Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 10 October 2017

Ministry of Road Transport & Highways to implement Value Engineering Programme to promote use of new technologies, materials and equipment in highways projects

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has decided to implement a Value Engineering Program to promote the use of new technologies, materials, and equipment in highways projects executed either under PPP mode or public funding mode. The objective of the programme is to use innovative technology, materials and equipment to reduce the cost of projects and make them more environment friendly, while simultaneously ensuring that the roads or bridges and other assets get constructed much faster, are structurally stronger and more durable.  The Value Engineering Programme is expected to

  • increase speed of construction,
  • reduce construction cost,
  • increase asset durability and
  • improve aesthetics and safety.


Nobel Prize in economics awarded to Richard Thaler

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2017 to Richard H. Thaler of University of Chicago for his contributions to behavioural economics.

Richard H. Thaler has incorporated psychologically realistic assumptions into analyses of economic decision-making. By exploring the consequences of limited rationality, social preferences, and lack of self-control, he has shown how these human traits systematically affect individual decisions as well as market outcomes.

In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank) established the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. The Prize is based on a donation received by the Nobel Foundation in 1968 from Sveriges Riksbank on the occasion of the Bank’s 300th anniversary. The first Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen in 1969.


Group of Ministers set up to make GST composition scheme more attractive

A Group of Ministers (GoM) has been set up under Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to make the composition scheme more attractive and revisit GST rates on restaurants. The GST Council had constituted the GoM, which will submit its report in two weeks.

With only 15.50 lakh businesses out of the total 98 lakh registered under the GST regime opting for the composition scheme, the GST Council has decided to set up the GoM to examine steps to make it more attractive. Businesses with turnover of up to Rs. 1 crore can opt for the composition scheme and pay taxes in the range of 1-5% and file returns quarterly.

The GoM has also been tasked with revisiting the tax structure of different categories of restaurants in order to rationalise or reduce the rates.

Currently, GST is levied at 12% on non-AC restaurants and 18% on air-conditioned ones.


Kerala Tourism launches Continuous Tourist Survey 2017-20

To accelerate the growth of tourism in Kerala, the Department of Tourism has launched a three-year long Continuous Tourist Survey (CTS) from this year.

The 2017-2020 sample survey is being conducted in collaboration with M/s Datamation Consultants, selected through a transparent tender process. The Centre will be providing financial assistance of Rs 25 lakhs, for the survey.

The survey is intended to study the interest of tourists, their age and demographic details, reasons for visit and nature of tours undertaken. It will not only cover tourist destinations, but also hotels, house boats, home stays, ayurveda centers, restaurants and tour operators. Through the data obtained, the growth of tourism in the state will be evaluated.

Kerala has been following a comprehensive tourism development plan to double the number of domestic tourist arrivals and increase foreign tourist arrivals by 50 per cent, by 2021.