the difficulties in invoice-matching and the date for GSTR-1 has been extended several times.

IAS officers to reveal assets by January 31

  • The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said that all IAS officers have been asked to submit details of their assets by next month, failing which they will be denied vigilance clearances needed for promotions and foreign postings.
  • The department has written to all Central government departments, States and Union Territories asking them to ensure submission of immoveable property returns (IPRs) by IAS officers by January 31.
  • There are 5,004 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers working across the country, according to DoPT.

India will become world’s fifth-largest economy in 2018

  • According to UK-based economics consultancy, India will overtake the United Kingdom and France in 2018 to become the world’s fifth-largest economy in terms of the US dollar. Currently ranked seventh, India will move up to fifth place in 2018 and vault to third spot by 2032.
  • It also stated that the Asian economies will dominate the list of the top ten largest economies over the next 15 years. Cheap energy and technology prices will boost the global economy in 2018.
  • China is likely to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2032, the report said. While Britain would lag behind France over the next two years, it will again overtake France in 2020.
  • Russia on the other hand, will fall to 17th place among the world’s largest economies by 2032, from 11th place this year. This is because of low oil prices and the country’s excessive reliance on the energy sector.

India’s first pod taxi on the way, to follow U.S. safety norms

  • The much-awaited India’s first pod taxi project has moved a step closer to reality after a high-level panel recommended inviting fresh bids for the same conforming to the strictest safety standards on the lines of those prescribed by an American body.The projected Rs. 4,000-crore pod taxi scheme also known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is a dream project of Road Transport and Highways.
  • The NHAI has been mandated to execute it on Delhi-Gurgaon pilot corridor (12.3 km) from Delhi-Haryana border to Rajiv Chowk in Gurgaon on a PPP (public-private partnership) basis.
  • The ambitious project has been plagued by delays as government think-tank Niti Aayog raised some red flags, asking the highways ministry to direct initial bidders to prepare a 1-km pilot stretch as all the technologies were unproven.
  • PRT is an advanced public transport using automated electric pod cars to provide a taxi-like demand responsive feeder and shuttle services for small groups of travellers and is a green mode of uninterrupted journey.

Narendra Modi government draws up tailor-made action plan for the backward districts

  • The Narendra Modi government has drawn up tailor-made action plans for 115 identified most-backward districts in the country to improve their socio-economic profiles by making available basic services like health-care, sanitation and education as well as basic physical infrastructure like roads and drinking water supply in a time-bound manner.
  • The 115 districts that have been identified include 35 affected by left-wing extremism. These districts were selected on parameters like deprivation (extent of landless households), education (elementary dropout rate and adverse pupil-teacher ratio), health & nutrition (institutional delivery, stunting and wasting in children) and infrastructure (un-electrified homes, lack of toilets, road connectivity and lack of drinking water).
  • Respective District Collectors will be the chief executors of the action programmes in these districts.

NZ bowlers lead series sweep

  • New Zealand completed a clean sweep of the West Indies in its One-Day International series with a commanding 66-run victory in a rain-affected third and final match. With the match reduced to 23-overs-a-side, the West Indies was set a revised target of 166 in reply to New Zealand’s 131.
  • West Indies was able to score 99 for nine in 23 overs. It also lost the Test series 2-0.

Only 1.7% Indians paid income tax in AY 2015-16: IT Department

  • According to data released by the I-T department, just over 2 crore Indians or 1.7 per cent of the total population, paid income tax in the assessment year(AY) 2015-16. The number of income-tax return filers increased to 4.07 crore in the assessment year 2015-16 (FY 2014-2015) from 3.65 crores in the previous year but only 2.06 crore actually paid tax as the others claimed income below taxable limits.
  • In the previous AY 2014-15, 1.91 crores, out of 3.65 crores who filed returns, had paid income tax.
  • But the total income tax paid by individuals declined to Rs 1.88 lakh crore in AY 2015-16 from Rs 1.91 lakh crore in AY 2014-15.
  • Just over 3 per cent of the 120 crore population filed returns. Of these, 2.01 crore paid nil income tax, 9,690 paid tax of over Rs 1 crore.
  • Of the 4.07 crore tax returns field in AY 2015-16, close to 82 lakh showed zero or income less than Rs 2.5 lakh.
  • The combined income of all individual tax filers rose to Rs 21.27 lakh crore in AY 2015-16 from Rs 18.41.

Panel seeks more powers for SEZ board

  • A committee constituted by the Department of Commerce to make recommendations for aligning the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Rules with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) laws as well as for removal of various difficulties faced has suggested that the inter-ministerial Board of Approval (BoA) be accorded powers to grant exemption, relaxation or relief to units and developers from certain rules to promote these zones.
  • The Board of Approval (BoA) is the highest decision-making body on SEZs.

Saudi Arabia hosts world chess games

  • Saudi Arabia is hosting a world chess tournament for the first time nearly two years after the country’s top cleric issued a religious edict against playing the board game.
  • The tournament, called the King Salman World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships includes around 240 players both men and women from 70 countries. There are 16 players from Saudi Arabia.
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for greater social openings, including lifting a ban on women driving that goes into effect next year, allowing concerts and movies, and easing rules on gender segregation.
  • The world’s top three chess players from Norway, Armenia and Azerbaijan are participating in the tournament. There is also a women’s chess tournament taking place alongside the open championship.