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India and Singapore Signs Third Protocol for Amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)
i. India and Singapore signed a Third Protocol on December 30, 2016, for amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
ii. The decision follows India’s treaty policy to prevent double non-taxation, curb revenue loss and check the menace of black money through automatic exchange of information.
iii. The Third Protocol amends the DTAA to provide for source based taxation of capital gains arising on transfer of shares in a company. Presently the DTAA provides for residence based taxation of capital gains of shares in a company.
iv. The amended DTAA would come into effect from 1st April, 2017. It will help to curb revenue loss, prevent double non-taxation and streamline the flow of investments.
Mehbooba Mufti launches IT-Enabled Systems to Boost Education System of the State
i. Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti launched School Management Information System (SMIS) on December 30, 2016, to provide a complete database of all the government schools spread across the state.
ii. SMIS been developed by the J&K Education Department in collaboration with National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), ISRO, Digital India and MHRD.
iii. It is a comprehensive IT-enabled Database System to highlight important features of all Government Schools such as Staff strength, Student-Teacher ratio among others.
iv. Besides, the chief minister also launched a Unified Data Information System for Education (U-DISE) to provide the details about the enrolments and pupil-to-teacher ratios from school to school.
v. Mehbooba also inaugurated the GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping of schools, in which the geographical locations and 3D structures of the schools have been distinctly marked. It also informs about the school infrastructure and school cluster structure zone-wise in a district. As many as 28,000 schools are being taken up under GIS mapping in the state.
vi. The chief minister also launched, Vocational Monitoring Details, an online portal for monitoring the implementation of various vocational courses in the state.
vii .The Minister also launched an e-Office for online management of files in the
school education department to address the critical infrastructure gap and ensure time management.
viii. The Minister appreciated the launch of IT-Enabled Initiatives saying that it would enable the state’s students to get knowledge connectivity with the outside world along with promoting sports and cultural activities and giving a path to the schools to be converted into hubs of knowledge and excellence.
President Pranab Mukherjee Approves Promulgation of Specified Bank Notes Ordinance 2016
i .The President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee approved the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016 on 30th December, 2016.
ii. Aim: The Ordinance aims to extinguish the liability of the Reserve Bank of India and the Government of India towards the demonetized Bank Notes, provide an opportunity to those persons who were unable to deposit the SBNs within the time provided and declare holding, transferring or receiving SBNs as illegal with provisions for penalty for violating any provisions of the Ordinance.
iii. The ordinance provides for amending the Reserve Bank of India Act to provide legislative support for extinguishing the demonetized banknotes that are not returned.
iv .According to the Ordinance, holding of old 1,000 and 500 rupee notes after 31st of March 2017 will considered as an offence and attract a fine of Rs. 10,000 or 5 times the cash held, whichever is higher. Also not more than 10 notes of demonetized currency can be held after December 30.
v. The ordinance also provides an opportunity to those persons who were unable to deposit demonetized notes within time provided to deposit them with the RBI. Indian citizens still having the possession of old currency and who were outside India from November 9 to December 30 can deposit the notes at the specified offices of RBI till March 31, 2017.
vi. While Non-Resident Indians can deposit such notes in their possession till June 30, 2017, but this will be restricted to amounts of Rs 25,000 per person as per the Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations of 2015.
vii. A wrong declaration would invite fine of Rs 50,000 or five times the seized amount, whichever is higher as per the ordinance.
Sikkim Adjudged India’s First Fully Organic State In 2016
i. Sikkim has emerges as the India’s first fully organic state by converting around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land into sustainable cultivation.
ii. Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally certified Fully Organic State Status to
Sikkim at a sustainable agriculture conference in Gangtok earlier in 2016.
iii. Around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land has been gradually converted to certified organic land by implementing organic practices and principles as per guidelines laid down in National Programme for Organic Production.
iv. Organic cultivation is free of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilisers to maintain a balance with ecosystems. Sustainable farming also helps in building the soil health resulting in sustainable increased crop production.
v. Organic Farming will also boost the tourism industry in the tiny landlocked Himalayan state of Sikkim.
vi. Besides, Sikkim was conferred with the overall best state in education in June. Kanchenjunga National Park in West Sikkim was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site by the world heritage site committee on July 17. The state was also adjudged as the cleanest state in India by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in September, while in October, Sikkim was adjudged the cleanest tourist destination in the country by the Ministry of Tourism.
