Daily GK Potion – 13th and 14th May 2015

  1. Union Cabinet gives nod to 5% disinvestment in NTPC & 10% in Indian Oil Corporation
    • Union Cabinet gave its approval to 5 per cent disinvestment in National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) and 10 per cent in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
    • These approvals are part of Union Government’s budgeted target to raise 41,000 crore rupees through strategic stake sales i.e. disinvestment for the current financial year 2015-16.
    • Disinvestment in both Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) may fetch the government over 13,000 crore rupees at current market price.
    • Currently, Union government holds 74.96 per cent in NTPC and 68.57 per cent in IOC.
  2. Google’s biggest campus outside US to be in Hyderabad
    • Google will build its largest campus outside the US in Hyderabad at an investment of Rs 1,000 crore, according to Telangana IT minister KT Rama Rao.
    • First campus in Asia. 2 million sq ft space would be built. Investment of Rs 1,000 crore and in four years employee size to double from 6,500 to 13,000.
  3. Neel Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others wins Encore prize
    • The Lives of Others, has won him the £10,000 Encore award for the year’s best second novel.
    • Mukherjee’s novel “immensely impressed” judges with its “ambition and depth”.
    • Already shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, where it missed out to Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
  4. Union Finance Ministry appointed Justice AP Shah Committee to look into the issue of MAT on FIIs
    • The Union Ministry of Finance appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Justice Ajit Prakash Shah to look into the issue of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs).
    • The committee was appointed to resolve the contentious issue of MAT between the tax authorities and the foreign investors.
    • As per the Finance Act, 2015 the 20 percent MAT on Capital Gains made by FIIs is waived off from the financial year 2015-16.
    • However, the issue of imposing MAT for past years (till 2014-15) has become controversial as the FIIs raised objections to 68 notices (in lieu of 602 crores rupees) issued by the International Taxation Wing of the Income Tax Department in lieu of MAT.
  5. Akhilesh launches luxury bus to villages, water ATMs
    • With the objective of making road travel in Uttar Pradesh smoother, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav launched on Tuesday two segments of bus services—the affordable ‘Lohia gramin bus seva’.
    • It will connect rural parts of the state with city and will cost commuters 25% less, serving areas where public transport is not available.
    • Akhilesh also launched the Samajwadi water ATM scheme at bus stations, where commuters will be able to get cold drinking water against a payment of Rs 2 per litre.
  6. PM Modi’s ‘Namami Gange Programme’: Cabinet approves a massive Rs 20,000-crore budget
    • The Union Cabinet today approved a massive Rs 20,000 crore budget for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet ‘Namami Gange Programme’ for the next five years.
    • The Union Cabinet, chaired by Modi, approved the flagship programme which integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner.
    • The Centre has incurred an overall expenditure of approximately Rs 4,000 crore vis-a-vis Ganga rejuvenation since 1985.
    • The programme would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organisations, that is, the State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs).
    • In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for monitoring projects, comprising a high- level task force chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and assisted by NMCG at the national level, state-level committees chaired by Chief Secretary and assisted by SPMG and district-level committees chaired by the District Magistrate.
  7. Punjab government launched pan-state programme to monitor the soil health of every farm
    • Punjab Agriculture Department on 13 May 2015 launched a pan-state programme to monitor the soil health of every farm in the state by issuing them personalised Soil Health Cards (SHCs).
    • With this, Punjab became the first state in India to issue Soil Health Cards to farmers.
    • In this regard, every district of state was assigned a mobile soil testing lab. These labs will take soil sample from every farm and will issue digitalised soil health details.
    • As per Punjab Government, it is mandatory for Soil Testing Labs to check  soil health quarterly. Each health card holder will be issued a written advisory on usage of fertilisers and seeds adaptability.

Read next : Daily GK Potion – 15th May 2015 ››

Read previous: « Daily GK Potion – 11th and 12th May 2015

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