Polity & Governance
- Private member’s bill urges state poll funding
Government Schemes & Policies
- Use of Satellite Imagery for Assessing Farmers Crops
- Lok Sabha has passed amendments to The Companies Act
- SC orders setting up of special courts in districts with over 100 pending POCSO cases
- Improving Milking Capacity of Cows
- IBBI tightens norms for insolvency resolution professionals
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Ministry of mines organises a workshop on Effective utilization of Red Mud
Science & Technology
- First Private Chinese Firm Launches Pair of Satellites to Orbit On Sqx-1 Y1 Rocket
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Polity & Governance
Private member’s bill urges state poll funding
Equating the expenditure limit on election expenses with prohibition, a member of opposition party moved a private member’s bill in the Rajya Sabha that seeks removal of the limit and state funding of elections as part of reforms to the way polls are financed in India.
About Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill:
The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill seeks to amended two provisions
- The current per candidate expenditure limit of ₹70 lakhs should be lifted.
- There should be state funding to ensure a cleaner polity.
- The bill states that the candidate expenditure limit was counterproductive and only helped those with black money to bribe individual voters and crippled honest candidates.
- Candidates who can raise money legally cannot spend more than ₹70 lakhs in parliamentary elections. Hence, compared to those who spend money covertly, clean politicians are crippled by the system.
What is state or public funding of elections?
- This means that government gives funds to political parties or candidates for contesting elections.
- Its main purpose is to make it unnecessary for contestants to take money from powerful moneyed interests so that they can remain clean.
- For this to happen, state funding needs to be accompanied by strict accounting and transparency.
- In some countries, state funding is extended to meeting some specific forms of spending by political parties, not confined to electioneering alone. Countries keep changing laws relating to state funding depending on experience and financial condition.
Who is eligible for state funding?
- The most common eligibility condition is share of votes gained in the previous elections. In addition, number of seats in legislative bodies is also used as a criterion.
- Usually, a lower limit for votes or share of votes is kept to prevent misuse of the provision by floating new parties that contest large number of seats.
What is direct and indirect state funding of elections?
- Direct funding means giving funds directly to political parties (or candidates).
- Indirect funding takes the form of various subsidies or access. Indirect funding can take the form of subsidized or free media access, tax benefits, free access to public spaces for campaign material display, provision of utilities and travel expenses, transport, security etc.
What is the status of public funding of elections in India?
- Current state funding measures include provision of free time on public broadcasters for national parties in general elections and for registered state parties in state legislature elections.
- Besides this, national parties are provided some benefits like security, office space, utility subsidies etc.
- Another form of indirect state funding available in India is that registered political parties do not have to pay income tax, as laid down in the Income Tax Act.
Various commissions and committees on public funding:
Some major reports on state funding include those given by the
- Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections (1998): State funds should be given only to registered national and state parties and that it should be given in kind only.
- Law Commission Report on Reform of the Electoral Laws (1999): Recommended first putting a strong regulatory framework in place including internal elections, accounting procedures etc.
- National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2001): First a regulatory framework needs to be established before thinking about state funding.
- The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008)
Except for the 2001 report, all other recommended partial state funding only, given the economic situation of the country.
Arguments against public funding
Public funding increases the distance between political elites (party leadership, candidates) and ordinary citizens (party members, supporters, voters)
- When political parties and candidates do not depend on their supporters or members neither for monetary contributions, they might be less likely to involve them in party decisions or consult their opinions on policy issues.
Public funding preserves a status quo that keeps the established parties and candidates in power
- Public funds are often allocated among political parties and candidates in the national legislature. This may make it more difficult for new political forces to gain representation. The legal framework can limit this negative influence by providing special funds for new political parties or candidates.
Through public funds, taxpayers are forced to support political parties and candidates whose views they do not share
- Many believe that ordinary taxpayers should not be forced to support political parties that they would never choose to vote for. Instead they should have the possibility to decide if and when they want to donate money to a political party or candidate.
Public funds to political parties and candidates takes money away from schools and hospitals to give to rich politicians
- When introduced, public funding is often unpopular among the public. Public resources are scarce and needed for everything from schools and hospitals to roads and salaries for staff.
