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♦ RBI slaps Rs 1 crore fine on Bank of Maharashtra
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Wednesday imposed a Rs 1-crore penalty on state-owned Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) for non-compliance of Know Your Customer guidelines and fraud-classification norms.
- This penalty has been imposed taking into account the failure of the bank to adhere to directions issued by the RBI, the central bank said in a statement.
- This action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers,” it said.
♦ Cabinet selects Infosys to implement Rs 4,241 cr next gen IT-filings system
- IT major Infosys has been selected to implement the next generation system for processing income tax return filings, with the Union Cabinet sanctioning an estimated Rs 4,241.97 crore for the project.
- The move will help in bringing down the income tax return (ITR) processing time to one day and hence speed up refunds.
- The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its “approval to expenditure sanction of Rs 4,241.97 crore for Integrated E-filing and Centralised Processing Centre 2.0 Project of the Income Tax Department”, Union minister Piyush Goyal said.
- Briefing media about the decision, he said the processing time at present for ITR is 63 days and it will come down to one day after implementation of the project.Goyal said the project is expected to be completed in 18 months and will be launched after three months of testing.
- Infosys, he said, has been selected to implement the project after the bidding process.
- The current system, he said, has been a success and new project will be more tax friendly.
The e-filing and Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) projects have enabled end-to-end automation of all processes within the Income Tax Department using various innovative methods to provide taxpayer services and to promote voluntary compliance.
- The Cabinet also sanctioned a consolidated cost of Rs 1,482.44 crore for the existing CPC-ITR 1.0 project up to 2018-19.
♦ Indra Nooyi being considered to lead World Bank: report
- India-born Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of global beverage giant PepsiCo, is being considered by the White House for the new World Bank president, according to a leading American daily.
- Ms. Nooyi, 63, stepped down as PepsiCo’s chief last August after leading the company for 12 years.
- She “has been courted as an administration ally by Ivanka Trump, the President’s eldest daughter who is playing a role in the selection of a nominee,” the The New York Times said.
- The report, which cited several people familiar with the process, said the decision-making process for the top post at the World Bank is “fluid and in its initial stages and early front-runners and candidates often fall off the radar, or withdraw from consideration, before the president [Donald Trump] makes his ultimate pick”.
♦ Manu Sawhney to be ICC’s new chief executive after 2019 World Cup
- Manu Sawhney will take over from Dave Richardson as International Cricket Council’s new chief executive from June. Sawhney, who has previously served as the CEO of Singapore Sports Hub and Managing Director of ESPN Star Sports, will join the organisation in mid-February before taking over the reins in July 2019, following the 2019 Men’s World Cup.
- The appointment was ratified by the ICC Board following a global search and appointment process led by ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar and the Nominations Committee. “I am delighted to confirm Manu’s appointment today,” Manohar said. “He brings 22 years of outstanding commercial experience to the ICC and will lead the delivery of our new global growth strategy for the game. Our search produced a host of excellent candidates from around the world, but Manu stood out as the man to work with our Members and take cricket forward.”
- “He has proven success in a number of leadership roles in both sport and broadcasting. He is a strategic thinker and understands the cricket landscape and its complexities. The decision of the Nominations Committee to recommend Manu to the Board was a unanimous one and I and my fellow directors are looking forward to working with him.”
♦ MP launches Rs 50,000 cr farm loan waiver scheme
- Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday launched his government’s Rs 50,000-crore farm debt-waiver scheme named ‘Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana’
- Hailing the scheme as a milestone, Nath said here it would benefit 55 lakh small and marginal farmers. He also slammed the opposition parties for alleging that the scheme was being implemented without any budgetary provisions. Before the Assembly elections in November last year, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had promised that if his party was voted to power, it would implement farmers’ loan waiver within 10 days of government formation.
- The state cabinet on January 5 gave its nod to waive crop loans of 55 lakh farmers, while extending the eligibility cut-off date to December 12, 2018 from March 31, 2018. “The Madhya Pradesh economy has been agriculture-based. About 70 per cent people are associated with agriculture and allied sectors. Hence, this loan waiver is an investment in the economy, which can’t be strengthened without farmers,” Nath said at the launch event.
- It will benefit 55 lakh small and marginal farmers and cost the state exchequer Rs 50,000 crore,” he said. Farmers who have registered themselves to pay GST and are paying income tax, cannot avail benefits under this scheme, he said.
