02 September, 2019

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Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) Regime

GS-II: Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) Regime


Banking details of Indians with accounts in Switzerland will be available to tax authorities as the automatic exchange of information regime kicks off between the two countries. In 2016, India and Switzerland had signed an information-sharing deal on bank accounts, which was to come in effect from September 2019.

About Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI)

  • This automatic exchange of information (AEOI) is to be carried out under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the global reporting standard for such exchange of information.
  • It takes care of aspects such as confidentiality rules and data safeguards.
  • The CRS has been developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
  • Under the agreement, India will not receive information on bank accounts prior to 2018.
  • Under the agreement both jurisdictions will inform each other of any relevant developments in respect to the implementation of the OECD Common Reporting Standard in their respective domestic laws.
  • Each jurisdiction confirms that it has informed the other jurisdiction about the modalities made available to persons making a voluntary disclosure of their financial assets.

Benefits of the regime

In 2018, data from Zurich-based Swiss National Bank (SNB) had shown that after declining for three years, money parked by Indians in Swiss Banks rose 50 per cent to CHF (Swiss Franc) 1.02 billion in 2017 over the previous year. The step is likely to shed more light on the wealth Indians have stashed away in Swiss bank accounts, for so long governed by strict local rules of secrecy.

Source: The Hindu

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Interpol Red Notice

GS-II: Interpol Red Notice


As many as 18 requests for RNs from India are pending with Interpol, including against famous fugitives hiding abroad.


  • Interpol is global police co-operation agency and a non-governmental organization (NGO).
  • It was established as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) in 1923.
  • Its headquartered is located at Lyon, France.
  • It is the world’s largest international police organization, with 194 member countries (including India).
  • It is second-largest international organization after United Nations in terms of international representation.
  • Its work focuses on public safety and battling terrorism, crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, environmental crime etc.

Red Notices

  • Criminals or suspects often flee to other countries to evade facing justice. An Red Notice alerts police forces across the world about fugitives who are wanted internationally.
  • Interpol describes an RN as “a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action”.
  • RNs contain information that helps identify wanted persons, such as their names, dates of birth, nationality, and physical attributes such as the colour of their hair and eyes.

Why Red Notice?

  • RNs mention the crime(s) they are wanted for.
  • An RN is published by Interpol at the request of a member country.
  • The fugitives may be wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.
  • The country issuing the request need not be the home country of the fugitive; Interpol acts on the request of a country where the alleged crime has been committed.

Importance of Red Notice

  • An RN can help bring a fugitive to justice, sometimes many years after the crime was committed.
  • However, because an RN is not an arrest warrant, action against a fugitive frequently rests on the diplomatic clout that the country making the request has with the country where the fugitive is located.
  • Nations with a big international profile, and economic or political heft, are often more successful than the rest.

Source: The Hindu

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A polar region we must keep on the radar in a multipolar world

GS-III: A polar region we must keep on the radar in a multipolar world


Recent offer by the US president to buy Greenland is indicative of the emerging geopolitics of the Arctic region. Climate change and China are fast destabilizing the status quo and throwing up political, security, legal, and environmental challenges. Autonomous vehicles and robots can populate uninhabitable regions and the next few decades could see the Arctic emerge as a hotspot of great power competition.


  • Rising global temperatures are causing the frozen Arctic ocean to melt, opening up new sea routes and opportunities to extract hydrocarbons and minerals from the seabed and the newly exposed land surfaces.
  • Countries of the Arctic are trying to take advantage of these opportunities.
  • China declared itself a “near Arctic” country and is making determined efforts to extend its footprint in the polar region. Chinese firms have tried to purchase large tracts of land in Iceland, Norway and Denmark.
  • There are concerns that Chinese investments in Greenland’s natural resource economy might persuade the local population to secede from Denmark, creating a Laos-like Chinese satellite state between North America and Europe.

Arctic politics

  • How should the region be shared among the eight Arctic countries Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US as there are overlapping territorial claims among them.
  • They have formed the Arctic Council to institutionalize their self-assigned rights, but many in China, the European Union, India are against conceding sovereignty to the Arctic countries.
  • Russia, Canada and Denmark are all claimants to the ownership of the Arctic pole.
  • Russia is both building up its military capabilities in the region and promoting the Northern Sea Route (NSR) as a new artery of global shipping. It recently announced that it will impose rules on commercial and naval vessels using the route.
  • Both China and the US will contest Russia’s jurisdiction on this water.

