CSE-2019 | Prelims Daily Quiz 50

Question:

Consider the following statements about National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC):

1. It has no private sector participation.

2. It serves skill requirements of foreign countries.

3. Apart from skill development, it is also involved in marketing.

 

Choose the correct statements from the codes given below:

A) 1 and 2 only

B) 2 only

C) 2 and 3 only

D) 3 only

C) 2 and 3 only

  • NSDC is a public-private-partnership.
  • The organisation is also involved in catering to the skilled manpower requirement of overseas markets, most notably that of Japan and UAE.
  • It also plays the role of a "market-maker" by bringing financing, particularly in sectors where market mechanisms are ineffective or missing.

Essential Facts (Prelims): 30 November, 2018


PSLV

  • PSLV-C43 successfully launched 31 satellites.
  • from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) today in Sriharikota.
  • It injected India’s Hyper-Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) into a 645 km sun-synchronous polar orbit.
  • It took 17 minutes and 19 seconds after the lift-off.
  • PSLV is a four stage launch vehicle with a large solid rocket motor forming the first stage, an earth storable liquid stage as the second stage, a high performance solid rocket motor as third stage and a liquid stage with engines as fourth stage.
  • It was the 45th flight of PSLV and 13th one in the Core Alone configuration.
  • So far, the PSLV has launched 44 Indian and nine satellites built by students from Indian universities. The vehicle has also launched 269 international customer satellites.
  • HysIS is an earth observation satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite2 (IMS-2) bus weighing about 380kg. The mission life of the satellite is five years.

HysIS

  • The primary goal of HysIS is to study the earth’s surface in both the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Data from the satellite will be used for a wide range of applications including agriculture, forestry, soil/geological environments, coastal zones and inland waters, etc.
  • The main purpose of the HysIS is to exactly identify the objects on the surface of the earth with high precision and resolution.

PISA

  • The organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) has agreed to tweak the PISA test questions to fit the Indian context.
  • India has decided to end its decade-long boycott of the examination..
  • PISA or Programme for International Student Assessment — introduced in the year 2000 by OECD — tests the learning levels of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science.
  • The test is carried out every three years.
  • India stayed away from PISA in 2012 and 2015 on account of its dismal performance in 2009.
  • The government had blamed “out of context” questions for the poor show in 2009.

RBI-NBFC

  • RBI has decided to relax the Minimum Holding Period (MHP) requirement for originating NBFCs.
  • They are now allowed to securitise loans with maturity of more than five years as compared to one year earlier.
  • This move of RBI aims to make more liquidity available to non-banking finance firms.
  • The NBFC sector is facing liquidity shortage after Infrastructure Leasing & Finance Services, a core investment company, started defaulting on loans.

RBI-LEI

  • RBI has decided to make Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code mandatory for all market participants regulated by the central bank.
  • The LEI code has been conceived of as a key measure to improve the quality and accuracy of financial data systems for better risk management post the global financial crisis.
  • The LEI is a 20-character unique identity code assigned to entities who are parties to a financial transaction.
  • Globally, use of LEI has expanded beyond derivative reporting and it is being used in areas relating to banking, securities market, credit rating and market supervision.

Mini placenta

  • Scientists have successfully created ‘mini-placentas’ that can provide a window into early pregnancy and help transform our understanding of reproductive disorders such as still-birth and miscarriage.
  • The placenta supplies all the oxygen and nutrients essential for growth of the foetus.
  • It may also be used for screening the safety of drugs.

KONKAN

  • KONKAN is a bilateral exercise between navies of India and UK.
  • The KONKAN series of exercises commenced in 2004.

 

CSE-2019 | Prelims Daily Quiz 49

Question:

Consider the following statements about banks in India:

1. Only central government can hold a majority stake in a public-sector bank.

2. The central government holding in public-sector banks cannot drop below 51%.

 

Choose the correct statement/s from the codes given below:

A) 1 only

B) 2 only

C) Both 1 and 2

D) Neither 1 nor 2

B) 2 only

  • J & K bank is the only bank in India in which a state government holds a majority stake. In all public-sector banks, the majority stake is held by the Centre.
  • As per the Banking Companies Act, the central government holding in public-sector banks cannot drop below 51%.

Essential Facts (Prelims): 29 November, 2018


J&K bank

  • Recently, the J &K Governor approved a proposal for treating Jammu and Kashmir Bank (J&K Bank) Ltd as a public-sector undertaking.
  • It will hence be accountable to the state legislature, and the Finance Department will be required to place the bank’s annual report before the Assembly.
  • J & K bank I=is the only bank in India in which a state government holds a majority stake. In all public-sector banks, the majority stake is held by the Centre.
  • As per the Banking Companies Act, the central government holding in public-sector banks cannot drop below 51%.
  • Though the state government holds 59.3% in J&K Bank, it is not considered a public-sector bank. This unique status needs to be seen in the context of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives special autonomous status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Given the existing laws, treating J&K Bank as a PSU faces a couple of obstacles. According to Article 246 of the Seventh Schedule, banking as a subject comes under the Union list.
  • The Centre holding majority stake in public-sector banks is fine; J&K Bank being classified as an old private-sector bank is fine too. But changing its character to that of a J&K PSU will be akin to empowering the state to have powers over banking.

