iv. Tokyo Electric Power Company said there were no abnormalities at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant following the quake. The runways at Tokyo’s Narita airport were operating normally but the high-speed bullet train service between Tokyo and Osaka was halted due to a power outage.
7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes off Japan
i. A powerful undersea earthquake south of Japan has shaken buildings in Tokyo.
ii. The US Geological Survey said the 7.8-magnitude earthquake was centred 874km (543 miles) from the Japanese capital, at a depth of almost 700m.
iii. It struck at 18:30 local time (11:30 GMT). Buildings in the capital swayed for almost a minute as the quake built in intensity.
Finance Minister inaugurated New Bank Note Paper Line unit in Hoshangabad, MP
i. As part of Make in India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely inaugurates Indigenous New Bank Note printing lines at Security Paper Mill in Hoshangabad.
ii. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the New Bank Note Paper Line of 6,000 metric tonnes capacity at Security Paper Mill, Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh.
iii. The Bank Note Paper Line in Mysore with 12,000 Metric Tonnes capacity is expected to be commissioned by the year end.
iv. The government is expected to save foreign exchange worth 1,500 crore rupees by commissioning two new bank paper lines in Hoshangabad and Mysore for indigenously printing Indian currency.
v. The production of the Bank Note paper from these two units will reduce the import considerably. This will also reduce possibility of diversion of the paper supplied by the foreign suppliers to the other destinations for the purpose of generating the fake currency.
India Outpaces China as GDP Rises by 7.5% in Q4
i. The Indian economy expanded 7.3% in the year ended March, in line with the initial forecast and marginally higher than 6.9% recorded in the previous year, pointing to a soft recovery and strengthening the case for a rate cut on June 2 when Reserve Bank reviews monetary policy.
ii. The data released by India’s statistics office on Friday showed gross domestic product (GDP) rose 7.5% in January-March 2015 compared with 6.7% —after a downward revision from 7.5% — in the October quarter, signalling a slight pickup.
iii. This comes as the US said that its GDP contracted 0.7% owing to shipping delays, dollar dominance and a harsh cold season.
iv. The January-March growth is ahead of 7% recorded by China, in line with independent forecasts that India is set to take on the man tle of fastest-growing large economy in the current fiscal. China’s economy expanded 7.4% in the 2014 calendar year.
RBI issues draft norms for mass transport pre-paid cards
i. RBI has issued draft guidelines on mobility cards that will allow you to travel without cash in metros, buses and taxis carrying prepaid cards with value up to Rs. 2,000.
ii. In a bid to boost prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) for commuting, RBI has introduced a new category of prepaid payment instruments that will be issued by the mass transit operators (such as metro or road transport).
iii. The PPI- MTS (mass transit systems) will necessarily contain the Automated Fare Collection application related to the transit service and can be used at other merchants whose activities are allied to or are carried on within the premises of the transit system only,” RBI said in the draft circular, which will be open to comments and feedback.
iv. With a minimum validity of six months from the issue date, the PPI- MTS will be reloadable with a balance limit of Rs. 2,000. No cash-out or refund will be permitted from these PPI, the central bank said.
Niti Aayog gets two new advisers; 10 new JS appointed
i. Alok Kumar and Jitendra Kumar have been appointed as advisers in Niti Aayog for five years as part of a minor bureaucratic reshuffle effected by the government.
ii. Alok is a 1993 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre while Jitendra (1987 batch) is Indian Forest Service officer of Uttarakhand cadre.
iii. Anna Roy has been appointed as Joint Secretary (JS) in the Department of Financial Services, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training said. Roy, a 1992 batch officer of Indian Economic Service, will have tenure till October 31, 2017. She is working as a Director in the same department.
Service Tax Rate @ 14% applicable from 1st June
i. Finance Minister while presenting the Budget 2015 has increased the Service Tax Rate from 12.36% to flat 14%.
ii. However, the date from which the new Service tax rate is applicable was not announced in the Budget. On 19th May, the Finance Ministry announced that the new Service Tax Rate @ 14% would be applicable from 1st June.
iii. The rate of Service Tax for services provided before 1st June is 12.36% and for services provided after 1st June is 14%.
Sepp Blatter Withstands Scandal and Criticism to Secure a Fifth Term
i. Sepp Blatter began his fifth term as Fifa president in defiant mood, suggesting that he had survived a US-sponsored campaign to oust him, but admitted that world football’s governing body would have to work hard to repair relations with its sponsors.
ii. Mr Blatter said he would have to repair relations with football’s biggest sponsors, including Visa and Coca-Cola, admitting that the storm of the past week had tarnished Fifa.
iii. Fifa earned $1.6bn from sponsorship over the four-year cycle leading to the 2014 Brazil World Cup, 29 per cent of its total revenue.
iv. He noted that the US had lost out to Qatar in the bidding to host the 2022 World Cup and said the US was the “number one sponsor” of Jordan, home of Prince Ali.