Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams 04 March 2016

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams

04 March 2016

:: National::

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

  • The Centre was examining the Tamil Nadu government’s request for freeing the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, but made it clear that the government was constitutionally bound to act by the ruling of the Supreme Court

  • This happened a day after the State government wrote to the Centre to seek its opinion necessary under Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure — on its decision to remit the life sentences of all the seven convicts

  • On December 2, 2015, the Supreme Court held that the Centre and not the State government would have the “primacy” and that the States could not exercise suo motu the power to decide whether or not those convicted in the cases investigated by the CBI or another Central agency could be released.

Non-essential plastic to be banned in Karnataka

  • The State Cabinet approved the final draft notification on banning the utilisation of non-essential plastics. Officials of the Department of Forest, Environment and Ecology, who drafted the notification, believe that this will spur the use of ecofriendly materials, and reduce the amount of plastics in garbage dumps

  • Took the decision to ban the manufacture, storage, sale, distribution, and use of plastic carry bags, irrespective of their thickness

  • The decision goes beyond the 2011 notification that banned plastic below 40 microns and aims at banning products for which eco-friendly alternatives are available

  • Additions include thermocol, micro-beads and even plastic cutlery — which were suggestions given by activists and citizens.

  • The ban is expected to reduce non-degradable plastic content in municipal waste by over a third.

Lodha panel recommendations to be followed without delay

  • Giving no quarter, even as BCCI or State cricket associations blamed the Lodha Committee for keeping them in the dark about its recommendations

  • SC rejected the statements saying it was international news that SC had formed the Justice Lodha Committee to suggest reforms in cricket. The whole world knew it.

  • The court allowed a batch of State cricket associations and former players like Bishan Singh Bedi and Kirti Azad to intervene in the case.

  • One of the questions was why the BCCI and State cricketing bodies have ministers as members. The Lodha report had banned government servants and ministers

  • To the BCCI's objection to the Lodha panel’s recommendation on an age cap of 70 years for cricket administrators, Chief Justice Thakur replied, tongue-incheek, “Lawyers like you get better with age, is that so with cricketers also? We feel 70 is a good age for retirement. At 70, they should sit at home and watch cricket on TV.”

  • The BCCI complained that Justice Lodha had recommended voting rights based on territorial boundaries of States and did not take into account historical demarcation of boundaries among members as per the levels of cricket played. This had led to Maharashtra and Gujarat having multiple existing members in BCCI.

ASEAN-Plus military drill begins in Pune

  • Military personnel of adversarial world powers converged upon the Aundh Military Station in Pune to thrall spectators with the largest Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX) ever conducted on Indian soil

  • ‘Force 18’ (initially labelled ‘FTX-2016’) is an elaborate and ambitious military training exercise involving Army units from eighteen countries, often locked as adversaries in the arena of global realpolitik.

  • They include nine members of the Association of South East Asian Nations and eight observer States: India, Japan, Korea, China, Russia, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Myanmar was compelled to back out owing to elections and security issues pertaining to border infiltration.

  • The broad objective of ‘Force 18’ was to build common understanding and achieve inter-operability among the 18 ASEAN-Plus countries

  • The drill also aims at reaffirming India’s expertise as the lead agency in Southeast Asia for Peacekeeping Operations and Humanitarian Mine Action

  • A unique facet of the exercise is that the Indian Army contingent of 40 soldiers is being led by Lt Col Sophia Qureshi, a woman officer from the Corps of Signals, who now has the rare distinction of becoming the first woman officer to lead an Indian Army training contingent in such a multinational exercise


Outrage on taxing EPF

  • Following widespread outrage over the Union Budget proposal to tax Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) held a review with top officials

  • The Union Labour and Employment Ministry made a strong case for a rollback of the proposal to tax 60 per cent of EPF savings at the time of withdrawal,

  • This is the second intervention by the PMO on the issue, the first one being an hour-long discussion with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Mr. Adhia

  • Initially it was said that only the interest earned on EPF savings would be taxed. Later, the Ministry said taxing interest income was just one among the representations the government had received. It said those who bought an annuity product with 60 per cent of their EPF corpus would not be taxed

EPF tax would cost dearly to low income workers

  • Union Budget 2016-17 holds another tax whammy for employees’ provident fund savings which will particularly hurt millions of low-income workers earning as little as Rs.5,000 a month.

