GK Eduwrap – 2nd May 2015

National:

1. Union finance Ministry exempted Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) for foreign investors. During the Finance Bill debate in Parliament, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that MAT would not be applicable on foreign companies’ earning from capital gains on securities, royalty, fee on technical services and interest.

2. Four major telecom operators of India, namely Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance Communication slashed their roaming call rates by upto 40% and SMS rates by upto 75%.

3. The first meeting of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was held at NITI Aayog in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu who is the convener of the sub group.

4. Nadia district of West Bengal was declared as the first open defecation-free (ODF) district in India. Nadia district could achieve this feat due to its collaborative effort with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Bank aimed at construction of toilets across the district.

5. The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs launched Form-INC-29 to make the process of establishing new companies smoother for entrepreneurs. The Form-INC-29 is an integrated electronic application form and can be used alternatively in the place of filling five separate e-Forms to set up a new company.

6. The Lok Sabha gave its nod for the Finance Bill, 2015 through voice vote. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, the sole authority in taxation matters, after the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved as many as 41 official amendments which among others include:

• Promoters of foreign real estate investment trusts were exempted from paying Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on the notional gains arising from shares of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to a business trust in exchange of units allotted by that trust.
• Foreign companies including Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) are exempted from paying MAT on any interest, royalty or fees for technical services including incomes earned on investments in Government and other fixed income securities.
• Diluted tax proposals applicable to sovereign wealth funds which plan to relocate to India, in case they are floated by foreign government.

7. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana introduced 5 lakh rupees Accident Insurance Scheme for transport drivers. It will also cover education of two children of the beneficiary.

8. The Union Ministry of Tourism released the Draft National Tourism Policy 2015 after re-visiting National Tourism Policy 2002. The policy is aimed at boosting tourism sector in the country. Its objective is to increase India’s share in world tourist arrivals from the present 0.68% to 1% by 2020 and increase to 2% by 2025 and position tourism as a priority on the National political and economic agenda.

9. Union Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari dedicated Shillong Bypass Highway Project and four lane Jorabat-Barapani Section of NH-40 to the nation in Shillong, Meghalaya. The two projects are intended to improve connectivity between Guwahati and Shillong and other parts of the North East.

Sports:

1. Star Indian football team striker Sunil Chhetri was named among the top 500 players in the world by a United Kingdom-based magazine ‘World Soccer’, placing him along with the likes of superstars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Appointment:

1. Senior IPS officer Surender Singh took over as Director General (DG) of central paramilitary force Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

Awards & Recognition:

1. Four Indians will be conferred with the Spring Imperial Decorations of Japan. These Indians are among the 85 foreign recipients who will receive the award at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on 8 May 2015. The awards will be conferred by Emperor of Japan Akihito. Those four Indians are:

Thottuvelil Krishna Pillai Aiyappankutty Nair
Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao
Nikunj Parekh
Topgay Bhutia

Science & Technology:

1. Microsoft announced Edge as its next Web Browser’s name at the Build Developer Conference held at San Francisco in California, USA. Earlier, Microsoft had called it as Project Spartan; a code name given by the company. The browser is intended to replace the Internet Explorer (IE) in future.

Death:

1. Former Gujarat assembly speaker Barjorji Pardiwala passed away on 30th April 2015 due to age-related illness at a private hospital in Ahmedabad. He was 86.

Science & Technology:

1. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ended the operations of MESSENGER Mission. MESSENGER stands for Mercury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging and it was launched on 3rd August 2004 to study Mercury’s atmosphere.

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