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Daily GK Updates: 26th Sept 2014

1.    G-4 countries meet in New York to discuss Security Council reform
i. G-4 countries have underscored their continuous commitment to a Security Council reform which should be reflective of the geopolitical realities of the 21st century. The G-4 Foreign Ministers of India, Brazil, Germany and Japan met in New York on the margins of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly to exchange views on Security Council reform. 

ii. They agreed that the difficulties of the Security Council to effectively address current international challenges are a compelling reminder of the urgent need for a Security Council reform which makes it more broadly representative, efficient and transparent. 
iii. They said, it will further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions. 
iv. The Ministers voiced their concern that, 70 years after the foundation of the United Nations, 50 years after the first and only time that the Security Council was reformed, discussions are still at a stalemate. 

2.    Public Sector Banks require 26–37 billion US dollars to meet Basel-III norms: Moody
i. Global rating agency Moody 2014 released a report titled Indian Banks Could Need 26-37 billion US dollar in External Capital for Basel III Compliance.
ii. In the report it revealed that 11 Indian public sector banks (PSBs) need to raise 26 to 37 billion US dollar in external capital in the financial year 2015 in order to meet the Basel-III capital adequacy norms by financial year 2019.
iii. This projection of Moody is based on the assumption that there is a moderate recovery in India's GDP growth, and a gradual decline in nonperforming loans from current levels.

Main highlights of the report
i. In rupee terms these banks will require additional 1.5 to 2.2 trillion rupees to fully comply with the Basel-III norms.

ii. A significant part of the required capital, around 800 - 900 billion rupees (or 13-15 billion US dollars) could be in the form of Additional Tier 1 (AT1) capital. 
iii. Moody's notes that these PSBs constitute 62 percent of the net loans in the Indian banking system but barely meet the current minimum capital requirements. As a result PSBs will find it difficult to raise capital quickly in the current environment.
Basel-III Norms
Basel III raises the minimum required capital levels for both Tier 1 capital to 7.0 percent and Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) capital to 5.5 percent. Besides, the banks will also need to meet a Capital Conservation Buffer in order to pay dividends. These will be pressurizing the Indian public-sector banks due to low capital levels remain a key credit weakness.
3.    RBI released Gopalakrishna Committee report on Capacity Building in Banks and non-Banks
i. The Reserve Bank of India released Gopalakrishna Committee report on Capacity Building in banks and non-banks.  The committee has recommended a 360-degree feedback for a transparent and comprehensive performance assessment exercise, one that ensures adequate performance differentiation between employees.
ii. The committee was constituted with an objective to implement non-legislative recommendations of the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) relating to capacity building in banks and non-banks, streamlining training intervention and suggesting changes thereto in view of ever increasing challenges in banking and non-banking sectors.
The key recommendations of the Report include and pertain to:
• Approach to capacity building in banks and non-banks
• Enhancing Human Resources Management practices
• Creation of position of Chief Learning Officer in banks and concept of return on learning
• Strategies for addressing issues of replacement or replenishment of talent in banks
• Process and steps for skill development
4.    GST implementation from April 2016
i. As negotiations with states on GST enter a critical stage, the Centre is looking forward to implementation of the new indirect tax regime from 1st April 2016.
ii. The deadline for actual implementation of GST from April 1, 2016, would be feasible. It all depends on how quickly we are able to reach consensus on critical issues," Revenue Secretary Shakti Kanta Das said at an event in New Delhi on Saturday. 
iii. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime aims at subsuming most of the indirect taxes at the central as well as state level. 
iv. The UPA government in 2011 introduced a Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha to pave the way for introduction of GST. 
v. The GST which has been pending since 2006, is stuck at a crucial stage where states have proposed to keep products such as petroleum, tobacco and alcohol out of GST ambit and had demanded the exemption list be included in the Constitutional Amendment Bill. 
5.     Pakistan test fired short range nuclear capable missile Hatf IX

Who: Hatf IX -short range surface-to-surface missile
What: Test fired by Pakistan
When: 26 September 2014
 
Pakistan on 26 September 2014 test fired the Hatf IX -short range surface-to-surface missile. The nuclear capable missile also called as Nasr was tested with successive launches of four missiles from a Multi Tube Launcher with Salvo Mode.

It is a nuclear capable ballistic missile with a maximum range of 60 kilometers can cover western parts of India. With in-flight manoeuvre capability Hatf IX is a quick response system with shoot and scoot capability.

