SEPTEMBER 2018 (16-30)

“Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund”

The government has handed over a Rs 440 crore cheque to the NDDB from the Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF), marking the formal launch of the fund set up to provide soft loans to modernise and raise capacity of dairy cooperatives. NABARD has set up the DIDF with a corpus of Rs 8,004 crore to bring more dairy farmers into organised milk marketing through cooperatives. The fund is implemented through National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Cooperative Development Corporation(NCDC).
The major activities of DIDF: The project will focus on building an efficient milk procurement system by setting up of chilling infrastructure & installation of electronic milk adulteration testing equipment, creation/modernization/expansion of processing infrastructure and manufacturing faculties for Value Added Products for the Milk Unions/ Milk Producer Companies.
Management of DIDF: The project will be implemented by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Dairy Development Cooperation (NCDC) directly through the End Borrowers such as Milk Unions, State Dairy Federations, Multi-state Milk Cooperatives, Milk Producer Companies and NDDB subsidiaries meeting the eligibility criteria under the project. An Implementation and Monitoring Cell (IMC) located at NDDB, Anand, will manage the implementation and monitoring of day-to-day project activities. The end borrowers will get the loan @ 6.5% per annum. The period of repayment will be 10 years with initial two years moratorium. The respective State Government will be the guarantor of loan repayment. Also for the project sanctioned if the end user is not able to contribute its share; State Government will contribute the same.

Policy on ‘jhum’ cultivation
A recent NITI Aayog report has recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture should take up a “mission on jhum cultivation” to ensure inter-ministerial convergence.
Need of the hour: Various authorities often have divergent approaches towards shifting cultivation. This creates confusion among grass-roots level workers and jhum farmers said the report. Therefore, shifting cultivation fallows must be legally perceived and categorised as ‘regenerating fallows’ and credit facilities must be extended to those who practise shifting cultivation. Land for shifting cultivation should be recognised as “agricultural land” where farmers practise agro-forestry for the production of food rather than as forestland.
What is Jhum cultivation? Jhum cultivation, also known as the slash and burn agriculture, is the process of growing crops by first clearing the land of trees and vegetation and burning them thereafter. The burnt soil contains potash which increases the nutrient content of the soil. This practice is considered as an important mainstay of food production for a considerable population in North-East India.
Issues with Jhum Cultivation: The report notes that between 2000 and 2010, the land under shifting cultivation dropped by 70 %. People are returning to fallow land left after shifting in a shorter span. Earlier the cultivators returned to fallows after 10-12 years, now they are returning in three to five years which has impacted on the quality of the soil.
Name of Shifting Cultivation Region
Ray Vietnam
Tavi Madagascar
Masole Congo (Zaire river Valley)
Fang Equatorial African Countries
Logan Western Africa
Comile Mexico
Milpa Yucatan and Guatemala
Echalin Guadeloupe
Milya Mexico and Central America
Konuko Venezuela
Roka Brazil
Chetemini Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Caingin Philippines
Taungya Myanmar
Chena Sri Lanka
Ladang Java and Indonesia
Tamrai Thailand
Humah Java and Indonesia
Jhum North-eastern India
Vevar and Dahiyaar Bundelkhand Region (Madhya Pradesh)
Deepa Bastar District (Madhya Pradesh)
Zara and Erka Southern States
Batra South-eastern Rajasthan
Podu Andhra Pradesh
Kumari Hilly Region of the Western Ghats of Kerala
Kaman, Vinga and Dhavi Odisha

Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering
Almost three months after Pakistan was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list for failing to curb terror funding, Pakistan’s recent action against terror financing, particularly on the “legal” front, was found to be “unsatisfactory”, according to a review by the Asia Pacific Policy Group (APPG).
Reasons for the poor performance: Not much has been achieved by Pakistan, especially on the legal side (like freezing of assets, attachment of funds, militant groups infrastructures etc).
What next? Another review for Pakistan will be held in December this year following which a final evaluation report will be prepared. For Pakistan, the first deadline is January 2019 failing which they may face more heat. By then, Pakistan will have to publish updated lists of persons and entities proscribed under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the UN-designated entities.
APG: It is the FATF-style regional body for the Asia-Pacific region. It is an inter-governmental organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Composition: The APG consists of 41 member jurisdictions and a number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organisations. Under the APG’s Terms of Reference (updated 2012) membership is available for jurisdictions with a presence in the Asia-Pacific region who commit to the policy objectives of the organisation including undergoing a mutual evaluation (peer review) to determine the level of compliance of the member with the international standards against money laundering and terrorist financing. Observer status is available to any jurisdiction in the Asia-Pacific region interested in becoming a member or any other jurisdiction which supports the goals and work of the APG. International organisations which support the work of the APG may also join as supporting observers.
Role of members: Jurisdictions that join the APG, either as members or as observers, must commit to implement the international standards against money laundering, the financing of terrorism and proliferation financing (WMD), in particular the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). These standards were substantially updated in 2012 and are supplemented by a complex assessment methodology in 2013 which forms the benchmark for mutual evaluations.

Total expense ratio
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has announced changes to total expense ratio (TER) of mutual funds. Mutual funds are investments where an investor entrusts his/her money with an investment manager (of an asset management company) to manage the money smartly and efficiently. This money management comes at a cost, which is usually charged as a percentage of the investment. The official regulator of mutual funds has laid down rules on how much an asset management company can charge an investor to manage their funds. For an investor this is important because it is a charge (called total expense ratio or TER in short) levied on their investment, and the money they get back from their investment is reduced by this figure. So, for an investor, TER is an important number to focus on since it has a direct impact on their returns. However, it is not the only number to look at and investors should evaluate funds based on various parameters such as consistency of performance and risk levels. SEBI has, across the board, lowered the TER that a fund house can charge its investors. The reduction is higher for larger funds and lower for smaller funds — larger and smaller being a measure of how much money a fund manages.
Finance and Corporate Affairs Ministry has launched a web portal which is a transformative initiative in MSME credit space. The web portal will enable in principle approval for MSME loans up to Rs. 1 crore within 59 minutes from SIDBI and 5 Public Sector Banks (PSBs). It is one of its kind platforms in MSME segment which integrates advanced fintech to ensure seamless loan approval and management. The loans are undertaken without human intervention till sanction and or disbursement stage. The Portal sets a new benchmark in loan processing and reduces the turnaround time from 20-25 days to 59 minutes. Subsequent to this in principle approval, the loan will be disbursed in 7-8 working days. The solution uses sophisticated algorithms to read and analyse data points from various sources such as IT returns, GST data, bank statements, MCA21 etc. in less than an hour while capturing the applicant’s basic details. The system simplifies the decision making process for a loan officer as the final output provides a summary of credit, valuation and verification on a user-friendly dashboard in real time.

Mobile Application “Jan Dhan Darshak”
Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance and National Informatics Centre (NIC) has jointly developed a mobile app called Jan Dhan Darshak as a part of financial inclusion (FI) initiative. As the name suggests, this app will act as a guide for the common people in locating a financial service touch point at a given location in the country. The app will be in a unique position to provide a citizen centric platform for locating financial service touch points across all providers such as banks, post office, CSC, etc. These services could be availed as per the needs and convenience of the common people.
Some of the salient features of this App are as follows: Find nearby Financial touch points, based on current location (Branches/ATM/Post offices). Search by place name. Search by place name also available with Voice Interface. Phone number of bank branches available in app, with the facility of call button for integrated dialing. Users’ feedback will go directly to the concerned bank for carrying out the necessary updation in data on financial touch points.