Daily GK Update 8 May 2015

1.Government has asked the Universities to include a column for transgender category in all application forms, academic testimonials and other relevant documents.Supreme Court in its judgement in 2014 had directed that eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under under the Constitution.

2.The Gujarat High Court today ordered shutting down of 67 sandmining activities units which continued to operate without renewing their leases in the Gir sanctuary which is the only abode of Asiatic lions.The order came after the Gujarat forest department submitted that the 67 units would not be given ‘No Objection Certificates (NOC)’ to mine on the banks of the Shetrunji river in the Gir Sanctuary area.

3.India signed an agreement with Iran for the development of the strategically important Chabahar port which will give India sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.

Indian road transport and highways minister : Nitin Gadkari

Iranian President : Hassan Rouhani

4.US hands over to Pakistan 14 combat aircraft, 59 military trainer jets and 374 armoured personnel carriers.The arms were earlier used by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. India had in the past opposed the transfer of such arms to Pakistan as it believes Islamabad would eventually use the fighter jets against it.

5.India has slipped to 140th rank in an annual Global Mother’s Index, analysing the world’s best places to be a mother.This Index measures countries on four indicators of moms’ wellbeing: risk of maternal death; under-five mortality rate; expected number of years of formal schooling; the gross national income per capita and participation of women in government.

In 2014, India was 137th out of 178 countries in the global mother’s index.

6.Union Government launched Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes

The Union Ministry for Social Justice & Empowerment on 6 May 2015 launched the Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes. The scheme is being implemented by Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) Ltd.

A sum of 200 crore rupees was allocated towards Credit Enhancement Guarantee scheme for young and start-up entrepreneurs belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) to avail financial assistance. This allocation was made under Social Sector Initiatives to promote entrepreneurship among SCs.
The main objective of this scheme is to encourage entrepreneurship in the lower strata of the Society resulting in job creation besides creating confidence in Scheduled Castes.

7.Union Cabinet gave nod for revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with South Korea

The Union Cabinet on 6 May 2015 gave its approval for the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with South Korea.

The bilateral DTAA was signed in 1985 for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for the citizens of both the countries.

Features of revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)

Its primary purpose is to provide for tax stability to the residents of India and South Korea and facilitate mutual economic cooperation as well as stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between the two countries.

It provides for source based taxation of capital gains, making adjustments to profits of associated enterprises on the basis of arm’s length principle and residence based taxation of shipping income.

It rationalizes tax rates in the Articles on Dividends, Interest and Royalties and Fees for Technical Services.

It enables effective exchange of information and assistance in collection of taxes between tax authorities

EU Regulators to Test if Electronics and Digital Companies Curbing Sales
EU regulatory authorities will investigate if electronics and digital content companies are illegally curbing cross border online sales
– This will affect all e-tailers such as Amazon

AAP Constitutes New Organisational Team
Aam Aadmi Party has constituted a fresh organisational team giving priority to expansion plans across the nation while looking for suitable candidates at regional level

Horticulturist Names Mango After Indian PM
Horticulturist Haji Kalimullah Khan has named a newly developed mango variety as NaMo Aam after Indian PM Narendra Modi

Ex Infosys Honcho Makes Investment in CannyKart
Former Infosys board member V. Balakrishnan has invested an undisclosed amount of money in IoT/Internet of Things platform CannyKart

Astronomers Discover Youngest Galaxy Ever Seen
Astronomers from Yale University and University of California Santa Cruz have used the MOSFIRE instrument on Keck Observatory’s 10 m telescope to locate a galaxy 13.1 billion light years away from earth
– This is the youngest and farthest known galaxy so far
– It has been named EGS-zs8-1

World food prices fall to nearly 5-year low in April: UN FAO
Global food prices fell in April to their lowest since June 2010, as dairy led most commodities down, the United Nations food agency said today.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat, and sugar, averaged 171 points in April, 1.2 per cent below its reading in March.
High global production, a strong US dollar and cheaper crude oil have helped cap food prices for the past year and the index has been declining since April 2014.

There are no major concerns about supply, so external factors are likely to have more influence over price developments in the near future, FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian said.

The FAO forecast world cereal production in 2015 would fall by 1.5 per cent from the previous year, with overall output reaching 2.509 billion tonnes. Most of the decrease would come from reduced planting of maize, the agency said.
Cereal stocks at the end of the 2015-16 season are forecast to reach 626.6 million tonnes and world wheat output is due to hit 719.1 million tonnes, the FAO said.

India Moves Up on Global Travel, Tourism List to 52nd Place
India has moved up 13 notches to 52nd position on a global list of countries in terms of their travel and tourism competitiveness, but ranks worse than its emerging market peers like China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa.

While India fares much better as a business destination, the infrastructure gaps, concerns on health, hygiene and environment sustainability, and its “unsettling” safety and security situation has dragged down the overall ranking.

The list has been topped by Spain, which is followed by France, Germany, US, UK, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Japan and Canada in the top ten.

Of the large emerging markets, China (17th) and Brazil (28th) made it into the top 30, whereas Russia, South Africa and India ranked 45th, 48th and 52nd, respectively.

