Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 October 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Who will regulate pension products?
The Finance Ministry has set up a high-level committee to consolidate the regulation of pension products that is currently being done by three different watchdogs including the insurance and stock market regulators.
- The committee will be formed by the Department of Financial Services, would have representatives from all financial sector regulators — SEBI, IRDA, RBI and PFRDA.
Need for consolidation:
Pension product regulation is piecemeal in India. While the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) was set up with the intent of regulating all pension products, insurers and mutual funds continue to sell pension products outside its watch, creating confusion among consumers looking to build a retirement nest egg.
Currently, pension products floated by insurance companies come under the purview of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) while those sold by mutual funds are overseen by the SEBI.
The Centre has asked the committee to look into the issue of bringing all those companies which are offering pension plans under the purview of PFRDA.
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is a pension regulatory authority which was established in 2003.
- It is authorized by Ministry of Finance, Department of Financial Services.
- It promotes old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds and protects the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds and related matters.
- It is also responsible for appointment of various intermediate agencies such as Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA), Pension Fund Managers, Custodian, NPS Trustee Bank, etc.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Global Hunger Index
According to the latest Global Hunger Index data, hunger levels in developing countries may have fallen 29% since 2000, but India is still rated as a country with ‘serious’ hunger levels in the 2016.
- The report is released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- The hunger index ranks countries based on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age).
- The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale. Zero is the best score (no hunger), and 100 is the worst, although neither of these extremes is reached in practice.
Highlights of the report:
- It ranked India 97 among 118 countries, faring worse than all its neighbours China (29), Nepal (72), Myanmar (75), Sri Lanka (84) and Bangladesh (90), except for Pakistan (107) in measures of hunger.
- The report found that one in three children in India has stunted growth, whereas 15% of the country’s population are undernourished. India’s score is 28.5.
- Hunger levels are “alarming” in seven countries, with Central African Republic (CAR), Chad and Zambia experiencing the worst levels. Nearly half the population in CAR and Zambia and one in three people in Chad, are undernourished.
- The report also said that another 43 countries, including India, Nigeria and Indonesia, have “serious” hunger levels.
- At the current rate of decline, more than 45 countries – including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan – will have “moderate” to “alarming” hunger scores in the year 2030.
- Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest hunger levels, followed closely by South Asia.
Paper 3 Topic: biodiversity.
Nagaland, Manipur cheer as Amur falcons arrive
Thousands of Amur falcons, small birds of prey that undertake one of the longest migrations have started arriving in Wokha district in Nagaland and Tamenglong district of Manipur. Wokha district is a declared second home of the Amur falcons.
About Amur Falcons:
- Amur falcons are the longest travelling raptors in the world. They weigh just 150 grams.
- Males are mostly grey in colour and the females have dark-streaked cream or orange underparts.
- The species flies non-stop from Mongolia to northeast India covering 5,600 km in five days and nights, a small part of its 22,000 km circular migratory journey.
- The birds halt briefly in Myanmar. After a month or so, they reach central and western India en route to South Africa.
- Until recently, Naga tribesmen used to hunt thousands of Amur falcons for meat. But, after a vigorous campaign by wildlife activists, they have pledged to protect the bird and since then, not a single bird has been hunted in the area.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Centre eyes sops to spur internal trade
The Centre is planning a three-pronged approach to revitalise India’s retail and wholesale trade. This includes:
- Establishing a regulatory body for national internal trade (retail and wholesale).
- A comprehensive domestic trade policy.
- A Board for Internal Trade.
- The new approach aims to generate employment and improve financial inclusion of small traders. It also aims to enhance ease of doing business in the country.
- It will also be linked to the NDA government’s flagship initiatives such as Digital India, Skill India and Make In India.
Currently there is no single regulatory body or ministry for domestic trade — comprising mainly non-corporate small businesses providing employment to an estimated 460 million people. Also, the current approach and the environment is considered only conducive for foreign retail giants and their Indian partners or counterparts
There are about six crore such enterprises in the country with an annual turnover of around Rs.30 lakh crore. About 70% of the country’s retail trade has not been linked to computers and digitised.
Sources: the hindu.