Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
The 2018 Apec summit was held recently held in Papua New Guinea.
Outcome of the summit: It ended with no joint statement from the leaders – a first in Apec history – and with the fight for dominance in the Pacific region between Australia, the US and Japan on one side and China on the other, coming out into the open.
APEC: The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC has 21 members.
Aim: to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.
Functions: APEC works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy. APEC projects provide digital skills training for rural communities and help indigenous women export their products abroad. Recognizing the impacts of climate change, APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources. The forum adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being. This includes ensuring disaster resilience, planning for pandemics, and addressing terrorism.
Members: APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.
APEC Members account for approximately 40% of the world’s population, approximately 54% of the world’s gross domestic product and about 44% of world trade.
Civil Aviation in India
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is likely to announce the third phase of the regional air connectivity scheme, UDAN, next month.
What is Civil Aviation? The civil aviation sector consists of several segments including helicopter/seaplane services, ground handling services, maintenance and repair organizations, flying training institutes, and technical training institutions.
Civil Aviation Sector in India: An Introduction: The Civil Aviation Sector in India is a fast growing industry and has recorded considerable growth in the last 30 years. India has the third largest aviation market in terms of domestic passenger traffic (CAPA, 2017). Further, International Air Transport Association (IATA), has projected that India would overtake the UK to become the third largest air passenger market (both domestic and international) by 2025.
Policy:National Civil Aviation Policy, 2016 (NCAP, 2016):
The policy focuses on creating safe, secure, affordable and sustainable air travel that can be accessed by the masses across India. The key features of the policy are:
Regional Connectivity Scheme: Under the RCS, the Ministry of Civil Aviation targets an estimate airfare of INR 2,500 per passenger for flights travelling on RCS specified routes for a distance of approximately 500kms – 600kms
Viability Gap Funding: concessions to be provided to the airlines to encourage them to fly on regional routes. The central government will fund 80% of the losses incurred by the airlines and the rest to be covered by states.
5/20 Requirement for International Operations: NCAP has allowed all domestic airline operators to fly international routes provided that they deploy 20 aircrafts or 20% of their total capacity (determined in terms of average number of seats on all departures), whichever is higher for domestic operations.
Ground handling: NCAP 2016 provides that all domestic scheduled operators will be permitted to carry out self-handling at all airports by engaging either their own subsidiary or a third party ground handling service provider like Air India, Aviaxpert, Celebi/NAS etc.
Airports/PPP: It encourages the development of airports by state governments, AAI, private sector through PPP model. For future airports, tariffs will be calculated on a ‘hybrid till’ basis. Under this model, airport charges will be levied based on an airline’s aeronautical revenue and part of its non-aeronautical revenue
Aviation security, Immigration and Customs: ‘Service delivery modules’ will be developed for aviation security, Immigration, Customs in consultation with the concerned ministries
Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO): The government to take measures and provide suitable incentives for MRO activities and service providers in order to boost MRO business
Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, 1944: The Convention requires that Contracting States ensure that their aircrafts do not cross jurisdictions and that one Contracting State’s aviation services do not interfere with another’s. Pursuant to this Convention, India also became one of the founding members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which codifies the principles and techniques set forth in the Chicago Convention.
Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, 1999 (Montreal Convention): It deals with scope of liabilities to be paid to families for death or injury whilst on board an aircraft.
The Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, 2001 (Cape Town Convention): It standardizes transactions involving movable property. The Protocol to the Cape Town Convention made this applicable to aircraft objects.
Issues and Challenges with Civil Aviation Sector in India:
Infrastructure issues: The lack of adequate airport infrastructure is one of the most major barriers to the airline industry. A major issue is that aviation infrastructure growth hasn’t kept pace with the growth in air traffic. A major problemrelatively small size of the aircraft fleet available for domestic routes or international destinations.
