News (Text)


When:
December 13, 2018 @ 11:30 am
2018-12-13T11:30:00+05:30
2018-12-13T11:45:00+05:30

NEWS

13 DECEMBER 2018

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Approach will be consultative: Das

2.

GS II: POLITY – STATES – NRC

SC extends time for NRC claims

3.

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

SC asks Centre, Karnataka to respond on Mekedatu

4.

GS III: DEFENCE

India gets submarine rescue system

5.

GS III: DEFENCE

‘NSG must have its own air wing’

6

GS III: AGRICULTURE

No farm loan waiver: Centre

7.

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

BJD opposes dam safety Bill in Lok Sabha

8.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – EUROPE

Theresa May faces leadership challenge

9.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – EUROPE

Britain backtracks on plan to suspend ‘golden visa’ scheme

10.

GS III: ECONOMY – STOCKS

‘MFs allowed to segregate bad assets’

11.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

IIP rises to 11-month high in October

GS III: ECONOMY – BANKING

Approach will be consultative: Das

  • The newly appointed Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das made it clear that he would uphold the autonomy of the central bank and maintain its credibility.
  • “The RBI is a great institution, it has very long legacy, a very rich legacy. I will try and uphold the professionalism, the core values, the credibility and the autonomy of the Reserve Bank,” he said in his opening remarks at his first media interaction as Governor.
  • “At the same time, every institution must also adhere to the principles of accountability,” he said. “We have to have stakeholder consultation. The government is not only a stakeholder but the government of the day runs the economy, runs the country and manages major policy decisions. I would like to believe that all issues, howsoever contentious, can be resolved through discussions,” he said.
  • The next meeting of the RBI central board would take place as per schedule, on December 14, he said.
  • The meeting is expected to discuss the issue of governance of the central bank.
  • The RBI and the government have been at loggerheads on issues such as how much capital reserves the central bank should have, governance, and lower capital requirement for banks.

GS II: POLITY – STATES – NRC

SC extends time for NRC claims

  • The Supreme Court extended the deadline for submission of claims and objections for inclusion in the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) from December 15 to December 31, 2018.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman also extended the subsequent date for starting the process of verification of the claims and objections from February 1 to February 15.
  • The court further directed that copies of the draft NRC be made available for inspection at convenient locations.

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

SC asks Centre, Karnataka to respond on Mekedatu

  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Karnataka government to respond on a petition filed by Tamil Nadu against the unilateral approval granted by the Central Water Commission (CWC) to Karnataka to proceed with the preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the proposed Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir-cum-Drinking Water Project in violation of the decisions of the tribunal and apex court for equitable apportionment of Cauvery water.
  • A Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi also sought their responses on Tamil Nadu’s challenge to the Centre’s decision to give CWC chief S. Masood Husain additional charge as the chairman of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) in July 2018.
  • Tamil Nadu said the Supreme Court’s direction on February 16, 2018, had noted that the existing storages in the Cauvery basin of Karnataka should be taken into account for ensuring water releases to Tamil Nadu during the month of June to January.
  • The Supreme Court judgment was in tune with a decision by the tribunal on February 5, 2007.

GS III: DEFENCE

India gets submarine rescue system

  • The Indian Navy joined a select group of naval forces in the world on Wednesday when it inducted its first non-tethered Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) system at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
  • The DSRV is used to rescue crew members from submarines stranded under water in the high seas.
  • The DSRV can be operated at a depth of 650 metres and can rescue 14 people at a time.
  • In March 2016, the Indian Navy had signed a Rs. 2,000 crore contract with the U.K.-based James Fisher Defence (JFD) for two submarine rescue systems as well as maintenance for 25 years.
  • Admiral Lanba said the second system would be inducted in April 2019 and would be based at the Eastern Naval Command in Vishakapatnam.
  • The state-of-the-art system is equipped with a decompression chamber that can accommodate submariners and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), which can be used to beam images and provide immediate assistance.
  • The DSRV can also be transported by air, enabling it to conduct rescue operations across the globe.
  • The Indian Navy currently operates five different classes of submarines.
  • The Indian Navy has signed a Rs. 9,000 crore contract with the Hindustan Shipyard Limited for two ships, which would serve as the dedicated mother ships for the submarine rescue system, the first of which is expected to arrive by 2022. At present the system is housed on-board a ship which has been taken on lease from the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI).

