25 - 26 September 2016 - Current Affairs

GST council sets exemption threshold for tax at Rs.20 lakh

  • The first meeting of Goods & Services Tax (GST) Council has decided to exempt businesses with annual turnover below Rs.20 lakh out of the GST net.
  • The meeting was presided by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi and was attended by Finance ministers of states.
  • Threshold for exemption for businesses in Northeastern and hill states will be for annual turnover below Rs.10 lakh and rest of India it will below Rs.20 lakh.
  • The Northeastern and hill states have been accorded special status by the Constitutional Amendment paving the way for the GST.
  • States will have sole jurisdiction over assessees having a turnover of Rs.1.5 crore or less.
  • In case turnover exceeding that limit, the administrative control will be jointly with the central and state governments.
  • The GST Council also agreed to settle 2015-16 as the base year for calculating the compensation.

ISRO successfully launches 8 satellites into two different orbits

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for first time has successfully launched eight satellites into two different orbits in a single mission.
  • It was ISRO’s longest and most complex mission.
  • These satellites were launched onboard of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C35 (PSLV C35) from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta.
  • Among the eight satellites launched, three satellites were from India, three from Algeria and one each from Canada and United States.
  • SCATSAT-1 satellite of India weighing 371 kg was the primary payload and remaining other seven customer satellites were secondary payloads (5 foreign and 2 domestic satellite) weighing 304 kg in total.
  • The name of three Indian Satellites are SCATSAT-1, Pratham and PISAT.
  • Three Algerian satellites are Alsat-1B (103 kg), Alsat-2B (110 kg) and Alsat Nano (7 kg).
  • Pathfinder-1 is US satellite and NLS-19 is Canadian satellite.

2nd SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism held in New Delhi

  • The second meeting of the High Level Group of Eminent Experts to strengthen the SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism was held in New Delhi.
  • Delegations from all eight SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) member countries participated in the conference.
  • SAARC  members are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • Besides, other important issues discussed during the meeting included terrorism financing, drugs trafficking and cybercrimes.
  • They agreed towards operationalizing the SAARC Drugs Offences Monitoring Desk (SDOMD) and SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) in order to strengthen the combat efforts against terrorism.

CSIR celebrates its platinum jubilee

  • India’s largest civilian research and development agency Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) celebrated its platinum jubilee.
  • The platinum jubilee celebrations were inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is also the President of CSIR.
  • PM Modi also released seven new plant varieties developed at CSIR laboratories.
  • Besides, prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes was presented to eminent scientists on the occasion along with other CSIR awards.
  • CSIR is an autonomous body and the largest research and development (R&D) organisation in India. It became operational on 26 September 1942.

National waterways project threatens Gangetic dolphins

  • According to the scientists and wildlife conservationists, the National Waterways (NW) project possesses serious environmental threat to Gangetic river dolphins.
  • The development NW1 in the River Ganga is considered as single-largest threat to the survival of the species, whose numbers are declining in most parts of their natural habitat.
  • River dolphins are found in Ganga and Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
  • It has been declared endangered species and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • NW projects in India has a huge untapped potential of inland waterways.
  • To tap this potential the Central Government has planned to develop National Waterway 1, World Bank-aided 1600-km waterway project in River Ganga between Allahabad and Haldia for inland transportation.

Irdai slaps Rs 10 lakh penalty on SBI Life Insurance Co

  • Regulator Irdai has imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on SBI Life Insurance Company for violations of various norms, including guidelines on accepting business from a corporate agent after the expiry of licence.
  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) said that the inspection report of the corporate agent Bonanza Assurance Advisors indicated that it had done 621 policies after expiry of licence.

Rajasthan replaces 5 lakh streetlights with LED bulbs

  • Rajasthan becomes the first state to adopt Centre’s Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) in all its urban local bodies (ULB).
  • Almost 5 lakh conventional streetlights have been replaced with LED streetlights across the state.
  • The project has been funded byEnergy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public energy services company under the administration of Union ministry of power at no cost to the state.

Stayzilla inks pact with Gujarat Tourism to encourage homestays

  • Online aggregator of homestays Stayzilla.com has signed an MoU with Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGL) to jointly promote and market homestays and alternate stays in Gujarat.
  • Homestay is a stay option wherein guests (travellers) can rent a room in the home of a local family (host) or the entire house.
  • Under this agreement, Stayzilla and Gujarat Tourism will share the current base of homestays on each other’s digital platforms to bring more awareness on homestays in Gujarat.
  • Stayzilla will also aid verification procedures and jointly promote the concept of homestays in the State. All homestays registered with TCGL will receive technological and operational support to run.

Pfizer concludes Rs. 110cr deal with Piramal Enterprises

  • Drug maker Pfizer has completed the process of transferring four products to Mumbai-based Piramal Enterprises after getting necessary regulatory approvals.
  • In May this year, Ajay Piramal-led Piramal Enterprises had entered into an agreement to acquire four brands from Pfizer for a consideration of Rs. 110 crore.
  • The acquisition includes brands Ferradol, Neko, Sloan’s and Waterbury’s compound.
  • The agreement also includes the trademark rights for Ferradol and Waterbury’s Compound in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Sun Pharma signs deal with ICGEB to develop India’s first dengue vaccine

  • India’s largest pharmaceutical company Sun Pharma has signed deal with International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) for clinical development Cissampelos pariera (Cipa), India’s first vaccine (drug) for the treatment of dengue.
  • The partnership between Sun Pharma and ICGEB aims to develop` safe, effective and affordable botanical drug Cipa.
  • Under the deal, Sun Pharma will get access to all the intellectual properties (IP) rights of the drug across 17 countries.
  • ICGEB will establish assay systems for the development of Cipa for the treatment of dengue infection.
  • ICGEB had explored Indian traditional medicine, Ayurveda, to identify plants that could be a source of dengue inhibitory activity In its research it was found that an alcoholic extract prepared from Cissampelos pareira Linn from C.
  • ICGEB is an international, nonprofit research organization promoted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). It is part of the United Nations System.

