Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 25 October 2017

Govt to infuse Rs. 2.11 lakh crore into PSU banks over 2 years

The government has announced an aggressive Rs. 2.11 lakh crore capital infusion for the NPA hit public sector banks over a period of two years. Out of this, Rs. 1.35 lakh crore will be through the recapitalisation bonds, while remaining Rs. 76,000 crore from the budgetary support.

The capital infusion would be done over the next two fiscal. The nature of the bonds and details of the bonds would be made public during course of time.

Non-performing assets of banks have increased from Rs. 2.75 lakh crore in March 2015 to Rs. 7.33 lakh crore as on June 2017. The finance minister said banks would get Rs. 18,000 crore under the Indradhanush plan.

Under Indradhanush roadmap introduced in 2015, the government had announced to infuse Rs. 70,000 crore in state-run banks over four years to meet their capital requirement in line with global risk norms, known as Basel-III.

In line with the plan, public sector banks were given Rs. 25,000 crore in 2015-16, and similar amount has been earmarked for the following years. Besides, Rs. 10,000 crore each would be infused in 2017-18 and 2018-19.


TRAI suggests framework for app based calling on mobile operators networks

Telecom regulator TRAI has suggested a framework for app-based calling on mobile operators’ networks and having a provision for making calls on by using Wi-Fi networks.

These recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to the Department of Telecom issued are meant for service providers holding valid telecom licences and exclude calls made from mobile apps like Whatsapp, Viber and Google Duo. The recommendations address the issues raised by private telecom operators over state-owned BSNL’s mobile calling app which aimed at facilitating international calls at local rates.

State-run BSNL had launched an app early this year for its subscribers to connect with BSNL network though the app using Wi-Fi or internet service when abroad and make calls to any network in India. However, the service was put on hold after private telecom operators alleged that BSNL was attempting to bypass call connection charges with the help of the app.

The Trai recommendations said such internet telephony apps will have to be linked with mobile number series. The calls will be charged by telecom operators and all rules related to normal calls will be applicable on them. The TRAI said that the licensees should comply with all the interception and monitoring related requirements as specified in the licence as amended from time to time for providing Internet Telephony. TRAI has recommended that calls made using internet telephony app from overseas by subscribers on international roaming should be routed through international gateway to the network on which the call has been made.  


Nearly 7.5 lakh people given hearing aid under accessible India campaign

Union minister Krishan Pal Gurjar said that around 7.5 lakh people have been issued cochlear implant (hearing aid) through 5,500 camps held across the country under the accessible India campaign.

Speaking at an inauguration of two-day national conference at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment listed out various government initiatives aimed at benefitting persons with disability.

He said that five-year-old children with disability shall be sponsored with 6 lakh rupees for cochlear implants by the government. The government has now increased the reservation from 3 to 4 per cent in central government services and to 5 per cent in education for the person with disabilities. Elderly BPL family members with disability will be taken care of for their every needs.

The seminar on topic – Vocational Rehabilitation and Economic Inclusion of PwD in India was jointly organised by IGNOUs National Centre for Disability Studies (NCDS) and National Handicap Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC).


Ministries of Power & Textiles join hands under new initiative SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help small Industries)

Ministries of Power  and Textiles have joined hands under a new initiative SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help small Industries). Under this initiative, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public sector entity under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, would procure energy efficient Powerlooms, motors and Rapier kits in bulk and provide them to the small and medium Powerloom units at no upfront cost.

The SAATHI initiative of the Government will be jointly implemented by EESL and the office of the Textile Commissioner on a pan-India basis. To kick start the implementation, cluster wise demonstration projects and workshops will be organized in key clusters such as Erode, Surat, Ichalkaranji, etc.

The use of these efficient equipment would result in energy savings and cost savings to the unit owner and he would repay in installments to EESL over a 4 to 5 year period.  This is the aggregation, bulk procurement and financing model that EESL has successfully deployed in several sectors like LED bulbs, Smart Meters and Electric Vehicles.  The unit owner neither has to allocate any upfront capital cost to procure these equipment nor does it have to allocate additional expenditure for repayment as the repayments to EESL are made from the savings that accrue as a result of higher efficiency equipments and cost savings.  The aggregation of demand and bulk procurement will also lead to reduction in capital cost, benefits of which will be passed on to the Powerloom units so that their repayment amount and period would reduce.

The Powerloom sector in India is predominantly an unorganized sector and has a large number of micro and small units which produce 57 percent of the total cloth in the country.  There are 24.86 lakhs Powerloom units in this country, most of whom use obsolete technology.  With a view to upgrading the technology, the Government of India has been implementing the INSITU upgradation of  plain Powerlooms as part of Power Tex India under which plain Powerlooms are attached with process control equipment leading to higher productivity, better quality and more than 50 percent additional value realisation.  So far 1.70 lakhs plain Powerlooms have been upgraded under the scheme, with a total Government of India subsidy of Rs. 186 crores.