1)Consider the following statements with respect to Calling Attention motion
- It is introduced in the Parliament by a member to call the attention of a minister to a matter of urgent public importance.
- It can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha.
- Like zero hour, it is also an Indian innovation.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
a. 1 and 2 Only
b. 2 and 3 Only
c. 1 and 3 Only
d. 1, 2 and 3
Answer : c
Calling Attention Motion is introduced in the Parliament by a member to call the attention of a minister to a matter of urgent public importance, and to seek an authoritative statement from him on that matter.
It can be introduced in any house of the parliament.
Like the zero hour, it is also an Indian innovation in the parliamentary procedure and has been in existence since 1954.
However, unlike the zero hour, it is mentioned in the Rules of Procedure.
2)Pygmy hog is a critically endangered species found only in?
a. Kaziranga National Park
b. Manas National park
c. Orang National Park
d. Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
Answer : b
Only one viable population remains in the Manas Tiger Reserve, but even there, threats due to livestock grazing, poaching, fire, and tigers persist.
3)Consider the following statements with respect to Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana
- The Scheme aims to address critical gaps in value chain including infrastructure modernization, traceability, production, productivity, post-harvest and quality control.
- It is being implemented by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer : c
News:- China reaches accord with India on LAC spat:- China said it
had “reached agreement” with India on the ongoing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a day after India announced troops from both sides had begun a “partial disengagement” from some of the standoff points.
News:- National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was launched by the Minister of Human Resource Development on 29th September 2015.
This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
The parameters broadly cover:-
- Teaching, Learning and Resources,
- Research and Professional Practices,
- Graduation Outcomes,
- Outreach and Inclusivity and
NIRF rankings 2019 has been given under 8 categories: Overall, Universities, Engineering, Medical, Management, Law, Architecture, Pharmacy and Colleges.
Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA):-
It is an initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Govt. of India to systematically rank all the major higher educational institutions and universities in India on indicators related to “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development” amongst students and faculties.
Major Indicators are:
- Budget & Funding Support.
- Infrastructure & Facilities.
- Awareness, Promotions & support for Idea Generation & Innovation.
- Promotion & Support for Entrepreneurship Development.
- Innovative Learning Methods & Courses.
- Intellectual Property Generation, Technology Transfer & Commercialization.
- Innovation in Governance of the Institution.
More than quantity, ARIIA focuses on quality of innovations and tries to measure the real impact created by these innovations nationally and internationally.
News:- Arvind to offer antiviral fabrics:- Arvind Ltd., a textile to retail
conglomerate, has entered into technical collaboration with Swiss textile
innovator HeiQ Materials AG and Taiwanese speciality major Jintex Corporation to introduce antiviral Viroblock textile technology for the first time in India under its brand Intellifabrix.
“HeiQ Viroblock is one of the most advanced global antiviral products
created by HeiQ. It significantly enhances the antiviral log reduction and reduces viral infectivity by 99.99%. It is one of the first textile technologies in the world to claim such efficacy on SARS-COV2.”
News:-Infosys misses carbon neutral target for 2020:- Infosys had made a commitment at the UN that it would become carbon neutral in 2020. However, given the pandemic and resulting uncertainties, this declaration has been moved to fiscal 2021.
Infosys received the 2019 UN Global Climate Action Awards under the category of ‘Climate Neutral Now’; thus becoming the only Indian company ever to win a UN climate award. With the addition of 30 MW solar PV in Sira, Karnataka, Infosys took its total installed capacity to 46.2 MW solar power.
News:- Non-Banking Financial Companies
- A Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 engaged in the business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares/stocks/bonds/debentures/securities issued by Government or local authority or other marketable securities of a like nature, leasing, hire-purchase, insurance business, chit business but does not include any institution whose principal business is that of agriculture activity, industrial activity, purchase or sale of any goods (other than securities) or providing any services and sale/purchase/construction of immovable property.
- A non-banking institution which is a company and has a principal business of receiving deposits under any scheme or arrangement in one lump sum or in instalments by way of contributions or in any other manner is also a non-banking financial company (Residuary non-banking company).
NBFCs are doing functions similar to banks. What is the difference between banks & NBFCs?
NBFCs lend and make investments, and hence their activities are akin to that of banks; however, there are a few differences as given below:
- NBFC cannot accept demand deposits;
- NBFCs do not form part of the payment and settlement system and cannot issue cheques drawn on itself.
- Deposit insurance facility of Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation is not available to depositors of NBFCs, unlike in case of banks.
