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Daily Current Events by Civils360 December 26, 2017

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Foreign Policy: Read Here

  • The Consultative Committee of Parliament on External Affairs questioned the government about its foreign policy stands and the current challenges it faces in South Asia. This comes with a reaffirmed commitment by the government to Neighbours First policy and the recent Maldives-China Free Trade Agreement.
  • Diplomats under the Ministry of External Affairs told the committee that India has always been there for the Maldives and will continue the commitment to be the first friend.It also acknowledged that the 2015 visit to the Maldives by Prime Minister of India was cancelled at the last minute due to political developments in the Maldives.
  • Another issue discussed is with regard to India-Nepal ties. The members of the committee raised the issues before India-Nepal ties following the return of K.P. Sharma Oli as the newly elected leader of Nepal as Mr Oli is known to be a critic of India’s policies towards Nepal.

H-1 B Visa: Read Here

  • The Trump administration plans to revive a rule proposed in 2011 to introduce pre-registration for employers planning to hire foreigners under the H-1B visa programme and change the definition of the high speciality occupation.Under the new H-1B visa rule, which could go into effect in February, US firms will be required to first electronically register for visas that are subject to an annual cap of 85,000.

  • The pre-registration rule was proposed by the department of homeland security (DHS) — the parent ministry of the USCIS — in its regulatory plan for 2018 filed earlier this month. The regulatory plan also intends to withdraw work-permits to spouses of H-1B visa-holders who are awaiting permanent residency, popularly known as green card.
  • The move intended to prevent US employers from hiring foreigners for low-paying jobs that could easily be filled. It could affect the services sector of developing countries like India very bad.

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Power Sector: Read Here

  • Ministry of Power submitted a list of 34 projects that include power plants unable to repay loans to a parliamentary panel on energy. Almost a third of such projects are in Chhattisgarh. The government continued to refuse to reveal the exact amount that these projects owe to the banks.
  • The government has moved away from taking the responsibility of the high levels of non-performing assets in the power sector. It says the developer has to arrange all inputs like land, water, necessary clearances, the sale of power under the power purchase agreement.
  • In case of the power sector, over-projection of demand of electricity accompanied with the aggressive bidding decision were made by the developers and hence some of them are running in profit and a few are in loss. The bidders were inaccurate while calculating the costs associated with projects prior to bidding.

Global Economy: Read Here

  • According to the report by The Centre for Economics and Business Research consultancy’s 2018 World Economic League Table, India looks set to leapfrog Britain and France next year to become the world’s fifth-largest economy in dollar terms.
  • India’s ascent is part of a trend that will see Asian economies increasingly dominate the top 10 largest economies over the next 15 years. India’s growth had been slowed by restrictions on high-value banknotes and a new sales tax.
  • Among other countries, China is likely to overtake the United States as the world’s No.1 economy in 2032. Also, the report predicts that Brexit’s effects on Britain’s economy will be less than feared, allowing it to overtake France again in 2020. Russia was vulnerable to low oil prices and too reliant on the energy sector and looked likely to fall to 17th place among the world’s largest economies by 2032, from 11th now.

Insolvency: Read Here

  • Between December 2016 and August 2017, operational creditors filed 267 petitions with NCLT or 52% of the total number of petitions filed. About a third of these cases (86 petitions) have been admitted by NCLT and are in various stages of the insolvency process.
  • Among the petitions that were dismissed, 79 or about 44% were either settled or withdrawn, indicating that operational creditors got their dues back in a large number of cases. The Reserve Bank of India’s Financial Stability Report makes the important point that operational creditors, such as trade suppliers, employees, or workmen, have been empowered by the bankruptcy code.

  • The bankruptcy code alters the behaviour of debtors and incentivizes them to pay the dues of operational creditors before they petition the NCLT for triggering the code.