17, April 2018

Goa to be Developed as Cargo Hub

  • Central government in the collaboration with state government and private partners is working on to promote Goa as a tourism destination as well as a cargo hub, stated Union Minister for Civil Aviation.
  • Under the Skill Development and Startup India initiative, Civil Aviation Ministry is in talks with the representatives of World Bank and other major institutions to promote Goa as a market destination. Major Airlines like Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa Airlines are interested to be part of market destinations in India. There is a huge job requirement in civil aviation ministry and other sectors also. These initiatives are imperative in the overall development of the State.

Home Expo India 2018

  • 7th edition of Home Expo India 2018 at India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida.
  • The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) for taking new initiatives for the promotion and development of handicrafts sector.
  • The EPCH for VRIKSH initiative for sustainable and environment-friendly products.
  • The Minister also visited the Academy of Convention, Trade Fair, Event Research & Management at India Expo Centre and Mart. This is the first institute in India to impart professional education in the spheres of trade fair and convention management.
  • The three-day Expo organised by EPCH, has 700 participants, representing a cross section of exhibitors drawn from manufacturing hubs across the country with special focus on the North East region.

  1. Environment Ministry notifies Plastic Waste Management (amendment) rules

Source: PIB

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018.

Key facts:

  • The amended Rules lay down that the phasing out of Multilayered Plastic (MLP) is now applicable to MLP, which are “non-recyclable, or non-energy recoverable, or with no alternate use.”
  • The amended Rules also prescribe a central registration system for the registration of the producer/importer/brand owner.
  • The Rules also lay down that any mechanism for the registration should be automated and should take into account ease of doing business for producers, recyclers and manufacturers.
  • The centralised registration system will be evolved by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the registration of the producer/importer/brand owner. While a national registry has been prescribed for producers with presence in more than two states, a state-level registration has been prescribed for smaller producers/brand owners operating within one or two states.
  • In addition, Rule 15 of the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018 on “explicit pricing of carry bags” has been omitted.

Committee:

  • Based on several representations received from various stakeholders, MoEF&CC had constituted a committee on issues/challenges faced with regard to the implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • The committee deliberated on several issues related to the Rules and its implementation by various stakeholders and submitted its recommendations to the Ministry.
  • The Ministry notified the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018 on March 27, 2018

  1. India Signs Loan agreement with World Bank for usd 48 million for Meghalaya Community – Led Landscapes Management Project

Source: PIB

A Loan Agreement for IBRD loan of USD 48 million for the “Meghalaya Community – Led Landscapes Management Project (MCLLMP)” was signed here today with the World Bank.

  • The Loan Agreement was signed by Joint Secretary (MI), Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the Government of India and Acting Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank.
  • The closing date of the Project is 30th June, 2023.

The Objective of the Project

  • The Objective of the Project is to strengthen community-led landscapes management in selected landscapes in the State of Meghalaya.

The Project consists of three components:

  • Strengthening Knowledge and Capacity for Natural Resource Management;
  • Community-led landscape planning and implementation and
  • Project Management and Governance.

Key facts:

  • Meghalaya’s natural resource such as land, water sources and forests is a source of livelihood for a majority of the population in the State.
  • The Project will help manage these depleting resources, by strengthening the communities and traditional institutions.
  • Restoration of degraded and highly degraded landscapes under the Project will increase water for local communities and improve the soil productivity which will in turn increase incomes and reduce poverty.

  1. First India-Nordic summit to boost ties with 5 nations

Source: The Hindu

The long-pending free trade agreement between the European Union and India, development and ‘innovation’ are on the agenda as Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins official meetings in Stockholm.

  • The first Indian PM to visit Stockholm since 1988. The only other instance of a similar Nordic summit was during President Barack Obama’s tenure when heads of state or governments participated.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting two European countries Sweden, Germany and the UK for bilateral meetings and for the India-Nordic Summit and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Indo-Nordic Summit in Stockholm – 6 countries agreement

  • Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark & Iceland for the first India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm on April 17.
  • The Nordic countries have globally recognized strengths in clean technologies, environmental solutions, ports modernization, cold-chains, skill development, and innovation.
  • The six leaders will exchange views on regional and global issues such as environment and climate, trade and investment and discuss areas of future cooperation,”
  • Löfven’s office in a statement said “the government is working to strengthen Sweden’s role as a key partner for India in the country’s rapid development, especially in innovation
  • This exercise will reflect upon the importance of rule of law in the international order besides attempting to harness the bilateral economic potential.
  • Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund is probably one of the biggest single investors in India, having invested over $11.7 billion in India at the end of 2017 in 275 different Indian companies and in Indian bonds. The size of the investment is a testimony to the economic potential Norway sees in India
  • There are 25,000 living in Sweden, with industries like tech in particular attracting skilled labour. Over 170 Swedish companies have invested $1.4 billion since 2000. Around 70 Indian companies have invested in Sweden. India-Sweden annual bilateral trade stands at around $1.8 billion, according to MEA statement. India-Nordic trade $ 5.3 billion in 2016-17, with Cumulative FDI to India at $ 2.5 billion.

