ARTH VOLUME- 25 (20th JULY-31ST JULY)

       1. CBDT, CBIC sign fresh MoU for data sharing

  • Two tax policy bodies under the Finance Ministry — the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Central Board Indirect Taxes & Custom (CBIC) — have signed a Memorandum of Undertaking (MoU) for data exchange.
  • CBDT is the apex policy making body for corporate tax and personal income tax while CBIC looks after Central GST, Central excise duty and Custom duty.
  • This MoU will facilitate the sharing of data and information between CBDT and CBIC on an automatic and regular basis.
  • In addition to regular exchange of data, CBDT and CBIC will also exchange with each other, on request and spontaneous basis, any information available in their respective databases.
  • The MoU comes into force from the date it was signed and is an ongoing initiative of the two boards, which are already collaborating through various existing mechanisms.
  • A Data Exchange Steering Group has also been constituted for the initiative, which will meet periodically to review the data exchange status and take steps to further improve the effectiveness of the data sharing mechanism.

2. CBDT to share MSME data with Ministry

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME) for sharing data on income tax returns filed by micro and small enterprises.
  • This will be used to ascertain the cash flow of MSMEs and ensure that they do not misuse the concessions given by the government.
  • The CBDT data will enable the MoMSME to check and classify enterprises in the MSME category as per the criteria notified by the government.

3. LIC-UBI announce corporate agency pact

  • Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and Union Bank of India, after its amalgamation with Corporation Bank and Andhra Bank, have announced a corporate agency agreement to distribute LIC policies.
  • The bank will market LIC products of term insurance, pension, plan, children plan, ULIPs, and endowment schemes.

4. SEBI reviews stress test modelfor commodities derivatives

  • Securities and commodity market regulator SEBI said it is reviewing stress testing methodology for commodity derivatives to address the concern regarding high stress loss figures on positions with early pay-in.
  • The decision has been taken in consultation with clearing corporations (CCs).
  • While calculating the residual losses, for positions on which early pay-in are given by the clients/brokers, and margin exemption are granted on such positions, CCs have been permitted to consider the ‘margin exemption granted’ or ‘value of early paid-in goods’, whichever is lower, as ‘margins supporting those positions.

5. Bank of Baroda rolls out ‘Insta Click Savings Account’

  • Bank of Baroda (BoB) said it has launched ‘Insta Click Savings Account’, a 100 per cent paperless digital self-assisted online savings account.
  • India’s third-largest public sector bank said the Insta Click Savings Account uses a new form of digital KYC (know-your-customer) and Aadhaar-based OTP (one-time personal identification number) authentication of the customer, which can be operated from the bank’s website, through mobile phone, IPad, laptop, and PC.
  • The account is activated in real-time, which means the customer can start transacting, using the Baroda M Connect Plus application with the MPIN received on the mobile.

6. RBI panel recommends incentives to increase popularity of QR code transactions

  • The ‘Committee for Analysis of QR Code’ said, the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should allow a lower, controlled interchange fee instead of zero Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) on Quick Response (QR) code, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and RuPay debit card transactions.
  • The ‘Committee for Analysis of QR Code’ also recommended that tax incentives be given to merchants who accept payments through electronic mode.
  • Further, the government should provide incentive schemes to ensure popularity of QR code transactions among consumers in the country.
  • The six-member committee was headed by DB Pathak, Professor Emeritus, IIT-Bombay.
  • The panel emphasised that to promote positive attitudes towards QR code payment, advertising and promotion are important factors.
  • There is a need for significant investment and marketing activities to establish a lot of use cases.
  • The panel suggested that there should be a clear plan to phase out proprietary, closed-loop QR codes in favour of open, interoperable standards.
  • The committee opined that the RBI should encourage multiple interoperable QR codes like Bharat QR and UPI QR to enable faster on-boarding of all types of merchants to digital payments.
  • The committee recommended that on-boarding of micro merchants under Bharat QR (similar to P2PM category) can be permitted (merchant with up to ₹1-lakh monthly credits).

