BFSI & Economy

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said GST Council could consider merging slabs of 12% and 18%, and cutting the number of items taxed at 28%. Earlier, GST on 178 goods was reduced to 18% from 28%, leaving only 50 items in the highest slab.
  • Multi-lateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that it increases annual funding to India to up to $4 billion from existing $2.7 billion from next year to accelerate inclusive economic transformation.
  • Paytm Payments Bank today rolled out Paytm FASTag to enable electronic toll fee collection on highways across India without having to stop. The tag, linked to a Paytm account, uses Radio-Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) to automatically deduct toll charges.
  • The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to maintain status quo in policy rates by keeping repo rate unchanged at 6.0% under liquidity adjustment facility (LAF). It was RBI’s fifth bimonthly policy review for financial year 2017-18. The decision was in line with market expectations and consistent with neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with objective of achieving medium-term inflation target of 4% within a band of +/- 2%, while supporting growth.
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 2 Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) in November 2017. These two agreements are first ever Bilateral APAs with Netherlands. These two APAs pertain to Electronics and Technology sectors of economy. It also covers international transactions that include Distribution, Provision of Business Support Services, Provision of Marketing Support Services etc.
  • According to index of eight core industries released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Core sector growth has grown 4.7% in October 2017, matching September 2017 growth, which has been revised down from 5.2%. This is the highest core sector growth since March 2017. April-October 2017 growth stood at 3.5%, down from 5.6% in the corresponding period last year. The eight core sectors — coal, natural gas, crude oil, refinery products, cement, fertilisers, steel and electricity
  • Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has announced the creation of a new cryptocurrency ‘Petro’ in a bid to ease the country’s economic crisis.
  • Banks have assured UIDAI that they will be able to open Aadhaar enrolment and updation centres in the stipulated 10% of their branches by December-end. The deadline for reaching the target was October 31
  • The number of transactions on the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), has crossed 10 crores mark in November 2017.UPI is a mobile-digital payment interface which is introduced by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • International rating agency Fitch has lowered the India’s GDP growth projection for 2017-18 to 6.7 percent from its earlier forecast of 6.9 percent.It also reduces the GDP growth forecast for 2018-19 fiscal year to 7.3percent from 7.4 percent.
  • India and Germany signed an agreement on the Government to Government Umbrella Agreement concerning the Financial Cooperation in 2016 (II) under the Indo-German Development Cooperation. The agreement was signed to formalize an amount up to Euro 200 million for the Financial Cooperation in form of loan for the project ‘Climate Friendly Urban Mobility III’ and Euro 11 million Accompanying measures in form of a grant for four projects.
  • The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) has approved debt financing and partial risk guarantees totalling $583 million to develop the Reliance Bangladesh Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Power Project.

 International

  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) became treaty-based international intergovernmental organization on 6th December 2017 one month after Guinea became 15th country to ratify it.
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have formed new economic and partnership group named Joint Cooperation Committee, separate from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
  • The United States has withdrawn itself from a United Nations Migrant & Refugee pact. to improve the handling of migrant and refugee situations
  • The World Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. It aims to communicate messages on the importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being.
  • The United States has pulled out of UN Global Compact on Migration. It has argued that Obama-era negotiated UN compact process deal contains numerous provisions that inconsistent with country’s immigration and refugee policies and Trump Administration’s immigration principles.
  • The World AIDS Day is celebrated every year all over the world on December 1 to raise the public awareness about Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It also seeks to remember those who have died of the disease by mourning.
  • Indian archers grabbed three gold, four silver and two bronze medals at the Asian Championships in Dhaka.

Revision Notes

Sports

  • India’s Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won gold medal at World Weightlifting Championships held in Anaheim, United States. She achieved this feat by lifting new world record of 194kg – 85kg snatch and 109kg clean-and-jerk in the 48 kg weight category.
  • Indian captain Virat Kohli became the fastest batsman to score 16,000 runs in international cricket, achieving the feat in his 350th innings against Sri Lanka today.
  • Indian archer Deepika Kumari has won Bronze medal at Indoor Archer World Cup Stage 2 at Bangkok by defeating Sayana Tsyrempilova of Russia.
  • Ankushita Boro, of Assam, has won the Best Boxer’ title in World Youth Women’s Boxing Championship held in Guwahati. She clinched the fifth gold for India after defeating Russia’s Ekaterina Dynnik in the 64kg final.
  • The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) has approved debt financing and partial risk guarantees totalling $583 million to develop the Reliance Bangladesh Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Power Project.

Science and Technology

  • Godrej Aerospace has won order from BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. (BAPL) for supply of additional 100 units airframe fuel management systems for BrahMos Air-Launched Cruise Missile.
  • The Surface to Air Missile (SAM) AKASH was successfully tested with indigenous radio frequency seeker against target UAV Banshee. It was successfully launched from Launch Complex-III at ITR Chandipur. This was the first supersonic surface-to-air missile (SAM) with indigenous seeker that has been test fired.
  • Technology giant Google has launched a lightweight Android Oreo Go edition operating system designed for devices with RAM up to 1 GB.The Android Go offers 30% faster startup time and up to 2 times optimisation of storage space.

GK Booklet

National & Business

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed former CMD of ONGC Dinesh K Sarraf (60) as new Chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB). He replaces S Krishnan, who had demitted office in August 2015.
  • The Indian Navy Day is observed every year on 4 December to celebrate achievements and role of the naval force to the country. This year is 46th Navy Day.  Celebrations of Navy Day not only display India’s technological progress but also the maritime achievements of India.
  • The Telangana Government is going to set up the world’s first Information and Technology (IT) Campus for differently-abled persons (divyangs) in state capital Hyderabad.On the occasion of World Disability Day (WDD), state Government has signed agreement with Vindhya E-Infomedia Private Limited to set up IT campus to focus on creating employment opportunities for persons with disabilities (PWDs).
  • Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly has unanimously passed Kapu Reservation Bill, 2017 to provide 5% quota in education and employment. The reservation to Kapu community will be given by including them in Backward Classes list. The reservation to existing Backward Castes will not be affected by this decision.
  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan 2017-24 aimed at eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030. It was launched on the occasion of World AIDS Day (1st December)
  • The Combined Military exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior- 2017’ between India and the UK was held at Mahajan Field Firing Range near Bikaner of Rajasthan. It was third joint military exercise between India and UK. The first exercise was conducted in 2013 at Belgaum, Karnataka and second exercise was held in 2015 in UK.
  • The Border Security Force (BSF), the biggest border guarding force in the world celebrated its 52nd Anniversary of Raising Day. Various cultural programmes were organised for BSF veterans and personnel during the Raising Day celebrations.
  • Maharashtra has been the most corrupt state in India for three years in a row, as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. Odisha was placed second followed by Kerala.
  • Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district was included in the National Capital Region (NCR), making it the 23rd district to be included in the region.
  • Dia Mirza has been appointed UN Environment’s Goodwill Ambassador for India.As a Goodwill Ambassador, the Dia Mirza will work with the UN to further spread the message on key areas which includes climate change, wildlife protection, and clean air & seas.
  • Salil S. Parekh is appointed as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Infosys. The appointment will be effective from January 2018.