Upcoming Mentoring Sessions

Article
01 Jul 2022

NSA seeks seamless coordination among maritime agencies

In News:

  • National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval participated in the first meeting of the Multi-Agency Maritime Security Group (MAMSG).

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • India’s Maritime security – Importance, mechanism, issues
  • Multi-Agency Maritime Security Group (MAMSG)
  • News Summary

India’s Maritime security

Importance of maritime security

  • Maritime security of vast coastlines
    • India has along 7,516-km coastline, including island territories, and a 2 million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone.
    • The importance of maritime security was evident following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
  • Economic and energy security
    • 90% of India’s trade by volume and 70% by value transit through the seas.
    • Strengthening the country’s maritime security is also necessary as India is focusing on becoming a blue economy.
    • The Indian government is set to clear the Deep Ocean Mission for the blue water economy.
  • Geostrategic Need
    • China is penetrating into the Indian Ocean through Pakistan and Myanmar.
    • Enhanced maritime security will give a boost to India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth of All in the Region) doctrine.
      • Under this doctrine, India has envisioned a role of net security provider for itself in the IOR.

Mechanism

  • Coastal border management was institutionalised in 2004 with the establishment of the Department of Border Management in the MHA.
  • However, after the ‘26/11’ attacks, coastal and maritime security underwent a paradigm shift. These included:
    • A three-tier security grid the Indian Navy, the coast guard, and the marine police;
    • Increased electronic surveillance using Coastal radar chain, Automatic identification system (AIS), Vessel traffic management and information system
    • Establishment of the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence (NC3I) Network;
    • Sagar Prahari Bal for force security protecting of naval bases has been raised by Navy;
    • Establishment of Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR).

Associated Issues

  • There are no formal or commonly accepted definitions of concepts like ‘maritime security’, ‘coastal security’ and ‘coastal defence’. Sometimes, it leads to vagueness.
  • Multiple institutions are involved and there is lack of coordination.
  • Turf war between MHA and Ministry of Defence (MoD). Demands are being made to bring Coast Guard under the control of MHA.
  • Fishermen are considered as the eyes and ears for coastal security. However, discontent among fishermen community, involvement of politics in fishermen issues etc. are further complicating the security architecture.
  • Inadequate infrastructure, acute shortage of manpower is posing challenges in providing maritime security in India.

Multi-Agency Maritime Security Group (MAMSG)

  • MAMSG was formed in November 2021 with an aim to develop better coordination between different maritime security agencies and ministries of the country.
  • It works directly under the National Security Council secretariat (NSCS).
    • The National Security Council is a three-tiered organization consisting of Strategic Policy Group (SPG); the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and the National Security Council Secretariat.
    • The council oversees political, economic, energy and security issues of strategic concern.
    • NSA is the Chairperson of NSCS.
  • In February 2022, G Ashok Kumar was appointed as India’s first Coordinator of MAMSG – also known as national maritime security coordinator.
    • It has the responsibility of coordinating between all the agencies involved in maritime security and maritime civil issues as well.
    • He will be the principal advisor to the government on maritime security domain and will act as a nodal point for all issues related to maritime security.

Role

  • The MAMSG is envisaged to
    • provide a standing and effective mechanism to ensure coordination of all aspects of maritime security including coastal and offshore security, and
    • fill the institutional, policy, technological and operational gaps in meeting present and future security challenges.
  • The group will also address maritime contingencies requiring an urgent and coordinated response

News Summary

  • While addressing the first-ever meeting of the MAMSG, NSA Doval called for seamless coordination among various agencies involved in protecting India's maritime interests.
  • The meeting was chaired by Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar (retd), the country’s first National Maritime Security Coordinator.

