Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - July 24, 2018

Human Resource Development

Study in India Programme To make India an educational hub for foreign students

WHAT

  • To facilitate Internationalization of Higher Education in India, a Programme viz. ‘Study in India’ has been launched on 18.04.2018

Objective

  • To make India an education hub for foreign students; improve the soft power of India with focus on the neighbouring countries and use it as a tool in diplomacy
  • To rapidly increase the inflow of inbound International Students in India through a systematic brand-building, marketing, social media and digital marketing campaigns
  • To increase India’s market share of global education exports; improvement in overall quality of higher education
  • To reduce the export-import imbalance in the number of international students; growth in India’s global market share of International students; and increase in global ranking of India etc.

Enlighten about the programme

  • To start with, the programme focuses on International students from select 30 countries across South-East Asia, Middle East and Africa for a period of two years i.e. for the academic years 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • The programme envisages participation of select reputed Indian institutes/universities by way of offering seats for the International students at affordable rates.
  • This Programme does not offer any Scholarships, however, fee waivers to meritorious foreign students ranging from 100% to 25% are offered.
  • A centralised admission web-portal (https://studyinindia.gov.in/) acts as a single window for the admission of foreign students.
  • EdCIL(India) Limited is the implementing agency for the Programme.

India and its neighbours

India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border Haats First meeting held in Agartala Border Haat at Kamlasagar (Sipahijala District, Tripura) – Tarapur (Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh)

WHAT

  • The first meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border Haats was held on 22-23 July 2018 inAgartala, Tripura.
  • In the meeting both sides noted the positive impact of Border Haats on the livelihoods of the people living in areas adjoining the Haats.
  • India and Bangladesh on Monday signed an agreement to set up six new border haats (markets) in the northeastern states adjoining the international border with Bangladesh by March 2019.
  • It was agreed that the next meeting would be held in Bangladesh on mutually agreed dates.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Border Haats between India and Bangladesh signed on 8th April 2017 provides for establishment of a Joint Committee to review the border haats operations, suggest modifications in the operational modalities and propose new locations of Border Haats.
  • Border haats were started to develop the lifestyle of people living near the international border and promote bilateral trade according to an MoU signed in 2010.

Human Resource Development

National Resource Centres (NRCs) to prepare online training material for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

WHAT

  • The Government has identified 75 institutions to act as National Resource Centres (NRCs) to prepare online training material for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • 75 discipline-specific National Resource Centres have been identified, under the Ministry’s Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) located in various Central Universities
  • These NRCs cover wide ranging disciplines of Social Sciences, Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Design & Manufacturing, Humanities, Language Teaching, Commerce, Management, Education Planning and Administration, Public Policy, Leadership & Governance, Library & Information Science, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Assessment and Evaluation, Pedagogy and research methods, cutting edge areas of Nano-sciences, Internet of Things, etc.
  • Under this initiative, all in-service teachers, irrespective of their subject and seniority have an enabling opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments in their disciplines through the technology based online refresher course, through SWAYAM, India’s own MOOCs platform.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0

  • The Government has successfully launched Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0.
  • The UBA 2.0 was officially launched on 25th April, 2018

Enlighten about Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

  • It is a flagship programme of the Ministry of HRD, it aims to link the Higher Education Institutions with set of at least (5) villages, so that these institutions can contribute to the economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.
  • It is a significant initiative where all Higher Learning Institutes have been involved for participation in development activities, particularly in rural areas.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India.

Objective of the scheme are

(i) To engage the faculty and students of Higher Educational Institutions in understanding rural realities
(ii) (ii) Identify and select existing innovative technologies, enable customization of technologies, or devise implementation methods for innovative solutions, as required by people; and
(iii) (iii) To allow Higher Educational Institutions to contribute to devising systems for smooth implementation of various Government Programs.

  • Currently 748 Institutions are participating under the scheme.
  • In the phase -2 of the scheme 605 institutions are selected. Out of these 313 are Technical Institutions and 292 are Non-Technical Institutions.

Ministry of Labour & Employment

Proposed National Policy for Domestic Workers

  • Policy for Domestic Workers, the salient features of the proposed Policy -

i. Inclusion of Domestic Workers in the existing legislations
ii. Registration of Domestic workers.
iii. Right to form their own associations, trade unions
iv. Right to have minimum wages, access to social security, protection from abuse, harassment, violence
v. Right to enhance their professional skills
vi. Protection of Domestic Workers from abuse and exploitation
vii. Domestic Workers to have access to courts, tribunals, etc.
viii. Establishment of a mechanism for regulation of placement agencies.

  • Many of the State Government like Rajasthan, Kerala, Punjab, Tamilnadu and Tripura have included domestic workers in the schedule of the Minimum Wages Act and workers are, therefore, entitled to file cases before the concerned authorities in case of any grievance in this regard.

