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Current Affairs - 10 June 2018

General Affairs 

PM Modi, Shanghai Summit Organisation Secretary Discuss India's Contribution To Bloc
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met the Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Secretary General Rashid Alimov in Quingdao and had a discussion with him on ways through which India's participation could strengthen the bloc.

    The meeting came hours after PM Modi landed in this picturesque coastal city of China's Shandong province.

    "On the eve of SCO Summit, Secretary General, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Rashid Alimov calls on the PM @narendramodi. SCO Secretary General said that India is contributing greatly to the organisation since it became a full member of SCO in 2017. #IndiainSCO," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

    "PM @narendramodi and Mr Alimov had meaningful discussions on ways through which India's participation can strengthen the SCO," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted.

    During his meeting with PM Modi, Mr Alimov conveyed to him that the International Day of Yoga would be celebrated at the SCO Headquarters in Beijing on June 16.

    It is for the first time that PM Modi will be attending the SCO summit after India became a full member of the grouping last year.

    The SCO has eight member countries which represent around 42 per cent of the world's population and 20 per cent of the global GDP.

    India was an observer at the SCO since 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping which focus mainly on security and economic.

BJP Seeks Apology From Congress Over Bogus Voters Claim In Madhya Pradesh
  • The BJP today sought an apology from the Congress after the Election Commission rejected the latter's allegations of large-scale discrepancies in the voters' list of Madhya Pradesh.

    The Congress had claimed that there were at least 60 lakh bogus voters listed in the state. It also submitted evidence to back its allegation.

    However, the Election Commission (EC) in a letter to the AICC yesterday said, "The allegations of large-scale entries of multiple voters in these assembly constituencies is not borne out".

    BJP's national vice-president Prabhat Jha today said that Congress leaders should tender apology for their allegations as they have not only blamed the BJP but also tarnished the image of the state and its people.

    He said, "The EC has now clarified that it has not found any merit in the allegations of the Congress about the bungling in the voters list. The Congress should have demanded an inquiry but they have also targeted the BJP and the EC. The revision of voters list is a regular process."

    Mr Jha accused the Congress of targeting the BJP, Constitutional bodies and the people of Madhya Pradesh as the opposition party was losing ground in the state.

    Earlier, the EC had formed two teams to probe the allegations after Congress leaders, including state unit chief Kamal Nath, state campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia and former chief minister Digvijay Singh, approached it.

    The EC teams visited Narela, Bhojpur, Seoni-Malwa and Hoshangabad assembly seats to probe the alleged discrepancies.

    The Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections are slated for November-December this year. 

Nipah Has Been Contained, No Need To Fear, Says Minister Of State For Health
  • Union Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Choubey, today said that the Nipah virus has been contained and there was no need to run away from Kerala, where several deaths due to the virus have been reported.

    He added that no fresh cases of infection have been reported.

    "There have been no new cases of Nipah reported from anywhere in the country. The virus has been stalled. This is a good sign. Nipah is not epidemic and there is nothing to be scared of," Mr Choubey told PTI.

    Mr Choubey is in the Kolkata for official meetings with several health institutions, besides state ministers.

    On reports of several people returning from Kerala to West Bengal fearing the virus, he said, "Our entire team is in place. The virus has been contained even in Kerala. There is no need to run away from anywhere."

    Nipah virus has not led to any deaths in West Bengal.

    The Kerala government has advised travelers to avoid visiting the four districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur as a precautionary measure.

    Mr Choubey said that people who lost family members because of the Nipah virus, have been treated in isolation and were totally out of danger.

    "We have treated the family of those persons who were infected by and died because of Nipah virus. They were kept in isolation in Pune's National Institute of Virology," the minister added.

    "As per the latest report of the Central High Level Team, Nipah Virus is not a major outbreak and its occurrence is limited to two districts Kozhikode and Malappuram in Kerala," an advisory issued by the National Centre for Disease Control said.

    "There is no need for the general public to be apprehensive about the safety of their family members. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is closely monitoring the situation," the department under the Health Ministry added.

