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GST council approves 4 tier rate structure for GST
i. GST Council approved a four-tier GST tax structure of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, with lower rates for essential items and the highest for luxury and de-merits goods that would also attract an additional cess
ii. The lowest rate of 5% would be for common use items while there would be two standard rates of 12% and 18% under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime targetted to be rolled out from April 1, 2017.
iii. The highest tax slab will be applicable to items which are currently taxed at 30-31% (excise duty plus VAT).
iv. The next tax slab will be 5%, wherein items of mass consumption like spices, tea and mustard oil will be taxed. There will be two standard rates of 12% and 18% where a majority of the items used by the common man will be taxed.
v. There will be a higher slab of 28% where items currently attracting a tax of 27-31% will be taxed. However, items used by the middle class such as toothpastes, soaps and refrigerators, which currently have a high tax incidence of more than 27%, will be brought down into the lower slab of 18%.
Minister of Railways inaugurates International Conference on Decarbonisation of Indian Railways in New Delhi
i. Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has inaugurated the International Conference on Decarbonisation of Indian Railways – Mission Electrification in New Delhi on November 3, 2016. It was organised by Institution of Railways Electrical Engineer (IREE) in partnership with ASSOCHAM India.
ii. Indian Railways is looking forward to make Railways greener by electrifying another 24000 km of Rail Tracks to the existing 28000 km in the next few years.
iii. Energy demand of Indian Railways is expected to triple by 2030 from current levels to 49 billion units of electricity.
iv. The Increase in the pace of electrification will reduce its fuel bill by Rs. 10000 Crore annually as against the business as usual approach.
v. Suresh Prabhu launched a mobile app ‘RAIL SAVER’ to reduce energy consumption by 15 – 20%.
vi. The Indian Railways has set a target to achieve 100 per cent de-carbonisation, with 90 per cent electrification in next five years with the investment of Rs 25,000 crore
ICANN’s 57th annual general meeting held in Hyderabad
i. The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) runs the World Wide Web and has begun its 7days annual general meeting in Hyderabad.
ii. This is the first meeting after the US give up its operational authority over the internet in September last year.This is the second time India host the meeting after 2008.
iii. The conference would discuss transitional issues of internet governance, besides issues related to domain name system
iv. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a nonprofit organization that is responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the names paces of the Internet, ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation
Maharashtra become First sate to launch Cyber Police Stations in each Districts
i. Devendra Fadnavis led Maharashtra is the first state in the country which will have a cyber police station in each districts of the state announced by Home Department on November 3 , 2016.
ii. It is converting 42 state-of-the-art cyber crime labs into cyber police stations to take on cyber criminals.
iii. Cyber crime wing is setting up 51 cyber crime labs in Maharashtra. These include the 34 labs at the district level, seven at Inspector General’s offices, nine at Commissioner of Police offices and one lab at the state police headquarters.
iv. CM Fadnavis had inaugurated 34 well equipped cyber labs in all districts, on August 15, 2016.
v. In Maharshtra 907 cases of cyber crime were registered in 2013, as many as 2,195 such cases were filed in 2015. There was conviction in just five of the 4,981 cases filed in three years.
Pench Tiger Reserve, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Umred – Kharandla Sanctuary, Nawegaon – Nagzira Tiger Reserve,Melghat Tiger Reserve, Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and Bor Wildlife Sanctuary
TDP launched ‘Jana Chaitanya Yatra’ in Andhra Pradesh
i. The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu launched ‘Jana Chaitanya Yatra’ in Andhra Pradesh to highlight the welfare and developmental initiatives of the government.
ii. He also launched the membership drive of the party in Koppolu village in Prakasam district, with a target to achieve the one-crore mark from the present 50 lakh
Andhra Pradesh :
♦ Andhra Pradesh is the first Indian state of free India which was formed on purely linguistic basis in 1953.
♦ It has second longest coast line after Gujarat.
