India & World Current Affairs December
SEBI in Pact with BSEC for Investors Protection
- The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission signed a Memorandum of Understandings on bilateral cooperation and technical assistance on November 22, 2015.
- The pact will help in promoting further development of economic links and cooperation between the two signatories and aims at enhancing investor protection and creating effective securities markets in both the countries.
- The MoU will further facilitate training and technical assistance program between the two jurisdictions besides strengthening relations. Earlier, Sebi has signed 20 bilateral pacts with a number of countries.
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7th Pay Commission Recommended 23.55% Hike in Salary
- The 900-page report of the 7th Pay Commission headed by Justice AK Mathur was presented to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on November 19, 2015 with a recommendation that the new scales be implemented from January 1 next year.
- The panel recommended a 14.27% increase in basic pay, the lowest in 70 years. The previous 6th Pay Commission had recommended a 20% hike which the government doubled while implementing it in 2008.
- The entry level pay has been recommended to be raised to Rs 18000 per month from current 7000 ‘while the-maximum pay, drawn by the Cabinet Secretary, has been fixed at Rs 2.5 lakh per month from current Rs 90000. For the Secretaries it has been fixed at Rs 2.25 lakh as against Rs 80000 currently.
- There is abolition of grade pay and pay band structure. The rate of annual increment for employees will be 3%. The pay will go up by 16%, allowances by 63% and pension by 24%. There is also abolition of 52 allowances and introduction of a Health Insurance Scheme.
Centre Sweetens Deal for Cane Growers
- The Centre decided to give a direct production subsidy of Rs 4.50 a quintal to cane grower Rs for 2015-16 on November 18, 2015 towards sugarcane arrears due from cash-strapped mills. This will cost the exchequer an estimated Rs 1147 crore.
- The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The subsidy will be paid on behalf of the millers and will be adjusted against the fair and remunerative price of Rs 230 a quintal.
- The subsidy will be payable to farmers and will include payment of arrears for previous years. The mills have to pay sugarcane growers against the cane bought from them for crushing. Millers owe about Rs 6500 crore to sugarcane growers for previous
CCI Imposed Rs 258 Crore Fine on Jet Airways
- Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet would pursue legal steps against Competition Commission of India (CCI) order imposing penalties totalling Rs 258 crore on them for anti-competitive practices related to air cargo.
- The CCI had penalised the three airlines on November 17, 2015 for cartelisation in determining the fuel surcharge on air cargo. A penalty ofRs 151.69 crore was imposed on Jet Airways, while that on InterGlobe Aviation and SpiceJet are Rs 63.74 crore and Rs 42.48 crore, respectively. InterGlobe runs no-frills carrier IndiGo.
- The CCI’s ruling came on a complaint filed by Express Industry Council of India (EICI) alleging collusion in levy of fuel surcharge on transport of cargo against five airlines.
Government Decided to Impose 0.5% Swachh Bharat Cess on Services
- The Union government on November 6, 2015 decided to impose a 0.5% cess on all taxable services to fund the Swachh Bharat programme. All services, including air travel, telephony, eating out and banking became expensive from November 15, 2015.
- The additional cess would be over and above the 14% Service Tax rate which is already being levied and may yield the government an additional about 1400 crore during the remainder of the current fiscal.
- The decision to impose 0.5% cess will translate into a tax of 50 paise only on every Rs 100 worth of taxable services. Finance Minister Arun j Jaitley had in Budget 2015-16 proposed to levy a Swachh Bharat cess of up to 2% “on all or certain services, if need arises”.
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Three Gold-related Schemes Launched
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched three gold-related schemes on November 5, 2015 in a bid to put some 20000 tonnes of idle gold; into productive use. As per the World Gold Council, 23000 tonnes of gold is lying idle with households and institutions in India.
- Gold monetisation scheme was launched to convert jewellery and other yellow metal assets into interest-bearing deposits. Sovereign bond scheme was launched with eight-year tenure, while allowing an exit option after five years.
- The monetisation scheme will offer option to resident Indians to deposit their precious metal and earn an interest of up to 2.5%; while under the Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme, investors can earn an interest rate of 2.75% per annum by buying paper bonds.
- A coin engraved with the images of natural emblem Ashok Chakra and Mahatma Gandhi on its two sides is launched. Initially, the coins will be available in denominations of 5 gm and 10 gm. A 20 gm bullion will also be available through 125 MMTC outlets.
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