29 January to 3 February 2018: We have prepared the Top 10 Weekly Current Affairs to help every competitive exam aspirant to revise the weekly current affairs with ease. It covers some major topics like Union Budget 2018, Economic Survey 2017-18 and occurrence of Super Blue Blood Moon among others.
Union Budget 2018: Major Highlights
The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1, 2018 presented the Union Budget 2018 in the parliament. In the independent India, this will be the 88th budget and the fifth of the Modi Government.
• Operation Green will be launched for agriculture with corpus of Rs 500 crore.
• Rs 1290 crore allocated for restructured bamboo production mission.
• Ujjwala Yojana, the free LPG connection scheme will be expanded to eight crore women.
• The Saubhagya Yojana will be another focus for the government.
• Budget 2018 proposes to treat education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class 12.
• Revitalising of Infrastructure and Systems of Education (RISE) will be launched by 2019.
• National Health Protection Scheme will be launched to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. Under this, up to Rs 5 lakh will be provided to each family per year in secondary and tertiary care institutions. This scheme will have 50 crore beneficiaries.
• Mass formalization of MSME sector is happening after demonetization and GST. Online loan sanctioning facility will be refurbished to speed up the complete process by banks.
• Rs 1. 48 lakh crore have been allocated for the Indian Railways for the year 2018-19.
• UDAN scheme will now connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads in the country.
• Recapitalisation: The Union government will recapitalise public sector banks to help them lend an additional Rs 5 lakh crore.
• The total expenditure of the Union government is Rs 21.57 lakh crore. The projected fiscal deficit of the FY 2018-19 is 3.3 per cent of the GDP.
Union Budget 2018: Agriculture Sector
The Budget 2018 has identified Agriculture Sector as one of the key drivers of the economy. The government wants to assist farmers to earn 1.5 times the production cost, and the Minimum Selling Price (MSP) for the Kharif Crops has been set at 1.5 times the produce price.
The government would be setting up an Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of `2000 crore for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs).
Government plans to launch ‘Operation Green’ with a corpus of Rs 500 crore. It will promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management.
Union Budget 2018: Health, MSME and Social Welfare
National Health Protection Scheme will be launched to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. Under this, up to Rs 5 lakh will be provided to each family per year in secondary and tertiary care institutions. This scheme will have 50 crore beneficiaries. This scheme will generate lakhs of jobs, particularly for women.
Mass formalization of MSME sector is happening after demonetization and GST. Online loan sanctioning facility will be refurbished to speed up the complete process by banks. Rs 3 lakh crore is allocated as target for the Mudra Yojana for the year 2018-19. Additonal measures will be taken to boost the growth of venture capital funds and angel investors.
187 projects have been sanctioned under Namami Gange. Namami Ganga programme outlay has been increased with an all round development plan for villages and cities along the river Ganga.
Union Budget 2018: Infrastructure Sector
The government is planning to develop connectivity infrastructure in the border areas. While the construction on the Rohtang tunnel has been completed, the construction of Zojila pass tunnel is progressing well. The government has also proposed to construct a tunnel under the Sela pass.
Rs 1. 48 lakh crore have been allocated for the Indian Railways for the year 2018-19. 18000 km of railway line will be doubled to eliminate capacity constraints. The government would be laying special focus on safety. Hence, special attention would be paid to the maintenance of track infrastructure.
The regional connectivity scheme- UDAAN would be connecting 56 underserved airports and 36 underserved helipads in the country. The operation has already started in 16 such airports.
Union Budget 2018: Fiscal Expenditure & Taxation Reforms
The total expenditure of the Union government is Rs 21.57 lakh crore. The projected fiscal deficit of the FY 2018-19 is 3.3 per cent of the GDP.
In previous years, the growth rate of direct taxes have been significant. Till January 2018, growth rate of 18.7 per cent was recorded. Over 85 lakh new taxpayers filed their returns. The number of effective taxpayers increased from 6.47 lakh crore to 8.27 lakh crore in the previous financial year.
No changes in personal income tax slabs. Majorly, the personal income tax collection comes from the salaried class. Around 1.89 crore returns were filed in 2017 and Rs 1.44 lakh crore was paid as taxes.