♦ It is also called as Ratna Garbha of India
Google tied up with ASI for virtual tour of monuments
i. Google has associated with Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) for 360 degree virtual tour of 280-odd monuments across the country.
ii. We have a tie-up with ASI for 360 degrees virtual tour of 280 monuments across the country of which 30 are in West Bengal was stated bySanket Gupta, programme manager of Google Maps.
iii. ASI had given the permission to Google for creating the virtual tour, which would be available in the maps.Google has launched an arrangement of products in India like offline view of maps, live traffic alerts and inclusion of unknown places on the maps by local guides.
iv. Asked about Google Street View, Mr. Gupta reported that authorities at the central and state levels were denying permission.In India Itis trying to work with the state and central levels for allowing Street View
v. Some of the major monuments are Taj Mahal, Victoria Memorial and the ruins of Hampi, he said, adding eight were from Kolkata.one billion people across the globe were using Google maps and India was among the top five.
Freedom of the Press 2016 report : Freedom House
i. Freedom of the Press Report 2016 is release by the US based NGO. This report is a yearly report by US-based non-governmental organization Freedom House, measuring the level of freedom and editorial independence enjoyed by the press in nations and significant disputed territories around the world.
ii. Theme : The Battle for the Dominant Message.
iii. The report says, only 13 percent of the world’s population enjoys a free press, which means places where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.
iv. 41 percent of the world’s population has a Partly Free press and 46 percent live in Not Free media environments.
v. Among the countries that suffered the largest declines in 2015 were Bangladesh, Turkey, Burundi, France, Serbia, Yemen, Egypt, Macedonia, and Zimbabwe.
BANKING & FINANCE
India’s gross-value added growth to hit 7.6% this yr: DBS
i. India’s gross-value increased growth is expected to quicken to 7.6% this year from 7.2% in 2015-16, driven by sustained support from public capex spending was reported by DBS.
ii. According to the global financial services major, while private sector activity remains depressed, high frequency fiscal numbers point to sustained support from public capex spending.
iii. The upcoming seasonal festive boost should provide some relief, followed by better consumption on wage increases and a normal monsoon.
DBS Bank Ltd :
♦ DBS Bank Ltd is a Singaporean multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Marina Bay, Singapore. The company was known as The Development Bank of Singapore Limited, before the present name was adopted in July 2003 to reflect its changing role as a regional bank.
♦ Headquarters: Singapore.
♦ Chairman: Peter Seah Lim Huat.
YES BANK launches YES MOBILE 2.0
i. YES BANK,Country’s 5th largest private sector lender has launched its “YES MOBILE 2.0” mobile Banking app with multiple industry first features, and extensive support for Banking transactions on Apple and Android based Smart Watches.
ii. Some of the industry first features of the app are: One touch comprehensive bill payment
iii. Register Queries/Complaints in a hands-free manner using advanced Speech to Text capabilities
iv. Bill Payment from Wearables including Apple Watch and Android Smart Watches.
Earthport receives RBI nod for Outbound Cross Border Payments
i. Reserve Bank of India has given an approval to British payments company Earthport for outbound cross-border payment services to banks in India.
ii. The company is already into facilitating the inbound payments into the country.
iii. India is amongst the fastest growing economies in the world and plays a very important role in the cross border payments ecosystem globally.
Five more banks join the Unified Payments Interface (UPI)
i. Five new banks have joined the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) bandwagon, thereby taking the total number of banks using UPI to 26.
ii. It include public sector lenders, State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and Bank of Baroda and two private banks HDFC Bank and IDFC Bank.
iii. The applications are currently live only for the banks’ own customers and after being tested till they will be made available to the public through the android play store,
♦ UPI was launched by National Payments Corporation of India with Reserve Bank of India. It is an architecture and a set of standard app APIs by RBI to facilitate the next generation online immediate payments. Transactions are made through a virtual address, the VPA (Virtual Payment Address), which is in the format [name]@[bankname]
♦ The upper limit per UPI transaction is Rs. 1 Lakh.