7. 22 million children in South Asia missed out on early education due to Covid-19, says UNICEF

  • United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reveals that as many as 22 million children from South Asian countries, including India, have missed out on early childhood education in their critical pre-school year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The research zeroed in on the predicament of childcare and early childhood education globally. It analysed the impact of widespread Covid-19 closure of vital family services.
  • In the South Asia region, UNICEF covered Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka for the research.
  • At least 40 million children worldwide, of which nearly 22 million are from South Asia, have missed out on early childhood.

8. Lockdown-induced disruptions hit near-term economic prospects severely: RBI’s Financial Stability Report

  • According to the Reserve Bank of India’s Financial Stability Report (FSR), the near-term economic prospects appear severely impacted by lockdown-induced disruptions to both supply and demand side factors, diminished consumer confidence and risk aversion.
  • While financial sector regulators and the government have taken policy measures to ensure financial intermediation functions normally, and distress faced by disadvantaged sections of society is mitigated, the report warned that the downside risks to short-term economic prospects are high.
  • The FSR noted that the Indian financial system remains stable, notwithstanding the significant downside risk to economic prospects.
  • The loan moratorium could have a significant impact on private non-banking finance companies and housing finance companies.

FSDC

A non-statutory apex council under Ministry of Finance constituted by Executive Order of Union Govt in 2010. Its members include the heads of financial sector Regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA, IRDA), Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, and Chief Economic Adviser. In May, 2018 government reconstituted FSDC to include the Minister of State responsible for the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Secretary of Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Chairperson of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) and the Revenue Secretary. The Raghuram Rajan committee (2008) on financial sector reforms recommended for the creation of FSDC.

Chairman – Finance Minister

Functions-

  • It aims strengthening and institutionalizing the mechanism of financial stability and development.
  • It will monitor macro-prudential supervision of the economy.
  • It will assess the functioning of the large financial conglomerates.
  • It will address intra regulatory coordination issues.

9. Cyber threats against banking industry on the rise in post Covid-19 lockdown phase, says RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cautioned that in the post Covid-19 lockdown period, there has been increased incidence of cyber threats against the banking industry.
  • The central bank underscored that the banking industry is the target of choice for cyber-attacks.
  • Cyber risk appeared in the ‘high risk’ category for the first time since the inception of RBI’s systemic risk survey (SRS), the 18th in the series, conducted during April-May 2020 on the major risks faced by the financial system.
  • Since March 2020, the RBI issued more than 10 advisories/alerts to supervised entities on various cyber threats and best practices to be adopted, as per the latest Financial Stability Report (FSR).

10. Centre pays ₹13,000 crore GST compensation to States, UTs

  • The Centre has released the last tranche of GST Compensation amounting over ₹13,000 crore to States and Union Territories.
  • With this, the total pay-out for the year stood at more than ₹1.65 lakh crore which is almost 73 per cent more than cess collection of nearly ₹95,500 crore.

11. Indian banks will face capital erosion in a high-stress scenario: Fitch

  • As per Fitch Ratings’ stress test on banks it rates, all Indian banks will face capital erosion in a high-stress scenario but state banks are the most vulnerable.
  • The global credit rating agency assessed that Canara Bank is the most challenged under its stress scenarios due to inadequate loan-loss coverage, while ICICI Bank is the least affected due to stronger capitalisation and better loss coverage relative to peers.
  • Fitch said many state banks are able to meet minimum regulatory thresholds under moderate stress, but most struggle to manage a 6.125 per cent common equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio under high stress, the applicable bail-in trigger for additional Tier 1 (AT1) securities from September 2020.
  • As per Basel III capital regulations, a bank whose CET slips below 8 per cent due to losses and is still above 6.125 per cent – the trigger point for automatic loss absorbency or contractual bail-in – should seek to expand its balance sheet further only by raising fresh equity from its existing shareholders or market and the internal accruals.