Political parties and candidates both take the decision and collect the money
- The decision to allocate public funds to parties and candidates is most often taken in the national legislature (or in some cases in the Government). This means that the political parties and candidates who will collect the money, also take the decision.
Political parties risk becoming organs of the State rather than parts of civil society
- If all or a substantial amount of the party income comes directly from the State rather than from voluntary sources, political parties risk losing their independence and become organs of the State, thereby losing their ties to the civil society.
Arguments for public funding
Public funding is a natural and necessary cost of democracy
- Political parties need money for their electoral campaigns, to keep contacts with their constituencies, to prepare policy decisions and to pay professional staff. If a country wants to have stable political parties and/or independent candidates, some argue that they also need to be prepared to help pay for them.
Public funding can limit the influence of interested money and thereby help curb corruption
- If political parties get at least a basic amount of money from the public purse this has the potential to limit the likelihood of them feeling the need to accept ‘interested money’ from donors who want to influence their policies, rhetoric or voting behaviour in the legislature.
With public funding the State can encourage or demand changes in for example how many women candidates a party fields
- In the same way as private donations can come with demands on party behaviour, the State can use public funds to level the playing field and encourage (or force) political parties to undertake reforms, hold internal elections or field a certain number of women candidates, youth or persons from an ethnic minority on their ballots.
Public funding can increase transparency in party and candidate finance and thereby help curb corruption
- If political parties and candidates receive a substantial amount of their income from the State, they can more easily be required to disclose their income and expenditure. If their financial statements are made publicly available, voters can decide which sources of funds are acceptable to them, and they will also have better opportunities to hold politicians accountable.
If parties and candidates are financed with only private funds, economical inequalities in the society might translate into political inequalities in government
- In many countries, the support base of political parties and candidates are divided along socioeconomic lines. The support base of labour or Dalit parties for example, are traditionally less wealthy than the support base of other parties. If political parties receive all their income from private donations, there is a risk that socioeconomic differences in the society will translate into differences in representation and access to political power.
Political parties and candidates need support in meeting growing costs of campaigning
- Politics and political campaigning is an increasingly costly business. While parties and candidates used to rely heavily on voluntary labour for door-to-door canvassing, they now need to pay for expensive advertising in newspapers or on posters, or buy time on radio or television to get their message through to the voters. Staff costs have risen in many political parties over the last decades.
In societies with high levels of poverty, ordinary citizens cannot be expected to contribute much to political parties
- In societies where many citizens are under or just above the poverty line, they cannot be expected to donate large amounts of money to political parties or candidates. If parties and candidates receive at least a basic amount of money from the State the country could have a functioning multi-party system without people having to give up their scarce resources.
Government Schemes & Policies
Use of Satellite Imagery for Assessing Farmers Crops
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) envisages use of improved technology to reduce time gap for settlement of claims of farmers.
Use of technology in PMFBY:
- The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, through Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC) carry out pilot studies for Optimization of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) in various States under PMFBY.
- The studies used various technologies, including Satellite data, Artificial Intelligence, Modeling tools etc. for reducing the number of CCEs required for insurance unit level for yield estimation.
- The studies were carried out to address a major issue of the need to carry out large number of CCEs for calculation of yield data vis-à-vis claims at Gram Panchayat level.
Use of Satellite data in other agricultural areas:
- The Government is also using satellite imagery to assess the crop area, crop condition and crop yield, at district level, under various programmes such as Forecasting Agricultural Output Using Space, Agrometeorology & Land based observations (FASAL) and Coordinated Horticulture Assessment and Management using Geo-informatics (CHAMAN).
- Further, satellite data is also being used for drought assessment, to assess the potential area for growing pulses and horticultural crops.
What is Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs)?
- It is a method used to analyse overall yield of crops.
The main objective of the Crop Cutting Experiment is to obtain the following estimates at the Block level, District level and the State level:
- Average yield per hectare of the different crops.
- Production of the crops at the Block, District and the State level.
- Productivity of certain variety of crop.
