Current Affairs Current Affairs - 16 October 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 16 October 2017

General Affairs 

China Understands That India Is No More Weak: Rajnath Singh
  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the country's borders were "completely safe" and China has also started to understand that "India is no more weak".

    Mr Singh said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi India has become a powerful country and its prestige at the international level has also grown.

    Addressing a gathering in Lucknow, he referred to the recent Doklam stand-off and said, "India's borders are completely safe and China has started to understand that India is no more weak. Its strength has grown."

    The Union minister also said that the dispute related to China has been resolved. "Since the formation of the government at the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has become a powerful country in the world. India's prestige at the international level has grown," he said.

    Mr Singh also hit out at Pakistan for "sending terrorists" to India. "It (Pakistan) tries to break India, but our security personnel every day kill five to ten terrorists," he added.




    Further, he said participating in programmes organised by caste groups does not amount to indulging in vote-bank politics, and added: "We do not do politics only for votes. We do politics to build the society and the country."

    Mr Singh, who represents Lucknow in the Lok Sabha, said while assuming office, PM Modi had made it clear that his government will be dedicated to the poor people. He referred to schemes such as Jandhan Yojana and Ujjwala Yojana launched by the Centre to stress his point.

    He also lauded the BJP government for making cleanliness a mass movement and said the prime minister also aims at ending poverty in the country by 2022. "We will accomplish this within the time frame. Modi ji is the first prime minister who has ensured an easy access of
    the poor people to the banks," he added. 

Clams, Worms Release As Much Greenhouse Gas As 20,000 Cows, Says Report
  • Ocean clams and worms release a huge amount of harmful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, almost as much as 20,000 dairy cows, a study has found.

    Researchers from Cardiff University in the UK and Stockholm University in Sweden, have shown that the ocean critters are producing large amounts of the strongest greenhouse gases-methane and nitrous oxides - from the bacteria in their guts.

    Methane gas is making its way into the water and then finally out into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming - methane has 28 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide.

    A detailed analysis showed that around 10 per cent of total methane emissions from the Baltic Sea may be due to clams and worms.

    The researchers estimate that this is equivalent to as much methane given off as 20,000 dairy cows. This is as much as 10 per cent of the entire Welsh dairy cow population and one per cent of the entire UK dairy cow population.

    The findings, which have been published in the journal Scientific Reports, point to a so far neglected source of greenhouse gases in the sea and could have a profound impact on decision makers.


    It has been suggested that farming oysters, mussels and clams could be an effective solution against human pressures on the environment, such as eutrophication caused by the run-off of fertilisers into our waters.

    Researchers warn that stakeholders should consider these potential impacts before deciding whether to promote shellfish farming to large areas of the ocean.

    "What is puzzling is that the Baltic Sea makes up only about 0.1 per cent of Earth's oceans, implying that globally, apparently harmless bivalve animals at the bottom of the world's oceans may in fact be contributing ridiculous amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere that is unaccounted for," said Ernest Chi Fru, from Cardiff University.

    "It sounds funny but small animals in the seafloor may act like cows in a stable, both groups being important contributors of methane due to the bacteria in their gut," said Stefano Bonaglia, from Stockholm University.

    "These small yet very abundant animals may play an important, but so far neglected, role in regulating the emissions of greenhouse gases in the sea," said Bonaglia, lead author of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

    To arrive at their results the team analysed trace gas, isotopes and molecules from the worms and clams, known as polychaetes and bivalves respectively, taken from ocean sediments in the Baltic Sea.

    The team analysed both the direct and indirect contribution that these groups were having on methane and nitrous oxide production in the sea.

    The results showed that sediments containing clams and worms increased methane production by a factor of eight compared to completely bare sediments.

China Delays High-Speed Train Project For Chennai-Bengaluru: Report
  • An ambitious high speed train project in south India has been delayed after the Chinese railways that completed a feasibility study a year ago, did not respond, railway officials have said.

    Officials claim the "lack of response" may be due to the Doklam standoff.

    An internal brief of the Mobility Directorate on the status of nine high-speed projects of the railways, accessed by news agency PTI, shows that the 492 km Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore corridor lies in limbo because the Chinese railways has failed to respond to the ministry's communiques. 