BASEL III

12. RBI signs currency swap agreement with Central Bank of Sri Lanka

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed a currency swap agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, whereby the latter can make drawals of US dollar, euro or Indian rupee in multiple tranches up to a maximum of $ 400 million or its equivalent.
  • This agreement, which is valid till November 13, 2022, has been signed under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Currency Swap Framework 2019-22.
  • The SAARC Currency Swap Framework came into operation on November 15, 2012, to provide a backstop line of funding for short-term foreign exchange liquidity requirements or short-term balance of payments stress till longer term arrangements are made.

13.  Jin Liqun reappointed president of AIIB for 5 years

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said its board of governors has elected Jin Liqun for a second term as the institution’s president.

AIIB

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region. The bank currently has 103 members as well as 20 prospective members from around the world. 

HeadquartersBeijingChina

14. WTO sets up dispute panels against India’s tech tariffs on Japan, Taiwan’s request

  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has set up two more dispute settlement panels, this time at the request of Japan and Taiwan, targeting import duties imposed by India on a number of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products including mobile phones.
  • The two new dispute settlement panels against India takes up the number of panels constituted to examine the same tariff-related issue to three as the EU had a panel established at the WTO.

15. India’s renewable energy capacity likely to touch 120-125 GW by December 2022: ICRA

  • According to rating agency ICRA, India’s cumulative renewable energy capacity is likely to be 120-125 GW by December 2022, aided by strong project pipeline in the utility solar and wind energy segments.
  • The capacity addition in the renewable energy (RE) sector is expected to remain subdued at about 8 GW in FY2021 given the continued execution challenges amid Covid-19, because of disruption of supply chain as well as labour availability issues.

16. SHISHU Loans: BoB rolls out 2% interest subvention scheme

  • Bank of Baroda (BoB) has rolled out a scheme for two per cent interest subvention for 12 months for SHISHU category of borrowers under MUDRA scheme.
  • This scheme will be available to such category of borrowers whose accounts were standard as on March 2020.
  • As a part of Atmanirbhar Bharat package, Government had launched a scheme for two per cent interest Subvention for 12 months for SHISHU Category of borrowers under MUDRA Scheme.

PMMY

Launch Date- 2015

MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) Loan Yojana under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) provides lending support to the MSME sector that includes micro and small manufacturing units, food service units and small industries. The basic motive of MUDRA scheme is to extend the facility of institutional finance to individuals and MSMEs engaged in trading, manufacturing and service sectors.

Features

  • Loans offered under 3 categories: Shishu, Kishor and Tarun
  • Maximum Loan Amount: Rs. 10 lakh
  • Minimum Loan Amount: No criteria
  • Collateral/Security: Not required
  • Age Criteria: Minimum 18 years and Maximum 65 years
  • Repayment Tenure: Up to 5 years
  • Interest Rate: Varies from bank to bank

Types of Schemes under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana

Loan amount offered- PM Mudra loan scheme has three categories under which loans are disbursed:

  • Shishu – For loan amount up to Rs. 50,000
  • Kishor -For loan amount from Rs. 50,001- Rs 5 lakh
  • Tarun – For loan amount more than 5 lakhs and up to Rs 10 lakh

17. Meity-NITI launches Digital India AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge to realise PM’s vision of Digital India – AatmaNirbhar Bharat

With an objective to support and build a strong ecosystem for Indian Apps, MeitY in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission – Niti Aayog launches Digital India AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge for Indian tech entrepreneurs and Startups.

·         This shall run in 2 tracks: Promotion of Existing Apps and Development of New Apps.

·         The focus of the Track 1 App Innovation Challenge is to identify the best Indian Apps that are already being used by citizens and have the potential to scale and become world class Apps in their respective categories.

·         Subsequent to this App Innovation Challenge, Government will also launch Track 2 of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge that will seek to identify Indian start ups / entrepreneurs /companies and encourage them with ideation,  incubation, prototyping and roll out of applications.

·         This track will run for a longer course of a time, details of which shall be provided separately.

·         The AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge Track 1 is being launched in the following 8 broad categories:

  1. Office Productivity & Work from Home
  2. Social Networking
  3. E-Learning
  4. Entertainment
  5. Health & Wellness
  6. Business including Agritech and Fin-tech
  7. News
  8. Games.

