23rd NOVEMBER CURRENT AFFAIRS

1. IRNSS

News: The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) has been accepted as a component of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS) for operation in the Indian Ocean Region by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

What is IRNSS?

  • The IRNSS, with an operational name of NavIC (acronym for Navigation with Indian Constellation) is an Indian regional satellite navigation system that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services.
  • It covers India and a region extending 1,500 km around it, with plans for further extension.
  • The system currently consists of a constellation of seven satellites, with two additional satellites on ground as stand-by.
  • The constellation is in orbit as of 2018, and the system was expected to be operational from early 2018 after a system check.
  • It will provide two levels of service, the “standard positioning service”, which will be open for civilian use, and a “restricted service” (an encrypted one) for authorised users (including the military).

Benefits of the move

  • This move will enable merchant vessels to use IRNSS for obtaining position information similar to GPS and GLONASS.
  • This will assist in the navigation of ships in Indian ocean waters within the area covered by 50°N latitude, 55°E longitude, 5°S latitude and 110°E longitude (approximately up to 1500 km from Indian boundary).

International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

  • IMO is the UN specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. Its primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. IMO is governed by an assembly of members and is financially administered by a council of members elected from the assembly.

2.Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile

News: Over 1.3 lakh Tibetans living in exile and settled across India and other parts of the globe shall be electing their next Parliament-in-Exile in May 2021. The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) has its headquarters in Dharamsala, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

Background:

  • The Dalai Lama began democratization soon after he came to India during the 1959 Tibetan National Uprising.
  • He reportedly asked Tibetans in exile to choose their representatives through universal adult suffrage, following which polls were held for electing Tibetan Parliamentarians in 1960.
  • Democracy for the Tibetans, thus, began in exile. The Dalai Lama, however, continued to remain the supreme political leader. On March 14, 2011, he relinquished his political responsibilities, ending a 369-year-old practice.

Election:

  • The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) has its headquarters in Dharamsala, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. According to the Green Book of the Tibetan government-in-exile, over 1 lakh Tibetans are settled across India.
  • The remaining are settled in United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Mongolia, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland and various other countries.

Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE)

  • The Speaker and a Deputy Speaker head the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.
  • The 16th TPiE had 45 members – 10 representatives from each of the traditional provinces of Tibetan – U-Tsang, Dhotoe and Dhomey. It includes two members from each of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the pre-Buddhist Bon religion.
  • Other representatives are from the Tibetan Communities in North America and Europe; and from Australasia and Asia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan). Till 2006, it used to be called as Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (ATPDs) with the chairman as its head and a vice-chairman.

What does the Tibetan Constitution say?

  • The Central Tibetan Administration exists and functions on the basis of the Constitution of the Tibetan government called ‘The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile’.
  • In 1991, The Constitution Redrafting Committee instituted by the Dalai Lama prepared the Charter for Tibetans in exile. The Dalai Lama approved it on June 28, 1991.

Who can vote?

  • Only Tibetans living outside the subcontinent will elect their MPs based on their current geographic location. Besides MPs, voters will make their choice of the President as well.

Election Procedure:

  • The voting will be held in two rounds.
  • In the preliminary round, there will be no official candidates, i.e. a voter can choose any person of his choice, which is expected to be one of the several candidates who have started campaigning among the electorate. Unless a person secures 60 percent of the vote, the two top contenders of the first round will become the official candidates for the second round to be held in April 11.

The Kashag (Cabinet)

  • The Kashag (Cabinet) is the Central Tibetan Administration’s highest executive office and comprise seven members. It is headed by the Sikyong (political leader) who is directly elected by the exiled Tibetan population. Sikyong subsequently nominates his seven Kalons (ministers) and seeks the parliament’s approval. The Kashag’s term is for five years.

Is TPiE officially recognised by any country?

  • Not exactly, it is not recognised officially by any country, including India. But, a number of countries including the USA and European nations deal directly with the Sikyong and other Tibetan leaders through various forums.
  • The TPiE claims its democratically-elected character helps it manage Tibetan affairs and raise the Tibetan issue across the world. The incumbent Sikyong, Lobsang Sangay, was among the guests who attended the oath-taking ceremony of our PM in 2014, probably a first.

3.Internal Working Group of RBI

News: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had constituted an Internal Working Group (IWG) to review the extant ownership guidelines and corporate structure for private sector banks in India.

It was headed by Prasanna Kumar Mohanty, Director, Central Board of RBI.

The terms of reference:

  • Review of the eligibility criteria for individuals/ entities to apply for banking license.
  • Examination of preferred corporate structure for banks and harmonisation of norms.
  • Review of norms for long-term shareholding in banks by the promoters and other shareholders.
  • The group has recently submitted its recommendations.

