Daily Current Affairs (English) - 06.03.2018


National


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National Financial Reporting Authority

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for establishment of National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) and creation of one post of Chairperson, three posts of full-time Members and one post of Secretary for NFRA. The need for establishing NFRA has arisen on account of the need felt across various jurisdictions in the world, in the wake of accounting scams, to establish independent regulators, independent from those it regulates, for enforcement of auditing standards and ensuring the quality of audits to strengthen the independence of audit firms, quality of audits and, therefore, enhance investor and public confidence in financial disclosures of companies.

  • The decision aims at establishment of NFRA as an independent regulator for the auditing profession which is one of the key changes brought in by the Companies Act, 2013. The inclusion of the provision in the Act was on the specific recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance (in its 21st report).
  • The decision is expected to result in improved foreign and domestic investments, enhancement of economic growth, supporting the globalisation of business by meeting international practices, and assist in further development of audit profession.
  • The jurisdiction of NFRA for investigation of Chartered Accountants and their firms under section 132 of the Act would extend to listed companies and large unlisted public companies, the thresholds for which shall be prescribed in the Rules. The Central Government can also refer such other entities for investigation where public interest would be involved.
  • The inherent regulatory role of ICAI as provided for in the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 shall continue in respect of its members in general and specifically with respect to audits pertaining to private limited companies, and public unlisted companies below the threshold limit to be notified in the rules.
  • The Quality Review Board (QRB) will also continue quality audit in respect of private limited companies, public unlisted companies below prescribed threshold and also with respect to audit of those companies that may be delegated to QRB by NFRA.
  • Further, ICAI shall continue to play its advisory role with respect to accounting and auditing standards and policies by making its recommendations to NFRA.

International


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China hikes defence budget

On 5th February China vowed to target a growth rate of around 6.5% in 2018 that would lift 10 million people out of poverty — in tune with establishing a strong military force.

  • China will raise its defence budget by a hefty 8.1% over the previous year, signalling the country’s intent to build world-class armed forces. The total amount of spending would be $175 billion.
  • China has been steadily increasing its military spending, dovetailed to its economic rise. From a budget of $132 billion in 2014, spending rose by 10%, 7.6% and 7% respectively in the following years.
  • China would focus on building strong naval and air defences, bolstered by the infusion of high technology, derived though greater collaboration between domestic military and civilian industry.
  • China has already inducted the fifth generation J-20 stealth fighters in its arsenal. There have been media reports that China could be building a third aircraft carrier, using a nuclear-powered engine.
  • China’s aspiration to build world-class armed forces would cover “all aspects of military training and war preparedness”, so that “national sovereignty, security and development interests” could be firmly safeguarded.
  • China had fulfilled its earlier goal of cutting troop numbers by 3,00,000, as part of a road map to build a modern technology driven military force. He stressed that major advances had been recorded in developing military technology and equipment with the help of greater civilian-military industrial integration.

Economy


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Premium Tag for Coffee grown in Araku Valley

Coffee Board has applied for registration of Araku coffee under Geographical Indications to protect the unique identity of the coffee grown by thetribal communities of Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.

  • This was informed by Minister of State of Commerce and Industry,C.R.Chaudhary, in reply to a written question in Lok Sabha on 5th March.

  • Arabica coffee from the Araku Valley area has gained popularity as a high quality speciality coffee internationally. The Coffee Board has developed exclusive logos for coffee grown in the country based on their geographical distinctiveness.
  • The Central Government, through the Coffee Board, is promoting production of coffee in Araku Valley by implementing the “Integrated Coffee Development Project”. The scheme includes extending financial support for replanting and expansion, creation of water harvesting and irrigation infrastructures and mechanisation of coffee estate operations.
  • In the non-traditional areas financial support is extended for consolidation of existing coffee plantations through gap filling and application of compost. Technical assistance is also provided by organising capacity building programs and field demonstrations.
  • TheCoffee Board is facilitating collective marketing of Araku Coffee by providing incentives at Rs. 10 per Kg for SHGs and grower collectives. Coffee Board encourages the coffee growers to participate in the “Flavour of India-The Fine Cup Award” competition organised by Coffee Board every year.

Culture


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13 Intangible cultural heritage elements from India

A total of 13 Intangible cultural heritage elements from India have been inscribed till date on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. For inclusion of an element in the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the state parties are required to submit nomination dossier on the relevant element for evaluation and examination of the UNESCO Committee.

The Ministry of Culture has appointed the Sangeet Natak Akademi, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Culture, as nodal office for matters relating to the intangible cultural heritage including for preparation of the nomination dossiers for the Representative List of UNESCO. The Ministry of Culture makes regular Schemes as well as organisations make efforts towards preservation, protection and promotion of intangible cultural heritage in the country. Various autonomous bodies under the Ministry of Culture have comprehensive mandates in this regard and are functioning in various spheres of preservation and promotion of intangible cultural heritage and diverse traditions of the country.

There are a number of schemes under the implementation of the Ministry of Culture for providing financial assistance to artists & institutions involved in promotion/propagation of the various forms of the intangible cultural heritage. In addition, the Ministry of Culture implements, since the year 2013-14 also, a scheme titled “Scheme for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India” with the aims and objectives of professionally enhancing awareness and interest in Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), safeguarding, promoting and propagating it systematically.

Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

1) Tradition of Vedic chanting
2) Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayan
3) Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre
4) Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas, India
5) Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala
6) Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan
7) Chhau dance
8) Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, India
9) Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur
10) Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab, India
11) Yoga
12) Nawrouz, Novruz, Nowrouz, Nowrouz, Nawrouz, Nauryz, Nooruz, Nowruz, Navruz, Nevruz, Nowruz, Navruz
13) Kumbh Mela

This information was given by Minister of State (IC) for Culture and Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Dr. Mahesh Sharma in a written reply in Lok Sabha on 5th March.


Defence


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Reforms in the Indian Army to Enhance Combat Capability

A Committee of Experts (CoE) was constituted by Ministry of Defence under the chairmanship of Lt. Gen. (Retd) DB Shekatkar to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces. The Committee submitted its report in December 2016. The Report was taken up by the Ministry of Defence to frame key action points and roadmap for implementation.

Action has already been initiated on the following:

  • Optimization of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
  • Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static / Station Workshops in the field Army.
  • Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
  • Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport Units.
  • Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
  • Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
  • Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.
  • This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to ShriD. Kupendra Reddyin Rajya Sabha on 5th March.