    The ministry officials suggest that the recent standoff between the two countries in Bhutan's Doklam area between June 16 and August 28 this year seems to have derailed the project. "The study began in 2014 and they submitted the report in 2016. The entire cost was borne by them. In fact they have shown so much interest in collaborating with us for other projects as well, so we think that it was the standoff that must have raised doubts," said a senior rail official.

    The brief also states that the Railway Board has been unable to get in touch with officials of China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co Ltd (CREEC) despite repeated communications sent to them via mails in the last six months. "We have even tried to get in touch with them through their Embassy here, but we are yet to hear from them," said an official. Troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam since June 16 after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam. The brief, prepared by the department in charge of all the high speed corridors, also states that except the Chinese roadblock, work on the eight other projects was on track.




    China has shown interest in the high-speed train projects in India. Apart from showing interest in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed network, that was finally bagged by Japan, Beijing has also pitched for the bullet project in the Mumbai-Delhi sector, which is yet to be finalised.

    China is also training railway engineers in heavy hauling and it is with Chinese collaboration that India is setting up its first railway university.

    The Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore corridor is one of nine such high speed corridors being developed by the ministry. The aim was to increase the speed from the present 80 kmph to 160 kmph.

    While the Delhi-Agra route was made operational in 2016 with the country's fastest train Gatimaan Express running between the two cities, the work on rest seven of eight of 8 is going at a fast pace, the brief indicated.

Gujarat Riots Could Have Cost BJP 2004 Lok Sabha Elections: Pranab Mukherjee
  • The 2002 riots in Gujarat was "possibly the biggest blot" on the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and that could have cost the BJP the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, says former President Pranab Mukherjee.

    In the third volume of his autobiography titled "The Coalition Years 1996-2012", he also feels the ruling NDA's "India Shining" campaign spawned the opposite outcome and the Vajpayee government was routed in an election against most predictions that predicted a majority to the BJP-led coalition.

    "Throughout this period (of the Vajpayee government) the demand for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya had been building up. The heightened communal tension had a distressing fallout in Gujarat which witnessed a communal carnage in 2002.

    "The rioting began at Godhra, a small town in Gujarat, where 58 people were burnt to death in a fire that engulfed a compartment of the Sabarmati Express. The victims were all Hindu Kar Sevaks who were returning from Ayodhya."

    "This provoked widespread riots in many cities of Gujarat. Possibly the biggest blot on Vajpayee's government, it may have been Godhra that cost BJP the next elections," says Mr Mukherjee in a chapter on the "First Full Term Non-Congress Government".


    He says Mr Vajpayee was a consummate parliamentarian. With an excellent command over the language, he was a great orator who instantly connected with people and brought them together.

    Mr Vajpayee's signature in politics was achieving consensus, and in this process he earned the respect of his party, allies and opponents at home. Abroad, he projected a harmonious image of India and connected it to the world through his foreign policy outreach.

    An emphatic and humble politician, the former President says, Vajpayee did not shy away from giving credit where it was due. 


    "We are not the initiators of reform. We are carrying forward a process that was started by the Narasimha Rao government, and continued by two United Front governments. But we do take the credit for having broadened, deepened and accelerated the reform process." 

    Mr Vajpayee did not take political rivalries personally, says Mr Mukherjee.

    He says the 2004 Lok Sabha results brought the Congress back to power. Many were surprised by the victory of the Congress and other non-BJP parties. Several psephologists had predicted a clear victory for the NDA. 

    As late as February 2004, an India Today-ORG-MARG opinion poll had predicted a clear victory for the Vajpayee-led alliance.

    "The magazine, interpreting the opinion poll wrote 'Riding on the crest of the Prime Minister's popularity and economic boom, the BJP-led alliance appears set for a sweep in the forthcoming elections."

    "The confidence of the NDA had been shaken. Its 'India Shining' campaign had spawned the opposite outcome and cast a pall of gloom over the BJP. It led Vajpayee to ruefully comment that he could never understand the mood of the voter," says Mr Mukherjee.

    He also recalls that the 2004 general election was due only in October but the BJP brought it forward by six months on the back of its victories in the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh though it had lost Delhi to Congress.

