Indian Economy - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

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1)   The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs  gave its approval for removing the prohibition on the export of what type of items?
- Published on 17 Nov 17

a. Steel Ingots
b. Textiles
c. Pulses
d. Onions
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Pulses

Explanation:
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 16th Nov, 2017 gave its approval for removing the prohibition on the export of all types of pulses to give the farmers greater choice in marketing their produce for improved incomes.

The CCEA (Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs) has approved the removal of prohibition on export of all types of pulses.

CCEA: Know More

  • CCEA has a mandate to review economic trends on a continuous basis, as also the problems and prospects, with a view to evolving a consistent and integrated economic policy framework for the country.
  • It also directs and coordinates all policies and activities in the economic field including foreign investment that require policy decisions at the highest level.
  • Price controls of industrial raw materials and products, industrial licensing policies is undertaken by CCEA
    The CCEA also lays down priorities for public sector investment and considers specific proposals for investment of not less than specific levels (Rs. 3 Billion at present) as revised from time to time.
  • CCEA facilitates finalization of factual reports on the accomplishments of the Ministries, Agencies and Public Sector Undertakings involved in implementation of prioritized schemes or projects for evaluation by the Prime Minister.
  • The CCEA also considers cases of increase in the firmed up cost estimates/revised cost estimates for projects etc. in respect of the business allocated to the CCEA.
  • On 2 January 2013, Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure was merged with CCEA.


2)   Which is India's first mega coastal economic zone (CEZ)?
- Published on 17 Nov 17

a. Vizag Port
b. Chennai Port
c. Jawaharlal Nehru Port
d. Indira Gandhi Port
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Jawaharlal Nehru Port

Explanation:
The Union Government has given go-ahead for setting up India's first mega coastal economic zone (CEZ) at Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Maharashtra.

The first of its kind mega CEZ will stretch along north Konkan region spread across Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik and Raigarh.

About 45 companies across auto, telecom and IT sectors will soon bid for 200 hectares of land to set up manufacturing units in zone.

JNPT: Know More

  • The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) at Navi Mumbai (formerly known as the Nhava Sheva Port) located within the Mumbai harbour on the west coast of India, was commissioned on 26th May 1989.
  • It occupies a place of prominence among the major Indian ports.
  • It is the second youngest and one of the most modern major ports of the country. Though it was initially planned to be a "satellite port" to the Mumbai Port with the purpose of decongesting traffic at the latter, eventually it was developed as an independent port on its own right and it became the country's largest container port.
  • Being one of the oldest ports in India, the Mumbai port was proving to be structurally inadequate to meet the requirements of modern cargo handling.
  • There was an urgent need for a new port in the Mumbai region, which eventually led to the birth of JNPT in 1989.


3)   CBDT reported a rise in PAN applications post demonetisation. What was the number?
- Published on 16 Nov 17

a. 300%
b. 200%
c. 500%
d. 100%
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: 300%

Explanation:
CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra announced while there were around 2.5 lakh PAN applications per month earlier, after the Centre announced to scrap high value currency notes in November last year, the number rose to 7.5 lakh.

Additionally, the department was taking a number of measures to curb black money and that steps such as no cash transaction of above INR 2 lakh was a move in that direction.

CBDT: Know More

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) provides essential inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India and is also responsible for administration of the direct tax laws through Income Tax Department. The CBDT is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. It is India's official FATF unit.[21]

Organisational Structure

  • The CBDT is headed by CBDT Chairman and also comprises six members. The Chairperson holds the rank of Special Secretary to Government of India while the members rank of Additional Secretary to Government of India.
Other members:
  • Member (Income Tax)
  • Member (Legislation and Computerisation)
  • Member (Revenue)
  • Member (Personnel & Vigilance)
  • Member (Investigation)
  • Member (Audit & Judicial)
  • The CBDT Chairman and Members of CBDT are selected from Indian Revenue Service (IRS), a premier civil service of India, whose members constitute the top management of Income Tax Department.


4)   Commerce Ministry closed down its nearly 100-year-old public procurement arm called ___________
- Published on 16 Nov 17

a. DGS&B
b. DGS&D
c. DGC&A
d. DGP&T
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: DGS&D

Explanation:
The commerce ministry closed down its nearly 100-year-old public procurement arm–the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D)-on October 31.

The closure of the DGS&D, which traces its origin to London during the British raj, follows setting up of the government e-market (GeM) platform last year for public procurement of goods and services.

About 1,100 of its employees are being shifted to different departments, including income tax, while the senior officers are likely to be accommodated in other branches of the government. DGS&D assets, which were present across the country, are transferred to the Land and Development Office of the urban development ministry.

The directorate has four regional offices, including Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. It has 12 Purchase Directorates.