NSDC

  • NSDC is a public-private-partnership,.
  • It works under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
  • NSDC aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality and for-profit vocational institutions.
  • The organisation provides funding to build scalable and profitable vocational training initiatives.
  • It also develops appropriate models to enhance, support and coordinate private sector initiatives.
  • NSDC supports short-term skill training through a wide network of training providers and district nodal skill centres called Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK).
  • Besides, the organisation is involved in re-skilling and also in catering to the skilled manpower requirement of overseas markets, most notably that of Japan and UAE.

Economic growth

  • The government, in 2015, changed the methodology and the base-year for the computation of its economic performance.
  • The news methodology was Gross Value Added (GVA) method from the earlier GDP calculations.
  • Further, the government forwarded the base-year to 2011-12 from 2004-05.

Export

  • In the last 6 months, fish oil is the second product to get clearance from China.
  • A few months ago, during the Wuhan meet, the protocol for Indian rice export to China was signed.

Blue economy

  • Blue Economy remains a critical aspect of India’s economic development agenda, and more than 95% of our trade is being carried on by sea.
  • Kenya is hosting the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference with Canada and Japan as co-hosts.

 

Value Added Article: Ayushman Bharat—Long Live Private Healthcare | Category – Development and Welfare | Source – EPW

Relevance: GS Paper II (Development & Welfare)

Source:

Economic and Political Weekly


Introduction

A healthy population is a key contributor to the development of human capital, which, in turn, is the primary ingredient for growth.


Health expenditure in India

  • According to the World Bank, health expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in India was 3.8% in 2015.
  • This was 16.8% for the United States and 9.9% for the world as a whole.

Significance of health insurance

  • Fifteen percent of the Indian population is insured, and 94% of the health expenditure is paid by individuals out of pocket.
  • Hence, health shocks have the potential to drive individuals and families into perennial debt traps.
  • Providing the poor with health insurance not only can improve the health of individuals, but it has much bigger potential positive spillovers. It might be the key to driving families out of the vicious cycle of poverty.

Provisions of the Ayushman Bharat

  • Ayushman Bharat—National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) is to provide coverage of ₹ 5 lakh per family.
  • It will target more than 100 million families belonging to the poor and vulnerable sections of the population, based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) database.
  • It will also provide primary care assistance by upgrading the government health centres.
  • The insurance amount has also been increased to ₹ 5 lakh.
  • There are also plans of digitisation of the entire process.
  • The government aims to cover 40% of the entire population.

Issues with Ayushman Bharat

  • One of the major issues with the scheme is how to make it sustainable as it will further add to the fiscal burden. Also, since state governments have to bear 40% of the costs, this would further add to the fiscal burden of the states.
  • About 80% of doctors and 75% of dispensaries are serving urban India, which makes up only 28% of the country’s population, leaving the rest in dire need of basic health facilities.
  • There are only 0.9 hospital beds per 1,000 population, whereas the figure is 6.5 per 1,000 population for developed countries.
  • India had access to 0.6 doctors per 1,000 population while the figure was around three for developed countries.
  • Lack of government health services would result in dependence on the private sector which will skyrocket the costs.
  • Given the fact that the health insurance covers private facilities, this might be an encouragement for government doctors to go in for private practice or set up private nursing homes,
  • Since people know that they have access to expensive private hospitals, they might choose to use their services for even minor ailments.
  • It might also encourage people to save less and indulge in more risky expenditure like on cigarettes and tobacco.
  • If malpractice is not kept in check, it is very easy to exhaust the entire insurance amount in one go.

Conclusion

We require monitoring agencies that will look into all these aspects. AB-NHPM has a lot of potential, but it might turn into a nightmare if not carefully implemented. These issues need to be kept in mind by the policymakers. We also need better data so that the various dimensions can be analysed.


 

Essential Facts (Prelims): 28 November, 2018


HysIS

  • HysIS, the country’s first hyperspectral imaging satellite for advanced earth observation.
  • A hyperspectral imaging camera in space can provide well-defined images that can help identify objects on earth far more clearly than regular optical or remote sensing cameras
  • The primary goal of HysIS is to study the Earth’s surface in visible, near-infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. HysIS will be ISRO’s first full-scale working satellite with this capability.

Interoperability

  • SEBI has announced the guidelines for interoperability of clearing corporations.
  • Such interoperability is expected to bring down the compliance costs for market intermediaries and thereby the trading costs as well.
  • Interoperability among clearing corporations refers to the linking of multiple clearing corporations, which effectively allows market participants to consolidate their clearing and settlement functions at a single clearing corporation, irrespective of the stock exchange on which the trade is executed.

