Daily Current Affairs 20th May, 2017

Daily Current Affairs 20th May, 2017


Japan cabinet approves bill allowing emperor’s abdication

  • Japan’s cabinet approved a bill that would allow Emperor Akihito to step down, paving the way for the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in nearly two centuries.
  • Abdication must take place within three years of the bill becoming law.
  • In August 2016, he publicly cited age and declining health, which was interpreted as his wish to hand the crown to his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito.


India betters ranking in international tourist arrivals

  • India has jumped 16 places in the revised United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) rankings to settle at 24th for 2014 and 2015. Earlier, India was ranked 41st and 40th in 2014 and 2015 as per the global ranking, respectively.
  • UNWTO is the United Nation’s agency managing promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism and its barometer ranks countries in terms of their ITAs- comprising both foreign tourist arrivals as well as non-resident arrivals.

Survival of newborns: India ranks lower than Somalia

  • Healthcare access and quality index (HAQ), part of the Global burden of diseases has been released. The HAQ Index is based on death rates from 32 ailments that could be avoided by timely medical intervention.

What you need to know about GBD?

  • The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors study is put together by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent population health research centre associated with the University of Washington, along with a consortium of 2,300 researchers in more than 130 countries.

Performance of India:

  • India is at 154th among 195 countries.
  • India’s healthcare access and quality (HAQ) index has increased by 14.1, up from 30.7 in 1990 to 44.8 in 2015.
  • India lags behind Sri Lanka (72.8), Bangladesh (51.7), Bhutan (52.7) and Nepal (50.8) and ranks above Pakistan (43.1) and Afghanistan (32.5).
  • As per the study, India has performed poorly in tackling cases of tuberculosis, diabetes, chronic kidney diseases and rheumatic heart diseases.
  • The journal lists India among the biggest underachievers in Asia in health care access.
  • The top five performers were Andorra (94.6), Iceland (93.6), Switzerland (91.8), Sweden (90.5), and Norway (90.5).
  • Among the developed nations, those who did not perform well include the US and the UK.


Hyderabad’s Turbo Megha Airways first private airline to get UDAN licence

  • Turbo Megha Airways has become the first private airline to get a licence to fly under UDAN, the government scheme for subsidized regional flights.
  • The Hyderabad-based airline which flies as TruJet stated that it will launch flights on Hyderabad-Cuddapah, Hyderabad-Nanded and Nanded-Mumbai routes.
  • The five airlines awarded the rights to fly UDAN flights so far are Air India, SpiceJet, Turbo Megha, Air Odisha and G.R. Gopinath led Deccan Air.

GST Council Finalises 4-slab Service Tax Structure

  • The GST Council headed by finance Minister Arun Jaitley has finalised a 4-slab service tax structure at the rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent as against the single rate of 15{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} levied on all taxable services.
  • GST regime is scheduled to be implemented from July 1.
  • In the next GST Council meeting, tax rates on gold and other precious metals will be taken up for discussion. Salient Highlights Luxury hotels, gambling, race club betting and cinema services will attract a tax rate of 28{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769}. Education, healthcare and non-AC rail travel will remain exempted from the GST tax regime.
  • However, the states will be given the option to levy additional taxes on cinema to compensate for the revenue losses entailed due to merging of entertainment tax with GST.
  • At present, the total tax incidence on cinema including entertainment and service tax is in the range of 55{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769}. The states need to use the legislative route if it wants to levy additional tax on cinema. States will also be permitted to levy any new tax as the taxation powers of the states have only been restricted and not abolished after the rollout of GST. Telecom and financial services will be taxed at a rate of 18{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769}.
  • Transport services will be taxed at the rate of 5{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769}. Cab aggregators like Ola and Uber will have to pay 5{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} under GST in place of 6{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769}. AC rail travel will attract 5{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} tax.
  • Economy class air travel will attract 5 {be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} GST while business class will attract 12{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769}. Travelling on metro, local train and religious travel such as Haj Yatra would be exempted from GST. The e-commerce players like Flipkart and Snapdeal would be required to shell out 1{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} Tax Collected at Source (TCS).
  • Non-AC restaurants and AC restaurants will attract a GST of 12{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} and 18{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} respectively.
  • Advertisements published in newspapers will attract 5{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} GST. At present it is exempt from service tax.