- To study the productivity of different crops grown under different cultural practices. Various ancillary information like irrigational facilities, type of seeds sown, use of pesticides/insecticides, use of improved methods of cultivation, etc. are collected through this survey.
About Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC):
- Inaugurated in 2012, it has been established to operationalize the use of space and related technology for better agricultural forecasting and drought assessment.
- It is named after great Indian Statistician C. Mahalanobis.
Major projects of MNCFC:
- Forecasting Agricultural Output Using Space, Agrometeorology & Land based observations (FASAL)
- Coordinated Horticulture Assessment and Management using Geo-informatics (CHAMAN)
- National Agricultural Drought Assessment and Monitoring System (NADMAS)
About Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY):
- The PMFBY, launched in April 2016, compensates farmers for any losses in crop yield. In the event of a crop loss, the farmer will be paid based on the difference between the threshold yield and actual yield.
- The scheme is compulsory for farmers who have availed of institutional loans.
- The threshold yield is calculated based on average yield for the last seven years and the extent of compensation is set according to the degree of risk for the notified crop.
- The scheme insures farmers against a wide range of external risks — droughts, dry spells, floods, inundation, pests and diseases, landslides, natural fire and lightning, hailstorms, cyclones, typhoons, tempests, hurricanes and tornadoes. The scheme also covers post-harvest losses up to a period of 14 days.
- The Scheme covers all Food & Oilseeds crops and Annual Commercial/Horticultural Crops for which past yield data is available and for which requisite number of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) are conducted being under General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES).
- The scheme is implemented by empanelled general insurance companies. Selection of Implementing Agency (IA) is done by the concerned State Government through bidding.
- The scheme is compulsory for loanee farmers availing Crop Loan /KCC account for notified crops and voluntary for other others.
- The scheme is being administered by Ministry of Agriculture.
Effectiveness of the scheme:
- Only 45% of the claims made by farmers over the 2017-18 crop seasons by the insurance companies under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
- In 2018, just 5% of the claims made for crop losses under PMFBY have been paid.
- The objective is that 50% of the country’s gross cropped area is to be insured by 2018-19, however, it was only 30% in 2018.
- Coverage of agricultural insurance has significantly increased in kharif 2016 compared to kharif 2015 across India. The number of farmers insured crossed 4 crores during kharif 2016, a jump from 3.09 crores in kharif 2015.
- The sum insured has gone up per hectare of land from kharif 2015 to 2016. This means in case of losses, farmers should theoretically get significantly higher compensation than before. However, in some states like Rajasthan, the sum insured remains very low—about one-third of the cost of production.
- Gaps in assessment of crop loss: The sample size in each village was not large enough to capture the scale and diversity of crop losses. In many cases, district agricultural department officials do not conduct such sampling on ground and complete the formalities only on paper. There is also lack of trained outsourced agencies, scope of corruption during implementation and the non-utilisation of technologies.
- Inadequate and delayed claim payment: Insurance companies, in many cases, did not investigate losses due to a localised calamity and, therefore, did not pay claims
- High actuarial premium rates: Insurance companies charged high actuarial premium rates during kharif 2016 – the all-India rate was approximately 12.6 per cent, which was highest ever. Much higher rates were charged in some states and regions.
- Massive profits for insurance companies: During kharif 2016, companies made close to Rs 10,000 crore as ‘gross profits’.
- Coverage only for loanee farmers: PMFBY remains a scheme for loanee farmers, farmers who take loans from banks are mandatorily required to take insurance. The percentage of non-loanee farmers availing insurance remained less than 5 per cent during kharif 2016 and 2015. Like previous crop insurance schemes, PMFBY fails to cover sharecropper and tenant farmers.
- Poor capacity to deliver: There has been no concerted effort by the state government and insurance companies to build awareness of farmers on PMFBY. Insurance companies have failed to set-up infrastructure for proper implementation of PMFBY. There is still no direct linkage between insurance companies and farmers. Insured farmers receive no insurance policy document or receipt.
- Coverage of tenant and sharecropper farmers should increase.
