Insights Daily Current Events, 28 November 2014
Tourist Visa on Arrival Enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization Scheme
Union Home Minister launched the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Scheme recently.
Aim: To ease visa processing and help increase tourist inflow.
What it does?
Scheme will facilitate nationals of 43 countries to travel to India for tourism for a short stay of 30 days.
The countries are Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kingdom of Tongo, Laos, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Papua & New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of Korea (i.e. South Korea), Republic of Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru, Republic of Palau, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam and Vanuatu.
How the scheme is helpful:
- The TVoA enabled with ETA would enable the prospective visitor to apply for an Indian Visa from his/her home country online without visiting the Indian Mission and also pay the visa fee online.
- Once approved, the applicant will receive an email authorising him/her to travel to India and he/she can travel with a print out of this authorization. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.
- This will allow entry into India within 30 days from the date of approval of ETA and will be valid for 30 days stay in India from the date of arrival in India.
Who can avail the facility?
- This facility is available to Foreigners whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, casual visit to meet friends or relatives etc. and not valid for any other purpose/activities.
No dilution of MNREGA scheme: Govt.
The government allayed apprehensions over continuance or dilution of MNREGA scheme launched during the previous UPA rule and said all necessary funds have been released.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, also known as the “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act” is an Indian labour law and social security measure.
- To guarantee the ‘right to work’ and ensure livelihood security in rural areas.
- To create durable assets that would augment the basic resources available to the poor.
- To follow the Directive Principles of State Policy enunciated in Part IV of the Constitution of India and conforms to the Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that defines the right to work as a basic human right.
How? By providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
- The provisions of the law also adhere to the principles enunciated in the Constitution of India under Article 21 of the Constitution of India that guarantees the right to life with dignity to every citizen of India.
- This law guarantees the right to work to the people of India and hence is termed as a “People’s Act”.
- It is believed that targeting poverty through employment generation is the effective way to alleviate poverty.
- Employment under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA is a guaranteed legal right.
- The major responsibility of the implementation rests with Panchayati Raj institutions.
- Previous employment guarantee schemes (EGS) like ‘Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana’ (SGRY) Programme and National Food For Work Programme (NFFWP) were merged with MGNREGA to make it more effective.
- The Act sets a minimum limit to the wages, to be paid with gender equality. The states are required to evolve a set of norms for the measurement of works and schedule of rates. The unemployment allowance must be paid if the work is not provided within the statutory limit of 15 days.
Sources: The Hindu, nrega.nic.in.
Floor capital for small finance, payments banks set at Rs. 100 cr
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), recently, issued final guidelines for small finance banks and payments banks, paving the way for mobile firms and supermarket chains, among others, to enter the banking arena to cater to individuals and small businesses.
Objective of setting up of small finance banks: to further financial inclusion by provision of savings vehicles and supply of credit to small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and other unorganised sector entities, through high technology-low cost operations.
New guidelines include:
- The minimum paid-up capital for these banks will be Rs.100 crore each.
- The foreign shareholding will be in line with the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy for private sector banks.
- Individuals/professionals with 10 years of experience in banking and finance and companies and societies will be eligible to set up small finance banks.
- Existing non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), micro finance institutions (MFIs), and local area banks (LABs) can also opt for conversion into small finance banks.
- The small finance banks will primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to un-served and underserved sections, including small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.
- The small finance banks will be subject to all prudential norms and regulations of RBI as applicable to existing commercial banks, including requirement of maintenance of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR).
- The small finance banks will be required to extend 75 per cent of its adjusted net bank credit (ANBC) to the sectors eligible for classification as priority sector lending (PSL) by the RBI. At least 50 per cent of its loan portfolio should constitute loans and advances of up to Rs. 25 lakh.
- If the small finance bank aspired to transit into a universal bank, such transition would not be automatic, but would be subject to fulfilling minimum paid-up capital / net worth requirement as applicable to universal banks, among others.
Objectives of setting up of payments banks: to further financial inclusion by providing small savings accounts and payments/remittance services to migrant labour workforce, low income households, small businesses, other unorganised sector entities and other users.
New guidelines for Payment banks include:
- Existing non-bank pre-paid payment instrument (PPI) issuers and other entities such as individuals / professionals, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), corporate business correspondents(BCs), mobile telephone companies, super-market chains, companies, real sector cooperatives and public sector entities can apply to set up payments banks.
- A promoter/promoter group can have a joint venture with an existing scheduled commercial bank to set up a payments banks.
- These banks would be allowed to distribute non-risk sharing simple financial products like mutual fund lending activities.
- Payment banks are not allowed to lend and must have a cap of Rs 1 lakh on deposits which can be invested in government securities, but they will have access to the RBI’s liquidity windows.
- They will be required to invest at least 75 per cent of their ‘demand deposit balances’ in statutory liquidity ratio (SLR)-eligible government securities and treasury bills with maturity of up to one year.
- They can hold a maximum of 25 per cent in current and time/fixed deposits with other scheduled commercial banks for operational purposes and liquidity management.
- Payment banks will be allowed to issue debit cards, but not credit cards, and can offer current and savings account deposits.
- They cannot accept NRI deposits.
Sources: The Hindu, BS.