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26th January Current Affairs

RBI forms working group on digital lending

In News:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a working group on digital lending — including online platforms and mobile apps — to study all aspects of digital lending activities in the regulated financial sector as well as by unregulated players.

This is to ensure that an appropriate regulatory approach is put in place.

The working group will:

Evaluate digital lending activities and assess the penetration and standards of outsourced digital lending activities in RBI regulated entities.

Identify the risks posed by unregulated digital lending to financial stability, regulated entities and consumers.

Suggest regulatory changes to promote orderly growth of digital lending.

Recommend measures for expansion of specific regulatory or statutory perimeter and suggest the role of various regulatory and government agencies.

Recommend a robust fair practices code for digital lending players.

Benefits of digital lending:

Digital lending has the potential to make access to financial products and services more fair, efficient and inclusive.

From a peripheral supporting role a few years ago, FinTech-led innovation is now at the core of the design, pricing and delivery of financial products and services.

Need of the hour:

A balanced approach needs to be followed so that the regulatory framework supports innovation while ensuring data security, privacy, confidentiality and consumer protection.

What are the issues wrt digital lending apps?

They attract borrowers with promise of loans in a quick and hassle-free manner.

But, Excessive rates of interest and additional hidden charges are demanded from borrowers.

Such platforms adopt unacceptable and high-handed recovery methods.

They misuse agreements to access data on the mobile phones of the borrowers.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

In News:

The scheme completes five years.

About PMFBY:

Launched in 2016.

Merged schemes include National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).

It aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of crop assurance claim for the full insured sum.

Coverage:

The Scheme covers all Food & Oilseeds crops and Annual Commercial/Horticultural Crops for which past yield data is available and for which requisite number of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) are being conducted under General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES).

PMFBY to PMFBY 2.0:

Completely Voluntary: It has been decided to make enrolment 100% voluntary for all farmers from 2020 Kharif.

Limit to Central Subsidy: The Cabinet has decided to cap the Centre’s premium subsidy under these schemes for premium rates up to 30% for unirrigated areas/crops and 25% for irrigated areas/crops.

More Flexibility to States: The government has given the flexibility to states/UTs to implement PMFBY and given them the option to select any number of additional risk covers/features like prevented sowing, localised calamity, mid-season adversity, and post-harvest losses.

Penalising the Pendency: In the revamped PMFBY, a provision has been incorporated wherein if states don’t release their share before March 31 for the Kharif season and September 30 for rabi, they would not be allowed to participate in the scheme in subsequent seasons.

Investing in ICE Activities: Insurance companies have to now spend 0.5% of the total premium collected on information, education and communication (IEC) activities.

A strong India would act as ‘counterbalance’ to China: U.S

In News:

The Trump administration has declassified a sensitive document on the U.S. strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific’ from 2018.

Details:

The document outlines objectives and strategies with regard to China, North Korea, India and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

Declassified document outlines objectives on China:

As per the document, The U.S.’s first national security challenge are:

Maintaining “U.S. strategic primacy” in the region and promoting a “liberal economic order”.

Stopping China from establishing “illiberal spheres of influence”.

Ensuring that North Korea does not threaten the U.S. and

Advancing U.S. economic leadership globally.

Objectives towards India:

The U.S. aims to help India become a net security provider in the region and solidify a lasting strategic partnership with India.

It plans to achieve via enhanced defence cooperation and interoperability;

Working with India “toward domestic economic reform”, and

Greater leadership roles for India in the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.

Act-East policy in the document:

The U.S. aims to support India’s “Act East” policy and “its aspiration to be a leading global power, highlighting its compatibility with the U.S., Japanese and Australian vision” of the Indo-Pacific.

A strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance to China, is one of the underlying assumptions of the strategy.

China aims to dissolve U.S. alliances and partnerships across the region. China will exploit vacuums and opportunities created by these diminished bonds.

On Russia, it says the country will “remain a marginal player” in the region relative to the U.S., China and India.

On North Korea, a stated U.S. objective is to, “Convince the Kim regime that the only path to its survival is to relinquish its nuclear weapons.”

The reason for the early declassification of the document:

To communicate to the American people and to our allies and partners, the enduring commitment of the U.S. to keeping the Indo-Pacific region free and open long into the future.

Significance of declassification:

It is an attempt by some in the outgoing administration to make their mark on policy clear and public, but it’s not a document that speaks to tremendous strategic foresight.

There’s a considerable bit of dissonance across this document, however, in its professed goal of spreading American and liberal values and the complete lack of any language on human rights.

PMKVY 3.0

In News:

Third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0) will be launched soon. It will be launched in 600 districts across all states of India.

Details:

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), this phase will focus on new-age and COVID-related skills.

About PMKVY 3.0:

Skill India Mission PMKVY 3.0 envisages training of eight lakh candidates over a scheme period of 2020-2021.

The 729 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs), empaneled non-PMKK training centres and more than 200 ITIs under Skill India will be rolling out PMKVY 3.0 training to build a robust pool of skilled professionals.

On the basis of the learning gained from PMKVY 1.0 and PMKVY 2.0, the Ministry has improved the newer version of the scheme to match the current policy doctrine and energize the skilling ecosystem affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About PMKVY:

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), launched in 2015, is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) implemented by National Skill Development Corporation.

The objective of this Skill Certification Scheme: is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.

Individuals with prior learning experience or skills will also be assessed and certified under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 2.0 (PMKVY 2.0) 2016-20:

After the successful implementation of pilot PMKVY (2015-16), PMKVY 2016-20 was launched by scaling up both in terms of Sector and Geography and by greater alignment with other missions of Government of India like Make in India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat, etc.

Objectives of PMKVY 2016-20:

Enable and mobilize a large number of youths to take up industry designed quality skill training, become employable and earn their livelihood.

Encourage standardisation of the Certification process and put in place the foundation for creating a registry of skills.

Benefit 10 million youth over the period of four years (2016- 2020).

 Skill India Mission:

“Skill India Mission” has gained tremendous momentum through launch of its flagship scheme PMKVY to unlock the vision of making India the ‘Skill Capital’ of the world.