1. Jan Dhan accounts deposits cross Rs. 30,000 cr
i. Deposits in accounts opened under the government’s flagship financial inclusion programme —— Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) —— have crossed the Rs. 30,000 crore mark. As many as 20.38 crore bank accounts were opened under the PMJDY as on the January 20, as per the latest data available. These bank accounts had deposits of Rs. 30,638.29 crore (about $4.5 billion).
ii. The accounts that can be opened under PMJDY are Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts (BSBDA) which can be of zero balance, as per RBI guidelines. As per the trends available, the percentage of accounts with ‘Zero Balance’ have actually shown a significant decline.
iii. Accounts with no balance in them were as high as 76.81 per cent of the total opened under the scheme as on September 30, 2015. They have come down to just about 32 per cent at the end of December.
iv. The Finance Ministry data further showed that 8.74 crore of the accounts were seeded with Aadhaar and 17.14 crore account holders were issued RuPay cards. The data further revealed that as on January 15, banks had offered 53.54 lakh account holders overdraft facility of which the sanction was issued for 27.56 lakh cases and 12.32 lakh account holders availed it. The total amount availed was Rs. 166.7 crore.
v. The OD is granted to an earning member of the family, with a condition that the account has been operated satisfactorily for at least 6 months.
2. PM declassifies 100 files relating to Netaji
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made public digital copies of 100 secret files relating to Subhas Chandra Bose on his 119th birth anniversary, which could throw some light on the controversy over his death.
ii. The files were declassified and put on digital display at the National Archives of India (NAI) here by the Prime Minister, who pressed a button in the presence of Bose family members and Union Ministers Mahesh Sharma and Babul Supriyo.
iii. Later, Modi and his ministerial colleagues went around glancing at the declassified files, spending over half an hour at the National Archives. He also spoke to the members of the Bose family. The NAI also plans to release digital copies of 25 declassified files on Bose in the public domain every month.
iv. The first lot of 33 files were declassified by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and handed over to the NAI on December 4, last year. Subsequently, the Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs too initiated the process of declassification of files relating to Bose in their respective collection which were then transferred over to the NAI, it added.
v. An official said the National Archives placed 100 files relating to Bose in public domain “after preliminary conservation treatment and digitization”. The digital copies of these files coming out in public domain meets a “long—standing public demand” which would facilitate scholars to carry out further research on Bose, the official said.
vi. Besides the controversy over whether Netaji died in the 1945 aircrash or not, those who believe he was alive after that have different theories about what happened to the leader after that. While one of them says Bose fled to the former Soviet Union to continue to fight for India’s independence but was later killed there, the other says that Netaji returned to India as an ascetic, named ‘Gumnami Baba, and continued to live in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad till 1985.
3. Google, Railtel launches free public Wi-Fi service at Mumbai Central Station
i. Google India and Indian Railways’ telecom arm RailTel has launched free Rail Wire Public Wi-Fi service for railway passengers at the Mumbai Central Station. This service was launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. With this, Mumbai Central has become the first railway station in India to have free high-speed Wi-Fi Internet facility.
ii. Railwire Wi-Fi Service will be available to any user (passenger) having Wi-Fi enabled smart phones. Users can easily stream research their destination, surf high definition video while they’re waiting or save some videos for offline viewing download e books for the journey.
iii. Users can use this facility after authenticating their cell phone number by entering a four digit OTP (One Time Password) sent to their smart phone via SMS.
iv. The public Wi-Fi project for Indian Railways was announced in September 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. In the initial phase, this free will be made available at 100 of the busiest railway stations and later on extended to 400 stations across the country.
4. Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly Nirmala Gajwani died
i. Former Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Assembly and Social Activist Nirmala Gajwani passed away on 21 January 2016 in Rajkot, Gujarat. She was 87. Gajwani was a reputed social worker and one of the leading lights of the Sindhi community in the state.
ii. Gajwani was the first lady Deputy Speaker of Gujarat legislative Assembly.
iii. She was first woman MLA from Kutch district in Gujarat Assembly and also served as deputy speaker of the house.
iv. She was Chairperson of Sindhu Resettlement Corporation (SRC) which is responsible for all the land development in the Gandhidham-Adipur metropolitan area.
v. She also had worked in education field and was responsible for starting many educational institutions in the state.
5. MSDE, DoT signed MoU to develop National Action Plan for Skill Development in Telecom Sector
i. The Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and Department of Telecommunication (DoT) on 22 January 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop and implement National Action Plan for Skill Development in Telecom Sector.
ii. The MoU was signed by Secretaries of the Union Ministry of Communications and Information and Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
iii. MSDE and DoT together have agreed to make concerted joint efforts towards skill development by facilitating mobilization of financial support under the National Ecosystem for Development of Telecom Skills. They will suggest PSUs under DOT to utilize at least 20 percent of their CSR funds for skilling purposes.
iv. The two ministries will also to make coordinated efforts to utilize old telephone exchanges which are no longer in use for skill development initiatives and upgrade the same on need basis. National Institute for Policy Research Innovation and Training (NTIPRT) will be developed for training and skill up gradation in Telecom Sector by leveraging the infrastructure and facilities.
v. Indian Telecommunications Sector is a fast growing technological sector having manpower needs right from high school to graduates and post graduates and people with different areas of Telecommunications and Information Technology Skills.
6. BEPS guidelines of OECD to be implemented in India from 1 April 2016
i. The term BEPS is an acronym of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and it was in news in the third week of January 2016 as India decided to implement these guidelines.
ii. BEPS refers to tax planning strategies that would exploit the gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.
iii. These norms were announced by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in October 2015 to close tax loopholes that it estimated cost countries upwards of 100 billion US dollars a year.
iv. With the implementation of these guidelines, it will become mandatory for Indian multinationals to make country-by-country reporting to follow guidelines from the financial year that begins on 1 April 2016.
v. It will impact all Indian companies with significant cross-border operations and with annual consolidated global revenue of more than 5500 crore rupees.
BEPS will be major significance for developing countries like India, as they strongly rely on corporate income tax and in particular from multinational enterprises (MNEs).
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