13th April, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Importance of Breast feeding’
(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday issued a new 10-step guidance to increase support for breastfeeding in health facilities that provide maternity and newborn services, which provide the immediate health system platform to help mothers initiate breastfeeding within the first hour and breastfeed exclusively for six months.
Importance of breastfeeding
1. Breastfeeding all babies for the first 2 years would save the lives of more than 8,20,000 children under age 5 annually
2. It supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions.
3. It protects against allergies, sickness, and obesity.
4. It protects against diseases, like diabetes and cancer.
5. It protects against infections, like ear infections.
6. It is easily digested – no constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach.
7. Babies have healthier weights as they grow.
8. Breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests.
Guidelines proposed by WHO
1. The guidelines describe how hospitals should have a written breastfeeding policy in place, required staff competencies, and antenatal and post-birth care, including breastfeeding support for mothers.
2. It also recommends limited use of breast milk substitutes, rooming-in, responsive feeding, and educating parents on the use of bottles and pacifiers, and support when mothers and babies are discharged from hospital.
Mothers’ Absolute Affection- A National Breastfeeding Promotion Programme in India
1. MAA – Mothers’ Absolute Affection, a nation-wide programme for promoting breastfeeding was launched by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
2. MAA is an intensified programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, for creating an enabling environment to ensure that others, husbands and families receive adequate information and support for promotion of breastfeeding.
3. The goal of the MAA Programme is to enhance optimal breastfeeding practices, which includes early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and continued breastfeeding for at least two years, along with feeding of safe and appropriate nutritious food on completion of six months.
4. The key components of the programme are:
a. Communication for enhanced awareness and demand generation through mass media and mid media;
b. Training and capacity enhancement of nurses at government institutions, and all ANMs and ASHAs. They will provide information and counselling support to mothers for breastfeeding;
c. Community engagement by ASHAs for breastfeeding promotion, who will conduct mothers’ meetings. Breastfeeding mothers requiring more support will be referred to a health facility or the ANM sub-centre or the Village Health and Nutrition Day (VHND) organized every month at the village level;
d. Monitoring and impact assessment is an integral part of MAA programme. Progress will be measured against key indicators, such as availability of skilled persons at delivery points for counseling, improvement in breastfeeding practices and number of accredited health facilities; and
e. Recognition and team awards will be given to facilities showing good performance, based on evaluation against per pre-decided criteria.
5. Dedicated funds have been allocated to States/Union Territories (UTs) for the Programme @ Rs 4.3 lakhs per district, which is in addition to the funds approved under NHM annual project implementation plans.
6. Detailed guidelines have been prepared to guide implementation in all the States and UTs. The States will also launch the MAA programme in August 2016, and programme will continue for a year.
7. A MAA Secretariat has been established in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. A MAA Steering Committee will be established in the states and districts for effective roll-out.
8. The MAA programme will be monitored by UNICEF and Reproductive, Materanal, Newborn, Child Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) lead development partners.
‘Mining norms in India’
(GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: The Environment Ministry’s apex forest body has shot down a joint proposal by the Coal, Petroleum and Mining ministries to fully exempt themselves from Forest department permissions to scale up the density of exploratory boreholes, used to prospect for minerals, in forests. However, it has provided some relaxations.
Currently companies can dig up to 20 boreholes a square kilometre in forests without taking the Central government’s permission. The Coal Ministry consortium wanted to be able to tunnel more boreholes per square-kilometre without seeking the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) permission
State governments could permit the commissioning of such boreholes, provided they involved forests that had a tree-canopy density of less than 40%, or what are called ‘open forests’. For more heavily forested areas, the Central government’s permissions would be required
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: India’s retail inflation eased to a five-month low in March, but remained above the central bank’s medium-term target; supporting views that monetary policy is likely to remain unchanged at the next review in early June.
Factors which might drive inflation further up in future
1. RBI Governor Urjit Patel said last week there were still uncertainties, such as a proposed hike in the minimum purchase prices of food grains, fiscal slippage worries and volatility in global crude prices.
2. Rising global crude oil prices and domestic health cost prices are contributing to India’s inflation while prices of services, such as Internet data prices, have fallen.
Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
1. Industrial output grew 7.1% in February, mainly driven by robust performance of the manufacturing sector coupled with higher off-take of capital goods and consumer durables.
2. Manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 77% of the index, grew at 8.7%.
The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index for India which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity and manufacturing. The all India IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period. It is compiled and published monthly by the office of economic advisor in department of industrial policy and promotion, GOI six weeks after the reference month ends.
The level of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an abstract number, the magnitude of which represents the status of production in the industrial sector for a given period of time as compared to a reference period of time. The base year was at one time fixed at 1993–94 so that year was assigned an index level of 100. The current base year is 2011-2012.
The Eight Core Industries comprise nearly 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). These are Electricity, steel, refinery products, crude oil, coal, cement, natural gas and fertilizers.
‘Bank Board Bureau’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The finance ministry has reconstituted the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) and appointed Bhanu Pratap Sharma as the new chairman.
Banks Board Bureau (BBB) is an autonomous body of the Government of India tasked to improve the governance of Public Sector Banks, recommend selection of chiefs of government owned banks and financial institutions and to help banks in developing strategies and capital raising plans. In February 2016, the Modi government approved the proposal for setting up BBB and it started functioning from April 2016. The BBB works as step towards governance reforms in Public Sector Banks (PSBs) as recommended by P.J. Nayak Committee
‘Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and lending practices’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Amid an overall negative trend in the stock market and fewer avenues to raise funds, promoters are increasingly becoming dependent on pledging their shares to raise capital, which is viewed as a risky proposition, especially in a volatile market.
NBFCs are becoming more dominant in this space as the overall risk appetite of banks is going down due to their own challenges. Capital market has risks and there have been instances in the past when stocks have been hammered during bearish periods. Also, NBFCs have lesser restrictions compared to banks
Promoter pledging refers to the practice of promoters giving their shares as collateral to financial institutions to raise funds to meet short-term capital requirements or, at times, even for capital expansion when other avenues are difficult to tap.
Incidentally, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has made it mandatory for companies to disclose to the stock exchanges every time such a pledge is created.
What are NBFC?
A Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 engaged in the business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares/stocks/bonds/debentures/securities issued by Government or local authority or other marketable securities of a like nature, leasing, hire-purchase, insurance business, chit business but does not include any institution whose principal business is that of agriculture activity, industrial activity, purchase or sale of any goods (other than securities) or providing any services and sale/purchase/construction of immovable property. A non-banking institution which is a company and has principal business of receiving deposits under any scheme or arrangement in one lump sum or in installments by way of contributions or in any other manner, is also a non-banking financial company
Difference between NBFC and banks
NBFCs lend and make investments and hence their activities are akin to that of banks; however there are a few differences as given below:
1. NBFC cannot accept demand deposits;
2. NBFCs do not form part of the payment and settlement system and cannot issue cheques drawn on itself;
3. deposit insurance facility of Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation is not available to depositors of NBFCs, unlike in case of banks.
Housing Finance Companies are regulated by National Housing Bank, Merchant Banker/Venture Capital Fund Company/stock-exchanges/stock brokers/sub-brokers are regulated by Securities and Exchange Board of India, and Insurance companies are regulated by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. Similarly, Chit Fund Companies are regulated by the respective State Governments and Nidhi Companies are regulated by Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. Companies that do financial business but are regulated by other regulators are given specific exemption by the Reserve Bank from its regulatory requirements for avoiding duality of regulation.
Categories of NBFC
BFCs are categorized
a) in terms of the type of liabilities into Deposit and Non-Deposit accepting NBFCs,
b) non deposit taking NBFCs by their size into systemically important and other non-deposit holding companies (NBFC-NDSI and NBFC-ND) and
c) by the kind of activity they conduct. Within this broad categorization the different types of NBFCs are as follows:
I. Asset Finance Company (AFC) : An AFC is a company which is a financial institution carrying on as its principal business the financing of physical assets supporting productive/economic activity, such as automobiles, tractors, lathe machines, generator sets, earth moving and material handling equipments, moving on own power and general purpose industrial machines. Principal business for this purpose is defined as aggregate of financing real/physical assets supporting economic activity and income arising therefrom is not less than 60% of its total assets and total income respectively.
