CAO The Hindu NOTES – 14th Mar, 2018 (Daily News Paper Current Affairs Analysis)

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Date:- 14th Mar 2018

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POST-SCAM, RBI STOPS ISSUE OF LOUS (GS 3 ECONOMY)

The Reserve Bank of India today decided to discontinue issuance of letters of undertaking (LoU) and letters of comfort (LoC) for trade credit for imports into India.

The system had come under scrutiny after its loopholes were exploited by celebrity jeweler Nirav Modi and his partner Mehul Choksi to perpetrate the massive Rs. 11,000 crore fraud at the Punjab National Bank.

However Banks can continue to issue guarantees and letter of credit for trade purpose. This is because in case  Guarantees and LoCs the receiving banks conduct their own credit appraisal on companies before accepting them which reduces the risk of defaults  whereas for Letter of Undertaking and Letter of Comfort the receiving banks depends completely on the issuing bank on creditworthiness

About LoU

Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and Letters of Comfort (LoCs) are lending instruments through which one bank assures overseas branches of other Indian banks of the liability on customer’s behalf.

LoUs are used by a bank’s customer to avail short-term credit in a foreign country. These transactions are not retail in nature and are mostly used by businesses for import of good


TB ELIMINATION GOAL ADVANCED BY FIVE YEARS (GS 2 GOVT SCHMES)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India has set a target for complete elimination of Tuberculosis (TB) by 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030

Government is implementing a national strategic plan (NSP) to end TB by 2025 with funding of over Rs12,000 crore for the next three years to ensure every TB patient has access to quality diagnosis, treatment and support.

The new NSP adopts a multi-pronged approach which aims to detect all TB patients with an emphasis on reaching TB patients seeking care from private providers and undiagnosed TB in high-risk populations, treat all patients irrespective of where they seek care adopting a patient-centric approach, prevent emergence of TB in susceptible population groups and build empowered institutions and human resources to streamline implementation.

Government also plans starting a new scheme for nutritional support, expanding public-private partnership models and aligning strategies to follow the similar success country witnessed in HIV /AIDS and using Information Technology (IT) tools for monitoring the programme and treatment adherence.

TB is the leading infectious killer in India. There were an estimated 28 lakh new cases of TB in 2016, with over 4 lakh people succumbing to the disease, including those with TB and HIV.


WHAT WAS THE 20:80 GOLD IMPORT SCHEME (GS 2 GOVT SCHEMS

The 20:80 gold import schemes are in news following allegations of corruption

What is the scheme

Due to a surge in gold imports and widening current account deficit, the government at the time introduced an import scheme in 2013, which mandated that 20% of all gold imports would have to be exported.

It was intended to save forex by restricting the import of gold through imposing export obligations

At the time of its implementation, the 20:80 scheme was open only to banks and to public sector companies. Later in 2014 it was extended to private sector entities (it’s these circumstances behind the extension that government intends to probe)

The government on November 28, 2014 scrapped the 20:80 scheme and removed all restrictions on gold imports.


BIG DAMS ONLY BENEFIT CONTRACTORS (GS 3 INFRASTRUCTURE)

Building large dams for its own sake was counter-productive and only served to benefit contractors said Union Minister for Water Resources, Nitin Gadkari.

Mr. Gadkari suggested that instead of going in for large dams, the possibility of building check dams, rubber dams and small barrages should be explored

There is a need to develop command areas to ensure that water reaches farms, without which big dams are of no use. Command area development (CAD) involves on-farm improvement activities such as the construction of field drains and channels and scientific management of water to ensure an increase in agricultural production

Context

Building mega dams was a major part India’s developmental projects. Several Multipurpose projects has been implemented since independence with the Sardar Sarovar Dam being the latest addition to the list. But the success and benefits of these mega projects has always been a matter of debate. Some reason for doubts over its effectiveness are ;-

  • Siltation Issue – Apart from directly reducing water storage capacity, siltation also decreases water capacity due to increased evaporation loss
  • Rehabilitation issue- Rehabilitation of the displaced people have always been a major issue with most of times the displaced not being compensated.
  • Bio-diversity challenge – Once the dam is constructed flow of water is reduced in the river. This creates challenge for habitat and biodiversity on downstream course of the river.

ICMR WINS THE 2017 KOCHON PRIZE FOR TB RESEARCH (PRELIMS)

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was awarded the International Kochon Prize 2017 for encouraging research and development (R&D) efforts towards tuberculosis treatment.

ICMR received award from the Kochon Foundation, a non-profit organisation from Korea, for establishing the India TB Research Consortium to accelerate R&D efforts in the country.


The Kochon Prize is awarded annually by Stop TB Partnership to individuals and/or organizations that have made a significant contribution to combating TB

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