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July 29, 2021
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28th July Current Affairs

Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2020

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

The Bill was recently passed by the Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to widen the scope of entities that can engage in factoring business.

What is factoring?

Factoring is a transaction where an entity (like MSMEs) ‘sells’ its receivables ( dues from a customer) to a third party ( a ‘factor’ like a bank or NBFC) for immediate funds (partial or full).

Currently, seven non-bank finance companies called NBFC factors do the majority of the factoring through the principal business condition.

Key Provisions:

The Bill has done away with threshold for NBFCs to get into the factoring business.

It widens the scope of financiers and to permit other non banking finance companies also to undertake factoring business and participate on the Trade Receivables Discounting System platform for discounting the invoices of micro, small and medium enterprises.

It reduces the time period for registration of invoice and satisfaction of charge upon it, in order to avoid possibility of dual financing.

It empowers the Reserve Bank of India to make regulations with respect to factoring business.

Significance:

Allowing non-NBFC factors and other entities to undertake factoring is expected to increase the supply of funds available to small businesses.

This may result in bringing down the cost of funds and enable greater access to the credit-starved small businesses, ensuring timely payments against their receivables.

Steps like integration with GSTN, mandatory listing of the government dues and direct filing of charges will improve the operational efficiency and acceptability of the platforms among the financiers.

Harappan City Dholavira Gets World Heritage Tag

(GS-I: Indian culture)

In News:

Dholavira in Gujarat has got the tag of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Details:

It is now the 40th treasure in India to be given UNESCO World Heritage tag.

It is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag.

Other than India, Italy, Spain, Germany, China and France have 40 or more World Heritage Sites.

About Dholavira:

It is a Harappan-era city sprawled over 100 hectares on Khadir, one of the islands in the Rann of Kutch.

It dates from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE.

One of the five largest cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation, Dholavira is located about 250 km from Bhuj.

It has two seasonal streams, Mansar and Manhar.

Distinct features:

After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.

The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.

It is known for its unique characteristics, such as its water management system, multi-layered defensive mechanisms, extensive use of stone in construction and special burial structures.

During the excavations, artefacts made of copper, stone, jewellery of terracotta, gold and ivory have been found.

Unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira.

Remains of a copper smelter indicate Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy.

It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.

Decline:

Its decline also coincided with the collapse of Mesopotamia, indicating the integration of economies.

Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell.

From 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.

PM-CARES funds to help all orphaned children during pandemic

(GS-II: Government policies)

In News:

The Supreme Court has made an oral observation that the welfare schemes for orphans, such as the one announced under the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund(PM CARES Fund), should cover all children who became orphans during COVID-19, and not just those who got orphaned due to COVID.

What’s the issue?

The Supreme Court’s suo motu case is dealing with children who became orphans after the onset of COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

In its observations, it has said that it was not asking to extend the scheme under the PM CARES to all orphans but was highlighting the need to protect all orphans who became so during the pandemic.

Need for:

The Court has pointed out that India is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Child and therefore the State has an obligation to take care of orphans.

Background:

On May 28, the Court had directed the Union and States to identify children who have become orphans post March, 2020, whether it be due to the pandemic or otherwise, and upload their information in the ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

The bench has also passed directions to control illegal adoption of such orphans.

Why is the welfare of orphans the need of hour?

Over 75,000 children have been orphaned, abandoned or have lost a parent during the COVID pandemic, and many of them may become victims of human trafficking rackets or descend into crime.

As per report by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR):

6,855 children have been orphaned between April 1, 2020 and July 23, 2021.

68,218 children lost one of their parents during the pandemic months till July 23 this year. Another 247 children were abandoned across the country.

What needs to be done to help these children?

The State governments may work out a mechanism for continuing the education of orphaned children in the existing schools.

Eligible children who have either not enrolled or dropped out of schools should be enrolled in schools.

Authorities should reach out to the guardians of these orphans and gauge whether they really can afford to have these children and if they require financial help.

Increase the government sponsorship limits for these children under the various existing schemes.

Proper implementation of the existing schemes.

About the Convention on the Rights of Child:

It is an international agreement that is legally binding on the members.

The CRC was adopted by the United Nations in 1989. It entered into force in 1990 after receiving the minimum of 20 ratifications.

It recognises a child as every human being under 18 years old.

It sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.

What are the 4 core principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

  • Non-discrimination.
  • Right to life, survival and development.
  • Best interests of the child.
  • Respect for the child’s views.

Israeli war crimes apparent in Gaza assault, says HRW

(GS-II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora)

In News:

Human Rights Watch investigation has revealed that Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups carried out attacks during the May 2021 fighting in the Gaza Strip and Israel that violated the laws of war and apparently amount to war crimes.

Such attacks, it said, violate “the prohibition against deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians.”

Background:

In May 2021, three Israeli strikes killed 62 Palestinian civilians where there were no evident military targets in the vicinity. Palestinian armed groups also committed unlawful attacks, launching more than 4,360 unguided rockets and mortars toward Israeli population centers, violating the prohibition against deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians.

What do international laws say on war Crimes?

Under international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, warring parties may target only military objectives.

They must take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians, including by providing effective advance warnings of attacks.

Deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian objects are prohibited.

The laws of war also prohibit indiscriminate attacks, which include attacks that do not distinguish between civilians and military targets or do not target a military objective.

Attacks in which the expected harm to civilians and civilian property is disproportionate to the anticipated military gain are also prohibited.

Individuals who commit serious violations of the laws of war with criminal intent – that is, deliberately or recklessly– are responsible for war crimes.

What happened? How has the recent war unfolded?

The war erupted on May 10 after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets toward Jerusalem in support of Palestinian protests against Israel’s heavy-handed policing of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, built on a contested site sacred to Jews and Muslims, and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers in a nearby neighborhood.

During the fighting, Hamas fired over 4,000 rockets and mortars toward Israel, while Israel has said it struck over 1,000 targets it says were linked to Gaza militants.

About Human Rights Watch:

Founded in 1978, it is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

The group pressures governments, policy makers, companies, and individual human rights abusers to denounce abuse and respect human rights, and the group often works on behalf of refugees, children, migrants, and political prisoners.