Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowed non-resident Indians (NRIs)
to subscribe to the National Pension System (NPS).
RBI took the decision in consultation with the Union Government to enable National Pension System (NPS) as an investment option for NRIs under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.
NRIs may subscribe to the NPS governed and administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), provided such subscriptions are made through normal banking channels and the person is eligible to invest as per the provisions of the PFRDA Act.
The subscription amounts shall be paid by the NRIs either by inward remittance through normal banking channels or out of funds held in their NRE/FCNR/NRO account. There will be no restriction on repatriation of the annuity/ accumulated savings.
The decision is in accordance with the amendment to Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident outside India) (Ninth Amendment) Regulations, 2015 which was notified on 6 October 2015.
2. Activist Bindeshwar Pathak selected for New York Global Leaders Dialogue Humanitarian Award
Sociologist and founder of Sulabh International Bindeshwar Pathak was selected for the prestigious New York Global Leaders Dialogue Humanitarian Award for his contribution to sanitation and improving the quality of life for millions of manual scavengers.
Pathak will be presented with the award on 12 April 2016 in New York, US.
The activist first understood the plight of manual scavengers in 1968 when he joined the Bhangi-Mukti (scavengers’ liberation) Cell of the Bihar Gandhi Centenary Celebrations Committee.
He founded the Sulabh International Social Service Organization in 1970, combining technical innovation with humanitarian principles.
Born on 2 April 1943, Pathak obtained his bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 1964. He completed his post graduation in 1980 from the University of Patna. He earned his PhD in 1985.
3. Saudi blogger Raif Badawi awarded 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi awarded Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for the year 2015.
An announcement in this regard was made by the President of European Parliament Martin Schulz at European Parliament assembly in Strasbourg, France; Subsequently, Schulz appealed to Saudi King Salman to free him, so he can accept the prize.
Badawi was one of three nominees for the prize along with assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and the Venezuelan opposition movement Mesa de la Unidad Democratica.
Badawi, author of the website Free Saudi Liberals, was convicted of insulting Islam in 2012 and was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1000 lashes.
4. WCD Ministry launched initiative to spread awareness about Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme
The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development on 29 October 2015 launched a new initiative to spread awareness about the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme.
The initiative was launched in partnership with Celltick Mobile Media India Pvt. Ltd. to generate awareness about BBBP Scheme to an estimated 100 million mobile users in India.
Keeping in mind the steady decline in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) across India, with 918 females born per 1000 males, as per the Census of 2011, Celltick will work towards improving the Child Sex Ratio in India and will promote the issue of gender equality and significance of educating daughters to mobile users in India.
Through the Celltick managed mobile services based on its patented Live Screen platform, available to over 100 million users in India, the users will get interactive messages on their device’s homescreen, which will enable ease of use in accessing information about BBBP. The platform will make sure to reach users based on their location as well as their language of preference.
5. John Magufuli elected as President of Tanzania
John Pombe Magufuli of ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party has won the 2015 Tanzanian Presidential election. With this victory he became fifth President of Tanzania since its independence from United Kingdom in 1961. John Magufuli won this Presidential election by securing 58.46 per cent of the total votes and defeated Edward Lowassa of opposition Chadema party who received 39 per cent votes. His win also continues CCM Party’s strong grip on power in Tanzania as it has governed the country since independence. CCM is the dominant ruling party in Tanzania and one of the longest reigning ruling party in Africa.
6. China’s first lunar rover Yutu sets record for longest stay on Moon
China’s first lunar rover, Yutu, has set the new record for the longest stay by a rover on the lunar surface. With working on the Moon for almost two years it has surpassed previous record of Soviet Union’s (USSR’s) 1970 launched rover Lunokhod 1, which had spent 11 months on the Moon. The lunar rover Yutu was deployed and landed on the moon in 2013 via China’s Chang’e-3 lunar probe. In 2014, it had experienced a mechanical control abnormality but was revived. Presently it is capable to collect data, send and receive signals and record images and video but unable to move due to mechanical abnormality.
7. RBI allows Indian corporate to issue offshore rupee-denominated bonds outside India
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted permission to the Indian corporate to issue offshore rupee-denominated bonds outside India. In this regard, Union Government has considered the matter of taxation of income from such bonds under Income Tax (IT) Act, 1961. Such bonds will attract a withholding tax of 5 per cent and gains arising in case of appreciation of rupee against the foreign currency. In this case investment made would be exempted from capital gains tax. Capital gains tax would be exempted for the Capital gains arising in case of appreciation of rupee between the date of issue and the date of redemption against the foreign currency in which the investment is made. Government’s clarification on these bonds comes in the wake of companies such as NTPC, IRFC and IIFCL are planning to issue rupee-denominated bonds in markets abroad. Even foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) also had sought clarification on the tax treatment of the instruments.
8. Govt introduces four fee slabs for e-Tourist Visa
The Government has decided to revise the e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) application fee in four slabs of 0, $25, $48, and $60 for different countries from November 3.
At present, e-TV application fee is $60 and the bank charge is $2 which is uniform for all countries.
The revision of visa fee has been done on the principle of reciprocity. Bank charges have also been reduced from $2 to 2.5 per cent of the e-TV fee. There is no bank charge for zero visa fees.
Out of 113 countries/territories included in e-Tourist Visa scheme, $60 has been fixed for five countries — Mozambique, Russia, Ukraine, the UK and the US.
As many as 86 countries come under the $48 slab, while visitors from Japan, Singapore and Sri Lanka will have to pay $ 25 as visa application free.
Zero visa fee has been decided for 19 countries/territories, including Argentina, Jamaica, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, and Uruguay.
e-Tourist Visa holders can enter India through 16 designated airports. Since the launch of the scheme on November 27, 2014 more than 3.4 lakh e-TVs have been issued till now