Current Affairs : January 17, 2012

India China Agree on a Joint Working mechanism for Border Issue

  • India and China have agreed to establish a working mechanism on consultation and coordination on border issues.
  • The agreement in this effect has been signed at the end of the two-day meeting of the Special Representatives of the two countries in New Delhi.
  • India was represented by the National Security Advisor and Special Representative Shiv Shankar Menon and the Chinese side by his counterpart and State Councilor Dai Bingguo.
  • With this pact, India and China have agreed that they should prepare a kind of joint agreed record to indicate and spell out the kind of progress made so far.
  • The working mechanism will be headed by a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and a Director General level officer of China.
  • The mechanism will study ways and means to conduct and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the military personnel and establishments of the two sides in border areas and will undertake other tasks that are mutually agreed upon.
  • It was decided that the mechanism will hold consultations once or twice a year.

Government will soon allow FDI in Airlines to 49%

  • The Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh announces that Government is all set to allow foreign airlines to take up to 49 per cent stake in the domestic airlines.
  • Minister says that FDI is one of the options to help the Aviation industry survive.
  • At present, 49% FDI is allowed but it is restricted in case of airlines.
  • Ajit Singh also announces that a GoM will soon be constituted to look into the restructuring plan for the public carrier.

IB Ministry declares Citizen Charter

  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting declares a Citizen Charter.
  • Under the citizen charter, the ministry will deliver services to people within a specified time-frame.
  • As per the Charter, for granting permission to TV Channels for uplinking or downlinking, the ministry will forward the applications within two months after receiving them in completed form to the Ministries and Departments concerned for clearances.
  • As per the citizen charter, to issue permission for uplinking or downlinking of TV channels from India, the application is examined by the Department of Space, Ministry of Home Affairs and other departments.
  • The Citizen Charter lays down a time-frame of four months for delivering on such applications once such formalities are over.

India & Sri Lanka sign 5 MOUs

  • India’s external affairs minister SM Krishna is on a visit to Sri Lanka.
  • During this visit, the two countries have signed 5 MOUs in the field of housing, railways, agriculture, water supply and telecom.
  • The MoU on housing specifies the modalities for the next phase of the Housing Project being implemented with India’s assistance of approximately 260 million US Dollars.
  • The MoU on Railway extends the line of credit 382.37 million USD for the restoration of Northern Railway Services in Sri Lanka.
  • The MoU on water supply was signed between EXIM Bank of India and Government of Sri Lanka for financing Water Supply Project.
  • MoU on Agriculture is to promote development of cooperation in the fields of agricultural science and technology.
  • MoU on telecom provides for establishing a mechanism of technical and institutional cooperation in the field of telecommunications.
  • During the visit, Sri Lankan President assured External Affairs Minister SM Krishna that the 13th Amendment plus approach will be followed towards devolution of power to the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
  • Its worth note that provisions for setting up of a Provincial Council for each Province; establishment of a High Court for each Province; and making Tamil an official language and English the link language was to be achieved via the 13th amendment of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

Import & Excise Duty on Gold, Silver & Diamond pegged to value

  • The Government issues an important notification, which would cause the prices of Gold & Silver go up.
  • With this notification, the import duty on gold has been fixed at 2 per cent of the value, instead of the earlier rate of Rs. 300 per 10 grams.
  • On silver, the import duty has been pegged at 6 per cent, as against Rs. 1,500 per kilogram earlier.
  • Diamonds will attract an import duty of 2 per cent.
  • Excise duty on gold has been fixed at 1.5 per cent of the value, as against the earlier fixed rate of Rs. 200 per 10 grams.
  • Excise duty on silver is 4 per cent, as compared to a fixed duty earlier of Rs. 1,000 per kilogram.
  • The ad-valorem rates of excise and customs on gold, silver and platinum have come into effect from January 16, 2012.
  • The change will help government to get additional Rs. 600 Crore during the remaining months of fiscal 2011-12.

Martin Schulz elected President of European Parliament

  • German Member of European Parliament (MEP) Martin Schulz was has been elected as the new President of the European Parliament.
  • He has succeeded Jerzy Buzek.
  • The European Parliament, one of the three main institutions in the European Union, represents some 500 million Europeans with its members directly elected in each member state.

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