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  • Current Affairs 16th May 2017

    Updated : 16-May-2017
    Current Affairs 16th May 2017

    Current Affairs 16th May 2017 - Important Points

    • Union Government revises Base Year of IIP to - 2011-2012 from 2004-05
    • India-Chile expanded PTA to come into effect on - 16th May
    • PM Modi launches Narmada river conservation project in MP
    • International Day of Families observed on - 15th May
    • Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2017 passed by - UP Assembly
    • India imposes anti-dumping duty on - glasses and Chinese radiators
    • India, Palestine sign five agreements for cooperation in different sectors on - 16th May 2017
    •  VO Chidambaranar Port Trust and TANGEDCO sign MoU to - Upgrade Coal Jetties
    • New Prime Minister of France - Edouard Philippe
    • Bengali is compulsory in all schools in - West Bengal

    Current Affairs 16th May 2017 - Details

    Union Government revises Base Year of IIP to - 2011-2012 from 2004-05

    The Central Statistics Office (CSO), under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation revised  the base year of the all-India Index of Industrial Production (IIP) on 12th May 2017 from 2004-05 to 2011-12. The new base year was selected keeping in view the base year of other macroeconomic indicators viz. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Consumer Price Index (CPI).

    Highlights of the new series of Index of Industrial Production

    • IIP in the new series will continue to consist of three sectors - Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity, as in the existing series.
    • The National Industrial Classification 2008 will be followed in the new series for the purpose of classification of products as per industries.
    • The unit coverage of IIP will, as before, cover entities in the organized sector units registered under the Factories Act, 1948.
    • The Use-Based Classification was revised to reflect the industrial segments and production more accurately and to map the products more accurately as per their Industrial use. 
    • The new use based classification include Primary Goods, Capital Goods, Consumer Durable Goods, Intermediate Goods, Infrastruture/Construction Goods and Consumer Non Durable Goods
    • The coverage of IIP new series is limited to the Organized Sector only.
    • For enabling dynamic revision of the methodology of IIP including the item list and the factories panel during the currency of a base year, a Technical Review Committee, chaired by Secretary of Ministry of Statistics, will be constituted.
    • The new series showed higher growth rates in most months in the period April 2012 to March 2017 which is attributable to 

    (i) shifting of base to a more recent period 

    (ii) increase in number of factories in panel for reporting data and 

    (iii) inclusion of new items and exclusion of old ones.

    India-Chile expanded PTA to come into effect on - 16th May

    The expanded Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Chile will come into effect on 16th May 2017. According to Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Chile was first signed on 8th March 2006, which came into force from August 2007.

    The notification also says that the original PTA had a limited number of tariff lines wherein the two nations extended Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) on 8th March 2006 which came into force with effect from August 2007.  India’s offer list to Chile consisted of 178 tariff lines whereas Chile’s offer list to India contained 296 tariff lines at the 8-digit level. India and Chile signed an agreement on the expansion of the India-Chile PTA on 6th September 2016, which will be implemented from 16th May 2017. This expanded PTA was approved by the Union Cabinet in April 2016. 

    India-Chile to expand Cooperation in Renewable Energy.Under this trade agreement, both the countries have offered to reduce or eliminate duties on a number of items traded with each other. Chile has offered duty concessions on about 1798 goods including iron, agri-items, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and steel items, to Indian exporters as compared to 178 items earlier. The tariff lines with Margin of Preference (MoP) offered by Chile will range from 30 percent -100 percent.

    On the other hand, India has offered concessions to Chile on 1031 products including  processed food, pharma, plastic, vegetable oil, and pearls as against 296 earlier. An official release said, around 96 per cent of the total bilateral trade has bow been covered by this agreement. The expanded PTA would immensely benefit both sides as a wide array of concessions has been offered by the two countries on a number of products which will facilitate more trade. The tariff lines with Margin of Preference (MoP) offered by India will range from 10 per cent-100 per cent.

    Interesting facts of the expanded Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)

    • When the negotiations had been concluded, these tariff lines were based on HS 2012.
    • With the implementation of the HS 2017 Nomenclature with effect from 1st January 2017, both sides have aligned their Annexes on India’s
    •  Schedule of Tariff Concessions, Chile’s Schedule of Tariff Concessions and the Schedule on Rules of Origin as per HS 2017 Nomenclature for the issue of Notification.
    • This would facilitate exporters of both sides to take tariff concessions advantage as per the expanded PTA immediately which covers around 96 percent of bilateral trade.
    • USITC increased anti-dumping duty on Indian preserved mushrooms for 5 years.

