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Daily current events Civils360

July 25, 2017

 

Opposition seeks scrutiny of Banking Regulation Bill

 

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
    • The Bill seeks to authorise the RBI to resolve the problem of stressed assets, even as the Opposition demanded that it be sent to a standing committee for scrutiny.
  • The Bill seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated in May.
    • It allows the RBI to open an insolvency resolution process in respect of specific stressed assets.
    • The RBI will also be empowered to issue directives for resolution and appoint authorities or committees to advise the banking companies on stressed asset resolution.
  • Non-performing assets of banks have risen to over Rs. 9 lakh crore, and now the RBI was empowered to refer the cases to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board, he said.
  • “Giving such powers to the RBI will switch its attention from macro-economic issues to micro-economic issues and render the bank management useless,” Mr. Roy said.

Soul of India is in tolerance: Pranab

  • In his last address to the nation as the Head of State, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday stressed the need for pluralism and tolerance, saying that the soul of India resides in these values.
  • “Multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. We derive our strength from tolerance,” Mr. Mukherjee said, asserting that plurality had become an essential part of the country after centuries of assimilation of ideas.
  • He contended that only a non-violent society could ensure the participation of all sections of the people, particularly the marginalised and the dispossessed, in the democratic process.
  • “India is not just a geographical entity. It carries a history of ideas, philosophy, intellect, industrial genius, craft innovation and experience,” he said.
  • The President also stressed the need for financial inclusion for an equitable society, and said that the poorest needed to be empowered.
  • Mr. Mukherjee emphasised the need for quality education, saying that India’s higher educational institutions needed to be upgraded to world-class levels.
  • The President also stressed upon the need to protect the environment and the people’s right to lead happy lives through good governance, social inclusion and poverty eradication

Keeping safe while cruising in the Arctic

  • As global warming reduces the extent of sea ice in the Arctic, more ships — cargo carriers as well as liners like the Serenity taking tourists to see the region’s natural beauty — will be plying far northern waters. Experts in maritime safety say that raises concerns about what will happen when something inevitably goes wrong.
  • Although nations with Arctic lands, including the United States, have agreed to assist each other in the event of disaster, there is very little emergency infrastructure in either U.S. or Canadian Arctic waters, or in Russia along what is known as the Northern Sea Route.
  • There are relatively few government icebreakers or cutters in the region, and a long-range airlift by helicopters would be extremely difficult. So an emergency operation would most likely rely heavily on other commercial ships that happen to be in the area.

SC ready to revisit Lodha reforms

  • Over a year after backing the mantra of reforms framed by the high-profile Justice R.M. Lodha Committee to usher in transparency in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the cricket administration, the Supreme Court on Monday said it was ready to revisit, if not modify, some key recommendations as they “may not be a good idea in this country”.

One State, one vote

  • Primary among the recommendations of the Justice Lodha panel which may come under scrutiny is the “one State, one vote policy.
  • Another is the capping of the number of members of the senior selection committee at three, all of them to be former Test players. The BCCI last year stuck to its conventional five members.
  • The Bench said it would hear the BCCI, the State cricket associations and member bodies on issues such as “memberships, number of votes” in an effort to make the running of “cricket, the gentleman’s game” come as close to perfect as possible.

Admiralty Bill gets Rajya Sabha nod

  • The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims), Bill, 2017, passed by the Lok Sabha in March, seeks to consolidate the laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction, legal proceedings in connection with vessels, their arrest, detention, sale and other related matters.
  • While earlier only the High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras could take up maritime cases, the Bill extends the power to the High Courts of Karnataka, Kerala, Hyderabad, Orissa and Gujarat, besides any other High Courts as notified by the Centre.
  • The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017, as earlier passed by the Lok Sabha, is to establish it as an institution of national importance. Although all members supported the Bill, some said recent developments had an adverse impact on leather industry. Referring to the recent incidents involving “cow vigilantes,” Congress member P.L. Punia sought protection to those engaged in the industry.

SC for more data on GM mustard

  • The Supreme Court on Monday asked the government to stop itself from embarking on any project on, or commercial release of, genetically modified (GM) mustard.
  • “If nothing happens, if there is no problem, then it is fine. But if there is going to be an impact, we would like to have an injunction in place, by either us or by you,” Chief Justice Khehar told Mr. Mehta categorically. Mr. Mehta said discussions and studies were still on about the large number of representations received from the public and scientific bodies about GM mustard.

Ambiguity on GST irks solar players

  • Ambiguity surrounding the Goods and Services Tax rate on various inputs is troubling the solar sector, with industry players also saying that their suppliers are not passing on the benefit arising out of input tax credits, leading to higher prices and eventually higher tariffs for customers.
  • “While the government is saying that there is a 5% rate on solar components, the truth is that the weighted average rate comes at about 10%. Some items are taxed at 18%, and some at the lower 5%. Others, like inverters, are even taxed at 28%.”
  • “The module, which is almost half of the cost of the solar system…, earlier there was no tax on it,” Gagan Vermani, founder and CEO at MYSUN said. “Now, it has come under 5%. Ultimately, it will increase the cost of the modules by 5%. And, we have to pass this on to the customers. Our cost of procurement has gone up, so the selling price will also go up.”
  • “Because GST is an end-use tax, the government cannot even discriminate between uses by saying that, say, an inverter used for solar purposes will be taxed this much, but for other purposes at a higher rate,” Mr. Aggarwal said. “This will be very difficult to implement and will also lead to misuse. How will one prove for what purpose it is being used for?”

IMF retains India 2017 GDP growth forecast at 7.2%

  • The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) July World Economic Outlook Update retained India’s projected GDP growth rate for 2017-18 at 7.2%, and at 7.7% for 2018-19.
  • “While activity slowed following the currency exchange initiative [demonetisation], growth for 2016 — at 7.1% — was higher than anticipated due to strong government spending and data revisions that show stronger momentum in the first part of the year.”