II. Investment Company (IC) : IC means any company which is a financial institution carrying on as its principal business the acquisition of securities,
III. Loan Company (LC): LC means any company which is a financial institution carrying on as its principal business the providing of finance whether by making loans or advances or otherwise for any activity other than its own but does not include an Asset Finance Company.
IV. Infrastructure Finance Company (IFC): IFC is a non-banking finance company
a) which deploys at least 75 per cent of its total assets in infrastructure loans
b) has a minimum Net Owned Funds of ₹ 300 crore
c) has a minimum credit rating of ‘A ‘or equivalent
d) and a CRAR of 15%
V. Systemically Important Core Investment Company (CIC-ND-SI): CIC-ND-SI is an NBFC carrying on the business of acquisition of shares and securities which satisfies the following conditions:-
(a) it holds not less than 90% of its Total Assets in the form of investment in equity shares, preference shares, debt or loans in group companies;
(b) its investments in the equity shares (including instruments compulsorily convertible into equity shares within a period not exceeding 10 years from the date of issue) in group companies constitutes not less than 60% of its Total Assets;
(c) it does not trade in its investments in shares, debt or loans in group companies except through block sale for the purpose of dilution or disinvestment;
(d) it does not carry on any other financial activity referred to in Section 45I(c) and 45I(f) of the RBI act, 1934 except investment in bank deposits, money market instruments, government securities, loans to and investments in debt issuances of group companies or guarantees issued on behalf of group companies.
(e) Its asset size is ₹ 100 crore or above and
(f) It accepts public funds
VI. Infrastructure Debt Fund: Non- Banking Financial Company (IDF-NBFC) : IDF-NBFC is a company registered as NBFC to facilitate the flow of long term debt into infrastructure projects. IDF-NBFC raise resources through issue of Rupee or Dollar denominated bonds of minimum 5 year maturity. Only Infrastructure Finance Companies (IFC) can sponsor IDF-NBFCs.
VII. Non-Banking Financial Company – Micro Finance Institution (NBFC-MFI): NBFC-MFI is a non-deposit taking NBFC having not less than 85% of its assets in the nature of qualifying assets which satisfy the following criteria:
1. loan disbursed by an NBFC-MFI to a borrower with a rural household annual income not exceeding ₹ 1,00,000 or urban and semi-urban household income not exceeding ₹ 1,60,000;
2. loan amount does not exceed ₹ 50,000 in the first cycle and ₹ 1,00,000 in subsequent cycles;
3. total indebtedness of the borrower does not exceed ₹ 1,00,000;
4. tenure of the loan not to be less than 24 months for loan amount in excess of ₹ 15,000 with prepayment without penalty;
5. loan to be extended without collateral;
6. aggregate amount of loans, given for income generation, is not less than 50 per cent of the total loans given by the MFIs;
7. loan is repayable on weekly, fortnightly or monthly installments at the choice of the borrower
VIII. Non-Banking Financial Company – Factors (NBFC-Factors): NBFC-Factor is a non-deposit taking NBFC engaged in the principal business of factoring. The financial assets in the factoring business should constitute at least 50 percent of its total assets and its income derived from factoring business should not be less than 50 percent of its gross income.
IX. Mortgage Guarantee Companies (MGC) : MGC are financial institutions for which at least 90% of the business turnover is mortgage guarantee business or at least 90% of the gross income is from mortgage guarantee business and net owned fund is ₹ 100 crore.
X. NBFC- Non-Operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC): is financial institution through which promoter / promoter groups will be permitted to set up a new bank .It’s a wholly-owned Non-Operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC) which will hold the bank as well as all other financial services companies regulated by RBI or other financial sector regulators, to the extent permissible under the applicable regulatory prescriptions.
‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre’
(GS1: modern India History)
Issue: The Jallianwala Bagh massacre was a turning point in the Indian freedom struggle, but the Amritsar memorial is struggling to get regular funds for its upkeep as the nation observes the 99th anniversary of the British brutality.
