Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 28 November 2017

Bank Exam Current Affairs

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 28 November 2017

::National::

Aadhaar cases might go before Constitutional Bench

  • Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said he will consider listing soon the clutch of petitions against the Aadhaar scheme before a Constitution Bench.
  • Senior advocate Shyam Divan and Attorney General K.K. Venugopal made a joint mention to the Chief Justice Bench. On October 30, the CJI indicated that a Constitution Bench would hear the petitions against the validity of the scheme from November last week.
  • The petitions have been in limbo since 2014. A five-judge Constitution Bench is hearing petitions on the Centre-Delhi government tussle over the administration of the national capital.
  • The Aadhaar cases may be listed after the hearing of these petitions are wrapped up, probably next week.
  • The deadline for the Aadhaar-bank account linking is December 31. That for Aadhaar-mobile phone linking is February 6. Both have been challenged as a violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

CJI said he would not compel Govt to ratify the UN Convention against Torture

  • The Supreme Court said it respected the government’s “political compulsions” and would not compel it to ratify the UN Convention against Torture, or command it to frame a standalone anti-torture legislation.
  • A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, refrained from passing any positive order on a public interest litigation petition filed by the former Union Law Minister Ashwini Kumar for a standalone anti-torture law.
  • The court disposed of the petition almost a year after entertaining it. At the weekend, the judiciary faced a barrage of criticism for its “judicial activism.”
  • At the Law Day and Constitution Day functions, Ministers said public interest litigation petitions could not replace governance and policy decisions of the executive.
  • “How can we compel the government to make a law? Can we ask the government to ratify a treaty by way of a mandamus,” Chief Justice Misra asked Mr. Kumar.
  • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, on the Bench, said the government “has to take a political decision on whether or not it should ratify the treaty”.
  • Mr. Kumar said the government had given a commitment to the international community to address torture, especially custodial torture.
  • “We would be crossing judicial limits if we issue a mandamus to the government. We have to respect the political compulsions of the government,” Justice Chandrachud said.
  • Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal intervened to submit that the government was considering an anti-torture law.
  • The Law Commission has recommended that the Centre ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and frame a standalone anti-torture law, making the state responsible for any injury inflicted by its agents on citizens.
  • The commission has said the state should not claim immunity for the actions of its officers or agents.
  • Though India signed the convention in 1997, it is yet to ratify it. Efforts to bring in a standalone law have failed. The National Human Rights Commission has been urging the government to recognise torture as a separate crime and codify the punishment in a separate penal law.
  • The Supreme Court, while hearing Mr. Kumar’s petition, termed torture an instrument of “human degradation” used by the state. It was after the court’s scathing remarks that the government referred the question of a law on torture to the Law Commission.
  • In its 273rd report, the commission has proposed the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017, which gives a wide definition to torture, not limited to physical pain but also including “inflicting injury, either intentionally or involuntarily, or even an attempt to cause such an injury, which will include physical, mental or psychological in nature”.

The government is looking to prepare a unified testing methodology

  • The government is looking to prepare a unified testing methodology to ensure that all agencies that map air pollution use accurate instruments.
  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is in the process of setting up ‘gas standards’, or reference samples of Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrous Oxide (NO2) and Particulate –Pb (lead), –As (Arsenic) and –Ni (Nickel).
  • Currently, the National Ambient Air Quality standards specify the upper limits for pollutants and, based on this, the Air Quality Index — that grades air quality in cities from ‘Good’ to ‘Severe’ — is prepared for several Indian cities.
  • “However we have noticed several times that these measurement devices are not calibrated and errors creep in,” said D.K. Aswal, Director, National Physical Laboratory. “This month, we are ready with the standards for several pollutants.”
  • CPCB has prescribed guidelines for the maximum permissible levels of 12 gases and pollutants, depending on residential, rural or industrial locations.
  • Standards for PM2.5 were laid out in 2009, though CPCB is now mooting a proposal to revise these standards, a senior official in the organisation hadtold The Hindu earlier this year.
  • The NPL has also developed a custom air sampler that claims to measure PM2.5 levels far more accurately than existing devices.

