PIONEER CURRETNT AFFAIRS
- Indian Railways to install TRI-NETRA to reduce train accidents.
The Indian Railways has initiated process to launch the Terrain Imaging for Diesel Drivers- Infrared Enhanced Optical and Radar Assisted (Tri-NETRA) system to avoid train accidents. The system will be installed on locomotives for enhancing the vision of Locomotive Pilots in inclement weather.
Key Features of Tri-NETRA system
- The device uses infrared and radar technology to collect signals up to a distance of 2-3 km and displays the information (composite video image) on a screen fitted inside the locomotive.
- The Tri-Netra will alert the drivers of any physical obstruction on railway tracks ahead and thus give ample time for the driver to apply the brakes to prevent train accidents.
- It will be very useful during fog, heavy rain and nights, when drivers have to constantly look outside the locomotive to judge the condition.
- Three components of the system: It is made of high sensitivity infra-red video camera, high-resolution optical video camera and a radar-based terrain mapping system. These three components shall act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the Locomotive Pilot.
The concept of TRI-NETRA was developed by Development Cell under the guidance of Member Mechanical, Railway Board. Specifications and design of critical components of the system will be approved by the Research Designs & Standards Organisation, the railways research arm. TRI-NETRA system is based on technology employed by fighter aircrafts to see through clouds and operate in pitch darkness. It is also based technology used by naval ships in mapping the ocean floor and navigating in the night.
- Parliament passes Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016
The Parliament has passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016 to provide statutory status to the existing Regional Centre for Biotechnology in Faridabad, Haryana. The Bill seeks to provide legislative backing to the Regional Centre and also confers upon it the status of an institution of national importance.
- Objectives of the Regional Centre: (i) Disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields, (ii) create a hub of biotechnology expertise, (iii) facilitate transfer of technology and knowledge in the SAARC region and generally Asia and (iv) Promote cooperation at the international level.
- Powers: (i) Provide masters, post-graduate diplomas and doctoral degrees in biotechnology and related subjects (eg. Agricultural, medical and engineering sciences)
(ii) Institute academic positions like professorships and appoint them (iii) Determine standards of admission to the Regional Centre etc.
It will have Board of Governors, Programme Advisory Committee, Executive Committee and Finance Committee etc. as authorities responsible for its administration and functioning.
In 2006, India had entered into an agreement with the UNESCO regarding establishment of the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education in India to serve the member countries of UNESCO.
In light of this agreement, the Union government had established the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education in Faridabad, Haryana in 2009 through an executive order.
- India’s first e-court opened at Hyderabad High Court.
India’s first e-court (paperless court) was opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad which is the common high court for the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It was inaugurated by Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur who heads the e-Committee of the Supreme Court.
- The purpose of e-court is to ensure speedy justice for the litigants.
- The e-Courts will ensure easy and better access to justice for public.
- It will also provide solution for large number of pending cases in the country.
- It will also make the work of judges, advocates and all those related with judiciary a lot more effective.
Besides, SC judge also announced that India’s first Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) will be also launched in High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad. The system will integrate the courts, police stations, prosecution, forensic science laboratories and jails.
- CBDT inks 7 Advance Pricing Agreements to cut tax litigation.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed seven unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers to reduce tax litigation. With this, CBDT has so far entered into 77 APAs. This includes three bilateral APAs and 74 unilateral APAs. These 7 APAs signed pertain to various sectors like banking, information technology and automotives. Some of these APAs have rollback provisions.
What is Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)?
- APA usually is signed between a taxpayer and the central tax authority (in case of India it is CBDT) on an appropriating transfer pricing methodology for determining the value of assets and taxes on intra-group overseas transactions.
- It seeks to introduce certainty in tax law by reducing compliance costs and make tax regime investment friendly.
- It provides certainty to taxpayers regarding transfer pricing that aim to avoid disputes between taxpayer and tax regulator.
- In India, Advance Pricing Agreement mechanism was introduced in 2012 as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
- In case of Indian context, APAs seeks to give (i) Boost to economy and ease of doing business (ii) Provide alternative path to the investors with rollback provision to reduce litigation (iii) Strengthen Government’s mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime. Transfer pricing: It is referred to the fixing of the price for goods and services sold between related legal subsidiaries (entities) within an enterprise
- Fourth tranche of Sovereign Gold Bond scheme opened for subscription.
The fourth tranche of the Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) scheme opened for subscription. SGB is government securities denominated in grams of gold. It offers an alternative to holding gold in physical form. The scheme was launched by the Union Government in October 2015. Government has fixed 3,119 Rupees per gram as the issue price for the bond in this tranche. The scheme will be open till 22 July 2016.
- The bond can be purchased from the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Besides, all Bank branches and select Post Offices and Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited will also issue it.
- In this tranche minimum subscription has been reduced to 1 gram and maximum at 500 gram per person or institution.
- Earlier, the minimum denomination was 5 gram.
- The SGB bonds can be converted into demat form and can be used as collateral for availing loans. Redemption of SGB bonds by an individual is exempted from capital gains tax.
- SGB gives an interest of 2.75 per cent per annum and is payable every six months on initial investment.
- Government will use the funds raised through these bonds as part of its market borrowing programme.
Through this scheme Government aims to attract a large number of investors to curb the demand for physical gold, mainly imported in large quantities leading to draining the country’s foreign exchange. Thus it will keep a lid on the country’s current account deficit as gold imports are the second-biggest constituent of the import bill after crude oil. The first 3 tranches of SGB Scheme had attracted an investment of 1,318 crore rupees, equivalent to 4.9 tons of gold at the then prevailing prices.
- Guruprasad Mohapatra appointed as Chairman of Airports Authority of India.
Senior IAS officer Guruprasad Mohapatra was appointed as Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI). Prior to this appointment he was working as Joint Secretary in Union Ministry of Commerce from the past two years.
About Guruprasad Mohapatra
- He is a 1986 batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer. He is the youngest son of noted litterateur late Mohapatra Nilamani Sahoo from Odisha.
- Earlier he had served in the Sales Tax department of Gujarat as Special Commissioner (Enforcement). He was the Joint MD of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC).
- He also had served as a Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and as the Commissioner of Transport in Gujarat.
- He is an MA in Political Science, MPhil in Diplomacy (International Relation) and also an MBA degree holder. He also had served as Municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad for over 3 years.
About Airports Authority of India (AAI)
- AAI is statutory body under the aegis of Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.
- It is responsible for creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing civil aviation infrastructure in India.
- It also provides Air traffic management (ATM) services over Indian airspace and adjoining oceanic areas. AAI manages around 125 airports in India, which include 18 International Airport, 07 Customs Airports, 78 Domestic Airports and 26 Civil Enclaves at Defence airfields.
- Legendary playback singer Mubarak Begum passes away.
Legendary playback singer Mubarak Begum passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra after a prolonged illness. She was 80. She is known for her singing scores of songs, duets and ghazals for Bollywood, mainly during the 1950s-1970s
About Mubarak Begum
- Mubarak Begum was born in Sujangarh, Rajasthan and moved to Mumbai when she was 10-year-old.
- She had started her career with light music recitals in All India Radio (AIR).
- Her career as a playback singer began in 1949 with the Indian, Hindi-language film Aaiye.
- In her career from 1950s and 1960s, she had worked with the best music directors in the film industry, collaborating with Shankar Jaikishan, S D Burman and Khayyam. She is best known for the evergreen song “Kabhi tanhaiyon mein hamari yaad ayegi” from the movie Hamari Yaad Aayegi (1961). “Hum Haal-e-dil Sunaenge” and “O Mere Humrahi” are some of her other best known songs.