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Daily Current affairs 31 July 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

 

SL. NO.

TOPICS

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

A leaf out of Yunnan’s book

11

1

Padding up for the next UNSC innings

10

3

Efforts on to help Vembanad Lake breathe

08

4

The making of a digital kleptocracy data

10

5

Why India Migrates  (Data Point)

11





 

Title

A leaf out of Yunnan’s book (The Hindu Page 11)

Syllabus 

Mains GS paper III: Economy 

Theme

Connectivity of North East.

Highlights

  • The Northeast part of India is positioned as the gateway to South East Asian countries and therefore lies at the heart of India’s ‘Act East Policy’. 
    The underlying assumption is that trade across the borders will usher in economic prosperity to the North East region.

  • The author provides the example of China’s approach in Yunnan in which it connected the region to South and Southeast Asia, as part of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. A similar approach can be undertaken by India.

 

The approach focuses on three crucial aspects: connectivity, border trade and ecotourism.
 

  • A restrictive regulatory regime (Inner Line Permit for domestic tourists and Restricted Area Permit for foreigners) poses entry barriers  to ensure growth in tourism in the region. Indian border trade with Myanmar (through the sole functional custom station at Moreh) has hovered around $50 million for several years. 

  • For the first time, all eight States of the Northeast have at least one functional civilian airport, with efficient internal connectivity via Kolkata and Guwahati. 
    International flights to Dhaka have commenced from Guwahati recently, and flights to Bangkok and four more cities of ASEAN are in the pipeline under the UDAN scheme.

  • The rail footprint in the Northeast is weak, though the Railway Ministry has announced its intent to ensure internal rail connectivity by March 2022. 
    The Zokhawthar land customs station in Mizoram has fragmented infrastructure and barely sees any formal trade. 

  • Transnational projects, such as the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project, have also been slow to take off on account of niggling land acquisition problems.

  • Absence of robust internal connectivity, infrastructure for logistics, warehousing and processing has hampered meaningful trade. 

  • Nagaland has made a good beginning with the Hornbill festival, but there are opportunities in other States too. Following this path would help encourage private investment in tourism infrastructure. Tourism revolving around ecology, culture and ethnicity would ensure that there is no disruption in the tribal way of life and contribute to the economy.

 

Title

Padding up for the next UNSC innings (The Hindu -Page.10)

Syllabus 

Mains GS paper II: International relation 

Theme

India’s foreign policy

Highlights

Context : India was recently elected for its 8th term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2021-22.

 
  • The author provides several objectives for Indian foreign policy in UNSC:
    India should aim to have its decisions in UNSC based on legal merit. This would be well respected by international community.
    Enhance its credentials as a constructive and responsible member of international society, which can be used in future to push for a permanent UNSC seat.

  • India should emphasize and strengthening multilateralism in international politics to counter existing trends towards unilateralism, ethno-centrism, protectionism and racial intolerance.

  • India should attempt to make progress on the non-discriminatory elimination of weapons of mass destruction, protection of the environment against global warming & safeguarding outer space from weaponization

  • India should underline the validity of Article 2 of the UN Charter that provides for state sovereignty and safeguards countries against outside interference in the domestic affairs of other states. 

  • India should underline the sanctity of treaties such as the multilateral accord with Iran endorsed by the Security Council and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

  • India could use its presence on the UNSC’s sanctions subcommittee to proscribe Pakistan-based militant groups and individuals.
    India needs to become the leader of the South Asian region, since India cannot be considered  a global power if it does not lead its own region


 

 

Title

Efforts on to help Vembanad Lake breathe (The Hindu -Page. 08)

Syllabus 

Mains: GS Paper III : Environment 

Theme

Vembanand Wetland 

Highlights

  • Vembanadu-Kol wetlands is the largest on the southwestern coast of India & has been identified as a Ramsar site of international importance in 2002, under Ramsar Convention of 1971. 

  • About 10 rivers feed the wetland system. Among these, four rivers – Meenachil, Manimala, Pampa and Achankoil – are the ones which enrich Lake Vembanad. 
    The depth and surface area of the lake have reduced gradually due to land reclamation.

  • he largest brackish, humid tropical wetland ecosystem on the southwest coast of India

  • Famous for backwater tourism and sub-fossil clam deposits.
    It is the Longest lake in India

  • Thaneermukkom barrier constructed divides the lake into parts – one with perennial brackish water and other with fresh water from rivers draining into the lake.


