Current Affairs Update - 7th July 2017
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5% GST applicable on assistive devices, rehab aids for physically challenged: Ministry
- Refuting claims that assistive devices and rehabilitation aids for physically challenged persons have become more expensive under the goods and services tax (GST), the Finance Ministry on Tuesday said these are taxed at a concessional rate of five per cent.
- This equipment includes Braille writers and Braille writing instruments, canes, wheelchairs, talking books, Cochlear implants, external catheters, special jelly cushions to prevent bed sores, stair lift, urine collection bags and other instruments and implants.
- “The five concessional GST rates on such devices and equipment will result in a win-win situation for users of such devices, the disabled, as well as the domestic manufacturers of such goods,” it said, adding that the prices of such equipment will also decrease.
- Under GST, most of the inputs and raw materials for manufacture of these assistive devices attracts an 18 per cent rate. Domestic manufacturers would be able to avail of Input Tax Credit of GST paid on their inputs and raw materials.
- Further, the GST law provides for refund of accumulated Input Tax Credit in cases where the GST rate of output supply is lower than the GST rate on inputs used for their manufacture, said the Ministry.
- Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has opposed GST on such equipment calling it a disability tax and seeking its rollback.
EPFO ties up with 5 banks to collect PF dues
- Retirement fund body EPFO has inked pacts with five banks for collections of provident dues and to make retirement payments.
- The tie-ups with Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bankand Kotak Mahindra Bank will help EPFO save around Rs 125 crore a year and expedite its investments as well as payment of benefits to its members.
- Employers having bank account with these banks can now deposit PF dues directly in EPFO's account using internet banking in real time bas.
RBI ups FPI investment limit in g-secs by over 4% for Jul-Sep
- Reserve Bank has raised the FPI investment limit in government securities by 4.7 per cent to Rs 2.42 lakh crore (Rs 2.42 billion) for July-September quarter, mainly to increase foreign capital inflows.
- Earlier, the limit was Rs 2.31 lakh crore (Rs 2.31 billion).
- Likewise, the foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) will be allowed to raise their investment in state development loans (SDLs) by Rs 6,100 crore (Rs 61 billion) to Rs 33,100 crore (Rs 331 billion) for September quarter of the current fiscal.
Yes Bank clinches new pact with Santander in UK
- Yes Bank, India's fourth-largest private sector bank, today signed an MoU in London with Santander to promote India-UK trade and business opportunities.
- The deal is aimed at Santander UK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Spanish Santander Group, offering its clients in Britain access to banking facilities and on-theground support through Yes Bank's network across India.
- The MoU also covers access for Indian businesses looking to expand globally to access Santander's support network in the UK.
Axis Bank launches loans for super bikes, to fund 95% of costs
- As the higher engine displacement ‘super bikes’ catch fancy of the Indian consumer, Axis Bank Wednesday introduced a special loan product, offering to fund up to 95% of the costs.
- The loans, which are for motorcycles with an engine displacement of over 500 cubic centimetres (cc), will come at a price tag of 10-11% per annum. The third largest private sector lender’s executive director Rajiv Anand said many Indians are aspirational of owning iconic brands like Harley Davidson and Triumph which made the bank launch the offer.
Pradeep Kumar Rawat appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Indonesia
- Shri Pradeep Kumar Rawat (IFS: 1990), presently Joint Secretary in the Ministry has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Indonesia.
- He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
MFIN re-elects Rakesh Dubey as its president
- Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) has re-elected Rakesh Dubey, chief of SV Creditline Private Ltd, as its president for the second term.
- The industry association and self-regulator for the NBFC-MFIs has also elected Devesh Sachdev, chief executive of Fusion Microfinance as vice president.
- “The industry has witnessed many ups and downs in past nine months and current span is a juncture of far-reaching changes and difficulties. However, necessary decisions are to b ..
India, Israel ink 7 agreements
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for setting up of USD 40 million worth India-Israel Industrial Research and Development (R&D) and Technical Innovation Fund
- India and Israel on Wednesday signed seven agreements to increase cooperation in key sectors like space, agriculture and water conservation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in-depth talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for setting up of USD 40 million worth India-Israel Industrial Research and Development (R&D) and Technical Innovation Fund.
5th Meeting of BRICS Education Ministers held in Beijing, China today
- Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education was held on 5th July, 2017 at Beijing, China. The Indian delegation was led by Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Human Resource Development, India. Delegation of all the five BRICS countries participated in the two-day deliberations.
Xiaomi signs patent deal with Nokia
- Nokia signs a patent licencing agreement with Xiaomi, its first with a Chinese smartphone maker
- Telecoms network equipment maker Nokia Oyj and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. have signed a patent licencing agreement, the companies said on Wednesday.
- The companies did not provide financial details of the agreement, saying it includes a cross licence to each company’s cellular standard patents.
