1-2 January 2018 Current Affairs

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02 Jan, 2018

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1) Which two countries of Gulf introduced value-added tax (VAT) from 1 January 2018 and thus became the first Gulf countries to bring VAT system in practice? – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Explanation: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced Value-Added Tax (VAT) from 1 January 2018. Both the countries asked all companies with earnings of $100,000 or more a year to register in the VAT system.

This is thus the first such VAT implementation for the Gulf region, which has long prided itself on its tax-free, cradle-to-grave welfare system. It is worth mentioning that none of the Gulf states levy any personal income tax and none have any plans to do so.

Implementation of VAT are the latest in a series of measures introduced by Gulf oil producers over the past two years to boost revenues and cut spending as a persistent slump in world prices has led to ballooning budget deficits.

The other four Gulf states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar – are also committed to introducing VAT but have delayed the move until early 2019.

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2) Which state launched 24-hours free power supply for farmers from 1 January 2018 and claimed that it became the first-ever state to launch such initiative in India? – Telangana

Explanation: The Telangana government ushered in the New Year on 1 January 2018 by gifting the farmers 24-hour free power supply for agricultural purposes. It also claimed that it is the only state in the country to achieve this distinction in power sector to end the despair of farmers.

The initiative would push the overall power demand to 11,000 MW by March 2018. The state government claimed that it had spent Rs. 12,610 crore in setting up new power lines, transformers and sub-stations, the state power utilities have made elaborate arrangements for power supply.

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3) Which state became the second Open Defecation Free (ODF) state of Northeast India on 1 January 2018? – Arunachal Pradesh

Explanation: Arunachal Pradesh became the second state in North-East to achieve the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status on 1 January 2018. Upper Subansiri, Siang and Changlang of the state were declared ODF officially on this date. Sikkim was the first Northeastern state to achieve this status while Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Haryana are other three ODF states.

It is worth mentioning that Arunachal Pradesh had cut short the national ODF target by one year and ten months ahead of the national target and set 31 December 2017, as the final target to achieve ODF status in the state.

The project undertaken under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) – SBM (G) saw the light of day only after the state government extended an incentive of Rs. 8,000 per toilet. This is in addition to the Centre’s support of Rs. 12,000, raising the grant for constructing a toilet to Rs 20,000.

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4) Who was named as the next Foreign Secretary by the Union Government on 1 January 2018? – Vijay Gokhale

Explanation: Vijay Gokhale, a 1981-batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), was on 1 January 2018 named as the next Foreign Secretary by the Union Government. He will take over from Dr. S. Jaishankar when he demits office on 28 January 2018.

Gokhale was Ambassador to China prior to moving back to the Ministry of External Affairs. He has been widely credited with conducting delicate but tough diplomatic negotiations in Beijing during the Doklam crisis.

Above all, he is known for his fluency in the Chinese language, as well as his long experience in dealing with East Asia, and China in particular. He is currently Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs.

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5) Which team won its maiden Ranji Trophy title by defeating 7-time champion Delhi on 1 January 2018? – Vidarbha

Explanation: Vidarbha, who made it to the Ranji Trophy final for the first time, made history as it won its maiden title by defeating 7-time champion Delhi on 1 January 2018. In the final played at Holkar Stadium in Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Vidarbha achieved the paltry winning target of 29 runs for the loss of one wicket.

Opting to field, Vidarbha bowled out Delhi for 295 in the first innings with Rajneesh Gurbani picking up six wickets. In reply, Vidarbha notched up a mammoth 547 all out, as Akshay Wadkar struck his maiden century in first-class cricket. In their second innings, Delhi were all out for 280. Thus Vidarbha needed just 29 runs to win the title.

Rajneesh Gurbani of Vidarbha, who took eight wickets in the match, including a hat-trick in the first innings, was adjudged Man of the Match.

Ranji Trophy is the premier domestic Test tournament of India. Mumbai have been the most successful team having won the tournament 41 times, followed by Karnataka (8) and Delhi (7).

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