Current Affairs Daily Digest: February 28, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for February 28, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs

National Current Affairs

GST to be implemented from 1 July 2017: Government

Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das has announced that Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be implemented from 1st July 2017. It was announced during launch of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Economic Surveys India in New Delhi. Earlier the GST Council at its 10th meet headed by Union Finance Minister had cleared certain provisions of key supporting legislations. The Council will again take up model GST laws at its next meeting in March 2017 for a final clearance.

Government to draft policies on ethanol, methanol

The Union Government will soon come out with policies on second-generation ethanol as well as methanol. It was announced by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. These non-conventional fuel resources sector will create an industry worth Rs. 1 lakh crore and provide jobs to about 25 lakh youths. Besides, it will bring down crude import bill by Rs. 1 lakh crore. 2nd generation biofuel can be manufactured from various types of biomass. Whereas 1st generation biofuels are made only from sugars and vegetable oils.

States Current Affairs

Kerala Government constitutes Unified Command to check extremism

Kerala Government has constituted a Unified Command under Chief Minister Pinaryai Vijayan to contain the spread of left wing extremism (LWE) in the State. It will meet at least once in six months or as required. It was constituted as per suggestion given by the Union government. Its task is to effectively deal with LWE and to focus on the operation against its sympathisers. It will also serve as forum to review the development activities in the LWE affected areas in the State.

Meghalaya’s root bridge nominated for NIF award

Meghalaya’s famed root-bridge was nominated for the prestigious National Innovation Foundation (NIF) award for grassroots innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge. Living root bridges are community-driven innovation by forest dwellers especially Khasi and Jaintia peoples of the mountainous terrain along the southern part of the Shillong Plateau. These bridges are handmade from the aerial roots of Rubber Trees (Ficus elastica), that are made to grow through betel tree trunks which have been placed across rivers and streams until the roots attach themselves to the other side. The growing bridge is stabilized using sticks, stones, and other objects. This process can take up to 15 years to complete.

International Current Affairs

Queen Elizabeth II hosts reception to launch UK-India Year of Culture

United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II hosted a reception to launch the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 at the Buckingham Palace. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley represented Indian government at the historic event. It showcased the cultural diversity of India in the form of dance. The UK-India Year of Culture was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in November 2015. It aimed at celebrating the deep cultural ties and the 70th year of Independence.

Iran tests missiles in naval exercises

Iran’s Navy has test fired the latest versions of the Dehlaviyeh and Nasir missiles during military exercises (Velayat 95 naval manoeuvres) in the Persian Gulf. The ranges of the latest versions of the missiles were not disclosed but they had hit its target.  Dehlaviyeh is a laser-guided missile.

Banking, Economy & Business

OECD projects 7% GDP growth for current and next two fiscals

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has put India’s GDP growth at 7% for the current fiscal, 7.3% for the next and 7.7% for 2018-19. It also held that demonetisation may have impacted short term growth but the long term effects would include important gains going forward. It suggested that India should bring down corporate tax rate from 30% to 25%. It also mentioned that comprehensive tax reforms, especially the GST will raise revenue of all stake holders. It held that there is need for comprehensive reform of property, personal income and corporate taxes to complement the GST reform. OECD is a global policy think-tank (forum) that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

Paytm e-commerce unveils Paytm Mall

Paytm e-commerce has launched Paytm Mall, a mobile app and online shopping portal. It is new avatar of Paytm’s three year-old e-commerce business. It aims to offer a combination of Mall and Bazaar concepts to Indian consumers on online platform. Paytm will use the experience and expertise of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Thus, Paytm Mall marks the formal entry of Alibaba into the e-commerce sector in the country.

Persons in News

Gopal Baglay appointed as new spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry

The Union Ministry of External Affairs has appointed Joint secretary Gopal Baglay as the spokesperson. He is joint Secretary in the Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran (PAI) division of the Ministry. He had joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1992. He has represented India as it’s envoy in embassies abroad, including Moscow, Kiev and also at High Commission in London.

Sports Current Affairs

Dominic Thiem wins 2017 Rio Open

Austrian professional tennis player Dominic Thiem won the 2017 Rio Open in men’s singles category. In the final, he defeated Spain;s Pablo Carreno Busta by 7-5, 6-4 score. It was his eighth ATP singles title and his sixth on clay.

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