Polity & Governance
- Govt proposes setting up financial data management centre
- Govt meets PMUY target of 1.5 crore LPG connection additions this financial year
- Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiative
- PM Modi launches BHIM app to push digital payments
- FIPB clears 6 FDI proposals worth Rs 1,200 crore
- RBI extends period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments limit
Key Facts for Prelims
- UPDATES: Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016
Polity & Governance
Govt proposes setting up financial data management centre
The Union Government has proposed setting up Financial Data Management Centre (FDMC) based on recommendation of a committee, headed by Ajay Tyagi.
- The committee was set up under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEC).
- It has submitted its report and a draft bill titled The Financial Data Management Centre Bill, 2016.
Powers and functions of the FDMC:
- The powers of the Financial Data Management Centre (FDMC) will include the establishment, operation and maintenance of the financial system database along with collecting financial regulatory data and providing access to it.
- The body will also provide analytical support to the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) on issues relating to financial stability.
Important recommendations made by the committee:
- Efforts should be concentrated on framing the law, setting up of centre and standardizing processes around collection of data from central level regulators and entities.
- As the system matures and if it is decided to integrate data of state level financial sector regulators, the same has to be done with wide consultation with the states, which is a long drawn process.
- Centre should establish an electronic database for financial regulatory information. It should be in-charge of the day to day operations, maintenance and updating the electronic database, analyse the data submitted in the database and provide analytical support to FMDC.
- To ensure secrecy and avoid conflict of interest, member, employee or officer of the centre having access to confidential data should not be allowed to render advice or accept any employment with a financial service provider for a period specified in the act until the person has taken approval of the centre.
- The committee has also asked the government to grant the status of “public servants” to the members, officers and employees of the centre.
In 2015, when the FSDC first suggested the creation of such a body, the Reserve Bank had objected to sharing company-specific data with the body as it was not statutory in nature, and sharing such data would be a breach of confidentiality.
To resolve this issue, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2016-17 Budget Speech announced setting up of statutory FDMC under the aegis of the FSDC to facilitate integrated data aggregation and analysis in the financial sector.[Ref: LiveMint]
Govt meets PMUY target of 1.5 crore LPG connection additions this financial year
The government has met the 1.5 crore target for LPG connections to be added in this financial year under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
- With this, LPG coverage across the country has been increased to 70% as of December 1.
- Target of 1.5 crore connections fixed for the current financial year for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has been achieved within a span of less than eight months and the scheme is being implemented now across 35 States/UTs.
- The top five states with the highest number of connections are
- Uttar Pradesh (46 lakh),
- West Bengal (19 lakh),
- Bihar (19 lakh),
- Madhya Pradesh (17 lakh) and
- Rajasthan (14 lakh)
- The households belonging to SC/ST constitute large chunk of beneficiaries with 35% of the connections being released to them.
- 14 States/UTs with LPG coverage less than the national average, such as the hilly states of Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and all North-East states have been identified as priority states for implementing PMUY.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana aims to provide five crore LPG connections to women in Below Poverty Line (BPL) households over the next three financial years, at a cost of Rs. 8,000 crore.
- The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
- The scheme will be partially funded from the savings accruing to the government from LPG users who gave up their subsidy as part of the Give It Up programme.
- The new users who receive LPG connections under the scheme will not have to pay the security deposit, while the Rs. 1,600 administrative costs, cost of pressure regulator booklet and safety hose will be borne by the government.
- The households will be selected using the socio-economic and caste census data. Consumers will have the option to purchase gas stove and refills on EMI.
Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiative
Union Health Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Human Resource Development has launched Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiative.
- Along with this, Union Health Minister J P Nadda and Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar also jointly launched a booklet- Healthy Children Healthy India. The booklet contains tips on leading a healthy life for children.
About the initiative:
- The initiative is aimed at strengthening health centres in open defecation-free blocks.
- The objective is to strengthen community health centres in 708 open defecation-free blocks across the country to enable them to achieve higher levels of cleanliness and hygiene.
- Under it, 10 lakh rupees of financial assistance will be given to the community health centres so that they can be strengthened to meet the standards of sanitation, hygiene and infection control.
- The initiative is a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, under the National Health Mission.
- It is focused on the twin objectives of constructing toilets and enabling behavioural change, with the goal of making India free of open defecation by October 2, 2019.
PM Modi launches BHIM app to push digital payments
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched UPI based mobile payment application called BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) at the Digi Dhan Mela held in Talkatora stadium, New Delhi.
- BHIM is Aadhaar-based payments app developed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).
- The app is rebranded version of UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) for simpler digital payments without cash.
Key features of the BHIM App:
- The app allows easily transferring money or making a payment from your bank account using only phone number.
- It can work even on basic phones as it supports USSD payments. It has mobile wallet facility in which money can be loaded. Using it anyone can directly connect their phone to bank account like a debit card.
- The app also allows user to scan a QR code. The merchant can also generate his QR code through the app. Payment can be done through scanning QR code.
- Merchants can also use the BHIM app to receive money from a smartphone or Aadhaar Pay if customer has linked a bank account and Aadhaar ID.
- Payments through this app are happening directly from and to bank accounts, so merchants don’t have to worry about transferring wallet earnings to the bank account.
- All major UPI connected Indian banks accepts money through BHIM app. Even banks not connected to UPI can receive money through BHIM through IFSC assigned to banks.
FIPB clears 6 FDI proposals worth Rs 1,200 crore
Inter-ministerial body FIPB approved six investment proposals worth Rs 1,200 crore.
- The FIPB is headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.
Foreign Investment Promotion Board:
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) is an inter-ministerial body, responsible for processing of FDI proposals and making recommendations for Government approval.
- It is housed in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.
Functions of the FIPB:
- Although India allows FDI in most sectors through the automatic route, but in certain segments considered sensitive for the economy and security, the proposals have to be first cleared by FIPB.
- It provides a single window clearance for proposals on FDI in India.
- The decisions taken by FIPB are based on the extant FDI Policy, Press Notes and other related notified guidelines formulated by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Composition of FIPB:
FIPB comprises of the following Secretaries to the Government of India:
- Secretary to Government, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance – Chairperson
- Secretary to Government, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry
- Secretary to Government, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry
- Secretary to Government, Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs
- Secretary to Government, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
RBI extends period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments limit
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) limit of Rs 20,000 as part of efforts to promote digital payments.
- The limit has been extended till the completion of review of the PPI guidelines. However, the balance in such PPIs cannot exceed Rs 20,000 at any point of time and the merchants can transfer funds from such PPIs to their own linked bank accounts up to Rs 50,000 per month, without any limit per transaction.
What are PPIs?
- PPIs are methods that facilitate purchase of goods and services against the value stored on such prepaid instruments.
- These instruments can be issued as online wallets, mobile accounts, mobile wallets, smart cards, magnetic stripe cards, internet accounts, paper vouchers and any such instruments used to access the prepaid amount.
- The value stored on such instruments represents the value paid for by the holder, by debit, by cash to a bank account or by credit card.
At present, 47 non-bank entities and 45 banks are operating payment systems for PPI.[Ref: Indian Express]
Key Facts for Prelims
UPDATES: Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016
- President Pranab Mukherjee has given assent to Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016, to enable industries to pay wages by cheque or credit into the bank accounts of workers.
- Few days ago, the Union Government had decided to take the ordinance route because after demonetisation of the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 banknotes in November 2016 had led to a cash crunch, and employers were finding it tough to pay workers in cash.
- The Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2016, introduced in Parliament was also not able get passed during winter session of the Parliament.
[For more on Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016, click here to read]