Source: Live Mint

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GS-III : Economic Issues Banking
Mergers of Bank

GS-III: Mergers of Bank


The Centre announced a mega amalgamation plan, the third in a row, that merged ten public sector banks into four larger entities, these series of mergers the number of state-owned banks is down to 12 from 27.

About Merger:

  • There are four new sets of mergers Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India to merge to form the country’s second-largest lender.
  • Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank to amalgamate; Union Bank of India to acquire Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank; and Indian Bank to merge with Allahabad Bank.
  • The biggest merger out of the four was Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank merging into Punjab National Bank to create a second largest state-owned bank with Rs 17.95 lakh crore business and 11,437 branches.
  • These three banks are technologically compatible as they use Finacle Core Banking Solution (CBS) platform.

How does it help the government?

  • For over decades starting from 1992, the government as the biggest shareholder of over 25 banks had to provide capital for them.
  • To grow and lend more, the banks often need a higher amount of capital to set aside also for loans that could go bad.
  • With the government not willing to lower its equity holdings and with a large slice of the capital being set aside to cover for bad loans, the burden of infusing capital rests on the majority shareholder.
  • This means marking a large amount of money almost every year during the last few years in the Budget for capital infusion at many banks at a time when there is a huge demand for social sector.
  • By reducing the number of banks to a manageable count, the government hopes that the demands for such capital infusion will be lower progressively with increased efficiencies and with more well capitalised banks.

How have previous bank mergers fared?

  • Last year, the government had merged Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda, creating the third-largest bank by loans in the country.
  • The government said this merger has been “a good learning experience” as profitability and business of the merged entity has improved.
  • Earlier, the State Bank of India had acquired its associate banks.
  • Indian Overseas Bank, Uco Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and Punjab and Sind Bank, which have strong regional focus, will continue as separate entities.

Will this help improve the performance metrics now?

  • While the announced consolidation of PSU banks is a credit positive as it enables the consolidated entities to meaningfully improve scale of operations and help their competitive position.
  • At the same time, there will not be any immediate improvement in their credit metrics as all of them have relatively weak solvency profiles.
  • While asserting that bank consolidation is a good move towards improving efficiency of the PSBs, he said “it is possible that the current mergers may face more friction than the last one with BoB, Dena and Vijaya”.
  • In that case, a large, well-capitalised strong bank absorbed two much smaller entities.
  • In the present case, the mergers are mostly among larger banks, with absorbing bank not necessarily in strong health.

Source: Indian Express

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A new ethics for a sustainable planet.

GS-III: A new ethics for a sustainable planet


Brazil’s Amazon forests are ablaze with dozens of fires mostly set intentionally by loggers and others seeking greater access to forest land. They are paving the way for a global climate catastrophe.

Climate Change

  1. Energy and transport are mainly responsible for the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere.
  2. Changes in land use patterns also have made significant contributions.
  3. Deforestation, industrial agricultural systems and desertification are major drivers of climate change.
  4. Agriculture, forestry and other land use activities accounted for a little less than a quarter (23%) of the total net anthropogenic emissions of GHGs between 2007-2016.
  5. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently brought out a special report on Climate Change and Land that covers desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. It makes it clear that unless land is managed in a sustainable manner, the chances for humanity to survive climate change will become smaller.

Examples of Climate Change

  • Many cities in Europe and elsewhere have seen high temperatures never before experienced.
  • Heat waves have also accelerated melting of glaciers in Greenland at a rate that was not anticipated by scientific models until much later this century.
  • The burning of the world’s largest forest reserves as witnessed in Amazon .

Importance of Land Management:

  • Land is part and parcel of people’s lives. It provides food, water, livelihoods, biodiversity and a range of other benefits from its ecosystems.
  • Decades of poor land management in the agricultural system destroyed farm systems.
  • Soils have become depleted with heavy use of chemicals
  • Farms have few or no friendly insects.


Land use policy should incorporate better access to markets for small and marginal farmers, empower women farmers, expand agricultural services and strengthen land tenure systems.

Source: The Hindu

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