CAO The Hindu NOTES – 13th June, 2018 (Daily News Paper Current Affairs Analysis)

📰THE HINDU NEWSPAPER DAILY  Hindu Current Affairs Analysis

Date:- 13th June 2018


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Global warming may take its toll on vegetables (GS 3 Env)

  • Global warming is expected to make vegetables significantly scarcer around the world, unless new growing practices and resilient crop varieties are adopted.
  • By the end of this century, less water and hotter air will combine to cut average yields of vegetables — which are crucial to a healthy diet — by nearly one third.

Details: A 4 degree Celsius increase in temperature, which scientists expect by 2100 if global warming continues on its current trajectory, reduces average yields by 31.5%.

The study shows that environmental changes such as increased temperature and water scarcity may pose a real threat to global agricultural production, with likely further impacts on food security and population health.

Southern Europe, large parts of Africa and South Asia may be particularly affected.

The findings are based on a systematic review of 174 studies examining the impact of environmental exposures on yield and nutritional content of vegetables and legumes since 1975.

The analysis suggests that if we take a ‘business as usual’ approach, environmental changes will reduce the global availability of these important foods and so urgent action needs to be taken.

RBI data shows low recoveries of NPAs (GS 3 Eco)

  • While public sector banks have claimed a 1, 50,960 crore reduction in their non performing asset (NPA) levels over 2017-18, about 55% of this was due to write-offs and only 27% was actual recoveries.
  • This has been found by the data provided by RBI Governor Urjit Patel to the parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.

Details: According to the data, public sector banks saw a 1, 50,960 crore reduction in their NPA levels from the start of financial year 2017-18 till December 31, 2017.

However, the data also showed that the same period saw 2, 37,475 crore of loans being added to the NPA list, thereby leading to an overall worsening of the NPA situation. Further, within the 1, 50,960 crore ‘reduction in NPAs’, about 55% or 84,272 crore was due to write-offs.

The data shows that only 41,391 crore, or 27%, of the reduction in NPA levels was due to actual recoveries. In addition, 25,297 crore worth of loans were upgraded from NPA status.

Private sector banks saw a reduction of 46,091 crore in their NPA levels by December 31, 2017 compared with what they were as of April 1, 2017. But, fresh additions to the NPA list amounted to 60,800 crore.

For private sector banks, about 40.2% of the reduction in their NPA levels was due to write-offs.

Actual recoveries accounted for 34.2% of the reduction, while upgrades accounted for 24.1% of the reductions. Gross NPAs with public sector banks stood at 7, 77,280 crore at the end of December 2017, up from 5, 39,968 crore as on March 31, 2016. For private sector banks, gross NPA levels grew to 1, 07,796 crore by December 31, 2017 from 55,853 crore as on March 31, 2016.

The data also showed that bank frauds increased in both number and value over the last three years. While 4,693 frauds of more than 1 lakh were reported in 2015-16, this increased to 5,904 in 2017-18, an increase of about 26%.

Over the same period, the value of these frauds increased from 18,698.8 crore to 32,361.27 crore.

About NPA: A non performing asset (NPA) is referred to a loan amount for which the principal/ interest payment remained overdue for a time span of 90 days. But in case, a borrower fails to repay the loan (interest/principal/both) that loan becomes an NPA for the bank.

Banks classify NPAs into three categories, which are Sub-standard assets, Doubtful assets and Loss assets.

  1. Substandard assets are the ones which remained NPA for 12 months or less than that.
  2. If the asset crosses the 12-month time frame, it comes under the category of doubtful asset.
  3. The loss assets are the ones that had become of less value with the minimum recovery rate.

ISRO offers battery technology to firms (GS 3 S&T)

  • The drive for indigenously made lithium ion batteries on a large scale has got a push with the Indian Space Research Organisation offering its production technology to Indian industry.

Details: An RFQ (request for quotation) issued on Tuesday invites multiple qualified companies or startups to use its power storage technology to produce a range of Li ion cells for many purposes, mainly EVs or electric vehicles.