About the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of Baishakhi pilgrims, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. The civilians, in the majority Sikhs, had assembled to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations, a religious and cultural festival for Punjabi people and also to condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal and Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew. Coming from outside the city, many may have been unaware of the imposition of martial law some time earlier. The Jallianwalla Bagh is a public garden of 6 to 7 acres (28,000 m2), walled on all sides with five entrances. To enter, troops first blocked the entry by a tank and locked the exit. On Dyer’s orders, his troops fired on the crowd for ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to flee. The British Government released figures stating 379 dead and 1,200 wounded. This “brutality stunned the entire nation”; resulting in a “wrenching loss of faith” of the general public in the intentions of the UK. The ineffective inquiry and the initial accolades for Dyer by the House of Lords fuelled widespread anger, leading to the Non-cooperation Movement of 1920–22.
On 14 October 1919, after orders issued by the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, the Government of India announced the formation of a committee of inquiry into the events in Punjab. Referred to as the Disorders Inquiry Committee, it was later more widely known as the Hunter Commission. It was named after the chairman, William, Lord Hunter
Issue: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) satellite, which will hunt for Exo-planets that have the potential to harbor alien life, is on schedule to launch next week. The Transiting Exo-planet Survey Satellite (TESS) will launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on 16 April at 6:32 pm (EDT)
About the satellite
The satellite, developed by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, aims to discover thousands of nearby Exo-planets, including at least 50 Earth-sized ones. The spacecraft, not much larger than a refrigerator, carries four cameras that will survey the nearest, brightest stars in the sky for signs of passing planets.
(GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: Government of India launched the ‘Startup India’ initiative on January 16, 2016 to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship. This measure of the Government is helping create large scale job opportunities across the sectors and increase economic growth of the country.
About the scheme
Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and Startups in the country that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. The Government through this initiative aims to empower Startups to grow through innovation and design.
In order to meet the objectives of the initiative, Government of India announced the Action Plan that addresses all aspects of the Startup ecosystem on 16th January 2016. With this Action Plan the Government hopes to accelerate spreading of the Startup movement. The Action Plan is based on the following three pillars:
*Simplification and Handholding
*Funding Support and Incentives
*Industry-Academia Partnership and Incubation
As part of this initiative, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has issued gazette notification No 364(E) dated 11 April, 2018 constituting a broad based Inter-Ministerial Board (IMB) to consider applications of Startups for claim of following incentives of the Income Tax Act 1961(hereinafter referred as Act):
1. Exemption from levy of income tax on share premium received by eligible Startups under section 56 of the Act.
2. 100% deduction of the profits and gains from income of Startups for three out of seven consecutive assessment years under 80 IAC of the Act.
3. Applications for certification of startups under section 56 and Section 80 IAC of the Act will be submitted through an online portal to DIPP. These applications will be considered by IMB for certification.
4. For the purposes of section 56 of the Act, there is no restriction on class of investors and eligible startups can receive investment from any person against issue of share capital.
5. As a continuous endeavor of the Government to facilitate startup eco-system in the country, DIPP has been holding regular stakeholder consultations including with Government ministries/ departments, regulators, angel investors and startups. Amendments introduced through this notification are meant to address key demand of startups with regard to exemptions under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
6. With the introduction of amendments through this notification, startups are likely to have easy access to funding which in turn will ensure ease in starting of new businesses, promote startup eco-system, encourages entrepreneurship leading to more job creation and economic growth in the country.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
(GS2: Multilateral agencies)
Issue: Approximately 1.5 Million rural residents in State of Madhya Pradesh are going to directly benefit from improved livelihoods, education and mobility with the USD $ 140-Million loan approved by the Board of Directors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in a Meeting held recently in Beijing. The Project, co-financed with the World Bank, aims to improve the rural road connectivity and management for residents of about 5,640 villages who use the rural roads for daily activities.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region. The bank currently has 64 member states while another 20 are prospective members for a total of 84 approved members and was proposed as an initiative by the government of China. The initiative gained support from 37 regional and 20 non-regional Prospective Founding Members (PFM), all of which have signed the Articles of Agreement that form the legal basis for the bank. The bank started operation after the agreement entered into force on 25 December 2015, after ratifications were received from 10 member states holding a total number of 50% of the initial subscriptions of the Authorized Capital Stock. Major economies that are not members include Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, and the United States.