5)   Bharti Airtel has offloaded 83 million shares of which subsidiary on Nov 14, 2017?
- Published on 15 Nov 17

a. Bharti Televentures
b. Bharti Infratel
c. Bharti-AXA Life Insurance
d. Tikona Infinet Limited
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Bharti Infratel

Explanation:
Bharti Airtel on Nov 14, 2017 offloaded 83 million shares of its subsidiary Bharti Infratel for र 3,325 crore through a secondary share sale in the stock market.

Bharti Airtel will primarily use the proceeds to reduce its debt, the company said in a statement. The firm's net debt stood at र 91,480 crore at the end of September 2017.

The sale was for a consideration of more than र 3,325 crore or about $510 million and was executed at a price of र 400.6 a share.

Following the transaction, Bharti Airtel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries hold 53.51% in Bharti Infratel. Promoters held 58% as of September 2017, as per BSE data.

The allocation was done to global investors, fund managers and long only funds, including many repeat investors.

Led by healthy investor appetite, the deal was upsized by over 25%.

J.P. Morgan, UBS and Goldman Sachs were joint placement agents for the transaction.


6)   Which trade body released the report "Ideate, Innovate, Implement" in Nov 2017 on impact of GST?
- Published on 15 Nov 17

a. ASSOCHAM
b. FICCI
c. PhD Chambers of Commerce
d. CRISIL
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: ASSOCHAM

Explanation:
Despite a temporary economic slowdown after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July 2017, India is on the threshold of sustainable growth, according to an ASSOCHAM report.

In its study, titled: "Ideate, Innovate, Implement: the apex industry body held that despite slowdown in growth after GST implementation, India is on the path to growth.

It said that faster GST implementation, removal of check gates between states that have smoothened inter-state movements and central sales tax (CST) no longer being a cost will help improve the situation.

The report maintained that GST will have a significant impact on all aspects of the businesses operating in the country including-supply chain, logistics, cash flows and transactions.

The study said that GST will have an impact on prices agreed for contracts entered under the pre-GST regime and proposed to be executed either partly or completely under the post-GST regime.

Also, the introduction of GST should entail a reduction in overall process on account of reduced tax costs.

The Assocham-EY report also suggested central and state governments need to work in tandem by executing investor-friendly policies to further strengthen investment prospects.


7)   Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy launched which portal for the power sector?
- Published on 15 Nov 17

a. Indian Power Portal
b. Garv
c. Urja
d. Tarang
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Indian Power Portal

Explanation:
Shri R.K. Singh, Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, launched the National Power Portal (NPP) on 14th Nov, 2017. The portal may be accessed at http://npp.gov.in.

NPP is a centralised system for Indian Power Sector which facilitates online data capture/ input (daily, monthly, annually) from generation, transmission and distribution utilities in the country and disseminate Power Sector Information (operational, capacity, demand, supply, consumption etc.).

It works through various analysed reports, graphs, statistics for generation, transmission and distribution at all India, region, state level for central, state and private sector.

The NPP Dashboard has been designed and developed to disseminate analyzed information about the sector through GIS enabled navigation and visualization chart windows on capacity, generation, transmission, distribution at national, state, DISCOM, town, feeder level and scheme based funding to states.

The system also facilitates various types of statutory reports required to be published regularly.

This Dashboard would also act as the single point interface for all Power Sector Apps launched previously by the Ministry, like TARANG, UJALA, VIDYUT PRAVAH, GARV, URJA, MERIT.

NPP is integrated with associated systems of Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and other major utilities and would serve as single authentic source of power sector information to apex bodies, utilities for the purpose of analysis, planning, monitoring as well as for public users.

The system is available 24×7 and ensures effective and timely collection of data. It standardized data parameters and formats for seamless exchange of data between NPP and respective systems at utilities.

NPP Stakeholders

  • The stakeholders of NPP are Ministry of Power (MoP), CEA, PFC for Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), REC for Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), other power sector utilities in government as well as private sector, Apex Bodies, other government organizations and public users.
  • The Nodal Agency for implementation of NPP and its operational control is CEA.
  • The system has been conceptualized, designed and developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC).


8)   GST Council took a slew of decisions during the 23rd meeting including which of the following:
- Published on 13 Nov 17

a. Rate cuts for consumers
b. Reduction of tax on restaurants
c. Businesses to benefit from compliance norm easing
d. Only a and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

Explanation:
The Goods and Services Tax Council took a slew of decisions during its 23rd meeting in Guwahati on Friday to benefit consumers and businesses alike.

While consumers will stand to benefit from a number of rate cuts, including the tax on restaurants, businesses stand to benefit from a significant easing of compliance norms to do with filing returns.

Up to November 15, when the decisions take effect, the GST system requires businesses to submit at least three forms to file their returns.

The GSTR-1 dealt with the invoice-wise details of supply, GSTR-2 dealt with the receipts of goods, and GSTR-3 was an overall summary derived from the two previous forms.

Now, the GST Council has decided that, in order to ease the compliance burden on businesses, companies would be allowed to only file the GSTR-1 form, up to March 31, 2018.

