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Daily G.K. Buzz - 31st May to 3rd June 2015

Dear Readers,

The post given below contains all the Important News of the days 31st May 2015, 1st June 2015, 2nd June 2015 and 3rd June 2015.


Increase in Service Tax Rate from 12% to 14% with Effect from 1st June, 2015
i. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Budget 2015 announced that the Rate of Service Tax is being increased from 12.36% to flat 14%. The date of applicability of this new service tax rate was not announced in the Budget 2015.
ii. On 19th May 2015, the Finance Ministry released a notification stating that the new rate of service tax would be applicable from 1st June 2015.

iii. This 14% is an inclusive rate i.e. Education Cess & SHEC would not be levied on this. This 14% Service Tax is applicable on all types of services like Advertisement, Website Designing, Legal Services, Advisory Services etc.
iv. Jaitley had proposed to raise the service tax rate to 14 percent to facilitate a smooth transition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, which the government wants to roll out from April 2016.
v. Some of the key services that will attract higher tax and hence become costlier are: railways, airlines, banking, insurance, advertising, architecture, construction, credit cards, event management and tour operators.

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter arrives in Vishakapatnam
i. On his first visit to India since assuming the role of US Secretary of Defence Dr Ashton Carter arrived in India on a three day visit.

ii. Accompanied by wife Stephanie, Carter reached Visakhapatnam from where he left for Delhi. 
iii. During his visit, the two countries will be signing the Defence Framework Agreement (DFA) that will define the US-India defence cooperation over the next decade. 

Maneka Gandhi launches IAP HealthPhone programme
i. Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi launched the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) HealthPhone programme in Delhi.
ii. The programme is the world’s largest digital mass education programme for addressing malnutrition in women and children.

iii. This programme has been launched by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, UNICEF and supported by Vodafone India.
iv. The programme aims to tackle the challenge of malnutrition in mothers and children across India. The Ministry of Women and Child Development through its ICDS programme has been providing supplementary nutrition to the pregnant and lactating mothers as well as children up to the age of six years.

Vasundhara Raje flags off Jaipur metro train
i. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje flagged off the Jaipur metro train. This has made Jaipur the sixth city in the country with a metro. 

ii. The 9.63 kilometre elevated stretch has nine stations and connects the Mansarovar and Chandpole areas of the city and is reported as one of the fastest built metros in the country. 
iii. The other cities in India with a metro rail facility are Kolkata, Delhi, Bengaluru, Gurgaon and Mumbai.

FM inaugurates New Bank Note Paper Line at Security Paper Mill
i. The Minister of Finance and Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitely inaugurated the New Bank Note Paper Line of 6000 MT capacity at Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh. This establishment of this unit is a part of the indigenisation,of the Bank Note paper, under taken by Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL).
ii. SPMCIL has also set-up another Joint Venture Company called Bank Note Paper Mill India Pvt. Ltd. at Mysore with 12,000 MT capacity, which is targeted to be commissioned by the end of this year.
iii. The combined production from the new paper line at Hoshangabad and the joint venture company at Mysore is to meet the major requirement of Bank Note Paper indigenously as against the major requirement being imported at present. 


President's 'Landmark Visit' to Sweden
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 31st May 2015 embarked on a five-day state visit to Sweden and Belarus, the first ever by any Indian head of state, during which a number of key agreements are signed.
ii. He was given a ceremonial send-off at Rashtrapati Bhavan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the three Service Chiefs.

iii. After arrival at Swedish capital Stockholm, the President met the King and Queen, as well as Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, and the Leader of Opposition, Anna Kinberg Batra.
iv. India and Sweden inked six key agreements, including in the field of polar research and for boosting trade. Among the agreements inked is a MoU on Cooperation in Sustainable Urban Development, which includes dialogue and interaction on global sustainable urban development issues, exchange of knowledge, institutional cooperation including capacity building, research and development and commercial relations regarding sustainable urban development, according to a ministry of external affairs statement.

Bangladesh Liberation War award for Vajpayee
i. Bangladesh is set to honour former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his outstanding support for the country's independence from Pakistan in 1971 when he was a Lok Sabha member.
ii. Bangladesh will hand over Mr Vajpayee's "Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his upcoming visit to the country from June 6.
iii. Mr Vajpayee, who is unwell, could not visit Bangladesh to receive the honour.


K.Sivan appointed as new Director of  Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre  
i. Famous scientist , ISRO, K.Sivan took charge as the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre VSSC. 
ii. He took over the office of the Director from M. Chandradathan who retired from the service. Sivan is a Distinguished Scientist and Director at Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre LPSC, Trivananthapuram.
iii. In 1982, Sivan joined ISRO for Polar Satellite Launch vehicle PSLV and has made rich contributions towards end to end mission planning, mission integration and analysis which have become the foundation of ISRO launch vehicles Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV, GSLV Mk-3 and Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Director (RLV-TD).
iv. Mr. Sivan is also chief architect 6-D trajectory simulation software SITARA, backbone of real time  and non real time trajectory simulations of all ISRO launch vehicles.