- All-important crops should be covered under crop insurance. Diversification of crops and mixed farming should be promoted.
- Instead of threshold yield, ‘Potential yield’ should be used for crops for which historical average yield data is not available.
- Damage caused by wild animals, fire, cold waves and frost to crops should also be considered at the individual level. Damage caused by unforeseen weather events like hailstorms should also be included in the category of post-harvest losses.
- Farmers must be informed before deducting crop insurance They must be given a proper insurance policy document, with all relevant details.
- Panchayati Raj Institutions and farmers need to be involved at different stages of implementation.
- The insurance unit (IU) must be reduced over a period of time. In any case, it should not be more than village level. If the IU cannot be at the individual level and is kept at village panchayat level, premium should also be collected at the village panchayat level.
- Incentivise groups of small farmers or women farmers and promote group insurance.
- Sum insured should not be less than scale of finance and/or cost of production.
- PMFBY timelines from insurance coverage to claim payment should be strictly adhered
- Robust assessment of crop loss should be done through capacity building of state governments, involvement of farmers in loss assessment, auditing and multi-level checking to ensure credibility of data and testing incorporating technology such as remote sensing, drones and online transmission of data.
- All PMFBY related data related to farmers must be available in the public domain and shared openly with farmers.
- The clause addressing prevented sowing and post-harvest losses must be implemented appropriately by issuing state notifications prior to sowing.
- Robust scheme monitoring and grievance redressal mechanism should be in place.
Comparison of crop insurance schemes
(NAIS – National Agricultural Insurance Scheme, MNAIS – Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme)
[Ref: PIB, Down To Earth]
Lok Sabha has passed amendments to The Companies Act
The Lok Sabha unanimously passed amendments to the Companies Act to make compliance stricter, especially in the context of corporate social responsibility.
- It amends the Companies Act, 2013.
Issuance of dematerialised shares:
- Under the Act, certain classes of public companies are required to issue shares in dematerialised (move from physical certificates to electronic bookkeeping) form only.
- The Bill states this may be prescribed for other classes of unlisted companies as well.
Re-categorisation of certain Offences:
- The 2013 Act contains 81 compoundable offences punishable with fine or fine or imprisonment, or both. These offences are heard by courts.
- The Bill re-categorizes 16 of these offences as civil defaults, where adjudicating officers (appointed by the central government) may now levy penalties instead. These offences include: (i) issuance of shares at a discount, and (ii) failure to file annual return. Further, the Bill amends the penalties for some other offences.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):
- Under the Act, if companies which have to provide for CSR, do not fully spent the funds, they must disclose the reasons for non-spending in their annual report.
- Under the Bill, any unspent annual CSR funds must be transferred to one of the funds under Schedule 7 of the Act (e.g., PM Relief Fund) within six months of the financial year.
- However, if the CSR funds are committed to certain ongoing projects, then the unspent funds will have to be transferred to an Unspent CSR Account within 30 days of the end of the financial year, and spent within three years. Any funds remaining unspent after three years will have to be transferred to one of the funds under Schedule 7 of the Act.
- Under the Act, the National Financial Reporting Authority debar a member or firm from practising as a Chartered Accountant for a period between six months to 10 years, for proven misconduct.
- The Bill amends the punishment to provide for debarment from appointment as an auditor or internal auditor of a company, or performing a company’s valuation, for a period between six months to 10 years.
Commencement of business:
The Bill states that a company may not commence business, unless it
- Files a declaration of incorporation confirming that every subscriber of the company has paid for the shares agreed to be taken by him and
- Files a verification of its registered address.
Registration of charges:
- The Act requires companies to register charges (e.g., mortgages) on their property within 30 days of creation of charge, extendable upto 300 days with the permission of the RoC.
- The Bill changes the deadline to 60 days (extendable by 60 days).
- Under the 2013 Act, a regional director can compound (settle) offences with a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh. This ceiling has been raised to Rs 25 lakh in the amendment.
Curb the menace of shell companies:
- The Bill proposes making non-maintenance of registered office and non-reporting of commencement of business grounds for striking off the name of the company from the register of companies.
