Current Affairs 30th october 2015

  • RBI allows NRIs to subscribe to National Pension System
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed non-resident Indians (NRIs) to subscribe to the National Pension System (NPS) enabling them access old age income security.
RBI has taken this decision in consultation with Union Government under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to appease NRIs.
Key facts
    Image result for RBI allows NRIs to subscribe to National Pension System
  • NPS will act as an investment option for NRIs under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.
  • NRIs may subscribe to the NPS through normal banking channels and the person is eligible to invest as per the provisions of the PFRDA Act, 2013.
  • NRIs should pay the subscription amounts of NPS either by inward remittance through normal banking channels or out of funds held in their NRE/NRO/FCNR account.
  • No restriction will be imposed on repatriation of the annuity or accumulated savings of NPS.

About National Pension System (NPS)

Governed and administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
NPS was launched in 2004 and was initially introduced for the new Government recruits (except armed forces).
NPS aims to institute pension reforms in the country and to inculcate the habit of saving for retirement amongst the citizens. Its objective is to provide retirement income to all the citizens.
It was extended for all citizens of the country from 1 May 2009 including the unorganised sector workers on voluntary basis.

  • China condemns US warship’s passage near disputed islands in South China Sea
China has strongly condemned US warship’s passage near disputed artificial islands in the South China Sea spiraling tensions between both nations.
Image result for China condemns US warship’s passage near disputed islands in South China SeaOn 22 October 2015, guided missile destroyer USS Lassen had entered the 12-nautical mile zone claimed by China around Zhubi reefs in the Spratly archipelago in South China Sea.
China is claiming its full sovereignty over these disputed islands and its adjacent waters in South China Sea.
  • China’s Argument: Patrolling and non-permitted entry of US Ship in Spratly archipelago has threatened its sovereignty and security interests and also harmed the regional peace and stability.
  • US Argument: The warship has entered in this region as it is having right of freedom of navigation in international waters and does not require any prior permission.
It is said that the US warship had undertaken this patrolling operation as part of its Freedom of Navigation programme aimed at challenging China’s claims over the artificial islands created in this disputed waters.
Background of Disputes in South China Sea
  • Disputes in South China Sea is fight mainly between China, Philippines, Vietnam over the  territory and sovereignty of Spratly and Parcels islands in South China Sea along with other atolls, reefs and rocky outcrops.
  • Importance of these islands: They are strategically located in South China Sea which is major international shipping route as world’s half merchant ships passes through it.
  • They are also having reserves of natural resources around them including petroleum.

  • Raif Badawi wins EU’s Sakharov Prize 2015
Image result for Raif Badawi wins EU’s Sakharov Prize 2015
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has been selected for European Union’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for human rights for year 2015.
European Parliament assembly in Strasbourg, France has honoured Mr. Bidawi with this award considering him as a symbol of the fight for freedom of speech.
Raif Badawi, author of the website Free Saudi Liberals received an international fame in 2012 after he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in Saudi Arabia for insulting Muslim clerics.
He was one of 3 nominees for this year’s edition prize along with the Assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and Venezuelan opposition movement Mesa de la Unidad Democratica.

About Sakharov Prize

  • The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is annual award given by theEuropean Parliament.
  • Bestowed on individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought.
  • Established in December 1988 and named after Soviet scientist (physicist) and dissident Andrei Sakharov.
  • The first prize was jointly awarded to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian human rights campaigner Anatoly Marchenko.
  • It is awarded annually on or around December 10, the day on which the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, also celebrated as Human Rights Day.

  • Taxation of income from off-shore Rupee Denominated Bonds
Image result for Taxation of income from off-shore Rupee Denominated BondsThe Reserve Bank of India has recently permitted Indian corporates to issue rupee denominated bonds outside India. The matter of taxation of income from such bonds under Income-tax Act, 1961 has been considered by the Government
So far as taxation of interest income from these INR off-shore bonds in the case of non-resident investors is concerned, such bonds will attract a withholding tax of 5 per cent, which would be applicable in the same way as it is applicable for off-shore dollar denominated bonds. 
It has also been decided  that the Capital gains, arising in case of appreciation of rupee between the date of issue and the date of redemption against the foreign currency in which the investment is made, would be exempted from capital gains tax. Legislative amendment in this regard will be proposed through the Finance Bill, 2016. 
As per the RBI guidelines, a company can raise up to USD 750 million per annum under the automatic route through rupee denominated bonds (popularly known as masala bonds). To issue bonds beyond this, it will require to take prior approval of the RBI.

