Monday, 30 November 2015

Current Affairs November 29, 2015

Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Signs 11 more Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAS)

  • It has been the endeavour of the Government to foster an environment of co-operation in matters of taxation through predictability of laws and reduced litigation.
  • In a major push towards providing certainty to foreign investors in the arena of transfer pricing, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 11 more unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs).
  • These APAs were signed with Indian subsidiaries of foreign companies operating in various segments of the economy like investment advisory services, engineering design services, marine products, contract R&D, software development services, IT enabled services, cargo handling support services, etc.

NHAI approves pilot project for developing greenbelts along highways

  • The National Highways Authority of India ( NHAI) approved a pilot project for developing greenbelts along the national highways (NHs).
  • The project will be implemented on a 5 km stretch on NH-7 between Jam and Hinganghat in Nagpur region at an estimated cost of Rs 11.80 crore, it added.
  • Around 20,000 trees of scientifically chosen species have been proposed to be planted on both sides of the stretch in multiple rows.

Government advances roll out of BS-V and BS-VI norms for 4-wheelers

  • The government said it has advanced the date for implementation of the roll out of Bharat Stage (BS) stage V and VI norms for four-wheelers by three years.
  • According to the roadmap earlier laid down by the Auto Fuel Policy, BS-V norms were to be implemented from April 1, 2022 and BS-VI from April 1, 2024, it added.
  • Accordingly, the ministry has decided to implement BS-V norms from April 1, 2019. BS-VI norms, which aim at substantial reduction in NOx/4C levels will be implemented from April 1, 2021, it added. This reflects a firm commitment to play a major role in reducing vehicular emissions.

Baroness Patricia Scotland becomes first UK citizen to be elected secretarygeneral of Commonwealth

  • Baroness Patricia Scotland, who was the Attorney General under Gordon Brown, has become the first British citizen to be elected secretary‑general of the Commonwealth in its 66-year history.
  • Baroness Scotland, 60, is also the first woman to hold the role. She was the first black woman to be made a Queen’s Council in 1991. Her election was announced at the leaders’ summit of 53 Commonwealth nations in Malta.
  • Baroness Scotland will take over next year, having defeated the perceived frontrunner, Sir Ronald Sanders, who was previously Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner to the UK.

Climate talks start Monday: Paris hosts world for the earth

  • In the strongest-ever push for a global agreement on climate change, leaders and monarchs from nearly 150 countries will assemble under one roof, hoping that the show of solidarity would force a different result from the one six years ago when they last gathered in such numbers for the same cause.
  • Each of these leaders 147, according to official information will speak for around three minutes in support of the UN-backed push for a global agreement after two weeks of talks at Le Bourget, the oldest airport in Paris that is now used only for the famous biennial air show and as the home of an aviation museum.
  • The negotiators will take over in the hope of thrashing out the details of an agreement aimed at reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, fast enough to prevent catastrophic impacts of climate change.

US varsity offers Rs 1 crore scholarship in Kalam’s name

  • The University of South Florida has announced a postgraduate annual scholarship worth Rs 1 crore in the name of former President APJ Abdul Kalam to Indian students from the next academic year.
  • The award is open to Indians seeking to pursue PhD in specified fields of science and engineering at the University of South Florida.
  • He said Dr. Kalam was an honoured visitor to the University of South Florida in 2012 and gave a marvellous talk on green energy and sustainability. “Like all of India  and the world we heard of his passing away with great sorrow. I want to commend you and his family for the wonderful work you are doing to perpetuate his legacy,” he said in the letter.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee pays tribute to Sikh community

  • The Singaporean government has allowed Indian students to take their own mother tongue (Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi and Punjabi) as second language.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has paid tribute to Singapore’s Sikh community, saying the government will continue to support them in many ways.
  • The Singaporean government has and will continue to support the Sikh community in many ways, he said on Saturday at the Sikh community dinner.

Chinese tycoon to build world’s most profitable sports company

  • A Chinese billionaire is planning to build the world’s most profitable sports company as the Communist country gears up to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
  • Wang Jianlin, a Chinese billionaire who heads the country’s largest real estate developer Wanda Group, said the company had plans to keep emerging and add new content into its sports branch.” Wanda Sports aim to become “the world’s first sports company with an annual income of more than $10 billion,”
  • Wang’s comments came after the Chinese government mapped out a plan last year, aiming to grow the country’s sports sector into a five-trillion yuan ($813 billion) industry by 2025.
  • Two other internet companies LeTV and Tencent also jumped on the bandwagon by establishing respective sports companies.

Aviation ministry relaxes norms for aircraft import

  • Further simplifying the procedures and making it easier for the procurement of aircraft by airlines,
  • the Ministry of Civil Aviation has delegated the power to grant initial No Objection Certificate (NOC) or
  • in-principle approval for import or acquisition of aircraft to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
  • This comes two after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) relaxed norms for remittances of money for import of aircraft, helicopters and other aviation related purchases by airlines.
  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation announced these changes through a circular.
  • DGCA has been asked to make necessary amendment in the related CAR/Rules in accordance with the changes.