- Unlike Banks which are regulated by the RBI, the NBFCs are regulated by multiple regulators; Insurance Companies- IRDA, Merchant Banks- SEBI, Micro Finance Institutions- State Government, RBI and NABARD.
- The norm of Public Sector Lending does not apply to NBFCs.
- The Cash Reserve Requirement also does not apply to NBFCs.
Classification and Categorization of NBFCs
|Asset Finance Company||AN AFC is a company which is a financial institution whose principle business is the financing of physical assets such as automobiles, tractors, machines etc.|
|Investment Company||AN IC is any company which is a financial institution carrying on its principle business of acquisitions of securities.|
|Loan Company||LC is a financial institution whose primary business is of providing finance by making loans and advances.|
|Infrastructure Finance Company||IFC is an NBFC which deploys 75% of its total assets in infrastructure loans and has a minimum net owned fund of Re 300 Crore.|
|Systematically Important Core Investment Company||CIC is an NBFC carrying on the business of acquisition of shares and securities. CIC must satisfy the following conditions:It holds not less than 90% of its Total Assets in the form of investment in equity shares, preference shares, debt or loans in group companies;Its investments in the equity shares (including instruments compulsorily convertible into equity shares within a period not exceeding 10 years from the date of issue) in group companies constitutes not less than 60% of its Total Assets;(c) it does not trade in its investments in shares, debt or loans in group companies except through block sale for the purpose of dilution or disinvestment;(d) it does not carry on any other financial activity referred to in Section 45I(c) and 45I(f) of the RBI Act, 1934 except investment in bank deposits, money market instruments, government securities, loans to and investments in debt issuances of group companies or guarantees issued on behalf of group companies.(e) Its asset size is ₹ 100 crore or above and(f) It accepts public funds|
|Infrastructure Debt Fund NBFC||IDF NBFC primary role is to facilitate long term flow of debt into infrastructure projects. Only Infrastructure Finance Companies can sponsor IDF.|
|Micro Finance NBFC||MFI NBFC is a non-deposit taking NBFC having not less than 85% of its assets in the nature of qualifying assets which satisfy the following criteria:a) loan disbursed by a NBFC-MFI to a borrower with a rural household annual income not exceeding ₹ 1,00,000 or urban and semi-urban household income not exceeding ₹ 1,60,000;b. loan amount does not exceed 50,000 in the first cycle and 1,00,000 in subsequent cycles;c. total indebtedness of the borrower does not exceed 1,00,000;d. tenure of the loan not to be less than 24 months for the loan amount in excess of 15,000 with prepayment without penalty;e. loan to be extended without collateral;f. aggregate amount of loans, given for income generation, is not less than 50 per cent of the total loans given by the MFIs;g. loan is repayable on weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments at the choice of the borrower|
News:- New guidelines for import of exotic species
The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) has issued an advisory saying people importing “exotic live species” will have to make a voluntary disclosure.
The move comes as the outbreak of COVID-19 has raised global concern about illegal wildlife trade and zoonotic diseases.
What is an Exotic Species:- The changes defines “exotic live species” as animal or plant species moved from their original range (location) to a new one.
- The Ministry has said “exotic live species” shall be construed to mean only “the animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora”.
- Species covered by the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 cannot be traded.
- As of now, the imports are being made through the Director General of Foreign Trade and State Forest departments are not kept in the loop.
- For new “exotic live species”, the importer should obtain a no-objection certificate from the Chief Wildlife Warden ( CWLW) of the State.
- For existing species, stocks “shall be declared by the owner/ holder (stock, as on 1 January 2020) to the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of the concerned State or UT”.
CITES is international agreement to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species.
Its aim is to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild.
- It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It entered into force in July 1975.
CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.
It classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened.
(i) Appendix I: It lists species that are in danger of extinction. It prohibits commercial trade of these plants and animals except in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.
Appendix II species: They are those that are not threatened with extinction but that might suffer a serious decline in number if trade is not restricted. Their trade is regulated by permit.
Appendix III species: They are protected in at least one country that is a CITES member states and that has petitioned others for help in controlling international trade in that species.
In addition CITES also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as food, clothing, medicine, and souvenirs.
News:- ‘China disregarding historic commitments on Naku La’
WHAT IS IN THE 1890 TREATY?
The treaty between Britain and China was signed at Calcutta Convention in 1890. Of the eight Articles mentioned in the treaty, Article 1 is of critical significance. China earlier had cited this Article to stake its claim over Doklam.
