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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 January 2017

 

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 January 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

Silver Jubilee Celebrations of NBCFDC

 

The Silver Jubilee celebrations of National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC) was recently inaugurated. A short film “HamariKahani” based on the experiences of beneficiaries of NBCFDC and a book entitled “Safalata Ki Kahaniyan” were also brought out by NBCFDC on the success stories of the beneficiaries on the occasion.

 

About NBCFDC:

NBCFDC is a Govt. of India Undertaking under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It was incorporated under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 in January 1992 as a Company not for profit with an objective to promote economic and developmental activities for the benefit of Backward Classes and to assist the poorer section of these classes in skill development and self employment ventures.

 

Functions of NBCFDC:

  • NBCFDC provides financial assistance through State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) nominated by the State Governments/ UTs. It also provides Micro Financing through SCAs/ Self Help Groups (SHGs).
  • The Corporation can assist a wide range of income generating activities to assist the poorer section of these classes in skill development and self-employment ventures under the broad sectors viz.: (1) Agriculture and Allied Activities ; (2) Small Business : (3) Artisan and Traditional Occupation ; (4) Technical and Professional Trades/Courses ; and (5) Transport and Service Sector etc.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. 

 

Signing of Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement by CBDT

 

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into a Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (BAPA) with Indian subsidiary of a Japanese trading company.

  • With this, total three Bilateral APAs are now signed with Indian subsidiaries of Japanese companies all including rollbacks. The total number of bilateral APAs entered into by the CBDT is now eight.

 

Background:

The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the “Rollback” provisions were introduced in 2014. Signing of bilateral APA is an important step towards ascertaining certainty in transfer pricing matters of multinational company cases and dispute resolution.

 

About BAPA:

Under BAPA, certainty in tax treatment is provided for the next 5 years while rollback provides dispute redressal for a maximum of four past years preceding APA years.

  • A BAPA may be preferred by multinational companies since finalisation of the same involves reaching an understanding between the tax administrations of the two countries and for the transfer pricing adjustment done in the hands of the Indian entity, corresponding adjustment is available in the hands of related foreign entity, thereby relieving economic double taxation.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

 

Surviving drought: Kerala imposes curbs on water use

 

Faced with a worsening drought situation, the Kerala state government has imposed curbs on the use of water in reservoirs and stepped up the review and monitoring system at the district level.

 

Various measures undertaken by the government to handle the situation:

  • District Collectors have been directed to stop the release of water through canals for irrigation and keep a close tab on the water level in reservoirs.
  • The assessment of the water situation in terms of Litres Per Capita per Day (LPCD) is being reported to the government on a regular basis. The Chief Secretary is closely monitoring the situation in each district and coordinating drought mitigation.
  • The focus is on ensuring the availability of drinking water up to the onset of the southwest monsoon in June. Efforts are on to establish drinking water kiosks in all wards.
  • The government is also monitoring the utilisation of groundwater by industries. The SDMA had proposed a 75 per cent cut in the extraction of groundwater by industries.

 

Background:

The season’s rainfall from January 1 have shown a deficit of 99%, signalling a post-monsoon dry spell expected to last till March in the state. The isolated showers during the current dry spell are not expected to improve the water situation.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Number of unemployed in India to climb: ILO

 

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released its report on World Employment and Social Outlook for 2017.  

 

Highlights of the report:

  • The number of jobless will increase from 17.7 million in 2016 to 18 million by 2018 even though the country’s unemployment rate is expected to go down from 3.5% to 3.4% in 2017.
  • Globally, the number of jobless people will increase by 3.4 million in 2017. The global unemployment rate is expected to rise modestly from 5.7 to 5.8% in 2017 as the pace of labour force growth outstrips job creation.
  • Vulnerable forms of employment, which include contributing family workers and own account workers, are expected to stay above 42% of total employment. About 1.4 billion people are likely to be engaged in such employment in 2017, with the number rising by 11 million per year, with Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected.
  • The number of workers earning less than $3.10 per day is even expected to increase by more than 5 million over the next two years in developing countries. Global uncertainty and the lack of decent jobs are, among other factors, underpinning social unrest and migration in many parts of the world.
  • Asia Pacific region, with nearly 60% of the global workforce, saw net employment rise by over 20 million (or 1.1%) in 2016, and a similar expansion is anticipated in 2017. Southern Asia has created most of the new employment, with employment expanding by 13.4 million in 2016, underpinned by population-driven labour force growth. The majority of this new employment was created in India.

 

Way ahead:

Entering 2017, working poverty is projected to continue to decline in Asia-Pacific, in both rate and absolute numbers, while vulnerable employment numbers look set to rise, despite decreases in the vulnerable employment rate, largely as a result of population growth.

The report also notes that a co-ordinated effort to provide fiscal stimulus and an increase in public investment that takes into account each country’s fiscal space, would provide an immediate jump-start to the global economy and reduce global unemployment in 2018 by close to 2 million compared to our baseline forecasts.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Ken-Betwa river link project gets green panel’s nod

 

Government’s ambitious Rs 9,393 crore Ken-Betwa river interlinking project that will irrigate 6.35 lakh hectares and mitigate drinking water woes of Bundelkhand region has received clearance from the green panel and Tribal Affairs ministry.

  • However, the final clearance for the project is yet to be given by Union Minister of Environment and Forest, which normally takes into account the green panel EAC’s recommendation.
  • The environmental appraisal committee (EAC) had “duly considered” and “agreed” for the phase I of the project in its meeting held on December 30, 2016.

ken-betwa link

About the project:

The Ken and Betwa rivers in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are to be linked under an historic agreement that marks the first such project in India’s ambitious and controversial national river-linking project.

  • The project envisages construction of a dam across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectare area of land, drinking water purposes and generation of 78 MW hydropower.
  • The project comprises two powerhouse of 2×30 MW and 3×6 MW each, two tunnels of 1.9 km long upper level, 1.1 km long tunnel lower level and a 221 km long Ken-Betwa link canal, proposed on the left bank of the river.
  • The project will provide irrigation facilities for 6,35,661 hectares of land in Panna, Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh districts in Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba and Jhansi districts in Uttar Pradesh.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims

 

Indian harvest festivals:

The Harvest season is on and festivities have gripped the nation from the north to down south.

  • The festival of Makar Sankranti is being celebrated today when the Sun enters the Makar zodiac and the days begin to lengthen compared to nights.
  • In South India and particularly in Tamil Nadu, it’s the festival of Pongal which is being celebrated over 4 days at harvest time.
  • In Assam and many parts of the North East, the festival of Magha Bihu is celebrated. It sees the first harvest of the season being offered to the gods along with prayers for peace and prosperity. People in Assam celebrate this festival wearing colourful and bright clothes.
  • Gujarat celebrates it in the form of the convivial kite festival of Uttarayan.
  • In Punjab, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Maghi. Bathing in a river in the early hours on Maghi is important.
  • In Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh, Makara Sankranti is known as Magha Saaji. Saaji is the Pahari word for Sakranti, start of the new month. Hence this day marks the start of the month of Magha.
  • The festival is known as Kicheri in Uttar Pradesh and involves ritual bathing.