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TNPSC Current Affairs and GK Today: January 31, 2017


Tnpsc Current Affairs January 2017 (January 31,  2017)
  1. Income Tax Department (ITD) launches Operation Clean Money 
  2. Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University to Launch Executive Development Programme 
  3. Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley Presented Economic Survey 2016-17 in the Parliament on 31.01.2017
  4. Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development
  5. Miss France Iris Mittenaere crowned Miss Universe 2016
  6. Universe expanding faster than thought: study
  7. Resource book for stakeholders dealing with Child Rights, Child Protection issues released
  8. Digital Radio platform to promote Digital and Connectivity revolution in the Country "Digital Radio Round Table Conference"
  9. H-1B reform bill introduced in US House of Representatives
  10. PV Sindhu wins "Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold Title"
  11. Rs 6,000-crore World Bank-backed scheme proposed to Manage Groundwater Resources 
  12. All India Radio to launch FM Sainagar Shirdi in Maharashtra
Income Tax Department (ITD) launches Operation Clean Money 

Income Tax Department (ITD) has initiated Operation Clean Money, today. Initial phase of the operation involves e-verification of large cash deposits made during 9th November to 30th December 2016. Data analytics has been used for comparing the demonetisation data with information in ITD databases. In the first batch, around 18 lakh persons have been identified in whose case, cash transactions do not appear to be in line with the tax payer’s profile. 

Income Tax Department (ITD): ITD has enabled online verification of these transactions to reduce compliance cost for the taxpayers while optimising its resources. The information in respect of these cases is being made available in the e-filing window of the PAN holder (after log in) at the portal https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. The PAN holder can view the information using the link “Cash Transactions 2016” under “Compliance” section of the portal. The taxpayer will be able to submit online explanation without any need to visit Income Tax office. 

Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University to Launch Executive Development Programme 

The Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University in collaboration with US-India Aviation Cooperation Programme will be launching its first Executive Development Programme on Thursday 2nd February, 2017. The programme will be delivered by highly-learned experts in the aviation sector and shall cover key topics such as Next Generation Transportation Systems, Airport Planning, Air Traffic Flow Management, Safety and Security and Sustainability in Aviation. The programme shall be attended by CXO level professionals from the industry and senior officials from the Regulatory Authorities. The programme will help senior professionals keep abreast with latest trends in the sector said AVM Nalin Tandon, Vice Chancellor of the University. The programme will fulfill the objectives of the university by facilitating and promoting aviation studies and research, he added. With the launch of its first academic programme, RGNAU, paves the way for enhanced knowledge promulgation among aviation professionals. The programme will also provide a platform for active exchange of ideas on opportunities and challenges in the areas of growth and development of Indian aviation sector.

Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley Presented Economic Survey 2016-17 in the Parliament on 31.01.2017

Economic Survey says economic growth to return to normal as new currency notes in required quantities come back into circulation and follow-up action on demonetization is taken.
  1. The CPI based core inflation remained stable in the current fiscal year averaging around 5 per cent.
  2. The Economic Survey says that the rupee performed better than most of the other emerging market economies.
  3. The total area coverage under Rabi crops as on 13.01.2017 for 2016-17 is 616.2 lakh hectares which is 5.9 per cent higher than that in the corresponding week of last year.
  4. The area coverage under Gram (Channa Dal) as on 13.01.2017 for 2016-17 is 10.6 percent higher than that in the corresponding week of last year.
The Indian Economy has sustained a macro-economic environment of relatively lower inflation, fiscal discipline and moderate current account deficit coupled with broadly stable rupee-dollar exchange rate. The Economic Survey 2016-17 presented in the Parliament today by the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley states that such a sustenance is despite continuing global sluggishness. It says :
  1. As per the advance estimates released by the Central Statistics Office, the growth rate of GDP at constant market prices for the year 2016-17 is placed at 7.1 per cent, as against 7.6 per cent in 2015-16.This estimate is based mainly on information for the first seven to eight months of the financial year. Government final consumption expenditure is the major driver of GDP growth in the current year.
  2. Fixed investment (gross fixed capital formation) to GDP ratio (at current prices) is estimated to be 26.6 per cent in 2016-17, vis-à-vis 29.3 per cent in 2015-16.
  3. For 2017-18, it is expected that the growth would return to normal as the new currency notes in required quantities come back into circulation and as follow-up actions to demonetisation are taken. On balance, there is a likelihood that Indian economy may recover back to 6 ¾ per cent to 7 ½ per cent in 2017-18.
Fiscal

Indirect taxes grew by 26.9 per cent during April-November 2016. The strong growth in revenue expenditure during April-November 2016 was boosted mainly by a 23.2 per cent increase in salaries due to the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission and a 39.5 per cent increase in the grants for creation of capital assets.

