Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 15 July 2017


Daily Current Affairs for IAS Exams

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 15 July 2017

::National::

Govt assured all party that solution for Chinese problem would be found

  • The government told an all-party meeting of MPs that China was trying to extend its control further down the Doklam trijunction in an effort to gain a strategic advantage over “Chicken’s Neck” in Siliguri, West Bengal, which connects India to the rest of the Northeast.

  • The government assured the parliamentarians that there would no flexing of muscles and a solution would be reached through dialogue.

  • The meet was to clear doubts on the ongoing standoff with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army at the Doklam trijunction near Sikkim.

  • With the help of satellite maps, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar made a presentation before 19 MPs that Indian troops were engaged in a “face-off” with the PLA in

  • Doklam near the Sikkim-Bhutan-China trijunction.

  • Mr. Jaishankar told the MPs who attended the three-hour meeting that apart from diplomacy, “other channels” were also being used to end the standoff and India is insisting that the pre-June 16 condition is reached at Doklam.

Second phase of operation clean money to come soon

  • The Income Tax Department has, in the second phase of Operation Clean Money, identified 5.56 lakh people, whose deposits during the demonetisation window do not match their income profile.

  • Another 1.04 lakh persons, who did not disclose all bank accounts during e-verification in the first phase, have been identified. In the first phase, 17.92 lakh persons had been identified.

  • The statement added that all taxpayers so identified would be informed via email or SMS and that they can view the relevant information on the e-filing portal https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.

  • “The taxpayer will be able to submit online explanation without any need to visit Income Tax office. All identified persons are being informed through Email and SMS for submitting response online,” the statement added.

  • “These are persons whose tax profiles were found to be inconsistent with the cash deposits made by them during the demonetisation period,” the official statement said.

Malabar 2017, involving India, the U.S. and Japan, is strategically very important

  • The trilateral Naval exercise, Malabar 2017, involving India, the U.S. and Japan, is strategically very important and meant to maintain the rule of law and maritime security in the region, Japanese Ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu said.

  • Mr Hiramatsu said, “This is very significant politically and [of] very symbolic value that the three countries are working together to safeguard the rule of law and maritime security in this region.”

  • The Ambassador said his country’s relations with India had a solid base, “for safeguarding peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region” adding that there could be more exchanges involving ground and air forces and an exchange of personnel in various areas.

  • On whether India and Japan would take up specific pilot projects in Africa, the Ambassador said there was a “good win-win situation”.

  • On the next steps in the on the civil nuclear agreement, signed between the two countries last year, given the Diet’s approval of the pact recently, the Ambassador expressed the hope that there would be discussion “in due course of time.”

  • Mr. Hiramatsu said the political situation was stable in India and this was one of the attractions for Japanese investors. The Ambassador added that Japanese investors in India were “very happy” with roll out of the GST.

SC wants centre to decide on NRIs voting within a week

  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre to decide within a week whether it would amend the electoral law or rules for allowing Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to vote through postal or e-ballots in elections here.

  • A bench comprising Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud took note of the fact that the Centre and ECI were agreeable to allowing NRIs to vote as suggested in the report of a panel headed by Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi.

  • The poll panel had said the move to allow NRIs to use proxy voting on the lines of defence personnel and e-ballot facility would require changes either in the

  • Representation of the People Act or in the rules made under the Act.

  • Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for one of the petitioners, said NRIs could be given the right to vote by making changes in the rules and there was no need to amend the provisions of the RP Act.

  • The bench posted a batch of petitions filed by Nagender Chindam, chairman of London-based Pravasi Bharat organisation and other NRIs, for further hearing on July 21.

Cook Islands has created one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries

  • The Cook Islands has created one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries, protecting a vast swathe of the Pacific Ocean more than three times the size of France.

  • Legislation setting up the 1.9 million square km reserve passed through the tiny nation’s Parliament.

