Weekly Current Affairs – Prelims ( 12th to 18th August 2018 )

Global liveability index

Weekly Current Affairs – Prelims ( 12th to 18th August 2018 )

 

Topic : Banks Board Bureau

Topic in syllabus: Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

Banks Board Bureau

Why in news:

Egon Zehnder, Hay Consultants hired to assist the Banks Board Bureau in developing strategies

What is BBB?

Banks Board Bureau (BBB) is an autonomous body of the Government of India tasked to improve the governance of Public Sector Banks, recommend selection of chiefs of government owned banks and financial institutions and to help banks in developing strategies and capital raising plans.

  • In February 2016, the Modi government approved the proposal for setting up BBB and it started functioning from April 2016. The BBB works as step towards governance reforms in Public Sector Banks (PSBs) as recommended by P.J. Nayak Committee.
  • The BBB was the part of Indradhanush Plan of government.
  • The Banks Board Bureau, which started to function in April 2016, was set up for a period of two years. It was initially given the mandate to recommend candidates for the top post in state-run banks and financial institutions. Later, its role was expanded to help banks in developing strategies and capital raising plans.

 

Functions of the Banks Board Bureau:

  1. To be responsible for the selection and appointment of Board of Directors in PSBs and FIs (Whole-time Directors and Non-Executive Chairman);
  2. To advise the Government on matters relating to appointments, confirmation or extension of tenure and termination of services of the Board of Directors of the above mentioned levels;
  3. To advise the Government on the desired structure at the Board level, and, for senior management personnel, for each PSB and FI;
  4. To help banks to develop a robust leadership succession plan for critical positions that would arise in future through appropriate HR processes including performance management systems.
  5. To build a data bank containing data relating to the performance of PSBs/FIs and its officers; 6. To advise the Government on the formulation and enforcement of a code of conduct and ethics for managerial personal in PSBs/FIs;
  6. To advise the Government on evolving suitable training and development programmes for management personnel in PSBs/FIs; and
  7. To help banks in terms of developing business strategies and capital raising plan etc.

Mission Indradhanush for Banks

Mission Indradhanush is a 7 pronged plan launched by Government of India to resolve issues faced by Public Sector banks. It aims to revamp their functioning to enable them to compete with Private Sector banks.

  • Problems faced by Indian banks
    • According to Economic Survey 2015, Indian banks face problems on both the policy and structural sides.
    • Policy issues- Banks face what has been termed as ‘double financial repression’- issues with policies of Statuary Liquidity Ratio and Private Sector Lending policies
    • Structural issues- Governance issues, rising stressed assets (Non- Performing Assets) and lack of diverse funding sources for infrastructure

 

  • Components of Mission Indradhanush
    • Mission Indradhanush is a 7-pronged plan to address the challenges faced by public sector banks (PSBs). Many of the measures taken were suggested by P J Nayak committee on Banking sector reforms as indicated.
    • The 7 parts include appointments, Banks board bureau, capitalisation, de-stressing, empowerment, framework of accountability and governance reforms (ABCDEFG)

 

  • An assessment and success so far
    • The key performance indicators devised for PSBs if implemented well would establish a credible system of holding PSBs accountable just like present in any MNC or private sector organisation.
    • Mission Indradhanush focuses on setting up a transparent and quick-paced hiring mechanism which can allow smooth functioning of the PSB.
    • Opening up the top positions in PSBs to private sector candidates can bring in the much-needed fresh outlook
    • De- stressing bank assets is very much needed in view of the rising NPAs
    • Bank Board Bureau has been formed with former Comptroller and Auditor-General of India Vinod Rai as its first Chairman
    • It will select the heads of public sector banks (even from the private sector, if need be) and aid them in formulating strategies to raise additional capital. It will select and appoint non-executive chairmen and non-official directors.

 

Way ahead- issues and challenges

  • A Comparison with recommendations of P J Nayak Committee report suggests that the extent of capitalisation into the public sector banks is not sufficient to overcome the problem of NPAs and to achieve Basel –III levels of tier-I capital.
  • The measures involved in Mission Indradhanush have already been around for some time. Thus, the real reform would be in proper implementation of the suggested measures.

 

Sample question:

Q.Which of the following are correct?

  1. Mission Indradhanush is a 7 pronged plan launched by Government of India to resolve issues faced by Public and private Sector banks.
  2. Banks board Bureau is a part of Indradhanush plan of the Government.

Which of the above are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) both 1 and 2

d) none

 


Topic : RUCO

Topic in syllabus: General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change

ruco

Why in news:

FSSAI unveils initiative to collect, convert used cooking oil into biofuel

  • RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil) is an initiative that will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to bio-diesel. The initiative has been launched nearly a month after the food safety regulator notified standards for used cooking oil.
  • FSSAI may also look at introducing regulations to ensure that companies that use large quantities of cooking oil hand it over to registered collecting agencies to convert it into biofuel.
  • Under this initiative, 64 companies at 101 locations have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil. For instance: McDonald’s has already started converting used cooking oil to biodiesel from 100 outlets in Mumbai and Pune.
  • The regulator believes India has the potential to recover 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for the production of biodiesel by 2022 through a co-ordinated action.
  • According to FSSAI regulations, the maximum permissible limits for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) have been set at 25 per cent, beyond which the cooking oil is unsafe for consumption.

