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.