    PM Modi launches Narmada river conservation project in MP

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the river conservation project ‘Narmada Seva Mission’ on 15th May 2017 in Madhya Pradesh.

    The project is a road-map to take necessary steps to conserve Narmada River in the state. 

    Interesting Highlights

    • The event was organised from the place where river originates, Amarkantak, in Anooppur district.
    • The Prime Minister released a road map for the conservation of Narmada to make sure it is pollution free.
    • This roadmap is a result of wide range of consultations with various stakeholders including river conservation experts, environmentalists and others directly associated with the river.
    • The programme marks the conclusion of ‘Namami Devi Narmade Sewa Yatra’, which was launched on 11th December 2016 by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at Amarkantak.
    • The five-month Narmada river conservation awareness campaign was wrapped up after covering a distance of 3,344 km and passing through over 1,100 villages and towns.
    • Several famous personalities including BJP President Amit Shah, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharti, Anil Madhav Dave and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took part in the yatra at its different stages.
    • After launching the Narmada Seva Mission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took part in Narmada Pujan. Necessary security arrangements had been made for the same. 

    Do you know?

    The Narmada, also known as Rewa, is one of only three major rivers in the country flowing from east to west. 

    International Day of Families observed on - 15th May

    The International Day of Families was observed on 15th May 2017 with the theme “Families, education and well-being”. The day is observed annually on 15th May to provide an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to enhance knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families. The year’s observance focuses on the families role and family oriented policies in promoting the educational and overall well-being of their members.

     In particular, the Day is to raise awareness of the families role in promoting early childhood education and lifelong learning opportunities for children and youth.

    Key Highlights on International Day of Families

    • The day is observed to highlight the importance of all caregivers in families, be it parents, grandparents or siblings and the importance of parental education for the children welfare.
    • The day also focuses on good practices for work and family balance to assist parents in their educational and care giving roles.

    Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2017 passed by - UP Assembly

    The Uttar Pradesh (UP) Assembly passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, 2017 by a voice vote on 16th May 2017. The Bill was introduced in the state assembly on 15th May 2017. The Bill passage was hailed by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

    The GST Bill comprises four bills:

    1) The CGST Bill - The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017

    2) The IGST Bill - The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017

    3) The UTGST Bill- The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 ()

    4) The Compensation Bill - The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill, 2017

    Bill Provisions

    • IGST Bill makes provisions for tax levying and collecting on inter-state supply of goods or services or both by the Union Government.
    • The CGST Bill makes provisions for tax levying and collecting on intra-state supply of goods and services by the Union Government.
    • The UTGST Bill makes provisions tax levying and collecting tax on intra-UT supply of goods and services in the Union Territories without legislature.
    • Union Territory GST is similar to States Goods and Services Tax (SGST), which shall be levied and collected by the States and Union Territories on intra-state supply of goods/services or both.

    India imposes anti-dumping duty on - glasses and Chinese radiators

    India has imposed anti-dumping duty on certain type of glasses from Iran and aluminium radiators from China in order to protect the domestic industry from cheap imports. While an anti-dumping duty of about USD 55.59 per tonne has been imposed on clear float glass, USD 22.89 has been slammed on imports of aluminium radiators.

    Important Details

    • The imposed fine on both products would be effective for five years period.
    • In a separate probe, the Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) had concluded that these products were dumped into India and are causing material injury to the domestic industry.
    • Banco Products (India) had filed the application for dumping probe of aluminium radiators from China.
    • Countries initiate an anti-dumping investigation in order to determine if the domestic industry has suffered from the flow of below-cost import and  as a counter-measure, they have come up with duties under the multi-lateral WTO regime.
    • The anti-dumping steps are not taken to restrict imports or cause an unreasonable hike in the cost of products but instead to ensure fair trade and to provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry.

    Do you know?

    Clear float glass is a superior quality glass that is used in construction, refrigeration, mirror and solar energy industries.

    India, Palestine sign five agreements for cooperation in different sectors on - 16th May 2017

    India and Palestine signed 5 agreements for cooperation in different areas including agriculture, health and Information Technology on 16th May 2017. These Agreements were exchanged after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas in New Delhi. Both the leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, regional and international issues.

