Sunday, December 14, 2014

International Yoga Day, Oil Price Stats, RBI regulating NBFC, Japan in Recession, India Australia Bilateral Relation, World Heritage Outlook Report, E-Vidhan Project, Indian Children out of school stats, Nuclear Power on Decline

#June 21 will be recognized as the International Yoga Day.

#Farhan Akhtar has been appointed as the first United Nations Male Good will Ambassador.

#Some stats regarding oil prices-

In mid June 2014 global oil prices were around $115 per barrel. In was above $110 per barrel is 2013 and consistently for the last 3 years it has been over $100 per barrel. A sudden reversal in trend has occured. In August 2014 the price of oil came down to $102 per barrel and to $98 in September 2014. In October it was around $85 per barrel and at the start of November 2014 the price was $80 per barrel.

The reason of this downfall in oil prices is the decreased demand. Major consumers of oil like Europe and China are not increasing their demand of oil. The decrease in oil prices can also be attributed to the increased production of shale oil in the U.S. which is around 3.9 million barrels a day.

One other major impact of decrease in oil prices would be on the negotiating power of Russia and Iran whose domestic economies are very much dependent on oil exports.

At present global oil requirement is around 90 million barrels a day (mbd) which is expected to increase to 104 mbd by 2040. With the Gulf region holding 30% of global oil reserves it is currently responsible for 25% of global oil production and in view of increased oil demand by 2040 the Gulf region is set to play a major and decisive role in coming future.

Non Banking Financial Institution at a disadvantage in India-

Ques. What is Non Banking Finance Company?

NBFC is a commercial entity which offers all those services that a bank provides but still NBFC do not have a banking license. The operations of NBFC’s are covered under banking regulations and they are not allowed to accept public deposits.

Their services can be- Providing loans and credit, merger, retirement planning, money markets, under writing etc. Due to less restrictions when compared to banks in starting operations, many big business houses of other fields like retail companies, venture capital companies and industrial companies have invested in the NBFC business.

Recent measures announced by RBI in relation to NBFC’s to bring them at per with other banks –

Raise net owned funds to Rs 2 crore by 2016.

By 2018, reduce Non performing assets recognition time to 90 days.

By March 2018, NBFC’s should increase the provisioning for standards to 0.4 percent.

By March 2016, rating would become mandatory for all those asset financing firms which accept deposits from public.

All NBFC’s which are systematically important in nature should have a Tier-I capital of 10 percent by 2017.

Above facts contain some technical facts, fully understanding all of them is not necessary. For knowing in detail about them refer the RBI website. Small facts about them are as under – 

Systematically important NBFC are those which carry on the business of acquisition of shares and securities with some predefined standards.

Net owned funds mean- 

Paid up capital Reserve+Surplus (excluding revaluation reserve) + Long term liabilities (to be paid after one year) – (Trading investment + Fictitious assets) 

The concept of Tier-I and Tier-II capital was provided by BASEL-I norms. The Tier-II capital is the subordinate capital where as Tier-I capital is the core capital.

#Japan becomes recession hit. In the July-September quarter the Japanese economy size shank at the rate of 1.6%. In the previous quarter Japanese economy got reduced by a big margin so going by the technical definition of recession if any economy fails to grow for 2 consecutive quarters than it is said to be in recession.

#The SAARC summit will be held in Kathmandu Nepal on 26 and 27th November. Leader’s of Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan would attend the summit.

#Talks are on to improve trade relations between India and Australia. Current bilateral trade between the two countries stands at $15 billion. Talks for a free trade agreement between India and Australia are on. Few days back a free trade agreement has been signed between China and Australia whose bilateral trade already stands at a whopping $ 130 billion.

PM. Mr. Modi has said that before 7th January 2015, on which Pravasi Bharati Divas is to be held the persons of Indian Origin status would be merged with Overseas Citizens of India status. Mr. Modi also said that Australians would be provided “Visa on Arrival” facility in India.

Five pacts signed between India and Australia-

Five pacts comprising 2 agreements and 3 MoU’s have been signed between India and Australia.

Two agreements signed are –

(a) To provide social security benefits to the residents of the other country.
(b) To lay down proper procedure for the transfer of sentenced persons.

