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When:
November 20, 2018 @ 11:30 am
2018-11-20T11:30:00+05:30
2018-11-20T11:45:00+05:30

NEWS

20 NOVEMBER 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Govt., RBI call truce after a marathon board meeting

2.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

NSA, Minister hampered Asthana probe: CBI officer

3.

GS II: SOCIAL – REHABILITATION

Bengal House clears Bill to give land rights to enclave dwellers

4.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

Innovative crop drying technology to boost harvest

5.

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

‘Literacy levels in rural India suffer from migration of families’

6.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Make elephant corridors eco-sensitive zones: NGT

7.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

Maldives to pull out of China FTA

8.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

SC upholds tribunal order backing UltraTech’s Binani bid

9.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS

Talks on with 150 nations to reform WTO: Prabhu

10.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

‘Corruption no longer among top 3 hurdles to doing business in India’

11.

GS III: ECONOMY – POLICY

App unveiled for retail investment in T-bills

12.

GS II: SOCIAL – HEALTH

Global fight on malaria stalled: WHO

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Govt., RBI call truce after a marathon board meeting

  • The tension between the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appeared to have defused for the time being with both agreeing to settle for a middle ground at the end of an over nine-hour board meeting on 19 November 2018.
  • The most contentious issue between the central bank and the Finance Ministry was the RBI’s capital.
  • Now, while the RBI has agreed to set up an expert committee on the economic capital framework (ECF), its mandate is restricted to future earnings and not the existing reserves, sources privy to the board deliberations said.
  • “The board decided to constitute an expert committee to examine the ECF, the membership and terms of reference of which will be jointly determined by the Government of India and the RBI,” the central bank said in a statement.
  • On the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework the Board for Financial Supervision (BFS) of the RBI will review the norms and take a call 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 the PCA.
  • The BFS consists of the Governor, four Deputy Governors and a few other board members.
  • Another significant decision was relief to micro, small and medium enterprises — the sector which is badly hit by the twin blows of demonetisation and patchy implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • “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 Rs. 250 million [Rs. 25 crore] , subject to such conditions as are necessary for ensuring financial stability,” the RBI said.
  • On the issue of capital adequacy ratio, after much deliberations to reduce it to 8%, it was finally retained at 9%.
  • However, the deadline for implementing the last tranche of 0.625% under the capital conservation buffer (CCB), has been extended by one year, that is, up to March 31, 2020.
  • Two other important issues that could not be discussed — liquidity for non-banking financial companies and governance issues of the RBI — will be taken up in the next meeting, scheduled on 14 December, sources said.
  • The tension between the RBI and the government started after the latter referred to section 7 of the RBI Act for consultation on these issues. Section 7 gives the power to the government to issue directions to the RBI.

GS II: POLITY – CBI

NSA, Minister hampered Asthana probe: CBI officer

  • A senior CBI officer, who supervised the team probing the corruption case against the agency’s Special Director R.K. Asthana, moved the Supreme Court leveling a series of allegations involving National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chowdhary, Law Secretary Suresh Chandra and Union Minister of State for Coal and Mines Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary.
  • Urging the court to step in before the CBI became the ‘Centre for Bogus Investigation,’ Manish Kumar Sinha, DIG (Head of Branch), CBI, Anti-Corruption Branch, Nagpur, narrated alleged instances in which Mr. Doval seems to have stalled his team’s investigation into the FIR against Mr. Asthana and CBI officer Devender Kumar, among others.
  • “The investigation team has been penalised/victimised because of its impartiality and diligence,” he said, seeking the quashing of his transfer.
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is to hear the petition filed by the exiled CBI Director Alok Verma in which he has alleged that his removal was the work of “high functionaries” who wanted to shackle the agency’s probe into several sensitive cases.

