16&17, July 2017

  1. IBBI notifies rules for bankruptcy probe

Source: The Hindu

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), which is implementing the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), has notified the regulations for inspection and investigation of service providers registered with it.

Key facts:

  • With this, the IBBI now has powers to start probes against service providers registered with it without intimating them. Insolvency professional agencies, professionals, entities and information utilities are considered as service providers under the Code.
  • As per the regulations, the investigation authority has to serve a notice intimating the entity concerned about the probe at least ten days in advance. However, the requirement could be done away with on grounds such as apprehensions that the records of the particular service provider might be destroyed before the probe starts.
  • Among others, the investigating authority has powers to seize records of the service provider being probed through a court order. The investigating authority can be one officer or a team of officers of the IBBI.

IBBI:

  • The Code, which provides for a market-determined and time-bound resolution of insolvency proceedings, became operational in December 2016.
  • It offers a market determined, time bound mechanism for orderly resolution of insolvency, wherever possible, and orderly exit, wherever required.
  • The Code envisages an ecosystem comprising National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT), Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Board), Information Utilities (IUs), Insolvency Professionals (IPs), Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs) and Insolvency Professional Entities (IPEs) for implementation of the Code.

  1. Govt. clears three export infra plans

Source: The Hindu

The Centre – for the first time under a new scheme called Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) launched in March to address the infrastructure problem — has given its approval for three proposals.

What they are?

  1. An Integrated Cargo Terminal (ICT) at the Imphal International Airport.
  2. Modernisation of infrastructure facility in Karnataka for marine exports.
  3. Construction of a new ‘Standard Design Factory’ building at Cochin Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Status of export infrastructure in India:

  • According to a March 2016 report on ‘Export Infrastructure in India’ by the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce, “deficient infrastructure and the manner in which infrastructure is being operated (in India) are the major obstacles to ensure competitiveness in manufacturing of goods and exports thereof.”
  • It is estimated that the logistic cost in India is about 14% of the GDP whereas in advanced economies like the U.S. and the European Union, it is 8% and 10% of the GDP respectively. Owing to sub-optimal logistic capability, certain sectors dependent on logistics lose as much as 2% on sales return.
  • An ASSOCHAM study conducted a few years ago shows that India runs against a disadvantage of about 11% of its trade due to deficient infrastructure.

It is estimated that India can save up to $50 billion if logistics costs are brought down from 14% to 9% of country’s GDP thereby making domestic goods more competitive in global markets.

TIES:

  • The Scheme is focussed on addressing the needs of the exporters. The scheme replaces a centrally sponsored scheme — Assistance to States for creating Infrastructure for the Development and growth of Exports (ASIDE).
  • The objective of the TIES is to enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure and first-mile and last-mile connectivity.
  • The Central and State Agencies, including Export Promotion Councils, Commodities Boards, SEZ Authorities and Apex Trade Bodies recognised under the EXIM policy of Government of India; are eligible for financial support under this scheme.
  • The scheme would provide assistance for setting up and up-gradation of infrastructure projects with overwhelming export linkages like the Border Haats, Land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, dry ports, export warehousing and packaging, SEZs and ports/airports cargo terminuses.
  • The TIES, which is being implemented from FY18 till FY20, has a budgetary allocation of Rs. 600 crore.

  1. When too much is too little

Source: The Hindu

  • The issue of food wastage is considered as an issue of national importance.
  • Food wastage:
  • Food wastage is sometimes linked to people’s behaviour. However, there are wastages which happen in any case due to food’s perishability and the absence of an effective distribution mechanism and legal framework.
  • Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production to final household consumption. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), “One third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year.” The losses represent “a waste of resources used in production such as land, water, energy and inputs, increasing the green gas emissions in vain”.

Impacts of food wastage:

  • Food wastage has multiple socio-economic and environmental impacts.
  • On hunger: In a country like India, not only is food scarce for many poor families, it is a luxury for many others. India ranked 97th among 118 countries in the Global Hunger Index for 2016. Though hunger cannot be tackled directly by preventing food wastage, a substantial amount of food that is wasted in our country can feed many hungry people.
  • Loss of resources: The wastage of food entails loss of considerable amount of resources in the form of inputs used during production. For example, 25% of fresh water and nearly 300 million barrels of oil used to produce food are ultimately wasted.
  • Environmental impact: The increasing wastage also results in land degradation by about 45%, mainly due to deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, and excessive groundwater extraction. Wastage results in national economic loss. To put a monetary value to the loss in terms of wastage, India loses Rs. 58,000 crore every year.
  • The energy spent over wasted food results in 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide production every year. Decay also leads to harmful emission of other gases in the atmosphere; for instance, decaying of rice produces methane. Food waste emissions have a major impact on climate change and result in greater carbon footprint.

How to tackle this problem?

Looking at the scale of problems, it is wise to frame a comprehensive strategy by combining the efforts of the government and private sectors and civil society. The government can create a time-bound task force under Niti Aayog, with experts from different sectors, to frame a national policy to tackle this gigantic issue, which can recommend the legal framework to support initiatives to reduce food loss and waste.

  1. Govt. panel to study cow derivatives

Source: The Hindu

The government has set up a 19-member panel to carry out what it says will be scientifically validated research on cow derivatives including its urine, and their benefits.

  • The committee will select projects that can help scientifically validate the benefits of panchgavya — the concoction of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee — in various spheres such as nutrition, health and agriculture.

Key facts:

  • The government has given the project the acronym SVAROP, which stands for Scientific Validation and Research on Panchagavya, and says it is a “national programme” that’s being conducted by the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of the Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with IIT-Delhi.
  • This multi-disciplinary programme will involve participation of other related ministries, government departments, academic institutions, research laboratories, voluntary organisations and others to carry out research and development and also build capacities, and cover five thematic areas including scientific validation of uniqueness of indigenous cows.
  • It will cover “scientific validation of ‘panchagavya’ for medicines and health, scientific validation of ‘panchagavya’ and its products for agriculture applications, scientific validation of ‘panchagavya’ for food and nutrition.



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