|GS-II||Committee on Criminal Law Reform|
|New national security law for Hong Kong||International Relations|
|World Investment Report|
|World Population 2020 Report|
|USA-CHINA 5G Issue||International Relations|
|World Population Prospects|
|GS-III||External Commercial Borrowings||Economic Issues|
|Measles and Rubella|
|PT Pointer||Current Account||Economic Issues|
|Central Zoo Authority|
|Namdapha National Park|
|ASEEM portal||Economic Issues|
|Uniformity in Stamp Duties||Governance|
|Finding on Fish landings||Economic Issues|
External commercial borrowing (ECBs) are loans made by non-resident lenders in foreign currency to Indian borrowers. They are used widely in India to facilitate access to foreign money by Indian corporations and PSUs (public sector undertakings).
The debtors can be the government, corporations or citizens of that country. The debt includes money owed to private commercial banks, foreign governments, or international financial institutions such as IMF and World Bank. For the telecom sector, infrastructure and Greenfield projects, funding up to 50% (through ECB) is allowed.
Recently, RBI issued a guideline stating that all eligible borrowers can raise ECB up to USD 750 million or equivalent per financial year under the automatic route (earlier it was applicable only to corporate companies). The Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, along with RBI, monitors and regulates ECB guidelines and policies. U.S. dollar-denominated debt remains the largest component of the external debt.
The Sahoo Committee report on ECB
· The Sahoo Committee was set up in 2013, to develop a framework for access to domestic and overseas capital markets.
· The Committee made an assessment of the currency risk by Indian firms undertaking ECB.
· The Committee noted that the possibility of market failure can be ameliorated, by requiring firms that borrow in foreign currency to hedge their exchange risk exposure.
· The present complex array of controls on foreign currency borrowing should be done away with.
· The Indian domestic rupee debt market is a viable alternative to foreign borrowing for financing Indian firms and does not entail any market failure. · The policy should aim at the remove of all impediments to the development of the domestic rupee debt market.
Change in ECB norms:
Advantages of ECBs:
· The growing importance of ECBs in the composition of external debt is a cause of concern for the Indian economy. Availability of funds at a cheaper rate may bring in lax attitude on the company’s side resulting in excessive borrowing.
· This eventually results in higher debt on the balance sheet which may affect many financial ratios adversely.
· Higher debt on the company’s balance sheet is usually viewed negatively by the rating agencies.
· This may result in a possible downgrade by rating agencies which eventually might increase the cost of debt.
· Effect on earnings due to interest expense payments.
· Since the repayment of the principal and the interest needs to be made in foreign currency, It exposes the company to interest and currency fluctuations.
· Companies may have to incur hedging costs or assume exchange rate risk which if goes against may end up negative for the borrowers.
Is it Enough?
Measles and Rubella
GS-Paper-3 Health and Children
Recently, the Maldives and Sri Lanka have become the first two countries in the World Health Organisation’s South-East Asian Region (WHO SEAR) to have eliminated both measles and rubella ahead of the 2023 deadline. In September 2019, member countries of WHO SEAR set 2023 as the target for the elimination of measles and rubella.
The announcement came after the 5th meeting of the SEAR Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination. The Commission comprises 11 independent international experts in the fields of epidemiology, virology and public health.
Bhutan, DPR Korea and Timor-Leste are countries in the region which have eliminated measles. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste have controlled Rubella.
A country is verified as having eliminated measles and rubella when there is no evidence of endemic transmission of the respective viruses for over three years in the presence of a well-performing surveillance system.
The Maldives reported its last endemic case of measles in 2009 and of rubella in October 2015. Sri Lanka reported the last endemic case of measles in May 2016 and of rubella in March 2017.
Measures and Vaccinations
India and Measles
Despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine since the 1960s, both measles and rubella are major public health concerns in India.
More than 1.3 million children acquire measles infection and around 49000 infected children die each year, contributing nearly 36% to the global figures.
Rubella infection in pregnant women may cause fetal death or congenital defects. It leads to the development of birth defects in almost 40,000 children annually in the country.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the MR Vaccination program in 2017. The MR campaign targets around 41 crore children across the country, the largest ever in any campaign.
