Current Affairs of June - 2017

National Infrastructure Investment Fund

The NIIF is registered as an alternative investment fund category II with SEBI. It is a fund of funds that invests in infrastructure projects and earns returns for its investors but also giving long term stable debt to infrastructure sector.

It has no received a single investment from foreign or domestic sources and has no given any loan to any project.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

Distribution of physical aids and assisted living devices to senior citizens (Aged 60 years and above) of BPL categories. Citizens above 80 years and above shall get devices at home. Dept of Social Justice and Empowerment implementing the scheme.

Solid Waste Management rules

Waste generator shall be responsible for collection and segregation of wastes generated by them into biodegradable, non biodegradable and domestic hazardous bins. The local authorities shall be responsible for door to door collection, setting up biomethanification, landfill, waste to energy systems and prescribe user fees.

Construction and demolition waste shall be segregated and handed over to local authority. A waste management plan shall be prepared by the generator of waste and he shall get it approved from local authority.

It shall be the responsibility of the waste generator of electronics and electrical products and they shall collect and channelise it for recycle or disposal.


GSLV-Mk III carrying a 3000 kg GSAT-19 communication satellite. GSLV-Mk III is a new and improved version of GSLV it has indigenous cryogenic engine which provides the final thrust to the rocket after initial liquid and solid fuel engines. GSAT was the heaviest launched from Indian soil to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

GSLV - Mk III can launch satellite higher up into orbit as well as launch heavier satellites which was not possible in PSLV due to its limit of 2 tons. GSLV_MK III is fully made in India without foreign assistance. The cryogenic technology was known to USSR, Japan, USA, France but was not provided to India. Even though India negotiated with russia for transfer of technology the US objected to it. Thus, this has been a big achievement for India. GSLV shall give boost to ISRO’s attempts to send manned missions to space and planetary explorations.

Caste factor in North India

The Northern states also known as “cow belt” states have topped the list in NCRB statistics on violence on dalits and violence by cow protectors. The society in these regions seems to still occupy the mindset that caste is the basic structure of the society and dalits occupy the lowest rung of it. The development indicators like infrastructure improvements, urbanisations, integration of economy with the world, development of telecommunication and employment opportunities have reduced this but reduction is seen more in southern states compared to the cow belt states.

Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy has been restricted to only the dalit community and the political class has failed to convince the masses that he was a National leader. It was four decades ago that the dalit community would meekly surrender to the rulings of the political elite but now the situation has changed and a large section of dalit writers, politicians, intellectuals have emerged that have helped to overcome the traditional feelings of defeatism.

Farmers Problems in India

Socio economic hardships have caused stress to the farmers as the work is not remunerative and involves hardships. The next generation of farmers families aspire to enter well paying urban jobs and so there is a shift in the labor force in agriculture. However as the economy isn't producing adequate jobs it has increased frustrations and strife.

Pulse prices have gone down below the MSP due to bumper crop. Solution to such problems isn't loan waiver but a holisitc approach is needed like liberating the agriculture markets and allowing competitions to APMC's. Removal of red tape in agriculture land renting, contract farming introduction, micro-irrigation practices and collective agriculture practices are the solutions that could be tried.

Medical practitioners Problems in India

Indian medical association the largest body of medical professionals in India was protesting the injustices to their fraternity due to violence against doctors, increasing criminal cases against doctors, regulations on private nursing homes, prescriptions of generic medicines only etc.

Rising crimes and complaints against medical professionals is due to trust deficit between the public and people. Transparency International highlighted that public perception says that corruption in medical field ranks second only to police. This is due to increase in incidents of medical negligence, unnecessary referrals, prescription of overpriced medicines by doctors to satisfy the pharma lobby,prescription of unwanted tests and medicines, sex determination and organ trading.

The cause of impoverishment in India is medical expenses. This needs to be checked and the IMA should support the government in ensuring the implementation of National health policy to ensure universal health care.

