1. The Lok Sabha has passed Taxation Laws (2nd Amendment) Bill 2016 that seeks to tax money deposited in bank accounts post demonetization. It will enable the government to implement schemes like the Garib Kalyan Kosh. The new Bill will entail a tax of 30 per cent of the income declared, an additional surcharge of 33 per cent of the tax amount, and penalty of 10 per cent of the declared income. This adds up to a total liability of about 50 per cent. In addition, the amendment states that 25 per cent of the declared income is to be deposited in an interest-free deposit scheme with a lock-in of four years. If undeclared, then the unexplained amount will face a flat tax of 60 per cent, a surcharge of 25 per cent of the tax amount, and a possible 10 per cent penalty at the discretion of the assessing officer. This takes the total levy on undeclared income or assets to as much as 85 per cent.
  2. Magus Carlsen of Norway has won the World Chess Championship for the third consecutive time after defeating challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia. Carlsen sealed victory following three weeks of play and a series of tiebreakers in New York. Karjakin tied against Carlsen in 12 regular rounds but was beaten in the final phase of four quick fire games.
  3. NITI Aayog has constituted a committee of Chief Ministers of examine and promote the use of digital payment systems across the country. It will be headed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Chandrababu Naidu.
  4. The Supreme Court has ordered cinema halls to mandatory play the national anthem before every screening and all those present in cinema halls have to stand up to show respect. According to the apex court such practice will instill a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism and it should be seen as an opportunity for the public to express their love for the motherland. The order was given by a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy on a writ petition.
  5. Scientists have recorded worst mass coral bleaching event on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It has killed more corals than ever before, sounding the alarm over the delicate ecosystem. According to a 2013 Deloitte Access Economics report, it is estimated nearly two-thirds of 2,300-kilometre long reef or 700 km stretch of coral in the Great Barrier Reef’s northern part have died in the past nine months.
  6. Akodara village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat has earned the title of becoming India’s first digital village in India. The village with a total population of 1,191 people and 250 households uses a various cashless system for payments of goods and services. All transactions in the village are carried out though digital modes like SMS, net-banking or debit cards.
  7. Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has launched the ‘Indian Police at Your Call’ mobile app at a national police conference held recently in Hyderabad. It was organized by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The app is a GIS Map based interface for the citizens to locate police stations near to their current location so that they can easily reach the police station in case of emergency.
  8. Global crude oil prices has shot up 13 per cent after Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia cut a deal to reduce output to drain a global supply glut. Brent crude oil futures surged 13 per cent to 52.54 dollars a barrel.
  9. The Union Cabinet has approved Central Assistance of Rs. 2000 crore for 36,384 displaced families from Pakistan occupied areas of Jammu & Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb following an announcement of Prime Minister’s Development Package for Jammu & Kashmir-2015 in November, 2015.
  10. India has inked government-to-government (G2G) deal with United States (US) to buy 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers worth $750 million under the Foreign Military Sales programe. The deal was signed at the two-day meeting of the 15th India-US Military Cooperation Group held in New Delhi. This is the first defence deal signed by India for purchasing artillery guns since the Bofors scandal in 1980s.
  11. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is using drones to map disasters in north-eastern States by collecting land details and add it to data from remote sensing satellites. In this regard, ISRO’s shilling-based North-Eastern Space Applications Centre (NE-SAC) has tested unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to map various problems and disasters.
  12. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has given its approval to notify inclusion/amendments in the Central List of Other Backward Classes notified in respect of States of Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand. On the recommendation of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), a total of 2479 Entries for inclusion, including its synonyms, sub-castes, etc. in the Central List of Other Backward Classes have been notified in 25 States and 6 Union Territories. A total of 28 changes recommended by NCBC in respect of 8 states including Jammu and Kashmir (15 new entries, 09 synonyms/sub-castes and 04 corrections) have been notified.
  13. Indian Boxer Sachin Singh has become only the third Indian ever to strike gold at Youth World Championships with a stunning unanimous win over Jorge Grinan. In this edition of AIBA tournament, India won with one gold medal and a bronze medal, marking improvement from the solitary bronze medal won in the 2014 edition. Naman Tanwar had to settle for a bronze medal after losing in the semi-final in the 91 kg category.


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