18. NITI Aayog organizes a virtual workshop to monitor performance of 29 select Global Indices
·         NITI Aayog organized a virtual workshop with 47 Central Ministries/Departments, chaired by Shri Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary, in furtherance of the Government of India’s decision to monitor the performance of 29 select Global Indices to drive reforms and growth in the country.

·         The methodology of stakeholder consultation; engagement with publishing and survey/data agencies; framework for state rankings, platform for information sharing; and monitoring mechanism were discussed at length in the workshop.

·         The 29 global indices, published by 19 international agencies, have been assigned to 18 nodal ministries and departments of the Government of India.\

·         NITI Aayog will assist in monitoring the performance and progress of all these Indices, and aid in their engagement with Publishing Agencies.

·         The related Ministry/Department will monitor key parameters identified and ensure reforms and progress sought is achieved.

 

19. NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission launches ATL App Development Module for school students nationwide

In a major step towards revving up the Indian Mobile App Development innovation ecosystem, NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) today launched the ‘ATL App Development Module’ for school children all across the country.

The ATL App Development modules have been launched in collaboration with Indian homegrown startup Plezmo with an aim to hone the skills of school students and transforming them from App users to App makers in the times to come under AIM’s flagship Atal Tinkering Labs initiative.

The ATL App Development module is an online course is completely Free. Through 6 project-based learning modules and online mentoring sessions, young innovators can learn to build mobile Apps in various Indian languages and showcase their talent.

Additionally, to build capacities and acumen for App Development within school teachers, periodic Teacher Training sessions will be conducted on the AIM App Development course.

20. NITI Aayog presents India’s second Voluntary National Review at UN’s High-Level Political Forum

·         NITI Aayog presented India’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, 2020.

·         The HLPF is the foremost international platform for follow-up and review of progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

·         The India VNR 2020 report titled Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local.

·         The HLPF meets annually in July for eight days under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN.

·         The VNRs presented by Member States at the HLPF are a critical component of the review of progress and implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

·          The reviews are voluntary and state-led and are aimed at facilitating the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned.

 21. Atal Innovation Mission teams up with Ministries, Partners to support Startups with COVID-19 Solutions


AIM coordinated and concluded a series of virtual COVID-19 Demo-Days- an initiative to identify promising start-ups with potential Covid-19 innovations to further help them deploy and scale-up their solutions nationwide.

The initiative was launched in partnership with other government bodies including Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT); Department of Science and Technology (DST), Startup India, AGNIi, and other Ministries under the direction of Principal Scientific Adviser.

AIM

Launch Date- 2015

Features-

  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country, based on a detailed study and deliberations on innovation and entrepreneurial needs of India in the years ahead.\
  • The Atal Innovation Mission has following two core functions:
  1. Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  2. Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.
  3. AIM has multiple programs to encourage and support innovation in the country.
  4. Atal Tinkering Labs- To promote creative, innovative mind set in schools. At the school level, AIM is setting up state of the art Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) in schools across all districts across the country. These ATLs are dedicated innovation workspaces are installed using a grant of Rs 20 Lakhs from the government so that students from Grade VI to Grade XII can tinker with these technologies and learn to create innovative solutions using these technologies.
  5. Atal Incubators- Promoting entrepreneurship in universities and industry. At the university, NGO, SME and Corporate industry levels, AIM is setting up world-class Atal Incubators (AICs). AIM is also providing scale up support to existing incubators for scaling up their operations. AIM is providing a grant of upto Rs 10 crores to successful applicants for setting up greenfield incubators or scaling up existing ones.
  6. Atal New India Challenges and Atal Grand Challenges- Atal New India Challenges / Atal Grand Challenges are being launched in specific areas and sectors of national importance – such as Renewable Energies, Energy Storage, Climate-smart precision agriculture, Universal drinking water, Swaach Bharat, Transportation, Education, Healthcare using Robotic, IOT technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Block-chain, Augmented and Virtual reality, Battery Technologies etc. The successful applicants will get a grant of upto Rs 1 crore for Atal New India Challenges and larger grants of upto Rs 30 crores for Atal Grand Challenges.