Article 1 of the Calcutta convention reads, “The boundary of Sikkim and Tibet shall be the crest of the mountain range separating the waters flowing into the Sikkim Teesta and its affluents from the waters flowing into the Tibetan Mochu and northwards into other rivers of Tibet. The line commences at Mount Gipmochi (Gyemochen), on the Bhutan frontier, and follows the above-mentioned water-parting to the point where it meets Nipal (Nepal) territory.”
The Gazetteer of Sikkim in 1894, while describing the physical features of Sikkim, also mentions the boundary that runs along Naku la Chorten
“There exists no ambiguity with respect to the location of the pass, since geographic realities cannot be altered,” But China is not respecting the 1890 Convention.
Editorial of the Day :-
The Private Sector in India’s Healthcare System
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS-2- Health
Context: The recent news of private hospitals levying fees in excess when COVID-19 patients went to them for care, highlights the need to regulate private healthcare in India.
Contribution of Private Sector in India’s Healthcare:
- The private sector provides approximately 70% of the healthcare services in India.
- Private sector’s share in hospitals and hospital beds is estimated at 74% and 40%, respectively.
Reasons for dominance of Private healthcare in India:
1.Lack of adequate public health care: This has two dimensions:
- Inadequate human resource:
- India has a doctor-to-population ratio of 1:1,445. World health Organization recommends a ratio of 1:1000
- There is uneven distribution of health workers in private and public health sector with more than 80% of doctors and 70% of nurses and midwives being employed in the private sector.
- Quality of Public Health services: hospital beds and specialized facilities are less by the public sector and middle class often resort to private hospitals for health services.
2.Lack of adequate investment in public health: India spends only 1.3% of its gross domestic product (GDP), compared to 3% in China and 8.3% in the United States.
Issue with dominance of Private Healthcare in India
- High Cost and Access:
- Private healthcare often charge high and are not affordable by large portion of India’s population.
- Further, the dominance and dependence on private healthcare leads to high out-of pocket expenditure on health. WHO’s health financing profile for 2017 shows that 67.78% of total health expenditure in India was out of pocket while the world average is just 18.2%
- Malpractices: Private players in healthcare often engage in malpractices by selling substandard and counterfeit medicines, prescribing unnecessary drugs and tests, requiring unnecessary hospital admissions and manipulating the length of stay.
What needs to be done?
- Increase in Healthcare spending:The National Health Policy 2017 proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time bound manner. Health-care spending by the government must be appropriate, based on evidence, and transparent and accountable.
- Health workers:The government should ensure proper training of doctors and health-care workers. Recent reforms in the selection of medical students need to be evaluated to see if they yield desired result.
- Regulating Private Sector:Private hospitals and institutions should be regulated. Costing and auditing of care and procedures need to be done by independent bodies.
Failure of G7 in handling world issues
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Context: The next G7 summit scheduled in Washington DC has been postponed by the U.S. President.
What is G7?
- It is an informal group of advanced economies to discuss world issues.
- Emergence: As a restricted club of the rich democracies in the early 1970s.
- After the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the OPEC imposed embargo against Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States by the OPEC which led to the quadrupling of oil prices.
- Informal discussion: The OPEC actions shocked the economies around the world. The French President invited the Finance Ministers of five of the most developed members of the OECD- the US, Germany, Japan, Italy and the UK for an informal discussion on global issues.
- Transformation into G7 Summit: In the next year by the heads of government with the inclusion of Canada (1976) and the European Commission/Community (later Union) attending as a non-enumerated member.
- G7 TO G8: With the inclusion of Russia on the initiative of the U.S. President and British PM in 1998. This ended with Russia’s expulsion following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The limitations of G7:
- Failure to address global challenges: The G7 failed to address the economic crisis of 2007-08 which led to the rise of the G20. Infact, the G20 has provided a degree of confidence by promoting open markets and stimulus
- Failure in dealing with contemporary issues: It failed in dealing with issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the challenge of the Daesh.
- Failure to reach a consensus: Though, it had announced its members would phase out all fossil fuels and subsidies but has not announced any plan of action to do so.
Fact: The G7 countries account for 59% of historic global CO2 emissions (“from 1850 to 2010”) and their coal fired plants emit “twice more CO2 than those of the entire African continent”.
- Rise of IS: Three of the G7 countries were among the top 10 countries contributing volunteers to Daesh, which had between 22,000-30,000 foreign fighters just two years ago.
With the failures of G7, there are certain economic circumstances which have changed in the current world.
Changed Economic circumstances:
- Share in global GDP:
- When constituted, the G7 countries accounted for close to two-thirds of global GDP.
- But, according to the 2017 report of the accountancy firm, PwC, “The World in 2050”, they now account for less than a third of global GDP on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis and less than half on market exchange rates (MER) basis.