♦ Parent: NPCI
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
Govt imposed anti-dumping duty on certain Chinese steel products
i. Centre has levied anti-dumping duty on imports of steel wire rods from China to protect domestic manufacturers from cheap in-bound shipments.
ii. The department of revenue in a notification on Wednesday announced that the anti-dumping duty is being imposed for six months on import of wire road of alloy or non-alloy steel from China.
iii. The measure follows suggestion by the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) that steel wire road was being exported by China “below the normal value” and “the domestic industry has suffered material injury” because of such imports.
iv. An anti-dumping duty similiar to the difference between the landed value of steel products and USD 499 per tonne will be imposed on products exported by Minmetals Yingkou Medium Plate Co Ltd.
v. State-owned Steel Authority of India, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, Usha Martin and JSW Steel had jointly filed the application to investigate the dumping of these products from China.
India’s most attractive brands index 2016 topped by LG
i. The Tata group decreased in ranking on India’s most attractive brands index, which has been topped by South Korean consumer electronics maker LG.
ii. Tata, which was at number 4 in 2015 and number 5 in 2014, is ranked at number 7 in India’s Most Attractive Brands 2016 study, carried out by Trust Research Advisory (TRA) and based on primary research conducted on close to 3,000 consumers across 16 cities.
iii. The top three ranks were occupied by LG,Sony and Samsung Mobiles repectively.LG has gradually but steadily been increasing its rank over the three issues of India’s Most attractive Brands reports, going from being fourth in 2013 to being second in 2016 and ultimately first this year.
iv. India based firms Bajaj, Tata and Maruti Suzuki were ranked sixth, seven and eight respectively. Airtel and Nokia took the ninth and tenth spot respectively in the TRA’s most attractive brands list.
v. In the sub-category of FMCG diversified, as per TRA, Patanjali cracked Hindustan Unilever (HUL) to be the most the attractive brand.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
PM gives away Ramnath Goenka Awards for Excellence in Journalism 2016
i. The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi awarded the Ramnath Goenka Awards for excellence in journalism on November 3, 2016 in New Delhi.
ii. Ramnath Goenka Award was instituted by the Ramnath Goenka Foundation in 2005 to celebrate the legacy of the founder of The Indian Express Group.
iii. The awards acknowledge exceptional work across 28 categories in print, broadcast and online journalism in English, Hindi and regional languages.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Kolkata-born Sarabjit Singh Marwah becomes Canada’s first Sikh Senator
Former Scotiabank Vice Chairman Sarabjit Singh Marwah is has become the first Sikh to be appointed to the Canadian Senate to showcase the rich diversity of Sikh and South Asian art and culture
♦ Sarabjit along with five new person from Ontario appointed to the Senate by Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
♦ He will be the only Indian-origin member of the Senate (upper house), there are over 20 MPs of Indian origin the Canadian House of Commons (lower house).
About Sarabjit Singh Marwah :
i. Marwah was born in Kolkata in 1952.He joined Scotiabank in Toronto as a financial analyst in 1978.He become the Chief Financial Officer (COO) of the bank in 1998. In 2002, he was made the bank’s senior executive vice president and chief financial officer.
ii. In 2005, he was elevated as the vice chairman and chief administrative officer. In 2008, he was re-designated as vice chairman and chief operating officer of the bank – the positions he held till his retirement in 2014.
iii. He has served on the boards of many famous Canadian institutions such as the Toronto Star, the Toronto International Film Festival, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Royal Ontario Museum, the United Way Campaign, and the Hospital for Sick Children.
