11 Nov, 2017
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1) The Goods and Services Tax Council (GST Council) sharply reduced GST rates levied on number of items on 10 November 2017 at its meeting held in Guwahati. After this announcement how many items remain in the highest GST slab rate of 28%? – Fifty (50)
Explanation: The Goods and Services Tax Council on 10 November 2017 sharply reduced to just 50 the number of items in the highest tax rate of 28%. At its 23rd meeting in Guwahati, chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Council also staggered the return filing process, reduced the tax rates on restaurants and expanded the Composition Scheme for small firms.
– The Council decided to reduce the tax rate on 178 of current 228 items from 28% to 18%, with effect from 15 November 2017. After this now just 50 items remain in the 28% GST slab.
– The items in the 28% slab that have got cheaper include wires, cables, insulated plugs, furniture, bedding, mattresses, suitcases, detergents, shampoo, perfumes, lamps, wrist watches, and slabs of marble and granite.
– Now all restaurants will be taxed at 5%, except those in hotels with a tariff of Rs. 7,500 or more that will be taxed at 18% with input tax credit (ITC).
2) What is the name of the express train that was inaugurated between Kolkata and Khulna in Bangladesh by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on 9 November 2017? – “Bandhan Express”
Explanation: A train named “Bandhan Express” between India and Bangladesh that connects Kolkata with Khulna (in Bangladesh) was inaugurated on 9 November 2017. This train will cover a distance of about 172 km in 4 and half hours.
– It is air-conditioned weekly passenger train and will run every Thursday from both Kolkata and Khulna.
– It is worth mentioning that railway passenger and freight services between India and the erstwhile East Pakistan (later Bangladesh), which had continued after Independence, were stopped during the 1965 war.
– The new service was flagged off by the Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Chief Minister of West Bengal through video conferencing.
3) The Union Government on 9 November 2017 raised the amount of loans a central government employee can take under the house building advance (HBA) scheme by more than three times. What is the new loan limit? – Rs. 25 lakh
Explanation: The Union Government notified the changes in rules pertaining to loan taken under the house building advance (HBA) scheme by central government employees on 9 November 2017 in its bid to give a fillip to the housing sector and push construction activities. There are at least 50 lakh central government employees across the country.
– Now, central government employees can get loans up to Rs. 25 lakh from the government under the HBA scheme, which is more than three times of the earlier norm. Both spouses, if they are central government employees, are now eligible to take HBA, either jointly or separately. Earlier only one spouse was eligible for such an advance.
– The government also increased the amount that a central government employee can borrow for expansion of their homes to 34 months of basic pay to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh from the earlier Rs. 1.8 lakh.
– The cost ceiling limit of the house, which an employee can construct or purchase, has been increased to Rs. 1 crore with a provision of upward revision of 25 per cent in deserving cases, from Rs. 30 lakh earlier.
4) What is India’s place in business optimism ranking in Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR) survey for the quarter ended September 2017? – Seventh
Explanation: India has slipped to the 7th position this quarter in business optimism ranking in Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR) survey for the quarter ended September 2017. In the prior quarter, India was ranked second in the survey.
– Businesses have expressed low confidence over expected revenue in the next twelve months with 75% respondents hoping for an increase in the revenue. There were clearly signs of lag in the economy which caused the drop in ratings.
– However, the survey was conducted in September 2017 before the government had announced its major reforms like bank recapitalisation and infrastructure investments among others. The sample size of the survey is 2,500 businesses spread across 37 economies.
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