Bandhan’s exit dents Q2 microfinance lending

  • Bandhan Microfinance accounted for 24% of industry gross loan portfolio.
  • The exit of Bandhan Microfinance from microfinance industry has affected the overall lending in the industry by one-fourth for the second quarter of the financial year ending March 2016.
  • For the three-month period starting July 2015, the non-banking financial companies and microfinance institutions disbursed micro-credit of over Rs.14,428 crore against Rs.16,000 crore during the first quarter ending in June. Bandhan Microfinance became a small finance bank in August.
  • According to regulators, 72 lakh loans were disbursed to 2.63 crore clients against 60 lakh loans for 2.1 crore clients for the second quarter, marking an increase of 42 per cent in loan disbursals.

Cipla signs pact with FIL Capital

  • Pharmaceutical major Cipla Ltd., its wholly-owned subsidiary Cipla Health, and FIL Capital Investments (Mauritius) II Ltd. signed an investment agreement concerning the Cipla’s consumer healthcare business which was divested as a subsidiary in July this year. The amount to be invested has not been disclosed.
  • Earlier on July 21, the board of Cipla had approved an investment by Fidelity Growth Partners India and the U.S.-based Fidelity Biosciences, through FIL Capital Investments (Mauritius) for its recently setup consumer healthcare business.
  • For the financial year 2014-15, the OTC division of Cipla had generated a sales turnover of Rs.34.88 crore which was 0.3 per cent of the company’s total income. The net worth of this division was Rs.6.45 crore in 2014-15. Recently, this division had introduced its first product named Nicotex, a gum which helps smokers to quit smoking.

FIIs pull out almost $1 billion in November

  • Concern over corporate earnings, political hurdles to key reforms pushing foreign investors away from equity markets
  • In a bit of bad news worth almost a billion dollars, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) have sold shares worth $991 million in the current month as India and other emerging markets battle an outflow of overseas money. FIIs, arguably the prime drivers of all bull runs that the Indian equity market has witnessed, have raised concerns related to corporate earnings, political deadlock over key reforms and valuations. This has also led to foreign investors looking at other markets including China, Brazil and Canada.
  • As per data from the National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL), FIIs have been net sellers at Rs 6,616 crore in November, which followed October’s inflows of Rs 6,650 crore. While there has been an overall aversion among foreign investors to investing in emerging markets, India seems to have borne the brunt when compared to peers like Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Korea.

India among four nations to sign trade pact

  • Sri Lanka, India, Malta and Mauritius have come together to establish a Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility to boost trade and investment flows, particularly for developing nations of the Commonwealth.
  • The four countries have inked the document, Declaration of Intent, as anchor investors at the ongoing Commonwealth Summit in Malta The facility, structured as a guarantee fund, will cover risk for providers of trade credit in financial institutions of Commonwealth countries. It seeks to stimulate lending by major banks to smaller banks in member states and reduce risk.
  • The fund, voluntary in nature, hopes to attract start-up capital of $ 20 million. It will provide member countries facing trade challenges with the funds. It is estimated for every dollar invested, the fund will generate $ 20, according to a release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sri Lanka government here.

Israel successfully tests Barak 8, which it has co-developed with India

  • Israel announced it has successfully tested India’s supersonic long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) Barak 8. The weapon is the first LRSAM India and Israel have co-developed.
  • The supersonic LRSAM, designed and developed jointly by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), was tested from an Israeli naval vessel.
  • According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, a Barack 8 was fired on a  fast-moving jet-powered drone at 7 am from Lahav, a Sa’ar 5-class Corvette, positioned near Haifa in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The test, during which the missile system destroyed the incoming fast-moving object, was a first for the Israeli military as it successfully tested from a ship the advanced surface-to-air missile.
  • The defence system is also a first for DRDO, for which it has designed and developed a dual pulse propulsion system and other safe-arm mechanisms.

Karthikeyan Murali clinches title

  • Sixteen-year-old GM Karthikeyan Murali of Tamil Nadu clinched the title in the ONGC 53rd National Premier Chess Championship at the Kasi’s Inn.
  • Karthikeyan, who lost the final round against IM Arghyadip Das, and GM Vidit Gujrathi, who drew with GM M. Shyam Sundar, finished with 8.5 points each after 13 rounds.
  • However, Karthikeyan was adjudged winner since he had defeated Vidit in the 10th round. Last year’s winner, GM S.P. Sethuraman played out a draw with IM P. Karthikeyan. Sethuraman, with eight points, bagged the third spot.
  • Karthikeyan, playing with black pieces, opted for the Pirc defence. Leading the charge with Austrian attack, Arghyadip played aggressively with his rook stationed on the seventh rank, supported by his knight.

BBIN Friendship Car Rally flagged off from Agartala

  • Tripura Chief Secretary YP Singh flagged off the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Friendship Motor Car rally from the State capital Agartala.
  • Prior flagging off the rally, Singh expressed hope that the event could bring people of these countries united under one roof and also enhance the scope of economic prosperity.
  • The motor car will move to Chattagram via Muhurighat Check post in Belonia of South District.
  • The rally first started from Odisha on November 14 and had already moved Ranchi, Patna, Siliguri, Gangtok, Thimpu, Guwahati, Shillong and Silchar before reaching Agartala.

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