 

22. Atal Innovation Mission launches ‘AIM-iCREST’, in partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation

·         In a major initiative to encourage and enable holistic progress in the incubator ecosystem across the country, NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), has launched AIM iCREST – an Incubator Capabilities enhancement program for a Robust Ecosystem focused on creating high performing Startups.

·         This is a first of its kind initiative for advancing innovation at scale in India. 

·         AIM has joined hands with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation – organizations that can lend credible support and expertise in the entrepreneurship and innovation space.

·         These partnerships will provide global expertise and showcase proven best practices to the AIM’s incubator network. 

 23. Union HRD Minister and Minister of State for HRD jointly launch the first on-line NISHTHA programme for 1200 Key Resources Persons of Andhra Pradesh

  • The first on-line NISHTHA programme for 1200 Key Resources Persons of Andhra Pradesh was launched.
  • NISHTHA is a National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement at the elementary stage under Samagra Shiksha -a flagship programme of MHRD to improve learning outcomes.

NISTHA

Launch date-2019

National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement is an initiative to build capacities of teachers and school principals at the elementary stage.

The initiative is an Integrated Teacher Training Programme of the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of HRD as part of its National Mission to improve learning outcomes at the Elementary level under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Samagra Shiksha during 2019-20. The programme aims to build the capacities of around 42 lakh participants covering all teachers and Heads of Schools at the elementary level in all Government schools, faculty members of State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs), District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) as well as Block Resource Coordinators and Cluster Resource Coordinators in all States and UTs.

 

24. Union HRD Minister to launch Manodarpan, an initiative under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, to provide psychosocial support to students for their Mental Health and Well-being

·         MHRD has taken up an initiative, named, ‘MANODARPAN’ covering a wide range of activities to provide Psychosocial Support to students for their Mental Health & Well-being during the COVID outbreak and beyond.

·         The ‘Manodarpan’ initiative has been included in the ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT ABHIYAN, as a part of strengthening human capital and increasing productivity and efficient reform and initiatives for the Education sector.

25. India holds the first ever INDSAT exam under ‘Study in India’ Programme

·         The Ministry of HRD conducted the first ever Indian Scholastic Assessment (Ind-SAT) Test 2020 under its ‘Study in India’ programme.

·         Nearly five thousand candidates appeared for the exam conducted in the proctored internet mode by the National Testing Agency. 

·          EdCIL (India) Limited, a PSU under MHRD and the implementing agency of SII handled the registrations and other aspects of the examination.

Ind-SAT

It is an exam for grant of scholarships and admissions to foreign students for studying in select Indian universities under the Study in India programme.  The exam is designed to gauge the scholastic capability of students applying to study in India. The Ind-SAT scores will serve as a criterion to shortlist the meritorious students for the allocation of scholarships for under graduate as well as post graduate programmes under ‘Study in India’ programme.

Study in India

Launch Date- 2018

Features-

  • It is a programme of MHRD under which foreign students come to study in 116 select higher education institutions in India for under graduate and post graduate programmes. The selection of the students is based on their merit in the class 12 / school leaving exam. About top 2000 students are given scholarships, while some others are given fee discounts by the institutions.
  • The proposed fee waivers to meritorious foreign students in this policy will be decided by the Institute concerned based on the following criteria:
  1. 100% waiver of tuition fees only for the top 25% students
  2. 50% waiver of tuition fees only for the next 25% students
  3. 25% waiver of tuition fees only for the next 25% students
  4. No waiver of tuition fee for remaining 25% of students
  5. The expenditure on the fee waiver will have to be borne by the Institute concerned, based on cross-subsidisation or through its existing funding.
  6.  No additional cash flow from Government is proposed for the same.
  7. The Government has approved an expenditure of Rs. 150 crores for the ‘Study in India’ programme for two years 2018-19 and 2019-20 which will be primarily for brand promotion activities.

