Insights Daily Current Events, 11 November 2015
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
BIS elects Raghuram Rajan as its vice-chairman
Raghuram Rajan, Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has been elected vice-chairman of the Bank of International Settlement (BIS).
- He will have a three-year term as vice-chairman of the BIS.
- Rajan is the first Indian central bank Governor to become the vice-chairman of BIS.
About Bank of International Settlement (BIS):
- The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is the world’s oldest international financial organization. It was established in May 1930.
- It is based in Basel, Switzerland, with representative offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City.
- It has 60 member central banks, representing countries from around the world that together make up about 95% of world GDP.
- The BIS carries out its work through subcommittees, the secretariats it hosts and through an annual general meeting of all member banks.
- The mission of the BIS is to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks.
The board of BIS:
- The board of BIS is responsible for determining the strategic and policy direction of the BIS, supervising BIS management, and fulfilling the specific tasks given to it by the bank’s statutes.
- The BIS board meets at least six times a year.
- The board of directors elects a chairman and a vice-chairman from among its members each for a three-year term.
- The board may have up to 21 members, including six ex-officio directors, comprising the central bank governors of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Each ex-officio member may appoint another member of the same nationality.
- Nine governors of other member central banks may be elected to the board.
sources: bs, bis.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
AIDS preventive medicine available from December in Sonagachi
An experimental project aimed at providing HIV-preventive medicine to sex workers will shortly be launched in Sonagachi, West Bengal. Sonagachi is one of Asia’s largest red light districts.
- The feasibility project recently received clearance from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and Union Health Ministry.
- Under the project, ‘Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis’ (PrEP), regular medicine would be given to an HIV-negative sex worker who engages sexually with an HIV-positive person.
- The medicine is designed to prevent sex workers from contracting HIV infections. It has been very successful abroad in preventing HIV infection.
- PrEP has the potential to bring down the HIV risk factor by 60-70% among high-risk groups such as sex-workers.
- According to experts, the use of condoms and taking PrEP medicine everyday would offer double protection against HIV infection.
- The project is to be financed by the Melinda Gates Foundation.
- An awareness drive for the campaign has already been taken up among the sex workers.
The feasibility project could soon turn into a policy to prevent AIDS, given that the PrEP Medicine is very cheap.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources.
New FDI norms
The government has relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in 15 sectors, allowing 100% FDI in sectors such as completed construction projects, some plantation sectors, cable networks, direct-to-home (DTH) services and some air transport activities.
- Fifteen areas and 32 investment points will benefit from the liberalisation.
- Foreign direct investment up to 49% will now be allowed in the defence sector under the automatic route. Currently, FDI up to 49% is allowed in the defence sector but under the government approval route.
- The government has allowed 100% FDI in completed construction projects. It has also removed restrictions on minimum floor area or minimum capitalisation.
- In the broadcast sector, FDI limit in news channels has been hiked from 26% to 49%. In the non-news category, now FDI up to 100% has been allowed without the government’s approval.
- The FDI limit in DTH (direct-to-home) and cable networks has been increased to 100%. Earlier, the limit was 74% in DTH services.
- The government has opened plantation activities in coffee, rubber, cardamom, palm oil tree and olive oil tree to 100% FDI. Right now, only tea plantations are open to foreign investment.
- Single-brand retail firms also have been allowed to sell products through e-commerce, subject to government approval.
- Manufacturers have been permitted to sell their products through wholesale/retail – including through e-commerce. Also, a single entity has also been allowed to carry out business in wholesale/cash & carry and single-brand retail.
- For private banks, the government has removed the distinction between different categories of foreign investment. Accordingly, foreign institutional investors, foreign portfolio investors and qualified foreign investors can now invest up to 74% in the sector.
- Regional air transport service (RSOP) will now be eligible for foreign investment up to 49% under automatic route. The FDI cap in non-scheduled air transport service and ground handling services has been increased to 100% from 74%.
- The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) can now clear proposals up to Rs 5,000 crore from the earlier limit of Rs 3,000 crore under single-window clearance.
The crux of these reforms is to further ease, rationalize and simplify the process of foreign investments in the country and to put more and more FDI proposals on automatic route instead of government route where time and energy of the investors is wasted.
sources: pib, ndtv, the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of Space.
India’s GSAT-15 Communication Satellite Launched Successfully
GSAT-15, India’s latest communications satellite, was recently launched successfully by the European Ariane 5 VA-227 launch Vehicle.
- GSAT-15 was launched from Kourou in French Guiana (in South America).
- It carries communication transponders in Ku-band as well as a GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands.
- The satellite cost and the launch fee are around Rs. 860 crore.
- GSAT-15 was flown along with Saudi Arabia’s Arabsat-6B/Badr-7.
- The satellite will be stationed over India at a slot at 93.5 degrees East longitude.
- GSAT 15 will also replace two older spacecraft-INSAT 3A and 4B- that will likely expire in the coming months.