  • John Magufuli elected as President of Tanzania
Image result for John Magufuli elected as President of TanzaniaThe son of a peasant farmer, John Pombe Magufuli and renowned political leader of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party  has won the Tanzanian presidential election.
With this victory John Magufuli became fifth President of Tanzania since its independence from United Kingdom in 1961. John Magufuli defeated his rival Edward Lowassa, by securing 58.46 per cent of the total votes while his rival got 39 per cent votes.
Mr. Magufuli’s victory extends the rule of the the current ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi, or C.C.M. which has dominated Tanzania, under one name or another, since independence in the 1960s.

Facts to know about John Pombe Magufuli :-
Magufuli was once a maths and chemistry teacher, he went on to become an industrial chemist - and was awarded a doctorate in chemistry from Dar es Salaam University in 2009.
He has served as a Member of Parliament since 1995 and was Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000, Minister of Works since 2010, Minister of Lands and Human Settlement from (2006 -2008).
He became known as "The Bulldozer" for driving a programme to build roads across the country. He performed push-ups at rallies to refute allegations by the opposition that he was physically unfit for the top job.

Current Affairs 29th october 2015

  • Asia Pacific region most disaster prone part of the world: UN Report

Image result for Asia Pacific region most disaster prone part of the world: UN ReportThe Asia Pacific region is the most disaster prone part of the world as it had suffered around 1,625 disasters in the decade through 2014.
It was revealed in recently released 2015 United Nations Asia-Pacific Disaster Report.
Key highlights from Report
  • Disasters in Asia Pacific region accounted for 40 percent of the global total and claimed over half a million of lives over the decade.
  • The region needs to spend more on adapting to climate change and preparing for more extreme weather and disaster risks.
  • The disasters in past decade have affected around 1.4 billion people and caused over 523 billion dollars in economic damage.
  • Around 772 million poor people from this region which tends to be worlds populous region are vulnerable to disasters.
  • The largest losses are linked to frequent floods and earthquakes in this region.
  • Majority of disasters are cross-border in nature including floods, cyclones, droughts and earthquake. So, regional cooperation is crucial among nations in region.
  • UN has urged the region’s governments to invest more in adapting and preparing for disasters may worsened by its rapid economic growth and mushrooming population.

  • 33 per cent quota for women in government jobs in MP

  • The Madhya Pradesh government  has decided to provide 33 percent reservation to women in government jobs. 
  • The decision in this regard was taken during a cabinet meeting presided over by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Image result for 33 percent quota for women in government jobs in MPWith this decision the reservation to women in government jobs in the state has been increased from present 30 per cent to 33 per cent. However in this regard, permission would be sought from the Election Commission as by-polls are slated to be held in two places in the state next month.

Other decisions taken by the Madhya Pradesh government :-
  • Madhya Pradesh will cut its annual budget by 15 per cent this year to compensate losses of farmers. The state has planned to extend a minimum Rs 7,000 crore support to drought-hit farmers this season.
  • Government is committed to extend support of Rs 7,000 crore; Rs 3,000 crore for soyabean crop loss, Rs 3,000 crore against crop insurance and Rs 1,000 crore interest waiver this year.
  • The state govt. has also decided to give monthly pension of 2500 rupees to the relatives of those who were killed in anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in the state.
  • J&K state will host South Asian Rugby 7’S Championship in 2016

Image result for RugbyIt was announced by Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Youth Services and Sports Molvi Imran Raza Ansari that South Asian Rugby 7’S Championship in 2016 will be hosted by Kashmir Valley.
According to the decision, the championship will be held at Bakhshi Stadium from 18th June to 20th June 2016.
Eight teams will participate in the championship which will comprise of 180 participants from various countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, .
The minister also said that the government wants such events to be held in the state for the promotion of sports activities at global level. He also said that the Council would provide all possible support to make the event a success and will provide various facilities like boarding, lodging and logistic for smooth conduct of the event.

  • Russia will launch manned moon missions by 2029
Image result for Russia will launch manned moon missions by 2029 Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, announced to launch a manned flight to the moon till2029.
Russian scientists are working on creating a new spacecraft specifically designed for moon missions.
The first test flight of spaceship is expected in 2021. In 2023, it will dock with the International Space Station, and in 2025, the spaceship will carry out its first unmanned mission to the moon.
Do You Know :
On 25th February 1992, the Russian Federal Space Agency was established and is responsible for the Russian space science program and general aerospace research. It was previously called as the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.

  • IOC has allowed refugees to compete in Olympics for the first time
Image result for IOC has allowed refugees to compete in Olympics for the first timeIt was announced by Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief that refugees who are highly qualified athletes will be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games.
According to the announcement, the athletes will be able to compete for the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
As the refugee athletes have no national anthem to play for them, they will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the the IOC anthem and IOC flag