  • Such employees would be taxed at the highest marginal income tax rate of 34.6 per cent if they withdraw EPF savings of Rs 50,000 or more, before completing five years of continuous service.

  • The tax, is to be levied at the highest personal tax rate for those members who don’t have a PAN card, according to the Finance Ministry. For those with a PAN card, the tax is levied at 10.3 per cent

  • Those with a balance of just Rs.50,000 in their EPF account, after, say 59 months of service, are essentially low income workers who are not liable to pay tax to begin with. Yet they will be taxed at the rate applicable for those earning over a crore of rupees a year

  • To put that in perspective, banks deduct income tax at 10.3 per cent on interest income of over Rs.10,000 earned from fixed deposits. In cases where a depositor hasn’t shared his PAN card details with the bank, such interest income is taxed at 20.6 per cent.

  • Separately, a PAN number is mandatory for jewellery purchases over Rs. one lakh. Personal income is tax free in the country for those earning about Rs.21,000 a month or Rs.2.5 lakh a year

  • An EPF account is mandatory for all employees earning up to Rs.15,000 per month (raised recently from Rs.6,500 per month) in firms employing over 20 workers. As per the law, 24 per cent of an employee’s salary is contributed to EPFO as a social security net for old age – a part of that (8.33 per cent) is diverted to an employees’ pension scheme (EPS).

  • “This is a very regressive move and would not only lead to taxing those who are not part of the tax net or pushing them to get a PAN card though their income is well below the taxable limit, but also create a huge compliance and paperwork headache for employers as well as the EPFO, who would have to issue tax deduction certificates

  • The government has defended its proposal to tax 60 per cent of EPF savings as a tool to push people into the pension habit and said that only high-income workers would be affected, while those earning upto Rs.15,000 a month won’t be taxed.

Aadhaar Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha. The Bill provides statutory backing to Aadhaar, the unique identity number through which the government plans to target delivery of subsidy benefits and services. The expenditure for the nationwide Aadhaar exercise is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India.

  • The Bill provides for the establishing of the Unified Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the establishment, operation and maintenance of the Central Identity Data Repository. The Authority shall ensure the security, confidentiality and protection of identity information and authentication records of individuals in its possession or control, including the information stored in the repository, according to the Bill. These include biometric information collected, created and stored in electronic form.

  • The Supreme Court has restricted the use of the Aadhaar number until a Constitution Bench delivers its verdict on a number of cases concerning privacy and other issues

  • Under the provisions of the Bill, the Aadhaar number cannot confer right of or proof of citizenship of domicile

  • Mr. Jaitley introduced the measure as a money Bill, which can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and to which the Rajya Sabha where the NDA government does not enjoy a majority cannot make amendments. The Upper House can only make recommendations to money Bills and must return such legislation to the Lok Sabha within 14 days from the date of their receipt, thus ensuring a time-bound process

  • The Opposition also demanded to know if the Bill can be referred to the standing committee on finance. Money Bills cannot be referred to a joint committee of Parliament


Anti-tank Guided missiles

  • Rafael of Israel and Kalyani group are setting up a joint venture (JV), Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems, to build weapon systems in India. It could start with the production of Spike AntiTank Guided Missile (ATGM) which the Indian Army is in the process of procuring.

  • Under a tripartite agreement the JV is expected to manufacture sub-assemblies and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will do electro optics and do hot integration at its Hyderabad facility which currently manufactures French Milan ATGMs

  • Conforming to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms in defence the Kalyani group will hold 51 percent stake with Rafael holding the rest. The initiative is in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ policy and will enable the development and production of high end technology systems within the country.

  • The Rs.3,200 crore deal for the ATGMs was cleared in 2014 by the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley which put an end to uncertainty after the U.S. ofer of joint production of Javelin missiles.

  • The deal includes 8,000 plus missiles, 300 plus launchers and requisite technology transfer to the Indian entity which was initially supposed to be BDL. Spike is a third generation, fire and forget anti-tank missile

:: SPORTS ::

Martin Crowe passes away

  • New Zealand’s greatest batsman Martin Crowe died at the age of 53 after a long battle with cancer

  • Crowe enjoyed a 13-year international career from 1982-95, including four years as captain.

  • In his retirement, Crowe devised a new ultra-short form of the game called Cricket Max for his new employer Sky Television, which was pitched to British officials and helped lay the foundation for the modern Twenty20 revolution.

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