Current Affairs – February, 2019

Latest Current Affairs February, 2019 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of February, 2019 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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Navy Drill of Iran Velayat 97

Iran will hold a three-day navy drill Velayat 97 in a vast area of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean including a sensitive global shipping route.

Features of the Velayat 97

  • The three-day navy drill would be held in the waters of Strait of Hormuz, Makran coast, Oman Sea and the north of the Indian Ocean, covering 2 million square kilometres.
  • The navy drill Velayat 97 aims to evaluate the navy’s equipment, practice launching weapons and enable the troops to gain readiness for a real battle.
  • The three-day drill will showcase Iran’s submarines, warships, helicopters and drones, according to the admiral.
  • The drill also includes missile launches from the vessels.

Will Velayat 97 further heighten the tensions?

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital international transit route. American forces routinely pass this route and it has earlier witnessed some tense encounters between American and Iranian forces.

Iran’s show of military might through Velayat 97 comes at a time of heightened tensions with Iran’s main regional rival Saudi Arabia and with the United States of America which last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

President Approves Amendments to Indian Stamp Act 1899

President Ram Nath Kovind has given the assent for the amendments to the Indian Stamp Act 1899 introduced as part of the Finance Act 2019.

Amendments Proposed

The amendments proposed are:

  • Creation of the legal and institutional mechanism to enable states to collect stamp duty on securities market instruments at one place by one agency (through the Stock Exchanges or Clearing Corporations authorised by the stock exchange or by the Depositories).
  • A Mechanism for appropriate sharing the stamp duty with relevant state governments based on the state of domicile of the buying client.
  • Creation of a Coordination Council comprising representatives from Union and States under Article 263 of the Indian Constitution tasked with the responsibility of making recommendations regarding review/revision of stamp duty rates.

Stamp Duty Rates

  • The duties levied by Maharashtra will be taken as a benchmark as the state of Maharashtra accounts for 70% of the total collection.
  • The rates would be chosen in such a manner that it provides a revenue neutral position to the state governments while reducing the overall tax burden for investors.
  • The stamp duty will have to be paid by either the buyer or seller of financial security, as against the current practice of levying the duty on both.

Benefits of Proposed Amendments

The amendments will rationalise and harmonise the system of levying stamp duty and help curb tax evasion. The cost of collection would be minimised while revenue productivity is enhanced. Further adoption of the centralised collection mechanism is expected to bring in not only more revenue but greater stability to the revenue collection by the states.

The amendments would further aid in developing equity markets and equity culture across the length and breadth of the country, ushering in balanced regional development.

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