4.India wins elections to key U.N. subsidiary bodies

Source: The Hindu

India topped the election to the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations

India has won an election to a crucial non-governmental organisation committee in the United Nations after garnering the highest number of votes besides getting elected by acclamation to other subsidiary bodies in five separate polls.

  • The U.N.’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held elections to a number of its subsidiary bodies in United Nations on April 16.
  • The ECOSOC focusses on advancing the three dimensions of sustainable development — economic, social and environmental.
  • Following the elections, India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin told PTI that the “results reflect, yet again, the broad support and many friends India has amongst U.N. members”.

Committee on NGOs

  • India topped the election to the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations.
  • In one round of secret balloting, the Council elected Bahrain, China, India and Pakistan in the Asia Pacific States category and Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua (Latin American and Caribbean States) to serve a four-year term beginning on January 1, 2019.
  • India got the highest number of votes at 46, followed by Pakistan (43), Bahrain (40) and China 39. Iran lost the elections, having got only 27 votes. The Council elected by acclamation 11 other nations to serve the same four-year term.

ESOSOC

  • The Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations is a standing committee of ECOSOC and its main tasks include consideration of applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by NGOs and consideration of quadrennial reports submitted by NGOs in General and Special categories.

Commission on Population and Development

  • India was also elected by acclamation to the Commission on Population and Development for a term beginning April 16, 2018 and expiring in 2021.
  • Under its terms of reference the Commission is to assist the Council by arranging for studies and advising the Council on population issues and trends, integrating population and development strategies and population and related development policies and programmes.
  • The Council elected India and Kuwait (Asia-Pacific States) by acclamation to the Commission for Social Development, filling outstanding seats for a four-year term beginning on the date of election.
  • The Commission’s purpose was to advise ECOSOC on social policies of a general character and, in particular, on all matters in the social field not covered by the specialised inter-governmental agencies.

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

  • India was among the 17 members elected by acclamation to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The elected members, to serve a three-year term beginning on January 1, 2019 and expiring on December 31, 2021 include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Swaziland, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Thailand, Belarus, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico Austria, France, Turkey and the United States.
  • The Commission acts as the principal policymaking body of the U.N. in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. Its mandate includes improving international action to combat national and transnational crime and the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice administration systems.
  • India was among 14 nations elected by acclamation by the Council to the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
  • The elected members will serve three-year terms beginning January, 2019.
  • For the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the Council elected by acclamation 16 members, including India, for a three-year term beginning January 2019.

  1. What is the difference between a loan waiver and a write-off?

Source: The Hindu

What is it?

  • The Centre earlier this month told Parliament that non-performing assets (NPAs) worth ₹2.41 lakh crore have been written off from the books of public sector banks between April 2014 and September 2017.
  • Since the banks were able to recover only 11% of the distressed loans worth ₹2.7 lakh crore within the stipulated time, the rest had to be written off as per regulations. The government, however, clarified that the defaulters will have to pay back the loans, though they were written off.
  • So, a write-off is technically different from a loan waiver in which the borrower is exempted from repayment. This, of course, does not mean banks will manage to collect the dues from defaulting borrowers.

How did it come about?

  • For long, India has lacked a proper legal framework to help creditors recover their money from borrowers. According to the World Bank, the country ranks 103rd in the world in bankruptcy resolution, with the average time taken to resolve a case of bankruptcy extending well over four years.
  • Banks in India, in fact, are able to recover on an average only about 25% of their money from defaulters as against 80% in the U.S. Public sector banks have also been lenient in collecting their dues from defaulting borrowers because of pressure from powerful interest groups.Instead of classifying sour loans as troubled assets and taking action to recover them, banks have often chosen to hide such assets using unethical accounting techniques.
  • Since 2014, however, the Reserve Bank of India has been stepping up efforts to force both private and public sector banks to truthfully recognise the size of bad loans on their books. This caused the reported size of stressed assets to increase manifold in the last few years.

Why does it matter?

  • The news about the huge loan write-off comes amid the Union government’s efforts over the last few years to expedite the process of bankruptcy and improve recoveries. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), which came into force last year, was the most notable among them.
  • Many large corporations, as well as smaller enterprises, have been admitted to undergo liquidation under the IBC so that the proceeds can be used to pay back banks.
  • The poor loan recovery reported by the government reflects poorly on the ability of the new bankruptcy law to help banks recover loans and mounts more pressure on bank balance sheets.
  • It is notable that the Centre recently vowed to inject ₹2.11 lakh crore into public sector banks to cushion their balance sheets from the impact of bad loans. The poor recovery may increase the size of funds the Centre will have to allocate for the purpose.

What lies ahead?

  • It seems unlikely that banks will be able to drastically improve their rate of recoveries since the new bankruptcy code is far from perfect.
  • Its critics say the IBC is focussed more on the time-bound resolution of proceedings than on maximising the amount of money banks can recover from stressed loans.
  • In particular, since there are strict time-limits imposed on the resolution process, there is the imminent danger that it may lead to the fire-sale of valuable assets at cheap prices. This can affect investment incentives. But, for now, the quick resolution of bad loans will free resources from struggling firms and hand them to the more efficient ones.



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