Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 JANUARY 2019

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 JANUARY 2019


Vibrant Gujarat summit concludes with high promises

  •  Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit 2019 at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar is concluding today.
  •  Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu is presiding the valedictory function. Earlier today, Gujarat Chief Minister has started the third day of Vibrant Gujarat Summit along with the Chairman of Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, Lord Jonathan Maryland.
  •  75 member delegation of Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council is participating in this Summit.
  •  AIR Ahmedabad correspondent reports that 9th Vibrant Gujarat Summit inaugurated by Prime Minister NarendraModi on Friday morning is successful as Record number of Memorandum of Understandings for commitments of investments have been signed on second day also.
  •  6 MoUsworth more than 1500 crore rupees investments have been signed in urban infrastructure facility sector. MoUs for investment intentions of 8,224crore rupees have been signed in Pharma sector and 6 MoUs worth of 4,375 crore rupees investments signed in healthcare sector.
  •  Earlier, the Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has visited the Statue of Unity- at Kevadiya in Narmada district this morning. He will also visit SardarVallabhbhai Patel Memorial at Karamsad before his departure.

Bangladeshis deported from Assam

  •  The border police in Karimganj district of Assam on Saturday deported 21 Bangladeshis who had been detained for illegally entering India.
  •  Officials said the 21 persons, two of them women, were sent back from the Sutarkandi border checkpoint after approval from the Union Home Ministry.
  •  They were handed over to the Bangladeshi authorities who confirmed that they were from Syllhet and Kishoreganj districts of the country.
  •  “They were detained for violation of the Passport Act over the past few months and kept at the detention camp in the Silchar Central Jail. Six of them were held in Cachar district and 11 in Karimganj,” said a police officer who handled the deportation process
  •  In July last year, 52 Bangladeshi nationals were deported from the Mankachar sector of the Assam-Bangladesh border. They were “convicted foreigners”, arrested for not possessing valid travel documents or for cross-border crimes.


High FPI outflow in the first month of 2019

  •  Foreign investors have pulled out more than ₹4,000 crore from the Indian capital markets so far in January, highlighting their cautious stance towards the country.
  •  This comes following a collective net inflow of over ₹17,000crore in the capital markets both equity and debt by Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) during November and December.
  •  According to data available with the depositories, FPIs withdrew a net amount of ₹3,987 crore from equities and a net sum of ₹53 crore from the debt market, taking the total outflow to ₹4,040 crore during January 1-18.
  •  Market experts believe that FPIs are continuing with their ‘wait and watch’ approach towards India.Going ahead, the focus would be on the budget, progress on the economic growth front and general elections, they added.
  •  Other factors such as movement in crude prices and currency as well as U.S.-China trade relations will also play a role in FPI flows, they added.
  •  Harsh Jain, COO at Groww, an online MF investment platform, said 2019 is likely to see a lot of volatility because of the rate hikes and dollar instability, but the Indian markets may be able to weather the storm.

Study reveals extra tax paid by Indian taxpayers

  •  Indian taxpayers, on an average, pay ₹20,000 per year more in taxes than they need to, an analysis by ClearTax has shown.It has also found that 90% of women do not do the most they can to save taxes.
  •  “What we have learnt is that on average, the taxpayers on our platform are missing out on savings of about ₹20,000 a year on taxes,” Archit Gupta, founder and CEO of ClearTax, said.
  •  “That’s a lot of money that people are leaving on the table. They could have done tax saving investments or tax planning better and they would have not had to pay the extra ₹20,000 that they are.”
  •  He added that the analysis of taxpayer data also found that 90% of women do not optimise their tax savings.
  •  Mr. Gupta pointed out that there were two main reasons for this — lack of awareness and lack of liquidity available at the end of the financial year.
  •  “When we did surveys and analysis, one of the most common reasons for this was that taxes and exemptions are a complex topic for most people,” Mr. Gupta said.
  •  “The opacity and complexity of what to do, how much to do, meant people made some effort, but didn’t take it to the logical conclusion. They think that ‘oh, TDS has been cut, so there is nothing else I have to do’.”
  •  “People wake up to the need to invest in these tax-saving instruments only when their employers ask for investment proofs, which is towards the end of the financial year,” Mr. Gupta explained.
  •  According to Mr. Gupta, the future of fintech will be where AI-driven personalisation will be the most common way in which consumers and businesses will benefit from the system.