In partnership

  • FSSAI is also working in partnership with Biodiesel Association of India and the food industry to ensure effective compliance of used cooking oil regulations.
  • It is also going to publish guidance documents, tips for consumers and posters in this regard. It is also conducting several awareness campaigns through its e-channels.
  • FSSAI has additionally launched a micro-site to monitor the progress of the collection and conversion of used cooking oil into biodiesel

Sample question:

Q. What of the following is not correct regarding RUCO?

a) RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil) is an initiative launched by FSSAI that will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to bio-diesel.

b) Under this initiative, 64 companies at 101 locations have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil.

c) The regulator believes India has the potential to recover 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for the production of biodiesel by 2022 through a co-ordinated action.

d) All are correct

 


Topic: Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS)

Topic in syllabus: Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS)

Why in news:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme on a pilot basis in some states on the occasion of Independence Day, with a full-scale rollout of his pet project scheduled on 25 September.

 

About:

  • The  ambitious scheme aims to provide coverage of Rs. 5 lakh per family annually and benefiting more than 10 crore poor families in the country.
  • AB-NHPM will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes — Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).

Salient features of the AB-NHPM scheme:

  • This scheme has the benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. The target beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on SECC database.
  • The Rs. 5 lakh per family a year cover will take care of almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures. To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and elderly) there will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme.
  • The benefit cover will also include pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses.
  • All pre-existing conditions will be covered from day one of the policy.
  • A defined transport allowance per hospitalisation will also be paid to the beneficiary.
  • Also, benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospital across the country.
  • AB-NHPM will be an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database.

 

Sample question:

Q. Which of the following is correct?

  1. Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme aims to provide coverage of Rs. 5 lakh per family annually and benefiting more than 10 crore poor families in the country
  2. AB-NHPM will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes — Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).

Which of the above are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) none

 


Topic: Postal highway Nepal

Topic in syllabus: Current events of national and international importance.

Postal highway Nepal

Why in news:

India releases additional funds for Nepal’s Postal Highway

Postal Highway also called Hulaki Rajmarg runs across the Terai region of Nepal, from Bhadrapur in the east to Dodhara in the west, cutting across the entire width of the country.

It is the Oldest highway in Nepal constructed by Juddha Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana & Padma Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana to aid transportation and facilitate postal services throughout the nation

  • The Indian Government  released additional NPR 470 million for the Postal Highway being constructed in Southern Plains of Nepal.
  • The amount has been released to maintain fund liquidity for the ongoing construction of 14 road packages under Postal Highway Project.
  • With this payment, a total of NPR 2.35 billion stands released to the Government of Nepal out of the total grant assistance of NPR 8.00 billion committed by the Government of India for implementing 14 packages under Packages 2-6 of Phase I of the Postal Highway Project
  • highway was inaugurated on January 19 last year.
  • Since 1950, the Government of India has been supporting infrastructure development of Nepal and has provided financial assistance for construction of various highways, roads, bridges, airports, etc as part of its multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional India-Nepal Economic Cooperation Programme

 

Sample question:

Q. India has recently releases additional funds for Postal Highway being constructed in which country?

a) Sri Lanka

b) Nepal

c) Bhutan

d) Myanmar

 


Topic : Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Topic in syllabus: Indian Polity and Governance 

Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Why in news:

The Governor of Manipur, Dr. Najma A. Heptulla inaugurated the project “Development of North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom” implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at a function held at the historic Kangla Fort in Imphal, Manipur.

  • The project is the first project to be completed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Government of India.
  • The Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of Ministry of Tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner.
  • The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 70 projects for Rs.5708.88 Crore to 29 States and UTs under the Scheme. 30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year.
  • The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom. Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological site of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city. Kangla has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Manipur. The old Govindajee Temple, outer and inner moat and other relics are perfect reflections of the rich art and architectural heritage of Manipur.

Scheme Objectives 

  • To position tourism as a major engine of economic growth and job creation;
  • Develop circuits having tourist potential in a planned and prioritized manner;
  • Promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions; 
  • Enhancing the tourist attractiveness in a sustainable manner by developing world class infrastructure in the circuit /destinations; 
  • Follow community based development and pro-poor tourism approach;
  • Creating awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism for them in terms of increased sources of income, improved living standards and overall development of the area. 
  • To create employment through active involvement of local communities;
  • Harness tourism potential for its effects in employment generation and economic development. 
  • To make full use of the potential and advantages in terms of available infrastructure, national culture and characteristic strong points of each and every region throughout the country by development of theme based circuits. 
  • Development of tourist facilitation services to enhance visitor experience/satisfaction.

 

Sample question:

Q. Which of the following regarding Swadesh Darshan Scheme is not correct?

  1. The Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of Ministry of Culture for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner.
  2. One of the objectives is to Promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions

Which of the above are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) both 1 and 2

d) none


 

Topic : Global liveability index

Topic in syllabus: Current events of national and international importance.

