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Latest Current Affairs 25 October 2020

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CURRENT AFFAIRS
25 October 2020

NATIONAL NEWS:

 

A) Income Tax returns filing deadline for FY20 extended till December 31.

To provide more time to taxpayers for furnishing Income Tax Returns (ITR) pertaining to financial year 2019-20, the government has further extended the due date for furnishing of Income-Tax Returns. The deadline for businesses to file annual Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns and reconciliation statements for the financial year 2018-19 has also been extended from October 31, 2020 to December 31, 2020. The government said it had received a number of pleas for the extension in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, and the GST Council had also recommended that taxpayers be granted more time to comply. For taxpayers who need to get their accounts audited or furnish reports on specific domestic or international transactions, the deadline is now January 31, 2021. For the rest, it has been extended to December 31, 2020 from the earlier limit of November 30. Further, in order to provide relief to small and middle class taxpayers, the due date for payment of self-assessment tax for the taxpayers whose self-assessment tax liability is up to ₹1 lakh had been extended to November 30, 2020, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said this in a statement on 24 October. The due date for payment of self-assessment tax for these taxpayers has now been extended to January 31, 2021 for those who need to furnish audited accounts or report specified transactions. For the rest, the deadline has been extended to December 31, 2020.

B) Farooq Abdullah named chairman of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration; Mehbooba Mufti to be deputy.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah has unanimously chosen as the chairman of the recently-floated People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration while PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti will be his deputy, the amalgam said. CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami is the convenor of the alliance, while Sajad Lone of People’s Conference has been named as the spokesperson. The amalgam leaders, who met at the residence of Mufti for the first time after its formation, adopted the flag of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir as its symbol. The alliance will come out with a white paper within a month on governance in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370, Lone told reporters after the meeting. The white paper will not be rhetoric. It will be based on facts and figures to present the reality to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and around the country, Lone said. The alliance also decided to hold its next meeting after a fortnight in Jammu, followed by a convention in Srinagar on November 17.

C) Congress shows ‘selective outrage’ in cases of crimes against women, says Nirmala Sitharaman.

On 24 October, the BJP has accused the Congress of employing selective outrage in cases of crimes against women, and questioned the silence of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over the alleged rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in Punjab. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, at a presser at the BJP’s national headquarters in New Delhi, also took a swipe at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, questioning if he had asked Gandhi about the issue while holding a joint poll campaign with him in the State. She also noted that the child hailed from the Dalit community. Attacking Yadav, she referred to a news report of 2008 to mention the allegations of eve-teasing and misbehaviour with women against the RJD brothers, a reference to him and his elder brother Tej Pratap. The Punjab incident may not hurt the RJD because that is how things were when they were in power, Sitharaman said, by adding that the RJD presided over Jungle Raj during its rule between 1990-2005. In response to Sitharaman’s comments, Gandhi tweeted that unlike in UP, the governments of Punjab and Rajasthan are NOT denying that the girl was raped, threatening her family and blocking the course of justice. If they do, he will go there to fight for justice.  In a horrifying incident, a six-year-old girl was allegedly raped, killed and then set on fire, with her half-burnt body found at a home in Tanda’s Jalalpur village, the police said on Thursday.

D) Centre lays out modalities of compound interest scheme on loans up to ₹2 crore.

3 weeks after informing the Supreme Court that the Centre would bear the additional compound interest on loans of up to ₹2 crore availed by retail borrowers as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the government formally communicated the modalities of the scheme to lenders on 23 October. Banks and other lenders, including co-operative banks and non-banking finance companies, have been asked to credit the difference between the compound interest and simple interest for the 6 month period between March 1 and August 31 into these loan accounts by November 5. This would be implemented even for borrowers who had not availed the moratorium on loan repayments allowed by the RBI up to August 31. At its last hearing on October 14, the Supreme Court had turned down the Centre’s request for a month to implement a scheme to ensure that borrowers with loans of up to ₹2 crore won’t have to bear compound interest on the interest dues accruing on their loans during the moratorium period. The apex court, which had been hearing petitions seeking an extension of the six month moratorium granted by the RBI on loan repayments, had given the Centre time till November 2 and said that the common man’s Diwali is now in the government’s hands. In view of the unprecedented and extreme COVID-19 situation, the object of the scheme is to provide ex-gratia payment of difference between compound interest and simple interest by ways of relief for the period from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, to borrowers in specified loan accounts, the Finance Ministry said in its communique laying out the scheme’s contours.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS 

A) Carbine deal a benchmark for UAE firms to invest in India.

The deal for 93,895 Close Quarter Carbines (CQBs) for the Indian Army, for which United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s government-owned small arms manufacturer Caracal was shortlisted, is like a benchmark for UAE industry and they are watching closely on further investments in the Indian market, said Hamad Salem Alameri, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Caracal. Once this first contract moves, a lot of sister companies within the group will see this as a success story and people will have the confidence to come and invest in India.  However. while Caracal was shortlisted 2 years back, the final deal has been delayed and recently an in principle decision was taken in the Defense Ministry to cancel the deal and take the domestic route for procurement. But no formal announcement has been made so far. Nothing came to officially on the cancellation or on the intent of cancellation. He said in the last 2 years Caracal had developed of suppliers and technology partners and the starting point of indigenization will be 60%. Stating that Caracal has already identified four locations to set up the facility and also identified local partners to be able to commence production immediately, Mr. Alameri said India is already part of their global supply chain and over 20% of the components fitted on the CAR 816 are already made in India. The deals for 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines were approved by the Defense Acquisition Council in January 2018 to be processed through the fast track route.

B) Countries battle virus as WHO sees ‘exponential’ rise.

Grim data highlighted the struggle for authorities around the world to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control on Saturday, as the U.S. reported 80,000 infections in a single day, France extended a curfew to two-thirds of citizens and Germany’s death toll passed 10,000. The World Health Organization had earlier warned of an exponential rise in infections threatening health systems’ ability to cope. But populations weary of social isolation and economic hardship have pushed back against fresh restrictions to slow the resurgent virus’ spread, including overnight clashes in hard-hit Naples between Italian police and hundreds of protesters. Johns Hopkins University had earlier reported 79,963 new American cases in 24 hours, a new record, although the number of daily deaths has remained broadly stable since the beginning of autumn at between 700 and 800.

C) U.S. allies welcome Israel-Sudan deal but Iran, Palestine cry foul.

Sudan and Israel agreed on 23 October to normalize relations, in a U.S.-brokered deal to end decades of hostility that was widely welcomed but stirred Palestinian anger.

The announcement makes Sudan, technically at war with Israel since its 1948 foundation, the third Arab country to forge diplomatic relations with the Jewish State in the last two months. “HUGE win today for the United States and for peace in the world,” U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted.

Other U.S. allies, including Germany, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, welcomed the deal as a boost to stability in the West Asia.

Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders strongly condemned the deal, echoing their rejection of Israel’s normalisation accords with the UAE and Bahrain signed in Washington last month.

“The State Of Palestine expressed today its condemnation and rejection Of the deal to normalise ties with the Israeli occupation country which usurps Palestinian land.” president Mahmoud Abbas•s office said in a statement.

Iran, which has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause. said Sudan had paid a “shameful” price to be removed from the “phony” blacklist.

“Pay enough ransom, close your eyes on the crimes against Palestinians, then you’ll be taken Off the so-called terrorism’ black- + list. Obviously the list is as phony as the U.S. fight against terrorism. Shameful!” its Foreign Ministry said.

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