Earlier Pakistan had tested the Hatf IX missile in 2011 and 2012. The development of the missile is in line with Pakistan’s objective of developing a full spectrum of deterrence against the prevailing threat spectrum.

Commentary
The test fire of Hatf IX is in line with the Pakistan’s objective of developing a second strike capability if a catastrophic nuclear attack destroyed all its land-based weapons.

In line with above objective Pakistan has repeatedly tested Babur cruise missile their indigenously produced, nuclear-capable. It has a range of 640 km and can strike targets at land and sea.
Besides, Pakistan is said to be developing shorter-range cruise missiles that can fly lower to the ground and can evade ballistic missile defences and developing sea-based missiles.

Nuclear push of Pakistan comes amid heightened tension with US intelligence and congressional officials over the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

6.    Union Government launched Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana for urban and rural poor
i. Union Government Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana for urban and rural poor. The Yojana aims at alleviating urban and rural poverty through enhancement of livelihood opportunities through skill development and other means.
ii. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana has two components one for urban India and other for rural India. 
Main Highlights of the Urban Scheme 
The scheme will focus on 
i. Imparting skills with an expenditure of 15000 rupees to 18000 rupees on each urban poor

ii. Promotion of self-employment through setting up individual micro-enterprises and group enterprises with interest subsidy for individual projects costing 2lakhs rupees and 10 lakhs rupees for group enterprises. Subsidized interest rate will be 7 percent.
iii. Training urban poor to meet the huge demand from urban citizens by imparting market oriented skills through City Livelihood Centres. Each Centre would be given a capital grant of 10 lakhs rupees.
iv. Enabling urban poor form Self-Help Groups for meeting financial and social needs with a support of 10000 rupees per each group who would in turn would be helped with bank linkages.
v. Development of vendor markets besides promotion of skills of vendors 
vi.  Construction of permanent shelters for urban homeless and provision of other essential services.
Main Poins of the Rural Scheme
i.  The Yojana aims at training 10 lakh (1 million) rural youths for jobs in three years, that is, by 2017.

ii. The minimum age for entry under the Yojana is 15 years compared to 18 years under the Aajeevika Skills Programme.
iii. Skill development training centres to be launched so as to address the unemployment problem in the rural area.
iv. The skills imparted under the Yojana will now be benchmarked against international standards and will complement the Prime Minister’s Make In India campaign.
v. The Kaushalya Yojana will also the address the need for imparting training to the differently-able persons and chip in private players including international players to impart the skills to the rural youths.
Note: i.  The Urban component will be implemented by the Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation  
ii. Rural component named as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana will be implemented by the Union Ministry of Rural Development.

7.  Sukinda Chromite Mine of the Tata Steel in Odisha won Asian CSR Leadership Award 

Who: Sukinda Chromite Mine of the Tata Steel
Where: Dubai, UAE
What: won Asian CSR Leadership Award
When: 24 September 2014
Why: for Community Development

Sukinda Chromite Mine of the Tata Steel in Odisha on 24 September 2014 won the Asian Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Leadership Award. The Sukinda mine of Tata Steels won the award for Community Development. The award was presented by World CSR Congress at Dubai, UAE.

Sumit Ghoshal, Regional Commercial Manager of Tata Steel in Middle East received the award on behalf of the company.

The award recognised the voluntary action of several officers of Sukinda Chromite Mine who have been sponsoring orphan tribal girls of nearby schools of Sukinda.

8.   Union Heavy Industry Ministry proposed to shut down six sick CPSE to the Union Cabinet

      Who: Union Heavy Industry Ministry
What: proposed to shut down six sick CPSE to the Union Cabinet
When: 25 September 2014

Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises on 25 September 2014 proposed the Union Cabinet to shut down six sick Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSEs).

The sick CPSEs include HMT Watches, HMT Barings, HMT Chinar Watch, Hindustan Photo Films, Hindustan Cables and Tungbhadra Steel.

Besides, the Ministry also proposed to revive 5 CPSEs. These CPSEs include HMT Machine Tools, Heavy Engineering Corporation, NEPA, Nagaland Paper & Pulp Co; and Triveni Structurals.

The proposal of Heavy Industry Ministry is based on the recommendations of the Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSEs).

The six companies together have around 3603 workers. The Ministry has planned to spend 1080 crore rupees towards one-time settlement through a voluntary retirement scheme for workers.

HMT Watches, which is a subsidiary of HMT Ltd, has already submitted a voluntary retirement/voluntary separation scheme to the Government for downsizing its manpower.