Key Highlights

  • Indian Ocean is now witness to rivalries and competitions
    • In the changing geopolitical scenario, the Indian Ocean, which has been an ocean of peace, is gradually becoming competitive.
    • The region has the potential to witness clash of interests. Hence, India needs to be vigilant in order to protect its interests.
  • Security at the high seas and economic wellbeing is inextricably linked
    • He said security at the high seas and economic wellbeing is inextricably linked and all stakeholders must work unitedly.
    • The more India develops, the more assets it creates, greater would be the vulnerability and the need for security in the maritime domain.
    • India will not be able to become the power it deserves to be unless it has a very strong maritime system.
  • Maritime borders are different from land borders
    • One cannot fence the maritime borders, and that disputes in seas are resolved through international norms and laws, while land disputes are bilateral in nature.
Defence & Security

Article
01 Jul 2022

ED moves court to declare Devas CEO economic offender

In News:

  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sought permission from a special court in Bengaluru to declare the US-based founder and CEO of the now liquidated firm Devas Multimedia Private Limited a fugitive economic offender.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Fugitive Economic Offender – About, process of declaring FEO, Other Indian laws dealing with economic offences, need for FEO Act etc.
  • News Summary

Fugitive Economic Offender (FEO)

  • An FEO is defined by The Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act, 2018.
  • As per the act, a person is declared as a fugitive economic offender if:
    • an arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offences where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and
    • he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.
  • The Act aims to provide for measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

Process of declaring a person as FEO:

  • To declare a person an FEO, an application is to be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002).
  • The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice.
  • Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears.

What happens if a person is declared FEO?

  • Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property).
  • Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.

Other laws dealing with economic offences

  • Economic offences relate to fraud, counterfeiting, money-laundering, tax evasion, etc.
  • Among the laws available for prosecuting these offences are:
    • The Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002,
    • The Benami Properties Transactions Act, 1988, and
    • The Companies Act, 2013.
  • Besides the above laws, sections of The Indian Penal Code, 1860 and The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, also cover offences such as forgery and cheating.

Need for separate FEO Act

  • It was observed that existing civil and criminal laws did not contain specific provisions to deal with such offenders who evades the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
  • Also, it was argued that procedures under the existing laws were time-consuming, led to roadblocks in investigation and impacted the financial health of banks.
  • Hence, it was felt necessary to enact a law which deals with these aspects.

Background

  • Devas-Antrix deal
    • Antrix Corporation — the commercial arm of the ISRO – and Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd signed an agreement in January 2005.
    • Under the deal, ISRO would lease to Devas two communication satellites (GSAT-6 and 6A) for 12 years for Rs 167 crore.
    • Devas would provide multimedia services to mobile platforms in India using S-band transponders on the satellites, with ISRO leasing 70 MHz of S-band spectrum.
  • Cancellation of deal
    • The deal was annulled by the then government in February 2011, following a Cabinet Committee on Security decision.
      • The committee decided to terminate the agreement to use the S-band for security purposes.
      • Also, there were allegations that the Devas deal involved the handing over of communication spectrum valued at nearly Rs 2 lakh crore for a pittance.
    • In 2014, the CBI was asked to investigate the 2005 deal.
    • Later, The ED filed a chargesheet in 2018 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against a former managing director of Antrix and five Devas officials.
      • It stated that Devas transferred 85% of its Rs 579 crore foreign funding to the US under various claims.

News Summary

  • The ED has filed an application before a special court seeking to declare US-based CEO R Viswanathan of Devas Multimedia a fugitive economic offender.
    • ED is a specialized financial investigation agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
    • ED enforces the following laws:
      • Foreign Exchange Management Act,1999 (FEMA)
      • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
  • Vishwanathan is accused of laundering a major part of Rs 579 crore the firm had brought as FDI when it had signed a satellite deal with Isro’s arm Antrix.
    • The deal was later cancelled after allegations of manipulation surfaced.
Polity & Governance

Article
01 Jul 2022

RBI: Bank NPA ratio at 6-year low, but fintechs expose system to new risks

In News:

  • Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its biannual Financial Stability Report.
  • As per the report, asset quality of the banking system has improved.
    • Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPA) ratio declined from 7.4 per cent in March 2021 to a six-year low of 5.9 per cent in March 2022.

