Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 08 FEBRUARY 2019
Only half of PAN holders link their Aadhar to PAN ,as last date approaches
- With less than two months to go for the deadline to link Permanent
Account Number (PAN) and Aadhaar, only a little more than half of PAN
holders have linked them, Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman Sushil
- Mr. Chandra’s statements come just days after the Supreme Court
ruled that the linking of PAN with Aadhaar would be mandatory to file income
tax returns from April 1, 2019 onwards.
- According to Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, inserted in
2017, not only is PAN mandatory for filing income tax returns but it is also
mandatory for applying for a PAN card, which means that going ahead, all new
PAN cards issued will automatically be linked to Aadhaar.
- According to him the government could even cancel the PAN cards
that were not Aadhaar-linked after the deadline of March 31, 2019.
- The Section also says that “in case of failure to intimate the
Aadhaar number, the permanent account number allotted to the person shall be
deemed to be invalid”.
- Tax analysts say that the number of PAN card holders far exceeds
the number of people filing income tax returns, but add that the linking of
the two IDs was mandatory for even those who do not need to file returns
since the PAN would be cancelled otherwise.
NHRC seeks report on witch hunting incidents in Odisha
- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to
the Odisha Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police over the
State's alleged inaction to prevent witch-hunt incidents which often result
- The NHRC has asked the two top officers to submit a report within
four weeks. RadhakantaTripathy, a human rights lawyer, had drawn the
attention of the NHRC over the recent murder of five persons, including a
mother and her four children, in the Koida block of Sundargarh district.
- The rights panel has warned that it would invoke coercive process
under Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, for personal
appearance of the concerned authority if the report was not submitted within
the stipulated time.
- Mr.Tripathy had moved the NHRC in 2013, pointing out that three
women and one elderly man were paraded naked by villagers, branding them
black magicians in Amapada village in Sundargarh district. Despite the NHRC
recommendations, the situation has not improved in the district, he said.
- According to him, over 500 persons have been killed on suspicion
of practising witchcraft in Odisha during the last 14 years.
- “Of these, 274 murders have taken place in the last five years
alone. It suggests that the incidents of witch-hunting have not come down
despite increase in access to education,” he said.
RBI reduces rates in order to boost growth
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday cut the policy repo
rate by 25 basis points to 6.25% in a bid to revive economic growth as it
projected retail inflation to remain below its target of 4% for the next 12
months. The rate reduction was the first since August 2017.
- The RBI also simultaneously changed the stance of the policy to
‘neutral’ from ‘calibrated tightening’, which indicates that the central
bank remains ready to move in either direction based on incoming data.
- The move will enable banks to lower their lending rates. While all
six members of the monetary policy committee voted in favour of a change in
the stance, the vote for a rate reduction saw two members breaking with the
majority view by backing the status quo.
- While some market participants had factored in a rate cut, there
was near unanimity that the RBI would shift its stance given the softening
- Interestingly, this is the first time since the MPC was set up in
October 2016 that the Governor and the Deputy Governor voted differently.
While RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das backed a rate cut, Deputy Governor Viral
Acharya voted to stand pat.
- Mr. Das observed that the acceleration in consumer price inflation
in December was the slowest in 18 months.
Centre seeks states help in speedy implementation of PM-KISAN
- Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare ShriRadha Mohan
Singh has written to the Chief Ministers of all States for their support in
the effective & speedy implementation of “PradhanMantriKisanSammanNidhi (PM-KISAN)”
so that the entitled benefits are expeditiously transferred to the farmers.
- In his letter to the Chief Ministers, the Union Agriculture
Minister writes that under the scheme, selection of eligible small farmer
families has to be undertaken by the State Governments and the necessary
details such as bank accounts etc., are to be provided on the online portal
so that the first installment of the benefits can be transferred to the
- For the implementation of the scheme, the States shall prepare
database of eligible beneficiary landholder farmer families in the villages
capturing the Name, Age, Gender, Category (SC/ST) , Aadhaar Number (in case
Aadhaar Number has not been issued then any other identification documents
issued by Central/State/UT Governments or their authorities, etc.), Bank
Account Number, IFSC Code.
- Though mobile number is not mandatory but it is advised that when
available it may be captured so that the information related to
sanction/transfer of benefit can be communicated.