GS II: SOCIAL – REHABILITATION

Bengal House clears Bill to give land rights to enclave dwellers

  • The West Bengal Assembly unanimously passed the West Bengal Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to give land rights to enclave dwellers in north Bengal, ending an era of uncertain future for the people residing in those enclaves.
  • Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said this “historic Bill” would help the enclave dwellers to get full-fledged status as citizens of India, along with all civic amenities and rights.
  • Bangladesh and India had exchanged a total of 162 enclaves on August 1, 2015, ending one of the world’s most-complex border disputes that had lingered for seven decades since Independence.
  • In Cooch Behar, 111 Indian enclaves, spread across 17,160 acres, became a part of Bangladesh territory and 51 Bangladesh enclaves, comprising 7,110 acres, joined India.
  • The enclave residents were allowed to either reside at their present location or move to the other country.
  • Around 37,334 people residing in the enclaves in the Indian side refused to go to Bangladesh, whereas 922 enclave dwellers from the Bangladesh side preferred to be in India, Ms. Banerjee said.
  • The State had already spent over Rs. 100 crore on the housing of the enclave dwellers, the Chief Minister said, adding that her government, which had received Rs. 579 crore from the Centre, still had a due of Rs. 426 crore.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

Innovative crop drying technology to boost harvest

  • Farmers in Odisha will soon have a handy tool to bring down quantitative and qualitative losses caused by high moisture content during post-harvest operation.
  • An innovative drying technology, Solar Bubble Dryer, developed jointly by International Rice Research Institute, Philippines; Grainpro, a leading post-harvest solution providing company; and University of Hohenheim, Germany, was introduced to farmers.
  • The SBD is a low-cost drying technology that aims to provide a simple and flexible alternative to sun-drying, while protecting from spillage, animals, weather and vehicles running over the grains.
  • The quantitative loss in traditional sun-drying method is estimated to be in the range of 15 to 30% between harvesting and milling.
  • The new technology has been developed in such a way that farmers can dismantle the machinery and reassemble it on their own.
  • Power can be drawn both from solar energy and traditional electricity.

 

GS II: SOCIAL – EDUCATION

‘Literacy levels in rural India suffer from migration of families’

  • Literacy levels in rural households of India dip with seasonal migration, the UNESCO global education monitoring report 2019 has observed, bringing out the educational challenges thrown up by migration.
  • In India, 10.7 million children aged 6 to 14 lived in rural households with a seasonal migrant in 2013. About 28% of youth aged 15 to 19 in these households were illiterate or had not completed primary school, compared to 18% of the cohort overall,” says the report.
  • “About 80% of seasonal migrant children in seven cities lacked access to education near work sites, and 40% are likely to end up in work rather than education, experiencing abuse and exploitation.”
  • The report says that the construction sector absorbs the majority of short-term migrants.
  • Inter-State migration rates have doubled between 2001 and 2011.
  • It also warns of the negative impact on education for children who are left behind as their parents migrate: “Test scores were lower among left-behind children aged 5 to 8.”
  • The report, however, acknowledges that India has taken steps to address the issue.
  • “The Right to Education Act in 2009 made it mandatory for local authorities to admit migrant children. National-level guidelines were issued, allowing for flexible admission of children, providing transport and volunteers to support with mobile education, create seasonal hostels and aiming to improve coordination between sending and receiving districts and states,” it says.
  • The report shows there is only one urban planner for every 1,00,000 people in India, while there are 38 for every 1, 00,000 in the United Kingdom.

GS III: ENVIRONMENT – BIODIVERSITY

Make elephant corridors eco-sensitive zones: NGT

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to consider declaring all elephant corridors in India as eco-sensitive zones.
  • The NGT was hearing a plea moved by Assam resident Pradip Kumar Bhuyan on the increasing number of unnatural elephant deaths taking place in the State.
  • The plea sought legal recognition for elephant reserves and corridors in the State of Assam.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – ASIA