Change in approving authority:
- Under the Act, change in period of financial year for a company associated with a foreign company, has to be approved by the National Company Law Tribunal. Similarly, any alteration in the incorporation document of a public company which has the effect of converting it to a private company, has to be approved by the Tribunal.
- Under the Bill, these powers have been transferred to central government.
Bar on holding office:
- Under the Act, the central government or certain shareholders can apply to the NCLT for relief against mismanagement of the affairs of the company.
- The Bill states that in such a complaint, the government may also make a case against an officer of the company on the ground that he is not fit to hold office in the company, for reasons such as fraud or negligence. If the NCLT passes an order against the officer, he will not be eligible to hold office in any company for five years.
- If a person holds beneficial interest of at least 25% shares in a company or exercises significant influence or control over the company, he is required to make a declaration of his interest.
- The Bill requires every company to take steps to identify an individual who is a significant beneficial owner and require their compliance under the Act.
SC orders setting up of special courts in districts with over 100 pending POCSO cases
Anguished over the slow pace of action on protection of children, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to set up within 60 days one dedicated court in each district where over 100 cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act are pending trial.
About the special courts under POCSO:
- The special court to address POCSO act violations will be established under a Central scheme and fully funded by the Centre.
- The order came from the public interest litigation petition registered by the Supreme Court after being concerned by the alarming rise in child abuse cases and their long pendency in courts.
- Number of victims compensated under POCSO were only 3% in 2015, 4% in 2016 and 5% in 2017.
- Moreover, there is sluggishness in dealing with cases related to violation of POCOS act due to shortages of judges. Kerala has the worst judge-case ratio, as it has set up just three designated courts for 14 districts with each required to deal with more than 2000 cases.
- Chhattisgarh and Punjab have the lowest average of 51 cases per designated court.
About the POCSO Act:
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.
- The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age.
- It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography. It deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.
- The Act casts the police in the role of child protectors during the investigative process. Thus, the police personnel receiving a report of sexual abuse of a child are given the responsibility of making urgent arrangements for the care and protection of the child, such as obtaining emergency medical treatment for the child and placing the child in a shelter home, and bringing the matter in front of the CWC, should the need arise.
- The Act further makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system.
- It provides for special courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child. Hence, the child may have a parent or other trusted person present at the time of testifying and can call for assistance from an interpreter, special educator, or other professional while giving evidence.
- Above all, the Act stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.
- The Act also provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. This casts a legal duty upon a person who has knowledge that a child has been sexually abused to report the offence; if he fails to do so, he may be punished with six months’ imprisonment and/ or a fine.
[Ref: The Hindu]
Improving Milking Capacity of Cows
In order to complement the efforts made by the States/UTs for enhancing milk production and productivity of bovines Government has been implementing following schemes:
- Rashtriya Gokul Mission: for development and conservation of bovine population thereby enhancing their production and productivity.
- National Dairy Plan-I: implemented in 18 major dairy states for enhancing milk production and productivity of dairy animals in order to meet demand of the milk in the country.
- Breed Improvement Institutes: It comprises of Central Cattle Breeding Farms, Central Registration Units and Central Frozen Semen Production and Training Institutes. These institutes are playing crucial role in supply of breeding inputs in the form of High Genetic merit bulls for Artificial Insemination and semen doses of bulls with high genetic potential in all the States.
Rashtriya Gokul Mission
- The RGM was launched in December 2014 on an outlay of ₹500 crore (2014-15 to 2016-2017) for developing and conserving indigenous breeds through selective breeding and genetically upgrading ‘nondescript’ bovine population.
- RGM is managed by the Department of Animal Health and Husbandry (DAHD).
- The RGM doesn’t address the issue of cattle past their reproductive or useful age.
- Scheme is implemented on 100% grant-in-aid basis.
- RGM is being implemented through “State Implementing Agencies (SIA) viz Livestock Development Boards.
- All Agencies having a role in indigenous cattle development are “Participating Agencies” like CFSPTI (Central Frozen Semen Production and Training Institute), CCBFs (Conservation and Promotion of Indigenous Cow Breeds), Universities, NGO’s and Cooperative Societies.
