Daily Current Affairs Updates–18th November 2016:
Union Government announces new set of measures to ease demonetisation policy
i. Relief for farmers, traders: Farmers will be permitted to draw up to 25000 rupees per week in cash from their KYC compliant accounts only. These cash withdrawals will be subjected to the normal loan limits and conditions. This facility will also apply to the Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).
ii. Traders registered with APMC markets/mandis will be permitted to draw up to 50000 rupees per week in cash from their KYC compliant accounts. This will enable them to pay wages and facilitate easy loading, unloading and other activities at the mandis. Moreover, the government also extended the last date for payment of Crop Insurance Premium by 15 days.
Relaxation for weddings: The government has now decided to permit families celebrating weddings to draw maximum of 250000 rupees in cash from their own bank accounts that are KYC compliant. The amounts can be drawn only by either of the parents or the person getting married. Only one of them will be permitted to draw this amount. This limit of 250000 rupees will apply separately to the girl's and boy's family. The person withdrawing such amount has to show the PAN details. Moreover, a self-declaration is also required by the person to the effect that only one person from the family is drawing the amount. Any misuse of this facility will invite appropriate action.
Limit for exchange reduced: After thorough observations, the government has decided to reduce the limit of exchange of old 500 and 1000 rupees notes from 4500 rupees to 2000 rupees. The decision came in after officials observed that the same persons are going back to the counter again and again.This facility will now be available only once per person.
Withdrawal of money from petrol pumps: The public sector oil marketing companies, in association with State Bank of India, will now dispense cash up to 2000 rupees per day per person. This facility will be initially available at 2500 petrol pumps across the country.Only petrol pumps of Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum will offer such facility.
Advance salary to Central Government Employees: Central Government employees of Group C including equivalent levels in the defence and para military Forces, railways and central public sector enterprises will be allowed to draw salary advance of 10000 rupees in cash. This amount will be adjusted in their salary for November 2016.
PM Modi to address inaugural session of Rail VikasShivir today
i. Prime Minister NarendraModi will address the inaugural session of Rail VikasShivir at Surajkund today. The aim of the three day Shivir, organised by Indian Railways is to generate innovative ideas across most critical areas of Railway Operations for substantial progress of this sector.
ii. VikasShivir will focus on eight themes which include making Railways the preferred freight carrier in India, using best-in-class technology , moving towards near zero fatalities. It will also focus on reducing operational cost by 10 percent in 5 years, increasing non-fare revenues to at least 15 percent in 5 years from advertising.
Mauritius PM inaugurates AYUR Herbarium project in Goa
i. Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius AniroodJugnauth inaugurated AYUR Herbarium project in North Goa, an initiative by the pharmaceutical major in association with Union AYUSH Ministry. Jugnauth inaugurated the project at the property of Sandu Pharmaceuticals Ltd at Saligao village, 10 kms away from Panaji.
ii. The Mauritian Prime Minister along with his delegation is on a tour of India to reciprocate the cordial invitation of delegates of Goa government, who visited the island country in the recent past, a government spokesperson said.
Govt sets up inter-ministerial panel to look into concerns of foreign tourists & NRIs over demonetisation
An Inter-Ministerial Committee has been formed by the Government to look into requests from diplomatic corps on the demonetisation issue. The Committee is headed by an Additional Secretary. The Ministry of External Affairs referred the matter to the Department of Economic Affairs, after it received queries from various diplomatic quarters, foreign tourists and Non Resident Indians.
Amul to set up centralised milk processing unit in Bengal
Dairy cooperative Amul will set up its seventh centralised milk processing plant at Sankrailfood park in Howrah, West Bengal, company's Managing Director K Rathnam said. Work on the plant would start in 2017 and is expected to be completed by 2018-end, he stated. "We have earmarked an investment of 200 crore," Rathnam further added.
Sweden may be first to have national digital currency
Sweden is considering a plan to issue a national digital currency 'e-krona' to deal with the falling domestic use of cash. Sweden's central bank, Riksbank, has said that the e-krona, which is expected to be issued in two years, will be complementary to cash and that it will not be a replacement. Notably, Riksbank is the world's oldest central ban
Thailand celebrates festival of lights
Thailand recently celebrated the festival of lights called LoiKrathong, which is celebrated to pay homage to Lord Buddha. The main events include releasing sky lanterns and floating krathongs, meaning decorated baskets. This year, restrictions on the festivities were observed as the country mourns the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Mastercard Launches Masterpass QR Payment Solutions
i. Mastercard on Wednesday announced the India launch of Masterpass QR, a quick response (QR) mobile payments solution to help mobile banking users safely pay for face-to-face purchases using their smartphones or feature phones. "Shoppers can make fast, simple and secure digital payments at any place where Masterpass QR is accepted, which means that they no longer need to carry cash or their physical bank cards to make payments," Mastercard said in a statement.
ii. Mastercard has tied up with Ratnakar Bank (RBL Bank), which has become the first lender to integrate the Masterpass QR service with its mobile platform - the OnGo digital wallet. The OnGo wallet would host a virtual prepaid Mastercard that customers can use for cashless transactions, including payment of taxi and auto rickshaw fares. "With Masterpass QR, we are advancing the use of cashless payment methods to limit the flow of cash in the economy and take decisive steps toward realising the dream of Digital India," Mastercard division president (South Asia) Porush Singh said.