    "There was cheer within the BJP at the resounding victory in important states. However, there were some who advised caution in interpreting these results as a marker of broader national sentiment," observes Mr Mukherjee.

Green Court Directs Centre To Submit Report On Steps To Clean Ganga
  • The National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh and the Uttarakhand governments to file affidavits stating what steps they have taken to comply with its directions to clean the Ganga in the stretch between Gomukh and Unnao.

    The green panel, in a detailed judgement, had passed a slew of directions to rejuvenate Ganga, declaring as 'No Development Zone' an area of 100 metres from the edge of the river between Haridwar and Unnao and prohibiting dumping of waste within 500 metres from the river.

    A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also asked all the stakeholders to state what course of action they propose to take in relation to Phase-2 from Kanpur to the UP border.

    "We make it clear that in the event now the compliance is not made, to the directions of the tribunal, we will be compelled to pass coercive orders. Let copy of this order be provided to the chief secretaries of UP and Uttarakhand.

    "All the counsels appearing for their respective clients will inform these directions to them. Copy of this order, also, be sent to DG of National Mission for Clean Ganga; Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for compliance," the bench said.




    The matter is listed for next hearing on October 24. The tribunal had earlier, in a detailed judgement, said the government has spent over Rs. 7,000 crore in two years to clean the Ganga which still remains a "serious environmental issue".

    The order, running into 543 pages, said "till the demarcation of floodplains and identification of permissible and non-permissible activities by the state government of this judgement, we direct that 100 metres from the edge of the river would be treated as no development/construction zone between Haridwar to Unnao in UP."

    'No-development zones' are areas where no construction including commercial or residential buildings can come up.

    It also imposed a complete prohibition on disposal of municipal solid waste, e-waste or bio-medical waste on the floodplains or into the river and its tributaries.

    The tribunal reiterated its earlier order of ban on mechanical mining in Ganga and said "no in-stream mechanical mining is permitted and even the mining on the flood plain should be semi-mechanical and preferably more manual."

Business Affairs

IndusInd clinches largest MFI deal,takes over Bharat Financial
  • Ending months of speculation, IndusInd Bank and the second largest microlender Bharat Financial Inclusion (BFIL) on Saturday announced largest merger in the MFI space in an all-share deal, which will help the private sector lender push its rural network and bring down credit cost for small borrowers.
    The merger, which will add 6.8 million customers to IndusInd's 10 million now, and which comes amid a slew of similar announcements involving the urban-focused new age private sector lenders such as Kotak Bank and IDFC Bank, will also help reduce cost of lending for micro borrowers as cheaper deposits can be used to fund their credit needs.
    "The biggest gain for us is the rural network. It will also us help reduce cost of funds by 3-4 per cent," IndusInd Bank managing director and chief executive Ramesh Sobti said.
    Earlier this afternoon, the boards of both the lenders separately decided on the merger and approved the share swap ratio wherein BFIL shareholders will get 639 shares of IndusInd for every 1,000 shares held.
    The balance-sheet of BFIL, including the entire capital, assets and liabilities will move into IndusInd, while the operation team will continue as a wholly owned subsidiary and work as business correspondents.
    The combined entity will have 40,000 employees, Sobti said, stating all the 15,000 employees of BFIL will be absorbed and continue in the same role. However, the board of the Hinduja Group promoted bank will remain unchanged.
    The IndusInd scrip closed 0.43 per cent up at Rs 1,750.15 on the BSE on Friday, while BFIL shares closed 0.38 per cent up at Rs 1,003.45.
    Sobti conceded that there is a 12-13 per cent premium over the average stock prices in the past two weeks which BFIL shareholders will get, but justified it on the Rs 9,500-crore loan book which his bank gets and also the synergies that will deliver higher value going forward.
    The merger, expected to take up to 10 months to consummate, will help the bank in its rural play, where it has only 250 of its 1,210 branches, Sobti said.
    BFIL's network touches 1 lakh villages across the country and the merger will help it act as a full service bank rather than the monoline micro-loan provider, BFIL managing director and chief executive MR Rao said.
    In the past few months, speculation has been strong about BFIL's suitor, especially after repeated attempts by the microlender which has survived multiple crises to turn into a small finance bank have failed. Many of its peers did manage to turn into the new-age entities.
    PH Ravi Kumar, non-executive chairman of BFIL, said the merger is not "an easy one" for the MFI and shared a trivia by stating that the announcement comes on the seventh anniversary of the passage of the Andhra MFI Act, which had led to doubts over the very survival of the sector.
    This regulatory overreach had forced BFIL, floated by the high profile Vikram Akula as SKS Microfinance, and taken to a historic IPO in 2010 making it the first MFI to go public, to even change to its present name. The Andhra law left every player bleeding for a few years and forced RBI to bring the sector under its purview.
    BFIL feels only two areas of the banking segment -- the lower-middle class and those around poverty line --are the ones accretive to margins and when coupled with the full range of service offerings, the merger is a win-win.
    Sobti elaborated saying that apart from reducing cost of funds, merger will help IndusInd not just achieve the priority sector lending sub-targets but also exceed them, making it a player in the PSL certificates market that is fee-accretive.
    Because of the lower risk weights attached to lending by banks, it will help conserve capital as well, Sobti added, adding "the merger is value accretive from day one."
    When asked about the structure of absorbing the balance sheet and keeping operations as a wholly-owned subsidiary, Sobti said it is in sync with past precedents which have been cleared by the regulators and will also help maintain the ethos of the company.
    The merger, which comes amid a surge in agri loan losses by banks, will increase share of micro loans to 7 per cent of the loan book of IndusInd from 2.8 per cent now, Sobti said, but will dip to 5 per cent over the next three years.
    Asserting that microloan segment is "high yielding and has low delinquency rates", Sobti said it will not lead to much troubles on the asset quality as BFIL has a 99.6 per cent repayment levels in this calendar year, after the note-bank hiccups stabilised.
    Rao chipped in saying demonetisation led to a Rs 400- crore loan loss for BFIL, but it has been fully provided.
    The deal will have to pass through a slew of regulators such as the Reserve Bank, National Company Law Board Tribunal and fair-play watchdog CCI.

