Economy and Banking Current Affairs 2017
Finance Ministry Contributed Rail Safety Fund
- The Finance Ministry agreed to contribute partially to a new dedicated railway safety fund in the upcoming Budget to be presented on February 1, 2017.
- Train derailments have increased to a six-year high of 74 till January 23 this year compared to 65 in 2015-16 and this may prompt the Railways to bring back a c$ss on railway tickets to fund safety efforts.
- The dedicated rail safety fund is proposed to be utilised for track improvement, bridge rehabilitation work, rolling stock replacement, human resource development, improved inspection system and safety work at level-crossings, among other things.
Income Tax Department Launched Operation Clean Money
- Income Tax Department (ITD) initiated Operation Clean Money, on January 31, 2017.
- Initial phase of the operation involves e-verification of large cash deposits made during November 9 to December 30, 2016.
- ITD has enabled online verification of these transactions to reduce compliance cost for the taxpayers while optimising its resources. The information in respect of these cases is being made available in the e-filing window of the PAN holder.
- Data analytics will be used to select cases for verification, based on approved risk criteria. If the case is selected for verification, request for additional information and its response will also be communicated electronically.
India Post got Payments Bank Licence to Start Services
- India Post became the third entity to receive a final license last week from the Central Bank to start its payment bank operations on January 30, 2017.
- Country’s largest telcom service provider Bharti Airtel and digital payments firm Paytm are the other two to have received the license while only Airtel has started operations so far. The government has also appointed AP Singh has interim MD and CEO of the India Post Payment Bank.
Read Also – Daily Current Affairs
Ireland just became the World’s First Country to Stop Investing in Fossil Fuels
- Ireland voted to be the world’s first country to fully divest public money from fossil fuels on January 30, 2017.
- Once enacted, the bill would force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to sell its investment in fossil fuel industries over the next five years. In 2015, Norway’s sovereign pension fund divested from some fossil fuel companies, but not all.
France Issued First ‘Green Bonds’
- France issued its first ‘green bonds’ with a record € 7 billion ($ 7.5 billion) sale, paving the way for the establishment of a genuine market‘in renewable energy bonds on January 25, 2017.
- Bonds’ coupon was set at 1.75%, an interest rate comparable to conventional borrowing on the same- timeframe. Poland was the first country to .enter the green bond market with a more modest € 750 million issue in December.
- A bond is a debt instrument with which an entity raises money from investors. The bond issuer gets capital while the investors receive fixed income in the form of interest. When the bond matures, the money is repaid. The only difference is that the issuer of a green bond publicly states that capital is being raised to fund ‘green’ projects, which typically include those relating to renewable energy, emission reductions and so on.
Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Committee Presented its Report
- The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Committee headed by NIC Singh, former Revenue and Expenditure Secretary and former Member of Parliament presented its Report to the Union government on January 22, 2017.
- The Committee consisted of Dr. Uijit R. Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Sumit Bose, former Finance Secretary’, Dr, Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser and Dr. Rathin Roy, Director, National Institute of Public Finance & Policy (NIPFP) as members.
- The Committee had wide ranging Terms of Reference (ToR) to comprehensively review the existing FRBM Act in the light of contemporary changes, past outcomes, global economic developments, best international practices and to recommend the future fiscal framework and roadmap for the country.
Entrepreneurship Development Scheme Inaugurated in Mizoram
- Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalmalsawma inaugurated the Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (EDS) under the New Economic Development Policy (NEDP), on January’ 19, 2017.
- Entrepreneurship was important for acquiring sustainable resources, knowledge and market, which would be instrumental in the state government’s efforts to achieve market economy from subsistence economy.
- The EDS could be instrumental in implementation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations with minimum harm to the environment.
Union Government Approved Trade Agreement Negotiations with Peru
- The Union Cabinet chaired approved holding negotiations for trade agreement with Peru on trade in goods, services and investment on January 18, 2017.
- Peru ranks third amongst export destinations for India in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region during 2015-16.
- India’s bilateral trade with Peru was $ 107.32 million during 2005-06 which registered a growth’of 1319.45% during 2015-16.
- During 2015-16, bilateral trade stood at $ 1523.35 million with exports at $ 703,12 million and imports $ 820.22 million respectively.
- India has friendly relations with Peru. Peru has been cooperating with India at the International fora and the trade agreement will enhance the trade and economic relations between the two countries.
- The trade agreement would be an important landmark in India-Peru relations and consolidate the traditional fraternal relation that have existed between India and LAC countries.
Also Read – Monthly Current Affairs
BSNL Launched Mobile TV Service ‘Ditto TV’
- Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) launched mobile TV service ‘Ditto TV’ and lnnited fixed mobile telephony, an app; that virtually turns mobiles into cordless phone working in ! sync with landlines within home premises cm January 16, 2017.
- This service will turn mobile handset into a cordless device within the home premises, which means that customers can still avail the attractive landline tariffs of BSNL like free calls on Sundays and night time calling.
- Ditto TV is a mobile TV service wherein subscribers can view live TV for over 80 channels including HD channels. The service has multiscreen option as it can be viewed on both iOS and Android devices, that is, mobile, tablet, TV or on PC.
India Signed Financing Agreement with World Bank for $ 48 Million
- A financing agreement for IDA credit of $ 48 million (equivalent) for the ‘Nagaland Health Project’ was signed with the World Bank on January 15, 2017.
- The objectives of the project are to improve health services and increase their utilisation by communities in targeted locations in Nagaland.
- Communities in targeted locations will benefit from project activities at the community and health facility levels while the population of the State as a whole will benefit from improvements in higher-level facilities as well As system-wide investments.
- The project will directly benefit about 600000 people. It will support and complement existing systems and mechanisms involving communities under the National Health Mission.