Addressing demand side constraints in "Housing for All"

High land cost is the key inhibitor in the "Housing for All" scheme under which the government wants to build 2 crore houses for urban poor, economically weaker sections and low income groups. The high costs also create high price of rental housing and so the migrant population is forced to live in slums. The interest subsidy has been increased for loans upto Rs. 12 lakh thus benefiting 65% of borrowers.

Other solutions proposed are to release the land parcels held by sick PSU's and land encroached upon by slums which originally belonged to state and central governments. This could be mobilized to setup low cost housing. The land prices have also been pushed up by high acquisition cost under the Land acquisition Act and this has been the complaint by state governments too. FSI in urban areas is low in the range of 1-1.5 and needs to be revisited but without improvements in infrastructure and civic facilities it shall be unwise to increase FSI. Such a situation can lead to tremendous pressure on existing facilities. RBI has taken important steps like easing SLR rate and standard asset provision to infuse liquidity in banking system and reduce rates on home loans but supply side constraints are not adequately addressed.

PM Gramin Parivahan yojana

PM Gramin Parivahan yojana to improve public transportation in rural India. Min of Rural development shall implement such a scheme across all blocks affected by Left wing extremism and tribal areas first. 32 lakh self help groups with 3.8 crore women members are there in India and they shall be involved in this scheme.

Insolvency and bankruptcy board of India

Insolvency and bankruptcy board of India regulates the professionals that handle insolvency and bankruptcy and frames rules under the bankruptcy code of India.The deadline to resolve cases is 180 days of the case being filed and the have to decide whether the company has to be closed or restructured. The assets of the company shall be sold in the former case and debtors shall receive some relief.

This mechanism shall also benefit the banking sector where under pressure from investigative agencies the bank officials delay decisions regarding write-offs or accepting lower value for the stressed asset. Under the bankruptcy code a group of debtors or shareholders can approach the National company law tribunal for adjudication of disputes and then a group of insolvency professionals shall consider whether the company can be restructured or needs to close down. Their plan has to be approved by 75% of the shareholders and then the decision is made. “Vulture funds” exist that buy such assets for rock bottom prices and then wait to sell them after a turnaround. The market for secondary assets hasn’t developed in India and so lenders may have to settle for lower prices on the asset.

Milk problems of Maharashtra

Maharashtra is the fourth largest producer of milk after UP, Gujarat, MP however the infrastructure needed for cooling, transportation isn’t available in remote areas of the state and so farmers from villages of Marathwada and Vidarbha don’t have access to cooperative sector. The price of milk though increased won’t benefit them.

Cooperative in Maharashtra have their own brands and packaging and procuring infrastructures, most are run by politicians and up to a third are incurring losses. There have been instances of corruption in management for example “Mahananda” and board of directors had to be replaced by administrator. There could be economies of scale if these adopted Amul’s model of work.

CPEC :- Belt and Road Forum

Chinese companies have cornered large projects and exclusive economic zones have been reserved for them. Belt and road forum also has given loans to Pakistan to invest in infrastructure and this loans shall add to Pakistan’s debt. Chinese workers have been involved in the CPEC initiative. Under the name of BRF China has been criticized by Pakistani opposition parties as becoming another east India company.

Pakistan might soon find the debt taken to be unsustainable and this might lead to handing over further concessions to China. Using the Pakistan Afghanistan border, China might also look to increase its stake in the mineral rich region of Afghanistan. Pakistani army might find its influence growing even more as it had to recruit more personnel to protect Chinese investments and workers. It might also play an important role in acting against the Uighur militancy in restive Xinjiang province of China.

Problems with loan waivers

Every bank including foreign banks have to lend 40% to priority sector lending with 18% of that to agriculture and allied activities. Even in that 8% shall go to small and marginal farmers, landless laborers, tenant farmers and self help groups of farmers. Offering loan waivers the government undermines honest credit culture, the borrowers who repay promptly are discouraged and this makes credit costlier for other borrowers. The State governments have to raise finances from its own sources and so have to resort to borrowing from other sources or cut back spending on infrastructure or development.

