Insights Daily Current Events, 03 December 2014
Amendments to Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, recently approved the amendments in the Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) Act, 1976.
Why the amendments are necessary?
- to enhance authorized and issued capital to strengthen their capital base and to bring flexibility in the shareholding between Central Government, State Government and Sponsor Bank.
- The amendments will ensure financial stability of RRBs which will enable them to play a greater role in financial inclusion and meeting credit requirements of rural areas and the Board of RRBs will be strengthened.
The term of the non-official directors appointed by the Central Government will be fixed not exceeding three years.
Regional Rural Banks were established under Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976 (the RRB Act).
Aim: to create an alternative channel to the cooperative credit structure and to ensure sufficient institutional credit for the rural and agriculture sector.
Ownership: RRBs are jointly owned by Government of India, the concerned State Government and Sponsor Banks with the issued capital shared in the proportion of 50 %, 15% and 35 % respectively.
As per provisions of the Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976, presently, the authorized capital of each RRB is Rs5 crore and the issued capital is maximum Rs 1 crore.
Introduction of comprehensive Anti-hijacking Bill 2014
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for introduction of the comprehensive Anti-Hijacking Bill 2014.
- The current law, the Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982, was last amended in 1994.
Why is it required?
- After the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814 in December, 1999, it was felt necessary for providing the award of death penalty to perpetrators of the act of hijacking.
- The incident of 9/11, where aircrafts were used as weapons, also created the need to further amend the existing Act.
About the Bill:
- The Anti-Hijacking (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in August, 2010.
- The Bill seeks to amend the Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982.
- The Act states that any person who unlawfully, by force or intimidation seizes an aircraft commits the offence of hijacking. The Bill adds that any person (whether alone or in a group) who attempts to commit hijacking is guilty of the offence. Any person who abets such an offence is also guilty.
- The Act stipulates a penalty of life imprisonment and fine for the offence of hijacking. The Bill enhances the penalty for hijacking to death or life imprisonment and fine.
Sources: PIB, prsindia.org.
Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making
The traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru Punjab has got the distinction of being inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, UNESCO, 2014.
- This is the 11th element which has been so inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List.
How it will help?
- The inscription of the element on the Representative List will tangibly contribute to the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage in general by lending recognition to the skill of the Thatheras that have been orally transmitted for generations upon generations so far.
- Its Inscription could contribute to encourage dialogues with other communities worldwide that practice traditional metal craftsmanship to manufacture handcrafted products that are both useful and beautiful.
- The craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru constitutes the traditional techniques of manufacturing brass and copper utensils in Punjab.
- The Thatheras craft utensils are of both Utilitarian and ritualistic value made of copper, brass and kansa (an alloy of copper, zinc and tin).
- The metals used are recommended by the ancient Indian school of medicine, Ayurveda.
- The crafting process carried out by a specific group of craftspeople, known as Thatheras, has a unique ethnic and historical identity with an oral tradition that underpin their skill. The very name of the community – ‘Thatheras’ is identical with the name of the element.
- The crafts colony was established during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1883) the great 19th Century Sikh Monarch, who encouraged skilled metal crafters from Kashmir to settle in the heart of his kingdom in the Punjab. Jandiala Guru became an area of repute due to the skill of the Thatheras.
AGNI 4 Missile
Agni 4 Missile was successfully launched recently.
- It is 4000 kms range Nuclear Capable Ballistic Missile.
- It is equipped with state of the art Avionics, 5th generation On Board Computer and distributed architecture.
- It has the latest features to correct and guide itself for inflight disturbances.
- The most accurate Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and supported by redundant, highly reliable Micro Navigation System (MINGS), ensures high accuracy.
- The re-entry heat shield is capable of withstanding high temperatures that may reach as high as 4000 degree centigrade and above during reentry of missile in earth’s atmosphere and makes sure that the avionics function normally, with inside temperature remaining less than 50 degree centigrade.
- With Agni 1, 2, 3 and Prithvi already in India’s arsenal, Agni 4 further extends the reach and enhances effective deterrence capability.
Preliminary accord on bridge construction
China and Maldives — a major element of the Beijing-sponsored Maritime Silk Road project — have signed an accord to conduct preliminary study on constructing a bridge that would connect capital Male with the city’s international airport.
Importance of the Project:
- Analysts point out that the project underscores a deepening engagement between China and Maldives, which is a major cog in the establishment of the 21st century Maritime Silk Route visualised by China.
- With this, the Chinese hope to revive a maritime route that would start from its Fujian province, cross the Malacca Straits and transit through the Indian Ocean via India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Nairobi in Kenya.
- It would finally cross the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal to terminate at Venice. Venice would also be end of the New Silk Route —a land corridor that would start in Xian in China and travel through Central Asia, before entering Europe.
- China’s Maritime Silk Route has raised concerns in India, which opposes the militarisation of the Indian Ocean.
- India says that the Indian ocean must remain a zone of peace.
Sources: The Hindu.