This post is 2nd part of our current affairs series for the UPSC IAS Prelims 2022. In this post, we have covered all of the Indian Economy Current Affairs of September, October 2021, and April 2022 months.
List of Contents
- Monetary policies
- Money and Banking
- Financial Market
- Industries and Services
- Maharatna CPSEs
- Industrial Safety in the Petroleum and Explosives Sector
- SCALE Committee
- National Export Insurance Account(NEIA) Trust
- Corporatization of Ordnance Factory Board
- ECGC Ltd. (formerly known as Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd.)
- Corporate defence strategies
- Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Scheme
- Other Important Aspects
To Read Other Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC Prelims 2022– Click here
Standing Deposit Facility(SDF)
The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has introduced the Standing Deposit Facility(SDF), an additional tool for absorbing liquidity, at an interest rate of 3.75%.
About the Standing Deposit Facility(SDF)
Introduced in: 2018 by the Reserve Bank of India by amending Section 17 of the RBI Act.
Purpose: It is an additional tool for absorbing liquidity without any collateral.By removing the binding collateral constraint on the RBI, the SDF strengthens the operating framework of monetary policy.
Committee: The SDF was suggested in 2014 by a committee headed by Urjit Patel.
Reason for the introduction of SDF
The extraordinary liquidity measures undertaken in the wake of the pandemic combined with the liquidity injected through various other operations of the RBI have left a liquidity overhang of the order of Rs 8.5 lakh crore in the system. This has pushed up the retail inflation level in the system.
Hence, that’s why SDF has been introduced. It will help reduce the excess liquidity in the system and also control inflation.
Operation of SDF
The SDF would replace the Fixed Rate Reverse Repo(FRRR) as the floor of the Liquidity Adjustment Facility(LAF) corridor.
At present, SDF rate will be 25 basis points (bps) below the policy repo rate. Eligible participants can place deposits with the RBI on an overnight basis at a fixed rate. However, the RBI retains the flexibility to absorb liquidity for longer tenors under the SDF with appropriate pricing, as and when the need arises.
About the Reserve Repo Rate and SDR
The fixed-rate reverse repo (FRRR) rate will remain part of the RBI’s toolkit and its operation will be at the discretion of the RBI for purposes specified from time to time.
This means that FRRR along with the SDF will impart flexibility to the RBI’s liquidity management framework.
Money and Banking
The government of India has released the Nidhi (amendment) Rules, 2022. This amendment brings changes to the Nidhi Rules,2014 to safeguard the interest of the general public.
About Nidhi Companies
Nidhi companies are a type of non-bank lenders that raise funds exclusively from their members and give loans to them to improve their governance and protect the public interest.
They are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) for deposit-taking and by the Department of Company Affairs(DCA) for operational matters and deployment of funds.
To become a Nidhi company, the entity has to first register as a public limited company which has more disclosure requirements than a private limited company.
Only individual members are allowed in Nidhi companies, and it cannot give loans to companies.
About the need for Nidhi (amendment) Rules, 2022
Under the Companies Act, 1956, Nidhi meant a company that the Central Government declared as Nidhi or Mutual Beneﬁt Society by notiﬁcation in the oﬃcial gazette.
After that, the Companies Act, 2013 was brought. It initially provided that there was no need for a company to get a declaration from the Central Government to function as a Nidhi Company. Such companies were required to only incorporate as a Nidhi and meet certain requirements.
However, the Government brought back the requirement of government certification to operate as a Nidhi company in 2019 by amending the Companies Act of 2013.
But still, the Government found that Nidhi companies have not been complying with the norms. Hence, the Nidhi (amendment) Rules, 2022 was brought.
Key provisions of the Nidhi (amendment) Rules, 2022
Firstly, a public company set up as a Nidhi with a share capital of Rs 10 Lakh needs to first get itself declared as a Nidhi by the Union government. This can be done by submitting an application showing a minimum membership of 200 and net owned funds of ₹2 million within 120 days of its incorporation.
Secondly, promoters and directors of the Nidhi company have to meet the criteria of fit and proper person as laid down in the rules.