Gorkhaland Territorial Authority (GTA)

Gorkhaland Territorial Authority (GTA) controlled by the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a political body of Gorkha Nepali’s in darjeeling is protesting against the Trinamool congress’ (TMC) demand of introducing Bengali language compulsory in schools. The GJM is a BJP ally and so the TMC is aggressively trying to squash protesters. The TMC should have handled the protests carefully instead of flaring up tensions by calling the army in darjeeling. GJM claims that imposition of bengali on them is linguistic imperialism and they are protesting to protect their Nepali identity. Bengal government should calm the situation by proving that learning bengali can improve the economic opportunities to the Gorkha community in Bengal.

Problems with Bankruptcy proceedings

RBI has identified 12 defaulters who have been responsible for a major chunk of the bad loans in the public sector. It shall refer such cases to the National company law tribunal, which is the arbitrator under the Insolvency and bankruptcy code of India. The bankruptcy professionals shall chalk out a course for swift recovery or winding up of the companies under the mandated 180 days. This shall free up capital of the lenders.

However a major problem is finding buyers for the stressed asset as currently the economy is slowing and so all the stakeholders in the defaulting asset may have to take a haircut i.e. agree for a low return on the asset. The government has to accept that it may loose out a sizeable amount in this process.

The IBC is unclear on whether any bank official that agrees on a haircut on bad loans is insulated from legal scrutiny. The promoters of the bad asset might also block the proceedings by taking legal recourse.

Air Pollution in Delhi - Burning of Crop residue

Air pollution Act was to combat pollution from factories and vehicles but it has scope to expand its jurisdiction to prevent the buring of crop residue and agriculture wastes. The National capital region has seen high instances of smog and prolonged conditions of heavy pollution in the air. It is a direct result of burning of crop residues in the adjoining states and like Punjab, Haryana and UP.

The crop residue could have multiple uses like fodder, organic fertilizer, biomass generation etc but economies are in favor of burning it. This is due to costly labor needed in manually removing stubble. The combine harvesters leave stubble and so a straw management system is needed to be attached to it to reduce stubble. Happy seeder and rotavators are equipment's needed that can efficiently use stubble by mulching it in ground.

However unless the government subsidizes these equipment's the problem shall persist and no amount of directives, legislation's or coercion can solve this problem.

Structural reforms post 2008 global financial crisis

The recession post 2008 global financial meltdown led the governments to review their financial architecture to prevent a crisis in the financial systems, prevent disruption of economy if large banks fail and also prevent use of public money to bailout private firms and promote financial stability. The Indian insolvency code was to resolve cases of bankruptcy of non financial entities and the proposed bill shall address financial risks of banks and insurance companies.

This was one of the suggestions of FSLRC. The bill shall find such banks where financial situation is unstable and resolve the problem either by merger or closing it down. Resolution Corporation shall act on behalf of the government to do this. It shall provide insurance to the deposits upto an amount and resolve issues of debt and equity holders.

Financial resolution and deposit insurance bill, 2017

This was approved by the union cabinet and seeks to create a resolution corporation that shall deal with bankruptcy in financial institutions such as Banks, insurance companies , pension funds, NBFCs etc. Resolution corporation shall have the powers to take preventive measures in case the financial health of an institution is unstable and can even enforce a merger or liquidation.

This approach shall lead to financial stability, prevent economic disruption and also prevent bailout of banks by public money. Deposit insurance and credit guarantee corporation , an arm of the RBI that insures deposits upto Rs. 1 lakh in case a commercial or cooperative bank goes bust also fulfils the role of resolution corporation partly but it doesn’t have powers to take preventive steps or enforce mergers / liquidation.

Negative returns on farm produce

The farmers of states are demanding that the produce should fetch prices that shall ensure a return on the investments made as well as provide them with capital to invest in the subsequent production cycle. The agriculture in India has problems during drought as well as bumper crop years. During drought years the cultivation is affected as sowing can’t be done by small and marginal farmers due to lack of irrigation facilities.

In bumper years the prices crash and so farmers have to sell at very low prices and can’t recover their investments. This is also due to inadequate storage infrastructure in rural areas. The solutions suggested have been removal of export bans, open restrictions on future trading on all agri-commodities and private stock-holding limits.

