Current Affairs: 7 April 2017

World Health Day: 7 April

  • Theme 2017: Depression: let’s talk
  • WHO is leading a one-year global campaign on depression. The highlight is World Health Day 2017, celebrated today. 
  • The goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, everywhere in the world, both seek and get help. Depression is the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide. 
  • More than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.

Rajya Sabha passes GST bill without amendments

  • The Rajya Sabha passed the historic Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill without any amendments. 
  • The Lok Sabha had passed four key GST Bills on March 29 while rejecting amendments moved by the opposition. 
  • The Central GST Bill, 2017; The Integrated GST Bill, 2017; The GST (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017; and The Union Territory GST Bill, 2017 were passed after negation of a host of amendments moved by the opposition parties.
  • The GST is one of the most significant reforms since India opened its economy in the early 1990s that will harmonise a mosaic of state and central levies into a national sales tax.
  • For example, a panel of central and state finance chiefs has agreed for tax rates, ranging from 5 to 28 percent, it has yet to decide which rates will apply to which categories of goods. 
  • GST will subsume a host of indirect taxes levied by the Centre and states, including excise duty, VAT, service tax, entry, luxury and entertainment levies.
  • The government is set to roll out the GST from July 1.

India’s is the world’s 7th largest tourism economy in terms of GDP

  • India's travel and tourism sector ranks 7th in the world in terms of its total contribution to the country's GDP, according to a new report of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
  • According to data, the travel and tourism sector generated Rs 14.1 trillion (USD208.9 billion) in 2016, which is world's 7th largest in terms of absolute size; the sum is equivalent to 9.6% of India's GDP.
  • Visitor exports, money spent by foreign travellers in India, only represents 12% of tourism revenues and in 2016 totalled Rs 1.5 trillion (USD22.8bn).
  • This is 5.4% of the country's total exports, compared to a global average of 6.6%. Data from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) shows that India received only 9 million international arrivals in 2016, placing it at 40th place in the world; a tenth of those received by top-ranking France.

World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

  • The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is a forum for the travel and tourism industry.
  • It is made up of members from the global business community and works with governments to raise awareness about the travel and tourism industry.
  • The WTTC was officially established in 1990
  • The WTTC is headquartered in an office located in London, UK.
  • The Chairman of WTTC is Gerald Lawless and President & CEO is David Scowsill

Virat Kohli named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World for 2016

  • India cricket team skipper Virat Kohli was named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World for 2016 
  • Kohli scored 1215 Test runs at a brilliant average of 75.93 last year. 
  • His 10 ODI appearances fetched him 739 runs at 92.37, while he scored 641 T20 International runs at 106.83.
  • Only six batsmen have ever scored more international runs in a calendar year than Kohli but none of them has come close to the Team India captain’s average.
  • Virat Kohli, who features on the cover of the 2017 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, is also the Leading Cricketer in the World for 2016, an accolade put in place in 2003 when Ricky Ponting became the first honouree,
  • The 28-year-old became the third Indian cricketer to win the award, which has been running since 2003 and covers all the three formats of the game in the preceding calendar year. Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag earned the honour twice by Wisden, while legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar won it once.

The Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World

  • The Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World is an annual cricket award selected by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. 
  • It was established in 2004, to select the best cricketer based upon their performances anywhere in the world in the previous calendar year.

Jhargram becomes 22nd Bengal district

  • Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared Jhargram as the 22nd district of West Bengal, fulfilling a longstanding demand of its residents. 
  • April 4 will henceforth be celebrated as Jhargram Divas.
  • A Rs 200 crore budget has been sanctioned for Jhargram’s development. Building a new stadium at Nayagram and renovating the Jhargram stadium are part of my government’s agenda. Multi-specialty hospitals, as well as schools and colleges, will be built in all blocks of the new district
  • Jhargram is famous for its wooded beauty and toating in the hill ranges of Belpahari, Kankrajhor to the north and Subarnarekha to the south. 
  • It is a favorite destination for people who love forests. 
  • The ancient temples, royal palaces, and folk tunes and rhythms make this area attractive.

Haryana govt to provide Rs 21,000 to families for third girl child

  • Haryana government would provide one-time grant of Rs 21,000 to all those families whose third girl child was born after August 24, 2015, under the ‘Aapki Beti, Hamari Beti’ scheme.
  • Under the scheme, the eligible families would receive the amount irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, income and number of sons
  • The scheme is aimed to combat the problem of declining child sex ratio and promote girls’ education in the state.
  • The third girl child born on or after August 24, 2015 in any family in the state satisfying the eligibility criteria would be covered in this scheme.
  • Earlier under the scheme, the first girl child born in the families belonging to Scheduled Castes and all Below Poverty Line (BPL), and second, twin or multiple girls born on or after January 22, 2015 in any family were eligible for the grant
  • The efforts of the state government under the ambitious ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ programme were clearly reflected in the improved sex ratio at birth (SRB), which was recorded at 938 girls per 1,000 boys in February, 2017

Cabinet approves closure of Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved closure of the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY)
  • It was set up in 2012 to address the social security-related issues of the Emigration Check Required (ECR)-category workers going abroad for employment to ECR countries.
  • The subscription under the MGPSY was very low and no new subscription was received for more than a year. Closure of the scheme will, therefore, obviate the avoidable recurring administrative and record-keeping expenditure.

