28 December 2015 Current Affairs

India strengthening ties with Iran

The 18th Session of the India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held on 28 December 2015 in New Delhi. The session was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister of India (EAM) Sushma Swaraj and Ali Tayebnia, Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran. Both the leaders reviewed the progress in trade and economic cooperation and a number of related matters. India emphasized the need for early completion of all necessary procedures for India’s participation in Farzad-B field and pointed out India’s desire to participate in other oil and gas explorations in Iran as well. They also discussed the possibilities in cooperation in railways, including by supply of rails, rolling stock and signaling.

LPG subsidy linked to income

Union Government has announced to link LPG subsidy to income of consumers. LPG subsidy will not be available to LPG consumers if the consumer or his/her spouse has taxable income of more than ten lakh rupees. This income would be as per the previous financial year computed under Income Tax Act, 1961. This move will affect at least 60 lakh LPG consumers of the total 16.5 crore LPG consumers in the country and Government will save upto Rs. 113 crore from this decision.

Report of Vijay Kelkar Committee on PPP Model released

The Union Ministry of Finance on 28 December 2015 released the report of the Committee on Revisiting and Revitalising Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model. The 9-member committee was headed by former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar and submitted its report on 19 November 2015. The committee was constituted on 26 May 2015 to review the experience of PPP Policy and suggest measures to improve capacity building in Government for their effective implementation. Key recommendations of the committee : 1. The committee has recommended amending the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 which does not distinguish between genuine errors in decision making and acts of corruption. 2. The committee advised against adopting PPP structures for very small projects, since the benefits of delivering small PPP projects may not be commensurate with the resulting costs and the complexity of managing such partnerships over a long period. 3. Banks and financial institution should be encouraged to issue Deep Discount Bonds or Zero Coupon Bonds (ZCB) to mobilise long term capital at low cost.

Burj Khalifa as Best Attraction in the world 

Burj Khalifa’s observation deck named world’s Best Attraction 2015. Burj Khalifa at the top has been voted as the ‘Best Attraction’ in the world for 2015 in an international poll. The viewing deck also came second to The Empire State Building in the ‘Best Observation Deck’ category. The structure with over 200 storeys and highest number of floors also holds the Guiness World Record. The height of the Burj Khalifa is 829.8 meters. It offers visitors the rare opportunity to soak up views of the city.

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