Financial Health: Though India is among the fastest growing aviation markets in the world, its airlines has been gripped in loses. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation predicts expects India’s consolidated airline industry to post a loss of $1.65 billion to $1.90 billion in the year-ending March 2019. It had earlier forecasted a loss of $430 million to $460 million.
Rupee Depreciation: the recent rupee’s depreciation has had negative impact on the airline industry. About 25-30% of airline costs (excluding fuel) are dollar denominated. Example: aircraft lease rents and maintenance costs to ground handling and parking charges abroad.
Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF): International prices of ATF, is one of most important factor that affects the cost of air operations. Further, the high state tax levied on the ATF in India makes it one of the most expensive in the world. As compared to the world average of 20-25%, ATF accounts for over 40% of the total cost for the airline companies.
UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) Scheme: The scheme seeks to boost air connectivity by linking up un-served and under-served airports in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities with the big cities and also with each other. Critics have raised concerns as the viability gap funding (concessions provided to the airlines to encourage them to fly on regional routes) under UDAN scheme will last only for three years and various operational issues, such as the lack of slots for connecting flights at major airports will affect financial health of airlines. A number of smaller airports have come up- Example: Shirdi in Maharashtra, Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh and Pakyong in Sikkim. In the upcoming 3rd phase of UDAN, the government would invite proposals for air routes that include tourist destinations and seaplanes to connect through places such as Sardar Sarovar Dam, Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand and Nagarjuna Sagar in Telangana
International UDAN: It seeks to connect India’s smaller cities directly to some key foreign destinations in the neighbourhood.
Only the State government that will provide the financial support for flights under international UDAN.Financial support and flying exclusivity on the route will be for three years
Project DISHA (Driving Improvements in Service and Hospitality at Airports): It aims to enhance operational efficiency and the overall travel experience of the travellers. The Airports Authority of India has planned to invest Rs. 17,500 crore in upgrading the existing airport infrastructure as part as part of Project DISHA
Draft charter of passenger rights: It aims to improve passenger experience in India. Some key provisions include: Passengers will be compensated if an airline is at fault for any delay. Passengers are eligible for a full refund if a domestic airline cancels a flight 1 day before departure or delays it for more than 4 hours. Delay resulting in flight departing next day- Airline to provide free hotel stay
Compensation for missing connecting flights: Rs. 5000-Rs.20000. Free Cancellation of air tickets 24hrs of booking and within 4 days before scheduled departure. Further cancellation charges cannot be more than the sum of basic fare and fuel surcharge
Air SEWA mobile app: It enables passengers check flight status and connecting flights in real time, and get information on the facilities available at all airports in the country. It also helps users address their grievances through the application.
Aviation fuel is a specialized type of petroleum-based fuel used to power aircraft. It is generally of a higher quality than fuels used in less critical applications, such as heating or road transport, and often contains additives to reduce the risk of icing or explosion due to high temperature, among other properties.
The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has launched an app and web-based platform, ‘NSE goBID’, for retail investors to buy government securities.
‘NSE goBID’: The app would allow investors to invest in treasury bills (T-Bills) of 91 days, 182 days and 364 days and various government bonds from one year to almost 40 years. The retail investors would be able to make payment directly from their bank accounts using Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Internet banking. While investment could be done almost every week after a one-time registration, the app would be available to all investors registered with NSE’s trading members. The launch assumes significance as government securities are among the safer investment options available to retail investors as such securities are credit risk free instruments while providing portfolio diversification with longer investment durations.
What you need to know about Treasury bills?
T-bills are short term securities issued on behalf of the government by the RBI and are used in managing short term liquidity needs of the government. 91-day T-bills are auctioned every week on Wednesday and 182-day and 364-day T-bills are auctioned every alternate week on Wednesdays. Treasury bills are issued at a discount and are redeemed at par.
Payment Regulation in India
A “payment system” means a system that enables payment to be effected between a payer and a beneficiary, involving clearing, payment or settlement service or all of them. Settlement’ means the settlement of payment instructions received and these include settlement of securities, foreign exchange or derivatives or other transactions. Based on the mode of settlement, Payment systems can be classified into two categories:
1.RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement): A gross-settlement based payment system, which works on a real-time basis.
