National Current Affairs September 2016
Rajya Sabha Cleared GST Bill
• The Goods & Services Tax (GST) finally had its historic day in the Rajya Sabha with the passage of the Bill to amend the Constitution, paving the way for what is popularly referred to as the concept of ‘One nation. One tax’ on August 3,2016.
• The GST creates one national tax to replace a slew of complex ones that differ from State-to-State. But, the rate of the tax will not be decided for another few months.
• The GST will lower the prices of some goods like electronic items and two-wheelers. But, Services-eating out or using a beauty salon or plane tickets, for example, will become more expensive.
• The GST Council, which combines Union Ministers with representatives of all state governments, will then decide the rate of the tax. 2/3 of voting power of the council is with states and 1/3 with the centre.
• Separate legislation will be introduced for then clearing the tax rate along with other details of how the GST will be implemented.
• The GST is a consumption tax. States that manufacture goods therefore will lose revenue—the taxes they impose currently will be removed. The centre has agreed to compensate them for five years.
Foundation Laid for Railway Station in Manipur
• Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation stone of the Imphal railway station at Yurembam in Manipur on July 29, 2016.
• The 111 km long line comprises 37 tunnels and the tunnel number 12 will be the longest in the Indian Railway at 11.55 km, besides the longest tunnel in Indian Railway.
• The stretch also has another striking feature—the tallest bridge in the world, being constructed over Iring river with a pier height of 141 m, almost equal to two Qutub Minar stacked over each other.
European Union Film Festival Inaugurated
• Minister of State for Information fr Broadcasting Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore inaugurated European Union Film Festival on July 29, 2016 in New Delhi.
• Film Festivals provided an opportunity to understand different cultures from different regions, the people, their relationships and their emotions through the medium of cinema.
• A delegation of European Union including ambassadors from European Union member States was also present on the occasion.
Lok Sabha Passed Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill 2015
• The Lok Sabha passed the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015, that seeks to check generation of black money on July 27, 2016.
• The bill provides for confiscation of benami properties i.e., assets held in the name of another person or under a fictitious name to avoid taxation and conceal ill-gotten wealth.
• The bill is the second initiative of the government to curb generation of black money. The first, Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, was enacted to penalise those with unaccounted wealth abroad.
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‘Elisha’ Formed for Effective Implementation of Schemes
• The Union government formed a District Development Coordination Monitoring Committee (DDCMC) in place of the District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (DVMC) for effective implementation of Central government schemes on July 27, 2016.
• Disha constituted for effective development, coordination and almost all the programmes of Central government will be covered under this.
• The main purpose of this committee will be to coordinate with Central and State governments and local Panchayats for successful and timely implementation of the schemes.
Lok Sabha Approved Lokpal Act Amendment
• The Lok Sabha on July 26, 2016 approved an amendment to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, to allow extension of the time given to public-servants and trustees and board members of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) receiving government funds of more than Rs 1 crore or foreign funding of more than Rs 10 lakh to declare their assets and those of their spouses
• Amendments to bills can be moved under three condition—one, when cleared by the Union Cabinet; second, the Prime Minister invokes rule 12 of the transaction of business and takes a suo motu decision, and a post facto approval is then sought front the Union Cabinet; or an empowered group of Ministers meet and clear It,% again with post facto approval of the Cabinet.
Statue of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Unveiled in Rameswaram
• Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Manohar Parrikar unveiled a life-size statue of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam at Peikarumbu, his burial site in Rameswaram Island on the occasion of his the first death anniversary on July 27, 2016.
• Dr. Kalam passed away on July 27, 2015 while delivering a lecture at the IIM-ShiUong in Meghalaya.
• An exhibition named ‘Mission of Life’ depicting the life of Kalam and his achievements towards nation building is set to be inaugurated.
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