Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 8 May, 2021

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SEBI technical group submits report on “Social Stock Exchanges(SSE)”

What is the News?

A technical group on Social Stock Exchanges (SSEs), constituted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has submitted its report.

 About Social Stock Exchange(SSE):

  • Social Stock Exchange(SSE) is a platform that allows investors to invest in select social enterprises or social initiatives.
    • Social Enterprise is a revenue-generating business. The primary aim of social enterprise is to achieve a social objective such as providing healthcare or clean energy.
  • Aim: To help social and voluntary enterprises to raise capital in form of equity or debt or a unit of the mutual fund.
  • Global Examples: SSE exists in countries such as Singapore, UK among others. These countries allow firms operating in social sectors to raise risk capital.
  • India: The proposal to set up SSEs in the country was first floated during the Union Budget in 2019.
    • In 2019, SEBI constituted a group under the chairmanship of Tata group veteran Ishaat Hussain.
    • In 2020, SEBI again set up the Technical Group(TG) under Harsh Bhanwala, ex-Chairman, NABARD. This time for getting further expert advice and clarity on SSE. That committee submitted its report.

Key Recommendations on Social Stock Exchanges:

  • Eligible Entities: The group has said that both for-profit (FP) and not-for-profit organisations(NPO) should be allowed to tap the SSE.
  • Parameters: The group has said three parameters for eligibility as Social Enterprises. The parameters are:
    • A Social Enterprise should engage in at least one of the below eligible activities
    • Further, it should target underserved or less privileged population segments or regions
    • Also, a Social Enterprise shall have at least 67% of its activities qualifying as eligible activities to the target population.
  • Prohibited Organisations: Political and religious organisations, trade organisations, and corporate foundations should not be allowed to raise funds through SSEs.
  • Eligible Activities: Social enterprises can engage in activities such as:
    • Eradicating hunger, poverty, malnutrition and inequality;
    • Promoting health care (including mental health) and sanitation including making available safe drinking water.
    • Activities promoting education, employability and livelihoods.
    • Promoting gender equality, empowerment of women and LGBTQIA+ communities.
    • Ensuring environmental sustainability, addressing climate change (mitigation and adaptation), forest and wildlife conservation.
    • Also, the activities promoting livelihoods for rural and urban poor. This includes enhancing the income of small and marginal farmers and workers in the non-farm sector.
    • Slum area development, affordable housing and other interventions to build sustainable and resilient cities.
  • Annual Report: Entities listed on SSE will have to disclose their social impact report on an annual basis. This report should cover aspects such as “strategic intent and planning, approach, impact scorecard”.

Source: Indian Express


Interpol’s “ID-Art App” to help protect cultural property

What is the News?

INTERPOL has launched an app called ‘ID-Art’ to better protect cultural heritage.

About ‘ID-Art’ App:

  • ‘ID-Art’ App aims to help identify the stolen cultural property, reduce smuggling. The app also increases the possibility of recovering stolen works and artefacts.

Key Features of the App:

  • INTERPOL’s database: The app enables users to get mobile access to the Interpol database of stolen works of art. Further, the user can be a law enforcement agency or a general public
  • Create an inventory: The app allows museums and private collectors to capture images and record features of their works of art on the App. This will also help to keep track of their collections.
  • Stolen Works of Art Database: More than 52,000 items registered as stolen in Interpol’s “Stolen Works of Art” database. The app allows users to immediately cross-check an object among the database.
  • Document Heritage Sites: The app allows persons on the front line of protecting heritage to document the state of heritage sites. They can document also the historical monuments and archaeological sites.
  • Record Geographical Location of a Heritage Site: The ‘ID-Art app enables users to record the geographical location, a detailed description and images in order to capture the condition of a heritage site. This will result in the creation of ‘Site Cards’. These ‘site cards’ can be used as evidence or basis for reconstruction if ever the site is looted or destroyed.

Source: The Hindu


COVID-19 hit urban poor more than those in villages: A Report by Hungerwatch

What is the News?

According to a Report by Hungerwatch, COVID-19 has impacted India’s urban poor more than those in villages.

Key Findings of Report by Hungerwatch:

  • Impact of Covid-19: Urban respondents reported a 15% point worse condition than their rural counterparts across all important parameters.
  • Poverty: Covid-19 pandemic has made the urban poor to become more hungry, poorer and with less nutrition than their rural counterparts.
    • A large section of rural residents could overcome the impact of a pandemic due to the availability of foodgrains via the public distribution system(PDS).
  • Income: Incomes reduced by half or a quarter for more than half the urban respondents. On the other hand, it was a little over one-third for rural respondents.
  • Food: The consumption of grains and pulses were at least 12% points lower for urban respondents.
    • This is because social security schemes have relatively better coverage among the rural poor compared to the urban poor.
  • Impact on Vulnerable Groups: The impact of the lockdown was harsh on the vulnerable groups. This includes households headed by single women, households with people having disabilities and transgender people.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment persisted for six months after the lockdown. Over 27% of the households surveyed showed there was no source of income even six months after the lockdown was imposed.

About the Report by Hungerwatch:

  • Hunger Watch is a collection of social groups and movements.
  • Purpose: The group came together for a periodic study of the actual status of hunger, food access and livelihood security. Especially among various disadvantaged populations in India in the wake of the lockdown in March 2020.
  • Data: This is the first collective report based on interviews with households across 11 states. The data was collected in October 2020 and compared with pre-lockdown levels on the same parameters.

Source: Down To Earth


“World food price index” reaches highest level since May 2014: FAO

What is the News?

The Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) has released the World Food Price Index.

According to the index, world food prices have increased for the 11th consecutive month in April. Further, the prices also hit their highest level since May 2014.