Delhi Heath Department of issued a health advisory

  • With the air quality in Delhi remaining “very poor”, the Delhi Heath Department of issued a health advisory and appealed to citizens to join hand and work towards improving the air quality The AQI score was 367.
  • In its advisory, the government said that the issue was a man-made problem that can be reversed by taking proactive reversal measures.
  • The department has urged the public to carpool and use public transport as much as possible and not to burn dry leaves, crop residue, wood, coal, and other fuels.
  • High-risk groups such as small children, elderly and pregnant women have been advise to wear a N95 mask if going outdoors during the peak pollution hours.
  • The MeT has forecast mist/shallow fog with clear skies the rest of the day. The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to hover between 28 and 8 degrees Celsius respectively.

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::Business and Economy::

GST collection reduced in october

  • Revenue collections under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for October slid to Rs. 83,346 crore, from more than Rs. 92,000 crore in September, according to official figures released by the government.
  • “95.9 lakh taxpayers have been registered under GST so far, of which 15.1 lakh are composition dealers who are required to file returns every quarter,” the government said in a release.
  • “50.1 lakh returns have been filed for the month of October till 26th November 2017.”
  • The Centre said several factors contributed to the drop including additional Integrated GST (IGST) collections in July, August, and September, the reduction in tax rates on some items, as well as lower compliance.
  • “Because of the first time requirement of paying IGST on transfer of goods from one State to another State even within the same company, there was an additional cash flow of IGST in the first three months,” it said.
  • “As and when the final transaction of these goods takes place, the credit for IGST is being utilised for payment of SGST and CGST and therefore, the inflow of new taxes is low.
  • Since the overall incidence of taxes on most commodities have come down under GST, it would naturally have some implication” on revenues, it added.
  • With more wide-ranging rate reductions having been effected in November, collections may dip further in the coming months.
  • The Centre also said tax compliance “may not be up to the mark” as implementation of key steps like matching of returns, e-waybills and reverse charge mechanism had been postponed.

India would allow mutual agreement procedures and advance pricing agreements with all countries

  • In a move that could further improve India’s ease of doing business rankings, the Income Tax Department on Monday issued a clarification saying that it would allow mutual agreement procedures (MAPs) and advance pricing agreements (APAs) with all countries
  • abandoning a stance that disallowed such agreements with major trade partners like France, Germany, Italy, Singapore and South Korea.
  • India’s previously held stance was, if treaties with a particular country did not contain a ‘corresponding adjustment’ clause, then the Indian revenue department would not enter into bilateral advance pricing agreements or mutual agreement procedures with those countries.
  • In other words, any transfer pricing disputes would be settled through domestic litigation instead of bilateral arbitration.
  • APAs are meant to settle potential disputes in advance, while MAPs lay out the procedure to settle a dispute once it has happened.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes has decided to accept “transfer Pricing MAP and bilateral APA applications regardless of the presence or otherwise of Paragraph 2 of Article 9 in the DTAAs [double taxation avoidance agreements].
  • So, important trade partners, “treaties with whom did not have this particular clause, such as France, Germany, Italy, Singapore and South Korea, did not get the benefit of bilateral APAs or MAPs. That has now been rectified. It is a very positive step.”

Ficci survey points out bottoming out of impacts of reforms

  • The slowdown in the economy due to demonetisation and the impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) seems to have bottomed out, a FICCI survey said.
  • The GDP growth is expected to improve to 6.2% in the second quarter of this financial year and to 6.7% in the third quarter.
  • “According to the results of FICCI’s latest Economic Outlook Survey, GDP growth is expected to improve to 6.2% in Q2 of 2017-18 and further to 6.7% in Q3 of 2017-18,” the report said.
  • “The slowdown in the economy due to demonetisation and the adjustment impact of GST implementation seems to be bottoming out and as the new indirect tax regime stabilises, the economy would see an improvement in its performance.”
  • “The steps taken by the government to reduce the compliance burden related to GST and make its implementation smoother, the comprehensive plan announced for recapitalisation of the banks.
  • And the thrust laid on the infrastructure sector have been acknowledged by the survey participants as an indication of government’s clear resolve to address key issues that are hobbling growth,” it said.

Fifteenth Finance Commission would be headed by N.K. Singh

  • The Centre announced that the Fifteenth Finance Commission would be headed by former Secretary to the government of India N.K. Singh.
  • The panel, which is to make its recommendations for the five years beginning April 1, 2020, will include Shaktikanta Das, former Economic Affairs Secretary and Anoop Singh, adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
  • The panel is tasked with looking into tax collections and how they are to be divided between the Centre and the States, the principles that should govern the grants in aid to the States and to review the levels of fiscal deficit, among other issues.

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