Reskilling India

Seamless integration of industry, academia and government is needed if India has to take advantage of the development of technology. Currently the labor advantage is with India as it has large number of cheap labor available. However this advantage shall cease if the machine revolution begins and humans are no longer needed in factories. Already the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics is being felt in the field of textiles as robots are being created that can do the task of skilled humans. The Government, academia and industry should work together to ensure re-skilling of youth so that the impact is not felt on a large scale. Although our industries are huge employers but they don’t generate enough income as their counterparts in the western world. The western IT firms have linkages with prestigious academic institutions and are knowledge driven unlike our own.

PM Modi meeting US President Trump

Indian PM’s meeting with Donald Trump has low expectations but could be used to push India’s role as a regional power. US under Trump has become less considerate in maintaining its position as the enforcer of world peace and protector of its Eurasian allies. Trump now wants the Europeans to pay for their security and increase their own stakes in the defence. The Indian establishment wants to grow and become a regional enforcer of security for the Indian Ocean region and counter China’s growing role in this. However India currently doesn’t have the political will or the material resources needed in filling the gap left by the US withdrawal and this is being used to its advantage by the Chinese. India could engage in a new dialogue with Trump administration in finding out how it can achieve this.

Maharashtra institute of Public policy research, Pune

Maharashtra became first state in the country to setup a policy think tank called Maharashtra institute of Public policy research, Pune on lines of the centre’s Niti Aayog. The CM shall be the head of the committee and senior bureaucrats and ministers shall also be members. It shall guide the state government in policy making by conducting research on various problems and providing solutions. It shall study the policy framework of other countries and states of India to select best course for action.

Largest solar park

Largest solar park currently under construction is Pavagada, solar park in Karnataka with 2000 MW capacity. Andhra pradesh surpassed Gujarat and Rajasthan in total installed solar capacity. However there are major hurdles in the solar manufacturing sector as there isn’t any silicon wafer manufacturing in India and bulk of it is imported from China. Progressively lower tariffs can also led to harming the viability of projects. The solar and hydro energy is variable and the shortfall or excess production especially when solar power peaks at afternoon will mean a change in the way the coal and gas based plants work. The thermal power shall have to adjust itself as the solar and other renewable power fluctuates. This shall need a better grid management. The thermal power plants shall face financial losses if they are not allowed to produce at full capacity as renewable energy sector peaks. The stakeholders in these thermal power plants shall then have to face financial losses.

Dalit President

Dalit protests across the country over issues ranging from oppression from the majority to lack of social mobility and political backwardness. Though the protests across the country in places from saharanpur to una or the hyderabad university have been on different issues but a common thread has bound them. The government and neither the opposition have succeeded in resolving or addressing the issues faced by the dalits especially in states where caste factions are strong. Appointing a dalit as a president , second one after K.R.Narayanan is a strong symbol but larger issues need to be addressed too.

Breach of privilege - Article 105 and 194

Article 105 and 194 give the legislators of Parliament and State legislatures the privileges , power to both members and committees. These articles give the legislators immunity from litigation over issues that occur in the house and also give the legislature's power to decide privileges and immunities. There is no codification of laws that govern what constitutes a breach of privilege or prescription of punishment, this is a grey area. The legislators can thus become judges and complainants and use their powers to take action against individuals on grounds of libel and defamation. This violates the individual's right to getting a fair trial from an independent and competent authority. The committee of parliament or legislatures conducts hearings and the accused are allowed to explain their stand. The report is sent to the house, but the speaker can take action without debate and can even go against the recommendations.

Open Acreage licensing Policy and National data repository - Hydrocarbon exploratory licensing policy [HELP]

HELP shall replace the NELP for hydrocarbon exploration. HELP shall have a unified license for exploration and production for conventional and non conventional resources. This shall also have a revenue sharing contract with the licensee and from time of production revenue has to be given to the government unlike the earlier policy under NELP where revenue had to be shared after cost of discovery was recovered by the licensee. Latest geological and geophysical data on sedimentary basins was not available as the last data acquisition was carried out in sedimentary basins 25 years ago. This was hampering exploration and production activities and so National data repository prepared by DG of Hydrocarbons shall work to store and provide data for aiding discovery and exploration.