 

 

Title

The making of a digital kleptocracy data (The Hindu -Page.10)

Syllabus 

Mains: GS Paper III: internal security 

Theme

Kleptocracy 

Highlights

Context :The chapter 4 of the Economic Survey has been titled as Data:  By the People, Of the People, For the People , wherein it has highlighted that data generated by the people should be available to the people and more importantly, data should be used for the benefit of the people. It highlights that the data can be used for evidence based policy making in India. Further, regular dissemination of government data can lead to enhanced transparency and accountability of the government.

In this regard, this article argues that the ideas put forward by the Economic survey are utopian in nature. Further, some of the policy recommendations of the survey could end up harming the public interest rather than advancing the public interest.

 

Details

Utopian idea

  • The Economic survey has highlighted that by collecting and analyzing the data, the Government officials can take effective actions to solve various problems in India. For example, A district education officer can make better decisions if he knows, for each school in his district, attendance rates of students and teachers, average test scores and status of school toilets. 

  • Such a recommendation has been given based upon erroneous assumption that availability of data is the only hindrance in the effective implementation of the policies. In reality, the effective implementation of policies is hampered by lack of funds, poor accountability, red tapism etc. Hence, 

  • Data alone cannot be considered as panacea to solve India's problems.

 Misuse of Public Data

  • The Economic Survey has recommended that the Government must try to monetise a part of user generated data by selling it to private sector enterprises. This would not only ease the pressure on the Government finances, but also ensure that the Data is optimally used for the welfare of the society.

  • However, the economic survey fails to recognise that this data can be misused by the private sector and more importantly, it treats the personal data ( such as date of birth, mobile numbers and addresses) as public data. We have seen in the recent past as to how the data was misused in the Cambridge Analytica case and accordingly, the article argues that such a step by the Government would end up making the data toxic.

  • This issue becomes quite pertinent in case of India since we do not have strong privacy and data protection laws. The survey assumes that enactment of the Data Protection Bill would be able to take care of this problem. However, it fails to realise that Government has poor track record with respect to implementation of the laws.

 Harms Public Interest

  • The Economic survey has argued that the Government has not been able to optimally use the data since it is dispersed across the multiple ministries and departments. Accordingly, it has advocated for the creation of central welfare database of the Indian citizens to harness the data analytics. However, the article argues that creation of such a centralised database increases the risk of cyber-attacks wherein a single attack can compromise the entire data infrastructure in India.

 Conclusion

  • In the digital era, the countries are grappling with the problem of digital kleptocracy, wherein the MNCs have been stealing and harnessing the user data without their consent. The ideas put forward by the economic survey would not only facilitate digital kleptocracy for the corporates, but it also  enable the government to indulge in such unethical practices.


 

Title

Why India Migrates  (Data Point) (The Hindu Page 11)

Syllabus 

Mains GS paper I: Human geography 

Theme

Migration trends 

Highlights

Context: In India most men migrate for work while most women migrate after marriage. However some states, especially  the north eats do not follow this trend. 

 

  • Migration for work amongst male migrants and relocation after marriage among female migrants are relatively low in most north eastern states.

  • After northeast, the states in the western and the southern regions witnessed relatively lower migrational rates for work.

  • The state sin the south also rerecorded low migration rates for women post marriage. 

  • The eastern states recorded some of the most highest male migration rates for work. 

  • In every state ,< 1% of female migrants moved for education. On the contrary in all the states >1% men migrants moved for education. Relocation for education was more pronounced in north eastern states. 

  • Close to 10% male migrants in Meghalaya moved out due to marriage while Manipur saw the highest female migration rates for work. 

Relevant articles from PIB:

 

GS Paper 1 and 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Women related issues.
  2. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage), Bill 2019

 

What to Study? 

For Prelims: Key features of the Bill proposed.

For Mains: Need, significance and challenges in implementation. 

 

Context: Parliament has passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 criminalising triple talaq. After President Kovind signs the bill, it will become the law and will replace the 1986 Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act.

 

Background:

The Supreme Court’s judgment in the Shayara Bano case held that the practice of talaq-e-biddat (or triple talaq) unconstitutional. After the judgement, government passed Muslim protection Bill also known as, Triple Talaq Bill in Lok Sabha but there have been criticism about the legal and procedural aspects of the bill.

 

Significance of the bill:

The proposed Bill will protect the rights of married Muslim women and prevent divorce by the practice of instantaneous and irrevocable ‘talaq-e-biddat’ by their husbands.