The Council has set up a committee to look into how to make the GSTR-2 form easier, following which it will be brought back into the system.

The Council also decided to extend the usage of the summary GSTR-3B form, meant to make life easier for those unfamiliar with the filing process, till March 31 from the earlier December 31 deadline.

Companies with a turnover of up to र1.5 crore a year will now be able to file their GSTR-1 forms for each month in a quarterly manner.

Companies earning र1.5 crore or more a year can file their July to October forms by December 31.

Not only did the latest Council meeting ease the deadlines, but it also slashed the penalties for filing late.

For companies with nil tax liability for a particular month, the penalty for delays has been cut to र20 per day from र200 per day. All other companies will have to file a penalty of र50 per day, down from र200 per day.

The GST Council - the apex body for decision making headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley - also decided to impose a uniform GST rate of 5 percent across all categories of standalone restaurants - air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned - but withdraw the benefits of input tax credit (ITC) from such businesses.

Restaurants in starred hotels and outdoor catering services will attract a GST of 18 percent along with ITC benefits.

Composition Scheme

  • The annual turnover threshold on the composition scheme will be raised from Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore.
  • This will be done after the law is amended to raise the turnover ceiling for eligibility of composition.
  • The law will be amended to raise the ceiling to Rs 2 crore. The limit will be raised immediately after the law amended to Rs 1.5 crore
  • Under the scheme, traders, manufacturers and restaurants can pay tax at 1, 2 and 5 percent, respectively.
  • The council has also decided to fix a uniform rate of 1 percent for traders and manufacturers.
  • The move to widen the turnover threshold is aimed at easing the compliance burden for taxpayers as they will have to file returns only once in a quarter as against monthly returns that needs to be filed by other normal taxpayers.
  • However, dealers cannot avail input tax credit, unlike a normal taxpayer.
  • Also, traders availing the composition scheme on goods, who also provide small services upto Rs 5 lakh annually, will not be considered ineligible for the scheme.
  • GST, billed as the country's biggest indirect tax overhaul, has consolidated a dozen of state and central duties into one single levy.
  • ll goods and services have been fitted into four broad slab structure - 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent -along with a cess on luxury and demerit goods such as tobacco, pan masala and aerated drinks.


9)   GST Council is set to liberalise which scheme for small business owners to pay flat tax on turnover?
- Published on 10 Nov 17

a. Composition scheme
b. Operation scheme
c. Tax liability scheme
d. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and c

Explanation:
The twenty-third meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in Guwahati on Friday is set to tighten the noose on players who, authorities believe, have started splitting their business operations into smaller entities to avoid higher tax liabilities.

The Council is also set to cut tax rates on a large number of product lines.

The Council is expected to further liberalise the Composition Scheme for small businesses and traders to pay a flat and low tax on their turnover.

The annual turnover eligibility threshold is likely to be raised to ₹1.5 crore from the ₹1 crore limit, imposed at the Council's October meeting.

However, the government is concerned about the emergence of a parallel economy despite the restrictions on the Composition Scheme, whose original threshold limit was just ₹75 lakh a year.

Small States may have legitimate concerns, but the restriction on inter-State supplies by businesses under the Composition Scheme could also fuel the prospects for more informal trade outside the tax net.

The GoM has not been able to arrive at a consensus on the question of whether supplies from small firms that are part of the Composition Scheme should translate into input tax credits for larger firms who buy from them.


10)   Government has doubled import duty on which crop to 20 percent to curb cheap shipments in Nov 2017?
- Published on 10 Nov 17

a. Bajra
b. Rice
c. Jowar
d. Wheat
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Wheat

Explanation:
The government on Nov 8, 2017 doubled the import duty on wheat to 20 per cent to curb cheap shipments and give positive price signal to farmers in the ongoing Rabi season.

It also imposed import duty of 50 percent on peas to check cheaper shipments from countries like Canada.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in a notification said that it seeks to (i) increase rate of basic customs duty on Peas, (Pisum sativum) from present Nil rate to 50%. (ii) increase rate of basic customs duty on wheat from 10% to 20%.

In March, the government had imposed 10 percent import duty on wheat to contain sharp fall in local prices in view of bumper crop of 98.38 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year (July-June).

As farmers have started planting of rabi (winter) wheat crop, the government wants to give positive price signal and encourage farmers to grow wheat in more area.

The government does not want wheat growers to follow the way of pulses farmers who shifted to other crops this kharif season as prices remained low just before the sowing period owing to bumper crop last year.

India produced a record 22 million tonnes of pulses in 2016-17 crop year which led to a fall in domestic prices, even below the MSP.

Moreover, the country also imported about 5 million tonnes of pulses last fiscal.

The import duty on peas has been imposed to curb shipments and boost domestic prices.

Recently, the government had also imposed quantitative restrictions on import of other pulses like tur.


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