Thirdly, the rules introduced the concept of deemed approval. This means that if no decision is taken on the application for certification as Nidhi companies within 45 days of filing the application, approval would be deemed as granted.
Digital Banking Units (DBUs)
In the Union Budget 2022, the Finance Minister has proposed setting up 75 digital banking units (DBUs) in 75 districts across India through scheduled commercial banks.
About the Digital Banking Units (DBUs)
DBU is a specialized business unit of a bank that houses certain minimum digital banking products and services.
A bank can offer specialized digital products at any time all year from these units and also provide existing financial services products.
Establishment of DBUs
Commercial banks (other than regional rural banks, payment banks and local area banks) with past digital banking experience are permitted to open DBUs in tier 1 to tier 6 centres without having the need to take permission from the RBI in each case.
Services provided by DBUs
As per the RBI, each DBU must offer certain minimum digital banking products and services. Such products should be on both liabilities and assets side of the balance sheet of the digital banking segment.
The services include savings bank accounts under various schemes, current accounts, fixed deposits and recurring deposit accounts, digital kit for customers, mobile banking, Internet banking, debit cards, credit cards UPI QR code and point of sale (PoS).
Other services include making applications for and onboarding of customers for identified retail, MSME or schematic loans.
Simply put, digital banking involves taking all traditional banking activity online — doing away with paperwork like cheques, pay-in slips, demand drafts, and so on.
Difference between DBUs and Neo banks
Currently, fintechs operating as Neo Banks offer digital banking services but they do so in partnership with non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). Some of the non-banks offering services in India are Jupiter, Fi Money, Niyo, Razorpay X.
About the benefits of Digital Banking Units(DBUs)
Firstly, Digi banking units will help banks that are now looking to reduce their physical footprint with fewer brick and mortar branches, with a ‘light’ banking approach.
Secondly, DBUs will be cheaper to establish than a new branch, will also require less staff, and can be high-yield units for the parent bank.
Thirdly, they can provide a better customer experience, aided by technology. These units will also encourage more financial literacy and a favorable outlook toward digital banking.
Significance of setting up DBUs
RBI’s Digital Payments Index(RBI-DPI) which aims to capture the extent of digitization of payments has seen a growth of over 46% since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
Indians in urban and Tier II and III cities are the first to adopt digital payments, but there is a need for further penetration of digital payments and banking in the country.
Hence, this initiative of setting up digital banking units will aid financial inclusion by getting more Indians on board.
Account Aggregator(AA) network
State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, IDFC First Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank and Federal Bank have joined the Account Aggregator(AA) network that will enable customers to easily access and share their financial data.
About Account Aggregator(AA)
Account Aggregator is a non-banking financial company that simply facilitates sharing of financial information in a real-time and data-blind manner between regulated entities.
The licence for Account Aggregators(AAs) is issued by the Reserve Bank of India(RBI).
Working of AAs
Account aggregator systems will act as an intermediary to collect data from Financial Information Providers (FIP) like Bank, NBFC, mutual funds that hold the consumer’s personal financial data. They share that with Financial Information Users (FIU) like the lending bank that wants access to the borrower’s data to determine if the borrower qualifies for a loan. Banks can play a dual role – as a FIP and as an FIU.
However, for sharing customer data, the bank or financial institution will have to take the customer’s consent.
Benefits of Account Aggregator
Customers: AA framework allows customers to avail various financial services from a host of providers on a single portal based on a consent method under which the consumers can choose what financial data to share and with which entity.
Less Physical Interaction: AA creates secure, digital access to personal data at a time when Covid-19 has led to restrictions on physical interaction.
Reduction in Frauds: It also reduces the fraud associated with physical data by introducing secure digital signatures and end-to-end encryption for data sharing.
El Salvador – First country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender
El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. But the launch was marked by Chivo app (state-backed wallet app) glitches and crash in the Bitcoin price.
This shows the volatility associated with Cryptocurrency is real and the adoption of Bitcoin as the official currency can turn out to be disastrous in the future.
