Daily GK Update: 3rd February 2020

Budget 2020: FM proposes hike in Customs duties, outlines road map for more

  • Addressing multiple objectives for supporting domestic industry, curbing non-essential imports, and raising revenue, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Budget on Saturday announced Customs duty hike on a range of items, including toys, furniture, electronic goods, and footwear.
  • Besides, health cess was introduced on medical equipment to create the infrastructure for health services.
  • It also proposed changes in Customs law to empower the government to prohibit imports of goods that harm the economy. Earlier this prohibition was limited to imports of gold and silver.

Source: Business Standard

APEDA-CFTRI Sign MoU for Liason Office in Guwahati

  • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by CSIR-CFTRI with APEDA to set up a Liaison Office in Guwahati, Assam today to provide technical support to the food industries in the North East region. It will benefit the farmers, producers and entrepreneurs.
  • APEDA has undertaken many promotional activities recently to bring the North East states of India on to the export map.
  • In 2019 five international buyer seller meets were organised by APEDA in Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to showcase the potential of agriculture/ horticulture and processed food products including organic produce to open the export window from the North Eastern States.

Source: India Education Diary

Budget 2019: 15 key takeaways for the MSME sector

  • Presenting the Budget 2019-20 in Parliament, Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled a slew of initiatives and new provisions to tackle issues related to the MSME sector in the country.
  • From widening the net for a reduction in corporate tax for companies to strengthening TReDS, Sitharaman’s budget speech will have wide-ranging impact on small businesses.

Source: The Economic Times

Labour ministry launches online services via ‘Santusht’ portal

  • Taking the digital route to bring services related to labour and employment available online, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has launched a new online portal ‘Santust.’
  • The move is likely to bring in further transparency, accountability, effective delivery of public services and implementation of policies, schemes of Ministry of Labour and Employment.

Source: The Economic Times

Tobacco Institute of India raises concerns on hiked NCCD on cigarettes

  • Tobacco Institute of India said that India may become a preferred destination for ” smuggled cigarettes” as the increase in National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) will incentivise illegal cigarette trade operators.
  • “The increase in NCCD announced in the Union Budget 2020-21 and the resulting escalation in cigarette taxation leading to higher tax arbitrage will serve as a huge incentive to illegal cigarette trade operators, who target India as a preferred destination for smuggled cigarettes,” it said in a statement.
  • It pointed out that illegal cigarettes have grown consistently in the country and now account for one-fourth of the Indian cigarette market.

Source: Business Line

Coronavirus: G7 countries agree to coordinate response — live updates

  • The health ministries from the Group of Seven economic powers agreed to coordinate efforts to combat the new coronavirus.
  • The death toll from the new virus stands at 361, surpassing the SARS epidemic that left 249 dead between 2002 and 2003.
  • A new hospital makeshift hospital with 1,000 new beds has begun accepting patients in Wuhan.
  • Germany’s health minister has said the country is well equipped for an outbreak.
  • China says the US has caused “panic” with its ban on travelers arriving from China.
  • The leader of the World Health Organization has criticized countries for instituting “unnecessary” travel bans.

Source: DW.COM

Pakistan declares national emergency over locust swarms

  • Pakistan’s government declared a national emergency on Saturday in response to swarms of desert locusts in the eastern part of the country.
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan made the emergency declaration following a government briefing on the situation on Friday.
  • “We are facing the worst locust infestation in more than two decades and have decided to declare national emergency to deal with the threat,” Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Saturday.
  • The desert locusts — large herbivores that resemble grasshoppers — arrived in Pakistan from Iran in June and have already ravaged cotton, wheat, maize and other crops.

Source: DW.COM

Mohammed Allawi appointed new Iraq PM, protesters reject him

  • Anti-government protesters in Iraq have been quick to dismiss President Barham Salih’s appointment of Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi as prime minister-designate, as rallies took place in the capital, Baghdad, and cities in the country’s southern provinces.
  • The president’s move to end more than two months of political deadlock came after he issued an ultimatum to Iraq’s fractious parliament, warning that if they did not appoint a new prime minister by Saturday he would do so himself.

Source: Aljazeera

Indian Navy Conducts Coastal Security Exercise ‘Matla Abhiyan’ in Kolkata

  • The Indian Navy launched a unique coastal security exercise named ‘Matla Abhiyan’ in Kolkata, West Bengal to spread awareness on coastal security from 29th January to 2nd February 2020.
  • Under the exercise, two naval boats were flagged off to move along the the river Matla in the Sundarbans region up to Hemnagar.
  • This is also the international trade protocol route between India and Bangladesh.
  • During the exercise, the Navy interacted with the local community to make them aware of the coastal security and also carried out activity to understand the navigational complexities in the Sundarbans Delta.

Source: ByScoop

India, Maldives sign five MoUs for establishing Addu Tourism zone

  • India and Maldives today signed five MoUs for establishing the Addu Tourism zone in five islands of Addu atoll at a cost of 2.49 million dollars.
  • The MOUs were signed between the High Commissioner of India Sunjay Sudhir, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and Addu City Council.
  • A 6th MoU to set up a bottled water plant in Hoarafushi was also signed today. All six projects are grant projects falling under India’s High Impact Community Development Scheme (HICDP). These projects are driven by the needs of communities on the islands.

Source: News Services Division