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SBI’s board of directors has approved merger of its five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank

The State Bank of India (SBI) board on 18 August 2016 approved merger of its five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with itself.
Apart from the BMB, the 5 associate banks that will be merged with the SBI are -
i.    State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur
ii.    State Bank of Hyderabad
iii.    State Bank of Mysore
iv.    State Bank of Patiala
v.    State Bank of Travancore
•    Further, the board also finalised the share swap ratio for three of the listed subsidiaries and Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
•    The listed subsidiaries of the SBI are - State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore.
•    The merger will create a behemoth with an asset base of 37 lakh crore rupees or over 555 billion US dollar.
•    The merged entity will have 22500 branches and 58000 ATMs serving a customer base of over 50 crore.
•    SBI has close to 16500 branches, including 191 foreign offices across 36 countries while the five subsidiaries have nearly 6000 branches. 

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New updated Version of Income Tax Return Statistics for Assessment Year 2012-13 released

Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had proactively released data relating to direct tax collections, PAN allocation and distribution of income in the returns for AY 2012-13 earlier in April, 2016.
•    A new version of the income distribution data for AY 2012-13 has now been placed in public domain and is available at Version 2.0 of the tax return data includes additional tables containing distribution of gross total income in respect of different types of taxpayers e.g. individuals, HUF, firms, companies, association of persons, etc.
•    In addition to the additional information provided in respect of gross total income, the new version also takes care of internal inconsistencies in the data set released earlier which had crept in due to data quality issues in some of the returns of income received from the taxpayers.
•    CBDT hopes that Version 2.0 will be found much more consistent and relevant for study and analysis by all the stakeholders.

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India’s first facility to produce nickel was launched by the Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL)

Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) on 10 August 2016 inaugurated the Nickel, Copper and Acid Recovery Plant of Hindustan Copper Limited at Indian Copper Complex, Ghatsila in Jharkhand.
•    This is the first facility in India to produce Nickel metal of LME grade from primary resource.
•    This project will utilize an eco-friendly technology and will check pollution by eliminating the use of lead.
•    It will have reduced liquid effluent, generate 75 percent less solid waste, utilize less energy, provide safe working environment and utilize and conserve natural resources.
•    At present the capacity of the plant is 50 MT per annum, considering the current production rate from the Surda mines.
•    The Nickel output is expected to increase by eight times after the completion of mine expansion projects located at Ghatsila.
•    The annual demand for pure Nickel in India is around 45000 MT and its market in the country is totally dependent on import.
•    Interestingly, the process consumes around 30 MT LME-A grade Copper starter sheet per annum.
•    The proposed project will replace the age-old process of liberator cell operation with EMEW & APU technology in the Refinery.

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NMCG and IOC sign mou for industrial use of treated water

Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti has said that a new beginning has been made with the foundation laying of STP in Mathura which will provide treated water for industrial use. 
•    Laying the foundation of 20 MLD STP in Vrindavan today the Minister informed that the STP will be built at a cost of Rs. 40 crore. 
•    A nine kilometer pipeline from Laxmi nagar to Gokul barrage will carry the treated water to Mathura refinery. 
•    An MoU was also signed to this effect between National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). 
•    Sushri Bharti said that with the adoption of hybrid annuity mode by NMCG the complexion of Yamuna will change completely in Mathura-Vrindavan by the year 2018. 
•    The Minister said that with the use of pressure technology in irrigation we would be able to save about 60 percent water of Ganga and Yamuna which will help to maintain good e-flow of water in these rivers. 
•    Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari and Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan also addressed the gathering. 
•    Ujjwala LPG connections were also distributed to 300 women on the occasion.

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Jack Ma richest Asian in Forbes tech billionaires list

Jack Ma, Founder of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, is the richest Asian in the '100 Richest Tech Billionaires in the World in 2016' list released by Forbes. 
•    With an estimated fortune of $25.8 billion, Ma is ranked as the eighth richest tech billionaire worldwide. 
•    China has the second highest number of listed tech billionaires, behind only the US.
•    Ma Yun known professionally as Jack Ma, is a Chinese business magnate and philanthropist. 
•    He is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a family of successful Internet-based businesses. 
•    He is the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes.
•    In 2004, Ma was chosen by China Central Television and its viewers as one of the "Top 10 Business Leaders of the Year".
•    He was selected by Business week as a "Businessperson of the Year" in 2007 and one of the 30 "World’s Best CEOs" by Barron's in 2008.
•    Microsoft founder Bill Gates once again tops the list with a fortune estimated at US$78 billion, which also makes him the richest person in the world.

