National Current Affairs January 2017
Sex Ratio at Birth Continues to Worsen in India
- Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) continues to worsen in India, falling from 898 in 2013 to 887 in 2014, according to a new data from Civil Registration System (CRS) released by the Office of the Registrar General of India on November 30, 2016.
- The ratio has been declining since 2011 when the figure was 909. The SRB-based on CRS figures indicate the gap between ‘registered’ male and female births, calculated as the number of females per thousand males. Manipur (684), Rajasthan (799) and Tamil Nadu (834) fare the worst The highest SRB has been reported by Lakshadweep (1043), followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1031) and Arunachal Pradesh (993).
- The level of registration of births with CRS, however, has been improving. In 2014, it is estimated that 88.8% births were registered, up from 85.6% in 2013. Plus, 16 States or UTs recorded all births. 14 out of 20 major States crossed the 90% level of registration of births in 2014.
Supreme Court Ruled Playing National Anthem Mandatory in Cinema Halls
- The Supreme Court asked all cinemas to play the national anthem before a film is screened ‘for the love of the motherland’ on November 30, 2016.
- The Court banned dramatising, abridging or making money from the 52-second-long Jana Gana Mana and said the national flag, the Tricolour, must be displayed on the movie screen when the anthem is played.
- The national anthem was penned by India’s first Nobel laureate j Rabindranath Tagore in 1911 and the first of five stanzas adopted as the country’s national anthem in 1950.
Union Government Approved 6 New SEZs
- The government has approved six proposals from four developers to set-up new Special Economic Zones (&EZs) across three states in areas such as Information Technology and Biotechnology on November 28, 2016.
- GAR Corporation has proposed to set-up two Information p Technology (IT) and Information Technology enabled Services (ITeS) zones in Telangana, while Vaxenic India wants to set-up j biotechnology and bio-pharmaceuticals SEZ in the State.
- EON Kharadi Infrastructure and KRC Infrastructure too have planned to set-up separate IT and ITeS special economic zones in Purie (Maharashtra). Information Technology Park has got the approval to set-up IT zone in Karnataka.
Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 Passed by Lok Sabha
- The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 (the Bill) passed by the Lok Sabha to amend the provisions of the Act to ensure that defaulting r assesses are subjected to tax at a higher rate and stringent penalty provision on November 27, 2016.
- The declarant under this regime shall be required to pay tax @ 30% of the undisclosed income, and penalty @10% of the.undisclosed income.
- Further, a surcharge to be called ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Cess’ @33% of tax is also proposed to be levied. In addition to tax, surcharge and penalty (totaling to approximately 50%), the declarant shall have to deposit 25% of undisclosed income in a Deposit Scherpe to be notified by the RBI under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016’.
- This amount is proposed to be utilised for the schemes of irrigation, housing, toilets, infrastructure, primary education, primary health, livelihood, etc., so that there is justice and equality.
Agreement Signed to Scale-up Skill Developmehnt Initiatives in Hydro Carbons
- The Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG) signed a MoU to scale up skill development initiatives in the Hydrocarbon and allied sectors among other areas of cooperation on November 27, 2016.
- They will develop comprehensive skill development plans for existing arid potential workforce in alignment with National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) and certify existing workforce in the hydrocarbon sector for Recognition of Prior Learning under PMKVY.
- They also promote and scale-up apprenticeship training under National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme and Facilitate the setting-up of Skill Development Institutes/Centres of Excellence for vocational training to meet sectoral needs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Flagged-off Humsafar Train
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged-off ‘the Humsafar train’ at Kushinagar (Uttar Pradesh) on November 26, 2016.
- First Humsafar train will ply between Gorakhpur and Anand Vihar Terminus.
- This tri-weekly train will have several new features including LED screen display to show information about coming stations and will have announcement system as well.
- Safely measures in compartment such as introduction of smoke alarm and CCTV cameras have also been given the coaches.
Indian Railways Included Transgender as Third Gender Option
- Indian Railways and IRCTC have included ‘transgender as third gender’ in the option alongside male and female in ticket reservation and cancellation forms on -November 26, 2016.
- Hijras, eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender.
- Advocate Jamshed Ansari in his PIL had alleged violation of Article-14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), by non-inclusion of ‘transgender/third gender’ as a gender ‘ option in its forms.