Benefits of making Bitcoin as Legal Tender by El Salvador:
Reduce the cost of remittance transactions: Bitcoin will help El-Salvador save $400 million a year on commissions for remittances. The remittance flows in El Salvador are fundamental since they represent 24% of its GDP.
Financial democratization: The adoption of digital currency would democratize access to electronic payments, since more than 70% of the adult population of the country does not have a bank account.
More options for the consumer: The cryptocurrency could offer more options to consumers.
Potential to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): El Salvador could attract FDI in payment platform developers, ATM manufacturers and bitcoin miners, among others.
Risks associated with El Salvador’s recent decision
Carbon Footprint: El Salvador’s bitcoin plan has put a spotlight on the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies as extracting digital currency from cyberspace requires large amounts of energy, and the bitcoin industry’s global CO2 emissions have risen to 60 million tons equal to the exhaust from about 9 million cars.
Regulations: In the absence of a central regulating authority, legalizing bitcoin will have the potential for fraud and money laundering, high energy costs and extreme volatility.
Fluctuations in Bitcoin: There are doubts over how the country will avoid risks linked to sharp fluctuations in the digital currency, whose value can vary by hundreds of dollars in a day.
National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL)
Recently, the Cabinet has cleared a ₹30,600-crore guarantee programme for securities to be issued by the National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL) for taking over and resolving non-performing assets (NPAs).
About National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL)
NARCL is India’s first-ever “Bad Bank”. It has been incorporated as an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) under the Companies Act.
Note: A bad bank is an asset reconstruction company (ARC), involved in the management and recovery of bad loans or NPAs of other banks.
It has been set up to acquire and consolidate stressed assets for their subsequent resolution.
Public Sector Banks (PSBs) will maintain 51% ownership in the NARCL and private lenders will hold the rest.
India Debt Resolution Company Ltd (IDRCL) is an operational entity of NARCL. It will manage the stressed assets acquired by NARCL and try to raise their value for final resolution.
Working of NARCL and IDRCL
The NARCL will acquire nearly Rs 2 lakh crore of stressed assets from banks. These will be high value stressed loan assets of more than Rs 500 crore.
Once acquired, it will pay banks 15% cash upfront for these assets and issue “security receipts” for the remaining 85% of the asset value.
The stressed assets acquired by NARCL will then be handled by IDRCL. IDRCL will focus on the resolution of the assets and employ turnaround professionals. When the assets are sold, the commercial banks will be paid back the rest.
And on completion of the resolution, the balance of 85% of value, being held as security receipts, would be given to the banks.
If NARCL-IDRCL is unable to sell the stressed assets or has to sell it at a loss, then the government guarantee will be invoked. Under this, the difference between what the commercial bank was supposed to get and what they were able to raise will be paid from the Rs 30,600 crore that has been provided by the government.
In a bid to disincentivise delay in resolution, the government has also proposed that the NARCL pay a guarantee fee to the Centre, which would increase with the passage of time.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has introduced T+1 (Trade plus 1 day) settlement cycle for stocks on an optional basis in place of T+2 settlement. The new rule will come into force on January 1,2022.
About T+1, T+2 Settlement
T+1 (T+2) are abbreviations that refer to the settlement date of security transactions. The “T” stands for transaction date, which is the day the transaction takes place.
T+1 means settlements will have to be cleared within one day after the actual transaction takes place. This means the trades executed on Monday gets settled on Tuesday, the next working day.
On the other hand, T+2 means if an investor sells shares on Tuesday, settlement of the trade takes place in two working days (T+2). The broker who handles the trade will get the money on Thursday, but will credit the amount in the investor’s account only by Friday. In effect, the investor will get the money only after three days.
Benefits of T+1 Settlement
Firstly, a shortened cycle not only reduces settlement time but also reduces and frees up the capital required to collateralise that risk.
Secondly, it will provide liquidity to the investors as they get their funds for the shares sold/ credited to their account earlier.
Thirdly, it reduces the number of outstanding unsettled trades at any instant, and thus decreases the unsettled exposure to Clearing Corporation by 50%.
Lastly, a shortened settlement cycle will also help in reducing systemic risk.