2.Payment systems which are operated on a “delayed net settlement” basis
In India, the major payment systems include – RTGS, NEFT, Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Unified Payment Interface (UPI), National Electronic Clearing Service (NECS) and various card schemes (such as Visa, MasterCard and RuPay).
Payment Service Providers (PSPs) in India: Both bank and non-bank players are PSPs in India. Only bank-led PSPs have direct access to payment systems. Non-bank PSPs can access payment systems only through a member bank As of 2016, there are 44 authorised PrePaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) (including mobile wallets, prepaid cards, etc.) and 8 authorised Payments Banks. Apart from this, the RBI has also authorised 8 Cross-Border Money Transfer operators, and 8 White-label ATM Operators
Legal and Regulatory framework:
Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007: Under the Payment Systems & Settlements (PSS) Act of 2007, two regulations have been made by the Reserve Bank of India:
1.The Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems Regulation (BPSS), 2008: The BPSS is a sub-committee of the Central Board of the RBI is in charge of discharging the regulatory functions vested in the RBI under PSS Act 2007. It is empowered for authorising, prescribing policies and setting standards for regulating and supervising all the payment and settlement systems in India
2.The Payment and Settlement Systems Regulations, 2008: It covers matters like form of application for authorization for commencing/ carrying on a payment system and grant of authorization, payment instructions and determination of standards of payment systems
The above two regulations together provide the necessary statutory backing to the RBI for overviewing the payment and settlement systems in the country. Further, National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) acts as an umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems in India. It was set up with the support & guidance from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) & Indian Banks Association (IBA).
Following the recommendations of the Watal Committee, in the Finance Act of 2017, the government amended the PSSA, 2007 to provide for a PRB.
The Draft Payment and Settlement System Bill, 2018:
It seeks to foster competition, consumer protection, systemic stability and resilience in payment sector and establish an independent Payments Regulatory Board (PRB) to regulate the same. The Bill provides for:
The PRB to be an independent payments regulator.
Changes to the composition of the PRB beyond the composition provided in the Finance Act, 2017
The RBI to have significant representation on the PRB.
It envisages a formal mechanism for co-ordination so that the regulation of payments, in so far as it may be relevant in the context of financial stability, monetary policy and credit policy is achieved harmoniously.
Views of RBI:
The RBI issued a dissent note on the draft Payment and Settlement System Bill 2018 and advocated the regulation of payments system should remain with the central bank. It put forward the following arguments against creation of an independent PRB:
There has been no evidence of any inefficiency in payment systems of India and the digital payments have made good and steady progress. Provided this, there should not be any change in a well-functioning system. The RBI argues that the payment and settlement system being a sub-set of the currency management system, keeping the PRB independent of RBI would not be appropriate. The Monetary Policy has a huge impact on the payment systems and therefore, the power to regulate the payment systems should be with the monetary authority. Since, banks are the most important parties of the payment systems, RBI being the banking regulator makes it logical to keep integrate PRB within the operations of the RBI. Further, there are certain payment systems like cards which are issued by banks globally. Dual regulation over such instruments will not be desirable. Settlement systems are finally posted in the books of account of banks with the RBI to attain settlement finality. Regulating these entities goes hand in hand with the settlement function.
