Current Affairs: 9 February 2017

Telangana launches India's first social innovation hub in Nizamabad

  • The Telangana government has launched India's first social innovation centre -- The ‘Kakatiya Hub For Social Innovation’ in Nizamabad 
  • Telangana IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan made this announcement at the one-day Development Dialogue, an international social entrepreneurship ecosystem conference hosted by Kakatiya Sandbox. 
  • Jayesh Ranjan said the ‘Kakatiya Hub For Social Innovation’ funded by the Telangana government and implemented through Kakatiya Sandbox will function like a rural incubator to encourage entrepreneurship at the grassroots level. 
  • The government will make sure that the rural incubator in Telangana will be run exactly in the same as any other high-end incubator like the T-Hub, the country’s biggest, located in Hyderabad. 
  • Indian-American entrepreneur Raju Reddy, co-founder of Kakatiya Sandbox, Dr. ‘Desh’ Deshpande, founder of Deshpande Foundation, Redbus founder Phanindra Sama, who is also the co-founder of Kakatiya Sandbox, welcomed the government’s decision to implement the rural incubator in Nizamabad. 
  • The move is expected to create a model for promoting entrepreneurs in rural and semi-urban areas in the country. 
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India, Austria sign protocol amending tax treaty

  • India and Austria agreed to amend their existing bilateral taxation treaty to prevent tax evasion as well as enable mutual assistance. 
  • The protocol will broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries and will also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes, an official statement said. 
  • It was signed by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman on behalf of India and Embassy of Austria Charge d' Affaires Georg Zehetner on behalf of Austria. 

International Conference & Exhibition on Terrestrial & Satellite Broadcasting held in New Delhi

  • The 23rd edition of International Conference and Exhibition on Terrestrial & Satellite Broadcasting was held in New Delhi. 
  • The 3-day conference was organized by the Broadcast Engineering Society (India). 
  • The theme of the conference was Hybrid Technologies in Broadcasting – New Opportunities. In this EXPO, nearly 300 companies from 25 countries displayed their products directly or through their dealers and distributors in India. 
  • It also showcased products to promote the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and practices of broadcasting in the field of Radio, Television and other media etc. in the Telecom Equipment and Products industry. 

Israel passes controversial law on West Bank settlements

  • Israel's parliament has passed a controversial law retroactively legalising almost 4,000 settler homes built on privately-owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. 
  • Under the legislation, the Palestinian landowners will be given financial compensation or alternative land. 
  • The Palestinian president called the law "an aggression against our people". 
  • Israel's attorney-general has said it is unconstitutional and that he will not defend it in the Supreme Court. 
  • The legislation's passage comes amid an escalation in settlement activity since the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president. 
  • Emboldened by a new administration it sees as a more sympathetic, Israel's government has advanced plans for thousands of new settler homes. 
  • PNB Housing Finance limited signs MOU with CREDAI to train construction workers in West Bengal 
  • Addressing the need of pacing up constructions with skilled labour that would result in quicker delivery and hand overs, PNB Housing Finance Limited (PNBHFL) has signed an MOU with CREDAI West Bengal to train 1000 construction workers in Kolkata and nearby villages. 
  • CREDAI-Bengal would also be setting up permanent (off-site) skill development centres in Medinipur and Murshidabad - places with huge concentration of construction labour. 
  • 50% of the training cost is to be borne by the West Bengal State Government and PNBHFL, while the remaining 50% while would be borne by the developer at the construction site from where workers would be trained. 

Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) signs four more unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT),Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance has entered into four more unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) 
  • The four APAs signed pertain to the Manufacturing, Financial and Information Technology sectors of the economy. The international transactions covered in these agreements include Contract Manufacturing, IT Enabled Services and Software Development Services. 
  • With this, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 130. This includes 8 bilateral APAs and 122 Unilateral APAs. In the current financial year, a total of 66 APAs (5 bilateral APAs and 61 unilateral APAs) have already been entered into. The CBDT expects more APAs to be concluded and signed before the end of the current fiscal. 
  • The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the Rollback" provisions were introduced in 2014. The scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the prices of international transactions in advance. Since its inception, the APA scheme has evinced a lot of interest from taxpayers and that has resulted in more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) being filed so far in about five years 

Govt announces Arunachal Civil Service Awards


  • Chief Minister Pema Khandu has introduced the ‘Arunachal Civil Service Awards’ for excellence in public administration. 
  • In a release, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) informed that this has been started to encourage good governance in the state and to recognize the extraordinary services rendered by the government employees in the state. 
  • “It aims not only to boost the morale of the state government employees by recognizing their hard work and innovative work done by them, but also is expected to bring in a productive work culture. The awards, which will acknowledge the outstanding and exemplary performance of civil servants, consists of a medal, a scroll, and cash award of Rs 1 lakh for an individual and Rs 5 lakhs for an organisation/ group/ team 
  • Nominations for the awards will be considered on the basis of implementation of innovative schemes or projects, showing innovation and adaptation to meet the stakeholders’ requirement, building up perceptible system changes and institutions. 
  • It also aims to honour civil servants and government employees who make public service delivery system efficient, corruption free, including speedy and judicious execution of work. Extraordinary performance in emergent situations like floods, earthquakes etc shall also form the basis of being eligible for this award. 

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