1. CEA Dr Arvind Subramanian Committee suggests GST rate of 17-18 per cent
1. The panel led by Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has recommended a range of 15 to 15.5 per cent as the revenue neutral rate of the Goods and Services Tax, setting the stage for consensus building for this important reform to get through Parliament in the winter session.
2. In line with the Centre’s conciliatory stance, the report also suggested eliminating taxes on inter-State trade, including the proposed 1 per cent additional tax under GST to help promote “Make in India by making India one”.
3. But the Centre may be taking an unpopular decision if accepts the panel’s recommendation of the standard rate in the 16.9-17.9 per cent range that will make services costlier. Eating out, and telecom and banking services will become expensive. At present, these services are taxed at 14.5 per cent while the central excise duty is levied at 12 per cent.
4. The range for standard rates is in line with the Congress’ demand that the GST rate should be capped at 18 per cent.
5. The panel also recommended other rates, with the lowest rate for goods at 12 per cent and the highest rate at 40 per cent. The highest rate is for demerit goods such as alcohol.
2. Bengaluru most attractive destination for FDIs
1. International corporations with a presence in India are far more optimistic about the country’s prospects than those who are not yet established in the country, revealed EY’s India Attractiveness Survey 2015.
2. A whopping 32 per cent of the respondents said that India is the most attractive place for investments in the next three years. India has already emerged as the No 1 FDI destination globally with capital inflows of $30.8 billion in 2014.
3. The Government of India’s flagship programs Make in India and Digital India have had a positive impact on investor sentiment.
4. Make in India has gained considerable momentum and industry is a lot more optimistic about its success than about a year ago. 62 per cent of those interested to expand or enter India over the next year, say that they plan manufacturing activities in the country.
5. Bengaluru ranks as the most attractive destination for investments besides attracting the most FDI among Indian cities followed by Mumbai and Delhi-NCR region.
3. China's first electricity-powered aircraft RX1E approved for production
1. China's first domestically developed electricity-powered aircraft known as RX1E was approved for production by Civil Aviation Administration of China.
2. RX1E electric light-sport aircraft was developed by Shenyang Aerospace University and it will be China's first manned electric light aircraft.
3. Highlights of the RX1E electric light-sport aircraft
• This two-seater plane is powered by lithium batteries.
• It is capable of flying a maximum altitude of 3000 meters.
• A charging time of 90 minutes enables it to fly for 45 to 60 minutes.
• The plane can be used for pilot training, sightseeing tours as well as experimental flying.
• It can take the maximum takeoff weight of 480 kg and a cruise speed of up to 160 kilometres per hour.
4. International Volunteer Day observed globally
1. The International Volunteer Day (IVD) was on 5 December 2015 observed across the world with the theme The world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!.
2. This year's theme challenges everyone to be a part of implementing the newly launched Global Goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Through volunteerism the person can impact the sustainable development agenda by mobilizing and engaging governments and communities.
3. The day is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.
5. China announces $60 billion package to Africa during FOCAC
1. Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a 60 billion dollars package to African nations during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The package will benefit Africa in 10 major areas (sectors) such as industry, infrastructure, agriculture, financial services, trade and investment facilitation, green development, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, peace and security and people-to-people exchanges.
2. With this package, China is seeking to expand its investments in resource-rich Africa which can help it to absorb its excess manufacturing capacity. It is also consider as part of its efforts to re-engage with the continent and integrate it within its ambitious One Belt and One Road (OBOR) and Maritime Silk Route connectivity framework.
6. Uttar Pradesh Government launches first International festival on Birds
1. Uttar Pradesh Government has launched International festival on Birds in a bid to promote state as an international bird-watching destination. The first-of-its-kind festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS).
2. It has been jointly organised by the State Forest department in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
3. The three-day international festival (from 4 to 6 December 2015) on birds will be held the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) in Agra. Over 80 Indian ornithlogists and around 25 top international bird experts and are participating in the first-of-its-kind festival.
7. Australia passes Anti-Terrorism law to strip citizenship
1. Australia’s Federal Parliament has passed Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill, 2015 to strip citizenship of convicted persons on terrorism charges. The new legislation allows government to strip dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism offences.
2. Those who are found to have fought for banned terrorist group overseas, their citizenship will be automatically terminated. The dual nationals would lose their citizenship if the person is convicted of a terrorism offence and sentenced to at least 6 years’ of imprisonment