- Nokia will also provide network infrastructure equipment to Xiaomi.
- “Xiaomi is one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with them,” Nokia chief executive Rajeev Suri said in a statement.
- Nokia has licence deals with leading handset makers Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, but the agreement with Xiaomi is the Finnish company’s first with a Chinese phone maker.
China-backed AIIB approves USD 329 million loan for Gujarat rural roads
- China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing has approved a USD 329 million loan to build access roads to 4,000 villages in 33 districts of Gujarat.
MERIT app and e-Bidding portal for utilization of domestic coal in IPP Power Stations for reducing the cost of power generation launched
- Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal launched here today the ‘MERIT app (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency’ and the e-bidding portal for providing e-Bidding solution to States to select Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for procurement of power by transferring their domestic coal under the scheme of flexibility in utilization of domestic coal.
Microsoft India inks pact with NISA
- Microsoft India on Monday signed an agreement with National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) to offer Microsoft Aspire School Program (MASP) Pro Plus to over 55,000 member schools.
- MASP aims to equip schools with technology and innovative learning solutions, modernise campuses, and prepare future- ready students, among others.
- With this partnership, schools across 23 states can now avail MASP Pro Plus.
- NISA brings together budget private schools (BPS) from across the country to give them a unified voice to address their concerns about legislations.
Manpreet wins 1st gold for India at Asian Athletics C'ships
- India's Manpreet Kaur bagged the gold medal in women's shot-put on the opening day of the Asian Athletics Championships 2017 in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. The 27-year-old from Ambala claimed the gold by recording a 18.28m attempt. Meanwhile, 34-year-old Vikas Gowda won the bronze medal in the men's discus throw finals but failed to qualify for World Championships.
Pankaj Advani-led India beat Pakistan to win Asian Snooker Championship 2017
- India's leading cueist Pankaj Advani teamed up with Laxman Rawat to demolish Pakistan in the final of the Asian Team Snooker Championship on Wednesday.
- Advani drew first blood by putting on a sterling performance against Mohammad Bilal.
- After the Pakistani scored the first solitary point and benefited from a foul from Advani, the Indian bounced back to piece together a brilliant break of 83 to seal the first tie of the best-of-five final.
22nd Asian Athletics Championship Kicks Off Tomorrow At Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
- The stage is set for the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship (AAC), 2017, to be kicked off tomorrow with a gala opening ceremony at the Kalinga Stadium here.
- The events will begin on July 6 and end on July 9. The cultural program is scheduled to be held between 1800 and 2000 hours tomorrow. The doors of the stadium will be opened for public at 1600 hours. This will be followed by the entry of the athletes and then the VIPs at 1700 hours.
- Tinku Luka an Indian athete was the flag bearer of the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship held at Odisha.
12th G20 summit to take place in Hamburg, Germany
- Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies will be meeting in Hamburg, Germany later this week.
- The G20 countries account for more than four-fifths of Gross world product and three-quarters of global trade. They are home to almost two-thirds of the world's population. In that context expectations are always high from a G20 summit.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to Hamburg to be a part of the G20 meet taking with him a firm message on the global menace of terrorism.
- In the last G20 summit in 2016 in China, PM Modi highlighted the issue of Countering corruption, black money and ensuring sustainable growth through collaborative action. There he laid stress on a stable global economic and financial system to ensure growth.
Arunachal celebrates Dree festival
- The Dree festival got off to a colourful start across the state.
- At Ziro, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju joined the Golden Jubilee Dree festival celebration.
- Addressing the huge festival revellers, Rijiju called for preservation and promotion of old age traditions.
- “Our culture is our identity and we should strive to preserve it in all possible manners. Let us be modern in our thoughts, but still be rooted to our traditions.” Rijiju said and called upon the youngsters studying outside the state and abroad to be in touch with the cultural root.
Environment minister inaugurates Van Mahotsav
- The environment minister on Wednesday launched a month-long tree plantation drive to mark Van Mahotsav. The first tree planting campaign started in Delhi.
- It was part of Van Mahotsav celebrations, that is celebrated in the first week of July every year since 1950 in India. Then agriculture minister, Kulapati K. M. Munshi, had started the tradition.
- Harsh Vardhan, highlighted the importance of tree planting for India to achieve its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs).
- The country has vowed to expand its carbon sink, and forests are key to this because they absorb carbon dioxide are considered an important way to check the global rise in temperatures. Under the commitment, India has to create an additional sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.
France to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040
- The French government has announced that the country will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord. Adding that the move was a "revolution", officials said it would be a "tough" objective for carmakers but France's industry was well equipped to make the switch.
Veteran Marathi actor-writer Madhukar Toradmal passes away
- Veteran Marathi actor-writer Madhukar Toradmal died here today.
- Toradmal (84) was suffering from kidney failure and was recently admitted to a hospital here. His condition started deteriorating on Friday, family sources said.
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