What’s in today’s Article:

  • About FSR (Purpose, Components, Significance, etc.)
  • Key takeaways from latest FSR

Financial Stability Report:

  • Financial Stability Report is released by the RBI twice a year.
  • The report details the state of financial stability in the country.
  • As part of the FSR, the RBI also conducts a Systemic Risk Survey (SRS), wherein it assess the financial system on five different types of risks:
    • Global; Financial; Macroeconomic; Institutional; General.

Significance of FSR:

  • Reading the FSR tells us how robust or vulnerable our financial system — especially our banking system — is to the changes in the economy.
  • As a corollary, it also tells us whether and to what extent will our banks and other lending institutions (such as Non-Banking Finance Companies and Housing Finances Companies) be able to support future growth.
  • For instance, if the FSR reveals that the percentage of NPAs or bad loans in the banking system is high and also shows that the government fiscal deficit is also high.
  • Then it means that not only will the banks struggle to function effectively (and fund future growth) but also that if banks were to falter then the government may find it tough to bail them out.

Key takeaways from the latest FSR:

  • Indian economy:
    • The Indian economy remains on the path of recovery, though inflationary pressures, external spill overs and geopolitical risks warrant careful handling and close monitoring.
    • The external sector is well-buffered to withstand the ongoing terms of trade shocks and portfolio outflows.
  • Asset quality of Banks:
    • Asset quality of banks improved steadily throughout the year, with gross NPA ratio declining to a six-year low of 5.9% in March 2022 from 7.4% in 2021.
      • NPA is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days.
    • The banking stability indicators showed improvement in soundness, efficiency and market risk dimensions in the second half of FY22.
  • Stock market:
    • The number of demat accounts of individuals increased 3.4 times on CDSL and 1.5 times on NSDL since January 2020.
      • 'CDSL' is short for 'Central Depository Securities Limited' while 'NSDL' is short for 'National Securities Depository Limited’.
      • Both CDSL and NSDL are depositories registered by the Indian government to hold multiple forms of securities like stocks, bonds, ETFs, and more as electronic copies.
    • However, the report suggested that the developments in 2022 have unsettled the market sentiment and increased risk aversion.
  • Fintech industry:
    • The Indian fintech industry — which is amongst the fastest growing Fintech markets in the world — was valued at $50-60 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $150 billion by 2025.
    • Cautioning about the financial technology (fintech) industry, the FSR said the advent of fintechs has exposed the banking system to new risks.
    • These risks extend beyond prudential issues and often intersect with other public policy objectives relating to safeguarding of data privacy, consumer protection, etc.
  • Cryptocurrencies:
    • While technology has supported the reach of the financial sector and its benefits must be fully harnessed, its potential to disrupt financial stability has to be guarded against.
    • The report has flagged cryptocurrencies as a clear danger among the emerging risks on the horizon.
    • The report highlights that anything that derives value based on make believe, without any underlying, is just speculation under a sophisticated name.
Economics

Article
01 Jul 2022

India can prevent 30k road deaths per year

In News:

  • According to a recent report published in the medical journal Lancet, India could have prevented at least 29,400 road deaths (nearly 20% of total road fatalities) in 2018 if it had implemented interventions focusing on speeding, drunk driving, seat belt and helmet use.
  • The report was released ahead of the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) high-level meeting on Global Road Safety, at which member countries pledged to reduce road deaths and injuries by half by 2030. 

