Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 31 October 2017

Government sets up Arun Jaitley led panel on PSU bank mergers

The government has constituted a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to oversee merger proposals of state-owned banks. The other members of the panel include Railway and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Last week, Mr Jaitley had announced 2.11 lakh crore rupees capital infusion roadmap for the public sector banks. The Union Cabinet had decided to set up an Alternative Mechanism to fast-track consolidation among public sector banks to create strong lenders.

The move to create large banks aims at meeting the credit needs of the growing Indian economy and building capacity in the PSB space to raise resources without dependence on the state exchequer. The mechanism will oversee the proposals coming from boards of PSBs for consolidation.

 

India tops list of new tuberculosis cases in 2016: WHO

According to a new report by the World Health Organisation, India topped the list of seven countries, accounting for 64 per cent of the 10.4 million new tuberculosis (TB) cases worldwide in 2016.

The Global TB Report 2017 released by the WHO said that India was followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa.

The report said, an estimated 1.7 million people died from TB in 2016, including nearly 400,000 people who were co-infected with HIV, recording a drop by 4 per cent as compared to 2015.

Also, India along with China and the Russia accounted for almost of half of the 490,000, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases registered in 2016.

The report pointed out that though global efforts to combat tuberculosis have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37 percent, the latest picture is grim as TB remains the top infectious killer in 2016.

 

MHA gives a boost to “Make in India” in the field of manufacturing of arms

The Ministry of Home Affairs has liberalised the Arms Rules to boost “Make in India” manufacturing policy of the Government as also to promote employment generation in the field of manufacturing of arms and ammunition.

The liberalisation of the Arms Rules will encourage investment in the manufacturing of arms and ammunition and weapon systems as part of the “Make in India” programme. The liberalised rules are expected to encourage the manufacturing activity and facilitate availability of world class weapons to meet the requirement of Armed Forces and Police Forces in sync with country’s defence indigenization programme. The liberalised rules will apply to licences granted by MHA for small arms & ammunition and licences granted by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under powers delegated to them, for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, defence aircrafts, space crafts, warships of all kinds, arms and ammunition and allied items of defence equipment other than small arms. The salient features of the liberalised rules are:

  • The licence granted for manufacturing shall now be valid for the life-time of the licensee company. The requirement of renewal of the license after every 5 years has been done away with.
  • Similarly, condition that the small arms and light weapons produced by manufacturer shall be sold to the Central Government or the State Governments with the prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs has been done away with.
  • Further, enhancement of capacity up to 15% of the quantity approved under licence will not require any further approval by the Government. The manufacturer will be required to give only prior intimation to the licensing authority in this regard.
  • The licence fee has been reduced significantly. Earlier the licence fee was Rs. 500/- per firearm which added up to very large sums and was a deterrent to seeking manufacturing licenses. The licence fee will now range from Rs. 5,000/- to the maximum of Rs. 50,000/-.
  • The fee for manufacturing licence shall be payable at the time of grant of license rather than at the time of application.
  • Single manufacturing licence will be allowed for a multi-unit facility within the same State or in different States within the country.

 

Shri Giriraj Singh launches MSME Delayed Payment Portal – MSME Samadhaan

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Shri Giriraj Singh launched MSME Delayed Payment Portal – MSME Samadhaan, empowering micro and small entrepreneurs across the country to directly register their cases relating to delayed payments by Central Ministries/Departments/CPSEs/State Governments. Shri Arun Kumar Panda, Secretary, Ministry of MSME along with other dignitaries and senior officials from the Ministry were also present.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Giriraj Singh said that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Act, 2006 contains provisions to deal with cases of delayed payment to Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs). As per the provisions, the buyer is liable to pay compound interest with monthly rests to the supplier on the amount at three times of the bank rate notified by Reserve Bank in case he does not make payment to the supplier for the supplies of goods or services within 45 days of the day of acceptance of the goods/service or the deemed day of acceptance.

The Portal will give information about the pending payment of MSEs with individual CPSEs / Central Ministries, State Governments, etc. The CEO of PSEs and the Secretary of the Ministries concerned will also be able to monitor the cases of delayed payment under their jurisdiction and issue necessary instructions to resolve the issues. The portal will greatly facilitate the monitoring of the delayed payment in a more effective manner. The information on the portal will be available in public domain, thus exerting moral pressure on the defaulting organisations. The MSEs will also be empowered to access the portal and monitor their cases.

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