It provides the rights of subsistence allowance, custody of minor children to victims of triple talaq i.e. talaq-e-biddat.

 

Key provisions of the Bill:

  1. The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.
  2. Definition: It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.  Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.
  3. Offence and penalty: The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine.  (A cognizable offence is one for which a police officer may arrest an accused person without warrant.) 
  4. The offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by:(i) the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or (ii) any person related to her by blood or marriage.
  5. The Bill provides that the Magistrate may grant bail to the accused. The bail may be granted only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
  6. The offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared). Compounding refers to the procedure where the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings, and settle the dispute.  The terms and conditions of the compounding of the offence will be determined by the Magistrate.
  7. Allowance: A Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children. The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.
  8. Custody: A Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children. The manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.

 

Issues with the bill:

  1. The bill introduced in Parliament proposes a three-year jail term for a man divorcing his wife through triple talaq. Although most Muslim women feel it is time to end the practice, they are wary of the slipshod manner in which the government has passed the bill in the Lok Sabha.
  2. If the aim of the law is to protect the rights of women, how is that possible with their husbands in prison? If they have children under the age of 18, who will take care of their education, health, financial and other needs? The woman will not be protected but instead be vulnerable to more abuse.
  3. The Bill does not provide the victimised woman any additional benefits in terms of her rights in marriage and divorce.
  4. Since the Bill says that triple talaq is cognizable and non-bailable, married Muslim man become vulnerable target as policemen can arrest and investigate the accused with or without the complaint from wife or any other person.

 

Way ahead:

The legislation brings India at par with other Muslim majority states including Pakistan and Bangladesh. This was long overdue for a country that has taken pride in its adherence to the principles of secularism, democracy, and equality. Personal laws of other religious communities, Hindus and Christians, have gone through renditions to address some concerns relating to gender equality in matters of inheritance and polygamy. Despite the gains, gender equality does not permeate all aspects of civil law. This legislation presents an opportunity to put in place a civil code that steeped in equality—across faiths and gender. 

 

Mains Question: Do you agree that Abolition of Triple Talaq by the parliament has corrected a historical wrong done to Muslim women and that it is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society? Discuss.


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Consumer Protection Bill

 

What to study?

For prelims: Key features of the bill.

For mains: issues present with the Act, need for reforms and significance.

 

Context: The Lok Sabha has passed the Consumer Protection Bill 2019, which seeks to give enhanced protection to interests of consumers and timely settlement of their grievances.

 

Key features of the Bill include:

  1. Definition of consumer:A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration. It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose. It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.
  2. Rights of consumers:Six consumer rights have been defined in the Bill, including the right to: (i) be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property; (ii) be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; (iii) be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and (iv) seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
  3. Central Consumer Protection Authority:The central government will set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers. It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements. The CCPA will have an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations.
  4. CCPA will carry out the following functions, including: (i) inquiring into violations of consumer rights, investigating and launching prosecution at the appropriate forum; (ii) passing orders to recall goods or withdraw services that are hazardous, reimbursement of the price paid, and discontinuation of the unfair trade practices, as defined in the Bill; (iii) issuing directions to the concerned trader/ manufacturer/ endorser/ advertiser/ publisher to either discontinue a false or misleading advertisement, or modify it; (iv) imposing penalties, and; (v) issuing safety notices to consumers against unsafe goods and services.
  5. Penalties for misleading advertisement:The CCPA may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement. In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
  6. Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission:Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) will be set up at the district, state, and national levels. 
  7. A consumer can file a complaint with CDRCs in relation to:(i) unfair or restrictive trade practices; (ii) defective goods or services; (iii) overcharging or deceptive charging; and (iv) the offering of goods or services for sale which may be hazardous to life and safety. 
  8. Jurisdiction of CDRCs:The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore.  The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore.  Complaints with value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.
  9. Product liability:Product liability means the liability of a product manufacturer, service provider or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or deficient service.  To claim compensation, a consumer has to prove any one of the conditions for defect or deficiency, as given in the Bill.

 

Significance:

  1. Presently Consumer only have a single point of access to justice, which is time consuming. Additional swift executive remedies are proposed in the bill through Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).
  2. Deterrent punishment to check misleading advertisements and adulteration of products.
  3. Product liability provision to deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services.
  4. Ease of approachingConsumer Commission and Simplification of Adjudication process.
  5. Scope for early disposal of cases through mediation.