International Tourism Mart
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in association with the Department of Tourism, Government of Tripura and the North Eastern States is organizing the 7th “International Tourism Mart” in Agartala, Tripura. This is the 7th edition of the International Tourism Mart, an annual event organised in the North Eastern region with the objective of highlighting the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international markets. It brings together the tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight North Eastern States. The event has been planned and scheduled to facilitate interaction between buyers, sellers, media, Government agencies and other stakeholders. The International Tourism Marts are organised in the North Eastern States on rotation basis. The earlier editions of this mart have been held in Guwahati, Tawang, Shillong, Gangtok and Imphal. The North East Region of India comprising the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim, is endowed with diverse tourist attractions and products. The varied topography of the region, its flora and fauna, the ethnic communities with their rich heritage of ancient traditions and lifestyles, its festivals, arts and crafts, make it a holiday destination waiting to be explored. The ITM will see wide participation of International buyers and media delegates from countries around the world and from different regions of the country. They will be engaging in business-to-business meetings with sellers from the North Eastern Region. This will enable the tourism product suppliers from the region to reach out to international and domestic buyers, with the objective of promoting tourism to the region.
City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for City Gas Distribution (CGD) projects across 129 districts to boost availability of gas supply for half of the country’s population in 26 states and Union Territories. The projects, recently awarded by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) would cover 65 Geographical Areas (GAs) under the ninth round of bidding. Government of India has put thrust to promote the usage of environment friendly clean fuel i.e. natural gas as a fuel/feedstock across the country to move towards a gas based economy. Accordingly, development of CGD networks has been focused to increase the availability of cleaner cooking fuel (i.e. PNG) and transportation fuel (i.e. CNG) to the citizens of the country. The expansion of CGD network will also benefit to industrial and commercial units by ensuring the uninterrupted supply of natural gas.
Why Natural Gas? Natural gas is a superior fuel as compared with coal and other liquid fuels being an environment friendly, safer and cheaper fuel. Natural Gas is supplied through pipelines just like one gets water from the tap. There is no need to store cylinders in the kitchen and thus saves space. Natural Gas (as CNG) is cheaper by 60% as compared with petrol and 45 % w.r.t. Diesel. Similarly, Natural Gas (as PNG) is cheaper by 40 % as compared with market price LPG and price of PNG almost matches with that of subsidised LPG (based on prices in Delhi).
PNGRB: The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) was constituted under The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006. The Act provide for the establishment of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board to protect the interests of consumers and entities engaged in specified activities relating to petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas and to promote competitive markets and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The board has also been mandated to regulate the refining, processing, storage, transportation, distribution, marketing and sale of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas excluding production of crude oil and natural gas so as and to ensure uninterrupted and adequate supply of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas in all parts of the country.
Board committees to assist RBI
The government and Reserve Bank of India have found a middle ground on the contentious issues between the two in the board meeting held recently. The Reserve Bank and the government have agreed to refer to an expert committee the following issues: The appropriate size of reserves that the RBI must hold and transfer of surplus reserves. Relaxing norms for weak banks with the government pushing for a review to allow a few state-run banks out of the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) . RBI has agreed for setting up of an expert committee on the economic capital framework (ECF) and its mandate is restricted to future earnings and not the existing reserves. The membership and terms of reference will be jointly determined by the Government of India and the RBI.
Key aspects during meeting: Forming a committee on RBI’s economic capital framework
Debt recast scheme for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
Extending the deadline for last tranche of capital conservation buffer by one year
Review of banks under prompt corrective action by the Board for Financial Supervision (BFS).
Decisions taken during the meeting:
On the issue of capital adequacy ratio, after much deliberations to reduce it to 8%, it was finally retained at 9%.N It also agreed to extend the transition period for implementing the last tranche of 0.625% under the Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB), by one year, i.e., up to March 31, 2020. On the PCA, Board for Financial Supervision (BFS) of RBI will review the norms and decide if some of the parameters like net non-performing asset (NPA) ratio could be relaxed so that some of the banks come out of the PCA. There are 11 public sector banks out of 21 that are on PCA. The BFS consists of governor, four deputy governors and few other board members. The Board also advised that the RBI should consider a scheme for restructuring of stressed standard assets of MSME borrowers with aggregate credit facilities of up to ₹250 million [₹25 crore] , subject to such conditions as are necessary for ensuring financial stability.
