India Current Affairs 2017

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Syed Asif Ibrahim appointed as PM’s Special Envoy for Counter-terrorism

Former Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB) Syed Asif Ibrahim was appointed as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Counter Terrorism and Extremism in National Security Council (NSC) Secretariat.

His appointment was confirmed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). His rank will be of Secretary to the government for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

Syed Asif Ibrahim’s role will be to

  • Help Union government to evolve strategies to deal with radicalisation of youths in India due to rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
  • Liaise security challenges with governments of West Asian countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He will directly report to National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit K Doval and will carry out work in the National Security Council (NSC) Secretariat in New Delhi.

About Syed Asif Ibrahim

  • Syed Asif Ibrahim was Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre of 1977 batch.
  • He has served as Director of the Intelligence Bureau from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2014 and was the first Muslim to hold this important position.

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World Bank approves $ 250 million loan for Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project in J&K

World Bank has approved 250 million US dollars loan for Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).

The project will be funded by loan credit from International Development Association (IDA), a World Bank’s concessionary with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.

About Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project

  • The recovery project will play important role in reconstruction of flood-affected public infrastructure. It includes roads, bridges and public infrastructure.
  • It will also strengthen the capacity of state government to respond and better manage natural disasters in future.
  • It will focus on 20 districts of state and help to rebuild damaged public buildings such as schools, hospitals, higher education buildings, fire stations, selected block and district offices.
  • It also seeks to strengthen and reinforce existing weak and vulnerable flood control infrastructure. The investments will primarily include rehabilitation and renovation of storm water pumping stations in several areas.
  • The project will also focus on disaster risk mitigation in state and strengthen the capacity of government entities in disaster risk management.
  • It will also help in preparation of a Hydro-Meteorological Resilience Action Plan to enhance preparedness and achieve resilient recovery.
  • The action plan will focus on river morphology study for some key rivers impacted by the disaster, extreme weather events and urban vulnerability assessment.

Background

  • In September 2014, continuous unprecedented heavy heavy rainfall had caused Jhelum, Chenab and Tawi rivers, their tributaries to flow above the danger mark.
  • It had flooded the catchment areas, particularly low lying ones for more than two weeks in the state which had severely affected livelihoods and basic infrastructure in the state.

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India joins the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Information

India has joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI).

The new global standards has wide in scope and oblige the treaty partners to exchange wide range of financial information from institutions from their country.

In order to implement these standards in India necessary legislative changes will be made in section 285BA of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Apart from India 5 other nations including Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Indonesia and New Zealand also have joined it. Now the total number of countries agreeing to exchange information automatically in accordance with MCAA has gone up to 60.

Implications

  • When fully implemented, these standards will enable India to receive information from almost every country in the world including offshore financial centres. Thus, it will help to prevent international tax evasion and avoidance.
  • It will be also instrumental in getting information about assets of Indians held abroad and their beneficial owners.
  • Thus, it will directly help the Government to curb tax evasion and deal with the menace of black money stashed abroad.

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