Prices

The headline inflation as measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI) remained under control for the third successive financial year. The average CPI inflation declined to 4.9 per cent in 2015-16 from 5.9 per cent in 2014-15 and stood at 4.8 per cent during April-December 2015. Inflation based on Wholesale Price Index (WPI) declined to (-) 2.5 per cent in 2015-16 from 2.0 per cent in 2014-15 and averaged 2.9 per cent during April-December 2016. Inflation is repeatedly being driven by narrow group of food items, of these pulses continued to be the major contributor of food inflation. The CPI based core inflation has remained sticky in the current fiscal year averaging around 5 per cent.

Trade

The trend of negative export growth was reversed somewhat during 2016-17 (April-December), with exports growing at 0.7 per cent to US$ 198.8 billion. During 2016-17 (April-December) imports declined by 7.4 per cent to US$ 275.4 billion. Trade deficit declined to US$ 76.5 billion in 2016-17 (April-December) as compared to US$ 100.1 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year. he current account deficit (CAD) narrowed in the first half (H1) of 2016-17 to 0.3 per cent of GDP from 1.5 per cent in H1 of 2015-16 and 1.1 per cent in 2015-16 full year.Robust inflows of foreign direct investment and net positive inflow of foreign portfolio investment were sufficient to finance CAD leading to an accretion in foreign exchange reserves in H1 of 2016-17. In H1 of 2016-17, India’s foreign exchange reserves increased by US$ 15.5 billion on BoP basis. During 2016-17 so far, the rupee has performed better than most of the other emerging market economies.

External Debt

At end-September 2016, India’s external debt stock stood at US$ 484.3 billion, recording a decline of US$ 0.8 billion over the level at end-March 2016. Most of the key external debt indicators showed an improvement in September 2016 vis-à-vis March 2016. The share of short-term debt in total external debt declined to 16.8 per cent at end-September 2016 and foreign exchange reserves provided a cover of 76.8 per cent to the total external debt stock. India’s key debt indicators compare well with other indebted developing countries and India continues to be among the less vulnerable countries.

Agriculture

Agriculture sector is estimated to grow at 4.1 per cent in 2016-17 as opposed to 1.2 per cent in 2015-16; the higher growth in agriculture sector is not surprising as the monsoon rains were much better in the current year than the previous two years. The total area coverage under Rabi crops as on 13.01.2017 for 2016-17 is 616.2 lakh hectares which is 5.9 per cent higher than that in the corresponding week of last year. 
The area coverage under wheat as on 13.01.2017 for 2016-17 is 7.1 percent higher than that in the corresponding week of last year. The area coverage under gram as on 13.01.2017 for 2016-17 is 10.6 percent higher than that in the corresponding week of last year.

Industry

Growth rate of the industrial sector is estimated to moderate to 5.2 per cent in 2016-17 from 7.4 per cent in 2015-16.During April-November 2016-17, a modest growth of 0.4 per cent has been observed in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The eight core infrastructure supportive industries, viz. coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement and electricity registered a cumulative growth of 4.9 per cent during April-November 2016-17 as compared to 2.5 per cent during April-November 2015-16. The production of refinery products, fertilizers, steel, electricity and cement increased substantially, while the production of crude oil, natural gas fell during April-November 2016-17. Coal production attained lower growth during the same period. The performance of corporate sector (Reserve Bank of India, January 2017) highlighted that the growth of sales grew by 1.9 per cent in Q2 of 2016-17 as compared to near stagnant growth of 0.1 per cent in Q1 of 2016-17. Growth in net profit registered a remarkable growth of 16.0 per cent in Q2 of 2016-17 as compared to 11.2 per cent in Q1 of 2016-17.

Services

Service sector is estimated to grow at 8.9 per cent in 2016-17, almost the same as in 2015-16. It is the significant pick-up in public administration, defence and other services, boosted by the payouts of the Seventh Pay Commission that is estimated to push up the growth in services.

Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development

The Parliament has passed the “Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016”. The Act aims at securing and enhancing the rights and entitlements of Persons with Disabilities. The Act has proposed to increase the reservation in vacancies in government establishments from 3 per cent to 4 per cent for those persons with benchmark disability and high support needs.

Miss France Iris Mittenaere crowned Miss Universe 2016

Miss France Iris Mittenaere, a 24 year-old dental student from Lille, has been crowned Miss Universe, 2016 securing victory over the 85 other contestants in the final of the 65th ceremony of the world famous beauty pageant. The Miss Universe 2016 coronation took place yesterday at the Mall of Asia, in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Iris Mittenaere of France received the crown from Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, while Raquel Pelissier of Haiti and Andrea Tovar of Colombia became the first and second runners-up respectively.

Universe expanding faster than thought: study 

The universe is expanding at a rate faster than previously believed, scientists have confirmed, a finding that may completely overturn our understanding of the cosmos. Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have made a measurement of how fast the Universe is expanding. The Hubble constant - the rate at which the Universe is expanding - is one of the fundamental quantities describing our Universe. Astronomers from the H0LiCOW collaboration, led by Sherry Suyu from the the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany, used telescopes in space and on Earth to observe five galaxies in order to arrive at an independent measurement of the Hubble constant. 