ISRO’s rocket sciences node Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre will transfer its in-house technology non-exclusively to each qualified production agency for a onetime fee of 1 crore, according to the document.

The Li ion cell production initiative is part of the government’s plan to achieve 100% EVs in the country by 2030.

Li ion battery is much in demand for use in handy consumer electronics goods too.

Currently the batteries are imported mostly from China, South Korea and Taiwan. To drive the Indian EV dream of the coming decades, national think tank NITI Aayog has also earlier called for setting up local production.

VSSC is now offering to transfer this technology to competent Indian industries/ startups on non-exclusive basis to establish Li ion cell production facilities in the country that can produce cells of varying size, capacity, energy density and power density, catering to the entire spectrum of power storage requirements.

A pre-bid conference has been scheduled for July 13 and the final proposals of shortlisted companies would be opened on August 14.

ISRO has also invited industries to take up other new technologies from its centre.

About National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020: Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises unveiled the plan in 2013. This Mission Plan has been designed mainly considering the Fuel Security and Environmental Pollution in the country.

Area of houses for subsidy scheme increased under PMAY (GS 2 Gov)

  • The Union government has increased the area of a house that can be eligible for the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

Details: The decision was approved by Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri. Currently, under Middle Income Group (MIG) I, houses with a carpet area up to 120 sq m are eligible for the subsidy; this has been increased to 160 sq m. Also under MIG II which subsidizes houses up to 150 sq m, the size has been increased to allow houses up to 200 square meters. This is the second time that such an increase in size has been affected.

MIG I cover those with an annual income between Rs 6 lakh and Rs.12 lakh providing an interest subsidy of 4 per cent for loan amounts up to Rs.9 lakh while MIG II provides an interest subsidy of 3 per cent for loans up to Rs 12 lakh for those earning Rs.12 lakh to Rs.18 lakh annually.

The subsidy, which was earlier available for only the economically weaker sections (EWS) and low income groups (LIG), was extended to middle classes under PMAY in January 2017. However, as compared to the EWS/ LIG component under which till date 1.33 lakh beneficiaries have come forward and Rs. 2890.50 crore disbursed, the uptake in the MIG segment has been slower. Merely Rs 736 crore has been disbursed to a total of 35,204 beneficiaries till June 2018.

The decision to increase the size of the house was taken following demands from various stakeholders. Many have said that in smaller towns, apartment and house sizes are bigger and therefore, the policy should take that into account.

This would boost the overall construction activity in housing sector which would have a “cascading effect on core sectors like cement, steel, machinery and other allied sectors.

About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana: PMAY was launched in June 2015. The Government envisages building affordable pucca houses with water facility, sanitation and electricity supply round-the-clock. The scheme originally was meant to cover people in the EWS (annual income not exceeding 3 lakh) and LIG (annual income not exceeding 6 lakh) sections, but now covers the mid-income group (MIG) as well.

PMAY scheme comprises of four key aspects. One, it aims to transform slum areas by building homes for slum dwellers in collaboration with private developers. Two, it plans to give a credit-linked subsidy to weaker and mid income sections on loans taken for new construction or renovation of existing homes.

An interest subsidy of 3 per cent to 6.5 per cent has been announced for loans ranging between 6 lakh and 12 lakh. For those in the EWS and LIG category who wish to take a loan of up to 6 lakh, there is an interest subsidy (concession) of 6.5 per cent for tenure of 15 years. So far around 20,000 people have availed of loans under this scheme. This month, the Government increased the loan amount to 12 lakh, targeting the mid-income category. The interest subsidy on loans up to 12 lakh will be 3 per cent. In rural areas, interest subvention of 3 per cent is offered on loans up to 2 lakh for constructing new homes or extension of old homes.

Three, the Government will chip in with financial assistance for affordable housing projects done in partnership with States/ Union Territories for the EWS. Four, it will extend direct financial assistance of 1.5 lakh to EWS.

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