Make it the Indian way: Why the country must adapt to additive technologies
3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
Comparison between Traditional and Additive Manufacturing:
Traditional manufacturing of mechanical parts involves making a mould and then stamping out parts by thousands every day. The equipment to make these parts and moulds is expensive, thus the cost of the first hundred units is high. Per unit costs decline only when they are mass produced. Because of limitations of how this technology works, one typically builds many small parts, which are later on assembled on an assembly line using unskilled labour or robots to build an entire system. Traditional manufacturing leads to high inventory costs of multiple parts that need to be produced and stored before being assembled. This makes the design phase complex and costly, rendering it expensive to redesign to correct initial mistakes or innovate to meet changing consumer needs. In additive manufacturing, the physical object to be built is first designed in software and fed to computerised machines, which build that object layer by layer. The technology is suitable for building the entire system in one go, with hollow interiors without assembly or interlocked parts. Changing features or tweaking shapes is a simple software change effected in minutes. Retooling of machines is not required and each unit can be customised. By eliminating the need to hold a large inventory of parts, set up an assembly line and purchase costly machines, adaptive manufacturing reduces capital and space requirements as well as the carbon footprint.
Evidences to support 3D printing:
Rapid progress in technology over the last five years has employed it to varied uses from nozzle and simple resin materials to multiple nozzles, diverse materials and materials with different hardness in the same system. The global manufacturing giants like Adidas and Nike may well start manufacturing en masse by 3D-printing. One recent survey of U.S. manufacturers shows that about 12% have started using additive manufacturing for their products and expectations are that this will result in about 25% of products in the next three-five years. This technology is used to build helmets, dental implants, medical equipment, parts of jet engines and even entire bodies of cars. In some industries, the progress is astonishing. Nearly all hearing aid manufacturers now use additive manufacturing.
Challenges for developing nations:
3D printing carries dangerous implications for developing nations as it decreases reliance on assembly workers and bypasses the global supply chain that has allowed countries like China to become prosperous through export of mass-produced items. This may well lead to the creation of software-based design platforms in the West that distribute work orders to small manufacturing facilities, whether located in developed or developing countries, but ultimately transfer value creation towards software and design and away from physical manufacturing. This would imply that labour intensive manufacturing exports may be less profitable.
Opportunities in India:
Additive manufacturing eliminates large capital outlays as machines are cheaper, inventories can be small and space requirements are not large. Thus, it reduces the hurdle of large capital requirement in jump-starting manufacturing and the traditional small and medium enterprises can easily be adapted and retooled towards high technology Owing to the well-established Indian software industry and plans to increase connectivity are well under way as part of ‘Digital India’, 3D Printing could lead to the creation of manufacturing facilities in small towns and foster industrial development outside of major cities. Additive manufacturing allows to build products (which require assembly of fewer parts) that are better suited for use in harsh environmental conditions , to withstand dust and moisture prevalent in our tropical environment and be more durable. Maintaining old products is far easier because parts can be manufactured as needed and product life-cycles can be expanded more so in a country like India where use-and-throw is an anathema Also maintaining uniform product quality is far easier because the entire system is built at the same time and assembly is not required in 3D printing.
Make it Indian Way: The “Make it the Indian Way” approach needs public-private partnership and multi-pronged efforts. To implement it, research at our premier engineering schools on manufacturing machines need to be accelerated and formation of product design centres should be encouraged so that the products built suit the Indian environment and consumers. Government support is also needed to provide incentives for distributed manufacturing in smaller towns, and for the IT industry to work on creating platforms and marketplaces that connect consumer demands, product designers and manufacturers in a seamless way.