 

Issues with the Bill:

  1. The Bill does not address the fundamental problem of protracted and complicated litigation, the bane of consumer forums constituted under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. Instead, it provides an alternative to the consumer forums, in the form of mediation.
  2. The Bill does provide for a regulator, but there is no proper focus on the duties of the regulator.
  3. Even the definition of ‘consumer rights’ in the Bill is not simple and straight forward, so that consumers at least know what their entitlements are.

 

Mains Question: Discuss the salient features of the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019. How far will it address the unfair trade practices? Critically analyse.


GS Paper 2:

Topic covered:

  1. Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society.

 

New Code on Wages

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Key features of the new code, need, significance, need for uniform wage across the country.

 

Context: The Code on Wages Bill, 2019 has been passed in Lok Sabha.

The bill will amalgamate the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

 

Key highlights:

  1. Coverage: The Code will apply to all employees. The central government will make wage-related decisions for employments such as railways, mines, and oil fields, among others. State governments will make decisions for all other employments.
  2. Wages includesalary, allowance, or any other component expressed in monetary terms. This does not include bonus payable to employees or any travelling allowance, among others.
  3. Floor wage: According to the Code, the central government will fix a floor wage, taking into account living standards of workers.  Further, it may set different floor wages for different geographical areas.  Before fixing the floor wage, the central government may obtain the advice of the Central Advisory Board and may consult with state governments.   
  4. The minimum wages decided by the central or state governments must be higher than the floor wage. In case the existing minimum wages fixed by the central or state governments are higher than the floor wage, they cannot reduce the minimum wages.
  5. Fixing the minimum wage:The Code prohibits employers from paying wages less than the minimum wages.  Minimum wages will be notified by the central or state governments.  This will be based on time, or number of pieces produced.  The minimum wages will be revised and reviewed by the central or state governments at an interval of not more than five years.  While fixing minimum wages, the central or state governments may take into account factors such as: (i) skill of workers, and (ii) difficulty of work. 
  6. Overtime: The central or state government may fix the number of hours that constitute a normal working day.  In case employees work in excess of a normal working day, they will be entitled to overtime wage, which must be at least twice the normal rate of wages.   
  7. Payment of wages: Wages will be paid in (i) coins, (ii) currency notes, (iii) by cheque, (iv) by crediting to the bank account, or (v) through electronic mode.  The wage period will be fixed by the employer as either: (i) daily, (ii) weekly, (iii) fortnightly, or (iv) monthly.
  8. Deductions: Under the Code, an employee’s wages may be deducted on certain grounds including: (i) fines, (ii) absence from duty, (iii) accommodation given by the employer, or (iv) recovery of advances given to the employee, among others.  These deductions should not exceed 50% of the employee’s total wage.
  9. Determination of bonus: All employees whose wages do not exceed a specific monthly amount, notified by the central or state government, will be entitled to an annual bonus.  The bonus will be at least: (i) 8.33% of his wages, or (ii) Rs 100, whichever is higher.  In addition, the employer will distribute a part of the gross profits amongst the employees.  This will be distributed in proportion to the annual wages of an employee.  An employee can receive a maximum bonus of 20% of his annual wages.
  10. Gender discrimination:The Code prohibits gender discrimination in matters related to wages and recruitment of employees for the same work or work of similar nature.  Work of similar nature is defined as work for which the skill, effort, experience, and responsibility required are the same.  
  11. Advisory boards: The central and state governments will constitute advisory boards.  The Central Advisory Board will consist of: (i) employers, (ii) employees (in equal number as employers), (iii) independent persons, and (iv) five representatives of state governments.  State Advisory Boards will consist of employers, employees, and independent persons.  Further, one-third of the total members on both the central and state Boards will be women.  The Boards will advise the respective governments on various issues including: (i) fixation of minimum wages, and (ii) increasing employment opportunities for women.

  

Significance:

  • This is expected to effectively reduce the number of minimum wage rates across the country to 300 from about 2,500 minimum wage rates at present.
  • Codification of labour laws will remove the multiplicity of definitions and authorities, leading to ease of compliance without compromising wage security and social security to workers.
  • It is expected to provide for an appellate authority between the claim authority and the judicial forum which will lead to speedy, cheaper and efficient redressal of grievances and settlement of claims as that of earlier.