26. Union Minister for HRD launches India Report- Digital Education June 2020

·         The report elaborates on the innovative methods adopted by Ministry of HRD, Education Departments of States and Union Territories for ensuring accessible and inclusive education to children at home and reducing learning gaps.

·         Ministry of Human Resource Development has initiated many projects to assist teachers, scholars and students in their pursuit of learning like DIKSHA platform, Swayam Prabha TV Channel, Online MOOC courses, On Air – Shiksha Vani,   DAISY by NIOS for differently-abled, e-PathShala, National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) to develop e-content and energized books, telecast through TV channels, E-learning portals , webinars, chat groups, distribution of books and other digital initiatives along with State/ UT Governments.

27. ARHCs to be implemented by utilising existing Government funded vacant houses through PPP Model

·         Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) released a ARHCs Knowledge Pack (AKP).

·          MoHUA presided over the function which was attended by senior officers of State Governments/UTs and representatives of NAREDCO, CREDAI, FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM.

·         Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs) as a sub scheme under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) to provide ease of living to urban migrants/poor.

·         ARHCs will be implemented through two Models:

1.    Government funded vacant houses to convert into ARHCs through Public Private Partnership or by public agencies for a period of 25 years.

2.    Construction, Operation and Maintenance of ARHCs by Public/ Private Entities on their own available vacant land for a period of 25 years.

·         A mobile application of CREDAI – Awaas App and an e-Commerce Portal of NAREDCO – Housing For All was launched by the Housing Minister.

·         These online platforms will leverage technology and provide benefits to home buyers in changing market practices by providing effective solutions.

36. Mobile App of PM SVANidhi launched to bring Microcredit facility for street vendors at their door steps

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched the Mobile Application of PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi).

This App aims to provide user friendly digital interface for Lending Institutions (LIs) and their field functionaries for sourcing and processing loan applications of street vendors under the Scheme.

PM SVANidhi Mobile App is a step towards boosting the use of digital technology and will enable field functionaries of LIs like Banking Correspondents (BCs) and Agents of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs)/ Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs), who have proximity with the street vendors, to ensure maximum coverage of the Scheme. 

It is believed that launch of Mobile App will give impetus to the implementation strategy of the Scheme besides promoting paper-less digital accessing of micro-credit facilities by the Street Vendors.

PM SVANidhi

It was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, on June 01, 2020, for providing affordable Working Capital loan to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to Covid-19 lockdown. This scheme targets to benefit over 50 lakh Street Vendors who had been vending on or before 24 March, 2020, in urban areas including those from surrounding peri-urban/ rural areas. Under the Scheme, the vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year. On timely/ early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy @ 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on quarterly basis. There will be no penalty on early repayment of loan. The scheme promotes digital transactions through cash back incentives up to an amount of Rs. 100 per month.

37. Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs and HFCs: Implementation Status

·         The Special Liquidity Scheme of Rs. 30,000 crore for NBFCs and HFCs is being implemented w.e.f. 1st July, 2020 as a follow up of one of the announcements under Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.

·         The Scheme has been launched to improve the liquidity position of NBFCs/HFCs through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to avoid any potential systemic risks to the financial sector.

·         The Scheme is being implemented by SLS Trust, the SPV set up by SBI Capital Markets Limited (SBICAP). Any NBFC including Microfinance Institutions registered with RBI under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (excluding those registered as Core Investment Companies) and any HFC registered with the National Housing Bank (NHB) under the National Housing Bank Act, 1987 which is complying with certain specified conditions are eligible to raise funding from this facility.  

·         The Scheme will remain open for 3 months for making subscriptions by the Trust. The Scheme permits both primary and secondary market purchases of debt and seeks to address the short-term liquidity issues of NBFCs/HFCs.

·         Therefore, those market participants who are looking to exit their standard investments with a residual maturity of 90 days may also approach the SLS Trust.