Pawan Munjal named new Chairman of Hero MotoCorp
i. Hero MotoCorp Ltd (HMCL saw the passing of baton with Pawan Munjal being appointed as the new Chairman of Hero MotoCorp. The company’s Board  unanimously approved his appointment as the Chairman, Managing Director & CEO of Hero MotoCorp.
ii. The Board took up this matter during its meeting as per the desire expressed by Dr. Brijmohan Lall to relinquish his duties as the Executive Chairman of the company. 
iii. Dr. Brijmohan Lall will continue to be part of the Board as a non-executive director. Dr. Brijmohan Lall has been the Chairman of Hero MotoCorp since its inception in 1984.
iv. Hero forged an alliance with Japanese auto maker Honda Motor Co. in 1984 to make motorcycles, giving the company a platform to make the leap from being a maker of cycles, auto components and mopeds.
v. The two companies called off the joint venture in 2011—at 27 years, one of the longest in the history of the Indian automobile industry.

Veena Jain named Doordarshan DG
i. The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry appointed Veena Jain as director general (news) in Doordarshan in place of Akshay Rout.
ii. Jain, an additional secretary rank official, will also hold charge as officer on special duty overseeing the ministry's new media wing and social media cell.


Sepp Blatter to resign as Fifa president amid corruption scandal
i. Sepp Blatter resigned as President of FIFA on 2 June 2015 amid the corruption scandal that has engulfed the football’s governing body. Blatter has been serving as president of world soccer governing body FIFA since 1998.
ii. 79-year-old Blatter who was re-elected as FIFA president on 29 May 2015 said that soon a special congress would be called to elect his successor. He will exercise his functions as FIFA president until an election is held.


RBI cuts rates for third time to put Indian growth on firmer footing
i. The RBI cut interest rates for a third time this year on June 2 2015, taking advantage of subdued inflation to lend more support to an economy that the bank itself says is not doing as well as latest impressive growth numbers suggest.
ii. The Reserve Bank of India also left open the possibility of further cuts later this year, even with forecasts of a below-average monsoon that could put pressure on food prices.

iii. The Reserve Bank of India  has reduced the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 7.5 per cent to 7.25 per cent with immediate effect.

Maggi noodles row: Nestle stock hit, sinks 9%
i. Shares of Nestle India tumbled 9 per cent, wiping-out Rs 5,942 crore from its market valuation, amid growing concerns about safety standards of its popular Maggi noodles brand.
ii. After falling 11.86 per cent to Rs 6,000 in intra-day trade, shares of Nestle finally settled at Rs 6,191.10, down 9.05 per cent from its previous close on the BSE. On the NSE, it tanked 9 per cent to end at Rs 6,186.95.

iii. The Delhi government decided to initiate a case against Nestle India after it found samples of Maggi noodles "unsafe" for consumption. The probe into alleged lapses has already widened to different parts of the country.
iv. Nestle India, has been at the receiving end with several state governments ordering tests to find out lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) content in Maggi noodles.


Batting legends Sachin, Sourav and Laxman inducted into BCCI's high-powered advisory panel
i. In what has been described as the start of a new innings, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, former India captain Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman today the BCCI in a newly-constituted advisory panel to guide the Board and the national team on various "progressive steps" needed for future challenges.
ii. The committee will also oversee the Indian team’s preparation before every major series and will call for a report from the team management at the end of it. It will set the roadmap and guidelines for the future tours. It will also provide tactical inputs if needed.
iii. The new committee will have its first meeting on June 6 in Kolkata, which will be attended by BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, secretary Anurag Thakur and the cricket board’s general manager (cricket operations) MV Sridhar as well.

Shooter Gurpreet Singh misses medal in Munich but qualifies for Rio 2016
i. Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gurpreet Singh became India's fifth shooter to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games finishing fourth in the 10m Air Pistol category at the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol event being held in Munich.
ii. The 28-year-old shot a total of 154.8 points to finish fourth in the Final. Joao Costa of Portugal who shot a total of 201.4 in the event won the gold medal, according to a release.
iii. The silver and bronze medal for the event went to Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan and Chinese Yang Sun with scores of 200.4 and 177.3 respectively.

Important Days

On World No Tobacco Day, UN launches fight against illicit tobacco trade to save lives
i. World No-Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed every year across the world on 31 May.
ii. This day highlights the health risks associated with consumption all forms of tobacco and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
iii. The elimination of the world's illicit tobacco trade will not only save millions of lives but also generate billions of dollars in windfall for governments, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) announced on 2015 edition of World No Tobacco Day.
iv. According to WHO eliminating the illicit trade in tobacco would generate an annual tax windfall of $31 billion for governments, improve public health, help cut crime and curb an important revenue source for the tobacco industry.
v. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control entered into force in February 2005. Since then, it has become one of the most widely embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations with 180 Parties covering 90 per cent of the world's population.


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