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15 August Current Affairs

NBFCs/ HFCs

In News:

Government of India has issued a scheme to provide a one-time partial credit guarantee to PSBs for purchase of pooled assets of financially sound NBFCs.

About:

Name of the Scheme: ‘Partial Credit Guarantee offered by Government of India (GoI) to Public Sector Banks (PSBs) for purchasing high-rated pooled assets from financially sound Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs)/Housing Finance Companies (HFCs)’.

Objective: To address temporary asset liability mismatches of otherwise solvent NBFCs/HFCs without having to resort to distress sale of their assets for meeting their commitments.

Validity of the scheme: The window for one-time partial credit guarantee offered by GoI will open from the date of issuance of the Scheme by the Government for a period of 6 months, or till such date by which Rs. 1 lakh crore assets get purchased by banks, whichever is earlier.

Eligible NBFCs/HFCs:

The NBFCs registered with RBI under the Reserve Bank of India Act, excluding those registered as Micro Finance Institutions and Core Investment Companies.

HFCs registered with National Housing Bank (NHB) under the National Housing Bank Act.

Micro Finance Institutions and Core Investment Companies are not covered under the Scheme.

 Significance:

NBFCs including HFCs have been under stress following the series of defaults by group companies of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. (IL&FS) last year.

It is expected that this measure would provide liquidity to the NBFC Sector and, in turn, enable them to continue to play their role in meeting the financing requirements of the productive sectors of economy including MSME, retail and housing.

Stubble Burning

In News:

According to Director General, ICAR, India achieved considerable reduction in crop residue burning incidents in 2018.

Details:

Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the State of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & NCT of Delhi:

What is it? It is a Central Sector Scheme launched by Government of India for the period from 2018-19 to 2019-20.

Objective: To tackle air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi.

Strategy: It involves distribution of in-situ crop residue management machinery to the farmers on subsidy, establishment of Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) of in-situ crop residue management machinery and undertaking Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities for creating awareness among farmers.

Implementing mechanism: ICAR is implementing the scheme through 60 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) of Punjab (22), Haryana (14), Delhi (1) and UP (23).

Achievements under the scheme:

The paddy residue burning events have reduced by 15% and 41% in 2018 as compared to that in 2017 and 2016, respectively in all these States.

More than 4500 villages in Punjab and Haryana were declared as Zero Stubble Burning Villages during 2018 as not a single crop burning incident was reported from these villages during the year.

Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization:

In addition to the above Scheme, separate funds are being allocated to the States for crop residue management under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization by the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.

Priority Sector Lending (PSL) – Lending By Banks To NBFCs For On-Lending

In News:

The RBI issued a circular under which on-lending by registered NBFCs (other than MFIs) towards agriculture, MSEs and housing sector up to prescribed limits will be treated as priority sector loans. it is being done in order to boost credit to the needy segment of borrowers.

About: 

Bank credit to registered NBFCs (other than MFIs) for on-lending will be eligible for classification as priority sector under respective categories subject to the following conditions:

Agriculture: On-lending by NBFCs for ‘Term lending’ component under Agriculture will be allowed up to ₹ 10 lakh per borrower.

Micro & Small enterprises: On-lending by NBFC will be allowed up to ₹ 20 lakh per borrower.

Housing: Enhancement of the existing limits for on-lending by HFCs from ₹ 10 lakh per borrower to ₹ 20 lakh per borrower.

Under the revised on-lending model, banks can classify only the fresh loans sanctioned by NBFCs out of bank borrowing.

However, loans given by housing finance companies under the existing on-lending guidelines will continue to be classified under priority sector by banks.

Bank credit to NBFCs for on-lending will be allowed up to a limit of five per cent of individual bank’s total priority sector lending on an ongoing basis.

These norms will be reviewed after March 31, 2020.

Swachh Bharat (Urban)

In News:

Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs launched the Swachh Survekshan 2020 (SS 2020), the SBM Water PLUS Protocol and Toolkit, Swachh Nagar – an integrated waste management app and AI enabled mSBM App.

About: 

Swachh Survekshan 2020 (SS 2020): It will be the fifth edition of the annual cleanliness survey. It will be conducted in January 2020 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).

SBM Water PLUS Protocol: Moving beyond ODF, ODF+ and ODF++, the Water PLUS protocol aims to provide a guideline for cities and towns to ensure that no untreated wastewater is released into the environment thereby enabling sustainability of the sanitation value chain.