- Emerging economies:
- The seven largest emerging economies (E7, or “Emerging 7”) comprising Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey account for over a third of global GDP on PPP terms and over a quarter on MER basis.
- India’s economy is already the third largest in the world in PPP terms.
- Future of economies:
- By 2050, the PwC Report predicts, six of the seven of the world’s best performing economies will be China, India, the US, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia.
- It projects that India’s GDP will increase to $17 trillion in 2030 and $42 trillion in 2050 in PPP terms, in second place after China.
With changed economic circumstances, there are talks of expansion of G7.
Talks of expansion of G7:
- Outdated: The US President declared that the G7 is a no longer properly represented the current world.
- Alternative: He asked for a G10 or G11 instead with the inclusion of India, South Korea, Australia and possibly Russia or including the Five Eyes countries (an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US).
- Future of China: The US is involved in a crisis with China over COVID-19. India has attended several G7 summits earlier as a special invitee for its outreach sessions.
The COVID-19 once again shows the limitations of G7 in handling core world issues. So, there is a need for a new institution to tackle world issues.
Need for a new institution:
- The world is in a state of disorder: The global economy has stalled over the COVID-19. Nations need ability and resilience to cope with the current crisis with the revival of multilateralism. Existing international institutions have proven themselves unequal to world issues.
- Need of new mechanism: It would be ideal to include in it the seven future leading economies. Such as the 2005 ad hoc experiment by the UK PM in bringing together the G7 and the BRICS countries.
- Observing international law: The new mechanism should focus more on it and prevent the retreat from liberal values on which public goods are established.
- Immediate Challenge:
- Global public health and the revival of growth and trade in a sustainable way.
- To ensure effective implementation of the 1975 Biological Weapons Convention and the prevention of any possible cheating by its state parties by the possible creation of new microorganisms or viruses by using recombinant technologies.
With the world in disorder, a new mechanism will have value only if it focuses on key global issues.
Structural racism and other issues – Police Reforms
Source – The Hindu
Syllabus – GS 4 – Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government
Context – The Black Lives matter movement has highlighted the continuing racism in America against the African-Americans.
Black lives matter movement
- Aim– It is against the structural racism practiced by Police departments of USA which has led to death of many African-Americans. For instance, Eric Garner (2014), Corey Jones (2015) and George Floyd (2020).
- Demand– Dismantling of the Police Departments
- Significance – Participation of white people in protest in UK and USA against the practice of racism and police excess.
Ethical dilemma faced by Police
- Stern and effective maintenance of order without violating human rights– When police takes heavy handed action to control crime it is termed as inhuman. On the other hand, if it goes soft for effective management of law and order they are termed as inefficient.
This requires an ethical solution which includes reforming not only police but also other institutions and national leadership.
- Ethical behaviour of leaders – If an Inspector General of Police or Director General of Police encourages violence in a discreet manner, the message goes down the ranks leading to the torture of innocent citizens. This is what the leadership should not practice and they need set the right precedent.
- Indoctrination of individual police officers – The continuous indoctrination of policemen at the grassroots level is needed. It will convince them of the urgency to avoid high-handedness in dealing with members of the civil society as well as crime suspects.
Way Forward – Reforming an institution is a long process and needs to be done gradually in phased manner. One-time reforms followed by public pressure are short lived and needs to be avoided.
Role of Judiciary in handling Migrant crisis.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 2- Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Context: Analysing the role of the Supreme Court for fixing the lapses that led to the migrant labour crisis due to COVID-19.
- According to the Census 2011 migration data:Over 45.58 crore Indians were found to be migrants as against 31.45 crore during 2001 Census.
- With no work, many returned home. As per official claims by the Centre, about 57.22 lakh migrant workers have returned to their hometowns.
- Inadequate facilities:In terms of registering and identifying those who wished to travel and the scarcity of timely information and effective communication relating to the movement of trains and their destinations.
The COVID-19 lockdown has hit the workers very badly with the fear of losing sources of livelihood and forcing them to return home. The Judiciary was expected to take their cases for doing complete justice.
Criticism of Supreme Court:
- Initially the SC said it could not be expected to stop migrants from taking the hard option of trekking thousands of miles to their villages amid the lockdown.
- It put onus on the government to draw migrants away from the long walk home and wait for government-arranged inter-State transport.
It was criticized by former members of the higher judiciary as well as many senior lawyers and jurists. Now the SC has sought to redeem its stature by a series of directions and indicating its willingness to go into all pending issues.
Intervention of Supreme Court for migrants:
- Transporting all inter-state workers to their homes: The SC has fixed a 15-day deadline for the completion of the process.