 

Need for a national minimum wage:

One argument for a national minimum wage is to ensure a uniform standard of living across the country.  At present, there are differences in minimum wages across states and regions.  Such differences are attributed to the fact that both the central and state governments set, revise and enforce minimum wages for the employments covered by them. The introduction of a national minimum wage may help reduce these differences and provide a basic standard of living for all employees across the country. 


 

Relevant articles from various news sources:

GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

‘Didi Ke Bolo’ campaign

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: key features, need for and significance of the campaign.

 

ContextDidi Ke Bolo campaign has been launched in West Bengal.

 

About the campaign:

Aim: To address the public grievances and other social issues.

Under the initiative, every citizen of West Bengal can directly contact chief minister. People can reach out to her by calling on a specific number.

Main objective of this campaign is to improve citizen’s participation and engagement by providing a platform. By this campaign every citizen can share suggestion and problems for required actions.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Awareness in space.

 

NASA’s Kepler Space telescope

 

What to study?

For Prelims: About Kepler telescope, TESS.

For Mains: What are exoplanets, significance of their findings.

 

Context: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered a new planetary system called TESS Object of Interest (TOI) 270.

Where is it located? TOI 270 is about 73 light years away from Earth, and is located in the constellation Pictor(Pictor is a constellation in the southern celestial hemisphere).

 

About TESS mission:

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a NASA mission that will look for planets orbiting the brightest stars in Earth’s sky. It was led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with seed funding from Google.

Mission: The mission will monitor at least 200,000 stars for signs of exoplanets, ranging from Earth-sized rocky worlds to huge gas giant planets. TESS, however, will focus on stars that are 30 to 100 times brighter than those Kepler examined. This will help astronomers better understand the structure of solar systems outside of our Earth, and provide insights into how our own solar system formed.

Orbit: TESS will occupy a never-before-used orbit high above Earth. The elliptical orbit, called P/2, is exactly half of the moon’s orbital period; this means that TESS will orbit Earth every 13.7 days.

How it works? It will use transit method to detect exoplanets. It watches distant stars for small dips in brightness, which can indicate that planet has passed in front of them. Repeated dips will indicate planet passing in front of its star. This data has to be validated by repeated observations and verified by scientists.

 

Significance of the mission:

  1. TESS is designed to build on the work of its predecessor, the Kepler space telescope, which discovered the bulk of some 3,700 exoplanets documented during the past 20 years and is running out of fuel.
  2. Nasa expects to pinpoint thousands more previously unknown worlds, perhaps hundreds of them Earth-sized or “super-Earth” sized – no larger than twice as big as our home planet.
  3. Those are believed the most likely to feature rocky surfaces or oceans and are thus considered the best candidates for life to evolve. Scientists have said they hope TESS will ultimately help catalog at least 100 more rocky exoplanets for further study in what has become one of astronomy’s newest fields of exploration.

 

Sources: the hindu.


GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  2. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

 

Regulatory sandbox

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Regulatory sandbox- meaning, features, need and significance.

Context: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) will soon allow the use of regulatory sandbox (RS) to promote new, innovative products and processes in the industry.

About IRDAI sandbox:

  1. For the IRDAI sandbox, an applicant should have a net worth of Rs 10 lakh and a proven financial record of at least one year.
  2. Companies will be allowed to test products for up to 12 months in five categories.
  3. Applicants can test products for up to a period of one year in five categories – insurance solicitation or distribution, insurance products, underwriting, policy and claims servicing.

 

What is a regulatory sandbox?

A regulatory sandbox is a safe harbour, where businesses can test innovative products under relaxed regulatory conditions. Typically, participating companies release new products in a controlled environment to a limited number of customers for a limited period of time.

 

Significance and benefits of a regulatory sandbox:

  1. The “regulatory sandbox” will help fintech companies launch innovative products at a lower cost and in less time.
  2. The sandbox will enable fintech companies to conduct live or virtual testing of their new products and services.
  3. These companies will also be able to test the viability of the product without a wider and expensive rollout.
  4. It will help companies to experiment with fintech solutions, where the consequences of failure can be contained and reasons for failure analysed.

 

Need:

  1. According to NITI Aayog, India is one of the fastest growing fintech markets globally, and industry research has projected that $1 trillion, or 60% of retail and SME (small and medium sized enterprises) credit, will be digitally disbursed by 2029.
  2. The Indian fintech ecosystem is the third largest in the world, attracting nearly $6 billion in investments since 2014. Fintech or financial technology companies use technology to provide financial services such as payments, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, among others.
  3. Therefore, in order to protect customers and safeguard the interests of all stakeholders, and streamline their influence on the financial system, there is need for a regulatory and supervisory framework for fintech firms.

