Polity & Governance
- Increasing the Authorized Share Capital of the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation
- Hybrid Annuity model for implementing highway projects
- India amends tax treaty with Armenia to fight evasion
Science & Technology
- CERT-In signs cyber security pacts with 3 nations
Also in News
- 150th birth anniversary of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai.
Polity & Governance
Increasing the Authorized Share Capital of the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation
The Union Cabinet has gave its approval for enhancement of Authorized Share Capital of the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) from Rs. 1000 crore to Rs. 1200 crore.
Significance of the enhancement:
- The approval will enlarge the quantum of funds available for economic activities, better coverage and enhanced outreach to double the Below Poverty Line (DPL) Scheduled Caste beneficiaries.
- Enhancement of share capital would expand its ambit of coverage and increase disbursement of funds to larger sections of the economically deprived scheduled caste population.
Why this enhancement?
The Central Government has almost exhausted its contribution of authorized share capital of Rs. 1000 crore by paying Rs.998.13 crore to NSFDC. Hence, it became essential to enhance the Authorized Share Capital of the Corporation to expand its ambit of work.
- National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) is a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) working under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
- NSFDC implements its schemes through 37 State Channelizing Agencies in 32 States/UTs.
- NSFDC will also implement its schemes through select Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Other Institutions, wherever required, to enhance its outreach.
- The NSFDC provides loans through its Channelizing Agencies at concessional interest rates for self-employment & economic development activities to its target group.
- NSFDC also sponsors skill/entrepreneurial training programmes to assist the unemployed members of scheduled castes in wage/self-employment.
- The target of NSFDC for the year 2015-16 is to cover 63,000 beneficiaries.
Hybrid Annuity model for implementing highway projects
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the Hybrid Annuity Model as one of the modes of delivery for implementing the Highway Projects.
- The main object of the approval is to revive highway projects in the country by making one more mode of delivery of highway projects.
About Hybrid Annuity Model:
- 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.
Significance of the Model:
- All major stakeholders in the PPP arrangement – the Authority, lender and the developer, concessionaire would have an increased comfort level resulting in revival of the sector through renewed interest of private developers/investors in highway projects.
- It will bring relief thereby to citizens / travellers in the area of a respective project.
- It will facilitate uplifting the socio-economic condition of the entire nation due to increased connectivity across the length and breadth of the country leading to enhanced economic activity.
- The move 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.
[Ref: PIB, Hindu]
India amends tax treaty with Armenia to fight evasion
India and Armenia have signed a Protocol to amend the existing double taxation avoidance treaty.
- DTAC between India and Armenia has been in existence since 2004.
- The Article on Exchange of Information for tax purposes has been amended to bring it in line with the updated provisions in the OECD Model.
- The Amending Protocol was signed by Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Ambassador of Armenia to India.
Significance of the treaty:
- Under the treaty, both the countries will share information on banking and financial transactions, a move which is expected to curb instances of tax evasion.
- The Protocol will enable the two countries to exchange information related to financial and banking transactions under DTAC and facilitate them in addressing tax evasion.
- It is also expected to further strengthen the efforts of the government in curbing generation of black money.
[Ref: PIB, ET]
Science & Technology
CERT-In signs cyber security pacts with 3 nations
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has signed cooperation pacts with its counterparts in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan for cyber security.
The MoUs related to Cyber Security will promote closer cooperation for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security related incidents between India and respective country.
- An agreement between CERT-In and CyberSecurity, Malaysia, was signed in November 2015, in Kuala Lumpur during Mr.Modi’s visit to Malaysia.
- While the MoU with Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT), Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of the Republic of Singapore was signed also in November 2015 during the Prime Minister’s visit to Singapore.
- The agreement between CERT-In and Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (JPCERT/CC) was signed in December 2015 through diplomatic exchange.
- Indian Computer Emergency Response Team(CERT-In) is the Government organisation under Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
- It is a nodal agency that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing. It strengthens security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain.
- In December 2013, CERT reported there was a rise in the cyber attacks on Government organisations like banking and finance, oil and gas and emergency services. It issued a list of security guidelines to all critical departments.
- In March 2014, CERT reported a critical flaw in Android Jelly bean’s VPN implementation.
[Ref: Hindu, Wiki]
Also in News
150th birth anniversary of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai
150th birth anniversary of great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, is being celebrated on 28th January 2016.
- Punjab government has declared a public holiday on the occasion.
About Lala Lajpat Rai:
Lala Lajpat Rai (28 January 1865 – 17 November 1928) an Indian Punjabi author and politician, was chiefly remembered as a leader in the Indian Independence movement.
- He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari.
- He was part of the Lal Bal Pal trio.
- He was also associated with activities of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company in their early stages.
- He died in Lahore, a few weeks after sustaining serious injuries during a non-violent protest against the Simon Commission in 1928.
- His death anniversary (17 November) is one of several days celebrated as Martyrs’ Day in India.
[Ref: ET, Wiki]