Major News and Events of 31 December 2013
What Happened on 31 December 2013
Plane landed on busy highway at Betul in MP
PM Manmohan Singh to address a press conference on Friday
Strict action against service tax evaders
Team for New Zealand selected, Yuvraj Singh dropped
Samsung customers can now upgrade and buy a new phone under Stay New Scheme
US had stated there was no goof up in Devyani Khobragade case and dismissed India’s claim that it had judged incorrectly the salary specifications in the visa application of the domestic help of Khobragade. It was also specified that the visa fraud case against Khobragade will not be removed. The charges will be there and if she acquires full immunity then she may travel outside the US but on return if she did not enjoy the privilege then she can be arrested based on the charges against her. US also said it will not be apologizing to India. Khobragade’s lawyer had contended that $4500 was Khobragade’s salary and not the domestic help’s but this claim was rejected as on the visa form the salary of the employee and not the employed had to be specified.
Emergency landing was made by a four-seater private plane on a bustling highway at Betul, at a distance of 200 km from Bhopal, in Madhya Pradesh. The aircraft, which belonged to NRI businessman Sam Verma, made a landing at Betul-Nagpur National Highway around 9.30 am today. This led to traffic blockade for more than 30 minutes. It was planned that the plane will make a landing at the runway within Verma’s factory but due to strong wind the pilot had to make a landing on the highway. Verma had said that pillars constructed near his factory were the reason for the diversion. These have been constructed by the highway authorities Verma further added he had left his plane on the highway as a mark of protest. He also stated that he would like to meet the officials of National Highway Authority of India before he removed the plane.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be addressing a press conference on January 3 at 11 am at the National Media Centre. This is the second time the Prime Minister will be facing the media in his second term, the first time was when he had a meeting with group of television editors and five editors. Apart from this he had a press conference in his first term that extended from 2004-2009. The timing seems perfect what with All-India Congress Committee session scheduled on January 17 where the requests for declaration of the PM candidate will increase. Speculations are also rife that PM may make way for Rahul Gandhi though the PMO has rejected any speculation about PM’s resignation.
From January 1, all those who have not opted for the voluntary compliance scheme to pay their service tax dues by December 31 will be prosecuted. Today the tax officers will be working till midnight to find out the defaulters as informed by the revenue secretary Sumit Bose. Strict action will be taken against service tax evaders. On these tax evaders provisions in the Finance Act will be implemented at the earliest. The voluntary service tax compliance scheme has got huge response. Over 40,000 declarations that involve Rs 5,500 crore have been received till December 29, 2013. In the last four days, the finance ministry has got 16,000 applications, with Rs1,500 crore in dues. These would not have been otherwise trapped in tax net. Service tax is an important component of the revenue of the government. To motivate the users this scheme was announced wherein the ministry had asked the people to declare and pay up to 50% of their service tax dues by December 31 to avoid prosecution. It was also stated that the tax offices will be open till midnight today for accepting the declaration.
The team for the New Zealand tour which starts from January 19 has been selected and in it Yuvraj Singh does not feature. All-rounder Stuart Binny and fast bowler Varun Aaron have been included in the 16-member ODI side. There are five ODIs and two tests in a series which extends for a month from Jan 19 to Feb 18. Rohit Sharma remains in the Test team though he performed miserably in the two tests against South Africa but left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha was not included. Ishwar Pandey, the fast bowler is the new entrant in the Test side.The ODIs will be played at Napier on January 19, Hamilton on January 22 and January 28, Auckland on January 25 and Wellington on January 31. The tests will be played at Auckland from February 6-10 and Wellington from February 14-18.
The team is:ODIs: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, R. Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Stuart Binny, Ishwar Pandey and Varun Aaron.
Test series: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Ishwar Pandey.
Science and Technology
Samsung, the world leader in smartphones has now another attractive scheme to push its sales. Under this scheme one can buy a phone on EMI and then upgrade to a new handset in 6 months. There is an 18 month EMI programme and Easy Buy Back which will enable the user to opt for a new handset after 6 or 12 months. The Stay New Scheme covers Galaxy Note 3, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Note 2, Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy Tab 3 and Galaxy Tab 10.1. Samsung has collaborated with HDFC Bank, Citibank, ICICI Bank and Standard Chartered for this scheme. The credit cards of these banks can be used for the EMI scheme at applicable interest rates. The scheme will be operational from January 1 to March 31. Further users can call up Ingram Micro, who is the distributor of Samsung devices and can upgrade their phones within 6-12 months of purchase.