What’s in today’s article:

  • UNGA adopts resolution on improving global road safety
  • High-Level Meeting on Global Road Safety (Background, about the meeting)
  • News Summary (Findings of the Lancet report) 

UNGA adopts resolution on improving global road safety:

  • The UNGA adopted a new resolution on road safety in 2020.
  • The UNGA recognizes the role of the Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) in implementing the UN Road Safety Strategy for reducing road traffic crashes and fatalities.
    • The UNDSS was formally established in 2005, to support and enable the effective conduct of UN activities by ensuring a coherent, effective and timely response to all security-related threats and other emergencies
  • The resolution also includes the following key provisions:
    • Endorses the Stockholm Declaration (adopted in 2020, it connects road safety to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development).
    • Proclaims Road Safety 2021 - 2030 (a Second Decade of Action), with a goal to reduce deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030.
      • This is an adjustment to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.6 - halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020.
    • Agrees to convene a high-level meeting of the UNGA on road safety by the end of 2022.

 High-Level Meeting on Global Road Safety (June 30 - July 1, 2022):

  • Background:
    • Every year, nearly 1.3 million people are killed in road accidents, which are the leading cause of death among children and young adults.
    • Aside from the human suffering caused by road traffic injuries, they also impose a significant economic burden on victims and their families, both in terms of treatment costs for the injured and lost productivity for those killed or disabled.
    • More broadly, road traffic injuries have a significant impact on national economies, costing countries 3% of their annual GDP.
    • As a result, SDG target 3.6 called for halving the number of road traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.
    • Ensured transportation system safety is also directly related to SDG targets on sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) and climate action (SDG 13).
  • About the High-level Meeting of the UNGA:
    • The High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on improving global road safety shall be held in New York in 2022.
    • The overall theme of the High-level Meeting will be “The 2030 horizon for road safety: securing a decade of action and delivery”.
    • It will address gaps and challenges by mobilizing political leadership, promoting multisectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration in this area and assessing progress toward the SDG road safety-related targets.

News Summary - Findings of the Lancet report:

  • Background:
    • According to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRT&H) statistics, despite several years of policymaking to improve road safety, India remains one of the worst-performing countries in this area, with 1,47,913 people killed in road traffic accidents in 2017.
    • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figure for the same year is 1,50,093 road accident deaths.
    • Furthermore, India's data on road crash mortality is considered an undercount and the Global Burden of Disease report for 2017 estimates 2,18,876 deaths.
    • The persistently high annual death toll brings into question the country’s ability to meet SDG 3.6.
  • Key highlights of the Lancet report:
    • Every year, approximately 14 lakh people are killed and nearly 5 crores are injured in traffic accidents worldwide.
      • More than half of those killed are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
    • Low and middle-income countries (LMIC) bear the greatest burden of road fatalities and injuries, with high economic costs ranging from 3 - 5% of GDP in 2014.
    • In 2019, India amended its motor vehicle law, but its implementation by state governments is inconsistent and incomplete.
      • The Motor Vehicles Act established a National Road Safety Board with advisory powers to reform road safety.
    • Indian state governments continue to prioritize user behavior (drivers and other road users), education and uneven enforcement.
      • Low priority is given to structural changes such as raising engineering standards for roads, signage and signals, training for scientific accident investigation, improving policing skills, etc.
      • According to the MoRT&H, rural areas accounted for more than 65% of those killed in road accidents in 2019.
      • However, the death rate in densely populated urban areas (32.9%) suggests that better engineering and enforcement can easily reduce fatalities in the current decade.
  • Proposals for India:
    • The report proposes that India and other countries could cut accident-related deaths by 25 to 40%.
      • This is based on evidence that preventive interventions produce good outcomes when applied to four well-known risk factors - high speed, driving under the influence of alcohol, not using proper helmets, not wearing seat-belts and not using child restraints.
    • Major interventions in India, first proposed by the Sundar Committee (2007) and ordered by the Supreme Court (S. Rajasekaran vs Union of India), needs immediate implementation.
      • The measures include establishing a centralized national body for road safety and establishing decentralized responsibility at the district level.
    • Recently, the National Road Safety Board Rules, 2021, call for the formation of technical working groups to address issues such as crash investigation and forensics, which is a positive beginning.