RBI Allows Foreign Investors To Buy Securitised Debt
i. The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday allowed foreign investors to buy securitised debt, which refers to securities such as mortgages structured by issuers, as part of efforts to attract more flows into debt markets.Thesecuritised debt can include any securities issued by special purpose vehicles in which banks or certain financial firms are the originators, the RBI said.
ii. For securitised debt investments, the RBI also waived a rule that requires foreign investors to invest only in debt with at least three years in remaining maturity.The central bank also allowed foreign investors to invest in unlisted corporate bonds, though it forms only a small segment of the debt market.
In a separate statement, the RBI also allowed insurance companies to invest abroad, while allowing residents outside India to pay for premiums with foreign currency, among measures targeting foreign exchange activities in the insurance sector.
India-US resolve 100 tax dispute cases worth Rs 5,000 crore
i. India and the US have resolved more than 100 tax dispute cases involving Rs 5,000 crore under the bilateral Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP). A meeting of the Bilateral Competent Authority MAP or Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) between India and the US was held in Washington last month, and these long pending cases were resolved, a finance ministry statement said.
ii. During the meeting, 66 MAP cases relating to Transfer Pricing issues and 42 MAP cases relating to Treaty Interpretation issues were agreed to be resolved successfully. MAP, under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), is an alternative dispute settlement mechanism available to authorities and foreign investors.
Times Internet names former Twitter India Head Rishi Jaitly as CEO of Times Global Partners
Times Internet Limited (TIL), the digital business arm of Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited, has named former Twitter India Head Rishi Jaitly as chief executive of Times Global Partners."We are thrilled to welcome Rishi to the Times Group. In the last decade, under Rishi’s leadership, both Twitter and Google have successfully entered the Indian market, immersing themselves in every segment of the country’s business, media and digital landscapes,” SatyanGajwani, vice-chairman, TIL, in an official statement.
Priyanka nominated for People's Choice Awards for 2nd time
Actress Priyanka Chopra has been nominated for American awards show, People's Choice Awards for the second time. She has been nominated in the 'Favourite Dramatic TV Actress' category for the role of 'Alex Parrish' in the American TV series 'Quantico'. Notably, Priyanka became the first Indian to win the People's Choice Awards when she won it in 2016.
Man who inspired '3 Idiots' wins global innovation award
Ladakh-based engineer, SonamWangchuk, on whom Aamir Khan's character 'PhunsukhWangdu' was based in the film '3 Idiots', was awarded the 'Rolex Awards for Enterprise 2016' for his 'Ice Stupas' project. Aimed at reducing water shortage in high altitudes, the project, which will be supported by the Rolex fund, involves conical ice mounds designed like mini-glaciers to slowly release water.
ManoharParrikar to hand over four Naval Systems to Indian Navy today
i. Defence Minister ManoharParrikar will hand over four Naval Systems developed by DRDO to the Indian Navy, in New Delhi today. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba will formally take over the indigenously developed sonars that will boost the force's underwater surveillance capability.
ii. The systems to be inducted include Abhay - compact hull mounted sonar for shallow water crafts, Humsa UG - upgrade for the Humsa sonar system, NACS - Near-field Acoustic Characterisation System, and AIDSS - Advanced Indigenous Distress Sonar System for submarines. Defence Ministry in a release said, the systems have been designed and developed by NPOL, a Kochi based laboratory of DRDO.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
India's total solar capacity crosses 10 GW-mark: Bridge to India
i. India's total installed solar capacity, including rooftop and off-grid segments, has crossed the 10 GW mark, a consultancy said. India is expected to add new solar capacity of 5.1 GW this year, which is a growth of 137 per cent over last year, consultancy Bridge to India said in a statement.
ii. It expects average annual capacity addition of 8-10 GW per annum from next year onwards."The pace of sector activity has picked up tremendously in the last two years because of strong government support and increasing price competitiveness of solar power. India is expected to become the world's third biggest solar market from next year onwards after China and the US," it added.
iii. The firm's Managing Director VinayRustagi said, "Many people are going to ask the obvious question - if we have taken more than 5 years to achieve 10 GW, can we reach 100 GW in another 5 years? It is a very steep target in our view."
119-yr-old cow herder to compete at Masters Athletics Championship
Dharam Pal Singh, an Indian cow herder who claims to be 119 years old, is set to compete at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Perth, Australia. If Singh's claims are true then he could be the oldest man alive. Singh has won more than 20 medals at several national and international meets in his age category.
Sprinter Dharambir handed eight-year ban
i. Haryana sprinter Dharambir Singh, who was barred from representing the country in the Rio Olympics at the last minute for failing a dope test, has been slapped an eight-year ban by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). 200-metre runner Dharambir had returned positive for an anabolic steroid in an in-competition test conducted by the NADA during the Indian Grand Prix Meet in Bengaluru on July 11.
Since this was his second dope-related offence, the NADA Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel has handed him a lengthier ban of eight years.The 27-year-old Haryana-lad was earlier stripped of his gold medal won in 100m race during the National Inter-State Championships in 2012 for evading a mandatory dope test.
Tamil refugee team wins national T20 tournament in Australia
Oceans 12, a Tamil refugee cricket team in Australia, won a national semi-pro T20 tournament on Wednesday. Most players in the team had been in immigration detention centres in Australia, having left Sri Lanka due to war and ethnic violence. One of the players said the team had been "through a lot" and cricket helped them feel "accepted".
Former J&K Governor Lt Gen S K Sinha passes away
Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen S K Sinha passed away at a hospital this morning after a brief illness. Sinha has served as the Jammu and Kashmir Governor and led the first batch of Indian troops who entered J and K when Pakistan raiders invaded in 1947.
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