Chitale Committee recommends several measures for Desiltation of Ganga

Chitale committee on Desiltation of Ganga submitted its report to the government recently. The committee was constituted in July 2016 by the Ministry of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to prepare guidelines for desiltation of river Ganga from Bhimgauda (Uttarakhand) to Farakka (West Bengal).

Important recommendations made:

  • Study reach wise sediment transport processes.
  • Establish annual sediment budgets to guide de-silting activities.
  • Prepare annual reports (Sand registry) describing the previous de-silting/ dredging activity and a technical institute may be entrusted to conduct the sediment budget.
  • Morphological and flood routing studies should be carried out to examine and confirm the necessity of the de-silting of the reach under consideration.
  • It is necessary to provide the river sufficient areas of flood plain and lakes along the river to moderate the flood level.
  • The de-silting of lakes, etc., should be in such a manner that the sediment continuity is maintained and should not lead to head cut that creates safety issues for the river crossings, water intakes or river training works locally, downstream or upstream.
  • The area freed from the development in the form of oxbow lakes should be used for flood moderation rather than reclaiming it for other purposes.
  • Embankments, spurs and river training measures provided to protect the banks should not encroach upon the flood plains and delink the lakes, flood plains and other riverine environment from the river.
  • De-silting of the confluence points, especially with huge silt carrying tributaries, such as Ghagra, Sone, etc., may be necessary to make confluence hydraulically efficient.
  • The proposed de-silting of any river reach need to be justified bringing out clearly the flooding caused due to siltation along with technical comparisons of the alternative flood mitigation measures with “do nothing” or “proposed de-silting/ dredging” being other options.
  • Agricultural practices along the river flood plains should be such that it does not disturb the passage of flood by increasing the resistance to flow causing aggradations.
  • Any bridges across River Ganga which are causing large afflux (more than 1{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} of normal depth) should be modified to reduce the afflux, which in turn will also reduce the sediment deposition and erosion of banks on the upstream.

Climate Change: Antarctica is Turning Green

  • According to a new study conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Exeter in the UK, plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change.
  • The scientists have observed a sharp increase in biological activity in Antarctica in the last 50 years.
  • For ascertaining the growth, the scientists conducted tests at five cores from three sites and has observed the occurrence of major biological changes across the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • The scientists made use of 150 years’ worth of data to arrive at the conclusion. The study has been published in the journal Current Biology.
  • According to the scientists, Antarctica will be much greener in the future and the continent’s plants and soils will change substantially even with only modest further warming.
  • At present, the plant life exists only in 0.3{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} of Antarctica.
  • With increase in land cover occurs decrease in snow and ice cover.
  • The thinner ice cover permits the penetration of sunlight into the previously dark areas allowing the planktons to grow. This would bring ecosystem shift to Antarctica similar to what has happened in Arctic.


Air Marshal PN Pradhan Appointed as Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff

  • Air Marshal PN Pradhan has been appointed as the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Operations).


Prime Minister Releases Book Series written by MS Swaminathan

  • The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released a two-part book series written by the eminent agricultural scientist Dr. M.S. Swaminathan.
  • The series is titled – M.S. Swaminathan: The Quest for a world without hunger.


Visakhapatnam railway station cleanest, Darbhanga dirtiest says survey

  • The Visakhapatnam railway station is the cleanest, followed by Secunderabad, among the 75 busiest stations in the country. According to a survey, the report of which was released by railway minister Suresh Prabhu, the Jammu railway station occupied the third spot, while the New Delhi station was ranked at 39 among the busiest stations.
  • The survey was carried out by the Quality Council of India. The Darbhanga railway station in Bihar was the dirtiest among the busiest stations.
  • The railway station in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was ranked at 14th position.


World Cup Archery: Indian Men’s Team Wins Compound Gold

  • The Indian Men’s compound archery team has managed to win gold after defeating Columbia 226-221 in the archery World Cup stage 1 championships held in Shanghai, China.
  • Indian archery team were represented by Abhishek Verma, Chinna Raju Srither and Amanjeet Singh.
  • The Colombian team comprised Camilo Andres Cardona, Jose Carlos Ospina and Daniel Munoz. India beat USA  in the semifinal and edged out Iran in the quarterfinals.
  • The team also defeated Vietnam in the first round. The women’s team, however, failed to shine in the event. In the Women’s event, South Korea, Denmark and Russia emerged as winners in that order.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *