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The Union Government set up a Tax Policy Research Unit (TPRU) and Tax Policy Council by replacing Tax Research Unit and Tax Policy and Legislation. The TPRU is multi penal body its aim is to carry out the studies on various topics of fiscal and tax policies referred to it by CBDT and CBEC.
As of 23rd January, 2016 National Pension System (NPS) had 11,459,555 subscribers with a total corpus of Rs. 90, 327 crore. The total Assets under Management are worth Rs. 109,140 crore while Assets under Management per subscriber is Rs. 95,000 on an average.
“Manchester of India” gave India its first underwater restaurant
“Real Poseidon”, India’s first underwater restaurant initiated in Ahmedabad which has been created 20 feet below ground level. It has been owned by Ahmedabad-based businessman, Bharat Bhatt.
- It has spread across 3000 square ft, it’s plushed with 1,50,000 litres of water.
- It has a 1,200 square ft dining hall for 32 seaters.
Around 4000 species of fish and marine species are sourced from the local markets in Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara.
Union Government issues guidelines in wake of Zika Virus outbreak
The Union Health Ministry issued detailed guidelines for fighting against Zika virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared an emergency over the spread of the virus
- Pregnant women should cancel their travel to the affected areas.
- Travellers to the affected countries/areas should strictly follow individual protective measures.
- Persons with co-morbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension should take advice from the nearest health facility before travel to an affected country.
Rapid Response Teams (RRT) including a microbiologist, an epidemiologist and a medical specialist has been set up.
NIIF signed MoU with Rusnano OJSC to set-up Russia-India High Technology Private Equity Fund
National Investment and Infrastructure fund (NIIF) the India’s maiden sovereign wealth signed MoU with Russia’s Rusnano OJSC to set up high technology private Equity fund in India.
- The aim of NIIF is to take advantage of economic impact generally through infrastructure development in commercially doable infrastructure projects and other nationally important projects in India.
- Government holds 49% share in the fund and the rest would be held privately.
- Secretary of Economic affairs – Shaktikanta Das
As per the performance management company Nielsen‘s global confidence index, India sat down again as topper with 131 points in respect to job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions in the fourth quarter of 2015.
- In this recently released consumer confidence index, India is followed by Philippines (117), Indonesia (115), Thailand (114) and Vietnam (112).
- Figure of India is 54% lower than the third quarter of 2015 and higher by 6% points in the first quarter.
Vietnam gets world’s longest cable car system
Vietnam initiated the world’s longest three-rope cable car system with a total length of 6,292.5 metres in the Northern Province of Lao Cai.
- It will connect Muong Hoa Valley and Fansipan Mountain in Lao Cai.
- It has a capacity of 2,000 passengers per hour with each cabin accommodating 35 people.
New World Records:
- The system has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s longest three-rope cable car route and also the world’s biggest height gap between its departure and arrival stations of 1,410 metres.
Infosys to build the World’s tallest Clock Tower
Tech giant Infosys is all set to build the world’s tallest free-standing clock tower at its 345-acre global education centre in Mysuru.
- The proposed 135 meter-tall tower will stand approximately 19 floors and will also house a boardroom on the 7th level.
- It will dwarf London’s famous Big Ben (96 meters), which is the currently the tallest clock tower in the world, by at least a third of its height.
The tower is designed by one of India’s most famous architects Hafeez Contractor, who also designed Infosys’ Mysuru campus with structural engineering consultancy provided by New York-based firm LERA and built by Bengaluru-based KEF Infra.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI rates unchanged in 6th bi-monthly monetary policy review
In the 6th bi-monthly monetary policy review, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the repo and reverse repo rate unchanged at 6.75% and 5.75% respectively.
- Cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0% of net demand and time liability (NDTL).
In the bi-monthly monetary policy review, RBI also emphasized the need for ease of doing business, in line with the Government’s Start-up India initiative and plans to contribute to an ecosystem that is conducive for growth of start-ups.
- Bank Rate – 7.75% (Unchanged)
- MSF (Marginal Standing Facility) – 7.75% (Unchanged)
- SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio) – 21.5% (Unchanged)
HDFC Bank to sell loans to non-customers through ATMs
HDFC Bank is selling Loans to non –customers through ATMs.
HDFC bank is using its ATM network to clutch new customers by extending its branch services through ATMs.
- Nearly 15% of new personal loans are approved and distributed by the banks without human involvement these are done using online computer system.
- The payment through ATMs is a new challenge for the bank.
- HDFC is providing every kind of loans excluding home loans only.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Alphabet Inc. becomes the world’s most valuable company after overtaking the Apple. Alphabet’s market capitalization becomes $531 billion after its share has been rose by 1.7%. Five of the most valuable companies in the world are – Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.
Famous Indian filmmaker Kanu Behl has won the Best First Foreign Film Award conferred by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 2016 (FSCC) for his directorial film “Titli”.
Amitabh Bachchan gets lifetime achievement award
Legendary Amitabh Bachchan (73) was presented with the lifetime achievement award at NDTV Indian of the Year Awards.
KU wins first chancellor’s award
State’s oldest University, Kerala University has been conferred with first-ever chancellor’s award with a prize money of Rs 5 crore.
- The prize include includes a citation and a gold plated rolling trophy.
- The prize money is meant for capital expenditure for any major project of the university.
The award was instituted to nurture the spirit of healthy competition among the universities, resulting in better quality in higher education, so as to make the universities vibrant centres of learning. The universities were judged on the following parameters on a total scale of 500 marks:
- Academics (200 marks)
- Teaching & Pedagogy methods (75 marks)
- Students Profiles & Achievements (75 marks)
- Academic Governance (75 marks)
- Other achievements (75 marks)
S N Prasad assumes charge as CIL director
S N Prasad has been designated as the Director (Marketing), Coal India Ltd. He will succeed B K Saxena.
- Prior to this elevation Prasad was General Manager (Sales & Marketing) in South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, the Bilaspur-based subsidiary of CIL.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Cabinet approves JV with states for rail projects
To ensure greater participation of states, Union Cabinet has given its stamp of approval by allowing the Railways to form Joint Venture companies with state governments to mobilize resources for speedy implementation of rail projects.
- Initial Paid capital of initial of each Joint Venture (JV) – Rs 100 crore
- Railways’ initial paid-up capital – Rs 50 crore
The JV can also form project-specific SPVs (special purpose vehicle) with equity holding by other shareholders like Banks, ports, public sector undertakings, mining companies etc.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
India, NASA to study Ladakh region under Spaceward Bound programme
India and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) joined hands to explore the environment of Ladakh under NASA’s Spaceward Bound programme.
- Under the partnership, a team of scientists from NASA, the Mars society Australia and the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow will undertake an expedition to Ladakh in August 2016.
During their 10-day expedition, the scientists will study the similarities of certain parts of the region’s topography and microbial life to the surroundings of Mars.
Rajkot franchise IPL team name as ‘Gujarat Lions’
Rajkot franchise has been named as “the Gujarat Lions” after an online survey. The Gujarat Lions will be led by Suresh Raina.
- Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Bravo were selected by Rajkot for its first IPL plan which will be held in November.
- Gujarat Lions in company with Rising Pune Supergiants will play the next two editions of the Indian
- Gujarat Lions and other IPL teams will now buy more players from a big auction list in February.
Kerala wins 61st National School Athletics championship
Kerala won the 61st National School Athletics championship. The championship was started on 29 January 2016 and finished on February 2.
- The national School Athletics championship was held at Olympian Rahman Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala.
- Kerala becomes the champions in the event of the 19th consecutive Championship.
- Kerala host of the championship and got 306 points winning 39 gold, 29 silver and 17 bronze medals.
- Second position was gain by Tamil Nadu 116 points winning 11 gold, 8 silver and 13 bronze medals followed by Maharashtra with 101.
Former RBI Deputy Governor S. S. Tarapore passed away
Known for his strong views on inflation and capital account convertibility, S.S. Tarapore, an economist and former Central Bank Deputy Governor passed away in Mumbai at the age of 80. During his session, Indian Govt has introduced economic reforms which led to structural changes.
About S. S. Tarapore:
BA (economics) from Sheffield University and MSc (economics) from London University, S.S. Tarapore joined the Reserve Bank of India in 1961 as Research Officer.
- Nickname – “Inflation Hawk”
- From 1992-1996, he served RBI as its deputy Governor when C. Rangarajan was the governor.
- He retired from RBI in 1996 as Deputy Governor.
- After retiring, he chaired two committees on full capital account convertibility and one on how to streamline the RBI.
- He was staunch critic of the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC).
Former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jakhar passes away
Former Lok Sabha speaker and Congress veteran Balram Jakhar due to brain stroke at the age of 92.
- Balram Jakhar served as the speaker of Lok Sabha from 1980 to 1989.
- From June 30, 2004 to May 30, 2009, he served as the governor of Madhya Pradesh.
- He also served as the union agriculture minister during former prime minister P.V Narasimha Rao-led Congress government.
Veteran Urdu writer Intizar Husain passes away
Famous Urdu fiction writer, novelist, columnist and poet Intizar Husain passed away in Lahore, Pakistan.
- He was born on 7 December 1923 at Dibai in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh
- He was the first Pakistani and the first Urdu writer ever to be nominated for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction in 2013.
- He presents the ‘Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters’ by French Government in 2014.
As a journalist he worked in various newspapers and in 1988 he was retired from ‘Daily Mashriq’.