Amit Shah Says BJP Lucky To Have "Such An Opposition"
  • Mocking Rahul Gandhi as a babua (child), BJP president Amit Shah today said the Congress chief keeps attacking the government for not doing one thing or another but should instead give account of the works of his three generations who ruled India for decades.

    Addressing workers of Jaipur Rural Lok Sabha constituency represented by union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Mr Shah also took a jibe at the rival party over its "happiness" on the BJP's defeat in bypolls and said he considered himself lucky that he has got such an opposition which was satisfied with victory in a few by-elections even though it was losing power in many states.

    "We lost eight bypolls, but snatched power from them (opposition) in 14 states," he said here.

    Giving an account of the Modi government's works, including building of toilets, distribution of LPG cylinders and other welfare measures, he said, "Rahul Gandhi (says) this has not happened, that has not happened."

    "'Arre babua', tell me brother what you have done in 70 years? Your three generations were in power for 70 years and if they had done all these works then it would not be our luck to provide people toilets and poor mothers gas cylinders," he said.

    The opposition is disconnected from the ground, Mr Shah said and, in an apparent attack on Mr Gandhi, added that nobody knows when he goes on a vacation and comes back.

    Temperature in Gujarat and Rajasthan soars to 50 degrees Celsius and it is difficult to tolerate it, he said wryly.

    Mr Shah asked BJP workers to work overtime to ensure the party's win in the Rajasthan assembly poll, which is due later this year along with elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, so that the party's winning streak after emerging as the single largest party in Karnataka continues.

    Mr Shah said the difference between other parties and the BJP was that their soul was their leader while workers were its soul.

    The BJP has also worked to propagate its ideology and enhance the country's prestige, and not merely to get power, he said.

    "We are lucky that the world's most popular leader in Narendra Modi is leading the country and under him it is marching to become vishwa guru," he said.

    The Modi government has done a lot of work to bring about a fundamental change in the lives of the people and positively impacted over 50 crore citizens, he said.

    It was due to its works that the BJP won elections in so many states and is now ruling 20 of them.

    The central government had built 7.5 crore toilets, distributed 4 crore gas cylinders, taken electricity to one crore homes after electrifying all villages, provided one crore houses and opened bank accounts of more than 30 crore people, the BJP president added.

Consider Asking Media Not To Use Term 'Dalit': Bombay High Court To Government
  • The Bombay High Court has asked the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to consider issuing a direction to media to stop using the word 'Dalit', following a circular advising government officials against using the word.

    The Nagpur bench of the high court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Pankaj Meshram, seeking removal of the word Dalit from all government documents and communication.

    "As the central government has issued necessary directions to its officers, we find that it can also issue suitable directions as per the law to respondent no. 2 (Press Council) and the media to refrain from using the same word," the bench comprising justices B P Dharmadhikari and Z A Haq  said.

    Mr Meshram's lawyer S R Nanaware informed the court on June 6 that the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had issued a circular on March 15, advising the central and state governments to avoid the word `Dalit' and instead use the term 'person belonging to Scheduled Caste'.

    Advocate D P Thakare, who appeared for the Maharashtra government, said the state was also in the process of taking a decision on the matter.

    Mr Nanaware said that in the light of this circular, media should also be asked to stop using the word Dalit.

    The bench then directed the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to consider the issue.

    "Various institutes in the field are not before us and hence, we direct respondent no. 1 (I&B Ministry) to consider the question of issuing such directions to the media and take suitable decision within the next six weeks," the court said in its order, while disposing of the PIL.

Business Affairs

Companies under insolvency process to face additional surveillance from June 11

  • Markets regulator Sebi and stock exchanges will put in place additional surveillance measures for companies that are undergoing insolvency resolution process (IRP) from Monday, according to the leading bourse BSE.

    The data available with the BSE shows that 75 firms, including ABG Shipyard, Amtek Auto, Bhushan Steel, Jaypee Infratech, Electrosteel Steels, Mandhana Industries, Monnet Ispat & Energy, Ruchi Soya Industries, Supreme Tex Mart, Vardhman Industries and Rei Agro, are undergoing insolvency process as per the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

    In order to enhance market integrity and safeguard investors' interest, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the exchanges have been introducing various enhanced pre-emptive surveillance measures such as reduction in price band, periodic call auction and transfer of securities to trade to trade category from time to time.