GST regime from 1st July 2017

G.S.T. (indirect tax) levied by center on intra state goods and services shall be Central G.S.T, State G.S.T. shall be levied by states on intra state goods and services and Integrated G.S.T. on inter state goods and services. C.G.S.T., S.G.S.T. shall be levied on all transactions on goods and services except those belonging to exempted categories, those below a threshold value and those outside the purview of G.S.T. C.G.S.T.

Tax credit on inputs can be used to payment of C.G.S.T., I.G.S.T. and S.G.S.T. tax credit can be used to pay S.G.S.T. and I.G.S.T.. I.G.S.T. shall be levied and collected by the Center and the amount shall be apportioned between Center and states. Under G.S.T. tax liability exists only if taxable person crosses turnover threshold of rs. 20 lakh (Rs. 10 lakh for North eastern and special category states).

Privatization of Air India

The National carrier has got an accumulated debt of Rs. 50000 crore and has to be privatised to prevent additional money from being invested in it. The Vajpayee government had taken a lead in divestment where even non strategic profit making PSU's were divested. The current government wants to de-merge the profit making ground operations from the main airlines and hive off its real estate assets before the sell off.

The argument against privatization was that airlines aren't interested in unviable routes which don't have adequate traffic. But this can be solved via schemes like subsidy or viability gap funding. The second argument was that airlines might be needed in national emergencies where people have to be evacuated from foreign nations. But even this can be solved through creating a separate entity under Ministry of defence or external affairs.

Pharmaceutical industry

Indian pharmaceutical sector does not adequately incentivize innovations and protects Intellectual property fully. So the bio-pharmaceutical companies cant reap benefits out of a robust IPR system that can protect investments in Research of life saving drugs. Innovators should be able to secure and enforce patents and protect their rights.

Government must build the road for scientific progress and encourage innovators and those who fund them so that it will fuel jobs in the medical sector. Majority of new drugs discovered don't even make it past the clinical trials stage. The procedures to approve new medicines and speed up effective delivery must be put in place.

Globally the R&D in pharma is worth $60 billion and 7000 new medicines are under development but this pace is not seen in Indian Pharma.


The 90 cities out of 100 have been announced under the SMART city mission of the Central government which is being carried out by the Urban development ministry. The aim is to enable these cities to become world class cities by developing systems needed for that transformation. However one major concern that has emerged through this is that the major share of the revenue for this mission shall be channeled to a small pocket in these cities.

One of the aims of the smart city mission is to ensure that poor and disadvantaged too get income opportunities and help in creation of inclusive cities. Smart city plans should include business and employment generating activities and also affordable housing and healthcare and not just hi-tech street lights and parking lots. Recurring problems faced by the cities too should be solved by the smart city plans.

India's First National intellectual property rights policy - May 2016

India has a well-established TRIPS-compliant legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPRs, which reiterates India’s commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPS agreement.

The Policy lays down the following seven objectives:

  1. To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.

  2. To stimulate the generation of IPRs.

  3. To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest.

  4. To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration.

  5. Get value for IPRs through commercialization.

  6. To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements.

  7. To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.

The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy will endeavor for a "Creative India; Innovative India"

Problems faced by Indian IPR Sector

Online and film piracy continues to plague Indian film industry and cause economic losses to domestic film production. The bio-pharmaceutical industry is unable to file patents due to requirements of Section 3(d) in the Patents Act of "enhanced efficacy". The Software can be patented if it is involved with a novel hardware and this is a drawback. The National pharmaceutical pricing authority too has reduced the price of medical devices like stents that enjoy patent protection. This means that the manufacturers and R&D organizations are facing a loss. For innovation to grow a thriving and robust, IPR framework should be prepared that encourages and safeguards innovations. This shall also bring in new investments and create a tech savvy sector that shall lead to cutting edge innovations which in turn shall save more lives.

