Daily Current Affairs : 5-Mar-2020

Major Topics Covered :


  1. VIRTUAL CURRENCIES

  2. THE DIRECT TAX VIVAD SE VISHWAS BILL

  3. CHIPKO MOVEMENT

  4. COMPANIES (SECOND AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019

  5. DOING BUSINESS REPORT, 2020

  6. BACTERIA THAT CAN REPLACE FERTILIZERS AND FUNGICIDES IN TEA PLANTS


VIRTUAL CURRENCIES


Why in news?

  • SC has freed trade in cryptocurrencies and has annulled the RBI curb that prohibited banks and entities regulated by it from providing services in relation to virtual currencies.


Highlights :


About Blockchain:

  • Blockchains are basically digital ledgers or decentralized database of financial transactions that are immutable and instantly updated across the world.

  • Distributed database: The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, meaning the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable.

  • Whenever a financial transaction happens, it is grouped in a cryptographically protected block with other transactions and sent out to the entire network.

  • The members in the network then validate the transactions by solving complex coded problems.

  • The new validated block is then added to the chain in a linear, chronological order and linked to older blocks making it a chain of blocks that show every transaction made in the history of that blockchain

  • Thus, the blockchain cannot be controlled by a single entity and has no single point of failure


Cryptocurrency:

  • A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. Hence it is difficult to counterfeit. It is not issued by any central authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.

  • The first cryptocurrency to capture the public imagination was Bitcoin, which was launched in 2009 by an individual or group known under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin's success has spawned a number of competing cryptocurrencies, such as Litecoin, Ethereum, Namecoin, PPCoin etc.

  • Advantages: easier to transfer funds with minimal processing fees, safety from hackers due to block- chain technology and difficult to counterfaeit

  • Disadvantages: well-suited for illegal activities such as money laundering, tax evasion due to anonymous nature of transactions, rate of exchange of cryptocurrencies fluctuate widely and a digital cryptocurrency balance can be wiped out by a computer crash. Recently concerns are being raised on its immunity to hacks as well.

  • Various countries have adopted use of bitcoins with regulations such as China, South Korea, Japan etc.

  • Some countries are also coming up with their virtual currencies such as PETRO by Venezuela, SOV (Sovereign) by Marshall Islands etc.

  • India does not consider crypto-currencies as legal tender or coin.


Source : Hindu and Rajya Sabha TV


THE DIRECT TAX VIVAD SE VISHWAS BILL

Why in news?

  • The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha amid protests by the opposition parties that were demanding discussion on Delhi Riots.


Highlights :

  • The Bill is aimed at resolving direct tax related disputes in a speedy manner.

  • At present there are as many as 4,83,000 direct tax cases pending in various appellate forums i.e. Commissioner (Appeals), ITAT, High Court and Supreme Court

  • Under the proposed Vivad Se Vishwas scheme, a taxpayer would be required to pay only the amount of the disputed taxes and will get complete waiver of interest and penalty provided he pays by March 31, 2020. Those who avail this scheme after March 31, 2020 will have to pay some additional amount

  • The scheme will remain open only till June 30, 2020. The scheme also applies to all case appeals that are pending at any level.


Source : Hindu and Indian Express


CHIPKO MOVEMENT

Why in news?

  • Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ along with senior women officers of the Ministry planted a sapling in memory of Gaura Devi, Chipko Activist in New Delhi on the occasion of International Women’s day celebrations.


Highlights :

  • Gaura Devi made the whole world aware of the invisible relationship between environment, trees, fodder, livestock and rural life.

  • The Chipko Andolan or the Chipko movement is a movement that practiced methods of Satyagraha where both male and female activists from Uttarakhand played vital roles, including Gaura Devi, Suraksha Devi, Sudesha Devi, Bachni Devi and Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Virushka Devi and others.

  • Chipko movement was started by Sunderlal Bahuguna.


Source : PIB


COMPANIES (SECOND AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019

Why in news?

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 to amend the Companies Act, 2013.


Highlights :

  • The Amendment Bill, inter alia, would enable the listing of Indian companies on stock exchanges in foreign jurisdictions.

  • The listing of Indian companies in foreign stock exchanges is expected to increase the competitiveness of Indian companies in terms of access to capital, broader investor base and better valuations.

  • The framework for enabling such listing under the foreign exchange and securities laws would be-finalised by the Ministry of Finance in consultation with Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.


Source : PIB


DOING BUSINESS REPORT, 2020

Why in news?

  • In the latest Doing Business Report (DBR), 2020 released by the World Bank on 24th October, 2019, India stands at 63rd position out of 190 countries. Since 2014, India’s rank has gone up from 142 to 63 in 2019.


Highlights :

  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) started a comprehensive reform exercise - State Reform Action Plan, in States and Union Territories (UTs) in December, 2014.

  • The State Reforms Action Plan prepared by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) requires States and UTs to have a Single Window System across various Departments with the following features:

  • Allow online submission of application without the need to submit physical copies of the application.

  • Eliminate physical touch-point for document submission and verification.

  • Allow applicant to track status of application online.

  • Ensure the applicant receives an SMS/e-mail notification as and when the application is submitted and/or query is raised and/or application is approved/rejected.

  • Mandate that all queries/clarifications related to investors' application are sought in one go and within 7 days of receipt of the application.


Source : PIB


BACTERIA THAT CAN REPLACE FERTILIZERS AND FUNGICIDES IN TEA PLANTS

Why in news?

  • Tightening norms on pesticide use in many countries have often harmed team export. Now Indian scientists have come up with a solution to reduce the use of such chemicals in team plantations.


Highlights :

  • Researchers at Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) Guwahati, an autonomous institute under Department of Science & Technology, have found significant plant-growth-promoting and antifungal activities of endophyticactino bacteria associated with Tea plant and related genera, Eurya to find potent plant growth-promoting strains.

  • Endophyticactino bacteria are predominantly free living bacteria.

  • The team led by Dr. Debajit Thakur from IASST isolated 46 endophyticactino bacteria (predominantly free-living microorganisms) found in diverse environments that lives within a plant for at least part of its life cycle without causing apparent disease associated with Tea plants and characterized through molecular techniques.

  • Tea (Camellia sinensis) plays an important role in the Indian economy as a major portion of the tea produced is exported. However, in the recent years, due to higher demand of chemical residue-free made tea by the importing countries has led to a decline in the export of tea. The present study attempts the use of endophyticactino bacteria having plant beneficial characteristics to reduce and replace the use of chemical inputs in the tea industry.


Source : PIB

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