Week That Was 2nd to 7th October 2017

  1. On International front,Food  Price  Index! UN Food and Agriculture  Organization (FAO)  has  published the latest  edition  of its  Food Price Index which measure the monthly  change in the  International prices  for a  variety of  food commodities including  meat and  sugar.  FAO added that  global  cereal inventories are  heading for  a new high.Cereal production  this year  is  forecast  to reach a record 2,612 million tonnes; nearly seven  million tonnes above the previous  record, set last year.Stronger prices  of  vegetables and  oils, as well as dairy products led to an increase in global food prices  in September.
  2. Almost 12000 people, many of them children have  been forced to leave their Pacific Island  home due to threat of volcanic eruption. There are more than 3000 students, including  around  2000primary school students  who are currently out of  school  due to the evacuations and need to be  re enrolled as  a temporary measure. The  children are  residents of  Ambae islands which is  a  part of Vanuatu and are being sent to nearby islands for their safety and security.
  3. “Double Burden” of  Malnutrition!Three UN agencies : IAEA( UN nuclear energy watchdog), the World Health Organization and the  UN Children’s Fund(UNICEF) are  holding a  workshop  to explore how nuclear technology can help  address the  challenge  of poor  nutrition  combined with  obesity  or diet released diseases  such as  Type  2  diabetes.The  forum brings together  50 researchers and  public health  professionals  from 30 countries.  In addition to discussing  the “magnitude” of the problem they will also look at ways  to measure  malnutrition and the impact of interventions.According to WHO  1.9 billion  adults are  overweight or  obese while  462  million  are  underweight. Young children are  especially vulnerable to the  effects of  poor diet.
  4. Jagmeet Singh , a Sikh Lawyer  was  elected  the leader of   Canada’s New  Democratic  Party( NDP),becoming  the first  non white politician  to lead a  major political party in Canada.              He  won the  crucial first ballot victory over three  other candidates by  receiving  53.6 percent of the vote.
  5. On national front, Aadhar for  small saving schemes!The Union Government has  made Aadhar Manadatory for  all post office deposits,PPF, the National Savings Certificate Scheme  and Kisan Vikas Patra.The information was  shared by Finance Ministry through four separate  Gazette Notifications.The government has  given the depositors time till 31st December 2017. The government has also insisted  on quoting  Aadhar  for bank deposits, obtaining mobile phone and  several other utilities to weed out benami deals and black money.
  6. Open Defecation Free! The Union Government  declared  5 more states as ODF  on 2nd  October  2017. The  states that have  come under the purview are Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkand and Chattisgarh. The news was declared by  the Minister of Housing and  Urban  Affairs on the occasion of the third anniversary of  the mission.
  7. Government reduces  central  excise  duty on  Petrol  and Diesel by Rs  2  per litre which came  into effect from 4th October  2017. The prices  of Petrol  and  Diesel will be reduced by   Rs 2.50 per litre and  Rs 2.25 per litre  respectively in Delhi. This measure is aimed  at giving  relief to  the  consumers and  farmers, especially in the view of  upcoming agricultural season when Kharif  crops would be harvested and Rabi  crops would be sowed.
  8. Railway Ticket Exemption!  IRCTC  will extend the benefit of   service charge  exemption  on tickets till  March 2018. The  government has waived off service charges  on online booked rail tickets  in November 2016 following demonetization  to encourage digital mode of  booking.  The  service charges on booking ticket  through IRCTC portal ranges  from Rs20 to 40 per ticket.
  9. Committee for water resource management! A  high level committee  was  constituted by  the Union Government  in the North Eastern region for proper management of  water resources . The  committee would  mainly  facilitate optimizing  benefits of  appropriate  water management  in the form of  Hydro electric power. Agriculture, bio diversity conversation,reduced flood damage erosion,inland  water  transport,forestry,fishery and  eco tourism.
  10. Paryatan Parv!The  Union Ministry  of  Tourism would be organizing  Paryatan Parv, a  festival of  tourism  from 5th October 2017 in collaboration with other  central ministers,state governments and stakeholders.The 20 day festival would be beginning  at Humyun’s Tomb in Delhi and will end on 25th October.
  11. National Highways Project!The foundation stone for  4  National Highways Project worth Rs 1121 Cr  and several shipping projects  worth Rs 2000Cr was  laid in  Andaman and Nicobar  islands  on 6th October 2017.
  12. India and  EU  sign  3  agreements at 14th India-EU  Summit.The 14th Annual  Summit was held in  New Delhi and  witnessed  discussions  on host of issues including ways to remove  hurdles  for  long pending free trade  agreement. The leaders from both sides reviewed the  wide ranging cooperation  under the India  EU strategic partnership.
  13. The  Union government has  set up a  study group  to examine the problems  by the people  living near  the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC)  in Jammu and Kashmir in the scenario of  regular threats  of cross border firing.Besides  meeting the locals near the border area , the group would be meeting  the  security forces  deployed there as well as the district administration officials and local public representatives.
  14. Revamp GST!The  GST council has allowed   smaller businesses with a turnover of up to Rs  1.5 Crore  to pay tax  and  file returns quarterly  instead of  monthly, exempted  exporters from paying tax  under various promotion schemes, deferred  implementation  of the tax deduction  at source  and collection  at source provision  to April 1 next year and suspended  the reverse charge  mechanism until  the fiscal  year end. The council  also slashed  tax  rates on  27 items  including sliced dried mango,khakhra,manmade  yarn, stationary  items, e-waste,plastic  waste, rubber waste and  job work services while deciding  to adopt a  concept  paper on  the tax  rates  that  would form  the backbone  of  all changes in  future.
  15. No Pan required! Jewellery  purchases  exceeding  Rs 50,000 won’t require the  income tax Permanent Account Number  to be provided.The  Jewellery sector is  out of Prevention  of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002.The  entities covered by PMLA  have to maintain  records of  all transaction of value  exceeding Rs  10 Lakh , all cross border  wire transfers of  more thanRs 5  lakhs and  all purchases  and  sales of immovable  property of Rs  50 Lakh  or more.