Current Affairs - January 2017

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Seven new countries join BEPS agreement

Seven new countries Lithuania, Gabon, Hungary, Indonesia, Malta, Mauritius and Russia – have signed Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for Country-by-Country Reporting (CbC MCAA).

With this, the total number of signatories has increased to 57 including India (signed in May 2015). CbC MCAA is a tax co-operation agreement to enable automatic sharing of country-by-country information.

About CbC MCAA

  • The CbC MCAA aims to boost transparency by multinational enterprises (MNEs) by allowing signatories to bilaterally and automatically exchange country-by-country reports.
  • This exchange of information is facilitated as part of Action 13 of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) Action Plan adopted by the OECD and G20 countries in 2013.
  • The agreement will help to ensure that tax administrations obtain better understanding of how MNEs structure their operations and also ensure that the confidentiality and appropriate use of such information is safeguarded.

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IndiaPost gets payments bank licence from RBI

IndiaPost under Department of Posts (Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology) received final payments bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

With this, India Post became the third entity after Bharti Airtel and Paytm to receive final payments bank licence to roll-out of banking operations commercially under the permit.

Key Facts
  • As per the initial road map, each post office in the country will offer the post bank services. The department of post has an existing network of around 1,55,000 post offices currently.
  • IndiaPost plans to open 650 new branches for the payment bank. These branches will be co-located with the existing post offices.

About Payments banks

  • Payments banks are a new model of banks conceptualised by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to meet government’s financial inclusion target.
  • It will be set up as a differentiated bank and will confine its activities to acceptance of demand deposits, remittance services, Internet banking and other specified services but cannot undertake lending services.
  • Payments banks can accept deposits up to Rs. 1 lakh per account from individuals and small businesses. They can issue ATM/debit cards but not credit cards. They can also issue other prepaid payment instruments.
  • They can distribute non-risk sharing simple financial products like mutual funds and insurance products. Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are not be allowed to open accounts in payment banks.
  • This new model of banking allows mobile firms, supermarket chains and others to cater to banking requirements of individuals and small businesses.

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Government launches Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign

The Union Government has launched nationwide “Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign (SLAC)” on the occasion of Anti-Leprosy Day (observed on the last Sunday of January).

The day is observed every year on January 30 in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi who attained martyrdom on this day in 1948, to remember his selfless efforts and care for the people affected with Leprosy.

Need for Campaign
  • Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and it usually affects the skin and peripheral nerves. The mode of transmission of leprosy is still not known.
  • According to WHO, the diseased had affected 2,12,000 people globally in 2015. India alone reported 1,27,326 new cases, accounting for 60% of new  cases globally.
  • India is among the 22 countries considered as having a “high burden for leprosy” along with high transmission. The other high-burden countries were Brazil and Indonesia. 

Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign

  • The thrust of SLAC campaign is to promote community participation in diagnosis and treatment of leprosy in its early stages and to spread awareness about the disease to help in early diagnosis and treatment.
  • It seeks to promote decentralised community-based demand-driven approach from present centralised top-down delivery-driven approach to fight the disease.
  • It also seeks to empower local communities to take over the responsibility of sensitising people to not stigmatise and discriminate against those affected.

 

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