Ajay Singh elected BFI president

  • Uttarakhand’s Ajay Singh was elected president of the Boxing Federation of India, and the Mumbai-based Jay Kowli won the post of secretary-general as the election process for the office-bearers of the new National federation was completed.
  • Ajay Singh, who polled 49 out of the 64 votes cast, defeated Rohit Jain (15 votes) in the contest for the president’s post.

India, US Joint Military Training Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2016 concludes

  • India and United States (US) Joint Military Training Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2016 concluded at the Chaubattia Military Station in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand.
  • The bilateral military exercise was the twelfth edition in the YudhAbhyas series which started in the year 2004 under US Army Pacific Partnership Program.
  • This was the third time the exercise is being conducted at Chaubattia in Uttarakhand.
  • The YudhAbhyas 2016 aimed at strengthening and broadening the inter-operability and cooperation between the Indian and US armies.

First Russia-Pakistan military exercise Druzhba-2016 begins

  • The first military exercise between Russia and Pakistan named Druzhba-2016 (Friendship-2016) has kicked off in Pakistan.
  • With this, Pakistani Army and Russian Ground Forces (RGF) have come together for the first time in military exercises reflecting growing military ties between two former Cold War rivals.
  • The military exercise is taking place at the Army High Altitude School in northern Pakistan’s Rattu and at a special forces training centre in Cherat.
  • The two week long joint military drills aims at bolstering and building military cooperation between the two countries.

UNSC approves resolution for global implementation CTBT to ban nuclear weapons tests

  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approved a resolution urging quick global implementation of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty (CTBT) to ban tests of nuclear weapons.
  • The resolution has welcomed progress made towards universalization of the Treaty with 14 votes in favour of it and one abstention (Egypt).
  • The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions for both civilian and military purposes.
  • It was adopted by the UNGA under resolution 50 (1996).
  • The Treaty will enter into force 180 days after the date of deposit of the instruments of ratification by all.
  • So far, 183 countries have signed the CTBT and 166 States have deposited their instruments of ratification.
  • But for that, the holdouts among the 44 countries that are designated nuclear capable, the United States, Egypt, China, India, Israel, Iran, North Korea and Pakistan must ratify it.

World’s largest radio telescope built in China

  • China has built world’s largest radio telescope nicknamed Tianyan (Heavenly Eye” or “The Eye of Heaven) or the five-hundred-metre aperture spherical radio telescope (FAST).
  • It has started its operation and is part of China’s drive to become a science powerhouse.
  • It is located in the Dawodang depression (vast natural crater), a natural basin in Pingtang County in the Guizhou Province, Southwest China.
  • With its opening, the intensive testing phase of the telescope will begin.
  • It is the world’s largest filled aperture (single dish) radio telescope and the second largest radio telescope after the Russian RATAN-600, which has a sparsely filled aperture.
  • It is made up of 4,450 panels and has reflector as large as 30 football pitches.
  • It has 500 meters diameter, giving it more sensitivity.
  • It will be used to search for signs of intelligent life and to observe distant pulsars – tiny, rapidly spinning neutron stars believed to be the products of supernova explosions.

Pinky Balhara wins bronze medal in 5th Asian Beach Games

  • India’s Pinky Balhara has won bronze medal in the sporting event of kurash at the 5th Asian Beach Games held at Da Nang, Vietnam.
  • She won the medal in women’s 52kg category after she lost to Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy of Vietnam in the semifinals.
  • Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy won the gold medal in this event while another Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Quynh won the silver medal.

India wins historic 500th Test by 197 runs against NZ

  • India notched up a mammoth 197-run win in their historic 500th cricket Test to assert their supremacy in home conditions, bowling out New Zealand for 236 to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
  • After setting the Kiwis a rather improbable target of 434, the Indian bowlers, especially senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (6/132), revelled in home conditions to rip through the visiting team’s line-up with more than a session to spare.

Velavan Senthilkumar wins U-19 Asian title of Squash

  • India’s squash player Velavan Senthilkumar has won the Under-19 Asian Junior Individual squash championship title.
  • In the final match held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia’s capital), he defeated Jordan’s Mohammad Al-Sarraj by 12-14, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 score.
  • With this he becomes, second Indian to win this title after Ravi Dixit in 2010.
  • Tushar Shahani had won the silver medal in boys’U-17 and Yash Fadte had won bronze medal in boys’ U-15 section.

FCAT chairman Mahajan passes away

  • Former Delhi High Court judge S K Mahahan, who was serving as the chairman of Film Certification Appllate Tribunal (FCAT), died.
  • He was cremated at the at Lodhi road crematorium here, where many legal luminaries including judges and dignitaries including Minister of State of Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore were present.

Golf legend Arnold Palmer passes away

  • US golfer Arnold Palmer passed away on 25 September 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania due to heart complications. He was 87.
  • Palmer is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in professional golf history.

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