Maneka Sanjay Gandhi launches online portal ‘NARI’ for women empowerment
Union Minister of Women & Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi on 2 January 2017 inaugurated the online portal 'NARI' for women empowerment. NARI stands for 'National Repository of Information for Women'.
'NARI' portal has been developed by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development. It will provide easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women to women citizens.
The Government has implemented a number of schemes & legislations for women to provide them equal rights and opportunities. In order to make this information easily accessible in one place, the NARI portal summarizes over 350 government schemes and other important information.
India and Pakistan exchange 27th list of Nuclear Installations
India and Pakistan on 1 January 2018 exchanged the lists of their nuclear installations under an agreement that aims to prevent both sides from attacking such facilities. This is the twenty-seventh consecutive exchange of such a list between the two countries.
The exchange was done through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad.
The list-exchange comes in the backdrop of a heated arguments between the two countries over the harassment and ill-treatment of jailed Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav's mother and wife by Pakistan.
Arunachal Pradesh becomes second ODF state in Northeast
The state of Arunachal Pradesh has become the second state in the Northeast, after Sikkim, to be declared Open Defecation Free.
The feat was deemed completed after three remaining districts in the state - Upper Subansiri, Siang and Changlang - were declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) on 31 December 2017.
In total, the state has 21 districts and it managed to achieve the feat much before the national deadline of 2 October 2019.
Saudi Arabia, UAE become first Gulf nations to introduce VAT
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced the Value Added Tax (VAT) for the very first time on 1 January 2018. The move is a first for the Gulf region, which has long boasted of a tax-free system.
VAT is a five per cent tax that will be levied on most goods and services to boost revenue. It will be applied on food, clothes, electronics and gasoline, phone, water and electricity bills, as well as hotel reservations. Some services that will be exempted from the tax include medical treatment, financial services and public transport.
Organisations such as the International Monetary Fund have long called for Gulf countries to diversify their sources of income away from oil reserves. In Saudi Arabia, more than 90 per cent of budget revenues come from the oil industry while in the UAE it is roughly 80 per cent.
Vijay Keshav Gokhale appointed as Foreign Secretary of India
Senior diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale was on 1 January 2018 appointed as the Foreign Secretary of India for a two-year fixed term. His appointment was approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
Gokhale succeeds S Jaishankar, who will complete his tenure on 28 January 2018. Jaishankar was appointed as Foreign Secretary on 29 January 2015 for two years. He was given a one-year extension in January 2017.
Gokhale served as India's envoy to China. He had played a key role in India-China negotiations in 2017 to resolve the 73-day standoff between Indian Army and Chinese People's Liberation Army at Doklam Plateau, a tri-junction between Sino-India and Bhutanese border near Sikkim.