Insights Daily Current Affairs, 06 October 2017
Topic: Art and culture
‘Paryatan Parv’ of the Ministry of Tourism has begun across the country.
What is Paryatan Parv?
The Paryatan Parv will showcase the cultural diversity of the country, with cultural performances, crafts bazaar, food court showcasing folk and classical dance & music, handicrafts & handlooms and cuisine from all regions and States of the country.
- The Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders is organizing “Paryatan Parv” across the country.
- The programme is being organized with the objective of drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”.
Paryatan Parv will have three main components:
Dekho Apna Desh: To encourage Indians to visit their own country. This includes Video, Photograph and Blog Competitions of sites visited during the Event, Stories of India through Travelers’ Eyes, on Social Media, Tourism related Quiz, Essay, Debate and Painting Competitions for Students, Television Campaigns to promote travel to J&K and N.E. States.
Tourism for All: Tourism Events at sites across all States in the country. The activities at these sites include illumination in and around the Sites, Cultural Programmes of Dance, Music, Theatre, Story Telling, Sensitisation Programmes for Stakeholders around the Sites, Tourism Exhibitions etc. These will be “People’s Events” with large scale public participation.
Tourism & Governance: Interactive Sessions & Workshops with Stakeholders on varied themes.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Mudra Yojana promotions
The government has launched promotion campaigns for its flagship scheme Mudra Yojana. 50 promotion campaign will be organised in different parts of the country where the union ministers will be participating among others.
The promotion campaigns will be launched by the department of financial services and state level banking committee (SLBC) of different states will actively participate and coordinate all these campaigns.
About the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme:
The PMMY Scheme was launched in April, 2015. The scheme’s objective is to refinance collateral-free loans given by the lenders to small borrowers.
- The scheme, which has a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore, can lend between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs.
- Banks and MFIs can draw refinance under the MUDRA Scheme after becoming member-lending institutions of MUDRA.
Significance of this scheme:
- It will greatly increase the confidence of young, educated or skilled workers who would now be able to aspire to become first generation entrepreneurs.
- Existing small businesses, too, will be able to expand their activities.
- Under the scheme, by floating MUDRA bank, the Centre has ensured credit flow to SMEs sector and has also identified NBFCs as a good fit to reach out to them.
- People will now be able to get refinance at subsidised rate and it would be passed on to the SMEs. Moreover, it would enable SMEs to expand their activities.
There are three types of loans under PMMY:
- Shishu (up to Rs.50,000).
- Kishore (from Rs.50,001 to Rs.5 lakh).
- Tarun (from Rs.500,001 to Rs.10,00,000).
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Bangladesh backs China’s OBOR
Bangladesh has come out in support of China’s ‘One-Belt-One-Road’ (OBOR) initiative, also known as the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI). This is in absolute contradiction to India’s stand on OBOR which it boycotted on grounds of violating India’s territorial integrity as it runs through the disputed territory of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and because China has not been transparent leading to compromise on sovereignty.
Bangladesh defends its move saying that small countries need to overcome few limitations by weaving themselves with the rest of the world with the help of projects such as OBOR.
China’s $4 trillion OBOR initiative will span 65 countries with 70% of the world’s population. Bangladesh formally declared joining China’s OBOR initiative during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016.
What is One Belt, One Road initiative?
The One Belt One Road initiative is the centrepiece of China’s foreign policy and domestic economic strategy. It aims to rejuvenate ancient trade routes–Silk Routes–which will open up markets within and beyond the region. Through this initiative, China’s plan is to construct roads, railways, ports, and other infrastructure across Asia and beyond to bind its economy more tightly to the rest of the world.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
India seeks greater role for troops contributing countries in UN peacekeeping missions
India has sought enhanced role for troops contributing countries in the decision-making process of UN peacekeeping missions. Also, India has asked the UN Security Council to revisit the way mandates are designed. it is because, according to India, the current system of excluding the troop and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs) from the process of framing the mandates is not sustainable.
India is one of the largest contributors of troops and police to UN peacekeeping missions. However, it has no say in the process of formulation of the mandate.
The current approach is not sustainable. It is hence an inescapable requirement to incorporate the troop and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs) in the decision making and mandate formulation from the very onset.
- There is also a need to ensure more effective triangular cooperation between the T/PCCs, Secretariat and Security Council on important policy and doctrinal issues being formulated in the field of peacekeeping.
- Today’s peacekeeping operations pose complex challenges. Non-state actors have become the major players in many of these conflicts. Today’s peacekeeping requires a political consensus among Security Council members, Troop Contributors and Secretariat on the cost, limits and dangers of operations in high-risk environments.
What you need to know about UN Peacekeeping?
United Nations Peacekeeping was created in 1948. Its first mission involved the establishment of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), which served to observe and maintain ceasefire during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
- UN Peacekeeping maintains three basic principles: Consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of Force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
- The UN Peacekeepers are led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DKPO).
- There are currently 17 UN peace operations deployed on four continents.
- UN Peacekeepers are from diverse backgrounds, from areas all around the world. They include police, military and civilian personnel. They are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets.
- The UN Peacekeeping Force won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.
- The United Nations Charter gives the United Nations Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security. For this reason, the international community usually looks to the Security Council to authorize peacekeeping operations.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
RBI panel pushes new rules so lenders pass on rate cuts more quickly
A RBI set- up panel has come out with a set of new rules to make lenders pass on rate cuts more quickly. The panel submitted its report recently to the RBI.
What’s the issue?
The RBI has cut its policy rate by a total of 200 basis points from January 2015 to August 2017 to support economic growth, but to its frustration banks have lowered their lending rates by only about 120 bps.
Suggestions made by the panel:
- Remove some of the leeway that banks have enjoyed, including allowing lenders to use only one of three benchmarks to set their lending rates: the policy repo rate, Treasury bill rates or certificate of deposit rates. Currently, banks can use multiple market rates and each one is free to set its own benchmark.
- Adjust the key criteria used to set their lending rates once a quarter, rather than the current once a year.
Why are banks not willing to reduce lending rates?
Indian banks are struggling with a record $140 billion in stressed assets, and have sought to protect their margins by trying to avoid lowering their lending rates.
What has RBI done so far in this regard?
The RBI last year unveiled the so-called marginal cost of funds-based lending rates (MCLR), which sought to remove much of the discretion commercial banks have to set lending rates and force them to base borrowing costs on prevailing money market rates. Banks were instructed to follow a specific formula in setting lending rates, although the RBI has since made some tweaks.
Sources: the hindu.