Concerns associated with T+1 trade
Foreign investors have raised concerns as they would face issues while operating from different geographies — time zones, information flow process and foreign exchange problems.
Euro Green Bond
Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC), the leading NBFC in the power sector, has issued its maiden Euro Green Bond.
About Euro Green Bond
It is the first-ever Euro denominated Green bond issuance from India.
Moreover, it is the first-ever Euro issuance by an Indian NBFC and the first Euro bond issuance from India since 2017.
The issuance saw strong participation from institutional investors across Asia and Europe with participation from across 82 accounts and was oversubscribed 2.65 times.
About Green Bond
A green bond is like any other bond where a debt instrument is issued by an issuer for raising funds from investors. However, what differentiates a Green bond from other bonds is that the proceeds of a Green Bond offering are ‘ear-marked’ for use towards financing ‘green’ projects.
The Green Bonds may come with tax incentives such as tax exemptions and tax credits to attract investors.
The World Bank is a major issuer of green bonds. It has issued 164 such bonds since 2008, worth a combined $14.4 billion.
In India, YES Bank was the first bank to issue green bonds in 2015 for financing renewable and clean energy projects.
Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation, a civic body in Uttar Pradesh, has become India’s first municipal corporation to successfully list the country’s first green municipal bonds on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in April 2021.
Industries and Services
Power Finance Corp. Ltd(PFC) has become the 11th Maharatna Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) with an inter-ministerial committee clearing the status.
About Maharatna Status
Maharatna Status was introduced for Central Public Sector Enterprises(CPSEs) in 2010 in order to empower mega CPSEs to expand their operations and emerge as global giants.
Criteria for grant of Maharatna status to CPSEs: The CPSEs meeting the following criteria are eligible to be considered for grant of Maharatna status.
Having Navratna status,
Listed on Indian stock exchange with minimum prescribed public shareholding under SEBI regulations,
An average annual turnover of more than Rs. 25,000 crore during the last 3 years,
An average annual net worth of more than Rs. 15,000 crore during the last 3 years,
An average annual net profit after tax of more than Rs. 5,000 crore during the last 3 years,
Should have a significant global presence/international operations.
Benefits of Maharatna Status
A CPSE conferred with the Maharatna status would have a greater delegation of financial and operational powers to its Board of Directors. Further, it will have the power to expand its operations and improve its financial performance, especially in global markets.
The Board of Directors of such Maharatna CPSE shall also have the powers for mergers and acquisitions, subject to certain conditions.
The 10 Maharatna CPSEs at present are Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Coal India Ltd, GAIL (India) Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, NTPC Ltd, Oil & Natural Gas Corp. Ltd, Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd, and Steel Authority of India Ltd.
Industrial Safety in the Petroleum and Explosives Sector
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has implemented several reforms to ensure Industrial Safety in critical premises such as petroleum installations, explosive manufacturing facilities, cylinder filling and storage premises among others.
Organization responsible for Industrial Safety in the Petroleum and Explosives Sector
Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization(PESO) is the nodal agency for regulating the safety of hazardous substances such as explosives, compressed gases and petroleum.
PESO was formerly known as the Department of Explosives. It is an autonomous body under DPIIT.
PESO’s major work is to administer the responsibilities delegated under the Explosives Act 1884 and Petroleum Act 1934 and the Rules made thereunder related to manufacturing, import, export, transport, possession, sale and use of Explosives, Petroleum products and compressed gases.
Headquarters: PESO has its Headquarters at Nagpur in Maharashtra. It also serves through five Circle Offices at Agra, Chennai, Faridabad, Kolkata & Mumbai.
Reforms undertaken by the Government
The five major areas where the recent reforms have been undertaken to ensure industrial safety are Static & Mobile Pressure Vessels (Unfired) [SMPV(U)], Calcium Carbide, Ammonium Nitrate, Gas Cylinders, Petroleum and Explosives.
The reforms in these areas will enhance public safety as well as reduce the cost of doing business and create an enabling ecosystem for domestic as well as international investors.
The meeting between the Minister for Commerce and the private Industry has led to the setting up of the SCALE Committee.
