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 03rd October 2022




Centre hikes import duty on platinum

Import duty on platinum has been increased to a total of 15.4 per cent with effect from Monday through a notification by the Finance Ministry.

Platinum and palladium for use in manufacture of precious metal chemicals, compounds (noble metal compounds and solutions) and catalytic converters will continue at basic customs duty of 7.5 per cent subject to IGCR. Rhodium will also continue with BCD of 2.5 per cent.

It is being presumed that the increase in duty on platinum is to plug a loophole which is helping bullion importers to make record profits.

As per reports some bullion importers are importing refined gold disguised as platinum alloy.

Gold attracts 15 per cent import duty, as opposed to platinum alloy that invites a duty of 10.75 per cent which observers say is a case of misdeclaration and duty violation.


UGC Guidelines: HEIs must add 25% more seats for international students

UGC Guidelines for International Students: The University Grants Commission (UGC guidelines) said that higher education institutions (HEIs) nationwide would now be able to add up to 25% extra seats for international students and must have a transparent admissions procedure for them.  Last month, the draught of "Guidelines for Admission and Supernumerary Seats of International Students in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes in Higher Educational Institutions in India" was made available to the public for comment.


Center extends AFSPA in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh for further 6 months

AFSPA in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh: The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA, has been applied to 12 districts in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh for an additional six months, according to the federal government.  In order to aid the military forces in carrying out the anti-insurgency operations, it has also been expanded in some areas of five more districts of the two northeastern states.  The AFSPA will be extended for six months starting in nine districts of Nagaland: Dimapur, Niuland, Chumoukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek, and Zunheboto.  The AFSPA will be also extended for six months starting in 16 police station areas in four additional districts: Kohima, Mokokchung, Longleng, and Wokha.  While Arunachal Pradesh has 26 districts, Nagaland only has 16.  On March 31, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur would no longer use the AFSPA as of April 1.

Telangana government hikes ST reservation 6% to 10% 

The Telangana government issued an order to increase the reservation for the Scheduled Tribe communities from 6 per cent to 10 per cent.  In 2017, the Telangana Assembly passed a bill enhancing the reservation of the ST population to 10 per cent.  In the same year, the bill was sent to the Government of India for the assent of the President.  After six years it was still pending despite several representations from the state government.  The state government ordered to enhance the reservation to be brought to force with immediate effect.  The latest order has increased the reservation for various sections in the state up to 54 percent.  Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has announced the increase of the ST Quota to 10 percent.

Appointments News

Sujoy Lal Thaosen, Anish Dayal Singh named as New DGs of CRPF, ITBP

Senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers Sujoy Lal Thaosen and Anish Dayal Singh have been appointed as the new director generals of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) respectively.  Thaosen's scheduled retirement is in November this year, while Singh will superannuate in December 2024. The order for their appointment was issued by the Personnel Ministry after sanction from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the prime minister.

Sunil Barthwal take charges as Secretary in Department of Commerce

Senior IAS officer, Sunil Barthwal assumed charge as the commerce secretary. Barthwal, a 1989-batch officer of the Bihar cadre, previously served as the labour and employment secretary.  He replaced Subrahmanyam, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the Chhattisgarh cadre, who was appointed as chairman and managing director, of the India Trade Promotion Organisation on a contract basis for a period of two years following his superannuation.  During his rich and varied experience as an IAS Officer, he has held various administrative positions in the areas of Finance, Social Security, Investment, Infrastructure, Mines, Steel, Energy, Transport etc. in the Government at the Central and State levels.

Lalit Bhasin elected new President of Indo-American Chambers of Commerce

Noted lawyer Lalit Bhasin has been appointed as the national president of Indian American Chambers of Commerce (IACC). Bhasin, before being elected to the post, was the executive vice president of IACC.  Bhasin is the 54th national president of IACC, which was set up in October 1968 and is headquartered in Mumbai, having 14 offices all over India, with a large membership from large, medium and small business entities.  Bhasin’s 60 years of eminent association with legal practice took him to several leadership positions in the profession. He is closely associated with India’s apex business organizations like CII, and PHD CCI and served as chairman of its legal committees.




Wipro, Infosys, TechM revoke offer letters given to freshers: Reports

Top IT and tech firms like Wipro, Infosys and Tech Mahindra have reportedly revoked offer letters given to students after delaying their joinings by nearly three-four months.

According to reports, hundreds of freshers were given offer letters but first the joining of those candidates were postponed and finally, their offer letter was revoked.

The news, first reported by BusinessLine, quoted emails sent by these companies to the freshers whose offer letters were rejected.

India's exports dip by 3.52% to $32.62 bn in September: Govt data

India’s merchandise exports contracted 3.5 per cent in September amid shrinking demand for Indian goods due to recession fear in advanced economies.

Data released by the commerce ministry on Monday showed exports dipped to $33.6 billion in September from $33.8 billion during the same month a year ago. Growth in merchandise imports in September decelerated substantially to grow 5.4 per cent to $59.3 billion, leading to a trade deficit of $22.7 billion.