Farmers badly hit by demonetisation, admits Agriculture Ministry
Recently Union Agriculture Ministry submitted a report to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, which noted that millions of farmers in India were unable to buy seeds and fertilisers for their winter crops because of demonetisation. According to the report, demonetisation came at a time when farmers were engaged in either selling their Kharif crops or sowing the Rabi crops. Both these operations needed huge amounts of cash, which demonetisation removed from the market. Since India’s 263 million farmers live mostly in the cash economy, millions of farmers were unable to get enough cash to buy seeds and fertilisers for their winter crops due to demonitisation. Even bigger landlords faced a problem such as paying daily wages to the farmers and purchasing agriculture needs for growing crops. Moreover, the National Seeds Corporation (NSC) failed to sell nearly 1.38 lakh quintals of wheat seeds because of the cash crunch. The sale of wheat seeds also did not pick up even after the government allowed the use of old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. Farmers distress is an important issue in three of the five States that are facing Assembly poll: Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. However, the Labour Ministry filed a laudatory report on demonetisation reporting that comparisons of quarterly employment surveys (QES) for the periods just before and after demonetisation revealed an increase of 1.22 lakh and 1.85 lakh respectively in the fourth and fifth round of the QES, in the total employment for establishments with 10 or more workers.
it aims at doubling the income of farmers. In the last four & half years, Rs. 1915.33 crore has been released for its implementation.
(Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare)
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare at his inaugural address on Fifth World Fisheries Day, said that under the Blue Revolution scheme, 29,128 hectares has been developed for aquaculture and fishermen are being benefitted. And 7441 traditional boats have been modernized and converted into motorized boats. The Blue Revolution mission aims at doubling the income of farmers and in the last four & half years, Rs. 1915.33 crore has been released for the implementation of Blue Revolution Schemes.
The government has approved Rs. 7522 crore Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF).
Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF): It creates employment opportunities to over 9.40 lakhs fishers/fishermen/ fisher folks and other entrepreneurs in fishing and allied activities. It attracts private investment in creation and management of fisheries infrastructure facilities. It helps in the creation of fisheries infrastructure facilities both in marine and inland fisheries sectors, which would boast fish production and help achieve target of Rs. 15 million tonne by 2020 under Blue revolution. It aims to achieve a sustainable growth of 8% to 9% in a move to augment fish production to the level of about 20 million tonnes by 2022-23.
World Fisheries Day
World Fisheries Day is celebrated on November 21st every year to highlight the importance of healthy oceans ecosystems and to ensure sustainable stocks of fisheries in the world.
Fisheries in India: Fisheries is an important sector in India that provides employment to millions of people apart from contributing to the food security of the country. India has over 8,000 km of coastline, and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of over 2 million sq km, and extensive freshwater resources. Thus, fisheries play a vital role in the economy of the country with the practice contributing about 1.07 per cent to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Fisheries in India makes up to 5.3 per cent to agriculture and allied activities.
Inland fisheries: Inland fisheries is also a vital part of fisheries in India. India’s freshwater resources consist of:
Rivers and canals (197,024 km). Reservoirs (3.15 million hectares). Ponds and tanks (235 million hectares). Oxbow lakes and derelict waters (1.3 million hectares). Brackishwaters (1.24 million hectares) and estuaries (0.29 million hectares). The inland capture fish production has increased from 192,000 tonnes in 1950 to 781,846 tonnes in 2007.
Government of India to observe the remembrance of 100 years of the historical Jallianwalla Bagh massacre
Government of India has decided to mark the remembrance of 100 years of the historical Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre next year.
A number of commemorative as well as constructive activities will be taken up during the remembrance period.
Coin and Postage Stamps: The commemorative coin and postage stamps will be released on 13th April 2019 (the day the incident took place 100 years ago). Ministry of Culture will organize cultural activities like kavi sammelan, plays, exhibition, seminars, etc. across the country. A Committee is constituted to ensure timely implementation to Renovate, upgrade and beautify the Jallianwalla Bagh Memorial, and Develop Virtual Reality Theme Based show at the Memorial.