- States/UTs shall ensure that there is no duplication of the
payment transferred to eligible families. Speedy reconciliation in case of
wrong/incomplete bank details of the beneficiary should be ensured.
- Shri Singh also informed that in order to make integrated platform
available in the country to assist in benefit transfer, a platform named PM
Kisan Portal (http://pmkisan.nic.in) has also been launched for uploading
the SMF details at a single web portal in a uniform structure.
Interactive session on Indo-Africa Strategic Economic Co-operation held
- India has strong ties with Africa for centuries, and in recent
times our development and economic partnership have become stronger. India
and African countries share common interests in inclusive growth, trade and
investment, and resilient economic partnerships.
- This was stated by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil
Aviation, Suresh Prabhu while addressing the interactive session on
Indo-Africa Strategic Economic Co-operation in New Delhi yesterday.
- Suresh Prabhu said that the impressive growth in trade between
Africa and India stems from a mix of factors, including a growing stock of
foreign direct investment undertaken by African and Indian corporate
entities and deepening economic and political ties illustrated by a number
of strategic initiatives, particularly .
- “Focus Africa” launched by the Government of India in 2002 to
boost trade and investment between Africa and India. Other key drivers
include the Government of India’s Duty-Free Tariff Preference Scheme for
Least Developed Countries launched in 2008 which has benefitted 34 African
countries, Suresh Prabhu added.
- The Commerce Minister expressed hope that a resurgent Africa and a
rising India can create a new paradigm for South-South Cooperation. He
stressed on the need for right kind of investments in Africa, focusing on
accessing the market coupled with the development of manufacturing
capacities, seeking low-cost labour while focusing on human resource
development and exploring the natural resources along with improving the
India expresses concern on detainees in U.S
- A group of Congressmen, including Indian American Raja
Krishmamoorthi, have written to the U.S. authorities, asking that the Indian
students arrested in the University of Farmington sting operation be
- The Members of Congress highlight the numbers on Indian students
in the U.S. 17.3% of all international students or over 1,86,000 and their
role in people-to-people exchanges.
- “In the spirit of continuing cooperation on educational exchange
programs, which benefit both countries economically and culturally, we ask
that you ensure the students involved in this case are treated fairly,
humanely, and in accordance with due process,” the letter says.
- The lawmakers have requested that “full details and regular
updates” be shared with Indian officials and that the DHS and ICE facilitate
consular access to the detainees. Their own offices have also requested an
- Reports suggeststhat one of the detainees in the Detroit area
facility was initially told that he would be released in 2-3 days without
bond if he promised to leave the country. However, he was later told by his
ICE case officer that it could take two to three weeks for his release,
according to a source in direct contact with the detainee.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Govt.to boost energy storage technologies in the country
- The Government of India has been making concerted efforts for
developing energy storage technologies for managing the variable generation
from renewable energy sources, including solar power.
- In this regard, an Expert Committee chaired by Secretary, Ministry
of New and Renewable Energy, has proposed draft National Energy Storage
Mission that strives for leadership in the energy storage sector by
encouraging manufacturing, deployment, innovation and cost reduction.
- As per International Energy Agency’s report “Energy Storage –
Tracking Clean Energy Progress”, the utility scale deployment for storage
technology excluding pumped hydro storage in the year 2017 was 620 MWh and
the cumulative energy storage volume including pumped hydro storage was 15.3
- Australia, China, Japan, Germany, Korea and United States are the
leading countries in deployment of energy storage technology.
- Through various bilateral engagements, India has been encouraging
technological cooperation on energy storage. A specific proposal on
designing research programme and collaboration projects has been proposed
under the India- United Kingdom Energy for Growth Partnership.
MirabhaiChanu lifts gold in EGAT cup Thailand
- World champion Indian weightlifter SaikhomMirabaiChanu today
notched up a gold medal at the EGAT Cup in Thailand. Chanu won the 48kg
category gold with an effort of 192 kg in the silver level Olympic
- Making a strong comeback from the lower back injury that kept her
out of action for nearly nine months, the 24-year-old Manipuri lifted 82 kg
in snatch and 110 kg in clean and jerk to finish on top of the podium.
- Points earned from this tournament will come in handy when the
final rankings for Tokyo 2020 cut are done.
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