RBI refuses to share details on clean India mission logo on new currency notes
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has refused to share details of a decision to put the logo of Prime Minister Narendra Modis pet project clean India mission on the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes, citing security concerns among other reasons.
    Replying to an RTI query, the central bank also did not give a copy of the guidelines on printing of advertisement -- including promotion of central government-run initiatives -- on the notes.
    "The information on form, material, design and security features of bank notes, other than available in public domain, is exempt from disclosure in terms of Section 8 (1) (a) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005," the RBI said in response to the RTI application filed by a PTI correspondent.
    The Section bars "information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence".
    The central bank was asked to give a copy of the order, communication, letter or note sheet in which a decision regarding printing of Swachh Bharat or clean India missions logo (spectacle frame) and message of Ek Kadam Swachhata Ki Aur (a step towards cleanliness) on Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes was taken.
    To a question on providing the copy of guidelines or any other norms that prescribe standard operating procedures for printing of advertisement including the promotion on the currency notes, the RBI did not give a direct reply.
    "Indian bank notes contain design elements such as guilloche, flora pattern, motifs and security features," the central bank said.
    The RTI query was filed with the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) -- that deals with the policy formulation in respect of currency, coins and security documents, and planning, coordination issues related to printing and minting currencies and coins -- under the Finance Ministry.
    The DEA had forwarded the application to the RBI for the response.
    As per Section 25 of the RBI Act, 1934, the design, form and material of bank notes shall be such as may be approved by the central government after consideration of the recommendations made by central board of the Reserve Bank of India.
    Modi had on October 2 2014 launched the clean India mission to make the country open defecation free and eradication of manual scavenging among other cleanliness related goals.