- Development and conservation of indigenous breeds.
- Breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle breeds to improve their genetic makeup and Increase the stock.
- Enhancement of milk production and productivity.
- Upgradation of nondescript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi.
- Distribution of disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service.
- To create e-market portal for bovine germplasm for connecting breeders and farmers.
- To increase trade of livestock and livestock products by meeting out sanitary and phyto sanitary (SPS) issues.
- To arrange quality Artificial Insemination (AI) services at farmers’ doorstep.
Significant initiatives under RGM:
- Gopal Ratna awards: For farmers maintaining the best herd of Indigenous Breed(s) and practicing best management practices.
- Kamdhenu awards: For Best managed Indigenous Herd by Institutions/Trusts/ NGOs/ Gaushalas or best managed Breeders’ Societies.
Components of the Scheme:
- Establishment of Village level Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres viz “Gokul Gram”.
- Establishment of Field Performance Recording (FPR) in the breeding tract.
- Assistance to Institutions which are repositories of best germplasm.
- Implementation of Pedigree Selection Programme for the Indigenous Breeds with large population.
- Establishment of Breeder’s Societies: Gopalan Sangh.
- Incentive to farmers maintaining elite animals of indigenous breeds.
- Heifer rearing
All about Gokul Gram Project:
- Under this scheme, it is proposed to establish Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres or Gokul Grams in the breeding tracts of indigenous breeds.
- Gokul Grams are established in: i) the native breeding tracts and ii) near metropolitan cities for housing the urban cattle.
- Gokul Gram will act as Centres for development of Indigenous Breeds and a dependable source for supply of high genetic breeding stock to the farmers in the breeding tract.
- It is established by the State Implementing Agency/End Implementing Agency or under a Public Private Partnership.
- It generates economic resources from sale of A2 milk (A2 milkis cow’s milk that mostly lacks a form of β-casein proteins called A1 and instead has mostly the A2 form), organic manure, vermi-composting, urine distillates, and production of electricity from bio gas for in house consumption.
- It also functions as state of the art in situ training centre for Farmers, Breeders and MAITRI’s.
- It maintains milch and unproductive animals in the ratio of 60:40.
- The Gokul Gram will maintain milch and unproductive animals in the ratio of 60:40and will have the capacity to maintain about 1000 animals. Nutritional requirements of the animals will be provided in the Gokul Gram through in house fodder production.
- Gokul Gram will also be set up near to metropolitan cities for managing urban cattle. Metropolitan Gokul Gram will focus on genetic upgradation of urban cattle.
IBBI tightens norms for insolvency resolution professionals
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has tightened norms governing resolution professionals.
- With this, IBBI amends Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Professionals) Regulations, 2016.
What are the new norms?
- Insolvency resolution professionals would be barred from having employment when they are in possession of authorisation to take up work under the insolvency law.
- Besides, an insolvency professional and his or her relatives cannot accept any employment from the successful resolution applicant concerned for one year, as per the amended norms.
- An insolvency professional should not undertake any assignment unless he or she holds an ‘Authorisation for Assignment’ issued by the insolvency professional agency concerned. This would be effective from January 1, 2020.
- Insolvency professionals or their relatives should not accept any employment, other than employment secured through open competitive recruitment, from certain entities for one year after completion of a particular resolution process. They should not also render professional services.
About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI):
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) was established on October 1, 2016 in accordance with the provisions of The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
- It has been set up by the code to regulate professionals, information utilities (IUs) and agencies engaged in the resolution of insolvencies of companies.
- It is a unique regulator: regulates a profession as well as transactions.
- It functions under Ministry of Commerce.
It has chairman and 10 members. Present chairman is M S Sahoo. There four government-nominated members. Following is the structure of the IBBI.
- One Chairperson
- Three members from Central Government officers not below the rank of Joint Secretary or equivalent.
- One nominated member from the RBI.
- Five members nominated by the Central Government; of these, three shall be whole-time members.
More than half of the directors of its board shall be independent directors.