President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates Indian History Congress in Kerala
i. The 77th Indian History Congress was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on December 29, 2016 at the Kerala University Golden Jubilee Auditorium at Kariavattom campus.
ii. Kerala Governor P Sathasivam was the chief guest of the function while Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the agenda of the History Congress by handing it over to the President.
iii .The three-day event which began on December 28 was held across 11 venues on the campus. Education Minister of the state, C Ravindranath addressed the conluding function of the congress on December 30.
iv. Over 3,000 historians and research scholars attended the Congress including historian Romila Thapar, musician T M Krishna, actor Nandita Das, poet Sachidanandan and leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala.
v. As part of the congress, the campus hosted an exhibition that was free for students as well as the public. Beside a special cultural programme on Kerala’s art and culture was also organized on December 28 and 29.
vi. The President also gave away the Rajwade Award for the best historian.
Mori village in Andhra gets Smart Digital village tag
Mori village under Sakhinetipalli mandal in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh placed on India’s digital map by transforming completely into a Smart Digital Village said by Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu
♦ Mori has bagged the Swachh Village award recently at the national level.
State Gov Initiatives :
i. AP FiberNet project that will provide internet for a total price of Rs 149 per month.
ii. Rs 4000 worth set-top box is being provided for a monthly installment of Rs 99.
iii. People transacts digitally through e-Banking, RuPay cards or SBI Buddy
iv. 650 Android-based smartphones distributed to the villagers to enable them go for digital transactions post-demonetisation.
v. Piped LPG supply work will be started shortly
Madhya Pradesh plans to develop 1,100 ‘climate-smart’ villages
Madhya Pradesh has plan to develop 1,100 ‘climate-smart’ villages n a period of next 6 years to prepare farmers to manage the climate change risks timely and ensure good productivity said by state Farmer Welfare & Agriculture Development Department Principal Secretary Dr Rajesh Rajora
Highlights of the plan:
i. According to the plan, 100 villages in each of the 11 agro-climatic zones of the state would be taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) and Indian National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture with a cost about Rs 150 crore every year.
ii. Farmers would be encouraged to go for short duration variety of crops and Agro-forestry also would be adopted by them.
iii. Nutrients management will be implemented to help in soil fertility and plant nutrients supply through optimisation of all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components.
iv. The integrated pest management, zero tillage, raised bed gardening techniques and micro-irrigation would also be introduced in the climate smart villages.
France Levies ‘terror tax’ On Insurance Policies to support victims of attacks
i. France Government has raised a ‘terror tax’ on property insurance policies after a series of terror attacks in 2015 and 2016. The French government requires insurers to help finance a fund for victims of the extremist attacks that have recently hit the country.
ii. The Scheme would come into effect from January 1, 2017 and will require the policy holders to contribute 5.90 euros ($6.18) instead of 4.30 euros ($4.51).
iii. In October, about 90 million insurance policies were floating the fund, which currently has reserves of 1.45 billion euros ($1.52 billion). More than 200 people have died in France in attacks over the last 20 months
Key Facts of France
♦ Capital: Paris
♦ President: François Hollande
♦ Prime minister: Bernard Cazeneuve
♦ Currencies: Euro, CFP franc
Russian Government Plans to Expel 35 American Diplomats
i .The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced plans to expel 35 US diplomats from the country in a tit-for-tat response to a similar act by United States of America.
ii. President Barack Obama earlier had ordered to expel 35 Russian diplomats, suspecting case spies and sanctioned two Russian intelligence agency believing them to be involved in cyber hacking and alleging Moscow to interfere with the US presidential election.
iii. But President Vladimir Putin refused for such an action and said that he would rather plan ways to restore Russia-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration and instead of taking revenge, he would wait to see how relations developed under the incoming president, Donald Trump
♦ Capital: Moscow ♦ Currency: Russian ruble
♦ President: Vladimir Putin ♦ Prime minister: Dmitry Medvedev
BANKING & FINANCE
Lakshmi Vilas Bank launches QIP to raise about Rs 600 crore
i. Private sector lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank has launched Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) to raise over Rs. 599.88 Crore by issuing 4.25 crore shares in domestic or international markets.
ii. During a meeting of the committee of directors for capital raising of the bank, on December 28, 2016, approved the floor price for the QIP issue at Rs. 141.15 per equity share. The bank may offer a discount of not more than 5% on the floor price calculated on the QIP.
iii. The bank had earlier in May, informed about its plan to raise funds in one or more public or private offerings in domestic and/or international markets, either in the form of Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) or Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs).
iv. Qualified institutional placement (QIP) is a capital-raising tool in which a listed company can issue equity shares, fully and partly convertible debentures, or any securities other than warrants which are convertible to equity shares to a qualified institutional buyer (QIB).
