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All India Radio News Summary: 18 JANUARY 2018

All India Radio News Summary: 18 JANUARY 2018

  1. GST Council reduces tax rate on 29 goods and 53 categories of services ; New rates to be effective from 25th of this month. 

The Goods and Services Tax Council has reduced the tax rate on 29 goods and 53 categories of services by bringing them into a lower category.

  • The Fitment Committee will fix the rates for about 40 handicrafts items, there could be some more added to it because some states wanted some additions to be added to it.
  • There was a recommendation of the Fitment Committee both with regard to goods and services in some cases.
  • The new rates will be effective from the 25th of this month.
  • The GST rate on tailoring service has been reduced from 18 to 5 percent and tax on entry services to theme parks, water parks, joy rides, merry-go-rounds, go-carting and ballet from 28 to 18 per cent.
  • The tax rate on construction of metro and monorail projects has been brought down from 18 to 12 percent.
  • The GST rate on transportation of petroleum crude and petroleum products including ATF has been cut down from 18 to 5 per cent without input tax credit and 12 per cent with it.
  • The Council reviewed the preparedness of GST Network in handling the return filing process as well as for implementing the e-way bill system with effect from 1st of next month.
  • Under it, the inter-state road transport of goods beyond 10 kilometer with a value of 50 thousand rupees and above will mandatorily require e-way bill. This will bring uniformity across the States for seamless inter-State movement of goods.


  1. The GST Council has decided to provide a three-year GST exemption for viability gap funding (VGF) given under the regional air connectivity scheme

The scheme, also known as UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) seeks to connect un-served and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable.

  • The participating airlines are eligible for VGF subject to certain conditions.
  • The civil aviation ministry contributes 80 per cent of the VGF amount, while the remaining comes from the state governments concerned and in the case of north-eastern states and Union territories, the Centre will contribute 90 per cent.
  • A total of 128 routes connecting 70 airports were awarded in the first round of bidding under the scheme.


  1. Maharashtra Government approves a 4,000-crore rupee project to promote climate-resilient agriculture in the State.

The Maharashtra Government has approved a 4,000-crore rupee project aimed at promoting climate-resilient agriculture.

  • A government resolution issued recently informs that the project, named Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna, will be implemented in 5,142 villages across 15 districts.
  • The objectives of the project include improving soil quality, developing food grain varieties which can sustain climate variations and effect necessary changes in the crop pattern as per the availability of water in a particular region.
  • The scheme would cover small and medium scale farmers, who are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
  • About 70 per cent of the project’s cost will be borne by the World Bank while the state will contribute 30 per cent over six years.


  1. The transition being observed at the global level is not limited to the western world alone.

Foreign Secretary said that the rise of China, the posturing and behaviour of the US on the world platform, the challenge of terrorism particularly, from ungoverned spaces and the implication of non-market economics are four major disruptions at the global level.

He said the transition being observed at the global level is not limited to the western world alone.


  1. A low danger avalanche warning has been issued for some avalanche prone areas of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Chandigarh-based Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) issued the warning for the areas above 2500 metre altitude.
  • The warning exists for avalanche prone areas in Bandipora, Ganderbal and Kupwara districts.
  • The SASE advisory said, people are advised not to venture to avalanche prone slopes or areas during the warning period.
  • It further said that fresh snowfall has occurred at a few places in Jammu and Kashmir. Banihal Top had received light snow while Gulmarg got 6 and Drass 8 centimetres of snow.


  1. The Election Commission announced the schedule for the Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland
  • In Tripura, the polling will take place on the 18th of next month, while Meghalaya and Nagaland will go to polls on 27th February. The counting of votes for all the three states will be held on 3rd March.
  • EVMs with VVPATs will be used during the polling in the three states.
  • As for as the limit of the Election Expenditure is concerned,  the ceiling for the election expenditure for any candidate who is contesting any of the seat in these three states assemblies is Rs. 20 lakh per candidate.
  • All candidates are required to furnish their accounts of expenditure to DEO within 30 days of the declaration of the results.
  • Similarly the political parties are also required to submit their accounts of the expenditure incurred by them within 75 days of the completion of the elections.

With the announcement of the schedule, the model code of conduct has come into force. Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura have 60 Assembly seats each.


  1. India successfully test-fired indigenously developed long-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Agni-5, off the Odisha coast

The state-of-the-art missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was test fired successfully from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island at 9:54 AM.

  • The three-stage solid propellant Agni-5 missile has a strike range of over 5,000 kilometres and can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.
  • Defence sources said, the missile covered 4,900 kilometres in 20 minutes in the launch. The missile is about 17 metres long, 2 metres wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes.
  • This test is the fifth developmental trial of the long range missile, carried out by the Strategic Forces Command of Indian Army to check its operational readiness.
  • Unlike other missiles of Agni series, the latest one ‘Agni-5’ is the most advanced having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.
  • Once this missile is inducted in Services, India will join the super exclusive club of countries with Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles ICBMs alongside the US, Russia, China, France and the UK.


  1. Solar energy holds the potential to change irrigation access, advance low carbon agriculture, reduce burden of electricity subsidies on the government

The Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog said that solar energy will improve resilience of farmers against a changing climate.

  • Despite the existing 19 million electrical pumps and about 9 million diesel pumps, 53 per cent of India’s net sown area remains unirrigated.
  • The CEO said, solar for irrigation initiative will be quite instrumental in bringing effective solutions in Indian agriculture.
  • Actually both the Centre and the State governments’ are providing significant subsidies to promote the adoption of solar pumps for irrigation.
  • Against the target of one millions pumps by 2020, India has only deployed 142 thousand pumps till November 2017.