About World Food Price Index:

  • The index was introduced in 1996 to help in monitoring the developments in the global agricultural commodity markets.
  • Purpose: The index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities.
  • Commodities: It consists of the average of five commodity group price indices. Such as cereal, vegetable, dairy, meat and sugar. Also, these five indices is given weightage based on the average export shares.
  • Base Year: The Base Year for the index is 2014-16.

About Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Source: Economic Times


RBI’s Economic Measures to Tackle 2nd Wave of Covid-19

What is the News?

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has announced measures to help India to tackle the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis during the second wave.

Measures announced by the RBI:

On-Tap Liquidity Facility:

  • RBI has opened a Rs 50,000-crore on-tap liquidity window with a tenor of up to three years.
  • Banks can borrow from this facility at the repo rate of 4% till March 31, 2022.
  • Banks can lend the amount to a range of entities linked directly and indirectly to the healthcare sector.
  • These loans will be classified under priority sector lending till the repayment or maturity whichever is earlier.
  • Further, Banks are expected to create a ‘Covid loan book’ under the scheme.
  • By creating such a loan book, banks can park surplus liquidity up to the size of the ‘Covid loan book’ with the RBI. The banks will get 40 bps higher than the reverse repo rate for these funds.

Liquidity Support for Small Finance Banks(SFBs):

  • RBI will conduct a special three-year long-term repo operation (SLTRO) worth Rs 10,000 crore at a repo rate for small finance banks.
  • These funds will in turn be used by SFBs to lend to the small business units. This includes micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities adversely affected during the current wave of the pandemic.
  • The lending cap of these funds is fixed up to Rs 10 lakh per borrower.

Wider ‘Priority Sector’ Benefits for SFBs:

  • SFBs will be permitted to provide fresh lending to smaller Micro Finance Institutions(MFIs) (with asset size of up to Rs 500 crore).
  • Further, there will be concessions on interest rates and repayments. This facility is also available up to March 31, 2022.

Resolution framework 2.0 for individuals, small businesses and MSMEs:

  • The RBI mentions few criteria for eligibility to Individuals, borrowers and MSMEs for Resolution Framework 2.0. Such as
    • Individuals, borrowers and MSMEs with aggregate exposure up to Rs. 25 crore
    • Also, they must not avail of loan restructure under any previous frameworks
    • Those who were classified as ‘standard’ on 31 March 2021
  • The restructuring under this new framework can be invoked till 30 September 2021. After invoking the restructuring will be implemented within 90 days.

Credit to MSME Entrepreneurs:

  • In February 2021, the banks were allowed to deduct credit disbursed to new MSME borrowers from their net demand and time liabilities (NDTL). This is used to calculate the cash reserve ratio (CRR)
  • To further incentivise the MSMEs this exemption is widened. Thus, it is made available for exposures up to Rs 25 lakh and credit disbursement up to the fortnight ending October 1, 2021.
  • This facility will now be extended till December 31, 2021.

Overdraft(OD) facility for states

  • The RBI also announced certain relaxations in Overdraft(OD) facilities of State Governments. This is to facilitate better management of their financial situation in terms of cash flows and market borrowings.
  • Accordingly, the maximum number of days of OD in a quarter is increased from 36 to 50 days.
  • Further, the number of consecutive days of OD is also increased from 14 to 21 days.

Source: Indian Express


Project MediCAB: Augmentation of Hospital Infrastructure

What is the News?

IIT Madras supported start-up Modulus Housing has developed a portable hospital unit called ‘MediCAB’.

About Project MediCAB:

  • Project MediCAB is an initiative of the Office of principal scientific advisor and IIT Madras.
  • Purpose: It is a portable hospital unit that has been developed to boost healthcare infrastructure by assisting states to set up COVID-19 extension hospitals.
  • The project is a decentralized approach to detect, screen, identify, isolate and treat COVID-19 patients in their local communities through these portable microstructures.
  • Features:
    • The portable hospital is foldable. It is composed of four zones- an isolation room, a doctor’s room, a twin bed ICU, maintained at negative pressure, and a medical room/ward.
    • The hospital can be easily assembled in eight hours by four people. Further, when folded the unit can be reduced five-fold which makes it very cost-effective for transportation.
  • Significance: Innovations such as MediCAB will help in boosting the healthcare infrastructure in India as it can be rapidly transported. The hospital can be deployed at any place and at any time.

Source: DDNews


Ayush Ministry launches nationwide campaign for “AYUSH 64” & “Kabasura Kudineer”

What is the News?

The Ministry of Ayush has launched a massive nationwide campaign to distribute two key products. One is the Ayurvedic drug AYUSH 64. The other is the Sidha drug Kabasura Kudineer. Both will provide benefit to the vast majority of out of hospital Covid-19 patients.

About Ayush 64:

  • Ayush-64 is a polyherbal Ayurvedic Drug (i.e. use of more than one herb).
  • The drug was developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences(CCRAS). CCRAS is the apex body for research in Ayurveda under the Ministry of Ayush.
  • The drug was originally developed in 1980 for the management of Malaria.
  • However, this drug has now been repurposed for Covid-19.
  • The ingredients of this drug showed notable antiviral, immune-modulator, and antipyretic(reducing fever) properties.
  • The drug can be useful for the treatment of asymptomatic, mild, and moderate COVID-19 infection cases.

About Kabasura Kudineer:

  • Kabasura Kudineer is a Siddha formulated drug. It has been found to be useful in the treatment of asymptomatic, mild, and moderate COVID-19 infection cases.
    • Siddha is a traditional medicine originating in South India. It is one of the oldest systems of medicine in India.

Source: PIB


 

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