Current Affairs Daily Digest: January 6, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for January 6, 2017 with important tid-bits on current

National Current Affairs

Island Tourism Festival 2017 begins in Andaman and Nicobar

The Island Tourism Festival 2017 began at Port Blair, capital of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. It was inaugurated by Lt. Governor Jagdish Mukhi at ITF Ground. The 10 day mega event will see performances by the cultural troupes from mainland India to help the Islanders renew their cultural ties with mainland. The cultural troupes from mainland as well as the Isles will also perform in outer Islands apart from South Andaman. An International Cultural Group from Khazkhistan will also perform in this event. The other attractions of this event will be the food courts, fun games and handicrafts etc.

Revenue department extends single-window customs clearance for exporters

The Revenue Department under the Union Finance Ministry has extended SWIFT (single window interface for facilitation of trade), a single window customs clearance facility for export consignments. A pilot project for exporters has been started at Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai air cargo complexes with a view to bringing down transaction cost. Earlier this facility was successfully implemented for imports. SWIFT provides importers and exporters a single point interface for Customs clearance of shipments thereby reducing interface with government agencies and cost of doing business.

Government to roll out Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme

The Union Government will soon roll out Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) to boost export infrastructure by tying up with States. The export infrastructure scheme will help states to develop their own export strategy in alignment with the National Foreign Trade Policy. It will provide financial support and supplement the efforts of States to create export infrastructure. It will also enhance states co-operation with Central agencies to set up common facilities for testing, certification, trace-back, packaging and labelling. The Union Government also has decided launch Logistics Performance Index (LPI) to rank states on steps taken to facilitate trade and improve logistics.

Government approves drought relief assistance of Rs 1782.44 crore for Karnataka

The Union Government has approved an assistance of over Rs. 1782.44 crore rupees for Karnataka as drought relief. The state will get this sum from the National Disaster Relief Fund. The financial assistance was approved by High Level Committee chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The Committee had examined the proposal for providing relief based on the reports of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team which had visited the state.

Government issues notification of Indian Skill Development Service

The Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has issued the notification of setting up of Indian Skill Development Services (ISDS). This service has been created for the Training Directorate of the MSDE. It will be a Group ‘A’ service and induction to it will take place through Indian Engineering Service Examination (IES) conducted by UPSC. It will have 263 all India posts. The academy for training of the cadre of this service will be National Institute of Skill Development.

CBDT inks three more APAs pertaining to Engineering Goods and Shipping sectors

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed into three unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) pertaining to the Engineering Goods and Shipping sectors of the economy. The international transactions covered in these agreements include Support Services and Intra-group Services. With this, the total number of APAs signed by CBDT has reached 120 which include 113 Unilateral APAs and 7 bilateral APAs. An APA is usually signed between taxpayer and central tax authority of the country (in case of India CTDT) for appropriating transfer pricing methodology to determine the value of assets and taxes on intra-group overseas transactions.

Japan to assist in making Chennai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi Smart Cities

Japan has decided to assist India with the development of Chennai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi as smart cities. So far, leading countries have come forward to be associated with development of 15 smart cities. These include: United Kingdom-Pune, Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) and Indore, United States– Visakhapatnam, Ajmer and Allahabad, France- Chandigarh, Puducherry and Nagpur and Germany –Bhubaneswar, Coimbattore and  Kochi.

Science and Technology Current Affairs

Dell unveils world’s first wireless charging laptop

American tech giant Dell has unveiled ‘Latitude 7285’, the world’s first laptop that charges wirelessly. It is convertible laptop with detachable tablet. It is embedded with wireless receiving coil based on magnetic resonance technology developed by wireless charging company WiTricity. Unlike other current wireless charging standards (like Qi) which require accurate placement of charging coils on top of another, the WiTricity technology generates a very safe magnetic field that transmits the electricity wirelessly near the range of receivable device.

NASA announces two missions Lucy and Psyche to explore early Solar System

NASA has announced two missions, Lucy and Psyche to explore the early Solar System. They were chosen out of 27 submissions. These missions will help scientists understand how planets and other bodies separated into their layers, including cores, mantles and crusts, early in their histories. The Lucy mission: It has been named for a famous, critical hominin fossil set found in Ethiopia in 1974. It will be launched in 2021 and involves sending a robotic spacecraft to study Jupiter’s so-called Trojan asteroids. These asteroids are thought to be relics of a much earlier era in the history of the solar system. Psyche mission: It aims to explore a huge, one-of-a-kind metal asteroid 16 Psyche. It will be launched in 2023. Most asteroids are rocky or icy but 16 Psyche is thought to be mostly of iron and nickel, like Earth’s core.