    MoUs inked during the visit of President Abbas include

    1.  Visa Exemption on Diplomatic and Official Passports
    2.  Cooperation in Youth Affairs and Sports
    3. Agricultural Cooperation
    4. Cooperation in Health Sector
    5. Information-Technology and Electronics
    • Later in a joint press statement, Prime Minister Modi said, challenges in West Asia must be addressed through political dialogues. 
    • He stated that India and Palestine will work together for capacity building and Ramallah will be made an IT hub.
    • PM Modi also extended an unwavering support to the Palestinian cause and declared that India hopes to see a sovereign, independent and united Palestine, which co-exists peacefully with Israel.
    • Last night, while addressing an event at India Islamic Cultural Center in New Delhi, President Abbas said that India is a major player in international affairs and Palestine is looking forward for its continued support.
    •  He also added India can play a big role in establishing peace in the region because of its good relations with both Palestine and Israel.

     VO Chidambaranar Port Trust and TANGEDCO sign MoU to - Upgrade Coal Jetties

    The VO Chidambaranar Port (VOCP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) for the upgradation of Coal Jetty I and II on 15th May 2017. As per the MoU, VOCP intends to increase the capacity of two of its Coal Jetties I and II from 6.25 MTPA to 24 MTPA. S Anantha Chandra Bose, Chairman of VO Chidambaranar Port Trust and M Sai Kumar, Chairman cum Managing Director of TANGEDCO signed this MoU.

    MoU Highlights

    • The estimated cost for upgrading Coal Jetties I & II is about Rs 800 crore.
    • Coal Jetty-I will be upgraded in about 2 years by constructing a new Coal Jetty-I of 300m x25m along with repair of the existing CJ-I. 
    • The project will make coal handling by the jetties much more voluminous and efficient and consequently bring down logistics costs.
    •  It will also allow for cheap electricity production which will be beneficial for industrial growth.
    •  With the upgradation of the coal jetties, TANGEDCO will be handling additional volume of coal cargo for the upcoming new power plants in Uppur and Kadaladi in Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu. 
    • There will be quicker vehicles turnaround with the deployment of high tech handling equipments.
    • Handling capacity enhancement and upgradation of infrastructure will be helping TANGEDCO to utilize the services of the Port in a more cost-effective way. 
    • Power generation linking from TANGEDCO’s Tuticorin plants to the National Grid will enable availability of additional power at reduced costs, which in turn, can increase industrial growth and employment generation. 
    • Ministry of Shipping’s Project Unnati inspired this MoU, under which a study, ‘Unlocking National Ports Potential’ was done to improve the handling capacity of Coal Jetties I & II

    New Prime Minister of France - Edouard Philippe

    French President Emmanuel Macron named Edouard Philippe as the Prime Minister of the country on 15th May 2017. Edouard is a member of the Les Républicains party and is close to Alain Juppé, the former Prime Minister who endorsed Macron after he won the first round of the presidential election.

    More about Edouard Philippe

    • Born on 28th November 1970, Edouard Philippe is also a French lawyer and politician.
    • Since 2012, He has served as a member of the National Assembly representing the 7th constituency of Seine-Maritime.
    • Since 2010, He has also served as mayor of Le Havre and president of the agglomeration community of Le Havre.
    • He worked for the campaign of Alain Juppé in the primary of the right and center in 2016.
    • Following the victory of Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 presidential election, Philippe was speculated to be a potential choice for Prime Minister,  representing three important aspects: political renewal, affiliation with the moderate right, and familiarity with the political terrain.

    Bengali is compulsory in all schools in - West Bengal

    The West Bengal government has made the Bengali language compulsory in all schools. The announcement was made by the State’s Education Minister, Partha Chatterjee on 15th May 2017 during a press meet. He said that from now on it will be compulsory for students to learn Bengali in all the schools. The Minister clearly stated that even English medium schools affiliated to boards other than the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education will have to make Bengali as an optional subject from Class I so that the students can study it either as a second or third language.

    Key Highlights

    • So far it was not mandatory to include Bengali as one of the three languages for students.
    • Other than Bengali, Hindi and English there are provisions for opting for languages such as Urdu, Gurmukhi, Nepali and Ol Chiki as the medium of instruction in schools of the State.
    • The students selecting any other languages as their first language would need to pick up two other languages, among which one would have to be Bengali.
    • The decision was followed after a feedback that Bengali was not being offered as an option in many schools.

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