All children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years are given a single shot of MR vaccination irrespective of their previous measles/rubella vaccination status or measles/rubella disease status. MR vaccines are provided free-of-cost across the states. Other Initiatives include Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), Mission Indradhanush and Intensified Mission Indradhanush.
The current account measures the flow of goods, services, and investments into and out of the country. It represents a country’s foreign transactions and, like the capital account, is a component of a country’s Balance of Payments (BOP).
A nation’s current account maintains a record of the country’s transactions with other nations that includes net income, including interest and dividends, and transfers, like foreign aid.
It comprises of following components -
Current Account Deficit
There is a deficit in the Current Account if the value of the goods and services imported exceeds the value of those exported. It is measured as a percentage of GDP, the formulae for calculating CAD is as follows
Current Account = Trade gap + Net current transfers + Net income abroad
Trade gap = Exports – Imports
The CZA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. It was constituted in 1992 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is chaired by the Environment Minister and has 10 members and a member-secretary.
The main objectives of the authority are
Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has reconstituted the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). Now CZA will include an expert from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and a molecular biologist.
It lies at the international border between India and Myanmar within Changlang District in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The national park is known for its Artic climate and Flying squirrels.
It is only park in the World to have the four Feline species of big cat namely the
Hoolock Gibbons, the only ‘ape’ species found in India is found in this National Park
The amendments to the Stamp Act, 1899 were introduced in the Finance Bill, 2019. It has introduced the centralized system of stamp duty with a unified rate for all financial securities transactions effective from July 1.
Union government has created the legal and institutional mechanism to enable states to collect stamp duty on securities market instruments at one place by one agency, through the stock exchange or clearing corporation authorized by it or by the depository on one instrument.
At present, market participants collect stamp duty at rates fixed by the state where the trade takes place and deposit it with the local government. This created a complex system with multiple tax rates and differing regulations in different states, posing a challenge to settling deals. The amendment was brought for ease of doing business and bringing in uniformity of the stamp duty on securities across states thereby building a pan-India securities market.
According to Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) India’s marine fish production has registered a marginal increase of 2.1% in 2019 compared to the previous year.
Tamil Nadu took the first position in landings of fishes with 7.75 lakh tones. It was followed by Gujarat (7.49 lakh tones) and Kerala (5.44 lakh tones).
While States such as West Bengal (55%), Andhra Pradesh (34%), Odisha (14.5%), Karnataka (11%) and Tamil Nadu (10.4%) recorded increase in landings, the fish catch decreased in Maharashtra, Goa and Kerala compared to the previous year.
Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI)
Currently, the institute is maintaining the National Marine Fisheries Data Centre (NMFDC) with over 9 million catch and effort data records of more than 1000 fished species, from all maritime states of India.
Namami Gange Programme is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as a ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014. It is to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution and conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
It is being operated under the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti. The program is being implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
The state counterpart organizations are State Program Management Groups (SPMGs). NMCG is the implementation wing of the National Ganga Council set in 2016, which replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NRGBA).
It has an Rs. 20,000-crore, centrally-funded, non-lapsable corpus and consists of nearly 288 projects. Recently, the World Bank has approved a five-year loan (for the second phase) to the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) or Namami Gange Project worth Rs.3,000 crore to help stem pollution in the Ganga river basin.
A team of researchers from Pune and Kerala have “rediscovered” a rare and critically endangered plant species called Globba andersonii. It is rediscovered from the Sikkim Himalayas near the Teesta river valley region after a gap of nearly 136 years.
The plant, known commonly as ‘dancing ladies’ or ‘swan flowers’ was thought to have been extinct until its “re-collection”, for the first time since 1875. Classified as “critically endangered” and “narrowly endemic”.
The species is restricted mainly to the Teesta River Valley region which includes the Sikkim Himalayas and Darjeeling hill ranges. Globba andersonii are characterized by white? owers, non-appendage anthers (the part of a stamen that contains the pollen) and a “yellowish lip”.
Copyright© Aspire IAS Academy. All rights reserved. Powered by CLT Technologies & Edu-Publishers Private Limited.