 38. Cabinet approves Central Sector Scheme  of financing   facility under   ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to a new pan India Central Sector Scheme-Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
  • The scheme shall provide a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.
  • Under the scheme, Rs. One Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), Marketing Cooperative Societies, Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), Self Help Group (SHG), Farmers, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, Aggregation Infrastructure Providers and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public Private Partnership Project.
  • Loans will be disbursed in four years starting with sanction of Rs. 10,000 crore in the current year and Rs. 30,000 crore each in next three financial years.
  • All loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crore.
  • This subvention will be available for a maximum period of seven years. Further, credit guarantee coverage will be available for eligible borrowers from this financing facility under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for a loan up to Rs. 2 crore.
  • The fee for this coverage will be paid by the Government. In case of FPOs the credit guarantee may be availed from the facility created under FPO promotion scheme of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DACFW).
  • The total outflow as budgetary support from Government of India (GoI) will be Rs.10,736 crore:
  • Moratorium for repayment under this financing facility may vary subject to minimum of 6 months and maximum of 2 years.
  • Agri Infra fund will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform. It will enable all the qualified entities to apply for loan under the fund. The online platform will also provide benefits such as transparency of interest rates offered by multiple banks, scheme details including interest subvention and credit guarantee offered, minimum documentation, faster approval process as also integration with other scheme benefits.
  • The National, State and District level Monitoring Committees will be set up to ensure real-time monitoring and effective feed-back.
  • The duration of the Scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).

39. Remittances to India likely to decline 25%; fall in oil prices to hit flow from Gulf region’

·         Remittances to India are estimated to decline sharply by about 25 per cent in FY2021 amid the economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, according to a global banking group Swiss banking group UBS.

·         Based on an analysis, we expect private transfers to slow to $55-60 billion in FY21 on a year-on-year basis.

·         India is the largest recipient of remittances (in value terms) in the worId and received nearly $76 billion of flows (2.7 per cent of GDP) in FY20.

·         India’s current account deficit (CAD), excluding remittances, would have been a high $101 billion (3.5 per cent of GDP) as against $25 billion (0.9 per cent of GDP) with transfers in FY20.

40. TRIFED Signs MoU with IIT, Delhi for Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA)

·         TRIFED has now entered into a partnership with IIT Delhi for the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA), a flagship national programme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. 

·         To cement and formalise this partnership, a tripartite MOU was signed between TRIFED, IIT Delhi(on behalf of the UBA, as the National Coordinating Institute) and Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA, a Swadeshi Science Movement) at IIT-D.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA)

Launch date- 2014

Features-

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is a flagship program of the Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • It aims to link the Higher Education Institutions including Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs) etc.with a set of at least (5) villages, so that these institutions can contribute to the economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.
  • To engage the faculty and students of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in identifying development issues in rural areas and finding sustainable solutions for the same.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0– It is the upgraded version of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 1.0. It was launched in 2018.

  41. Carbon pricing works to reduce emissions, says study

  • Carbon pricing works to strongly reduce emissions, said a recent study that examined 142 countries from the beginning of such pricing systems in the 1990s.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion in countries that had carbon pricing were 2 percentage points lower than those that did not have such systems in place.
  • By the end of the study period, 43 countries had some form of carbon pricing in place, the study by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) and Macquarie University pointed out.
  • COemissions fell 2 per cent between 2007 and 2017 in countries with a carbon price, while they increased by 3 per cent in countries that did not have such pricing, according to Burke.

42. India likely to miss target of eradicating AIDS by 2030: ICMR study

  • With the covid-19 pandemic having halted the progress of several public health programmes, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned that India may miss the national target to end AIDS by 2030.
  • That target would be difficult to achieve as the decline in annual new HIV infections was only 27% from 2010 to 2017 against a national target of a 75% decline by 2020.
  • The warning comes in a study by the ICMR-National Institute of Medical Statistics, Division of Strategic information – Surveillance and Epidemiology, and the National AIDS Control Organization under the ministry of health and family welfare.
  • As per the study published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research, the national adult prevalence of HIV was estimated to be 0.22% in 2017. Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland had the highest prevalence of over 1%.
  • The study found an estimated 2.1 million people were living with the AIDS virus, HIV, in 2017, with Maharashtra estimated to have the highest number. Of the 88,000 annual new HIV infections nationally in 2017, Telangana accounted for the largest share.