Three Memorandum of Understanding MoU signed are –

(a) To tackle illicit trade by combating Narcotics trafficking.
(b) To encourage and enhance cooperation between 2 countries in the field of tourism.
(c) To enhance ties by means of Art and Culture cooperation between the 2 countries. This can be done by pursing the Cultural Agreement of 1971.

#Madhya Pradesh Government has denied giving permission to no objection certificate for conducting field trials of two indigenously developed Genetically Modified crops (Chick pea and Mustard) despite of the fact that both of these crops have received permission for conducting their field trials by the Genetic Engineering Approved Committee that works under the Central Government.

The State Government has apprehensions regarding the bio-safety of these genetically modified crops which the state Govt. feels can have harmful effects on human, biodiversity animals and environment.

#International Union for Conservation of Nature (IVCN) World Heritage Outlook report 2014 has been released – This report has made assessment of 228 World Heritage sites for natural values and out of the seven Indian Heritage sites assessed none of the Indian site has managed to qualify for the “Good” category site.

Indian sites which were assessed as “Good with some concerns” are –

(a) Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park.
(b) Keoladeo National Park.
(c) The Great Himalayan National Park

India sites which were assessed as facing significant conservation concerns – 

(a) The Western Ghats
(b) Kaziranga National Parks
(c) Manaj Wildlife Sanctuary 
(d) Sunder bans

#Current news important from the perspective of UPSC CSAT 2015 Modern History part – 

John Lang born in 1816 in Sydney Australia was a novelist and lawyer who in 1842 relocated to India. John Lang is famous for petitioning on behalf of Jhansi Ki Rani in 1854 against the East India Company.

Why Important? It is currently in news as just ahead of the bilateral talks between India and Australia our PM Mr. Modi has presented the same John Lang’s petition to Australian PM Mr. Tony Abbott as a gift.

#E-Vidhan project which has been adopted in the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly make the functioning of the Assembly paper less and is expected to save at least Rs. 17 crore annually. The scheme has received praise for this initiative from the Central Government and many other states like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Kerala and Karnataka are showing interest in adopting the same system for their Legislative Assemblies also.

#UP Government seeking help from Union Government to set up e-ticketing facility for visitors both domestic and foreigners to get entry in the Taj Mahal. 

#Some facts and statistics about children that are out of school –

Ministry of Human Resource Development conducted a survey in September 2014 regarding the Children which lie in the age group of 6-13 years in India. The results are something like this –

(a) Out of an estimated 20.41 crore children in the given age group around 60.41 lakhs which is about 2.97% of the total children in the given age group are out of school. 

(b) The above figure of 2.97% becomes cheerful in view of the fact that for 2009 this figure was 4.28% and for 2006 it was 6.94%.

(c) The report also tells that for female children the figure is 3.23% 

For male children = 2.77%
For children from rural areas – 3.13%
For children from urban areas – 2.54%
For Muslim children – 4.43%
For Scheduled Tribes Children – 4.70%

#Use of nuclear power is on a decline all over the World –

(a) France major consumer of nuclear power, plans to reduce its nuclear generating capacity to one third of its present value by 2025.

(b) In the U.S. and France, nuclear power is becoming expensive and uneconomical so these developed economies instead of increasing their nuclear power consumption are exporting nuclear power plants to other developing countries.

(c) Largest number of nuclear reactors which are under construction or are planned to be constructed in next few years lie mostly in 4 countries- China, Russia, South Korea, India.

(d) The proportion of power produced through nuclear energy was highest in the decade of 1980’s when it stood at 17% but currently it is somewhere near 13% percent.

(e) All over the World the total installed capacity of Wind, Solar and biomass power is more than the installed capacity of nuclear power. In China and India, the installed capacity of wind power alone is more than that of nuclear power.

(f) It is being said that cost of producing electricity from reactors imported from Western Countries is double the cost at which the indigenous nuclear reactors of India are producing the electricity.

(g) Some Experts are even saying that instead of importing nuclear power reactors from the Western World, India should export its reliable and tested mid size reactors model to other developing countries as they would be more technically suitable and easy to use for other developing countries.

(h) There are 4 nuclear parks for 4 foreign firms which have their presence in India. They are –

1. Areva (France) 
2. Westing House (The United States)
3.GI (The United States) 
4. Atomstroy export (Russia).

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