Development of Virtual Reality Theme Based show: The Ministry of Tourism earmarked an amount of Rs. 8 crore under Swadesh Darshan Scheme for development of Virtual Reality Theme Based show at the Memorial. The Ministry of Culture will provide additional funds, if needed. It is also known as the Amritsar Massacre (dated April 13, 1919) at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. On 13th April 1919, thousands of people were gathered at Jallianwala Bagh. This day marks the beginning of New Year for the Sikhs, also celebrated as Baisakhi festival all over Punjab. Colonel Reginald Dyer had announced curfew and a ban on all processions that even prohibited a group of 4 or more people to meet publicly. However, General Dyer sensed the number of people present there and the secret meeting that was about to take place. Thus, he arrived with armed troops and ordered to open fire. The troops were ordered to start shooting; this heinous act of violence resulted in extreme mass killing. To keep in mind this significance of this place, a trust was founded in 1920 to build a memorial site at Jallianwala Bagh. American architect, Benjamin Polk, built the memorial site which was inaugurated by the then President of India, Rajendra Prasad on 13 April 1961.
Open Transit Data platform
To increase transparency and build transport solutions, the transport department of the Delhi government has launched the Open Transit Data platform which provides real-time datasets free of cost.
Open Transit Data Platform: Through this the government aims to provide real-time data which can be used by third party app developers and researchers. This includes geo-coordinates of all bus stops, route maps, timetables as well as the real time GPS feeds of bus locations which will be updated every 10 seconds. The portal was designed and developed by IIIT Delhi on behalf of the Delhi government. The government believes that application developer and researchers would be able to use the data for bringing out transport solutions. It is a major step to promote collaboration and co-creation of innovative and inclusive transport solutions for the people of Delhi. This initiative will provide a lot of useful information at the fingertips of citizens and encourage more and more people to switch to public transport, thereby impacting pollution.
Prompt corrective action (PCA) framework
The 11 state-run banks, which are under the RBI’s prompt corrective action (PCA) framework, have seen a 400 basis points increase in their share of retail loans at 19% in the four years ending September 2018. The RBI began to place state-run banks under the PCA framework for the first time in September 2016, when their NPAs soared beyond the regulatory tolerance levels.
Negative effects: Banks under the PCA have lost market share to private sector banks in corporate loans and unsecured personal loans, and it will be a Herculean task for the affected banks to claw this back. The PCA framework puts restrictions on weaker banks on many aspects, including fresh lending and expansion, and salary hikes, among others.
The 11 banks under the PCA are: Allahabad Bank, United Bank of India, Corporation Bank, IDBI Bank, UCO Bank, Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Dena Bank and Bank of Maharashtra. These banks together control over 20 per cent of the credit market.
What is PCA? PCA norms allow the regulator to place certain restrictions such as halting branch expansion and stopping dividend payment. It can even cap a bank’s lending limit to one entity or sector. Other corrective action that can be imposed on banks include special audit, restructuring operations and activation of recovery plan. Banks’ promoters can be asked to bring in new management, too. The RBI can also supersede the bank’s board, under PCA.
When is PCA invoked? The PCA is invoked when certain risk thresholds are breached. There are three risk thresholds which are based on certain levels of asset quality, profitability, capital and the like. The third such threshold, which is maximum tolerance limit, sets net NPA at over 12% and negative return on assets for four consecutive years.
What are the types of restrictions? There are two type of restrictions, mandatory and discretionary. Restrictions on dividend, branch expansion, directors compensation, are mandatory while discretionary restrictions could include curbs on lending and deposit. In the cases of two banks where PCA was invoked after the revised guidelines were issued — IDBI Bank and UCO Bank — only mandatory restrictions were imposed. Both the banks breached risk threshold 2.
What will a bank do if PCA is triggered? Banks are not allowed to re new or access costly deposits or take steps to increase their fee-based income. Banks will also have to launch a special drive to reduce the stock of NPAs and contain generation of fresh NPAs. They will also not be allowed to enter into new lines of business. RBI will also impose restrictions on the bank on borrowings from interbank market.