The United Nations has addressed the launch of AIIB as having potential for “scaling up financing for sustainable development” for the concern of global economic governance. The capital of the bank is $100 billion, equivalent to 2⁄3 of the capital of the Asian Development Bank and about half that of the World Bank.
The bank was proposed by China in 2013 and the initiative was launched at a ceremony in Beijing in October 2014.
India is also a member of this bank
‘Uniform Civil Code’
(GS2: Directive Principle of State Policy)
Issue: The Law Commission of India is examining the subject matter of Uniform Civil Code. The Commission requested the individuals / organisations (governmental and non-governmental) to send their submissions in the form of consultation / discussion / working papers on any of the issues pertaining to Uniform Civil Code (except the issue relating to Triple Talaq, which is pending before parliament) through its Public Appeal dated the 19th March, 2018
What is Uniform Civil Code?
Uniform civil code is the ongoing point of debate within Indian mandate to replace personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in India with a common set of rules governing every citizen. Article 44 of the Directive Principles expects the state to apply these while formulating policies for the country. Apart from being an important issue regarding secularism in India & fundamental right to practice religion contained in Article 25, it became one of the most controversial topics in contemporary politics during the Shah Bano case in 1985. The debate then focused on the Muslim Personal Law, which is partially based on the Sharia law and remains unreformed since 1937, permitting unilateral divorce, polygamy in the country and putting it among the nations legally applying the Sharia law. The Bano case made it a politicized public issue focused on identity politics—by means of attacking specific religious minorities versus protecting its cultural identity.
Personal laws are distinguished from public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance. Goa has a common family law, thus being the only Indian state to have a uniform civil code. The Special Marriage Act, 1954 permits any citizen to have a civil marriage outside the realm of any specific religious personal law.
Personal laws were first framed during the British Raj, mainly for Hindu and Muslim citizens. The British feared opposition from community leaders and refrained from further interfering within this domestic sphere.
The demand for a uniform civil code was first put forward by women activists in the beginning of the twentieth century, with the objective of women’s rights, equality and secularism. Till Independence in 1947, a few law reforms were passed to improve the condition of women, especially Hindu widows. In 1956, the Indian Parliament passed Hindu Code Bill amidst significant opposition. Though a demand for a uniform civil code was made by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, his supporters and women activists, they had to finally accept the compromise of it being added to the Directive Principles because of heavy opposition.
Child-line and POCSO e-Box Information
(GS2: Issues related to safety of women)
Issue: National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) has published the information regarding Child-line (1098) – 24×7 Helpline for children and POCSO E-box on the back side of the front cover of all the course books from class 6th to class 12th
Childline (1098- 24*7 Helpline for children) services
CHILDLINE 1098 is a national 24-hour toll free emergency phone service for children in distress. The Helpline for Children is currently operational in 412 locations across the country. Childline received 1.45 crore calls during April 2016-March 2017 and more than 78 lakh calls during April -November 2017.The Child line provides assistance to children in distress either by way of tele-counselling or physical rescue.
POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) E-box
POCSO e-Box is an online complaint management system for easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely action against and timely action against the offenders under POCSO Act 2012. POCSO e-Box was launched by the Minister for Women and Child Development
(GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will be visiting Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, on April 14, 2018. He will be visiting the Jangala Development Hub, situated in a panchayat that has emerged as a model panchayat, where he would be interacting with people, local ‘Champions of Change’ including officials of the district administration, who despite all odds and being at the epicenter of Left Wing Extremism have performed very well, especially post the launch of Aspirational District programme on January 5, 2018.
About the programme
The Aspirational District programme is an innovation in governance that covers about 15% of India’s population and is reflective of the priority of the Government to provide for the poorest of poor. It is a well-known fact that India is on a high growth trajectory. The programme hinges on expeditiously transforming 115 districts that were identified from 28 states, in a transparent manner.
There are three core aspects that frame the structure of the programme- Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts. Driven primarily by the States and instituted for the States, this initiative focuses on the strength of each district, and identifies the attainable outcomes for immediate improvement, while measuring progress, and ranking the selected districts.
NITI AYOG is overseeing this programme