Daily Current Affairs : 24th August 2019 : The Hindu News Analysis

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GOVERNMENT’S STEPS TO BOOST ECONOMIC GROWTH

GOVERNMENT'S STEPS TO BOOST ECONOMIC GROWTH

Context: The Government has came up with a number of measures to lower the burden on the private sector which includes withdrawing the controversial surcharge on Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs). The Key highlights of important measures is listed below :

  • From now onwards, Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) violations will not be treated as a criminal offence.
  • It has been decided to withdraw the enhanced surcharge levied by the Finance Act (No 2) Act 2019 on long and short term capital gains arising from the transfer of equity shares. In other words, the enhanced surcharge on FPIs is gone and the pre-Budget position is restored.
  • For those high net-worth individuals who are earning more than Rs. 2 crore a year, the increased surcharge announced in the Budget would still be applicable.
  • It is also decided to front-load the Rs. 70,000 crore of capital infusion in public sector banks as announced in the Budget, which is aimed at increasing private investment by facilitating greater credit disbursal by the banks.
  • The government had cancelled its ban on the purchase of new vehicles by its departments to replace old ones. 
    • Vehicles bought till March 31, 2020 will also be eligible for an additional 15% depreciation
    • The proposal to enhance registration fees for new vehicles will also be kept on hold till June 2020.
  • All the notices and summons by the Income Tax Department would be generated by a centralised computer and would carry a unique code.
  • an additional Rs. 20,000 crore of liquidity to the Housing Finance Companies (HFCs), over and above the Rs. 10,000 crore earlier announced.

source : the hindu

INNOVATORS GROWTH PLATFORMS(IGP)

INNOVATORS GROWTH PLATFORMS(IGP)

The SEBI Board has approved the norms for migration of companies listed on the IGP earlier called startups to regular trade category of the main board.

KEY PROPOSALS

  • The Company should have been listed on the IGP for a minimum period of 1 year.
  • At the time of making the application for trading under regular category of main board, the number of shareholders should be minimum 200.
  • The Company should have profitability/net worth track record of 3 years or have 75% of its capital as on the date of application for migration held by Qualified Institutional Buyers.
  • The Minimum promoters contribution shall be 20% which shall be locked in for 3 years.

source : business-standard

COMPOSITE WATER MANAGEMENT INDEX 2.0

Context: Second Round of Composite Water Management Index (CWMI 2.0) has been prepared by NITI Aayog. The CWMI is an important tool to assess and improve the performance of States/ Union Territories in efficient management of water resources. NITI Aayog first launched and conceptualized the Composite Water Management Index in 2018 as a tool to instill the sense of cooperative and competitive federalism among the states. This was a first ever attempt at creating a pan-India set of metrics that measured different dimensions of water management and use across the life-cycle of water.

COMPOSITE WATER MANAGEMENT INDEX 2.0

The report was widely acknowledged and provided actionable guidance to States on where they were doing well absolutely and relatively and what they needed to focus on to secure their water future. This coordinated exercise was led by the Water Resources Vertical within NITI Aayog and the data was then reviewed and verified by an Independent Validation Agency (IVA)IPE Global.

Key Points

  • CWMI 2.0 ranks various states for the reference year 2017-18 as against the base year 2016-17.
  • Gujarat hold the first rank in the reference year (2017-18), followed by Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. 
  • In North Eastern and Himalayan States, Himachal Pradesh has been adjudged number 1 in 2017-18 followed by Uttarakhand, Tripura and Assam
  • The Union Territories have first time submitted their data and Puducherry has been declared as the top ranker. 
  • In terms of incremental change in index (over 2016-17 level), Haryana holds number one position in general States and Uttarakhand ranks at first position amongst North Eastern and Himalayan States.
  • On an average, 80% of the states assessed on the Index over the last three years have improved their water management scores, with an average improvement of +5.2 points.

source : pib

HENLEY PASSPORT INDEX 

The Henley Passport Index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

HENLEY PASSPORT INDEX

The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information, and enhanced by ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.

Key Points

  • Most Powerful Passports : Japan and Singapore on top with a score of 189.
  • South Korea, Germany and Finland ranks 2nd in the list with a score of 187 followed by Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg at 3rd place scoring 186.
  • India ranks at 86th position with a score of 58. It has slipped 5 places from 81st position in 2018. Last year, an Indian passport holder had visa-free access to 60 countries, but now, its only 58 countries.
  • Afghanistan, holds the weakest passport, with a score 25 and ranks 109th. 
  • Syria(score 29) and Pakistan(score 30) follow with a ranking of 107th and 106th respectively. 