♦ Jaideep Govind next secy general of NHRC
- Bureaucrat Jaideep Govind Monday joined the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)as it’s 15th secretary-general, officials said.
- A 1984-batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, Govind, before joining the NHRC, was posted as the special secretary and the financial adviser in the ministries of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation, and the Department of Land Resources, the NHRC said in a statement.
- He succeeds Ambuj Sharma as the next secretary-general of the rights panel that has completed 25 years of its existence.
- Govind has held various important posts in the Union government, such as the additional secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and looked after critical areas of left-wing extremism, police modernisation and procurement for the Central Armed Police Forces.
♦ Mukesh Ambani in Foreign Policy’s 2019 list of top ‘100 Global Thinkers’
- Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani featured in Foreign Policy magazine’s 2019 annual list of the top ‘100 Global Thinkers’.
- According to the magazine, Ambani, who displaced Jack Ma in 2018 as Asia’s richest man is credited with accelerating a smartphone internet revolution in the world’s largest democracy.
- “With a fortune of $44.3 billion, Mukesh Ambani displaced Jack Ma in 2018 as Asia’s richest man. Ambani’s fortune comes from his holdings in the oil, gas, and retail sectors, but he’s likely to make his biggest impact on India through his new telecom venture Jio,” the magazine said on its website.
- India shall lead the world in digital connectivity soon, says Mukesh Ambani
- “By offering cellular data and voice free for the first six months after Jio’s launch, Ambani got more than 100 million Indians to sign up-accelerating a smartphone internet revolution in the world’s largest democracy. The next stage of Ambani’s plan is to use the digital airwaves to sell content and lifestyle products, eventually competing with Google and Facebook.
♦ President appoints Justice Khanna and Dinesh Maheshwari as SC judges
- The President has appointed Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Delhi High Court and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, the current chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, as Supreme Court judges with effect from the day they assume office, an official notification from the government said.
- The names of Justice Khanna and Maheshwari had been recommended by a five-member collegium led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi. The collegium, which has Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, N V Ramana and Arun Mishra of the Supreme Court, other than Justice Gogoi, had on January 11 recommended the elevation of the two judges to the top court.
- The elevation of Justices Khanna and Maheshwari comes despite protests from a sitting judge of the top court, a former judge of the Delhi High Court and the Bar Council of India. According to reports, Justice S K Kaul, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court had written to the CJI to reconsider the decision of Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog for elevation to Supreme Court. In the letter, according to reports, Justice Kaul clarified that though he had nothing against the elevation of Justice Khanna, he could wait for his turn to be elevated.
♦ Cabinet nods to 13 new central universities
- Cabinet approved an expenditure of Rs 3,639.32 crore to set up 13 new Central Universities, each in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, and two universities in Jammu & Kashmir (Two). The universities will be set up under the Central Universities Act, 2009.
- The funds will be used to create the ‘necessary infrastructure for the completion of the campuses’, states the official release. The universities will be set-up within a period of 36 months.
- The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, Prakash Javadekar tweeted the same from his personal Twitter handle.
♦ UK Parliament rejects Brexit deal
- British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a crushing defeat in Parliament over Brexit deal.
- May’s bid to get the Withdrawal Agreement, struck between Britain and European Union, passed by House of Commons was defeated by a margin of 202 to 432 – a majority of 230 votes. This is the biggest defeat ever suffered by a British premier in modern history.
- Over 100 lawmakers of May’s Conservative party – both Brexiteers and Remainers – overwhelmingly voted against the deal.
- The crushing defeat also marks the collapse of her two-year strategy of forging an amicable divorce with close ties to the EU after the March 29 exit.
- Soon after the defeat, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn submitted a motion of no-confidence against May’s government. It will come up for discussion in the House later tonight.
♦ IISc, IIT-Bombay among 49 Indian varsities in Times Higher Education Emerging Economies ranking
- India has improved its showing in the prestigious university rankings of Times Higher Education Emerging Economies with 49 institutions making it to the list including 25 in the top 200. China remains the most represented nation in the annual 2019 listing, claiming four of the table’s top five positions with Tsinghua University topping the chart, according to the London-based Times Higher Education (THE), a global organisation that produces data, analysis and expertise on higher education.
- Leading India again is the Indian Institute of Science (14th), followed by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (27th). However, both of them slipped back a place this year, largely due to increased competition.