Japan Officially Recognises Bitcoin as Currency Starting April 2017

  • Bitcoin has finally gained the recognition of a mainstream currency along the lines of other fiat currencies. 
  • The privilege follows the implementation of a new law in Japan which categorises Bitcoin as a legal payment option within the country. 
  • The much-awaited law went into effect on April 1, 2017 
  • Bitcoin exchanges will also come under additional regulatory scrutiny. 
  • The recognition of cryptocurrency as a legal tender also means the applicability of regulations governing banks and financial institutions to cryptocurrency exchange platforms. 
  • They will be required to comply with strict anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, along with annual audits. 
  • Other requirements include meeting the stated capital and cyber security requirements to ensure consumer protection.
  • The recognition of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal payment instruments is good news for the global cryptocurrency ecosystem. 
  • Adoption of cryptocurrency is expected to increase among people, which will, in turn, drive demand and price.
  • The new developments are expected to drive the cryptocurrency usage in Japan to over $9 billion in the next three years (2020), which is more than five times the 2015’s $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in circulation.

Online tax filing portal ClearTax launches tech platform for GST

  • ClearTax has launched a first-of-its-kind multi-GSP (GST Suvidha Provider) taxation solution and the software will be adept to handle over 1 billion invoices, which is expected to be generated after the GST rollout. GSTN, the company that is tasked with building the world’s biggest and most complex tax framework, has short- listed 34 companies to be the GST Suvidha Provider.
  • The GSP is mandated to provide innovative and convenient ways to taxpayers and other stakeholders for interacting with GST Systems, from registration of entity to uploading of invoice details to filing of returns. 
  • GSPs will provide an identical interface that links to the GSTN. A single GSP can become a point of failure for a business in case the GSP server goes down.
  • The ClearTax multi-GSP technology solves the problem of single point of failure, and selects the GSP automatically for fault tolerance

German cyber command becomes official military branch

  • The German military has officially inaugurated a 260-strong cyber command which will become a fifth branch of the Bundeswehr. 
  • Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has officially inaugurated the newly-created Cyber and Information Space Command (CIR), making it the fifth branch of German military after the army, navy, air force and medical service
  • The Bundeswehr’s cyber command will operate around the clock to protect its own IT infrastructure and computer-assisted weapons systems, also be tackling inbound online threat.

German cyber command

  • The Cyber and Information Space Command is the youngest branch of Germany's military the Bundeswehr. 
  • The decision to form new military branch was presented by Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on 26 April 2016, with the command becoming operational on 1 April 2017. 
  • The command's headquarter is Bonn.

India's first transgender police officer appointed in Tamil Nadu

  • Prithika Yashini won her first fight against the society when she decided to undergo a sex change operation to become who she believed she was from within. Born Pradeep Kumar, Yashini left her parents' house before completing a computer studies course and undergoing surgery.
  • After struggling with the social dogma and gender bias, she recently applied to become a police sub-inspector in Dharampuri, Tamil Nadu. A court in Chennai, Madras has now ruled in her favour.
  • Her application was rejected stating that there were only two columns under which she can file her application to restrict her gender identity, wither 'male' or 'female', but she went ahead and filled the form as 'transgender'.
  • Yashini has now taken charge as sub-inspector of police at Dharampuri police station, Tamil Nadu. This is a new beginning for the transgender community of India.

Transgender Persons Protection of Rights Bill

  • The Transgender Persons Protection of Rights Bill was passed in April, 2016 and the Indian Supreme Court recognised transgender as the third gender, five years after the electoral commission added the category to ballot forms.
  • The bill meant the government had to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as basic amenities. 
  • The bill meant the government had to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as basic amenities.

Malvika Sinha appointed RBI Executive Director

  • The Reserve Bank has appointed Malvika Sinha as Executive Director following the appointment of B P Kanungo as Deputy Governor.
  • Sinha took charge on April 3.
  • As Executive Director, she will look after foreign exchange department, department of government and bank accounts and internal debt management wing, RBI said in a release.
  • Kanungo was Executive Director of the Reserve Bank before being elevated to the post of Deputy Governor.
  • Sinha had joined the Reserve Bank in 1982 and as a career central banker served in the areas of regulation and supervision, foreign exchange and government and bank accounts.
  • Prior to being promoted as ED, she was Principal Chief General Manager, Department of Cooperative Banking Supervision in the Reserve Bank. 

Dr. Chirag Trivedi appointed President of Indian Society for Clinical Research

  • The Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR), an association of clinical research professionals, has announced the appointment of Dr. Chirag Trivedi as its President for the term 2017-19.
  • Dr. Trivedi takes over the reins from Suneela Thatte who was President for two terms from 2013-217
  • Dr. Trivedi, who holds a doctorate in Pharmacology and has worked across the biopharma industry for over 14 years, brings rich and varied clinical research experience to his role as President of ISCR.
  • As President, he is responsible for spearheading ISCR’s efforts to build awareness of clinical research as a specialty in India and to facilitate its growth in the country, while helping to evolve the highest standards of quality and ethics. He was earlier the co-chair of the Investigator Council of ISCR.
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