Current Affairs August 2013
Rupee decline to make cars, consumer durables costly
With rupee continuously loosing against dollar, cars, TVs, washing machines and other consumer durables are likely to cost more with companies set to increase prices to offset impact on their margins. Car-maker General Motors India, Godrej Appliances and Haier indicated that they would increase prices of their products by 2% to 7%.
Rupee tumbles to new low of 68.85
The rupee fell to an all-time low of 68.85 against the dollar and closed at 68.80, recording its biggest single-day loss of 256 paise, as global oil prices soared, aggravating concerns about the Current Account Deficit (CAD) and capital outflows. The rupee is under pressure due to consistent dollar demand from banks and importers, mainly oil refiners, following higher crude oil prices.
NASA uses Chandrayan’s data to detect water on Moon
Scientists from the US space agency NASA have detected magmatic water under the Moon’s surface. They used the data collected by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, to remotely detect magmatic water, or water that originates from deep within the Moon’s interior, on the lunar surface.
Stage set to launch India’s first defence satellite
India’s first defence satellite GSAT-7 dedicated to Navy for maritime security is now set for the launch. The home-built satellite will be crucial as it will overcome Navy’s previous limitations from line of sight and ionospheric effects and will have coverage over India landmass as well as surrounding seas. It will be significant from security and surveillance points of view. The satellite will be launched into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by Ariane-5 VA 215 by European space consortium Arianespacefrom Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.
India engages with US for quick renewal of GSP
India is in talks with the U.S. for speedy renewal of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, which had expired on July 31 2013, to enable duty-free imports from the country. Though the US has indicated that it was for renewal of GSP programme till September 2015 but India administration is perturbed over the delay which hampers India’s exports to US. Due to pending GSP regime Indian exports are subject to U.S. import duties.
India overtakes Japan to become world’s 3rd largest Internet user
As per a report by global digital measurement and analytics firm comScore, India has left Japan behind to become the world’s third largest Internet user after China and the United States. The report says that India now has nearly 74 million Internet users which marks a 31% increase over March 2012. With 3/4th of India’s online population under 35, the report shows, it is significantly younger than those of other emerging economies.
Government constitutes task force for currency swap arrangement
Feeling the heat of the continued fall in the value of rupee and soaring CAD, the Commerce and Industry Ministry has set up a task force which has representatives from the Ministry, Department of Economic Affairs, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), SBI, industry bodies FICCI, CII and Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) to plan currency swap arrangements with key trading partners of India.
Titan to venture into helmets, perfumes markets
Titan has planned enter into helmet and fragrance market by 2014. It projected a strategy to market superior quality eco-friendly helmets which will be suitable in tropical conditions. Titan which is a joint venture of Tata Group and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) is India’s renowned watch, jewellery and eyewear maker.
India considers Iran for its oil import to slash import bill, CAD
With rupee declining to record lows impacting the import bill and CAD severely, the Oil Ministry has formulated a plan to save $22 billion in the oil import bill from Iran thus helping slash the Current Account Deficit (CAD). Due to sanctions on Iran, India has not been buying crude petroleum from the country for past few months. The step, if taken, would significantly save Indian foreign as India paysIran in rupees. Looking at the current depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, India is negotiating with Iraq the possibility of trade in local currencies, which would help insulate India’s oil imports from Iraq also.
Complaint against SBI for shaming students to be looked upon by the RBI
India’s largest public sector bank SBI is in bad light as complaint was made against the bank for shaming the students and their parents for defaulting on their education loan. The complaint which alleged that the Bodinayakanur branch of SBI in Theni district in Tamil Nadu displayed photos of students and their parents for defaulting on their educational loans is being looked into by the RBI.
Instant Noodles a solution to Global Hunger:
As per a latest study by Deborah Gewertz, Professor of Anthropology at Amherst College in US, instant noodles can play a significant role in combating the challenge of global hunger which is aggravating with the increasing population.
The study examines the history, manufacturing, marketing and consumption of the ubiquitous foodstuff and suggests that instant noodles will have an increasingly important global role in the future.
As per the study, instant noodles are served in variable forms and have already shown a remarkable potential to be a part of diverse lives. Researchers expect that the calories provided by the tasty, convenient, cheap, shelf-stable, industrially prepared instant noodles will remain important as food becomes scarcer in the future.
What is the origin of Instant Noodles?
- Instant noodles were invented by Taiwan-born inventor Momofuku Ando in Japan.
- They were first marketed on August 25, 1958, by Ando’s company Nissin under the brand name Chikin Ramen.
In India the most popular brand is Nestle’s Maggi which is regarded in popular culture as a two-minute noodle.
Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech launched world’s first clinically proven typhoid conjugate vaccine, Typbar – TCV.
How Typbar-TCY is different from existing vaccines?
- Typbar-TCV has a sharp edge over the existing typhoid vaccines as the latest conjugate vaccine provides long-term protection — for about 10 years — with a single dose.
World over around 200 lakh people are affected annually by typhoid, out of which around 2 lakh die. About 62% of these were in Pakistan and India.
The government has set up a 7-member Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) which will be headed by Parthasarathi Shome.
What will be major tasks before Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC) ?
The TARC will revisit tax laws and suggest measures for putting in place a stable and non-adversarial tax administration. Some other key taskswill be:
- Review the current mechanism of dispute resolution covering time and compliance cost and recommend steps for strengthening them for both domestic and international taxation.
- Reviewing the existing mechanism and recommend measures for deepening and widening the base of tax and taxpayers.
- Suggest a system to enforce better tax compliance — by size, segment and nature of taxes and taxpayers, that should cover methods to encourage voluntary tax compliance.
- Suggest measures for strengthening the database and inter-agency information sharing, not just between the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) but also with the banking and financial sector and other agencies such as Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and Enforcement Directorate to ensure improved tax compliance through sharing of such information.