GS III: DEFENCE

‘NSG must have its own air wing’

  • A Parliamentary panel has recommended that the Centre urgently take steps to ensure that the National Security Guard (NSG) — the country’s premier counter-terrorist and contingency force — is equipped with its own dedicated air wing.
  • The committee headed by Congress leader P. Chidambaram observed with anguish that the two Mi-17 helicopters procured by the NSG in 1988-99, were grounded and unavailable. While one of the helicopters met with an accident on February 22, 2002, and got damaged extensively; the second one was unserviceable due to want of spare parts.
  • The NSG was raised in 1986 following the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Operation Blue Star.
  • The force, which is trained to operate as an elite urban anti-terrorist and anti-hijack force, doesn’t have a cadre of its own or direct recruitment and is instead dependent on personnel sent on deputation from the army and the central armed police forces.
  • The 215th Parliamentary Standing Committee Report on Home Affairs tabled in the Rajya Sabha recommended that the “Ministry of Home Affairs should make urgent and sincere efforts to commission a dedicated Air Wing of NSG and provide requisite types and number of air assets to strengthen the aviation capability of the force.”
  • The NSG’s delay in reaching Mumbai during the November 2008 terrorist attacks on the city had come under severe criticism, with the non-availability of dedicated aircraft hampering the force’s rapid reaction capabilities.
  • “The Committee observes that NSG has yet not tested its power to commandeer any aircraft in real-time circumstances and feels that, unless this power is used, the force would remain unaware of the response time and logistical challenges that it may face in operational situations,” the panel noted.

GS III: AGRICULTURE

No farm loan waiver: Centre

  • On a day when the BJP’s loss in three State elections was partly attributed to rural distress and the Congress’s promise to waive farm loans, the government told the Lok Sabha that it was not considering any loan waiver scheme as it would affect the credit culture, incentivise defaulters, create a moral hazard and perpetuate demands for further waivers.
  • In a written reply to Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawali Patil, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala said “the Union government at present is not considering any loan waiver scheme for farmers.”
  • “Such waivers may impact the credit culture of a State by incentivising the defaulters even if they are in a position to repay the loan and thus create/amplify the moral hazard by discouraging those borrowers who have been regular in repaying their loans,” he said. “Further, each waiver granted makes it even more difficult to reject any future similar demand.”
  • Rupala admitted that according to the National Crime Records Bureau data, bankruptcy or indebtedness, and farming-related issues were reported as the major causes for suicides among farmers.
  • While the Centre would not consider loan waivers, it had initiated a number of measures to reduce the debt burden of farmers and to increase availability of institutional credit to farmers, he said.
  • During the campaign for the Assembly election, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had vowed to waive farmers’ loans in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh within 10 days of coming to power.

GS II: POLITY – INTER-STATE WATERS

BJD opposes dam safety Bill in Lok Sabha

  • The government introduced the Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in the Lok Sabha which will enable the States and Union Territories to adopt uniform procedures to ensure safety of reservoirs.
  • The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) opposed the Bill, with party MP Bhratruhari Mahtab stating that the “subject comes under the purview of State governments” and not in the purview of the Lok Sabha or Parliament.
  • The Bill provides for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance to prevent disasters related to dams.
  • “If two States agree, then the Centre has the legislative competency to introduce the Bill,” a minister noted.
  • There are over 5,200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. In addition, there are thousands of medium and small dams.
  • The government said that due to lack of legal and institutional safeguards, dam safety is an issue of concern in the country.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – EUROPE