Global liveability index

Why in news:

The rankings of 140 global cities, based on their living conditions was released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) publishes an annual Global Liveability Ranking, which ranks 140 cities for their urban quality of life based on assessments of stability,healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. 
  • For the first time in this survey’s history, Austria’s capital, Vienna, ranks as the most liveable of the 140 cities surveyed by The Economist Intelligence Unit in 2018.
  • Melbourne, Australia, had been ranked by the EIU as the world’s most liveable city for seven years in a row, from 2011 to 2017.
  • Improvements in Vienna’s score, relating to the stability category in the ranking, helped by the city’s low crime rate, helped nudge Vienna into first place. Vienna scores a near-ideal 99.1, separating it from the Australian city by 0.7 points. 
  • The Syrian capital, Damascus, was ranked the least liveable city of the 140 assessed in 2018, reflecting the effects of ongoing conflict in that country.
  • Cities from Australia, Canada and New Zealand typically dominate the top 10, reflecting their widespread availability of goods and services, low personal risk, and an effective infrastructure.
  • The EIU also publishes a Worldwide Cost of Living Survey that compares the cost of living in a range of global cities.

India’s position

Both political and financial capitals of India have fared poorly on the Global Liveability Index, 2018, with Delhi ranking 112 and Mumbai five places behind at 117. 

Delhi and Mumbai are only two Indian cities that are included in the EIU’s annual index. 

 

Sample question:

Q. Consider the following statements are correct regarding Global Liveability Index?

  1. The Economist Intelligence Unit(EIU) publishes an annual Global Liveability Ranking, which ranks 140 cities for their urban quality of life
  2. The Syriancapital, Damascus, was ranked the least liveable city of the 140 assessed in 2018, reflecting the effects of ongoing conflict in that country.
  3. Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are only three Indian cities that are included in the EIU’s annual index. 
  4. The EIU also publishes a Worldwide Cost of Living Survey that compares the cost of living in a range of global cities.

Which of the above are correct?

a) 1 and 2

b) 2 and 3

c) 1,2 and 4

d) 3 and 4

 


Topic : Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)

Topic in syllabus: Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)

Why in news:

Senior bureaucrat Ashish Kumar Bhutani has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)

About the scheme:

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna was launched on 18th February 2016

Objectives

  • To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crop as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
  • To stabilise the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
  • To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
  • To ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector.

Highlights of the scheme

  • There will be a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops. In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%. The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low and balance premium will be paid by the Government to provide full insured amount to the farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities.
  • There is no upper limit on Government subsidy. Even if balance premium is 90%, it will be borne by the Government.
  • Earlier, there was a provision of capping the premium rate which resulted in low claims being paid to farmers. This capping was done to limit Government outgo on the premium subsidy. This capping has now been removed and farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction.
  • The use of technology will be encouraged to a great extent. Smart phones will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be used to reduce the number of crop cutting experiments.
  • PMFBY is a replacement scheme of  NAIS / MNAIS, there will be exemption from Service Tax liability of all the services involved in the implementation of the scheme. It is estimated that the new scheme will ensure about 75-80 per cent of subsidy for the farmers in insurance premium.

Farmers to be covered

  • All farmers growing notified crops in a notified area during the season who have insurable interest in the crop are eligible.
  • Compulsory coverage : The enrolment under the scheme, subject to possession of insurable interest on the cultivation of the notified crop in the notified area, shall be compulsory for following categories of farmers:
  • Farmers in the notified area who possess a Crop Loan account/KCC account (called as Loanee Farmers) to whom credit limit is sanctioned/renewed for the notified crop during the crop season. and
  • Such other farmers whom the Government may decide to include from time to time.
  • Voluntary coverage : Voluntary coverage may be obtained by all farmers not covered above, including Crop KCC/Crop Loan Account holders whose credit limit is not renewed.

Risks covered under the scheme

  • Yield Losses (standing crops, on notified area basis). Comprehensive risk insurance is provided to cover yield losses due to non-preventable risks, such as Natural Fire and Lightning, Storm, Hailstorm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane, Tornado. Risks due to Flood, Inundation and Landslide, Drought, Dry spells, Pests/ Diseases also will be covered.
  • In cases where majority of the insured farmers of a notified area, having intent to sow/plant and incurred expenditure for the purpose, are prevented from sowing/planting the insured crop due to adverse weather conditions, shall be eligible for indemnity claims upto a maximum of 25 per cent of the sum-insured.
  • In post-harvest losses, coverage will be available up to a maximum period of 14 days from harvesting for those crops which are kept in “cut & spread” condition to dry in the field.
  • For certain localized problems, Loss / damage resulting from occurrence of identified localized risks like hailstorm, landslide, and Inundation affecting isolated farms in the notified area would also be covered.

Sample question:

Q. Which of the following is not correct?

a) Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna was launched in 2016 to provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crop as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases.

b) All farmers growing notified crops in a notified area during the season who have insurable interest in the crop are eligible.

c) There is an upper limit on Government subsidy under the scheme.

d) PMFBY is a replacement scheme of  NAIS / MNAIS