43. 92% deliveries in hospitals, every third child born through a c-section

  •  Findings of the latest survey on the state of India’s health conducted by the National Statistical Office in 2017-18 show a positive change: the proportion of women delivering a child in a hospital (or health care institution) has increased over the past two decades by nearly 73 percentage points in rural India and 37 percentage points in urban India.
  • At least nine of every 10 pregnant women now deliver a child in a hospital and thereby avail better health care facilities.
  • But nearly every third woman who delivers a child in a hospital undergoes a caesarean-section or C-section surgery, which is a rate twice of what the international health care community considers ideal, and almost the same it is in the US. Personal preferences and older mothers are part reason for this.
  • At 28.1%, the share of women delivering through a C-section has risen by nearly 25 percentage points in two decades from as low as 3.2% in 1995-96.

 44. Report on lead poisoning by UNICEF:

  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and international non-profit organization focused on pollution issues, Pure Earth have released a report- “The Toxic Truth: Children’s exposure to lead pollution undermines a generation of potential”.
  • Around 1 in 3 children – up to 800 million globally – have blood lead levels at, or above, 5 micrograms per decilitre (µg/dL), the amount at which action is required.
  • Nearly half of these children live in South Asia.It is particularly destructive to babies and children under the age of 5 as it damages their brain before they have had the opportunity to fully develop, causing them lifelong neurological, cognitive and physical impairment.
  • Childhood lead exposure is estimated to cost lower- and middle-income countries almost USD $1 trillion due to lost economic potential of these children over their lifetime.

 45. Commonwealth countries lagging behind on action against modern slavery, says report

  • According to a report released by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and an international anti-slavery organisation Walk Free With Commonwealth countries accounting for about 40% of people living in conditions of modern slavery in the world, the 54 nations were found lacking in actions to eradicate modern slavery by 2030 on the occasion of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
  • The report stated that India had fared the worst in terms of coordination, “with no national coordinating body or National Action Plan in place”.
  • The report assessed the progress made by Commonwealth countries on the promises made in 2018 to end modern slavery by 2030 and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending forced labour, human trafficking and child labour.
  • The report found that one-third of the Commonwealth countries had criminalised forced marriage, while 23 had not criminalised commercial sexual exploitation of children.
  • Out of 54 countries, only four engage with business to investigate supply chains, and all countries report gaps in victim assistance programs.
  • India, like all other Commonwealth countries in Asia, had not ratified the International Labour Organisation’s 2011 Domestic Workers Convention or the 2014 Forced Labour Protocol.
  • The report said India accounted for one-third of all child brides in the world. None of the Asian countries in the group had implemented laws against forced labour in supply chains, it said.

46. Offshore wind can yield twin benefits of GHG reduction, return on investments: Report

  • A report by the World Resources Institute.Offshore wind energy generation can not just reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also increase return on investment (RoI) made to scale up these technologies.
  • It pointed out a reduction of 0.3-1.61 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide every year by 2050 if offshore wind energy generation is scaled up.

 47. Digital transactions could reach Rs 15 trillion a day by 2025: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) estimates, payments through digital modes are expected to jump to 1.5 billion transactions, worth Rs 15 trillion a day in five years.
  • The daily transactions average at about 100 million now for a volume of Rs 5 trillion.
  • Digital payments include transactions done through credit and debit cards, apart from various mobile payment modes like Unified Payment Systems (UPI). The plan to take digital payments.

48. States will soon be ranked on a new financial management index for rural development

The Narendra Singh Tomar-led rural development ministry will soon rank states on efficient management of financial resources allocated for implementing half a dozen rural development schemes.

The department has developed a financial management index that will map the performance of states and rank them on the basis of five parameters.

These include preparation of annual plan, expeditious release of due state share, timely utilization of the funds and submission of the utilization certificates; optimum implementation of public financial management system (PFMS); optimum implementation of DBT module for the rural employment guarantee scheme, internal audit and the social audit.


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