Maldives to pull out of China FTA

  • The Maldives’ new government will pull out of a free trade agreement (FTA) with China, said Maldivian Democratic Party leader Mohamed Nasheed.
  • “The trade imbalance between China and the Maldives is so huge that nobody would think of an FTA between such parties,” said Mr. Nasheed. “China is not buying anything from us. It is a one-way treaty.”
  • Former President Abdullah Yameen signed the FTA during a visit to Beijing in December 2017, and the same month, his Parliament ratified the treaty.
  • Nasheed, now an adviser to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, said that Parliament would not pass the changes required for the agreement to come into force.
  • Between January and August 2018, the Maldives’ imports from China were $342 million, while its exports to China were just $2,65,270, according to Maldives customs data.
  • The island nation bought meat, agricultural produce, flowers, plants, electronics and toys from China among many other items.
  • The Yameen administration said at the time that the FTA would help diversify the $3.9 billion economy and boost fisheries exports from the Maldives, crucial since the European Union declined in 2014 to renew a tax concession. The two countries would open up services such as finance, health care and tourism, China said at the time.
  • The Maldives has no free trade pacts with any other country.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

SC upholds tribunal order backing UltraTech’s Binani bid

  • The Supreme Court upheld the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s (NCLAT) order that approved the revised bid of Aditya Birla group firm UltraTech Cement for acquiring debt-ridden Binani Cement at Rs. 7,950 crore.
  • A Bench of Justices R.F. Nariman and Navin Sinha dismissed the plea of Dalmia Group-led Rajputana Properties Pvt. Ltd. challenging the decision of the NCLAT.
  • In April 2018, the Supreme Court had refused UltraTech Cement to go ahead for an out-of-court settlement for bankrupt Binani Cement.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS

Talks on with 150 nations to reform WTO: Prabhu

  • Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said he was in talks with at least 150 countries to work out the way forward for reforming the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • He said that the multilateral trading system was under stress and a number of fresh trade-restrictive measures, which would affect global trade and economic growth, had surged.
  • He said that he had personally met with 150 trade ministers to move a reformed WTO agenda forward.
  • “Expansion of global trade hinges on rules and processes determined by the WTO and unless global trade expands, national economies will not benefit,” he said. “It is important that all substantive issues that have been agreed to at the Doha and other trade rounds, as well as new issues that have cropped up, are addressed with a sense of urgency.”

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

‘Corruption no longer among top 3 hurdles to doing business in India’

  • The perception among U.K. businesses that corruption is a major barrier in doing business in India has halved, according to the latest edition of the U.K. India Business Council’s Ease of Doing Business report compared with what it was in 2015.
  • “Since the first report was launched, there has been a considerable year-on-year fall in the number of companies that viewed ‘corruption’ as a major barrier – from 34% in 2016 to 25% in 2017, halving since 2015, where it stood at 51%,” the report said.
  • The report noted that initiatives such as Aadhaar, electronic submission of government documents, acceptance of electronic signatures, and the push to file taxes online, have all reduced face-to-face interactions where corruption is most likely to take place.
  • “The extent of digitalisation, however, varies markedly across sectors, as does corruption, with those engaging in infrastructure projects still reporting significant issues relating to corruption,” the report added.
  • ‘Taxation issues’ and ‘price points’ overtook ‘corruption’ as major barriers identified by 36% and 29% of respondents, respectively, the report said.
  • However, the proportion of respondents identifying ‘taxation issues’ was 3% lower in 2018 than 2017, which, the report said, suggests that businesses may be starting to adjust to the GST.

GS III: ECONOMY – POLICY

App unveiled for retail investment in T-bills

  • The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has launched an app and web-based platform, ‘NSE goBID’, for retail investors to buy government securities.
  • The new 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, said a statement by the exchange.
  • The retail investors would be able to make payment directly from their bank accounts using Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Internet banking, the statement added.
  • 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.

GS II: SOCIAL – HEALTH

Global fight on malaria stalled: WHO

  • The World Health Organisation said global efforts to fight malaria have hit a plateau as it reported there were more cases of the killer disease in 2017 than the previous year.
  • The latest WHO report showed that the number of malaria cases climbed to 219 million last year, two million higher than 2016, while international funding has declined.
  • Malaria, which is spread to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes, occurs in 91 countries but about 90% of the cases and deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Foreign funding to some of the most affected countries has declined, in certain instances by more than 20 percent for every individual at risk of contracting the disease.
  • The disease killed 4,35,000 people last year, the majority of them children under five in Africa.
  • Most malaria cases reported in 2017 were in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.
  • Another constraint in fighting malaria has been mosquitoes building up resistance to some insecticides, it said.

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