Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 22 May, 2021

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RBI to transfer Surplus Profit to Central Government

What is the News?

The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) Central Board has approved the transfer of Rs. 99,122 crore as surplus to the central government.

RBI’s Transfer of Surplus to Government: 

  • The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) transfers its surplus profits to the Government every year> It is according to the provisions of Section 47 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
    • Section 47 says that surplus profits of the RBI are to be transferred to the government. Surplus profit is the profit left after making various contingency provisions for bad and doubtful debts, depreciation in assets, contributions to staff, and superannuation funds, etc.

RBI transfer to Government for 2020-21: 

  • RBI has decided to transfer the surplus for the nine-month period of June 2020 to March 2021.
    • This was because RBI in 2020 has changed its accounting year to April-March from the earlier period of July-June.
  • Further, RBI has transferred the amount by keeping into account the Bimal Jalan Committee. The committee recommended that the RBI maintain a minimum Contingency Risk Buffer of 5.5% of its balance sheet.

Significance of this RBI Transfer to Government:

  • The RBI’s transfer to the government is above the budgeted expectations. The budget had estimated to receive a surplus of about ₹50,000 crores from the RBI for 2021-22.
    • Reason: This was because of the higher earnings of RBI from open market operations as well as receipts from foreign currency sales,
  • Moreover, this is the highest ever transfer by the RBI to the Government in an accounting period barring 2018-19.
    • In 2018-19, RBI transferred ₹1.76 lakh crore to the government which included a one-time transfer of extra reserves.

Impact of this Transfer: The higher-than-expected transfer will help the Government to absorb losses as:

  • The government is expecting a sharp fall in tax collections due to the severe second wave of COVID-19 which has forced lockdowns in several States.
  • The government is also likely to find it challenging to meet its privatization and disinvestment target of $24 billion. 
  • The revenue from the Goods and Services Tax(GST) is also likely to fall.
  • Moreover, the government is also under pressure as it has no option to cut expenditure given that it needs to increase investment and spur growth.

Source: The Hindu

USSR-era “INS Rajput” decommissioned

What is the News?

Indian Navy has decommissioned the INS Rajput at Naval Dockyard at Visakhapatnam after 41 years of service.

About INS Rajput:

  • INS Rajput was a guided-missile destroyer and the lead ship of the Rajput class of the Indian Navy. It was built by the erstwhile USSR (now Russia).
  • The missile destroyer was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1980. It was also the first destroyer of the Indian Navy.
  • Purpose: The ship is capable of attacking land targets as well as fulfilling anti-aircraft and anti-submarine roles as a task force or carrier escort.
  • The destroyer ship participated in several important missions over the years including:
    • Operation Aman off the coast of Sri Lanka to assist the Indian Peace Keeping Force during Srilankan Civil War
    • Operation Pawan for patrolling duties off the coast of Sri Lanka
    • Operation Cactus to resolve hostage situation of the Maldives and
    • Operation Crowsnest off Lakshadweep.
  • Moreover, the ship has also served in the several missiles trials:
    • The ship was used as a trial platform for the BrahMos cruise missile.
    • A new variant of the Prithvi-III missile was test-fired from Rajput in 2007.
    • The ship also tracked the Dhanush ballistic missile during a successful test in 2005.

Source: The Hindu

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana

What is the News? 

The Government of India has approved the setting up of 22 new regional AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) so far.

About Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana(PMSSY):

  • Type: Central Sector Scheme
  • Nodal Ministry: The scheme was announced in 2003 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Objective: To correct regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/reliable tertiary healthcare services. Moreover, It will also augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.
  • Components: The scheme has two components:
    • Setting up of new AIIMS-like Institutions and
    • Up-gradation of existing Government Medical Colleges /Institutions in a phased manner.

Total AIIMS established: Total of 22 new AIIMS have been announced so far under this component:-

  • 6 AIIMS are already functional at Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur, and Rishikesh.
  • 16 more AIIMS are approved by the Cabinet. Among them, 7 AIIMS, have started OPD facility and MBBS classes while in 5 AIIMS only MBBS classes have started.

Significance of the Scheme:

  • Setting up new AIIMS would not only transform health education and training. It will also address the shortfall of health care professionals in the region.
  • Further, their contribution becomes significant because they will serve areas where the health infrastructure is weak.

Source: PIB

What is “White Fungus” and How Dangerous is it?

What is the News? 

New Cases of White Fungus from Covid-19 patients have been reported in states such as Bihar and others.

 About White Fungus:

  • White Fungus is also known as Candidiasis. It is a type of fungal infection caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida.
  • Candida normally lives on the skin and inside the body in places such as the mouth, throat, gut without causing any problems.
    • However, candida can cause infections if it grows out of control or if it enters deep into the body (for example, the bloodstream or internal organs like the kidney, heart, or brain).
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of white fungus vary depending on the area affected. Most infections result in minimal complications such as redness, itching, and discomfort. However, complications may be severe or even fatal if left untreated in certain populations.
  • Vulnerable Group: People with low immunity, pre-existing medical issues, people with diabetes, and people on or using steroids are at a high risk of contracting the infection.
    • COVID-19 patients on oxygen support can inhale these fungal spores if their ventilators and oxygen support equipment is not sanitised properly.
    • Risk is also increased by overuse of steroids and usage of tap water in the humidifier of oxygen cylinders.
  • Prevention:
    • Patients who are on oxygen or ventilators should be taken care of in terms of hygiene.
    • The tubes and equipment should be thoroughly cleaned. Only sterilized water should be used in oxygen cylinder humidifiers.
  • Treatment: It is not life-threatening. The treatment of White Fungus disease is mainly done through antifungal medicines. However, this changes if a person contracts severe disease and lungs are infected.