NPAs

  • The gross non-performing assets of all scheduled commercial banks are around ₹10 lakh crore.
  • Public sector banks accounted for more than 85% 86.6% of all gross NPAs of scheduled commercial banks.

SFIO

  • Centre gives Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) powers to stop defaulters from fleeing the country.
  • SFIO is a statutory body, under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and investigates matters related to serious fraud in a company.
  • The power to make arrests under Section 212 (8) of the Act was granted to SFIO in August last year.
  • The SFIO, which functions under the Corporate Affairs Ministry, often begins investigations soon after a crime is detected, ahead of the CBI or Customs.

Liquidity

  • The Reserve Bank of India has decided to inject a higher amount of Rs 40,000 crore through purchase of government securities under open market operations (OMOs) .
  • The liquidity deficit in the banking system can be attributed to
    • the higher fund requirements for meeting the festive season demand,
    • liquidity concerns witnessed in the NBFC sector and
    • increased forex sales to stem the rupee depreciations.

 

CSE-2019 | Prelims Daily Quiz 48

Question:

Consider the following statements about fiscal deficit that have recently been in news:

1. Lower non-tax revenue will result in the government likely missing its fiscal deficit target for the year.

2. Fiscal deficit in FY19 is estimated to be ₹6.24 lakh crore.

3. Fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP has been more than 3 % for three consecutive years ( 2017-19)

 

Choose the correct statement/s from the codes given below:

A) 1 only

B) 1 and 3 only

C) 2 and 3 only

D) 1, 2 and 3

B) 1 and 3 only

  • Lower than expected indirect tax and non-tax revenue will result in the government likely missing its fiscal deficit target for the year.
  • Fiscal deficit in FY19 is estimated to be ₹6.67 lakh crore as against the budgeted ₹6.24 lakh crore.
  • FY19 will be the third consecutive year in which fiscal deficit/GDP will be 3.5%.

Gist of Editorials: From Plate to Plough (Indian Express) | GS – III

Relevance : GS Paper III (Indian Economy)

[1000 words reduced to 150]


  • Doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022-23 cannot be realised with loan waivers and higher MSPs
  • In fact, they may worsen the condition of agriculturists over the medium to long run by:
    • eating into the scarce resources of the sector,
    • shrinking public investments in agriculture and
    • lower growth in this sector.
  • Way forward
    • Ushering in structural reforms.
    • getting the agri-markets right
    • farmers’ access to best technologies
    • augmenting investments in agri-R&D
    • fixing the weak Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime
    • massive investments in areas such as better water management technologies
    • institutional reforms in land management
    • reforms in agri-credit markets
    • Streamlining crop-insurance
    • Reforming the Essential Commodities Act
    • Export and domestic marketing policies need to be liberalised.
    • Agricultural growth rate of more than 10 per cent per annum.

 

Editorial Simplified: From Plate to Plough | GS – III

Relevance: GS Paper III (Indian Economy)


Introduction

The prime minister’s promise to double farmers’ real incomes by 2022-23 cannot be realised with loan waivers and higher MSPs.


Can freebies put Indian agriculture on sustainable high-growth path and augment farmers’ incomes?

  • The answer is “no”. In fact, they may worsen the condition of agriculturists over the medium to long run.
  • These band-aid solutions will eat into the scarce resources of the sector, shrink public investments in agriculture and lower growth in this sector.
  • Such promises of freebies take away the focus from structural reforms that are urgently required in the agriculture sector.
  • Even the current MSPs of kharif crops that were announced on the formula of 50 per cent margin over cost A2+FL does not give much comfort to farmers as the market prices of most kharif crops are way below (10 to 40 per cent) these MSPs.

Way Forward

  • What Indian agriculture and farmers need from political parties is the promise to usher in structural reforms.
  • These include getting the agri-markets right so that farmers get fair prices for their produce, ensuring that farmers have access to best technologies from the Indian Council of Agriculture research, CGIAR or the best private sector companies, local or global.
  • This would require augmenting investments in agri-R&D, and fixing the weak Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime.
  • This would also require massive investments in better water management technologies, fertiliser use management, improved organic culture and bio-technologies, including GM technologies.
  • These have to be coupled with institutional reforms in land management by freeing up land-lease markets and reforms in agri-credit markets by increasing the reach of institutional credit to small and marginal farmers — rather than giving heavy interest subvention.
  • Streamlining crop-insurance — the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana — and e-NAM would take time, and require a lot of perseverance.
  • The Essential Commodities Act needs to be drastically pruned and reformed.
  • Export and domestic marketing policies need to be liberalised.
  • Doubling farmers’ real incomes by 2022-23 over a base of 2015-16 requires a growth rate of more than 10 per cent per annum.