Economic Survey 2017-18: Key Highlights
The Economic Survey 2017-18 was tabled in the Parliament on January 29, 2018 by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
• The transformational Goods and Services Tax (GST) was launched at the stroke of midnight on July 1, 2017.
• The Twin Balance Sheet (TBS) problem was decisively addressed by sending the major stressed companies for resolution under the new Indian Bankruptcy Code.
• Policy vigilance will be necessary in the coming year, especially if high international oil prices persist or elevated stock prices correct sharply, provoking a ‘sudden stall’ in capital flows.
• The Goods and Services Tax (GST) embodies and heralds a radical alteration and enlargement in the understanding of the Indian economy.
• India’s unprecedented climb to historically high levels of investment and saving rates in the mid-2000s has been followed by a pronounced, albeit gradual, decline.
• This current episode of investment and saving slowdown is still ongoing.
• The survey observes a long-term trend of rising temperatures, declining average precipitation and increase in extreme precipitation events.
• The survey observes that India’s performance in 14 out of the 17 indicators of women’s agency, attitudes, and outcomes has improved over the last 10-15 years.
• The survey notes that India under-spends on research and development (R&D), even relative to its level of development.
Economic Survey 2017-18: Top 10 facts on Indian Economy
• There has been a 50 per cent increase in unique taxpayers under the GST in comparison with the pre-GST system.
• More than 30 per cent when formality is defined in terms of social security provision.
• States that export more internationally and trade more with other states tend to be richer. However, the correlation is stronger between prosperity and international trade.
• The top one per cent of Indian firms account for 38 per cent of exports. In all other countries, they account for a substantially greater share such as 72, 68, 67 and 55 per cent of exports in Brazil, Germany, Mexico and US respectively.
• The relief from embedded state taxes (ROSL) announced in 2016 boosted exports of ready-made garments (but not others) by about 16 percent.
• Parents continue to have children until they get the desired number of sons. This kind of fertility-stopping rule leads to skewed sex ratios but in different directions:
• The tax department’s petition rate is high, even though its success rate in litigation is low and declining well below 30 per cent.
• Cross-country experience shows that growth slowdowns are preceded by investment slowdowns but not necessarily by savings slowdowns may not.
• Own direct tax collections by Indian states and local governments are significantly lower than those of their counterparts in other federal countries
Indian Navy launches third Scorpene Class Submarine INS Karanj
INS Karanj, the third Scorpene class submarine constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, was launched by the Indian Navy on January 31, 2018.
The submarine was launched by Reena Lanba, President of Navy Wives Welfare Association following the recitation of Sanskrit shlokas from the Atharva Veda and traditional ceremonies associated with the launch of naval platforms.
Following the launch, the submarine was towed to Mumbai Port Trust for separation from the pontoon. INS Karanj will now undergo rigorous trials and tests, both in harbour and at sea before it is commissioned into the Navy.
Total Lunar eclipse, Super Blue Blood Moon to be seen around the world
In a rare celestial occurrence, people around the world would be able to witness a total lunar eclipse and a super blue moon today, January 31, 2018.
The event is being termed as a super blue blood moon and would be a rare lunar event to watch. According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the celestial event is a lunar trifecta where three particular events are colliding including total lunar eclipse, blue moon and the super moon phenomena.
Those living in the United States, Alaska and Hawaii will be able to see a pre-dawn ‘super blue blood moon’ while the rest of the world will enjoy the best view of the lunar eclipse.
Luckily for India, residents here would also be able to witness the super blue blood moon. According to BM Birla Science Centre's Director BG Sidharth, the lunar eclipse would be visible from India with the moon taking a red-brown glow, also called the ‘Blood Moon’.
US lifts ban on refugees from 11 ‘high risk’ nations
The United States on January 29, 2018 announced that it is lifting the ban that it had imposed on refugees from 11 nations, which it termed as high-risk countries.
Despite resuming the process of accepting the refugees, the US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen stated that those seeking to enter the US would have to come under much tougher scrutiny than in the past. She said that the refugees will have to undergo tougher screening procedures and risk-based assessments before getting admission into the nation.
The new screening measures include additional interviews of applicants’ family members and close scrutiny of potential ties to organized crime. The move comes as President Donald Trump presses for a sharp turn in overall US immigration policy.