    "In continuation to various surveillance measures already implemented, Sebi and exchanges, pursuant to discussions in joint surveillance meetings, have decided that along with the aforesaid measures there shall be surveillance measures for companies that are undergoing IRP as per IBC w.e.f June 11, 2018," the BSE said in a release today.

    These companies undergoing insolvency process as per the IBC would be monitored on a pre-determined objective criteria and the margin on securities would be "levied at the rate of 100 per cent once the criteria gets satisfied".

    "These securities shall be further monitored for an objective criteria and shall be shifted to trade for trade segment once the criteria gets satisfied," BSE said.

    As per the BSE, the "surveillance measures shall be in conjunction with all other prevailing surveillance measures" being imposed by the exchanges from time to time.

Modi govt has new plan to stop frauds like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya leave the country
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is set to roll out a massive verification drive of top company executives in what can be called a move to keep a check on shell firms and prevent those in top management from fleeing the country to escape prosecution.   

    According to a report in the Economic Times, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs is set to launch a mega drive to do a KYC of company directors--that will at the minimum include passport, PAN number and contact details. All of this information will have to be updated annually by the company secretary or chartered accountant at the time of filing annual financial statements.

    Apart from this, there will be another form for the physical address of the company, which again will have to be updated annually by the company secretary. For foreign nationals, there will be a separate form but even they will have to be registered with the ministry.

    Ministry of Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas told ET Now that as many as 33 lakh company directors would be registered as part of the KYC programme.

    He further said that both these forms -- that is the physical address of the company and the other on all requisite information on company directors -- would have to be "religiously and diligently" updated by the chartered accountant and/or by the company secretary.

    The idea of rolling out mega KYC drive came in the backdrop of infamous PNB scam in which billionaire jewellers Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi defrauded the state-run bank through multiple shell firms. The regular KYC drive of top company executives will also help in keeping a check on shell companies.
    The government on Friday informed that it has identified over 2.25 lakh companies and 7,191 LLPs which have not filed requisite financial statement for 2015-16 and 2016-17, and they may be struck off during the current financial year.

    The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has already struck off over 2.26 lakh companies for non- filing of annual returns for a continuous period of two years or more. Not only this, over three lakh directors were also disqualified for not filing financial statements in last three years.

    In a press statement issued on Friday, the Finance Ministry said: "For the second drive to be launched during 2018-19), 2,25,910 companies have been further identified for being struck off under section 248 of the Companies Act, 2013...for non-filing of financial statements for 2015-16 and 2016-17."

    In February 2017, a task force headed by Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and MCA Secretary Injeti Srinivas was set up to check the menace of shell companies through a coordinated, multi-agency approach. The task force compiled a database of shell companies and classified them into three categories-- Confirmed list, Derived list and Suspect list.

    The Confirmed List has a total of 16,537 confirmed shell companies on the basis of the information received from the various law enforcement agencies of the companies found to be involved in illegal activities. The Derived List has 16,739 companies identified on the basis of 100 per cent common directorships with the confirmed shell companies.  

    The Suspect List has 80,670 shell companies and has been drawn up by SFIO using certain red flag indicators by the task force.

SBI expects Rs 30,000 crore recovery from resolution under IBC
  • State Bank of India, the country's largest lender expects to recover around Rs 30,000 crore from the resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) during the current fiscal, an official said today.

    From the two stressed assets' list referred for resolution under IBC by the Reserve Bank of India, the bank's total exposure was around Rs 78,000 crore, Pallav Mohapatra, DMD (stressed assets resolution group) of SBI said.

    The bank had been able to recover Rs 8,500 crore from the Bhushan Steel-Tata Steel deal taking a haircut of 30 per cent.

    From the Electrosteel-Vedanta deal, the bank expects to recover Rs 6,000 crore, he told reporters on the sidelines of a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) event here today.

    The bank's total NPA stood at Rs 2.20 lakh crore.

    Besides recoveries from resolution under IBC, the bank expects to get back another Rs 10,000 crore from one-time settlement, sale to ARCs and some from outside NCLT, he said.