Theresa May faces leadership challenge

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a vote of no-confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party after some pro-Brexit MPs in the party followed through on their warning that they would seek a new leadership of the party to attempt to extract a new deal from EU leaders.
  • May warned that ousting her would risk handing Brexit negotiations to Opposition MPs in Parliament or delaying Brexit.
  • The dramatic turn within the parliamentary party against Ms. May commenced after details of the withdrawal deal first emerged in November 2018, with Brexiteers particularly scathing over backstop arrangements to prevent a hard border developing on the island of Ireland.
  • The Labour Party has been pushing for a “softer Brexit” that includes customs union membership in order to meet six tests for Brexit, including Britain not being worse off.
  • The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Scottish National Party (and some members of Labour) are pushing for a second referendum.
  • The Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland has demands similar to hard Brexiteers, relating to the backstop and the maintenance of regulatory unity across the U.K.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL – EUROPE

Britain backtracks on plan to suspend ‘golden visa’ scheme

  • Anti-corruption campaigners have condemned the British Home Office’s decision to backtrack on plans to suspend a “golden visa” scheme for wealthy investors, just days after announcing the suspension.
  • Earlier in December 2018, the Home Office had said it was planning to suspend the Tier-1 (investor) visa scheme that enables its holders to gain a swifter route to settlement in the U.K. until new safeguarding rules were brought in in 2019.
  • While mainly used by Russian and Chinese nationals, it is also popular with Indian nationals: 82 applied for an investor visa through this route between 2008 and March 2018, reported Transparency International.
  • However, the formal announcement to Parliament never materialised, with no mention of the scheme or changes to it in an update from the Home Office.
  • The scheme, which is open to those who invest at least £2 million in U.K. government, shares or businesses, offers a faster route to settlement in the country. Those who invest over £10 million can apply to settle after two years, while those who invest over £5 million can do so in three years.
  • While the U.K. government had sought to position the visa scheme as part of its strategy to attract the “brightest and the best”, campaigners have long warned that it provided a means for the super wealthy internationally to launder money in the U.K.

GS III: ECONOMY – STOCKS

‘MFs allowed to segregate bad assets’

  • As part of its measures to minimise an industry-wide impact of a debt default, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed mutual fund (MF) houses to segregate bad assets — known as side pocketing in industry parlance — in their debt and money market schemes.
  • “Creation of segregated portfolio is a mechanism to separate distressed, illiquid assets from other more liquid assets in a mutual fund portfolio to deal with a situation arising due to a credit event,” SEBI said in a statement.
  • SEBI is of the view that side pocketing will help fund managers ring-fence bad assets, thereby minimising the affect on the net asset value (NAV) and benefiting investors.
  • Among other decisions, the regulator tweaked the framework for Institutional Trading Platform (ITP) and renamed it as Innovators Growth Platform (IGP) for companies in the fields of technology, bio-technology, nano-technology, intellectual property and data analytics.
  • The regulator has also expanded the universe of companies for whom the Offer For Sale (OFS) mechanism is available.
  • Shareholders of any company with a market capitalisation of over Rs. 1,000 crore would be able to use the Offer For Sale (OFS) mechanism mechanism instead of the current limit of the top 200 companies.
  • For the commodity derivatives market, the regulator has allowed custodial services that would enable institutional participation in the segment. In this regard, the regulator has approved the amendment of SEBI (Custodian of Securities) Regulations 1996.
  • The capital markets regulator would also soon prescribe guidelines for uniformity in pricing of corporate bonds and evolve a regulatory framework for such pricing by agencies like CRISIL and ICRA.

GS III: ECONOMY – INDICATORS

IIP rises to 11-month high in October

  • Industrial production activity rose at almost a one-year high in October 2018 led by strong growth in the manufacturing and mining sectors even as retail inflation for November 2018 slowed to a 17-month low on cooling food prices, according to official data released.
  • Growth in the Index of Industrial Production ((IIP) came in at 8.08% in October 2018, up from 4.47% in the previous month, and 1.83% in October 2017.
  • This was primarily led by the 7.04% growth in the mining sector and the 7.92% growth in the manufacturing sector, both of which grew 0.11% and 4.62% in the previous month, respectively.
  • Growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the measure of retail inflation, slowed sharply to 2.33% in November 2018 from 3.38% in the previous month. It was 4.88% in November 2017.

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