Lakshmi Vilas Bank
♦ This bank was founded by a group of seven businessmen of Karur under the leadership of Shri V.S.N. Ramalinga Chettiar. The objective of the bank is to cater to the financial needs of people in and around Karur who were occupied in trading businesses, industry and agriculture.
♦ Headquarters: India
♦ CEO: Parthasarathi Mukherjee
♦ Founded: 1926
BoB launches agriculture investment credit scheme in Rajasthan
Indian state-owned banking and financial services company Bank of Baroda has launched an agricultural investment credit for the farmers in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan on December 31, 2016
Aim :To help the farmers in doubling their income by the year 2022
About Investment Credit Scheme :
i. Farmers can avail of loan from the bank’s branches for construction of farm ponds, installation of solar pumps, installation of micro irrigation and allied activities under this scheme.
ii. Farmers will be incentivise for timely repayment of loan under the scheme.
Bank of Baroda :
♦ Headquarters: Vadodara
♦ CEO: P. S. Jayakumar
RBI Extends Period of Enhanced Payment Instruments (PPI) limit
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) limit of Rs 20,000 to meet the needs of people to perform digital payments.
ii. The Bank is undertaking a comprehensive review of the guidelines and framework for Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) issuance in the country, and so it has been decided to extend the measures till the completion of review of the PPI guidelines.
iii. While the balance in such PPIs cannot exceed Rs 20,000 at any point of time and the merchants can transfer funds from such PPIs to their own linked bank accounts up to Rs 50,000 per month, without any limit per transaction.
RBI Relaxes ATM Withdrawal from Rs. 2500 to Rs. 4500
i. The Reserve Bank of India has relaxed the daily ATM withdrawal limit to Rs 4500 from the limit of Rs 2500. The new limit would be applicable from January 1, 2017.
ii. However, the weekly withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 remains unchanged.
iii. The Reserve Bank of India has also asked banks to ensure that disbursals on ATMs should predominantly be in the denomination of Rs 500.
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Founded: April 1, 1935,
♦ Governer: Urjit Patel
Centre extends deadline for Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme
i. The Centre on December 30 announced that it has extended the last date for availing the Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme to January 31, 2017 from the earlier deadline of December 31, 2016.
ii. The scheme aims to settle the retrospective tax disputes with the Government.
iii. The Direct Tax Dispute Resolution scheme, announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget for 2016-17, came into force on June 1, 2016.
iv. It aims to end nearly 2.6 lakh pending tax cases where Rs 5.16 lakh crore are locked in and drop interest and penalties if the principal amount involved in retrospective tax cases is paid.
v. A firm availing of the scheme will have to pay the principal tax amount within 30 days to the designated authority determining the amount payable by the declarant.
Mother Dairy launches Aadhar-enabled payment system at booths
i. Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd was introduced Aadhar enabled payment system in its booths and ‘Safal’ retail stores.
ii. The new payment system was commissioned in association with CSC e-Governance Service India Ltd under the aegis of Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity).
iii. It does not require any physical cash or card to make the transactions. This service also available in the existing modes like E-wallets and SmartChange Cards.
Mother Diary :
♦ Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd is an Indian company that manufactures, markets and sells milk, milk products and other edible products
♦ Headquarters: Noida
♦ CEO: S. Nagarajan
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
British-Indian Shankar Balasubramanian Felicitated at New Year Honours
i. An Indian-origin British professor of chemistry, Shankar Balasubramanian, received a Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the field of science and medicine at the New Year Honours announced on December 30, 2016.
ii. Sir Shankar Balasubramanian is an Indian-born British chemist and Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry the University of Cambridge.
iii. 50-year-old Balasubramanian, was recognised for his work as a co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing, described as the most transformational advance in biology and medicine for decades.