Read aboutBlack Fungus

Source: Indian Express

India loses “Farzad B gas field” project as Iran decides to develop it domestically

What is the News?

Iran has given the Farzad B gas field to a domestic gas producer. This is a setback for India’s energy ties with Iran. As ONGC has been part of the ongoing cooperation of the Gas field.

Farzad B Gas Field:
  • Farzad-B is an offshore natural gas field located on the Iranian side of the Persian Gulf.
  • The gas field was discovered in 2008 by a consortium of three Indian companies led by the state-owned ONGC Videsh, Indian Oil Corporation and Oil India.
  • The gas field holds 23 trillion cubic feet of in-place reserves. Of these about 60% is recoverable. It also holds gas condensates of about 5,000 barrels per billion cubic feet of gas.
Sequence of Events:
  • In 2010, negotiations between the consortium led by ONGC and the National Iranian Oil Company(NIOC) to develop the gas field stalled due to sanctions against Iran by the US and EU.
  • However, the sanctions were lifted after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed in 2015. The consortium was close to signing an agreement with Iran to develop the gas field.
  • In 2018, again after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions against Iran, the negotiations broke down.
    • India also froze energy ties with Iran because of the US threat in 2018.
  • In 2020, Iran has said that it would develop the field on its own, and it might allow Indian involvement later.
  • Further, in May 2021, the Iranian oil ministry said that a contract had been signed with a domestic company in Iran to develop the gas field.
India’s Response:
  • The Ministry of External Affairs has said that there is a possibility of India becoming a part of the projects in the Farzad B gas field in Iran at a later stage.
  • This statement indicates that India is planning to re-energise ties with Iran in the gas and oil sector. Especially in the second half of the year as the US administration has held indirect talks with Iran on reviving the nuclear deal of 2015.

Source: The Hindu

Union Minister launches “NMMS app” and “Area officer monitoring App”

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Rural Development has launched the NMMS (National Mobile Monitoring Software) app and Area Officer Monitoring App.

About NMMS (National Mobile Monitoring Software) app :
  • NMMS App permits taking real-time attendance of workers at Mahatma Gandhi NREGA worksites along with geotagged photographs.
  • Impact: This will increase citizen oversight of the programme. It also enables the potential processing of payments faster.
 About Area Officer Monitoring App:
  • Area Officer Monitoring App facilitates area officers to record their findings online and even put a time stamp on them. The app can also enable the coordination of tagged photographs for all the schemes of the Department of Rural Development. Such as MGNREGA, PMAYG, PMGSY.
  • Impact: This would enable the government to record the inspections by officials. It will also facilitate analysis of the findings for better programme implementation.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is an employment guarantee act. It was introduced in 2005 through the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act,2005.
  • Under the scheme, every rural household whose adult member volunteers to do unskilled manual work is entitled to get at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year.
  • Implementation: Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) in association with state governments monitors the implementation of the scheme.
  • Features of the act:
    • Demand-driven scheme: Worker to be hired when he demands and not when the Government wants it.
    • Gram Panchayat is mandated to provide employment within 15 days of work application failing which worker is entitled to unemployment allowance
    • Payment of wages within 15 days of competition of work failing which worker is entitled to delay compensation of 0.05%/ day of wages earned.

Source: PIB

Government Notifies Rules for 74% FDI in Insurance Sector

What is the News? The Finance Ministry notified the Indian Insurance Companies (Foreign Investment) Amendment Rules, 2021. These rules will apply to all insurers irrespective of the stake held by the foreign partner.

These rules will give an effect to increased FDI limit in the Insurance Sector to 74% from 49%.

Key Provisions of the Rules:

  • Total Foreign Investment in an Indian Insurance Company shall mean the sum total of direct and indirect foreign investment by Foreign Investors.
    • Direct investment by a foreigner will be called Foreign Direct Investment. While Investment by an Indian company (which is owned or controlled by foreigners) into another Indian entity is considered as Indirect Foreign Investment.
  • Any Indian insurance company with foreign investment exceeding 49% should have half of its board of directors as an independent director.
    • But if the chairperson of its board is an independent director then at least one-third of its board shall comprise independent directors
  • Indian insurance companies, with foreign investment, should have the majority of their directors and key management persons as resident Indians.
    • There should be at least one resident Indian among the three key persons— chairperson of the board, managing director (MD), and chief executive officer (CEO).
  • Every Indian insurance company having foreign investment shall comply within one year with the requirements of these provisions.

Note: Insurance penetration in India is currently at 3.7% of the gross domestic product(GDP) compared to the world average of 6.31%.

Source: The Hindu


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