11, August 2017

1.World Bio Fuel Day 2017

Source: PIB

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas celebrated the World Biofuel Day 2017 on 10th August. It aims is to sensitize youths (school and college going students), farmers and other stakeholders about the benefits of biofuel and seek their involvement in Biofuel programme run by the Government.

Key facts:

  • The government will also be coming out with the BioFuel Policy soon. The policy will taken into consideration various facets like Role of Government, Return on investment, Minimum Assurance etc.
  • Recently Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been made responsible for BioFuel Policy. Both the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will be working towards more utilisation of biofuels.

World Bio Fuel Day:

  • Every year 10th August is observed as World Bio-Fuel Day in a bid to create awareness about non fossil-fuels (Green Fuels). On this day in 1893, Sir Rudolph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil. His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines. Thus to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August.

2.Bill introduced in Lok Sabha to fix a universal minimum wage

Source: The Hindu

The Government has introduced in the Lok Sabha ‘The Code on Wages’ Bill to consolidate and amend the laws relating to wages and bonus which also seeks to empower the Centre to fix a “universal minimum wage” aimed to benefit over 40 crore unorganised sector workers.

Highlights of the bill:

  • The bill seeks to amalgamate four laws — Payment of Wages Act 1936, Minimum Wages Act 1948, Payment of Bonus Act 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act 1976.
  • The Code provides for the government to determine the minimum wages every five years using factors like skills required for the job, arduousness of work, geographical location of work place and other aspects. Such wages are to be fixed on recommendation of panels comprising an equal number of representatives of employers and employees, and independent persons.
  • The government will fix the number of hours of work that would include a day of rest every seven days. The payment for work on a day of rest will not be less than overtime rate.
  • The Code stipulates that the wages are to be paid in coin or currency notes or by cheque or through digital or electronic mode or by crediting the wages in the bank account of the employee and the government may specify industrial or other establishment where the salary will be paid only through cheque or digital mode.
  • Where an employee is removed or dismissed from service as also when he or she resigns, the wages payable shall be paid within two working days.
  • The Code provides employers with authority to make deductions from the wages only in case of fines imposed, absence from duty, damage or loss of goods expressly entrusted with the employee custody, housing accommodation and amenities and services.

3.Panel moots defence procurement fund

Source: The Hindu

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has gone back on its demand for a non-lapsable capital fund for defence procurements, even as the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Defence asked the Ministry of Finance to work out the modalities for the creation of such a fund in consultation with the MoD.

Background:

  • MoD was earlier keen on such a fund to prevent the unspent amount in a financial year from being returned to the Finance Ministry as defence purchases generally tend to have long procurement cycles. On February 2 this year, the MoD had sent a proposal for obtaining an ‘in-principle’ approval of the Finance Ministry on the creation of the account.
  • The reasons cited by the MoD for no longer seeking the fund are: the limited utility of such a fund, rules governing its creation that state the Government should have surplus funds (which is not so in the prevailing fiscal situation), and assurance from the Finance Ministry for additional funds, if required.

4.Amended Banking Regulation Bill gets elders’ nod

Source: The Hindu

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, which empowers the Reserve Bank of India to issue instructions to the banks to act against major defaulters. The Bill, earlier passed by the Lok Sabha, will replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017

  • It seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 to insert provisions for handling cases related to stressed assets. Stressed assets are loans where the borrower has defaulted in repayment or where the loan has been restructured (such as by changing the repayment schedule).  It will replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.
  • Initiating insolvency proceedings: The central government may authorise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue directions to banks for initiating proceedings in case of a default in loan repayment.  These proceedings would be under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • Issuing directions on stressed assets: The RBI may, from time to time, issue directions to banks for resolution of stressed assets.
  • Committee to advise banks: The RBI may specify authorities or committees to advise banks on resolution of stressed assets.  The members on such committees will be appointed or approved by the RBI.
  • Applicability to State Bank of India: The Bill inserts a provision to state that it will also be applicable to the State Bank of India, its subsidiaries, and Regional Rural Banks.



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