Insights Daily Current Events, 20 May 2016
Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Sebi tightens norms to curb black money inflow
Tightening the rules governing issuance of participatory notes (P-Notes) by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), markets regulator Sebi has introduced Know Your Client (KYC) compliance for holders of these instruments to bring them on a par with domestic investors. Sebi has also sought information on the ultimate beneficiaries of these products. These moves seek to restrict entry of black money into the Indian market.
What are P-notes?
P-Notes are derivative products issued by FPIs in foreign markets which give their holders the right to have a share of the profit and loss from underlying Indian stocks but at the same time help maintain anonymity about the actual owners of those notes.
For long, the government, regulator and investigative agencies had suspected entry of suspect funds into the Indian market through the P-Note route. This has led Sebi to tighten the rules governing P-Notes, including disclosures about ownership and adherence of anti-money laundering rules.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation.
Himachal Pradesh propagating mahseer fish for conservation
Himachal Pradesh government has started an artificial propagation programme for rehabilitation and conservation of golden mahseer. The population of the golden mahseer, hunted for sport and food, is declining in rivers of Himachal Pradesh.
- The population of the golden mahseer is declining in the state due to various reasons, including construction of dams, barrages, pollution, indiscriminate fishing of brood and juvenile fish, introduction of exotic species and habitat deterioration.
- A hatchery with an outlay of Rs 6 crore has been set up in the state to rear mahseer, to breed the fish and release its fingerlings into the wild.
- Golden mahseer is known as the tiger of Indian rivers.
- It has been declared endangered by the Washington-based International Union of Conservation of Natural Resources.
- The mahseer, the longest-living freshwater fish, is native to mountain and sub-mountain regions. It belongs to the genus Tor.
- The Pong Dam reservoir, around 250km from state capital Shimla and 190km from Chandigarh, supports an ample population of the golden mahseer.
- It migrates upstream for spawning during the southwest floods. After spawning, it returns to the original feeding grounds. It is available at altitudes of up to 2,000 metres above sea level and is purely carnivorous.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure.
Hybrid annuity model for highways draws bidders
According to a report by rating agency ICAR, the hybrid annuity model for awarding highway contracts introduced by the government last year, has begun to find some traction after an initial lukewarm response from infrastructure players.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had given its approval for the Hybrid Annuity Model as one of the modes of delivery for implementing the Highway Projects in January this year. This had paved the way for construction of 28 projects worth Rs. 36,000 crore this fiscal year.
All about the Hybrid Annuity Model:
Who will invest?
Under this model, the government will invest 40% of the construction cost for building highways and the balance will come from the private developer. The government will invest money in five equal installments based on the targeted completion of the road project.
The private developer will recover his investment from the government by receiving annuity payments over a period of 15 years.
Under this model, the highway toll tax will be collected by the government unlike the build, operate and transfer (BOT) toll model where the private sector collects it. So, there is no revenue or traffic risk on the part of the developer.
- This will speed up the construction of roads in the country by renewing interest of private developers in highway projects as the risk will be distributed between the government and the private players.
- It is a fairly sensible risk-sharing model because it requires the private sector to focus on areas which bring in efficiency mainly in capital cost, project completion time and quality.
- This model will also bring in long-term infrastructure funds like pension funds into the sector.
- This model is also expected to double the speed of highway construction in the country as the government will no longer will be dependent on its limited financial resources and the expertise of private sector will be utilised to operate and maintain the roads.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
India lauded for Red Line Campaign on antibiotics
The global Review on Antimicrobial Resistance — commissioned by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron in 2014 and chaired by economist Jim O’Neill- has, in its final report, cited India’s idea of putting a red line on antibiotic packages to curb their over-the-counter sale as a model that can be used globally to counter the rising threat of superbugs.
Highlights of the report:
- The report notes that India’s ‘Red Line Campaign’ for antibiotics packaging should be considered as a starting point and recommends that the labelling and symbols used can be improved if needed and then expanded globally.
- The report says laws prevent sale of antibiotics and other antimicrobials over-the-counter, but these may be weakly enforced in some countries and non-existent in many.
- It says 20-30% of antibiotics are consumed without prescription in south and east Europe, and up to 100% in parts of Africa.
- The report also predicts by 2050, unless action is taken, deaths due to antimicrobial resistance could balloon to 10 million each year and cost the global economy $100 trillion.
India’s Red Line campaign, launched in February this year, began marking prescription-only antibiotics with a red line to curb their irrational use and create awareness on the dangers of taking antibiotics without being prescribed. The campaign was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- The campaign is aimed at discouraging unnecessary prescription and over-the-counter sale of antibiotics causing drug resistance for several critical diseases including TB, malaria, urinary tract infection and even HIV.
What is a superbug?
A superbug, also called multiresistant, is a bacterium that carries several resistance genes. These are resistant to multiple antibiotics and are able to survive even after exposure to one or more antibiotics.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- The first tropical cyclone, Roanu, of the season in the Bay of Bengal has caused devastation for thousands in Sri Lanka. Cyclone Roanu wreaked havoc across Sri Lanka, producing deadly flooding and mudslides. Meanwhile, authorities in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are put on high alert.
- The government is planning to introduce a new category of visa to promote yoga, to help make India the world destination for yoga enthusiasts. Currently, there are 18 types of visas which include diplomatic, mountaineering, employment, tourist, medical, student, research and conference, among others. The government is planning a ‘yoga’ visa ahead of the 2nd International Day of Yoga on June 21. On India’s request, the United Nations has designated June 21 as the International Day of Yoga in 2014. Last year, the government accorded special status to yoga by categorising its promotion as a charitable activity, giving its promoters tax exemption benefits.