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Srilankan PM claims new constitution will not affect unitary nature of the nation

  •  Sri Lankan Prime Minister RanilWickremesinghe today said that the new Constitution would not change the unitary nature of the country.
  •  Mr Wickremesinghe's comments came in the wake of his political opponents headed by opposition leader MahindaRajapaksa alleging that his government is drafting a new Constitution to appease the main Tamil political party, Tamil National Alliance.
  •  Prime Minister said this while addressing a gathering in Galle town today. Sri Lankan Prime Minister tabled a report of experts on drafting a new Constitution on January 11.
  •  The Rajapaksa camp has also been accusing that the new Constitution will dilute the Buddhism's foremost position over other religions in the country. However, the prime minister emphasised that the foremost place given to the majority religion Buddhism has been preserved.

U.S-North Korea meeting likely next month

  •  U.S. President Donald Trump will meet for the second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un around the end of February, the White House said on Friday, after a top general from Pyongyang paid a rare visit to Washington. The announcement was welcomed by South Korea.
  •  Vice-Chairman Kim Yong-chol, a right-hand man to Mr. Kim, met Mr. Trump at the White House for an unusually long 90 minutes as the countries seek a denuclearisation accord that could ease decades of hostility.
  •  Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump first met in June in Singapore, where they signed a vaguely worded document in which Mr. Kim pledged to work toward the “denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.” But progress stalled soon afterward as Pyongyang and Washington — which stations 28,500 troops in South Korea — disagree over what that means.
  •  Critics say that the Singapore summit was little more than a photo-op. The second round with the young and elusive North Korean leader will again offer a change of headlines for Mr. Trump amid a barrage of scandalous allegations and a political deadlock that has shut down the U.S. government.
  •  Meanwhile, South Korea has welcomed the planned summit, saying that it hoped the meeting would be a “turning point” for peace on the Korean peninsula.
  •  The announcement from Seoul’s presidential office came hours after the White House announcement. “We expect the planned North-U.S. summit would be a turning point in establishing a permanent peace regimen on the Korean peninsula,” said Kim Eui-kyeom, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s spokesman.


U.S-China to collaborate on moon exploration

  •  The space agencies of the United States and China are coordinating efforts on Moon exploration, NASA said Friday, as it navigates a strict legal framework aimed at protecting national security and preventing technology transfer to China.
  •  NASA's associate administrator for the science mission directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen's tweet confirmed a similar statement made Monday by the deputy chief commander of China Lunar Exploration Program, Wu Yanhua. NASA shared information from a US satellite while China told the Americans about the latitude, longitude and time of the landing "in a timely manner," he said.
  •  The hope was that NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) could observe the historic touchdown of the Chinese lander on January 3. NASA provided the planned orbit path of LRO to China, but it turned out the spacecraft was not in the right place at the right time.
  •  NASA's lunar orbiter will pass over the Chang'e 4 landing site on January 31 and will snap pictures, as it did for the Chang'e 3 in 2013. The agency said significant findings resulting from the cooperation would be shared with the global research community in February at a United Nations space gathering in Austria.
  •  NASA said in its January 18 statement that "all NASA data associated with this activity are publicly available," and that NASA's cooperation with China "is transparent, reciprocal and mutually beneficial."


Khelo youth games concludes

  •  The concluding ceremony of Khelo India Youth Games is underway at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune in the presence of Union HRD Minister PrakashJavadekar.
  •  At the Games, hosts Maharashtra topped the medals tally with 85 Gold, while Haryana was second with 62 Gold and Delhi on third with 48 Gold. Our correspondent reports that 12 Gold medals were decided on last day today.
  •  Union Minister for Human Resources Development PrakashJawadekar has said that Sports will be made a compulsory subject in all schools from next year and every day one hour will be allotted for sports.

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