Key Recommendations

Entry of Corporates:

  • Large corporatesand industrial houses may be allowed as promoters of banks only after necessary amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. This is to prevent connected lending and exposures between the banks and other financial and non-financial group entities.
  • Connected lendingis modeled as a situation in which the bank’s controlling owner extends loans of inferior quality at lower interest rates to himself or his connected parties.
  • The RBI has been againstallowing corporate houses to set up or run commercial banks due to their poor track record on governance and credit disbursement. Corporate houses routinely delay payments to banks and the system has no in-built incentives or disincentives for orderly debtor behaviour.

Conversion of NBFCs:

  • Well-run large NBFCs, with an asset size of Rs. 50,000 crore and above, including those which are owned by a corporate house,may be considered for conversion into banks subject to completion of 10 years of operations and meeting due diligence criteria and compliance with additional conditions specified in this regard.

Promoters’ Stake:

  • The cap on promoters’ stake in the long run (15 years) may be raisedfrom the current level of 15% to 26% of the paid-up voting equity share capital of the bank.
  • On non-promoter shareholding,the panel has suggested a uniform cap of 15% of the paid-up voting equity share capital of the bank for all types of shareholders.

Minimum Capital for New Banks:

  • The minimum initial capital requirement for licensing new banks should be enhanced from Rs. 500 crore to Rs. 1,000 crore for universal banksand from  200 crore to Rs. 300 crore for small finance banks.
  • Universal Banks combine the three main services of banking wholesale banking, retail banking, and investment banking under one roof. For example,Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, HSBC, etc.

Payments Banks’ Conversion into Small Finance Bank:

  • For payments banksintending to convert to a Small Finance Bank (SFB), a track record of 3 years of experience as payments bank may be considered as sufficient.
  • Payments banks(Airtel Payments Bank, India Post Payments Bank, etc.) are like any other banks, but operating on a smaller or restricted scale. Small Finance Banks are the financial institutions which provide financial services to the unserved and unbanked region of the country.

Licensing Guidelines:

  • The RBI should take steps to ensure harmonisation and uniformityin different licensing guidelines, to the extent possible.
  • Whenever new licensing guidelines are issued,if new rules are more relaxed, the benefit should be given to existing banks, and if new rules are tougher, legacy banks should also conform to new tighter regulations, but a non-disruptive transition path may be provided to affected banks.

Non Operative Financial Holding Company:

  • NOFHC should continue to be the preferred structure for all new licenses to be issued for universal banks.However, it should be mandatory only in cases where the individual promoters, promoting entities and converting entities have other group entities. NOFHC is a financial institution through which promoter/promoter groups will be permitted to set up a new bank.
  • Entities or groups in the private sector, public sector and NBFCs can set up these wholly-owned NOFHCs.

4.World Fisheries Day

News: The World Fisheries Day is observed on the 21st November every year. On the occasion of the World Fisheries Day, for the first time in the Fisheries Sector, the Government of India will award best performing States.

Details:

  • World Fisheries Dayis celebrated to demonstrate solidarity with all fisherfolk, fish farmers and concerned stakeholders throughout the world.
  • It was started in the year 1997when “World Forum of Fish Harvesters & Fish Workers” met at New Delhi leading to formation of “World Fisheries Forum” with representatives from 18 countries and signed a declaration advocating for a global mandate of sustainable fishing practices and policies.
  • Aim:To draw attention to overfishing, habitat destruction and other serious threats to the sustainability of marine and inland resources.

Significance:

  • Around 30 million to over 60 million people in the developing world are involved in inland fisheries; it is thought that about 50% are women.
  • Around 65%of fish caught from inland fisheries are from low-income food deficit countries.
  • More than 25%of world dietary protein is provided by the fish.

Significance for India:

  • India is thesecond major producer of fish through aquaculture in the world.
  • India is the4th largest exporter of fish in the world as it contributes 7% to the global fish production.
  • Fish constituted about 10%of total exports from India and almost 20% of agriculture exports in 2017-18.
  • The fisheries and aquaculture production contribute around 1%to India’s GDP and over 5% to the agricultural GDP. Around 28 million people are employed in the fisheries sector in India.
  • The sector has immense potential to more than double the fishers and fish farmers’ incomes,as envisioned by the government.

Challenges:

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)points out that nearly 90% of the global marine fish stocks have either been fully exploited or overfished or depleted to the extent that recovery may not be biologically possible. Discharge of harmful substances like plastics and other waste into water bodies that cause devastating consequences for aquatic life.

Indian Government’s Effort to Improve Fisheries:

  • Establishment of Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF)during 2018-19.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana: The programme aims to achieve 22 million tonnes of fish production by 2024-25. Also, it is expected to create employment opportunities for 55 lakh people.
  • Focus on Blue Revolution: Focuses on creating an enabling environment for integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries for the socio-economic development of the fishers and fish farmers.
  • Extension of Kisan Credit Card (KCC)facilities to fishers and fish farmers to help them in meeting their working capital needs.