What are the assumptions made by the Index while calculating the strength of passports?

The Index makes the following assumptions :

  • The passport is valid.
  • It belongs to an adult who is a citizen of the issuing country.
  • It is not diplomatic, emergency or temporary in nature.
  • The person travelling is doing so alone, rather than in tourist groups and meets all the basic requirements for entry such as hotel reservations.
  • The traveller is arriving and departing from the same airport and is seeking a short stay (between 3 days to several months) only for business and tourist purposes.

Which are the other Passport Indices?

The Arton Passport Index, which ranks United Arab Emirates’s passport at rank 1 as per its most recent rankings. According to this index, India has a mobility score (MS) of 67, with visa required for 131 destinations, visa on arrival required for 41 destinations and there are 26 destinations where Indian passport holders can travel visa free. source : Henley Passport Index

WORLD BANK REPORT ON NITRATE EXPOSURE IN INFANCY 

Context: The new World Bank report focuses on the impact of Nitrate exposure in infancy on the women’s height.  The data set used was taken from over 1,330 monitoring stations from 1963-2017.

While exposure for a short-term to nitrates has almost negligible effect on adult height, cumulative exposure over the first 3 years of life has a considerable impact.

Key Highlights of the Report

  • An infant girl exposed to nitrate levels more than the safety threshold in the first 3 years experiences a 1-2 cm decrease in her height during her adult age.
  • Female adult height in India has increased by about 4 cm over the last 100 years, a loss of 1-2 cm in height  means that nitrate exposure in infancy can wipe out almost half of this gain in height.
  • The report briefly covers 2 types of pollutants — the well known ones such as faecal contaminants and the new pollutants that include plastic, nutrients and pharmaceuticals.
  • It is also reported that Nitrate levels in groundwater aquifers in India crossed the permissible levels in more than 50 % of the districts across 19 states.

source : indianexpress

WORLD YOUTH CONFERENCE ON KINDNESS

The conference has been organised by UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) THEME : Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Gandhi for the Contemporary World: Celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The conference was organized in commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi and aimed at providing youth with creative, effective methods of engaging and realising the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). source : the hindu

FM steps in to accelerate auto demand

Context: On the backdrop of the steep fall in the demand for automobiles, Finance Minister has stepped in with a number of measures to accelerate the automobile demand.

Key points 

  • The most important of the steps proposed is a higher depreciation of 30%, up from 15%, for all vehicles purchased from now till March 31, 2020.
  • Next important step is the deferment of the higher onetime registration fees, mooted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), till June 2020.
  • Also, the BS-IV compliant vehicles purchased  till March 31, 2020, would be allowed to remain operational till the full period of their registration.

source : the hindu

Read more : Why is Automobile Industry facing the trouble?

SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) (Third Amendment) Regulations, 2019

Context: The SEBI Board has approved the Third Amendment to the SEBI Regulations.

Key Highlights of SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) (Third Amendment) Regulations, 2019 

  • Definition of Informant: He is defined as a person who is voluntarily submitting a form detailing credible, complete and original information relating to an act of insider trading.
  • Provisions for Office of Informant Protection(‘OIP’):  An  independent  office will be established by SEBI for the  receipt  and  registration  of  the Voluntary  Information  Disclosure  Form (‘VIDF’) which will serve as a medium of exchange between the informant/legal representative and the SEBI Board.
  • Guidelines for the confidentiality of Informant:The confidentiality regarding the identity of the informant and information will be the sole responsibility of the OIP. 
  • Provisions for Reward: In case the information provided leads to a disgorgement  of  at  least  Rupees  1 crore, the informant will be given with a total monetary  reward  that shall  be 10  % of  the  money collected  and not exceeding Rs. 1 crore.
  • Establishment of Investor Protection and Education Fund (‘IPEF’): The reward will be given from the designated IPEF.
  • Exemption under  RTI: The original information provided by the informant shall be exempted from disclosure under section 8(1)(g) and 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act, 2005.
  • Protection in case of victimization: Market participants would be  required  to incorporate  in  their  Code  of  Conduct,  suitable provisions  to  ensure  that  no  employee  who  files  a  VIDF  is harassed, or discriminated against.
  • Punishment for frivolous complaints: If the information submitted is found to be frivolous or vexatious, SEBI may initiate appropriate action against the informant under the securities laws and any other applicable law.

What did you need to know about Insider Trading?

Insider Trading is defined as the buying or selling of a publicly traded company’s stock by someone who has non-public, material information about that stock. It can be illegal or legal depending on when the insider makes the trade. It is illegal when the material information is still non-public. source : All India Radio

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