- It provides a market-determined and time bound mechanism for orderly resolution of insolvency, wherever possible, and orderly exit, wherever required.
- It writes and enforces rules for transactions, namely, corporate insolvency resolution, corporate liquidation, individual insolvency resolution and individual bankruptcy under the Code.
- It seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganisation as well as insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner.
- IBBI act as a regulator for overseeing insolvency proceedings and entities such as Insolvency Professionals (IP), Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPA) and Information Utilities (IU) in India.
- IBC covers Individuals, Companies, Partnership firms and Limited Liability Partnerships and handles cases under it using tribunals namely National company law tribunal (NCLT) and Debt recovery tribunal (DRT).
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Ministry of mines organises a workshop on Effective utilization of Red Mud
In a step towards productive utilisation of bauxite residue, commonly known as the ‘Red Mud’, an interactive workshop called ‘Waste To Wealth’ was organized by Ministry of Mines.
About Red Mud:
- Red Mud, also known as Bauxite tailings, is a solid waste generated during the aluminium production process.
- It is called “Red” because usually has a red colour (due to iron oxides) and “Mud” because it is a slurry.
- This is an environmental concern due to presence of impurities such as caustic soda and others minerals.
- Red Mud derives from bauxite and has typically twice the concentration of natural radionuclides found in parent mineral. Therefore, Red Mud, can be regarded as a Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM).
- Global generation of red mud is more than 150 million tons and there exists a global inventory of more than 3 billion tons.
- Red mud generation in India is around 9 million tons per year.
Science & Technology
First Private Chinese Firm Launches Pair of Satellites to Orbit On Sqx-1 Y1 Rocket
In a first for China, a rocket designed and built by private rocket firm ispace has placed satellites in orbit with a successful launch from a launchpad in the Gobi Desert.
About the launch:
- A Chinese startup, ispace, became the first private commercial space launch provider from China.
- It launched SQX-1 Y1 rocket, also called the Hyperbola-Y1, which lifted commercial payloads to Low-Earth orbit.
- Hyperbola-1 is carrying the CAS-7B CubeSat (microsatellite).
- It is an amateur radio mission which is developed by the Beijing Institute of Technology.
- Hyperbola-1 is also carrying a satellite for Aerospace Science and Technology Space Engineering Development Co. Ltd.
- It is around 68,000 pounds (31 metric tons) with three lower stages burning pre-packed solid propellants, and a liquid-fueled upper stage for a final orbital injection maneuver.
- This rocket is able to deliver up to 573 pounds (260 kilograms) of payload mass to a 310-mile-high (500-kilometer) sun-synchronous polar orbit.
Current condition of space start-up industry in India
- Considering the potential for space business in India, the number of start-ups in the space segment is still less due to uncertainties in regulations and investments.
- India’s space programme is a low-budgeted one with little room for the industries to grow.
- There is lack of technology to design, manufacture and supply sub-systems and components to the space systems.
- There is also no government funding to support space start-up companies exclusively.
- There is absence of a regulatory agency, different from the Department of Space, as there could be a conflict of interest considering that these companies are also service providers to the department.
What is Space Activities Bill,2017?
- It is a proposed Bill to promote and regulate the space activities of India.
- It encourages the participation of non-governmental/private sector agencies in space activities in India under the guidance and authorization of the government through the Department of Space.
Features of the bill:
- A non-transferable licence is provided by the Central Government to any person carrying out commercial space activity.
- The Central Government will formulate the appropriate mechanism for licencing, eligibility criteria, and fees for licence.
- The government will maintain a register of all space objects (any object launched or intended to be launched around the earth) and develop more space activity plans for the country.
- It will provide professional and technical support for commercial space activity and regulate the procedures for conduct and operation of space activity.
- It will ensure safety requirements and supervise the conduct of every space activity of India and investigate any incident or accident in connection with the operation of a space activity.
- It will share details about the pricing of products created by space activity and technology with any person or any agency in a prescribed manner.
- If any person undertakes any commercial space activity without authorisation, they shall be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years or fined more than 1 crore INR or both.