Breach of privilege

The Karnataka legislative assembly speaker sentenced two journalists for one year imprisonment over breach of privilege. This is a misuse of the powers of the house which should use breach of privilege only if members of the house are prevented from discharging their duties. The powers are typically for protection of the rights of the members from speaking their minds. The case is unique where the speaker himself was the complainant, advocate and judge. The journalists if they had defamed the speaker, then he could have used the judicial proceedings of defamation or libel against them. The media is the fourth pillar of democracy and should be protected. Breach of privilege provisions should be codified unambiguously and to protect misuse the judiciary should step in.

Problems with the education system

  1. Poor quality of governance in education

  2. No merit based criteria in decided management of education

  3. Lack of adequate checks and balances.

  4. System isn’t inclusive and doesn’t give second chance to weaker sections.

  5. Education is rote oriented and no emphasis on practical learning.

  6. Infrastructure reforms under Right to Education haven’t been implemented, access to economically weaker sections is lacking too.

  7. Fundamentals in teacher education, training, school management and governance is missing.

Global Entrepreneurship summit, 2017

Global Entrepreneurship summit, 2017 shall be hosted in India and this shall be the 8th edition of the summit, last one was in silicon valley , USA. GES’17 wants to bring government, entrepreneurs, educators, investors together for exploring collaborations. Summit involves many pitch competitions, seminars, workshops and networking events.

Special designated Global terrorists

Under US Executive order an individual or an organisation can be designated as “Special designated Global terrorists” and “ Foreign terrorist organisations”. This means that the individual or organisation cannot receive financial aid from a US national. Thus US nationals are prevented from having any transactions with such people or organisations. This is different from the UNSC Global terrorist designation which ensures s world wide sanctions against the entity or individual. US recognition of Syed Salahuddin means that they have acknowledgement him as a terrorist and not a home grown militant.

This may also lead to similar sanctions from EU, Russia etc. However, this is only a symbolic gesture as similar terrorists operating in the Kashmir valley have been designated as terrorists by the US but have evaded justice for years. India on the other hand agreed to partner with US campaign on containing North Korea’s Nuclear arsenal, this could affect North Korea nominally as India is the second largest importer of North Korean goods. But this trade value is very small and insignificant for India to make any dent.

Problem of small traders with GST

Government has been asked by small traders and trade and traders unions to consider refraining from penal action for not filing returns by the traders. This shall be limited to first few months where the traders shall learn about the technology driven platform of GST. Most small traders feel that the system shall need time to learn and the government should provide handholding to them during this period. This shall ensure a hassle free roll out of GST.

Pune university was first State university to open campus in foreign nation (UAE) in 2009, Mumbai university is the second to open its campus abroad in Dubai in 2017.

Qatar and the Middle east turmoil

Qatar has been isolated by Saudi Arabia and other regional countries of Gulf cooperation council for being Pro Iran. The sea, air and road travel links have been shutdown and also diplomatic and trade ties. Egypt has shut the airspace for Qatari flights. This clampdown shall affect the inflation and other prices of Qatar. The Qatari kingdom has good ties with Shia Iran and this has angered the Saudi led countries.

The Eqyptian Muslim brotherhood that controlled government was also supported by Qatar and it opposed the Military takeover of Egypt that ousted the brotherhood. India was looking at convincing Qatar’s sovereign wealth funds and other equity funds to invest in Indian infrastructure sector. This shall now be hampered as India shall also have to balance its ties with other GCC countries. Qatar is also India’s largest LNG supplier.

China and India Bhutan Military standoff

India and Raoyal Bhutanese Army is on a verge of conflict with the Chinese army over construction of a road in Doklam plateau at the border of Sikkim, China and Bhutan. This road shall be close to Indian military post at Doka La.

T-hub is India’s largest business incubator and is located in Hyderabad.

India and Russia shall hold the first tri-service military exercise named Indra in 2017.

NavIC - India satellite navigation system.

India and Pakistan shall receive full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation this year.


Punjab was the first state to ban e-cigarettes and Maharashtra to could be the second if its FDA notifies the order of the government. E-cigarettes were marketed as a non toxic alternative to cigarettes but the aerosol inhaled from it is as bad as a regular cigarette. The sale of e-cigarettes isn’t regulated in India and so they can be available to children and adolescents online. The illusion that smoking them isn’t harmful actually encourages people to use them more often. The e-cigarette has been found to cause harm to health, foetuses and children too.