Swachh Nagar Mobile App: It is an integrated waste management app to tackle several issues that hinder effective waste management such as lack of monitoring, collection of segregated waste, and tracking the movement of waste vehicles and waste pickers, amongst others.

AI enabled mSBM App: It has been developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to facilitate the applicants of Individual Household Toilets (IHHL) under SBM-U know the status of their application in real-time after uploading the photograph.

Jio Fiber

In News:

Reliance Industries has unveiled its wired broadband service Jio GigaFiber. This service will start commercially from 5 September at rates which are one-tenth compared to global rates.

About:

Reliance Industries has unveiled its wired broadband service Jio GigaFiber starting at ₹700 a month going up to ₹10,000 a month depending on the usage plans.

Components:

This will combine wired broadband, television content, landline calling and a host of smart solutions such as multi-player gaming and video conferencing.

Under the Jio GigaFiber welcome offer, customers opting for one-year plan for Jio GigaFiber will even get an HD 4K LED television and a 4K set-top box free.

Target: The company has drawn up a plan to reach 20 million homes and 15 million business enterprises in 1,600 cities across India.

Haryana Administrative Tribunal

In News:

Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association has suspended work indefinitely since a notification came out on July 24 for setting-up the Haryana Administrative Tribunal.

Details:

The Tribunal is meant to adjudicate over the service matters of the state employees that earlier would be directly heard by the High Court.

What is Haryana Administrative Tribunal?

The tribunal is a quasi-judicial body on the lines of Central Administrative Tribunal for redressal of the grievance of state employees concerning their employment.

Tribunal orders can be challenged before the High Court.

Under which law are the Tribunals setup?

Article 323-A, which came by way of 42nd constitutional amendment in 1976, enabled the Centre to enact The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 for setting-up the Tribunals for adjudication over “disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons”.

The Centre under the Act can establish the Tribunal for its own employees and also has the power to establish one for a state after receiving a request from the state government.

Two or more states can also agree for a single tribunal.

Composition:

The Tribunal is to be headed by a Chairman or Chairperson – a retired High Court Judge, and a number of Judicial and Administrative Members.

The Chairperson can be removed only by the President of India.

The Tribunal can also have benches at different locations.

Need:

In the absence of the Tribunal, the employees have no other option but to directly approach the High Court. The government’s decision to establish the Tribunal had been pending since 2015 and is aimed at reducing a large number of pending cases before the High Court and quick disposal of the grievances of employees, as per the state.

Why is bar association opposing this move?

The Bar Association has been saying the decision encroaches upon the jurisdiction of the Court and is also aimed at circumventing the judicial independence.

They argue that Tribunal members do not enjoy powers like judges who hold constitutional posts.

Tribunals are also seen as a means to encroach upon the jurisdiction and judicial independence of the High Court.

Palani panchamirtham

The famous Palani panchamirtham, given as ‘prasadam’ at the Murugan temple at Palani has been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

This is the first time a temple ‘prasadam’ from Tamil Nadu has been given the GI tag.

The panchamirtham is a combination of five natural substances — banana, jaggery, cow ghee, honey and cardamom. Dates and diamond sugar candies are added for flavour.

Injeti Srinivas Committee

  • High Level Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri. Injeti Srinivas, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to review the existing framework and guide and formulate the roadmap for a coherent policy on Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR).
  • It suggested that violations should be regarded as civil offences that are liable to monetary penalties along with a number of other suggestions to make CSR provisions more effective and less burdensome for companies.
  • It suggested CSR spending should be eligible for tax deductions and companies be allowed to carry forward unspent balances for three-to-five years.
  • The panel wants banks and limited liability partnerships also to be covered by a mandatory CSR expenditure framework.
  • The committee has emphasised that CSR should not be regarded as a means of resource-gap funding for government schemes.
  • CSR spending should be made a board-driven process to provide innovative technology-based solutions for social problems.
  • It has also recommended aligning CSR activities with Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). Also prescribed is the inclusion of sports promotion, senior citizens’ welfare, welfare of differently abled persons, disaster management and heritage protection under permitted CSR activities.
  • The panel has recommended development of a CSR exchange portal to connect contributors, beneficiaries and agencies. It suggested social benefit bonds and promoting social impact companies besides third-party assessment of major CSR projects.

 

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