About the SCALE Committee
SCALE Committee stands for Steering Committee for Local Value Addition, Manufacturing and Exports(SCALE)
It is a joint government-industry panel aimed at navigating Indian manufacturing away from the import-dependence pitfalls exposed by the pandemic.
The committee is looking at ways to increase localisation, component manufacturing and employment in various industries.
It is working on such ideas for 17 sectors — from toys, textiles, furniture and e-cycles to drones and even fisheries.
Difference between SCALE Committee and other committees
First, it has no deadlines and drafts and no voluminous reports — all its proposals are laid out in a presentation at best.
Second, it doesn’t just gather ideas from various sectoral players and splash them together for the government to consider, as usual, industry representations tend to be.
Third, it follows a rigorous process of consultations to align different factions of the industry with varying agendas at multiple levels and tries to nudge an alignment of interests where differences seem intractable, before it takes up the relevant issues with the government.
National Export Insurance Account(NEIA) Trust
The Union Government has approved the contribution of Grant-in-aid (Corpus) of ₹1,650 Crore to the National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) over a period of five years, i.e. from FY 2021-2022 to FY 2025-2026.
About the National Export Insurance Account(NEIA)
National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) Trust was set up in 2006.
The trust aims to promote Medium and Long-Term (MLT) project exports by extending (partial/full) support to covers issued by ECGC to MLT/project export.
These projects should also be commercially viable and also strategically important.
Since its inception, NEIA has extended 213 covers with a consolidated project value of Rs. 53,000 crores, to 52 countries as of August 2021.
Its impact in enabling project exports has been most significant in Africa and South Asia.
Advantages of Capital infusion in NEIA
The capital infusion in NEIA Trust will help the Indian Project Exporters (IPE) to tap the huge potential of project exports in the focus market.
Moreover, support to project exports with Indian content sourced from across the country will also enhance the manufacturing in India.
Corporatization of Ordnance Factory Board
The government dissolved the Ordnance Factory Board (an umbrella body of 41 ordinance factories), which was set up in 1801. All of its units like staff, assets, and others have been corporatized under 4 PSU’s.
Ordnance Factory Board(OFB) is an umbrella body of 41 Ordnance Factories.
Origin: In 1775, British authorities accepted the establishment of the Board of Ordnance in Fort William, Kolkata. This marked the official beginning of the Army Ordnance in India.
Nodal Ministry: It is currently a subordinate office of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Mandate: It provides a major chunk of the weapon, ammunition, and supplies for Indian armed forces, paramilitary forces, and police forces.
Headquarters: Kolkata, West Bengal
About the Corporatisation of OFB (Ordnance Factory Board)
Ordnance Factory Board(OFB) will be dissolved. It will be replaced by seven new Defense Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs). Each undertaking will have a specific manufacturing role.
The 41 factories under the OFB will be subsumed under one or the other of the seven new companies. These all will be 100% government-owned public sector undertakings(PSU).
There would be no change in the service conditions of the OFB employees.
All OFB employees (Group A, B, and C) from different production units will be transferred to the corporate entities on deemed deputation for an initial period of two years.
Significance of Corporatization of OFBs: The restructuring of OFBs is aimed at achieving the following objectives:
1)Making it a productive and profitable asset; 2)Deepen specialisation in the product range; 3) Enhance competitiveness; 4) Improve quality and cost-efficiency; 5)Overcome various shortcomings in the existing system and provide these companies opportunities in the market, including exports; 6) Provide more autonomy, as well as improve accountability and efficiency.
ECGC Ltd. (formerly known as Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd.)
The government of India has approved capital infusion of ₹4,400 crores to ECGC Ltd. (formerly known as Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd.) over a period of five years, i.e. from FY 2021-2022 to FY 2025- 2026.
About ECGC Ltd. (formerly known as Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd.)
ECGC was established by the Government of India under the Companies Act in 1957.
Aim: To promote exports by providing credit insurance services to exporters against non-payment risks by the overseas buyers due to commercial and political reasons. It also provides insurance covers to banks against risks in export credit lending to the exporter borrowers
Nodal Ministry: It functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and is managed by a Board of Directors comprising representatives of the Government, Reserve Bank of India, banking, and insurance and exporting community.