Arctic Ice Cap Smallest Since Late 1970s
The Arctic ice cap this year is the smallest it has been since the late 1970s when satellite monitoring of this region commenced
– Experts say the shrinkage is caused by global warming induced climate change

Scientists: Dolphins Have Social Networks
Dolphins have a highly complex network of friends and display human type preference and avoidance behaviour in their social interactions
– Researchers studied bottlenose dolphins in Indian River Lagoon across Florida’s east coast to discover this

RS Clears Ratification of LBA with Bangladesh
RS cleared the constitutional bill for the ratification of Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh
180 members have a nod for this bill

Nepal Government Bans Drones
Nepal government has banned drones in its skies fearing sensitivity information may be leaked following the April 25 quake

CCI Orders Probe Against Ola
Fair trade authority Competition Commission of India has ordered a probe against Ola Cabs for alleged predatory pricing
– It prima facie found evidence of Ola violating competition norms

Charlie Hebdo Receives PEN Award
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was conferred the freedom of expression award from the PEN American Centre

Government to Release Daily Air Quality Bulletin
Following the launch of the AQI/Air Quality Index, Union Environment Minister has released daily air quality bulletin for 11 cities including Delhi

Equifax appoints HSBC’s Manish Sinha as new India head

Credit information company Equifax has appointed Manish Sinha as the new managing director and country head for India.

Equifax India is a joint venture between the Atlanta, USA—headquartered Equifax and seven domestic financial institutions, including State Bank of India.

Nadia District in WB Gets UN Public Service Award

West Bengal’s Nadia district has been declared the winner for the ‘2015 United Nations Public Service Award’ in the category of improving delivery of public services, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.

Nadia district has earned praise for making available toilets for all under the programme “Sabar Shouchagar”.
The Award would be handed over by the UN Secretary General on June 23, 2015 in Medellin, Republic of Colombia, she said in her Facebook post.

Lok Sabha passes Juvenile Justice Bill

The central government on Thursday moved the Juvenile Justice Bill in the Lok Sabha which will allow children in the 16-18 age group to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes.

According to data from National Crime Records Bureau, crimes by juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years have increased, especially in certain categories of heinous crimes.

The bill states that in case a heinous crime has been committed by a person in the age group of 16-18 years it will be examined by a Juvenile Justice Board to assess if the crime was committed as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult’.

The legislation, which would replace the existing Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, was proposed in view of increasing number of serious offences being committed by persons in the age group of 16-18 years.

Election 2015: Party leaders cast votes in general election

A total of 650 Westminster MPs will be elected, with about 50 million people registered to vote.

There are more than 9,000 council seats being contested across 279 English local authorities.

Britain’s ruling Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party were tied with support at 33 per cent.

There are a total of 59 Indian-origin candidates in the fray from the Tories (17), Labour (14), Liberal Democrats (14), Green Party (4), United Kingdom Independence Party- UKIP (3), Independents (2) and one each from the smaller parties like All People’s Party, Christian Movement for Great Britain, National Liberal Party, Socialist Labour Party and Young People’s Party.

Indian Cabinet Approves Amendments to Whistleblowers Act

The union cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Whistlebowers Protection Act, 2011 aimed at strengthening safeguards against disclosures.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in December, 2011 and by Rajya Sabha in February last year. The bill has received the assent of the president in May last year.

The amendments would address concerns relating to national security and the amendment bill will be moved during the budget session of parliament.

Rajya Sabha unanimously passes Bangladesh land deal

In a historic step, the Rajya Sabha passed the bill to operationalise the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh, and the entailing exchange of enclaves between the two countries.

The Constitution (One Hundred and Nineteenth Amendment) Bill, 2013, was unanimously passed by the upper house, with 180 votes in favour and none against it.

Moving the bill for passage, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj clarified that no movement of population was necessitated by the exchange of enclaves.

In 2011, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina had signed the land swap deal known as the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).

India home to 56 of the world’s 2000 powerful companies

India is home to 56 of the world’s 2000 largest and most powerful public companies, according to the Forbes’s annual list which is topped by the US with its share of 579 companies.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries leads the pack of 56 Indian companies in the 2015 Forbes ‘Global 2000’ list.
Forbes said that for the first time, China’s four biggest banks own the top four spots and the South Asian giant is home to 232 of the world’s largest companies, adding more spots than any other country in the world and surpassing Japan for the first time.

The other Indian companies on the list are Oil and Natural Gas ranked 183, Tata Motors (263), ICICI Bank (283), Indian Oil (349), HDFC Bank (376), NTPC (431), Tata Consultancy Services (485), Bharti Airtel (506), Axis Bank (558), Infosys (672), Bharat Petroleum (757), Wipro (811), Tata Steel (903) and Adani Enterprises (944).

Cabinet gives nod to revise DTAA with South Korea

The Union Cabinet gave its nod for revising the existing double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) with South Korea.

The new agreement will among other things provide for effective exchange of information for tax administration purposes. It will also have limitation of benefit clause so that the benefits of the DTAA are availed of by genuine residents of both the countries.

This Cabinet nod assumes significance as it came days before the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to South Korea. The existing double taxation avoidance convention between the two countries was signed in 1985 for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for the citizens of both the countries.
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Geeta Phogat wins bronze in Asian championship

Geeta Phogat won a bronze medal in the Women’s Freestyle 58kg category in the Senior Asian Wrestling championship in Doha.
She defeated Vietnam’s Thi Loan Nyguen by Fall verdict in the bronze medal play-off.

En-route to the bronze medal play off, Geeta lost in pool bout only to Kaori Icho of Japan, the Olympic gold medallist.

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