Non-petroleum exports in September contracted 7.25 per cent to $26.5 billion while non-petroleum imports grew 10.7 per cent to $43.75 billion.

During the first half (April-September) of the financial year FY23, India’s merchandise exports grew 15.5 per cent to $229 billion while imports rose 37.9 per cent to $378.5 billion, leading to a trade deficit of $149.5 billion.

During September, export of engineering goods, organic and inorganic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, readymade garments, cotton yarn and rice contracted while export of petroleum products, gems and jewellery, electronic goods and marine products increased.

Similarly, during the month, imports of petroleum products, electronic goods, gold, precious stones, chemicals, vegetable oil while import of machinery, transport equipment, coal, and iron and steel increased.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) last month in its latest goods trade barometer pointed to stagnating global trade growth. The volume of world merchandise trade plateaued with yearonyear growth slowing to 3.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, down from 5.7% in the fourth quarter of 2021. WTO has projected 3 per cent growth in volume of global merchandise trade in 2022 compared to 9.8 per cent growth in 2021. “Uncertainty surrounding the forecast has increased due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, rising inflationary pressures, and expected monetary policy tightening in advanced economies,” it said.

NHAI raises Rs 1,217 crore through InvIT, adds three road projects

National Highways Infra Trust, the infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), has raised Rs 1,217 crore from investors in its follow-on offer, the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) announced on Monday.

The issue was fully subscribed before closing, with NHAI’s own share of investment being Rs 213 crore, MoRTH said. While the ministry had been planning to expand its investor pool, there is currently no information available on which institutional investors have been involved in the latest issue.


India's Unemployment Rate drops to 6.43 per cent in September: CMIE

India's unemployment rate has drastically dropped to 6.43 per cent in September due to an increase in labour participation in the rural and urban areas, according to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).  During August, India's unemployment rate surged to a one-year high of 8.3 per cent as employment sequentially fell by 2 million to 394.6 million.  According to the CMIE data, the unemployment rate was the highest in Rajasthan at 23.8 per cent in September, followed by Jammu and Kashmir at 23.2 per cent, Haryana at 22.9 per cent, Tripura at 17 per cent, Jharkhand at 12.2 per cent and Bihar at 11.4 per cent.

India’s Current Account Deficit Rises 2.8% to USD 23.9 billion in Q-1 

India's current account deficit (CAD), a key indicator of balance of payment of a country, has widened to $23.9 billion, which is 2.8% of the GDP, in the first quarter of the current financial year 2022-23.  This is up from $13.4 billion (1.5% of the GDP in Q4 of FY2022) and a surplus of $6.6 billion (0.9% of the GDP) a year ago period of Q1FY22, according to the data released by the RBI's Balance of Payments.  The rupee has weakened more than 7% since the beginning of the year as foreign investors pulled out $30 billion from equities over worries that the trade deficit could worsen, pushing the central bank to defend the currency with its foreign reserves.

1.47 Lakh Crore GST Collected in the Month of September 2022

The gross GST revenue collected in the month of September 2022 is ₹ 1,47,686 crore of which CGST is ₹ 25,271 crore, SGST is ₹ 31,813 crore, IGST is ₹ 80,464 crore (including ₹ 41,215 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess is ₹ 10,137 crore (including ₹ 856 crore collected on import of goods).  The government has settled ₹ 31,880 crore to CGST and ₹ 27,403 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement. The total revenue of Centre and the States after regular settlements in the month of September 2022 is ₹ 57,151 crore for CGST and ₹ 59,216 crore for the SGST.

Pegatron start iPhone manufacturing in Chennai, and becomes 3rd in India

Pegatron third iPhone manufacturer in India: With the opening of a factory in Mahindra World City in Chennai, Taiwan's Pegatron became the third Apple supplier to establish a production facility in India.  It will put about Rs 1,100 crore into the facility, which might lead to the creation of 14,000 employment. The other two Apple suppliers with facilities in India are the Taiwanese companies Foxconn and Wistron.


New debit, credit card rules kick in with Tokenisation

The rules and regulations for online payments for debit and credit cards have been changed. The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) card-on-file (CoF) tokenization norms came into effect on 1st October 2022. RBI's CoF tokenization aims to improve the payment experience of cardholders.  The new rule released by RBI says that neither businesses nor payment aggregators can save customer card details on their platforms. The card details can only be saved by card networks or issuing banks.  Tokenisation has replaced sensitive card information including card number, and card expiry with cryptographically-generated random strings.  Once the card is Tokenised, the generated card token can be used for processing payments as a substitute for card details.
The Tokenised card eliminates the risk of loss of sensitive card information.

Ranks and Reports News

Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra topped destinations for foreign tourists 2021

As per a report by Union Tourism Ministry, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had the highest numbers of foreign tourist visits, with 1.26 million and 1.23 million, respectively in 2021.  The over 280-page report titled 'India Tourism Statistics 2022' was released by Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar on World Tourism Day at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.  India received 677.63 million domestic tourist visits in 2021, an increase of 11.05 per cent from 610.22 million in 2020, the report said.  The two states with the most domestic tourists visiting are Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh with 140.65 million and 86.12 million, respectively.

