First Meeting of India-Australia Joint Steering Committee held
The First Meeting of India-Australia Joint Steering Committee was held in New Delhi. The meeting is a follow-up to the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime exchanged between the two sides during the visit of Australian Prime Minister Mr. Malcolm Turnbull to New Delhi in April this year and his talks with the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. During the Joint Steering Committee meeting the two sides discussed scope for cooperation in counter-terrorism and checking extremism and radicalization besides steps to check illegal financial transactions and counterfeiting and cybercrimes. Issues related to human trafficking and people smuggling, combating illegal drug trafficking and sharing information between law enforcement agencies were also discussed. The two sides agreed to pursue further the agenda for cooperation in specific areas with meetings of operational Joint Working Groups involving concerned agencies.
14th India-EU summit held in New Delhi
The 14th annual Summit between India and the European Union (EU) was held in New Delhi on 6 October 2017. The Republic of India was represented by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The EU was represented by Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Mr. Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
The leaders reviewed the wide-ranging cooperation under the India-EU Strategic Partnership. Recognising that India and the EU are natural partners, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen and strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership based on shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights and territorial integrity of States.
The leaders expressed satisfaction at the progress made towards implementing the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020 – the roadmap for bilateral cooperation endorsed during the 13th India-EU Summit.
List of Agreements signed during 14th India-EU Summit
||Name of Agreement
||Implementing Arrangement between the European Commission and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) for Indian Researchers hosted by the European Research Council grantees in Europe
||Dr R. Sharma (SERB Secretary)
||Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski (EU Ambassador)
||Finance Contract of Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase-2-Line R6 for Euro 300 million out of total loan of Euro 500 million
||Mr. Subhash Chandra Garg (Secretary, DEA)
||Mr. Andrew McDowell (Vice President, EIB)
||Joint Declaration between the Interim Secretariat of the International Solar Alliance and the European Investment Bank
||Mr UpendraTripathy (Secretary General, ISA Secretariat)
||Mr. Andrew McDowell (Vice President, EIB)
Govt announces major relief in GST for exporters, small & medium enterprises
Government has announced major relief in GST for exporters and small and medium enterprises. The composition threshold limit under GST has been enhanced from 75 lakh rupees to one crore.
Under composite scheme, traders will pay one percent, manufacturers two percent and restaurants five percent. GST tax payers upto 1.5 crore rupees turnover can now file their return on quarterly basis, in place of monthly basis.
Exporters will start getting refunds of their input credit for the month of July from 10th of October, and for August from 18th of this month. This is an interim arrangement which will be operated by Central and State Government officials. Exporters will have e-wallet from 1st April, 2018 for getting their refunds.
Items including Khakhra, plain chapati, food packets used in ICDS scheme and unbranded Namkeen will now be taxed at 5 percent instead of 18 percent. GST rate on unbranded medicines have also been reduced to 12 percent to 5 percent. Tax on parts of diesel engine has been reduced from 28 to 18 percent. To contain the cost of irrigation schemes involving high amount of labour, GST rate has been brought down to 5 percent.
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons awarded 2017 Nobel Prize in Peace
The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of non-governmental organisations from over 100 countries around the globe.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee honoured the Geneva-based group “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”
ICAN has been the leading civil society actor in the effort to achieve a prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law. ICAN had in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction.