Insights Daily Current Events, 16 December 2014
Commissioning of Coast Guard Air Enclave
In a befitting ceremony, the Coast Guard Air Enclave Bhubaneswar and743 Dornier Squadron have been commissioned by Vice AdmiralAnurag G Thapliyal, Director General, Indian Coast Guard, recently at International Airport Bhubaneswar.
How the enclave will be helpful:
- This will augment the Coast Guard Operations along the northern Bay of Bengal with area of responsibility of over 1.5 lakh square kms of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone.
- It will provide the required fillip for protection of sensitive marine environment and vital assets thronging on the shores of coastal Odisha.
- Odisha coast being hub of shipping traffic emerging to east and Far East, the coordination of search and rescue efforts will certainly get the required boost.
- As Odisha is also periodically affected by natural calamities; the availability of Coast Guard maritime air assets will enhance the capability of disaster response.
The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2014 passed by the Lok Sabha
The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Amendment Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha.
- The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants), Act, 1971 was enacted to provide for speedy machinery for the eviction of unauthorised occupants from public premises.
- This Act has been amended three times earlier, in the years 1980, 1984 and 1994. The present proposal seeks 4th amendment to the Act.
Objective of the present Amendment Bill:
- To bring the properties of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and other Metro Rails which may come up in future and also the properties of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) within the ambit of P.P.(E) Act, 1971.
The Supreme Court in its judgement in the matter of S.D.Bandi Vs Divisional Traffic Officer, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) & Others had given 20 suggestions to expedite the vacation of unauthorised occupants from the Public Premises.
Govt. proposes 30 per cent local procurement for foreign firms
The government has released Draft National Offset Policy (NOP). It is prepared by the Commerce Ministry.
- The policy is aimed at boosting manufacturing sector growth.
According to the Policy:
- Foreign companies selling goods worth over Rs.300 crore to the government or public sector undertakings would have to source part of their supplies from domestic manufacturers. The minimum value of the offsets obligation will be 30 per cent of the estimated cost of the import, meaning the company will have to procure this percentage from local players to boost domestic manufacturing.
- For smooth operation of the NOP, a 10-member National Offsets Authority (NOA) is also proposed. It would be headed by the Cabinet Secretary and comprise secretaries of commerce, expenditure, foreign, economic affairs and Directorate General of Foreign Trade.
- Sectors which will be covered under the NOP include civil aerospace, power, fertilizer, railways and other transportation, ports and shipyards, mining, medical equipment, medicine and telecom. However sectors including defence, atomic energy and space would not be covered under the policy.
The defence sector has a separate policy while atomic energy and space would pursue offsets in their contracts independently.
How the policy is expected to help?
- It would help in attracting investments;
- Transfer and acquisition of new technology;
- Acquisition of raw material and assets;
- Improving balance of payment;
- Increasing capacity for long-term supply pacts;
- Enhancing exports.
Sources: The Hindu.
RBI eases refinancing norms for infrastructure loans
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently allowed banks to flexibly structure the existing project loans — to infrastructure and core industries — with the option to periodically refinance them.
- Earlier, this option of periodic refinancing was available only to new loans in these segments.
- Only term loans to projects, in which the aggregate exposure of all institutional lenders exceeds Rs.500 crore, in the infrastructure sector and in the core industries sector will qualify for such flexible structuring and refinancing.
- The RBI said banks were representing this issue, as it would ensure long-term viability of existing infrastructure/core industries sector projects by aligning the debt repayment obligations with cash flows generated during their economic life.
- Banks were asked to fix a fresh loan amortisation schedule for the existing project loans once during the life time of the project, after the date of commencement of commercial operations (DCCO), based on the reassessment of the project cash flows, without this being treated as ‘restructuring’.
- The RBI said the viability of the project is re-assessed by the bank and vetted by the Independent Evaluation Committee. RBI said that banks could refinance the project term loan periodically (say 5 to 7 years) after the project has commenced commercial operations.
- The refinance could be taken up by the same lender or a set of new lenders, or combination of both, or by issue of corporate bond, as refinancing debt facility, and “such refinancing may repeat till the end of the fresh loan amortisation schedule.”
- It also said that banks could also provide longer loan amortisation as per the flexible structuring of project loans to existing project loans to infrastructure and core industries projects which are classified as ‘non-performing assets’ (NPAs). However, the RBI said, these loans would be treated as ‘restructuring’ and the assets would continue to be treated as ‘non-performing asset’.
Sources: The Hindu.
U.N. climate negotiations wrapped up in Lima with a modest agreement about the building blocks of a deal due to be agreed on in Paris in a year’s time.
Details of the conference:
- Greenhouse gas plans
All nations will be asked to submit plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, known as “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions,” or INDCs, to the United Nations by an informal deadline of March 31, 2015, as the core of a Paris deal.
- The conference also invited actions by all nations to combat warming, blurring a distinction in a 1992 climate convention that split the world into two camps of rich and poor – under which the rich had to lead the way.
- Many emerging economies, such as India, insisted on that continued split. But the United States and other rich nations said the world had changed and that developing countries also had to curb their rising emissions.
- The diplomatic formula encompassing the rival demands ended up in the text as: “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances.”
- Lima reiterated a goal for developed nations to mobilize $100 billion a year, in public and private funds, in climate aid for developing nations by 2020.
- The talks agreed on a document of “elements” that will form the basis of a negotiating text for Paris next year.
- Developing countries vulnerable to extreme weather successfully won a mention of “loss and damage”.
Developing countries have been opposing the mitigation-centric approach of the developed countries which are not ready to commit to financial targets or technology transfer. There is no reference to loss and damage, the financing portion is weaker than the earlier draft and there is no equity.
Sources: The Hindu, carbonbrief.org, bbc.