 

Sources: Indian Express.


GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features and significance of the Bill.

For Mains: Need for a legislation on this, recent issues and concerns associated with such schemes.

 

Context: Rajya Sabha has passed the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019.

 

Significance and impact:

  • The Bill will immediately tackle the menace of illicit deposit-taking activities in the country launched by rapacious operators, which at present are exploiting regulatory gaps and lack of strict administrative measures to dupe poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings, an official statement said.
  • It will altogether ban unregulated deposit taking schemes, and the law has adequate provisions for punishment and disgorgement or repayment of deposits in cases where such schemes nonetheless manage to raise deposits illegally.

 

Key provisions of the Bill:

Substantive banning clause which bans Deposit Takers from promoting, operating, issuing advertisements or accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme. The Bill bans unregulated deposit taking activities altogether, by making them an offence ex-ante rather than the existing legislative-cum-regulatory framework which only comes into effect ex-post with considerable time lags.

Creation of three different types of offences, namely, running of Unregulated Deposit Schemes, fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit Schemes, and wrongful inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit Schemes.

Severe punishment and heavy pecuniary fines to act as deterrent.

Provisions for disgorgement or repayment of deposits in cases where such schemes nonetheless manage to raise deposits illegally.

Attachment of properties / assets by the Competent Authority, and subsequent realization of assets for repayment to depositors.

Clear-cut time lines have been provided for attachment of property and restitution to depositors.

Creation of an online central database, for collection and sharing of information on deposit-taking activities in the country.

 

The Bill defines “Deposit Taker” and “Deposit” comprehensively:

“Deposit Takers” include all possible entities (including individuals) receiving or soliciting deposits, except specific entities such as those incorporated by legislation.

“Deposit” is defined in such a manner that deposit-takers are restricted from camouflaging public deposits as receipts, and at the same time, not to curb or hinder acceptance of money by an establishment in the ordinary course of its business.

 

Why do we need a comprehensive law on this?

  1. To deal with the menace of illicit deposit taking schemes, as in the recent past, there have been rising instances of people in various parts of the country being defrauded by illicit deposit taking schemes.
  2. The worst victims of these schemes are the poor and the financially illiterate, and the operations of such schemes are often spread over many States.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Republic of Benin:

Context: India has offered a USD 100 million line of credit to Benin for its development projects.

Where is it located?

It is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north.

About the National Centre for Disease Control:

Context: 110th Annual Day of NCDC.

About NCDC:

  • It is an institute under the Indian Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • It was established in July 1963 for research in epidemiology and control of communicable diseases.
  • It was previously known as National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

 

Shawala Teja Singh Temple:

Context: 1,000-year-old Shawala Teja Singh Temple located in Sialkot city of Pakistan, which was sealed for last 72 years, has been re-opened for devotees for the 1st time since partition.

Shawala Teja Singh temple is an ancient Hindu temple which was built by Sardar Teja Singh. It is dedicated to Hindu deity Shiva.

 

Infosys opens cyber defence centre in Romania:

Context: Infosys has announced the launch of its state-of-the-art Cyber Defence Center in Bucharest, Romania.

Functions: The Defence Center will provide end-to-end, real-time, 24/7 cyber security monitoring and protection services to support European and global businesses on their digital transformation journey. These services, including security monitoring, management and remediation, threat hunting, security analytics, incident discovery, and response will be delivered by certified and highly skilled cyber security professionals.

 

What is Non-pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment (NASG)?

What is it? The Non-pneumatic Anti-shock Garment (NASG) is a first-aid device used to stabilize women who are suffering from obstetric hemorrhage and shock.

Uses: This simple device helps women survive delays in getting to a hospital and getting the treatment that they need. It can be applied by anyone after a short, simple training.

Benefits: This device decreases blood loss, recovers women from shock and keeps them alive while they are traveling to a hospital or awaiting treatment.

How it works?

The non-pneumatic anti-shock garment (NASG) applies pressure to the lower body and abdomen, thereby forcing the blood that was getting accumulated in the pelvic area to other essential organs of the body. The neoprene garment quickly stabilizes vitals and gives doctor enough time for treatment.

 

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