Performance of ECGC
ECGC is a market leader with around 85% market share in the export credit insurance market in India
ECGC insures around 50% of total export credit disbursement by banks, covering 22 banks (12 Public Sector Banks and 10 Private Sector Banks).
Capital infusion helps ECGC
ECGC plays a wider role in supporting exports from labour-intensive sectors and encouraging bank lending to enterprises of small exporters thereby leading to their revival.
Capital infusion in ECGC will enable it to expand its coverage to export-oriented industries, particularly labour-intensive sectors.
Corporate defence strategies
Twitter is trying to thwart billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover attempt with a “Poison Pill” Strategy.
Various corporate defence strategies
Poison Pill strategy: It is a corporate defense strategy utilized by a target company to prevent or discourage hostile takeover attempts.
Under this mechanism, existing shareholders, excluding the acquiring entity purchase additional shares at a discounted rate making it difficult for the acquirer to establish a majority stake in the company.
Greenmail Defence: In this, the company will pay them to go away and stop threatening the company with a hostile takeover. It involves the target company repurchasing its own shares at a premium and in a quantity enough to prevent a hostile takeover.
Crown Jewel defence: The mechanism involves the target company spinning off its crown jewel unit, or its most valued asset, in order to make the acquisition less desirable for the acquirer. The asset could be the unit that is the most profitable unit in the company or is important for future profitability or produces the flagship product of the company.
Pac-man defence: In this, the company will prevent a hostile takeover by initiating a reverse takeover. It involves the target company making an offer to acquire the company that commenced the takeover bid. The target company could make use of its ‘war chest’ or secure finances from outside for the reverse takeover bid.
White Knight defence: In case a company’s board finds itself in a situation where it cannot prevent a hostile takeover, it seeks a more accommodative and cordial firm to acquire a controlling stake from the hostile acquirer.
Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Scheme
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached assets worth Rs 757.77 crore belonging to M/s Amway India Enterprises Private Limited in connection with a money laundering case.
About the case against Amway
Amway is a US-based company founded in 1959. It is a direct seller of FMCG products in health, nutrition, beauty and home products.
The company has been accused of running a pyramid fraud in the name of direct selling multi-level marketing network.
According to ED, Amway lured people into joining the company and buying their products at unreasonably high prices. People used to buy these expensive products, not for use, but to become a member of the company.
Hence, the main aim of Amway was to add more and more members to the company and not to sell products.
About the Pyramid Scheme
A pyramid scheme is a sketchy and unsustainable business model where a few top-level members recruit newer members.
Those members pay upfront costs up the chain to those who enrolled them. As newer members in turn recruit underlings of their own, a portion of the subsequent fees they receive is also kicked up the chain.
In a pyramid scheme, the major profit comes from the recruitment fees rather than the sale of the actual products.
Multi-Level Marketing operations(MLMs) are similar to pyramid schemes with one difference: they involve the sale of tangible goods.
Legality of Pyramid Scheme
As per the Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021, the government bars direct selling companies from promoting pyramid schemes.
Other Important Aspects
During a visit to the Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), the Union Minister for Science & Technology has said that the northeast is to be developed as the country’s bio-economic hub.
Note: Eastern Himalayan Region is one of the mega-biodiversity rich zones and is among the 34 biodiversity Hotspots of the world.
About the Bio-Economy
Bio-Economy is the production, utilization and conservation of biological resources to provide information, products, processes and services across all economic sectors. These resources include biological related knowledge, science, technology and innovation.
Bio-Economy and India
India’s Bio-Economy, in 2020, is valued at $70.2 billion. This is a 12.32 percent growth over 2019. The Bio-Economy in 2019 was valued at $62.5 Billion in 2019.
The Bio-Economy’s contribution to the national GDP in 2020 is at 2.7% of the GDP in 2020
It is estimated that India’s bio-economy is on its way to achieve a 150-billion dollar target from the current 70 billion dollars by 2025.