New economic data to help govt fight rivals better
  • After few months of economic gloom there is some good news for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. If economic data was denting the government's image and critics were having a field day, the latest data release brings cheer to the government.
    India's annual consumer inflation last month had climbed to 3.4 percent and coupled with high fuel prices it was arming the government's political opponents.
    Post GST implementation despite the supply demand equation and seasonal reasons, the inflation mark in September eased though marginally to 3.28 per cent compared to last year. The expectation was for a climb to 3.5 per cent.
    In Washington for the IMF and World Bank annual meetings, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Subhash Garg told India Today, "The upward climb in inflation was due to several reasons including seasonal. Things have started easing."
    The government expects reduction in inflation to continue. Recently to curb the spiralling  prices of petrol and diesel the govt announced a Rs 2 cut in excise levied on fuels. States like Maharastra and Gujarat responded by slashing VAT levied on the two commodities. Since the cuts were not part of the last economic data cycle, government hopes there might be further reduction in inflation figures as fuels drive prices in the economy.
    But that is not all. The steady decline in industrial output in the last few quarters and exports were impacting growth figures and the govt was facing hostile fire from friends and foes, including senior bjp leader and ex-Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, after GDP growth was revised downward by RBI, the World Bank  and  the IMF. The government was visibly on the back foot as the data couldn't be denied.
    Yashwant Sinha launched a frontal attack claiming things were so bad that he "had to speak up"  against the government. The BJP's internal assessment too indicated that the fallout of note ban and GST launch was hurting the government's image. Amidst the rising negative chorus PM Modi stepped in and announced that the government was ready to ease the hardships faced especially my small businesses due to the GST launch.
    The 4.3 per cent rise in index of industrial production (IIP) in August, indicates not only a turnaround from the contraction in June but also a faster growth percentage recorded in July at 0.9 per cent.
    At Washington where finance minister is actively trying to bring greater investment and correct the recently impacted image these are welcome changes after  a slump to a 36 month low in the June quarter. Even the industrial growth is up at around 2.5 per cent. Secretary Economic Affairs MR Garg said "This is what we had expected. Due to GST launch from July 1 certain things happened. There was higher stock clearance but not production as recalibration for the new tax regime was on. We expect things will get better."
    Speaking exclusively to India Today he said, "We expected the situation to turn. But we didn't expect it to turn so quickly. And we are confident that the improvement is here to stay."
    In fact MR Garg felt confident that since all these indicators feed the GDP the next round of GDP data release may also depict an improvement after a steady decline for several quarters
    The other positive news is on India's trade deficit front which narrowed to a lowest mark in seven months at $8.98 billion in September.
    Post GST exporters were feeling the pinch due to delay in payments reducing their working capital. In its last meeting the GST governing council decided to resolve the issue by easing the situation by depositing nominal amounts for exporters which can be adjusted agains their eventual dues. The proposal for a e-wallet too with a similar concept was cleared as a long term solution.
    The government is watching the situation closely and is still not calling it a complete recovery. But sources say the 25.67 per cent rise in merchandise exports in September, way beyond the 18.1 per cent increase in imports is a positive development
    Mr Garg said, "The government has been responsive to the challenges. Several measures initiated in the recent past will bring more dividend. Plus the government is giving a huge infrastructure expenditure push which will create a more conducive path for a better growth trajectory."
    The government feels that the positive movements on all these parameters will eventually improve the ecosystem, thus creating a more fertile ground for job generation which is proving to be a politico-economic Waterloo for the govt

    These numbers do not say that the economy has emerged completely out of the pit as the data needs to remain consistently good for several more quarters, but the current numbers will weaken the political campaign against the Modi government.

Slowdown bottomed out, GDP likely to grow 7 pc in FY18: Niti Aayog
  • Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar has said the economic slowdown that began in 2013-14 has bottomed out and the GDP is likely to grow 6.9 to 7 per cent this fiscal and 7.5 per cent in 2018-19.
    The economic growth slowed to 7.1 per cent in 2016-17, the year in which 87 per cent of the currency was demonetised, despite a very good show by the agricultural sector. On a quarterly basis also, the growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal has slipped to 5.7 per cent.
    "I think by the time you come to the first quarter of 2018, you will see a stronger recovery, and fiscal 2018-19 will be the much better year than fiscal 2017-18. And that will then continue because it will on much more sustained basis," he said adding that growth will be about 6.9-7 per cent in the current fiscal year.
    "In the next fiscal year, the growth would be about 7.5 per cent," Kumar said in an interview to PTI.
    The Niti Aayog vice chairman said the country did very well from 2007-13 and the downward cycle started in 2013-14, mainly because of spurge in lending to undeserving projects since 2007.
    "The high economic growth between 2007-13 was on the basis of huge increase in loans and spurge in private debt for which there was zero control. That was given by the banking sector to the most undeserving cases (projects) and on completely false assumptions," he observed.
    Noting that growth stalled after 2013 because of policy stance, Kumar said, "As soon as that happened, all the debt began to becoming bad and therefore downward spiral started."
    "My considered view and gut feeling is that, this downward cycle has now bottomed out in July," he asserted.
    While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered India's growth forecast for the current fiscal by 0.5 percentage points to 6.7 per cent, the World Bank has pegged economic expansion at 7 per cent, down from 7.2 per cent projected earlier.
    The Asian Development Bank too lowered India's current fiscal growth to 7 per cent from 7.4 per cent, while the RBI cut economic growth forecast to 6.7 per cent from earlier projection of 7.3 per cent.