Indore Gets India's Cleanest City Tag for 6th Time in a Row: Swachh Survekshan Awards

Indore bagged the title of India’s cleanest city for the sixth time in a row as the results of the Central government’s annual cleanliness survey ‘Swachh Survekshan Awards 2022’ were announced.  Madhya Pradesh secured the first position in the category of best performing states, followed by Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.  Surat is the second cleanest city and Navi Mumbai comes a close third in the category of cities with a population of more than a lakh.  Tripura has bagged the top rank among the states having fewer than 100 urban local bodies.  In the category of cities having a population of fewer than one lakh, Maharashtra’s Panchgani was ranked number one, followed by Chhattisgarh’s Patan (NP) and Maharashtra’s Karhad.  Haridwar was adjudged the cleanest Ganga town in the category of more than 1 lakh population, followed by Varanasi and Rishikesh.

Science and Technology News

ISRO scientist Anil Kumar elected Vice President of IAF

Senior Indian Space Research Organization scientist Anil Kumar has been appointed as the Vice-President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). Dr. Anil Kumar is currently serving as the Associate Director, of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (ISTRAC).  The International Astronautical Federation was founded in 1951. IAF is one of the world's top space advocacy bodies with 433 members in 72 nations. International Astronautical Federation Congress (IAC) is an annual space event and it is attended by more than 6000 participants, IAC is organized by the IAF.  The International Astronautical Federation Congress includes networking events, talks, and a technical program on advances in science and exploration, applications, and operations, technology, infrastructure, and space and society.

Optimus robot's prototype unveiled by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla

Elon Musk unveils Optimus robot's prototype: Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, unveiled a model of the humanoid "Optimus" robot, which uses some of the same Artificial Intelligence (AI) software and sensors as the Autopilot driving assistance system in Tesla vehicles.  At Tesla AI Day 2022, which was held to show off how far the company's research into autonomous robots and vehicles had progressed, Optimus was unveiled.

Awards News

Nobel prize 2022: Svante Pääbo awarded Nobel Prize in medicine

The Nobel Prizes 2022 for medicine or physiology was awarded to Swedish geneticist Svante Pääbo. Svante Pääbo was given the award “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution," the Nobel Prize committee.  Considered the most prestigious prize in the scientific world, it is awarded by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden's Karolinska Institute and is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($900,357).  The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895. The other prizes are for outstanding work in the fields of physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics.

Sports News

Indian javelin thrower Shivpal Singh suspended till 2025 for doping

Indian javelin thrower, Shivpal Singh has been suspended from competing till October 2025 due to a doping violation. As per the he subsequently tested positive for the banned substance methandienone, a performance-enhancing steroid.  As a result, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) suspended Shivpal Singh for four years. The ban comes into effect from October 21, 2021, which means that the 27-year-old will be out of action till October 2025.  The Uttar Pradesh-based athlete was a silver-medallist at the 2019 Asian Championships, where he achieved his personal best throw of 86.23m. He had also won the 2019 World Military Games.

Important Days

68th National Wildlife Week observed on 02 to 08 October 2022

The celebration of 68th National Wildlife Week is observed all over India from 2nd to 8th October 2022.  The main objective of this campaign is to promote the conservation and protection of animal life. It teaches people about animal life and encourages them to save a large number of animals by not killing them for their own food or for other purposes.  This week is celebrated because wildlife plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of nature. Any harm to it can pose threat to entire ecosystem. Thus, it becomes important to preserve flora and fauna.

World Day For Farmed Animals: 02nd October

Since 1983, the annual observance of World Day for Farmed Animals (WDFA) on October 2nd (Gandhi’s birthday) has been offering people of conscience an opportunity to memorialize and mourn these innocent lives.  The day is organised by the International animal welfare organization, World Animal Protection along with Asia for Animals coalition to show the importance and urgency of farm animal welfare. The day is dedicated to exposing the needless suffering and death of farmed animals who are raised and slaughtered for food.

World Habitat Day 2022 observed on 3rd October

The United Nations observes the first Monday of October as World Habitat Day. This year, World Habitat Day will be observed on October 3.  The day calls to reflect on our towns, cities, and the basic right of all to have adequate shelter. It serves as a reminder that we can shape the future of the place we live in.  This year’s theme is “Mind the Gap. Leave No One and Place Behind”. The focus is on the growing inequalities and challenges in cities and human settlements.

Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation Celebrates Swachh Bharat Diwas

Department of Drinking water and sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti celebrated Swachh Bharat Diwas (SBD) on 2nd October 2022.  The Swachh Bharat Diwas is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The Swachh Bharat Diwas is inspired by one of the quotes of the father of the nation, "Cleanliness is next to godliness".  Swachh Bharat Mission draws its strength from the people who made it into a Jan Andolan ensuring Sampoorna Swachhta or complete sanitation.  The Swachh Bharat Diwas was a day-long event which was organized by the Department at Vigyan Bhawan.



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