Kolkata based actor Soumitra chatterjee shall be presented with France's highest civilian award the "Legion of Honor".

Zika virus is carried by Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

A Horse walks into a Bar wins Man Booker international prize for literature written in a language other than English.

International day of seafarers - June 25

“Chicken neck” refers to the piece of West Bengal territory through which all roads that connect India to North east have to pass.

MAITRI is “Maharashtra industry, trade and investor facilitation cell

Political finance

EC has raised concerns over the government’s moves that allowed political parties to not disclose amounts received through electoral bonds. The bonds can be bought by anyone and donated to any party. Though this has introduced some transparency as bonds can only be bought from white money but it has created opacity in the procedure. The government also has allowed companies to donate any amount without cap to a political party. EC is concerned that many shell companies shall emerge only for sole purpose of donation to political parties and without any legitimate business.

Monetary policy Committee meeting

Gross value added (GDP net on taxes of goods and services) has deccelerated to 6.8% and the inflation targets have been overachieved by the RBI. The reasons for slowdown can be attributed to lower gross fixed capital formation, effects of demonetisation, rising NPA of banks and lower government spending. All these factors point out to a steep rate cut on interests. The neutral or natural interest rate for India consistent with Zero output gap should be 1.6 - 1.8%.

Election system - UK and India

Earlier the PM of UK would decide the date of election giving the ruling party a distinct advantage but this was changed later and a fixed date May 7th, every 5 years was decided. In India, the Election commission decided everything keeping even the ruling party guessing and thus a level playing field was maintained.

Due to the small size of electorate, campaigning is cheaper and mass media and paid news is unused. This can't be done in India. Campaign expenditure is capped on both candidates and parties and in India only cap exists on candidates not on parties. This loophole leads to very high costs.

Prompt corrective action - RBI

IDBI, UCO, Dena and Central bank of India have been put under prompt corrective action by the RBI. This means curbs have been put on expansion plans, dividend payments, salary hikes, lending and in extreme cases RBI can force mergers or wind up such banks.

Strong and united opposition

The lack of a strong and united opposition is seen in the recent presidential elections. The 2014 government has been strong and decisive but the opposition has been late in arriving to the scene. The lack of a coherent opposition is hurtful in a democracy as it is their job to keep the government on its toes, deepen crucial debates and hold it accountable. The opposition has been criticized for being heavy footed and un-energetic. They haven’t been able to contest the government on ideas or streets.

Loan write-offs

Loan write-offs could be useful if they specifically target the farmers who have been left out of institutional credit system. The government could review some policies that are harming the formation of a thriving market economy in the farm sector such as restrictions on domestic stock-holding limits, domestic movements, ban on exports of pulses , edible oils and sugar.

US and Climate change

US has pulled out of the Paris climate deal , a historic agreement of 2015 which is the Worlds only legally binding agreement to cut emissions. India had ratified the deal by providing INDC’s to reduce emissions. US joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations to withdraw from this deal. European union and China are the frontrunner now for taking up leadership of the Climate talks. China and US are the top polluters of the World.

Green Army - Maharashtra is initiative by Dept of Forests to plant 4 crore saplings.

Irrigated area in India is 45% of the total area under agriculture and the production of irrigated area is twice that of un-irrigated areas.

Leo Varadkar is an Indian origin leader of Ireland who became the country’s youngest PM. He is also openly gay.

Rohan chakravarty is the winner of World Wildlife Fund’s International President award 2017

Greening the Grid is India - US bilateral study program that has agreed that addition of 175 GW of renewable energy into India’s power grid by 2022. India’s current target is 100 GW solar and 60 GW wind power by 2022.

Under-employment : A phenomenon where people in the labor market don’t have full time jobs or are employed at low productive jobs.

SKIFT - Skilling India in Film and Television

KK Venugopal - to become 15th Attorney General, India's highest constitutional post for legal advisor to the Government of India.