19 June 2017 Current Affairs

Govt ropes in Amitabh Bachchan to promote GST

The Union government has roped in Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan to promote Goods and Services Tax (GST), ahead of the sweeping tax reform’s implementation scheduled from July 1. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) will make the 74-year-old star the brand ambassador of the GST. A 40-second video featuring him had been shot and is being circulated. In the video, Mr. Bachchan explains the GST as an unifying force just like the three colours in the national flag. The megastar has been roped in just as the rollout of the biggest tax overhaul since independence entered its final phase. Ace badminton star PV Sindhu was previously the GST ambassador.

Harry Potter’ actor Sam Beazley dies at 101

British Actor Sam Beazley, who played Professor Everard in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, has passed away at the age of 101. Beazley passed away in his sleep. Beazley began his professional acting career as a teenager in 1930s and featured in films like Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. He most recently did guest roles on Foyle’s War, Kingdom, and Casualty, all in 2007.

Delhi’s Connaught Place 9th costliest office market, Mumbai lags

Connaught Place in the national capital is the most expensive prime office market in India and the ninth most expensive office market in the world, with an occupancy cost of $153.89 per square feet, according to the bi-annual Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs survey of US-based CBRE. This makes Connaught Place costlier than Dubai, downtown Boston and Shanghai. According to the survey, Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) moved one place up from nineteen to 20 while the CBD of Nariman Point ranked thirty-third on the list of the top 50 most expensive office markets around the world. Hong Kong (Central) became the world’s highest-priced office market with an occupancy cost of $302.51 per sq ft per annum. Asia continues to dominate the list of the world’s most expensive office locations, accounting for seven of the top ten markets, according to the survey.

RBI initiates PCA against BoM as NPA mounts

The Reserve Bank of India has initiated prompt corrective action (PCA) on Bank of Maharashtra placing a restriction on the banking activities. This action is taken on the bank in view of the high level of bad loans. This is the sixth bank to be placed under PCA by the RBI and of this five banks were placed under PCA in the last three months. RBI has initiated PCA on Central Bank of India, IDBI Bank, UCO Bank, Dena Bank and Indian Overseas Bank. The move will restrict the bank from announcing the dividend, opening branches, hiring and giving loans to companies rated below investment grade. Bank of Maharashtra posted net loss of Rs 1372 crore in fiscal year 2016-17 and its gross NPA had cross 16% against 9.3% a year ago.

Arun Jaitely’s four days visit to South Korea

The Union Minister of Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley was on a four-day official visit (from 14th to 17th June) to Republic of Korea (ROK) and participated in the India-Korea Strategic Economic Dialogue and the 2nd Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The Key Points of the visit are:

  • China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has approved USD 150 million equity investment loan to the India Infrastructure Fund. It is the bank’s first such loan to fund private projects.
  • India, South Korea agree to increase investment to push infrastructure, bilateral trade: The two countries have signed agreements to establish 9 billion US dollar in concessional credit and 1 billion dollars in Official Development Assistant, ODA funding for infrastructure development projects in India. With this, Republic of Korea became one of the first non-G-7 countries to become an ODA contributor in India.
  • India-Korea Financial Dialogue in Seoul: Both sides agreed that in the face of uncertainty and the risk of rising protectionism, there was a need for the two countries to increase efforts to stimulate investment flows, support for infrastructure development, and bilateral trade among others. The dialogue was followed by the signing ceremony of Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) agreement between India and South Korea and thereafter, an MOU was signed between EXIM Bank of India and South Korea’s KEXIM Bank.
  • 2nd Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of the AIIB: The second annual meeting of the AIIB was held on June 16, 2017, in South Korea’s Jeju Island. The theme of this year’s annual meeting was “Sustainable Infrastructure”. During this second annual meeting of governors, AIIB approved the membership of Argentina, Madagascar, and Tonga.
  • India to host AIIB Annual Meeting 2018: The Board of Governors of the AIIB announced that the Bank’s third Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors will be held in Mumbai, India in June 2018. India is the Bank’s second largest shareholder (China is the 1st) and is becoming an increasingly important geography for AIIB investments.

China to have second biggest International Yoga Day celebrations in the world after India

In China, ahead of the third UN International Day of Yoga, thousands of Chinese would participate in scores of events organized across the country. It will be the second biggest yoga day celebration in the world after India. The Indian Embassy in Beijing besides Indian Consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou are also organizing dozens of events commemorating the events featuring Chinese officials. However, yoga has become immensely popular over the years in China vying with ancient indigenous physical fitness martial art form Tai Chi. China also backed India’s move in the UN to make June 21 as International Yoga Day, giving a fillip to hundreds of yoga clubs and organizations.

Kidambi Srikanth clinches Indonesia Open title

Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth lifted the Indonesia Super Series Premier men’s singles title, beating Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai in the final by defeating Japanese qualifier Kazumasa Sakai in straight games 21-11, 21-19. World No.22 Srikanth won in a 37-minute clash against the Japanese qualifier in the $1,000,000 event. This was the 24-year-old’s second Super Series Premier title. His last Super Series Premier triumph had come in the 2014 China Open.

DIPP sets up GST facilitation cell

The government has set up a GST facilitation cell in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to facilitate the rollout of Goods and Services Tax. The cell is headed by Sudhansu Sekhar Das Economic Adviser of the department. The cell will remain in constant touch with major industry and business associations relating to the Department. It will be the first point of contact for addressing any issue being faced by any sector related to the Department.

AIIB approves Argentina, Madagascar and Tonga as new members

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved the membership of Argentina, Madagascar, and Tonga at its second annual meeting of Governors. The AIIB’s Board of Governors adopted resolutions approving the three applicants to join the bank at the second annual meeting, which kicked off earlier in the day in South Korea’s southern resort island of Jeju. The first meeting was held in Beijing in 2016. The approved applicants included one regional prospective member of Tonga and two non-regional members of Argentina and Madagascar. The three prospective members will officially join the AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first installment of capital with the bank.

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