    The bank had filed 250 cases under IBC with a total exposure of Rs 95,000 crore.

    Mohapatra said "whatever stress is there has been recognised. We don't expect recovery of the full amount".

    He said there will be no dent on profitability of the bank as adequate provisioning had been made for haircuts which is unavoidable.

Banks to set up asset reconstruction company for faster NPA resolution: Piyush Goyal
  • In yet another move to fix crisis in banking sector, the government has set up a committee to give recommendations in two weeks on formation of an asset reconstruction company for quick resolution of stressed accounts. The committee will be headed by Punjab National Bank non-executive chairman Sunil Mehta.

    Announcing the decision, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said that the committee will make recommendations on setting up of an asset reconstruction or asset management company for faster resolution of stressed accounts, and most of the stressed assets have been identified that could fit into the ARC or AMC structure.

    The Minister also said that banks are also contemplating oversight committees with external experts to ensure that decision making is not stalled due to fear of future investigations. He said this after meeting the heads of state-run banks. The discussions during the meeting focused on credit flow and banks devising mechanism to ensure credit flow to good borrowers should not face difficulties.

    Suggestions about strengthening governance process and honest recognition of NPAs or bad loans were discussed at the meeting, the Finance Minister said.

    The statement comes days after bankers briefed the parliamentary panel on the issue of mounting NPAs and banking frauds. The parliamentarian panel later asked the bankers to prepare a road map to deal with bad loans in the system. The gross NPAs of state-owned banks had crossed Rs 7.77 lakh crore at the end of December 2017.

    Earlier, bankers appearing before a different parliamentary panel had said the 180-day resolution plan for NPAs under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code was not an adequate window.  They had also suggested the emphasis should be on restructuring the stressed assets and that referring cases for resolution under the IBC should be the last option.

    Goyal also rubbished the report of possible merger of four state-owned banks. He said that the government "stands solidly behind each of the 21 public sector banks".

    Earlier this week, it was reported that the government was considering merging at least four state-run banks - Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank Ltd, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Central Bank of India - due to poor asset quality.

Tax department clears Rs 7,000 crore GST refunds of exporters
  • Over Rs 7,000 crore or half of the pending GST refunds of exporters has been cleared in the first nine days of the ongoing special refund fortnight.

    "More than Rs 7,000 crore of IGST/ ITC refunds sanctioned till now during the ongoing Special Refund Fortnight," the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said in a tweet late last night.

    It asked exporters and traders to visit their jurisdictional GST office or Customs House/Port and settle pending claims during the Special Refund Fortnight from May 31 to June 14, 2018.

    About Rs 14,000 crore of refunds of exporters were stuck due to various mismatches and CBIC has organised the special fortnight to fast track clearances.

    The CBIC has also allowed clearance of GST refunds based on PAN of exporters if such refunds are held up due to mismatch in GSTIN mentioned in shipping bill and return forms.

    General Awareness

    UN Security Council
    • Context: The UN General Assembly has elected Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa to serve as non-permanent members on the Security Council for two years starting in January.

      The five new members will replace Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands and Sweden on the council.

      Selection of members:

      There are 15 members on the UN Security Council, including the five permanent ones — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and 10 non-permanent members, half of which are elected each year. Each candidate country needed to secure two thirds of the votes in order to clinch a seat.

       About UNSC:

      What is it?

      The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
      Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.


      The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
      The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.

      Proposed reforms:

      Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encompasses five key issues: categories of membership, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship. There is also a proposal to admit more permanent members.

      Why India should be given a permanent seat in the council?

      India was among the founding members of United Nations.
      It is the second largest and a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
      Today, India has over 8,500 peacekeepers in the field, more than twice as many as the UN’s five big powers combined.
      India, since long time, has been demanding expansion of UNSC and its inclusion as permanent member in it. It has been a member of UNSC for 7 terms and a member of G-77 and G-4, so permanent membership is a logical extension.

      What’s important?

      For Prelims: UNSC- composition, new members and role of the organization, G- 77, G- 4.
      For Mains: UNSC reforms and related issues.

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