Israel building world’s tallest solar tower to harness solar energy

Israel is building world’s tallest solar tower to harness solar energy as part of its ambitious Ashalim project, located deep in the Negev desert. The centrepiece of the Ashalim solar tower will be 250 m tall and will be encircled by 50,000 mirrors, known as heliostats. Solar towers use different method conventional photovoltaic solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity. Instead, the solar towers use a solar-thermal method in which thousands of mirrors focus the sun’s rays onto the tower, heating a boiler that creates steam to spin a turbine and generate electricity. The Ashalim project is made up of three fields each with a different solar technology. Together, these solar fields will be Israel’s largest renewable energy project after completion by 2018. They will generate some 310 MW of power i.e. about 1.6% of the Israel’s energy needs enough for about 130,000 households, or roughly 5% of Israel’s population.

International Conference on Yoga for Diabetes held in New Delhi

The three day International Conference on “Yoga for Diabetes” was held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Union Minister of State (MoS) for AYUSH (Independent Charge) Shripad Yesso Naik. The conference aimed to generate discussions on role of Yoga in the prevention and management of Diabetes and draw a roadmap for the control of Diabetes through Yoga. Approximately 400 delegates and 50 experts from India and abroad had to participate in the Conference.  Due to modern lifestyle Diabetes is spreading at a very fast pace in India, particularly in urban population. Now it is not restricted only to the older population as younger generation is also becoming prone to this lifestyle disease.

Bird Flu reported in Ahmedabad

The Gujarat Government has declared the one kilometer area near Hathijan village in Ahmedabad district as H5N1 bird flu hit. This was announced after the positive medical report of some dead birds found infected with the Avian Influenza (H5N1) in this area. Following this, the district administration has banned transportation of eggs, dead birds, discharge of birds, farm machinery, equipment or any other infected thing to and from this area.

Bird Flue: It is found mainly in birds. It spreads through Avian Influenza (H5N1) virus and spread speedily. Birds infected with it show breathing related problems and reddish eyes as symptoms. Humans coming into contact with H5N1 bird flu infected birds can catch infection.

Banking, Business & Economy Current Affairs

SEBI relaxes angel fund rules to boost start-ups

The markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has amended SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 to relax its rules for investment by angel funds in order to give fillip to start-up funding. The new rules allow angel investors to invest in up to five-year-old entities. Besides, it has reduced the lock-in requirement from current three years to one year. The minimum investment threshold of angel funds also has been slashed from Rs.50 lakh to Rs.25 lakh. Angel funds have been allowed to invest in overseas venture capital undertakings up to 25% of their investible corpus in line with other AIFs. The upper limit for number of angel investors in a scheme also has been increased from 49 to 200. These changes in rules were made by SEBI based on recommendations of Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee headed by N. R. Narayana Murthy.

Government imposes anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh, Nepal jute products

The Government has imposed an anti-dumping duty on imports of jute and its products from Nepal and Bangladesh for five years period to protect the domestic industry. The restrictive import levy was imposed on jute yarn, twine, jute sacking bags and Hessian fabric in all forms and specifications. This decision was taken based on the recommendation of Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD). West Bengal is the major player in the jute industry of India and employs 3.5-4 lakh people in this sector. An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff imposed on imports by Government under WTO regime to protect domestic industries from dumping of imported goods that are priced below fair market value in domestic market.

Persons in News

Donald Trump appoints Raj Shah to key White House post

US President-elect Donald Trump has appointed Indian-American Raj Shah as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communication Director and Research director. He had played a leading role in the Republican party’s anti-Clinton campaign during 2016 Presidential polls. Currently he is head of Opposition Research in the Republican National Committee. He is second generation Indian American. Shah’s parents are from Mumbai and have roots in Gujarat. He was born and raised in Connecticut, US. He is physician and health economist by profession. Earlier he had served as the 16th Administrator of the US Agency for International Development from 2010 to 2015.

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