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News in Short

News in Short - 04-January-2021

India’s fiscal deficit widens

Date: 04 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • India’s fiscal deficit shot up to 135.1% of the Budget target of nearly ?8 lakh crore for 2020-21, in the 8 months from April to November 2020, as per data released by the Controller General of Accounts.
  • Revenue deficit, which had crossed 125% in the first half of the year, almost touched 140% of the Budget target by November. Just about 40% of the annual estimated revenue receipts have been obtained.
  • Only 62.7% of the budgeted expenditure for the year had been spent by November, lower than the 65.3% recorded a year earlier.

UK slashes taxes on women’s sanitary products

Date: 04 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Britain became the latest country to abolish the so-called "tampon tax,” eliminating sales taxes on women's sanitary products.
  • The move was widely praised by women's rights advocates as well as proponents of the country's departure from the European Union.
  • Under EU law, nations cannot reduce the rate of value-added tax on menstrual products below 5% as they are deemed to be luxury items and not essentials.
  • Ireland is the only EU country that does not charge a levy on sanitary products as its zero tax rate was in place before the EU set its floor.
  • Many other countries have also eliminated the tampon tax, including Australia, Canada, and India. In the United States, several states including New York and Florida have also nixed the tax.

Pakistan approves purchase of ancestral property of Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar

Date: 04 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) government has approved the purchase the ancestral houses of legendary Bollywood actors Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor located in the heart of Peshawar city and declared as the national heritages.
  • After procurement, both the houses will be converted into a museum by the KP archaeology department.
  • Raj Kapoor's ancestral home, known as Kapoor Haveli, is situated in the fabled Qissa Khwani Bazar. It was built between 1918 and 1922 by the legendary actor's grandfather Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor.
  • Veteran actor Dilip Kumar's over 100-year-old ancestral house is also located in the same locality. The house is in shambles and was declared as national heritage in 2014 by the then Nawaz Sharif government.

FSSAI slashes limit for trans fat levels in foods

Date: 04 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has capped the amount of trans fatty acids (TFA) in oils and fats to 3% for 2021 and 2% by 2022 from the current permissible limit of 5% through an amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations.
  • Trans fats are associated with increased risk of heart attacks and death from coronary heart disease. The WHO has also called for global elimination of trans fats by 2023.
  • It was in 2011 that India first passed a regulation that set a TFA limit of 10% in oils and fats, which was further reduced to 5% in 2015.

Serum institute and Bharat Biotech vaccines get DGCA approval

Date: 04 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on January 3 granted restricted emergency use authorisation for the Serum Institute of India (SII)’s ‘Covishield’ and Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’ vaccines against COVID-19.
  • The ‘Covishield’ vaccine, developed by University of Oxford and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, is being produced in the country by the Serum Institute. Bharat Biotech has developed ‘Covaxin’ – India’s first indigenous vaccine against COVID-19.
  • A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic.
  • The DCGI also granted permission to Cadila Healthcare for conducting phase-III clinical trials of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.