The Ministry also said that after the closures of these six CPSEs, the sale of assets of these state holdings will be made to private companies. Also, it informed that efforts were on to monetise vacant land available with 11 sick PSUs, which have an estimated 8000 acres.
9.Ancient nomadic campsite belonging to Liao Dynasty unearthed in China

     Who: Ancient nomadic campsite belonging to Liao Dynasty
Where: North-east Jilin province of China
What: unearthed
When: 24 September 2014

An ancient nomadic campsite was unearthed by Chinese archeologists in Qian’an county in north-east Jilin province of China on 24 September 2014. The unearthed campsite was supposed to be used by the nomadic emperors from the Liao Dynasty (907 AD – 1125 AD).

Though archaeologists did not disclose the overall size of the campsite, but it is believed to be the largest ever campsite found in China.

The head of the Jilin Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage Jin Xudong is planning to make this campsite appear in the World Heritage list.

Findings about the campsite

The campsite unearthed consists of four parts overall. The biggest part of three kilometers width is about one-third the size of the entire campsite. It contains as many as 900 bases for camping.

The ancient campsite served as an administrative centre during the reign of the nomadic Khitans, although their capital city was in Inner Mongolia in China.

Emperors of the Liao dynasty usually had four campsites where they lived during the four seasons. In spring and summer, they moved to the north while in autumn and winter they settled in the south.

Background

In 2009, the ruins of the spring campsite were discovered and have undergone archaeological excavation in August 2014. Since then, archaeologists unearthed more than 100 cultural relics including tiles, pottery, porcelain, copper coins and Buddha statues.


10.  US to pay 500 million US dollar in compensation to Native American Navajo tribe
i. The US government will pay more than $500 million to the Native American Navajo tribe in the US southwest, ending decades-old disputes over use of their land, officials said Wednesday.
ii. In return, the tribe will not claim lawsuits over US management of Navajo resources and funds.
iii. The sum is the largest ever paid by the United States to a single tribe, according to The Washington Post.
iv. This historic agreement resolves a longstanding dispute between the United States and the Navajo Nation, including some claims that have been sources of tension for generations," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement sent to AFP.
v. Half of all Navajo land is rented out for agricultural and forestry purposes, oil and gas production, and mineral extraction, among other uses.
Note: i. The Navajo reservation, straddling the western states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, is the largest in the United States, covering around 70,000 square miles (181,299 square kilometers).
ii. "This landmark resolution ends protracted and burdensome litigation. It will provide important resources to the Navajo Nation. And it fairly and honorably resolves a legal conflict over the accounting and management of tribal resources," Holder said.
iii. The Navajos are the largest indigenous tribe in the United States with more than 300,000 members.
11.  Edward Snowden and Alan Rusbridger won Right Livelihood Award 2014
i. Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden and Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian on 24 September 2014 won Right Livelihood Award. The award was shared between the two.
ii. Edward Snowden was awarded for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights. While, Alan Rusbridger, was awarded for writing extensively on government surveillance, based on leaks of Edward Snowden.
Note: The Right Livelihood Award is also known as Alternative Nobel prize of Sweden.

About Right Livelihood Award:i. The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980. 

ii. The award was given to honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.
iii. The prize money is shared among the winners, usually numbering four, and is EUR 200000. Very often one of the four laureates receives an honorary award, which means that the other three share the prize money.
12.  SC struck down National Tax Tribunal Act, 2005 terming it unconstitutional

Who: Supreme Court of India
What: National Tax Tribunal Act, 2005
When: 25 September 2014

The Supreme Court of India on 25 September 2014 struck down the National Tax Tribunal (NTT) Act, 2005 terming it as unconstitutional.

The five-judge Constitution Bench of SC comprising Chief Justice of India R M Lodha and Justices J S Khehar, J Chelameswar, A K Sikri and Rohinton Nariman quashed Sections 5, 6, 7, 8 and 13 of the NTT Act rendering it ineffective for all practical purposes.

Since the provisions of sections 5, 6, 7, 8 and 13 of the NTT Act constitute the structure of whole Act and without these provisions the remaining provisions are rendered ineffective and inconsequential.


The bench ruled that these sections of the NTT Act by providing an appeal directly to the Supreme Court against an NTT order directly encroached upon the high courts’ power under Article 227 to decide substantial questions of law which would bind all tribunals.

Moreover, Justice Nariman wrote a separate but concurring judgment ruling that the law is unconstitutional on two grounds:
• Separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive
• Judicial superintendence.

However, SC bench did not quashed Article 323B of the Indian Constitution that talk about the creation of tribunals by the executive. Article 323B was challenged by the petitioners as being defiant of the concept of separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.