Resource book for stakeholders dealing with Child Rights, Child Protection issues released

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has recently released a Resource book for stakeholders dealing with Child Rights and Child Protection issues. The NCPCR has partnered with UNICEF India to publish this Book. The book clearly defines the roles of the Commissions with their responsibilities for catalysing systematic changes for advancement of child rights. The resource book also provides a brief frame work for examining and understanding contemporary child rights issues, in addition to those mentioned in the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005. The 343-page publication clearly defines the roles of the Commission as quasi-judicial statutory bodies and the co-ordination mechanism with other important stake holders like Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, Law Enforcement Agencies and the Judiciary.

Digital Radio platform to promote Digital and Connectivity revolution in the Country "Digital Radio Round Table Conference"

Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for Information & Broadcasting has said that Digital Radio provided a unique opportunity for all the stakeholders both public and private broadcasters to carry forward the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister to achieve Digital and Connectivity Revolution in the Country. Digital Radio technology would provide listeners with significantly improved audio quality and service reliability at an affordable price. The Minister mentioned this during his address at the Digital Radio for All Round Table Conference organised by Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) along with Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL) here on 31.01.2017. Regarding achievements of All India Radio in adopting Digital Radio Technology, Shri Naidu mentioned that All India Radio has already completed the technical installation and upgradation of 37 powerful transmitters in the first phase of Digitization of Radio Broadcast, a project unparalleled in the world today. This would ensure reduced electric power consumption for all digital transmissions, saving All India Radio and taxpayers significant transmission cost in the future. He added that All India Radio has re-invented itself through its Digital Transmitters based on the International ITU standard Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM).

H-1B reform bill introduced in US House of Representatives

A legislation has been introduced in the US House of Representatives which, among other things, calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to 130,000 dollars. The current H-1B minimum wage is 60,000 dollars. This will make it more difficult for firms to use the program to replace American employees with foreign workers, including from India. Congressman Zoe Lofgren, who introduced the legislation, said it ensures that American employers have access to the talent they need, while removing incentives for companies to undercut American wages and outsource jobs.India has expressed concern over H-1B visa issue. Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup said, India’s interests and concerns have been conveyed both to the US administration and the US Congress at senior levels. A legislation was introduced in the US House of Representatives which calls for more than doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to 1.3 lakh dollars. The current H-1B minimum wage is 60 thousand dollars. This will make it more difficult for firms to use the program to replace American employees with foreign workers, including from India.

PV Sindhu wins "Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold Title"

Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu has won her maiden women's singles crown at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament. In Lucknow yesterday, top seed Sindhu outplayed Indonesia's Gregoria Mariska in the summit clash in straight games 21-13, 21-14. In the Men's Singles, National Champion Sameer Verma bagged the title defeating compatriot B Sai Praneeth 21-19, 21-16. India also claimed the Mixed Doubles title, when Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy emerged winners by beating compatriots Ashwini Ponnappa and B Sumeeth Reddy 22-20 21-10 in the final. Overall, India scooped up three titles out of the five events in the tournament. In the Women's Doubles final, the Denmark duo of Kamilla Ryter Juhl and Christina Pedersen beat the Indian combination of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy 21-16, 21-18. The Men's Doubles title was also claimed by Denmark, when Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen emerged winners against the Chinese Taipeh pair of Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han in straight games 21-14, 21-15.

Rs 6,000-crore World Bank-backed scheme proposed to Manage Groundwater Resources 

Facing a sharp decline in groundwater level in many parts of the country due to over exploitation of existing resources, the Centre has proposed a new World Bank-backed Rs 6,000 crore scheme to manage groundwater resources in India. Half of the total cost of the scheme, called National Groundwater Management Improvement Scheme (NGMIS), will be supported by the World Bank as loan while the remaining half (Rs 3,000 crore) will be funded by the government through budgetary support. 

All India Radio to launch FM Sainagar Shirdi in Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, All India Radio will launch a special FM radio station - Sainagar Shirdi at Shirdi, District Ahmadnagar tomorrow. It will cover an area of around 25 km from the Sai Baba temple. Chief executive officer of Prasar Bharati Suresh Chandra Panda will officially launch the radio service, 103.7 MHz 'FM Shirdi Sai', at 9.30 am on 10.02.2017. All India Radio director general F Shahariyar and Additional director general M S Thomas will also be present at the launch of the FM Station. The transmission timings will be from 5 to 10 in the morning and 11.15 am to 5pm in the evening, and again from 6 pm to 11 pm. The programmes will be broadcast in Marathi, Hindi and English languages. A single multi-purpose studio and broadcast machinery has installed at Shirdi. This is the first-of-its-kind radio station in Maharashtra and second in India after Tirupati radio station personalized for Titupati temple. Residents of Shirdi and neighbouring villages, as well as thousands of Saibaba devotees visiting Shirdi throughout the year, will get to hear "aartis", "bhajans" and other musical events held at the temple daily on their cellphones through FM radio.


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