28, October 2016

1.Cabinet approves the new Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan

Source: PIB

The bilateral trade relations between India and Bhutan are governed by the Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between the Government of India and Bhutan.

The Agreement provides for a free trade regime between two countries.

 The Agreement also provides for duty free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries.

2.Centre forms high-level panel to monitor bird flu situation – Munialappa commitee

Source: The Hindu

The Centre set up a high-level committee to monitor the situation and help State governments take steps to contain the disease.

Avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds. Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans but some of them can cause serious infections in people. AH5N8, which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is considered less risky of being transmitted to humans. But the government is taking no chances.

The Centre has constituted a committee headed by Joint Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries (DADF) to maintain constant vigil on the situation arising out of avian influenza (H5N8), the Union Agriculture Ministry.  

Munialappa, Joint Commissioner in the Animal Husbandry Department, has been named the nodal officer and will be available to provide advice and help round the clock.

3.Cabinet approves establishment of National Academic Depository

Source PIB

National Academic Depository (NAD)

The decision aims at bringing another dimension and enhancement of the vision of Digital India.

The NAD would be established and operationalised within the next three months and would be rolled out throughout the country in 2017-18.

The Finance Minister’s Budget Speech of 2016-17, in February this year, incorporated this commitment to establish a Digital Depository for school learning certificates, degrees and other academic awards of Higher Education Institutions, on the pattern of a Securities Depository.

Who is an authority of this?

The NAD would be operationalised by NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) and CDSL Ventures, Limited (CVL) – two of the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Depositories registered under Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.

How it will work?

  • Academic institutions will be directed to upload and authenticate all documents in digital form into the NAD system.
  • The NAD will register educational institutions/eligibility assessment bodies/boards, students and other users/verifying entities like employer companies, banks, government agencies and academic institutions.
  • It will provide digital or a printed copy of the academic award with security features to the students or other authorized users.
  • Besides, NAD will also verify academic awards online on the same day of request initiated by any authorized user.
  • Requests for access to academic awards will be on basis of consent of the owner.
  • For ex, access from potential employers and academic institutions will be only on the basis of consent of the student.
  • NAD will maintain the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of its database. It will root out fake degrees.

4.LPG distributors raise concerns over govt haste in PMUY implementation

Source: The Hindu

LPG distributors have raised serious concerns regarding the government’s haste in implementing the targets set under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) which is aimed at providing poor households with LPG connections.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas  issued a statement highlighting the steps it had been taking to ensure the safety of the LPG cylinder recipients, saying that it has been providing safety handouts, safety briefings at the time of installation and has been organising safety melas and clinics to increase awareness.

5.RBI allows startups to raise $3 million via ECBs annually

Source: Indian Express

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has permitted startups to raise external commercial borrowings (ECBs) of up to $3 million in a financial year for three year tenure.

The new rules issued by RBI aims at boosting innovation and promoting job creation in the country.

 It will apply to startups looking to raise foreign borrowings and restrictions on such funds will be kept minimum.


  • Under the ECB route, borrowing of startups should be denominated in any freely convertible currency or in Indian Rupees (INR) or a combination thereof. In case of borrowing in INR, the non-resident lender, should mobilise INR through swaps/outright sale undertaken through bank in India.
  • Under this, Funds can be raised with a minimum maturity of 3 years. There will no cost-ceiling or restriction on the end use of the funds raised.
  • The borrowing can be in form of loans or non-convertible, optionally convertible or partially convertible preference shares and minimum average maturity period will be 3 years.
  • The ECBs can be raised from a country which is either a member of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) or either through FATF-Style Regional Bodies.
  • Overseas branches and subsidiaries of Indian banks and overseas wholly-owned subsidiary or joint venture of an Indian company will not be considered as recognised lender.

What is External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs)?

  • Any money borrowed from foreign sources for financing the commercial activities in India are called ECBs.
  • The Central Government permits ECBs as a source of finance for Indian Corporates for expansion of existing capacity as well as for fresh investment.
  • Thus, ECBs are defined as money borrowed from foreign resources including the following: (i) Commercial bank loans (ii) Buyers’ credit and suppliers’ credit (iii) Securitised instruments such as Floating Rate Notes and Fixed Rate Bonds etc. (iv) Credit from official export credit agencies and commercial borrowings from the private sector window of Multilateral Financial Institutions such as World Bank, ADB, AFIC, CDC, etc

ECB is different from FDI?

In case of Foreign Direct Investment, the foreign money is used to finance the Equity Capital. But in case ECBs, foreign money is used to finance any kind of funding other than Equity.

6.WHO seeks special U.N. session on TB

Source: The Hindu

The WHO is calling for the first United Nations General Assembly on the deadly but curable infection

Frustrated with a lack of political will shown by nations with a high burden of tuberculosis

The development follows the release of the Global TB report

In it the WHO had to significantly revise the global burden of TB after a 34 per cent increase in cases reported from India.

India shoulders the highest burden of 2.2 million cases a year

The UNGA meeting on TB is a strategy copied from the HIV movement

The member states had adopted a political declaration to fast-track progress in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic.



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