Current Affairs Update 23rd December 2015


GAIL extends bidding deadline for $7-billion LNG carriers


  • State gas utility GAIL India has extended last date of bidding for its USD-7 billion tender for hiring nine newly built ships for ferrying LNG from the US by over two months to allow Indian shipyards to tie up technology for building the specialised vessels.
  • Bids for charter hiring of nine ships quoted in three lots of three ships each were due last week but have now been extended till February 29, 2016, official sources said.
  • The extension in the bid date has been done to accomodate request of Indian shipyards for allowing them time to tie up technology for building the specialised cryogenic carriers.

‘Das Auto’ no more: Scam-hit Volkswagen to drop iconic slogan to save image


  • Scarred by a public relations thrashing over its “Dieselgate” scandal, Volkswagen is planning an image offensive, and its ” Das Auto” global advertising slogan is an early casualty.
  • Launched in 2007 under ousted boss Martin Winterkorn, the slogan has had the advantage of simplicity, merely meaning “The Car”.
  • However, the German carmaker’s leaders, anxious to proclaim a reformed corporate culture, have criticised it as out of step with a company trying to show new-found humility.
  • A Volkswagen spokesman would not pronounce “Das Auto” dead quite yet, but said it would no longer accompany the famous VW badge in the coming advertising campaign.
  • Its replacement is hardly radical.

Japan fines Ernst & Young affiliate $17.4 mn over Toshiba audit


  • Japan’s financial regulator will fine an Ernst & Young affiliate 2.1 billion yen ($17.4 million) after the firm’s audit of Toshiba Corp failed to spot accounting irregularities in the country’s worst accounting scandal in four years.
  • The Financial Services Agency (FSA) said on Tuesday it would also suspend Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC from taking on new business contracts for three months.
  • Toshiba is restructuring after the accounting scandal, in which the company said it overstated profits over several years. . On Monday, Toshiba said it would make a record net loss this year and cut jobs.
  • The FSA said the fine was equivalent to two years’ auditing fees ShinNihon received from Toshiba.
PM Narendra Modi has signalled Jaitley to resign: Sitaram Yechury


  • CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury today claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signalled to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to resign in the wake of DDCA row by citing the example of L K Advani in the Hawala case.
  • “By drawing a parallel with Advani, the Prime Minister is giving a hint to Arun Jaitley that he should resign, get himself cleared and come back. I read it as a signal to Jaitley that you also do the same thing”, he told reporters.
  •  Noting that Advani had resigned after the Hawala scam, he said that Jaitley should understand that the Prime Minister has suddenly remembered the veteran leader when the Finance Minister was facing a problem.
  • He was asked for his reaction to the Prime Minister’s comments that Jaitley will come out “with flying colours” against charges of corruption levelled against him by the opposition in the same way L K Advani did in the Hawala case.

Swachh Bharat cess garners Rs 329 crore in 1 month


  • The government has collected Rs 329.6 crore in a month’s time from the 0.5 per cent Swachh Bharat cess which is imposed on all taxable services, the Parliament was informed today.
  • “The provisional figures of Swachh Bharat cess collected till December 16, 2015, is about Rs 329.6 crore,” MoS Finance Jayant Sinha said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
  • The government had imposed the cess with effect from November 15 to fund Swachh Bharat programme.
  • Between November 15 and March 31, 2016, the revenue estimated to be collected is about Rs 3,750 crore, Sinha said.

Govt hikes wage ceiling for bonus to Rs 21,000 per month from Rs 10,000

An employee counts Indian rupee notes at a cash counter inside a bank in Agartala

  • The Lok Sabha has approved amendments to the Payment of Bonus Act that seeks to make more workers eligible for bonus by raising the pay eligibility limit of employees to Rs 21,000 per month from Rs 10,000.
  • The bill, tabled in the house earlier this month, also seeks to enhance the monthly bonus calculation ceiling to Rs 7,000 per month from Rs 3,500, thus substantially increasing the amount of bonus.
  • Both the proposed changes are in line with the demands of 10 central trade unions, which had observed a day-long strike on September 22.
  • The bill will now be tabled in Rajya Sabha. Once approved, it will be made effective from April 1, 2015.
  • “I thank all parties for supporting the historic decision of this government,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said after the discussion in Lok Sabha.
  • The Payment of Bonus Act 1965 is applicable to every factory and other establishment in which 20 or more people are employed on any day during an accounting year.
  • Trisha

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