- High tax results in 5.6% drop in tobacco use in Rajasthan
- The prevalence of smoking in Rajasthan has decreased by 5.6 percentage points in Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2), 2016-17, compared to GATS-1, as per the recently released GATS-2. Experts give the credit to high tax on tobacco products in Rajasthan.
- State government had imposed up to 65% tax on cigarettes and bidis, discouraging many smokers. In 2010, VAT on tobacco products was 12.5% . It was increased to 65% in 2013-14. Imposition of high tax has been very encouraging, which reflected in GATS-2 results.
- Although, 28% GST has been imposed on cigarettes and bidi, still there is scope of increasing cess on bidi, like cigarettes.
- Youthquake’ named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries
- Oxford Dictionaries has crowned “youthquake” as its word of 2017 in a nod to the unexpected level of youth engagement in this summer’s election in the United Kingdom.
- An amalgamation of “youth” and “earthquake”, the noun is defined as “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”
· Official Emblems for Beijing 2022 Winter Games Unveiled
- The emblems of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Gameshave been named “Winter Dream” and “Flight,”
- The emblem launching ceremony was held at the National Aquatic Center, which staged the swimming events during the Beijing 2008 Games.
- In 2022, this venue will be transformed into an ice rink for curling games.
· Nation Celebrates Vijay Diwas on 16 December
- TheVijay Diwas daymarks the glorious victory over Pakistan in 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, in alliance with Bangladesh Mukti Bahini.
- On 16th December in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, along with 93,000 troops, surrendered to the allied forces consists of Indian Army.
- The anniversary of Vijay Divas is observed across India by paying tributes to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation.
- No MDR charges on debit card payments up to Rs 2000
- The merchant discount rate (MDR) charges on transactions up to Rs 2,000 made through debit cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar-enabled payment systems will be borne by the government to promote digital transactions.
- The merchant discount rate (MDR) will be borne by the government for two years with effect from January 1, 2018 by reimbursing the same to the banks.
- The move will have an impact of Rs 2,512 crore on the exchequer.
Gk bit – MDR (merchant discount rate)
- It is a charge to a merchant by a bank for accepting payment from their customers in credit and debit cards every time a card is used for payments (like swiping) in their stores. The merchant discount rate is expressed in percentage of the transaction amount.
- For the time being, the objective of the RBI is to encourage maximum cashless transaction. Aiming this objective, the RBI has brought a policy of setting upper limit for MDR by banks. Here, the Reserve Bank had rationalized the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) for debit cards with effect from September 2012.
- Since then, the MDR for debit card transaction has been capped at 0.75% for transaction values upto Rs.2000 (Which, now has been changed) and at 1% for transaction values above Rs.2000.
· Third World Telugu Conference Begins in Hyderabad
- The third World Telugu Conferencebegan in Hyderabad amidst much fanfare.
- The main aim of the Conference is to promote Telugu and its literature besides helping the present generation learn more about Telugu language and its rich culture and heritage.
- Telangana Government has put in place elaborate arrangements for the 5-day event for which about eight thousand Telugu speaking delegates from 40 countries all over the globe will be taking part.
- Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu had formally inaugurated the Conference.
· Meghalaya launches Indias first social audit law
- Meghalaya became the first state in the country to operationalize The Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Social Audit Act, 2017, a law that makes a social audit of government programmes and schemes a part of government practice.
- It was launched by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma at a national convention in Shillong.
- The law makes social audits part of the system as earlier it was civil society initiative rather than government-mandated.
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