 

Social Issues

Current Affairs
July 1, 2022

UDYAMI BHARAT PROGRAMME
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches several schemes and programmes at Udyami Bharat Programme in New Delhi.
current affairs image

About:

  • During the event, Mr Modi launched the Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance (RAMP) Scheme, Capacity Building of First-Time MSME Exporters Scheme and new features of the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme PMEGP.
  • He added that the Centre has increased the budget by more than 650 percent in the last eight years to strengthen the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.
  • A self-reliant fund of 50 thousand crore rupees has been released for the sector. The Prime Minister also asked MSMEs to register on the GeM portal for supplying goods to the government.
  • Modi said the government has decided that for orders up to 200 crore rupees, no global tender will be undertaken and this is in some ways a reservation for the MSMEs.
  • Under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme, the central government has ensured 3.5 lakh crore rupees for the MSMEs. 
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
July 1, 2022

EKNATH SHINDE
Shivsena rebel leader Eknath Shinde was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
current affairs image

About:

  • Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office to Mr. Shinde. He has become the 20th Chief Minister of the state.
  • Besides, Mr Shinde, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis was sworn-in as Deputy Chief Minister.
  • The trust vote of the new government will be held on Saturday. The special session of the Assembly will be held on July 2 and 3. The Speaker will be elected on the first day of the session.
  • Shinde, who revolted against former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on June 20, was joined by 39 Sena MLAs and 11 Independents.
  • The rebel MLAs had demanded that Mr. Thackeray quit the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and snap ties with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to return to the path of Hindutva. 
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
July 1, 2022

BUSINESS REFORM ACTION PLAN (BRAP)- 2020
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman released the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP)- 2020 in New Delhi.
current affairs image

About:

  • In the report, seven states have been identified as the top achievers based on implementation of the Business Reforms Action Plan. The states are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Punjab, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
  • The report further mentioned that Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh figure under the Achievers category. While Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Kerala, Rajasthan and West Bengal have been placed in the Aspirers category.
  • Andaman and Nicobar, Bihar, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Puducherry and Tripura have been clubbed under the Emerging Business Ecosystems category. 
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Study Material
6 hours ago

Current Affairs

Current Affairs
July 1, 2022

EX-SERVICEMEN CONTRIBUTORY HEALTH SCHEME (ECHS)
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today approved enhanced monetary limits for procurement of drugs and consumables for Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS).
current affairs image

About:

  • He approved the enhancement of the monetary ceiling for purchase of Not Available, emergent, lifesaving and essential drugs by 100 per cent in all categories of polyclinics from Authorised Local Chemists. This will ensure easy and timely availability of medicines for ECHS beneficiaries.
  • There have been various representations from the veterans regarding supply of medicines.
  • The government has already undertaken a series of modifications to procedures of procurement of medicines for ECHS beneficiaries.
Source : All India Radio
Health

Current Affairs
July 1, 2022

EXTERNAL DEBT
India’s external debt rose to $620.7 billion at end-March 2022, recording an increase of $47.1 billion over the year earlier period, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed.
current affairs image

About:

  • The external debt to GDP ratio declined to 19.9% at end-March 2022, from 21.2% a year earlier.
  • Valuation gains on account of the appreciation of the U.S. dollar vis-à-vis the Indian rupee and major currencies including the Japanese yen and euro was estimated at $11.7 billion.
  • Excluding the valuation effect, external debt would have increased by $58.8 billion instead of $47.1 billion at end-March 2022 over end-March 2021, the RBI said.
  • India’s long-term debt (with original maturity of above one year) rose to $499.1 billion, recording an increase of $26.5 billion over its level at end-March 2021, RBI data showed. During the same period, the share of short-term debt in total external debt increased to 19.6% from 17.6%.
  • Similarly, the ratio of short-term debt to foreign exchange reserves increased to 20%. U.S. dollar-denominated debt remained the largest component of external debt, with a share of 53.2%.
  • Separately, the RBI said net claims of non-residents on India increased by $5.6 billion during the fourth quarter of 2021-22 to $359.8 billion in March 2022.
Source : The Hindu
Economy
Load More...