Small and medium enterprises will have to bear the brunt due to this move by RBI. Since the PCA framework restricts the amount of loans banks can extend, this will definitely put pressure on credit being made available to companies especially the MSMEs. Large companies have access to the corporate bond market so they may not be impacted immediately. It has been predicted that if more state-owned banks are brought under PCA, it will impact the credit availability for the MSME segment.
NBFC Mudra loans grew faster than banks in FY18
According to the 2017-18 annual report of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), though NBFCs sanctioned only over ₹27,000 crore of Mudra loans in FY18 against ₹92,492.68 crore by public sector banks, their year-on-year growth was faster. While NBFC Mudra loan sanctions increased ₹21,562.63 crore from a year ago, state-run banks could raise their Mudra loans by only ₹20,539.01 crore in the same period. Impressively, NBFCs not only met their Mudra target of ₹9,050 crore for FY18, but their sanctions for the year were a five-fold jump from the previous year.
Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme:
The PMMY Scheme was launched in April, 2015. The scheme’s objective is to refinance collateral-free loans given by the lenders to small borrowers. The scheme, which has a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore, can lend between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs. Banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) can draw refinance under the MUDRA Scheme after becoming member-lending institutions of MUDRA. Mudra Loans are available for non-agricultural activities upto Rs. 10 lakh and activities allied to agriculture such as Dairy, Poultry, Bee Keeping etc, are also covered. Mudra’s unique features include a Mudra Card which permits access to Working Capital through ATMs and Card Machines.
There are three types of loans under PMMY:
Shishu (up to Rs.50,000).
Kishore (from Rs.50,001 to Rs.5 lakh).
Tarun (from Rs.500,001 to Rs.10,00,000).
Objectives of the scheme:
Fund the unfunded: Those who have a business plan to generate income from a non-farm activity like manufacturing, processing, trading or service sector but don’t have enough capital to invest can take loans up to Rs 10 lakh.
Micro finance institutions (MFI) monitoring and regulation: With the help of MUDRA bank, the network of microfinance institutions will be monitored. New registration will also be done.
Promote financial inclusion: With the aim to reach Last mile credit delivery to micro businesses taking help of technology solutions, it further adds to the vision of financial inclusion.
Reduce jobless economic growth: Providing micro enterprises with credit facility will help generate employment sources and an overall increase in GDP.
Integration of Informal economy into Formal sector: It will help India also grow its tax base as incomes from the informal sector are non-taxed.
Government of India and Asian Development Bank (ADB) sign $200 Million Loan to improve State Highways in Bihar.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $200 million loan to finance widening and upgrading of about 230 Kilometers State Highways in Bihar to all-weather standards with road safety features.
Advantages of improved roads under the Project: It will contribute to savings in vehicle operating cost and travel time. It will reduce vehicle emissions, and It will improve road safety.
Asian Development Bank (ADB): The Asian Development Bank was conceived in the early 1960s as a financial institution that would be Asian in character and foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world.
It assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development. ADB is composed of 67 members, 48 of which are from the Asia and Pacific region.
Established on 19 December 1966
Headquartered — Manila, Philippines
Official United Nations Observer
Voting rights: It is modelled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
United States > Japan > China > India >Australia
Gender wage gap highest in India
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released Global Wage Report 2018-19. As per the report, women are paid the most unequally in India, compared to men, when it comes to hourly wages for labour. On average, women are paid 34% less than men.
Highlights of the report: The gender wage gap has remained unchanged at 20% from 2016 to 2017. In advanced economies (G20), real wage growth declined from 0.9 per cent in 2016 to 0.4 per cent in 2017, meaning near stagnation. By contrast, in emerging economies and developing G20 countries, real wage growth dipped marginally from 4.9 per cent in 2016 and 4.3 per cent in 2017. Inequality is higher in monthly wages, with a gap of 22 per cent. Overall, real wages grew just 1.8 per cent globally (136 countries) in 2017. In most countries, women and men differ significantly in respect of working time – specifically, that part-time work is more prevalent among women than among men. The report advocated that emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring equal pay for women and men.