Lebanon’s president names Saad Hariri new prime minister
i. Former Prime Minister and leader of Lebanon’s Future Movement Saad Hariri was named as Lebanon’s new prime minister by the President Michel Aoun on November 3, 2016
ii. The decision came after Hariri won the support of 110 out of 127 lawmakers
♦ Capital: Beirut
♦ Currency: Lebanese pound
Lt Gen Satish Dua takes over as Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC)
i. Lt Gen Satish Dua took over as Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC). He was also accorded a Tri-Services Guard of Honour at the lawns of South Block.
ii. He was commissioned in December 1979 into 8 JAK LI (Siachen), a Unit of the Indian Army which is presently the Ceremonial Battalion in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
iii. He raised a new counter terrorism formation of Assam Rifles (IGAR East) in the North East. He was also the Indian Defence Attache to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Kim Byong-Joon is the new Prime Minister of South Korea
i. Kim Byong-Joon was named as the new Prim Minister of South Korea by President Park Geun-Hye. He replaced Hwang Kyo-Ahn
ii. Prime minister of South Korea Hwang Kyo-Ahn and two other top cabinet members as apart of a planned reshuffle of senior civil servants and ministers
iii. Park has been engulfed in a political storm over allegations that she allowed a long-time friend, who holds no political position to meddle in affairs of state including cabinet appointments.
South Korea :
♦ Capital: Seoul
♦ Currency: South Korean won
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
TRAI set 512 kbps as minimum broadband speed in India
i. TRAI,has made it mandatory for all the Broadband providers to at least give a minimum speed of 512Kbps after users consumed their initial data quota.
ii. This means that now any service offering “broadband internet” will have to ensure speed of up to 512kbps. This is double of 256kbps, which was made compulsory earlier.It is surprising to know that many of the ISP’s have been providing internet packages with controlled speed of 256Kbps.
iii. The narrowing gap between the minimum speeds for the fixed line and the wirelessis increasing any incentive one would have by going in for a fixed line.
iv. India has primarily been a mobile-first country with the wireless broadband connections pegged at 148.93 million overshadowing the 17.49 million wired broadband subscribers.
Researchers aimed to scoop out marine oil spills
i. Recovering marine oil spills might soon become simple, efficient and cost-effective, thanks to a compound (gelator) developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER).
ii. A team headed by Dr. Kana M. Sureshan from the School of Chemistry used glucose as a starting material and through several chemical reactions produced compounds (gelators) that selectively congeal oil, including crude oil, from an oil-water mixture.
iii. The gelators, which are in a powder form, could be easily applied over oil-water mixture and do not cause any environmental damage.The results based on laboratory studies were published recently in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
iv. Unlike current methods, our gelator can recover oil from oil-water mixture and the gelator can be reused several times.But in the case of crude oil, the gelator can’t be recycled. So the aim is to make the gelator cheaper and more efficient.
NASA completes construction of largest space telescope James Webb Space Telescope
i. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States has successfully finished building the largest space telescope — one that is 100 times powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope.
ii. The James Webb Space Telescope is the name of this telescope and will be the successor of NASA’s 26-year-old Hubblethe largest-ever space telescope is expected to launch within two years.
iii. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden hosted a news conference to announce the milestone at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, overlooking the 18 large mirrors that will collect infrared light, sheltered behind a tennis-court-size sun shield.
iv. The Webb telescope’s infrared cameras are so sensitive that it needs to be shielded from the rays of the Sun. A five-layer sunshield of the size of a tennis court will prevent the heat from interfering with the telescope’s infrared sensors.
Former J&K Deputy CM Mangat Ram Sharma passes away
i. Former Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma passed away. He was 85.
ii. He started his career as a Block Development Officer.He was served as legislator for six times also served as speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.
iii. He served as Deputy Chief Minister in the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government.Later served as Health Minister in 2006 in Ghulam Nabi Azad government.
Sri Lankan music legend Pandit Amaradeva dies
i. Legendary Sri Lankan singer and composer Pandit Amaradeva who is a recipient of global honours, including India’s Padma Shri passed away.
ii. He was 88. His music blended Indian classical ragas with Lankan folk tunes.
iii. The musician has been the recipient of several awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (2001), Padma Shri (2002) and Sri Lankan President’s Award of Kala Keerthi (1986) and Deshamanya Award (1998).