    FinMin may finalise capital infusion plan for PSBs by December
    • The finance ministry is working on capital infusion strategy for the public sector banks (PSBs) and it is expected to be finalised by December, according to official sources.
      The Department of Financial Services is assessing the capital needs of various banks based demands made by them, sources said.
      There are various parameters which are being looked at for capital infusion exercise, including NPA ratio, credit growth, insolvency proceeding etc, sources said, adding that the second quarter result would also give clarity on the capital requirements for the current fiscal.
      Various factors are being considered before arriving at the exact number and the final output is likely by next month or December, they said.
      Besides providing capital for meeting regulatory requirements, the ministry is looking at providing capital to performing state-run banks to boost credit disbursement.
      One of the options on the table is issuance of capitalisation bond for meeting their capital needs but no final decision has been taken yet.
      The government followed a similar strategy in 2008 when it sold bonds worth about Rs 10,000 crore to subscribe to nearly 60 per cent of State Bank of India's rights issue.
      Last week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government, faced with a 'catch-22 situation' over the issue of non-performing assets, is working on a plan to rebuild the capacity of India's banking sector so as to support growth.
      Banks are facing mounting non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans to the tune of Rs 8 lakh crore of which PSBs alone account for Rs 6 lakh crore. The bank NPAs are skirting the double digit mark at present and expected to grow further.
      Although the Indradhanus scheme has assigned Rs 10,000 crore for the current fiscal, it may prove insufficient due to high provisioning requirement for bad loan resolution through various processes, including insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings.
      Last year, the ministry provided capital to banks in two tranches. As many as 13 public sector banks together got Rs 22,915 crore in the first tranche announced in July 2016.
      In the budget speech on February 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced capital infusion of Rs 10,000 crore for the current fiscal.

    General Awareness

    Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 came into force


    • A new Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act 2016 which was notified on March 22, 2016 has been brought into force with effect from October 12, 2017.
      Background Information:
      • In March 2016, Parliament had passed the law to replace the erstwhile BIS Act, 1986.
      • However, the new act has been brought to effect now as the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry (Parent body of BIS) recently finalised the rules for the new act.
      Salient Features of Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016:
      As per this act, any goods/article/product of any scheduled industry and any process/system/service can be brought under compulsory certification regime by the government if it considers it necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal, plant health, environment, or in order to prevent unfair trade practices and in the interest of national security.
      • Hallmarking of the precious metal articles has been made mandatory under this new act.
      • The Act empowers the Central Government to appoint any authority/agency, in addition to the BIS, to verify the conformity of products and servicesto a standard and issue certificate of conformity.
      • There is also a provision of invoking ‘repair or recall’ of products that bear Standard Mark but do not conform to the relevant Indian Standard.
      • It is expected that the provisions of this act will enhance ease of doing business in India, will give a boost to Make In India campaign and will ensure availability of quality products and services to the consumers.
      About Bureau of Indian standards (BIS)
      Bureau of Indian Standards (formerly the Indian Standards Institution – ISI) is a national standards body functioning under the aegis of Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
      • It was established in 1986. Headquarters of BIS is located in New Delhi.
      • Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, is the ex-officio President of the BIS.
      • Surina Rajan is the current Director General of BIS.
      • BIS is a founder member of International Organisation for Standardization (ISO).

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