02 , September 2017

Shri Sunil Arora assumed charge as the new Election Commissioner of India. Prior to joining as Election Commissioner, Shri Arora was serving as Director General (DG), M/o Corporate Affairs since 15th December, 2016.

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Dr. Rajiv Kumar has taken charge as the new Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog. A renowned economist, he replaces Shri Arvind Panagariya as the head of the premier think tank of the country.

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1.SC to hear Rohingya plea for help
Source: The Hindu

Indian government’s proposal to deport 40,000-strong Rohingya Muslim refugee community back to their native Myanmar, where discrimination and possibly summary executions await them

An urgent plea was made by two Rohingya Muslim immigrants against the government’s proposed move. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the plea.

Petitioner’s contention:

  • The Centre’s move to deport them violated the constitutional guarantee that the Indian state should “protect the life and liberty of every human being, whether citizen or not.”
  • The proposed deportation is contrary to the constitutional protections of Article 14 (equality), Article 21 (right to life) and Article 51(c) (respect for international law and treaty obligations) of the Constitution.

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2.U.S. court rules in favour of Dr. Reddy’s in patent litigation
Source: The Hindu

Indivior assertion: the proposed generic version of Suboxon. Inte (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual film by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories infringes the patent.

District Court Ruled in favor of Reddy’s laboratory- does not infringe any patents.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories statement: The judgment reiterates our commitment to providing affordable and innovative medicines that address the unmet and under-met needs of patients around the world.

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3.Switzerland for early India-EFTA pact
Source: The Hindu

The early conclusion of the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as well as an investment protection framework would boost economic ties between the two sides, said Switzerland President Doris Leuthard on Friday.

 Members of EFTA: EFTA members include Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

Statement by Switzerland President Doris Leuthard:

  • “We want to bring the (FTA) negotiations that have been running between India and EFTA since 2008 to an end,”
  •  “I would really like to have India as a strong economic partner with trade agreement and an investment protection framework to be the base of the new era of cooperation.”

India’s stand:

  • India was also keen on concluding negotiations for the pact as it would benefit both sides.
  • India’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) was in compliance with the global rules and ensured that the patent, copyrights and trademark rights of any individual or company gets respected.
  • India was ready to address any questions on IPR or concerns on data security.

On Data security: Switzerland believes that rights have to be protected to promote investments. Internet is evolving at a rapid pace but there is a regulatory gap, the need to close the gap needs to be deliberated upon.

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4.HC freezes Jat quota law till March
Source: The Hindu

The Punjab and Haryana HC has kept in abeyance (reserve) till March next year the implementation of a Haryana law providing reservation to Jats and five other communities

It also directed the State Backward Classes Commission to determine the quota in government jobs and education institutions to be given to these communities. The HC has also directed the Commission to submit a report by March 2018.

Background of the Reservation Law:

The Act was passed unanimously by the State Assembly on 2016.The new Act provided reservation under BC (C) category to Jats, Jat Sikh, Mulla Jat/Muslim Jat, Bishnoi, Ror and Tyagi

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5.India’s growth will rebound to 7%-7.5%’
Source: The Hindu

The new Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar is hopeful that India’s economy will expand at 7%-7.5% in the current quarter after declining for five consecutive quarters.

  • He also categorically dismissed any link between the slowdown in growth and demonetisation.
  • As per official data released on Thursday, India’s GDP grew at 5.7% between April to June this year, the slowest pace in 13 quarters.
  •  Dr Kumar said that with a good monsoon, increase in FDI and FIIs, smooth rollout of GST and a large number of IPOs lined up, economic growth in the July-September quarter will be in the range of 7-7.5%.

Demonetisation and its impact:

  • Dr. Kumar said there cannot be any link between demonetisation and slowdown in GDP because re-monetisation started in the first week of January.
  • He said that demonetization had no role in the fall of GDP.

Reasons for slow growth:

  • Dr Kumar said that the decline was mainly because of the fact that April-June quarter saw active destocking by firms in anticipation of GST.
  • Active de-stocking in anticipation of GST (Goods and Services tax), higher base and a deflationary impact of WPI(wholesale price inflation) had led to a fall in economic growth, according to Dr Kumar.

Private investment:

  • Dr kumar said that India was a country of entrepreneurs and private investors who accounted for 70% to 80% of total investments.
  • He said that revival of private investment along with job creation is his top most priority.

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6.Centre tells PSBs to begin merger process ‘immediately’
Source: The Hindu

The Centre has send an official letter to public sector banks asking them to start the merger process immediately. The government had also started preparing the ground to remove certain hurdles for consolidation, such as doing away with the approval from Competition Commission

This is the first time in recent history that an official communication had come from the government to the banks asking them to start the merger process

Objective of the Government:

While giving the direction, the government cited the Narasimham committee report and highlighted the need for large-sized bank that could fund the huge infrastructure need of the country

Framework for the Merger Process:

The Centre has provided a broad framework to the banks to take the merger exercise forward. According to the framework, once the board approves the merger plan, it has to be sent to the ‘alternative mechanism’ (approved by the Union Cabinet, recently)

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7.PM tells tax authorities to bring all traders in GST net
Source: The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told, tax officials should make every effort to bring all traders, including smaller businesses with turnover of less than 20 lakh, into the Goods and Services Tax (GST) net

Currently, traders with less than RS 20 lakh annual turnover have to register under GST only if they are supplying goods to other States.

PM said he was dismayed at the huge pendancy of tax-related cases where huge sums of money that could have been used for the welfare of the poor were locked up.

He also asked the officers to use data analytical tools to pro-actively track and determine undeclared income and wealth

Mooting a time-bound solution for ‘tax raised and not realised,’ the PM said that human interface must be kept to a minimum in the tax administration’s dealings by pushing “e-assessment” and anonymity of proceedings using technology.

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8.Adani, SAAB tie up to build fighter jets
Source: The Hindu

The Adani group has announced collaboration with Swedish defence major SAAB to manufacture Gripen fighter jets in India, if selected. However, the partnership would be possible if Adani being shortlisted in the evaluation process

Why this collaboration: Indian Government is going to issue a multibillion dollar tender for over a 100 single engine fighter jets

  • IAF is expected to begin the process in the next few months for a single engine fighter aircraft to replace the Russian Mig-21s and Mig-27s in service
  • The procurement would be under the recently promulgated Strategic Partnership (SP) model of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)
  • The deal for 100 plus fighter aircraft is estimated to be worth over Rs. 60,000 crore

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