- The 2019 ranking comprises nearly 450 universities – expanded from 378 last year – from 43 countries, across four continents.
- This year’s table presents a mixed picture for India, with several new entrants and high risers, alongside several institutions that dropped back.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♠
1.DESPOTISM (NOUN): (तानाशाही) absolute power
Synonyms: autocracy, dictatorship
Antonyms: democracy, equalitarianism
Example: After their generations living under despotism, citizens were happy to see a kind emperor.
2. HOODWINK (VERB): (छलना) to deceive someone
Synonyms: mislead, swindle
Antonyms: support, safeguard
Example: Insurance deals often hoodwink customers by making hollow promises.
3. DAINTY (ADJECTIVE): (सूक्ष्म) delicately small and pretty
Synonyms: petite, cute
Antonyms: ugly, repulsive
Example: The puppy’s dainty nose looked very cute, convincing everybody’s to love it.
- FRAGMENTED (VERB): (तोड़ना)break into pieces
Synonyms: shatter, disintegrate
Antonyms: combine, unite
Example: Lough Erne fragmented into a series of lakes.
- OBLIVIOUS (ADJECTIVE): (भूलने वाला)unconcerned
Synonyms: ignorant, inattentive
Antonyms: concerned, attentive
Example: The people who are oblivious to others, are bound to be treated badly.
- GALL (NOUN): (ध्रष्टता)arrogance
Synonyms: impudence, brazenness
Antonyms: humility, modesty
Example: Anuj’s gall is the reason of his failure and he needs to improve it.
- PIQUANT (ADJECTIVE): (चटपटा)tangy
Synonyms: peppery, spicy
Antonyms: flavorless, tasteless
Example: We need to eat piquant dishes in order to get the real taste of Royal Rajasthan.
- RUSTICATE (VERB): (निष्कासित करना)expel
Synonyms: dispel, ostracize
Antonyms: incorporate, inculcate
Example: The principal will rusticate all the students who don’t deserve to be taught in a healthy environment
Cloze test based on The Hindu editorial
Death traps: on Meghalaya’s illegal mines
The tardy response of the Centre and the State of Meghalaya to the plight of at least 15 workers trapped in a rat-hole coal mine (1) mid-December has exposed the extraordinary indifference in government to labour welfare and the law. Two workers have been found dead in a second mine in the East Jaintia Hills district. The (2) responsibility for the operation of illegal mines lies with the State government, and it should be called to account for ignoring the directions of the National Green Tribunal to close them and levy punitive royalties on those that extracted the coal. Several appeals are before the Supreme Court in connection with a ban (3) by the Tribunal on rat-hole mining and the transport of already mined coal. It should be possible at least now to put an end to it. The Meghalaya government (4) evasive on the issue of the continued operation of the illegal mines, in spite of the adverse findings of the Justice B.P. Katoki committee appointed by the NGT. It avoided taking action even after a similar mine-flooding accident that claimed 15 lives in 2012 in South Garo Hills, and the subsequent ban. Although the NGT has ordered the State to deposit ₹100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board for environmental restoration in the wake of the recent disaster at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills, the first-order priority is to close the rat-hole mines. It is the responsibility of the Centre and the State to rehabilitate the workers from impoverished communities, reportedly including some child labourers, who are ready to undertake the risky labour because of the higher-than-average wages paid. This should not be difficult, considering that the value of extracted coal stored in Meghalaya was officially estimated at over ₹3,078 crore four years ago, and mineral resources should be treated as state property.
The scale is high: as interpreted from satellite images and reported by the Katoki panel, it could be of the order of 24,000 mines, many of them illegal. If illegal mines continue to operate in flagrant violation of rules (5) the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, the responsibility lies with the State government. Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has said a ban on coal mining is not the solution, given the economic conditions in the region. Yet, the State government has done little to implement reforms and diversify employment away from dirty mining under primitive conditions over the years, in spite of judicial orders. In fact, authorities in Shillong continue to (6) such directions, as the accident at the Lumthari mine in East Jaintia Hills shows. As recently as in December, Parliament was informed that 22 States had constituted a task force to review illegal mining and act on it, but Meghalaya does not figure in that list. A clean-up is overdue.
E) None of these
E) None of these
D) Has been
B) At least
E) None of these
Question 7: Select the word which is most nearly the SAME MEANING as the word printed in bold as used in the passage.
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