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog signs SoI with Lupin Foundation for Collaborating in Aspirational Districts

WHAT

  • A Statement of Intent (SoI) was signed today between NITI Aayog and Lupin Foundation to collaborate in Aspirational Districts Programme.

WHY

  • The NITI Aayog and Lupin Foundation are collaborating to improve indicators in education, health & nutrition, financial inclusion and skill development, agriculture and water resources and basic infrastructure in Aspirational Districts of India.

Enlighten about the SoI

  • Lupin Foundation, with the NITI Aayog, will work in three states - Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan - to facilitate the creation of an ideal template to develop economic strength, technological viability and moral leadership across three districts in these states as part of Phase I of the cooperation.
  • Phase I of this cooperation with NITI Aayog will focus on the districts of Dholpur in Rajasthan, Nandurbar in Maharashtra and Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, and help develop a comprehensive district-level action plan with integrates various initiatives and interventions.

Enlighten about the area of work

  • Lupin Foundation will work towards three main pillars of ensuring integrated developmental policy in the model states – social development, which will include initiatives for health, education and women empowerment; economic empowerment, focussing interventions in spheres of agriculture, animal husbandry and skill enhancement; and infrastructure development

Enlighten about Aspirational District Programme

  • Launched by the central government in January this year, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme aims to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.
  • The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a Mass Movement or a Jan Andolan.
  • With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
  • This program focuses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy.
  • Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure are this programme’s core areas of focus.
  • Districts are prodded and encouraged to first catch-up with the best district within their state, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others in the spirit of competitive & cooperative federalism.

Enlighten about Lupin and Lupin Foundation:

  • Lupin is an innovation-led pharmaceutical company with a global footprint and known for its generic medicines.
  • Lupin Foundation is a trust, NGO, independent body promoted by Lupin Ltd. Formed in 1988, decades before CSR became mandatory, showing its commitment beyond just compliance.
  • The Foundation works towards creating an alternative model of rural development which is sustainable, replicable and ever evolving essentially empowering under privileged and marginalized sections of society and providing basic infrastructure and balanced ecological base to the villages.

Banking/Economy

Inter-Creditor Agreement (ICA) 24 public, private and foreign banks have signed inter-creditor agreements under Sashakt to resolve stressed assets

  • Leading lenders of the country signed an agreement among themselves to grant power to the lead lender of the consortium to draw up a resolution plan for stressed assets.
  • The plan would be implemented in a time-bound manner before bankruptcy proceedings kick in, as was the mandate of the Reserve Bank.
  • The move comes after the banking regulator, in its February 12 circular, dismantled all the existing resolution mechanisms, such as the joint lenders’ forum, and asked lenders to start resolution for the asset even if the default was by one day.
  • It had also mandated that if the resolution plan was not finalised within 180 days, the account had to be referred for bankruptcy proceedings.

Enlighten about the agreement

  • The agreement, known as Inter-Creditor Agreement (ICA) was framed under the aegis of the Indian Banks Association and follows the recommendations of the Sunil Mehta Committee on stressed asset resolution.
  • Lenders including State Bank of India, Bank of India, and Corporation Bank have already signed the pact.
  • The ICA has been executed by 24 lenders, primarily those who have obtained their board approvals

Enlighten about the working procedure of ICA

  • The ICA is applicable to all corporate borrowers who have availed loans for an amount of ₹50 crore or more under consortium lending / multiple banking arrangements
  • The lender with the highest exposure to a stressed borrower will be authorised to formulate the resolution plan which will be presented to all lenders for their approval.
  • The decision making shall be by way of approval of ‘majority lenders’ (i.e. the lenders with 66% share in the aggregate exposure).
  • Once a resolution plan is approved by the majority..., it shall be binding on all the lenders that are a party to the ICA
  • Dissenting lenders can either sell their exposure to another lender at a 15% discount or buy the entire exposure of all the banks involved, at a 25% premium.

India slips 3 ranks in AT Kearney’s FDI Confidence Index

WHAT

  • India in 2018 has fallen out of the top 10 destinations for FDI in terms of its attractiveness, according to an AT Kearney report

Why

  • It could be due to teething troubles in the implementation of the goods and services tax and the government’s demonetisation decision in 2016.

India’s Rank

  • India ranks 11 in the 2018 AT Kearney FDI Confidence Index, down from 8 in 2017 and 9 in 2016.

Reason for this

  • The 2017 nationwide goods and services tax, for example, has faced implementation challenges, and the 2016 demonetisation initiative disrupted business activity and weighed on economic growth

Reforms done by the government to attract FDI

  • Reforms — such as removing the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and liberalising FDI limits in key sectors — that have maintained India’s high rankings in terms of FDI attractiveness.
  • Notable reforms include the elimination of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, a government agency responsible for reviewing all potential foreign investment, and the liberalisation of foreign investment thresholds for the retail, aviation, and biomedical industries

Sources – PIB , The Hindu , Business Standard