- Dropping Criminal cases: The SC has asked state governments to drop criminal cases against them for violating the lockdown since it was imposed at short notice. It feels that pursuing the lockdown violation charge would affect them badly which have already their source of livelihoods.
- Facilitating returns of workers: It had made all State governments to file comprehensive affidavits on the action they had taken to provide them with immediate relief and the arrangements made for food and water for them during train journeys.
- Future of workers: It has asked the States about their plans for registering all the workers, their skills, their areas of employment and the different welfare and employment schemes meant for them.
Both the authorities and the courts have to make an effort to improve the conditions of workers.
EDITORIAL- Section 10A introduced through ordinance in Insolvency and Bankruptcy code :–
Prohibition on IBC proceedings for defaults during specified period
Section 10A prohibits filing of an application for initiation of insolvency proceedings for any default arising after March 25, 2020, till the end of the Specified Period without an inquiry into the cause of default, which prohibition continues in perpetuity. While the preamble of the Ordinance stipulates that the Ordinance has been introduced in light of business disruptions caused on account of COVID-19 and the consequent inability to find adequate number of resolution applicants to rescue corporate debtors, no rationale has been provided for this permanent prohibition. This approach, however, does take away the possibility of extended disputes on the cause of default.
Looking at international measures in light of COVID-19, a permanent prohibition seems unprecedented. Countries such as Singapore, Germany and United Kingdom have proposed or carried out changes to the insolvency regimes to address the impact of the pandemic in the form of restrictions to insolvency proceedings. However, a complete and permanent prohibition appears to have no parallel.
Exception to wrongful trading
As specified above, the Ordinance protects a director or partner of the corporate debtor from proceedings being initiated against them for wrongful trading, relating to a default during the Specified Period. However, this does not mean that a board should continue running business of the company and incurring debts if it has no prospect of recovery of the business. There is also a risk that reckless behavior of directors prior to March 25, 2020, which led to a default during the Specified Period, may go unpunished, unless dealt with under Companies Act, 2013, as a breach of directors’ duties.
Relaxations from wrongful trading have also been granted in many other jurisdictions such as Australia where the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 was introduced as a safe-harbour provision, so that directors can no longer be held liable for incurring debts while insolvent in relation to any debt incurred by the company in the initial six month period as being insolvent trading, commencing on March 25, 2020. This measure has also been announced in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Against this background, below are some takeaways.
One, the introduction of the Ordinance would bring the out-of-court restructuring regime under the Prudential Framework for Resolution of Stressed Assets dated June 7, 2019, into focus. With applicability only to RBI-regulated creditors and the primary tool of implementation being contractual arrangements, the courts will also have a role to play in its success as well as implementation of restructuring, arrived under the said framework, especially if the debtor is not playing ball after signing up to the restructuring package.
Equally, stakeholders would have to look at schemes of arrangements and foreign restructuring tools to give effect to a debt restructuring, depending on the debt profile of the company. The provisions relating to schemes of arrangement do not provide a moratorium against creditor actions.
Two, where no restructuring is feasible for companies defaulting during the Specified Period, the lenders would have to rely on applicable recovery and enforcement tools such as the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, and Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, in addition to civil courts and arbitration, where applicable. The backlog of cases and feeble functioning of debt recovery tribunals is well documented. In fact, one of the Indian private banks has recently approached the Supreme Court, seeking strengthening of the DRT system.
Three, the Ordinance places no prohibition on insolvency/bankruptcy proceedings of personal guarantors under the IBC. This regime has come into effect very recently and is rather untested.
Four, while the ability of companies to file themselves into insolvency under IBC has been prohibited, if a need is felt that the company should be liquidated, the (now almost forgotten) winding up procedure under the Companies Act and voluntary liquidation under IBC continues to be available (creditors cannot file for winding up under the Companies Act and voluntary liquidation is not available for companies in default).
Five, there may be a moral hazard risk of a debtor, covered by this exclusion, undertaking undervalued or preferential transactions and dissipating assets of the company to the detriment of creditors. Creditors will need to monitor the debtors more closely to avoid such a situation (the J Crew case in the US has some learnings in this regard). Even if the company goes into insolvency for a default after the Specified Period, the look-back period to challenge the transaction may be over. While Companies Act remedies may provide a fall back, the standard of proof is usually higher for such cases to succeed.
The Ordinance seeks to provide an efficient breathing space to Indian businesses hit by the pandemic. While there is a small chance of debtors abusing the suspension for defaults during the specified period for reasons other than the pandemic, given the extent of damage otherwise to the economy, such a chance is miniscule.