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NITI Aayog inks pact with US EIA to set up portal on energy data

The NITI Aayog has inked a pact with US Energy Information Administration in a step to set up a portal to host all the data related to energy sector in the country. 
•    The web portal will host all the data related to energy sector including oil and gas, coal, solar and thermal energy etc. 
•    It will be developed as part of NITI Aayog’s efforts to set up India’s energy data agency, which would take three-four years to develop. 
•    Besides, NITI Aayog also inked an SOP with US Agency for International Development and UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change for collaboration in the area of energy research. 
•    National Institution for Transforming India Aayog is premier policy think tank of Union Government. It has had replaced erstwhile six decade old Planning Commission.

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The Union Government has set an inflation target of 4% for the next five years

The Union Government has set an inflation target of four percent for the next five years. 
•    In this regard, Union Government will soon set-up Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to adhere to the target till March 31, 2021. 
•    This target was fixed after the Union Government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had reached an agreement on a monetary policy framework. 
•    The framework had set the inflation target at four percent, plus or minus two percent. 
•    However, there was no legal backing to it. 
•    The Union Government in June 2016 also had notified rules for setting up the MPC giving effect to amendments in the RBI Act. 
•    The key advantage of a target is that it allows to recognise the short run trade-offs between inflation and growth. 
•    It also enables Central Bank to pursue the inflation target in the long run over the course of a business cycle.

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RBI launches portal to curb illegal money

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Raghuram Rajan, on 4 August 2016 launched Sachet portal,, to check illegal money collection.
•    The website is available in vernacular languages for the benefit of the people of different regions of the country.
•    It will be helpful for the regulators in quick follow up of the unlawful money collection activities.
•    It will also enable people get information regarding the financial entities that are allowed to accept the deposits.
•    People will get the space to lodge complaints and share information regarding illegal collection of deposits by unscrupulous entities in their areas.
•    The website also incorporates regulations prescribed by all financial regulators that different entities have to follow.
•    The Reserve Bank of India is India's central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee. It commenced its operations on 1 April 1935 during the British Rule in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934

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Parliament passed GST Amendment Bill

Rajya Sabha on 3 August 2016 passed The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 to introduce the goods and services tax (GST). 
•    The Bill was introduced and passed in Lok Sabha in May 2015. 
•    The bill will now go back to the Lok Sabha to incorporate the amendments approved by the Rajya Sabha. 
•    For goods and services that pass through several states, or imports, the Centre will levy another tax, the Integrated GST (IGST).
•    Alcohol for human consumption has been kept out of the purview of GST.
•    Initially, GST will not apply to (a) petroleum crude, (b) high speed diesel, (c) motor spirit (petrol), (d) natural gas and (e) aviation turbine fuel. 
•    Tobacco and tobacco products will be subject to GST. The centre may also impose excise duty on tobacco.
•    Central Taxes replaced by GST Bill
•    Central Excise Duty
•    Additional Duties of Excise and Customs
•    Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD)
•    Service Tax
•    Cesses and Surcharges on Supply of goods and services
•    State Taxes Subsumed in the GST Bill
•    VAT
•    Central Sales Tax
•    Purchase Tax
•    Luxury Tax
•    Entry Tax
•    Entertainment Tax
•    Taxes on advertisements, lotteries, betting, gambling
•    State Cesses and Surcharges

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Shipping Corporation of India Ltd. Signs MoU with Government of India

Shipping Corporation of India Ltd. has signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Shipping for the financial year 2016-17. The MoU was signed by Shri Rajive Kumar, IAS, Secretary (Shipping) and Capt. B.B. Sinha, Chairman and Managing Director, Shipping Corporation of India Ltd., at New Delhi. 
•    The MOU is based on the MOU guidelines 2016-17 issued by the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE). It consists of parameters drawn on the prescribed evaluation criteria and factors such as capacity and its expansion, business environment, projects under implementation have been considered. 
•    SCI has set ambitious, growth oriented and apparitional targets against these parameters keeping its growth plans and objectives in view. These are also in line with the vision of the Ministry of Shipping and the Government of India to escalate the growth for the Maritime sector in India. 
•    The MoU will be periodically reviewed by the Ministry and the performance of the PSU would be evaluated and ratings awarded at the end of the financial year. 
•    Despite unfavourable market conditions and down turn being faced by the shipping industry in general, the SCI has taken proactive measures for sustained growth in these challenging times including costs-saving and has reported a consolidated net profit of Rs.389.4 crores for the financial year 2015-16.

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