About the government initiatives to boost Bio-Economy
Biotech-KISAN is a scientist-farmer partnership scheme launched in 2017 by the Department of Biotechnology(DBT).
Aim: To connect science laboratories with the farmers to find out innovative solutions and technologies to be applied at the farm level.
Under this scheme, so far 146 Biotech-KISAN Hubs have been established covering all 15 agroclimatic zones and 110 Aspirational Districts in the country.
About Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development(IBSD)
IBSD is an autonomous institute under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
It was set up in 2001 at Imphal, Manipur with an objective to develop and utilize rich bioresources of the North-East Region of the country through the application of modern tools of biology and biotechnology.
Long Form for Merger & Acquisitions
Competition Commission of India(CCI) has revamped the content and format of information regarding parties to a Combination. They need to file with the CCI when their post-merger market share exceeds a specified threshold.
According to the revised format, parties to a Combination need to file a report to the CCI when the combined market share is more than 15% in the case of a horizontal overlap and over 25% in the case of a vertically related market.
Put simply, a Combination is a merger, acquisition, or amalgamation between two or more enterprises or businesses.
The Competition law puts the responsibility on the government to control such mergers, acquisitions and amalgamations so that there is fair competition in the market.
Types: There are three types of Combinations:
Horizontal combinations: It is formed between the enterprises that operate at the same level of the production process and there are substitute goods available for the same.
– Sometimes such a combination can be bad in law as it reduces the competition in the market and which leads to “high pricing power of one power” of one combination. This is bad for the consumers because they are forced to buy the goods at a higher price value.
Vertical combinations: It is a non-horizontal combination, wherein the firms are in different levels of supply and distribution of a product.
– The formation of vertical combinations leads to a pro-competitive environment in the market which further results in process control, more market share and establishing a better supply chain.
Conglomerate combinations: It involves enterprises or firms that are unrelated in their business fields, and they form a merger or combination. For example: If one company is involved in the production of goods, while another company provides services for the same. Then they tend to collaborate with each other for making better profit standing in the market.
India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) has announced the launch of Fincluvation.
Fincluvation is a joint initiative to collaborate with the Fintech Startup community to co-create and innovate solutions for financial inclusion.
Launched by: India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) and Department of Post(DoP).
Tracks: Under the initiative, startups are encouraged to develop solutions aligned with any of the following tracks:
– Creditization – Develop Innovative & Inclusive credit products aligned with the use cases of target customers and take them to their doorsteps through the Postal network.
– Digitization – Bring convenience through the convergence of traditional services with Digital Payment Technologies such as making the traditional Money Order service an Interoperable Banking service.
– Any Market-led solutions that can help solve any other problem relevant to IPPB and/or DoP in serving the target customers.
About India Post Payments Bank(IPPB)
Established in: 2018 under the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication with 100% equity owned by the Government of India.
Purpose: The bank has been set up with the vision to build the most accessible, affordable and trusted bank for the common man in India.
Model: IPPB’s reach and its operating model are built on enabling Paperless, Cashless and Presence-less banking. This is achieved in a simple and secure manner at the customers’ doorstep through a CBS-integrated smartphone and biometric device.
According to the World Bank Official, India’s learning poverty has shot up from 54% (before the pandemic) to 70% (after the pandemic).
About Learning Poverty
According to the World Bank, Learning Poverty means being unable to read and understand a simple text by the age of 10.
This indicator brings together schooling and learning indicators. It begins with the share of children who haven’t achieved minimum reading proficiency (as measured in schools) and is adjusted by the proportion of children who are out of school (and are assumed not able to read proficiently).
Significance: The learning poverty indicator allows us to illustrate progress toward SDG 4’s broader goal to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
Steps to reduce learning poverty
– Open Schools and reach every child to ensure that all of them re-enrol.
– Assess learning to know where kids are today.
– Prioritize teaching the fundamentals.
– Increase catch-up learning. To achieve this, teachers will need to group students within the classroom not according to the grade or according to the age, but according to where they are.
– Work on emotional support for both children and teachers.
– Reduce the digital divide by investing in not the software or the hardware but the entire digital ecosystem.