iv. Presently known as Solexa sequencing, it allows an individual genome to be sequenced in a day or two at a cost of less than 1,000 pounds. Previously, sequencing the human genome took years of work and cost billions. His work has laid an entirely new discipline of Bioinformatics.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
SP Vaid appointed Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief
i. J & K State Cabinet lead by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appointed senior Indian Police Services (IPS) officer S.P. Vaid as new Director General of Police (DGP) of Jammu and Kashmir. He will replace K. Rajendra.
ii. Vaid is a 1986 IPS batch and has immense experience in operations against the militants.
iii. In 1991,he has served as Superintendent of Police, Jammu and then he was posted as Deputy Inspector General of Police in the Baramulla-Kupwara range near Sopore in 1999.
Sports Ministry Suspends IOA for violating Order
i. The Union Ministry of Sports has suspended the Indian Olympic Association until it quits its decision to make politicians Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala life presidents.
ii. Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala both are suspected of having been involved in corruption scandals in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games
iii. The decision was taken after the IOA failed to meet its deadline for responding to a notice related to appointment of two suspected.
iv. The Olympic body had given 15 days time to respond because its president, N Ramachandran, was not in the country, but the request was turned down.
v. After the decision, the IOA will no longer enjoy its previous privileges as the country’s National Olympic Committee. Besides, IOA now can’t take any financial assistance, facilities and privileges from the government till the time they are suspended
Sivalingam Sathish Kumar of Railways clinches gold for Sixth Time
i. Olympian Sivalingam Sathish Kumar of Railways won the gold for the sixth consecutive year in the men’s 77kg category at the 69th men and 32nd women senior National weightlifting championships at Nagercoil in Tamalinadu.
ii. Sathish lifted total of 317kg with 141kg in snatch and 176kg in clean & jerk.
iii. Ajay Singh of Services, who won the clean & jerk gold with a lift of 177kg, lifted 137kg in snatch to finish second while Papul Changmai of Assam stood Third with 313Kg (138in snatch and 175 in clean & jerk).
iv. In the women’s 69kg category, Lalchhanhimi of Mizoram took the gold with a total lift of 241kg leading Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Punam Yadav of Railways to the second spot and Rakhi Halder at Third.
v. In the 85kg men’s category Kojum Taba from Services clinched the gold medal by lifting 328 kg, R.V. Rahul of Railways won Silver with 317kg while D.R. Harshad Wadekar of Maharashtra won Bronze lifting 317 kg.
7 Year Old Kush Bhagat Creates History at Asia Youth Chess Championship
i. Mumbai’s Kush Bhagat made history on December 29 after winning three gold medals in the 1st Western Asia Youth Chess Championship held in Al Ain Chess Club, UAE.
ii. The second standard student of the NSS Hill Spring International achieved the feat in all the three categories, rapid, blitz and standard, and became the only Indian in the world to bag all the crowns in the competition.
iii. He defeated about 158 participants from 20 countries across the world and won the rapid format with a fine score of 6.5 points out of a possible 7.
iv. 7-year-old Kush is a trainee of the Mumbai Chess Academy (SMCA), coached under Balaji Guttula.
Imtiaz, Pakistan’s First Test Team Member Dies At 88
i .Pakistan’s First Test Team member, Imtiaz Ahmed, died on December 31, 2016 in a Lahore hospital after a brief illness. He was 88.
ii. Ahmed featured in Pakistan’s first Test played in Delhi against India in October 1952 and went on to play 41 matches as a wicketkeeper-batsman.
iii. Ahmed was known as an aggressive batsman who had a variety of strokes. He scored 2,079 Test runs for Pakistan with a career best of 209 against New Zealand in Lahore in 1955.
Ex-Union Minister Balasaheb Vikhe Patil passed away
Former Union Minister and Congress leader Eknathrao alias ‘Balasaheb’ Vikhe Patil passed away in Maharashtra. He was 84.
About Balasaheb Vikhe Patil :
i. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil was first elected into the Lok Sabha in 1971 from Ahmednagar district and continued to represent Kopargaon Lok Sabha constituency for the next 20 years.
He was a president of Maharashtra Samajwadi Congress during 1977-79.
ii. He was elevated as Minister for Heavy Industries and He returned to the Congress fold in 2004.
iii. He was also a founder president of Maharashtra Pani Parishad and he received Padma Bhushan in 2010.