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Insights Daily Current Events, 17 April 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 17 April 2015

RBI allows differential interest rates for term deposits above Rs. 15 lakh

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that banks will have the discretion to offer differential interest rates for term deposits above Rs.15 lakh.

What else has the RBI said?

  • All term deposits of individuals — held singly or jointly — of Rs.15 lakh and below should, necessarily, have premature withdrawal facility. All term deposits above Rs.15 lakh, banks can offer deposits without the option of premature withdrawal as well.
  • Banks that offer term deposits should ensure that at the customer interface point, the customers are, in fact, given the option to choose between term deposits either with or without premature withdrawal facility.
  • Banks are told to disclose in advance the schedule of interest rates payable on deposits.
  • Banks are allowed to offer differential rates of interest on term deposits on the basis of tenor for deposits less than Rs.1 crore and on the basis of quantum and tenor on term deposits of Rs.1 crore and above. However, they are not permitted to differentiate on the basis of any other parameter of the deposit contract.
  • RBI also said that banks should have a board approved policy with regard to interest rates on deposits including deposits with differential rates of interest and ensure that the interest rates offered are reasonable, consistent, transparent and available for supervisory review/scrutiny as and when required.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

New visa scheme for tourists from Sri Lanka

India has launched e-tourist Visa Scheme (eTV) aimed at making visa facility easier for India-bound Sri Lankans.

Who can avail this facility?

  • Those Sri Lankans holding ordinary passports can avail themselves of the facility.

Validity of these Visas:

  • Visas to be issued under the new scheme will be for single-entry and valid for only 30 days’ stay from the date of arrival in India.

Details:

  • Entry into India must be through any of the nine designated airports.
  • A fee of $ 60 will be levied per person for the new scheme.

The launch of the scheme follows the announcement made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Colombo last month.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

Agni-III test-fired for a shorter range

Strategic Forces Command (SFC) personnel recently successfully test-fired nuclear weapon capable-Agni-III ballistic missile for a lesser range with a lofted trajectory.

Details:

  • It is a two-stage, solid propelled, surface-to-surface missile.
  • It has a strike range of plus 3,000 km.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

India’s ‘Parrot Lady’ to fly back home

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently handed over to his counterpart, Narendra Modi, the 800-year-old Indian sandstone sculpture of a woman holding a parrot.

Details about the Sculpture:

  • The three-foot high statue of ‘Parrot Lady’ turned up in Canada in 2011 in the possession of an individual who did not have proper documentation; it was seized under the Cultural Property Export and Import which controls antiquities and other cultural objects being imported from foreign states.
  • The sculpture dates back to the 12th century.
  • The Parrot Lady is what is known as a naayika, or heroine. She is voluptuous, scantily clad, posed in a manner that is a tad saucy, and has a parrot on her back. She is just one of many erotic stone ladies that were created to adorn the Khajuraho temples.

It was returned in accordance with the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

1970 UNESCO Convention:

The UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property is an international treaty.

  • It is the first international instrument dedicated to the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property.
  • It was adopted at the 16th General Conference of UNESCO on 14 November 1970 in Paris and came into force on 24 April 1972.
  • 127 states are parties to the treaty.

The provisions contained in the 1970 Convention aim to protect cultural property against theft and looting while emphasizing the restitution of such items. The Convention stresses three main principles for States to follow.

  1. Preventive measures Firstly, States Parties are requested to take preventive measures to impede the illicit import and export of cultural property from their territory. These measures include, among others, inventories, export certificates, monitoring of trade, imposition of penal or administrative sanctions and educational programs.
  2. Restitution provisions (Art.7 of the Convention) Secondly, States are requested to return cultural property. Under the restitution provisions of the Convention, States Parties take appropriate steps to recover and return cultural property illicitly stolen from the territory of another State party to the Convention and imported into their territory after the entry into force of this Convention for both States concerned. Innocent purchasers and persons with a valid claim to such cultural property are entitled to a just compensation. Restitution requests are made through diplomatic offices.
  3. International cooperation Lastly, the Convention strives to set up an international cooperation framework to strengthen ties between States Parties to the Convention. In particular, such cooperation allows for States whose cultural heritage is in jeopardy due to pillaging of archaeological or ethnological materials, to ask other affected States for assistance, through the creation of import and export controls and general measures to prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property.

Under the provisions of the 1970 Convention, a State Party can seek the recovery and return of any illegally exported or stolen cultural property imported into another State Party only after the entry into force of this Convention in both States concerned. However, the 1970 Convention does not in any way legitimize any illegal transaction of any nature which has taken place before the entry into force of this Convention nor limit any right of a State to make a claim under provisions of relevant national legislations or international instruments.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

Free speech not an excuse for abusing nationally revered figures, says SC

The Supreme Court recently observed that one cannot resort to abusive language against historical figures in the guise of artistic expression and free speech to accentuate sensationalism.

  • The court said though a person might have the liberty of thoughts, it could not be an excuse for abusing nationally revered figures.

Background:

  • The Court was dealing with a plea of a Marathi writer, who faced a criminal case over writing an “obscene” poem on Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The poem was published in the in-house magazine of the Bank of Maharashtra Employees Union in 1994.
  • The editor of the Magazine faced charges of publishing the ‘vulgar and obscene’ poem.

Sources: The Hindu.

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