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September 11, 2017

Data base soon on Bonda migration

  • The Bonda Development Agency (BDA) has started an inquiry and survey in the remote Bonda-inhabited villages in Malkangiri district of Odisha following reports that these primitive tribals are migrating to other States in search of employment and that some of their women are being sexually exploited.
  • The girls had allegedly fallen prey to dubious labour contractors in adjoining Andhra Pradesh. They along with several other Bonda men and women had migrated to Andhra Pradesh in search of work. It is alleged that labour contractors take these Bondas outside the State as cheap labour.
  • As allegations are rife about mass migration of Bonda tribals from Odisha in search of livelihood, the administration has taken the issue seriously.Since Wednesday, officials of the BDA have started an on-the-spot inquiry and survey relating to migration and alleged sexual harassment of Bonda women outside the State.
  • BDA project leader Manga Panna accepted that some Bondas undertake seasonal migration after the end of the kharif season and return by Durga Puja to start agricultural work. Through the on-the-spot inquiry and enumeration, the BDA plans to prepare a proper data base about Bonda migration and realise the reasons behind it.
  • Bondas are considered to be one of most primitive tribes in the world.
  • As per an official survey in 2015, around 8,000 Bonda tribals live in 32 villages of four panchayats under Khairaput block. Their villages are located in remote and isolated hilly region north-west of the Machhkund river. Their habitat in Khairaput block is called the Bonda valley.

Setting sail: around the world in 7 months

  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday hailed the global circumnavigation being attempted by an all-women Indian Navy crew of ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama.’
  • ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama,’ perhaps the first-ever attempt by an all-women crew to circumnavigate the globe, will have stopovers at four ports — Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands) and Cape town (South Africa) — for replenishments and repairs. It will return to Goa in April next year.
  • The crew has sailed approximately 20,000 Nm on board INSV Mhadei and Tarini as part of training, which included two expeditions to Mauritius (in 2016 and 2017) and a voyage from Goa to Cape Town in December 2016.
  • Among other things, the crew will collate and update Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave data on a daily basis for subsequent analysis by research and development organisations. They will also monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.
  • The first Indian solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Capt. Dilip Donde, SC (Retd) from August 19, 2009 to May 19, 2010 on board the Indian built vessel, INSV Mhadei. The first Indian non-stop solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Cdr. Abhilash Tomy, KC from November 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013.

Women’s tech park all set to open

  • In over a month, software engineer-turned-entrepreneur Shilpa K. will be on the cusp of an unprecedented expansion of her small seven-year-old business. Shilpa will join at least 90 women entrepreneurs in the park that is expected to be inaugurated by November, after nearly a year of delay. From automobile sector to food processing and garments, the park is, in its core, a display of the power of women in the industry.
  • The tech park was first announced during the Invest Karnataka Meeting in February 2016, with the hope of completing it within the end of the year.However, Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) officials said land acquisition was a hurdle.While 300 acres in Harohalli Phase III on the outskirts of the city have been earmarked for the women’s tech park, nearly 106 acres have been developed so far. Layout formation, roads and other infrastructure work are nearing completion.
  • On the need for such a park, she says that while the 5% reservation policy in 158 industrial areas across the State continues, the women-only park will be crucial to enhance networking among women entrepreneurs.

‘NPAs: challenge is to avoid delays’

  • On June 13, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came up with an advisory asking banks to file insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings for 12 loan accounts, in which banks had an exposure of more than Rs. 5,000 crore each. This constituted about 25% of the system’s bad loans whose total is estimated at Rs. 7 lakh crore.
  • The central bank had asked banks to file bankruptcy cases with the National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT) within June 30. The RBI had also advised banks to make higher provisions for these accounts to be referred to the Tribunal under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). According to RBI deputy governor Viral Acharya, the move was intended to improve bank provision coverage ratios and to ensure that banks are fully protected against likely losses in the resolution process.
  • The clock starts ticking once a case is admitted. After a case is admitted, insolvency resolution professionals (IRP) are put on the job to find a resolution process. In case no resolution is possible within six months, another three months’ extension can be given. However, if no resolution is reached even in extended period, the company goes for liquidation.
  • The IBC, 2016 — which Mr. Patel describes as a watershed towards improving the credit culture of the country — was aimed at time bound resolution (or liquidation) of stressed assets.
  • The NCLT was constituted on June 1, 2016 with 10 benches and one principal bench. More than 1,000 cases have already been filed with the NCLT, of which more than 220 cases have been admitted. Over 900 insolvency professionals (IPs) have registered with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI).
  • One of the key aspects of time-bound resolution is the infrastructure of the NCLT. Bankers and insolvency professionals said there is a need to beef up the infrastructure of NCLT as many cases apart from bankruptcy are also being filed at NCLT.

Separate bench needed

  • “Bench is under pressure because there are not enough number of Judges. The same bench will be hearing IBC matters, other company law matters, other merger matters, conversion of private limited company to public limited company — all issues are going to the same bench,” he said.According to Mr. Srivastava, a separate bench for for insolvency and bankruptcy cases is the need of the hour.
  • Observing that ‘a major challenge foreseen for the Code was the tidal flow of cases to the NCLT’, the report said, “In addition to new cases filed for resolution under IBC, there was a significant backlog of cases that were transferred from the CLB. Also, winding up cases with high courts, corporate recovery cases with the debt recovery tribunals (DRTs) and rehabilitation cases with the BIFR [Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction] were transferred to the NCLT.”

‘Clock should not stop’

  • There could be other issues that add to the delays. Essar Steel filing a plea in the Gujarat High Court challenging the initiation of bankruptcy proceedings against the company, is an example.
  • “There is no provision under the code for going to the high court, but under the constitution of India the high court has the inherent power to accept the writ. But the good thing that happened in the Essar case is that the Gujarat High Court has not touched upon the provisions of the insolvency code. They just touched upon the issue as to whether the RBI is right in targeting just 12 accounts…, which should not lead to discrimination. The high court has not commented on insolvency per se ,” Mr. Srivastava pointed out.
  • One of the key challenges in insolvency proceedings is dealing with the insecurity of all the stakeholders.
  • The important question is whether the stakeholders will find a resolution within the required time frame, that is within six months plus another three months after the case has been admitted. If time-bound resolution does not happen, companies will go for liquidation. Most companies going into liquidation is a scenario that no one wants.

The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)

  • Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June, a new organisation called the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) has been formed, chaired by Cisco Systems executive chairman and former US India Business Council (USIBC) chairperson John Chambers.


Fall in GDP figures structural, not transient, says SBI report

  • India’s GDP growth was expected to decline in the first quarter of the current fiscal, but the “free fall” in the numbers shows that the problem is more structural than transient, said a report.India’s economic growth slipped to a three-year low of 5.7% cent in April-June, underscoring the disruptions caused by uncertainty related to the GST roll-out amid a slowdown in manufacturing activities.
  • According to the report, the negative impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on growth has been “majorly emphasised”.
    • “Though there has been a lot of talk about manufacturing destocking ahead of GST and its impact on GDP, a significant destocking in both consumer as well as investment intensive sectors was already taking pace in 2016-17,” said SBI’s research report Ecowrap.
  • With fiscal deficit touching 92.4% of the budget estimate by the end of July, the government may cut expenditure to meet the 3.2% target, the report stated.
  • In absolute terms, fiscal deficit — the difference between expenditure and revenue — was Rs. 5.04 trillion of budget estimate till July, against 73.7% in the same period last fiscal. The report was quick to point out that with uncertainties involving GST and monetary policy support to growth not forthcoming, it would not be prudent for the government to reduce spending as other growth drivers are missing.