  • Environmentalist Kevin Iro, who first proposed the idea more than five years ago, said it was a landmark achievement that would help preserve the ocean for future generations.

  • The Cook Islands has a population of just 10,000 and its 15 islands have a combined landmass of 236 sq km., barely the size of Washington, D.C.

  • But its isolated position in the Pacific, about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii with no near neighbours, means it has a huge maritime territory.

  • Cook Islanders had an affinity with the ocean and viewed it as sacred but overfishing and pollution had damaged the marine environment, including the coral reefs that once ringed all the islands.

  • Marine reserve, known as Marae Moana, would give the environment a chance to heal, allowing the islanders to protect their legacy.

::Business and Economy::

Trade deficit for goods widened

  • With goods imports outpacing exports in June, trade deficit for the month widened to $12.95 billion, according to data released by the commerce ministry. In June 2016, the goods trade deficit was only $8.1 billion.

  • Continuing with growth indicated since September 2016, goods exports in June 2017 rose 4.39% year-on-year to $23.56 billion. However, imports in June jumped 19% to $36.5 billion.

  • Major commodity group of imports showing high growth in June were petroleum, crude & products (12.04%), electronic goods (24.22%), pearls, precious & semi-precious stones (86.31%), machinery, electrical & non-electrical (7.02%) and gold(102.99%).

  • The currency impact in terms of stronger rupee hurting the exports is clearly visible in the form of shipments showing a negative growth, measured in Indian rupees, he said.

  • Unabated global liquidity flows into Indian financial markets are casting a shadow on the competitiveness of Indian exports, he added. Oil imports in June rose 12.04% to $8.12 billion.

Investment Facilitation Mechanism for EU investments in India

  • The European Union (EU) and India announced the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU investments in India.

  • The mechanism will allow for a close coordination between the European Union and the Government of India with an aim to promote and facilitate EU investment in India.

  • The IFM has been established with the key objectives of paving the way for identifying and solving problems faced by EU companies and investors with regard to their operations in India. IFM will cover new investors as well as those already established in India.

  • Ease of doing business is a fundamental priority of the Indian Government’s Make in India Campaign and the establishment of IFM for facilitating EU investments in India is another step to achieve this goal.

  • As part of the IFM, the EU Delegation to India and the DIPP will hold regular high level meetings to assess and facilitate “ease of doing business” for EU investors in India.

  • This will include identifying and putting in place solutions to procedural impediments faced by EU firms and investors in establishing or running their operations in India.

  • Invest India, the Indian government's official Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency, will also be part of the IFM.

Wholesale price inflation slowed to year low figure

  • Wholesale price inflation slowed to a 11-month low of 0.9% in June due to subdued food inflation and weak manufacturing prices, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce.

  • This comes at a time when retail inflation for June slowed to 1.54%, below the lower tolerance level set by the Reserve Bank of India. Growth in the Wholesale

  • Price Index slowed for the fourth consecutive month in June from the 5.51% registered in February.

  • While growth in the primary articles category in the WPI shrunk 3.86% in June, the food articles segment within this contracted 3.47%. The corresponding numbers for the previous month showed a contraction of 1.79% and 2.27% for the two segments.

  • The composite food index within the WPI, combining the values of food items in the primary articles category and manufactured food items, contracted 1.25% in June compared with a growth of 0.15% in the previous month.

  • Inflation in the manufactured products category came in at 2.27% in June, the slowest it has been since November 2016. The fuel and power saw a drastic easing of inflation to 5.28% in June from 11.7% in the previous month.

Government will provide 20,000crore grant to NIIF

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reviewed the performance of the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) during the third meeting of its governing council.

  • he was informed that the Department of Economic Affairs had signed an agreement with the NIIF for a Rs. 20,000 crore contribution to the Fund.

  • “It was informed that a strong investment pipeline with investment opportunities is under consideration in the roads, ports, aviation and power sectors,” according to an official statement.

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