Petition Challenging the NTT Act, 2005
Even before setting up of the tribunal, petitions were filed against the Act. First petition was filed in 2006 when the Madras Bar Association challenged the proposed tribunal.

The petitioner challenged the constitutional validity of the NTT Act and the Article 323B of the Indian Constitution. The contention was that Article 323B violates the basic structure of the constitution by allowing the legislature to take away jurisdiction of the High Courts and vesting them in Tribunals.

 The petitioner also contended that the process of the selection of the appointees to the Tribunal must be done as in the case of the High Court Judges.

Effect of the Judgement

The National Tax Tribunal Law was meant for reducing the pile-up of tax demands locked up in litigation in high courts that currently amounts to over 4 trillion rupees.

But with this judgement, the government will have to look at new ways to reduce pending litigation on direct and indirect taxes. The committee constituted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes and government will work to ensure that an alternative dispute resolution process is legislated to increase the confidence of tax payers.

This ruling of Supreme Court can affect all such similar tribunals set up to decide substantial questions of law including the National Company Law Tribunal and Appellate Tribunal which are also facing legal challenge.

The National Tax Tribunal (NTT) Act, 2005
• The National Tax Tribunal Act was passed in 2005. The tribunal was set up under the Act to hear appeals against orders of Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and Central Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT).
• The NTT was seen as an alternative to high courts where the tax department, unhappy with the decision of the appellate tribunal, could file an appeal.
• The decision of the NTT could only be challenged in the Supreme Court. The idea was to move tax cases away from the high court and speed up decision-making.
• The NTT Act allowed the executive to have extensive control with regard to appointments of members and procedure of the tribunal.
13.  Emami biotech acquired Vanaspati brand Rasoi
i. Emami biotech acquired Vanaspati brand Rasoi. Emami biotech is the edible oil and bio-diesel arm of the Emami Group of Companies.
ii. The deal is estimated to be worth around 20 crore rupees. This is Emami's second acquisition in three months and with this deal Emami makes entry into vanaspati segment.
iii. The acquisition will be an addition to the Company’s existing portfolio of edible oil brands such as Emami Healthy & Tasty and Himani Best Choice.
14.  Forbes India released The 100 Richest Indian List 2014
i. The Forbes India magazine releasedThe 100 Richest Indian List 2014 on 25 September 2014. As per the list, the top 100 richest tycoons in India are all billionaires for the first time. The combined net worth of 100 richest tycoons in India is 346 billion US dollars in 2014 up more than a third from 259 billion US dollars in 2013.
ii. According to the Forbes India List, the Top 10 Richest people of India:
1. Mukesh Ambani; 2. Dilip Shanghvi; 3. Azim Premji; 4. Pallonji Mistry; 5. Lakshmi Mittal; 6. Hinduja brothers; 7. Shiv Nadar; 8. Godrej family; 9. Kumar Birla; 10. Sunil Mittal
Highlights of the Forbes India Rich List 2014
i. Mukesh Ambani topped the list for the eighth consecutive year with a net worth of 23.6 billion US dollars.
ii. Dilip Shanghvi, founder of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, is at the second position on the list. He overtook steel baron Lakshmi Mittal who slipped to fifth place.  
iii. Azim Premji whose net wealth increased to 16.4 billion US dollars from 13.8 billion US dollars is at third position.
iv. The biggest dollar gainer is Gautam Adani who jumped 11 spots to eleventh position adding nearly 4.5 billion US dollars to his wealth which reached 7.1 billion US dollars.
v. As many as 85 people out of 89 who returned to the top 100 from 2013 are wealthier and several are billionaires for the first time.
15.  Former British PM Tony Blair named "gay icon"
i. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was named one of the top "gay icons" of the last thirty years on Friday in recognition of his work for gay rights.
ii. Gay Times magazine awarded the politician the accolade in an edition marking the newspaper`s 30th anniversary.
iii. Blair, 61, won a landslide victory in a 1997 general election, and was the head of a left-leaning Labour Party government for the next decade.

16.  Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan resigns
i. Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has resigned  after the Nationalist Congress Party withdrew support to his Congress-led government on Thursday.
ii. Chavan submitted his resignation letter to the governor on Friday evening as the opposition BJP stepped up pressure that president's rule be imposed in the state.
iii. Governor C Vidyasagar Rao is reportedly seeking legal advice, after the BJP upped the pressure saying the Congress government in the state did not have a majority any longer after splitting with the NCP.
iv. The Assembly elections in the state are scheduled for October 15.

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