By: D.K. Choudhary
1. Uttar Pradesh Government launches first International festival on Birds
i. Uttar Pradesh Government has launched International festival on Birds in a bid to promote state as an international bird-watching destination. The first-of-its-kind festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS).
ii. It has been jointly organised by the State Forest department in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). The three-day international festival (from 4 to 6 December 2015) on birds will be held the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) in Agra. Over 80 Indian ornithlogists and around 25 top international bird experts and are participating in the first-of-its-kind festival.
iii. NCS was set up in 1979 as a riverine sanctuary along the Chambal River. It is managed by the Wildlife wing of the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and its head-quartered are located at Agra.
iv. The sanctuary is the main area for the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), a fresh water crocodile species reintroduction programmme in the Chambal River. The river supports the largest population of the Gharial in the wild in the country. It also supports more than 320 resident and migrant birds.
2. RBI bars 56 NBFCs from conducting business
i. The Reserve Bank of India has cancelled the certificate of registration of 56 non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), including ABNL, Future Ventures India and Bajaj Finserve.
ii. Following the cancellation of registration certificate, these companies cannot transact in the business of an NBFC as laid down under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. A Bajaj Finserv spokesperson said since Bajaj Finance is already an NBFC and Bajaj Finserv is now a core investment company, the NBFC registration for the latter would not have served any purpose.
iii. ABNL Investment’s share in Aditya Birla Nuvo’s net profit was miniscule at 0.17 per cent. Future Ventures India has now metamorphosed into Future Consumer Enterprise, a sourcing-to-supermarket food company of the Future Group.
iv. According to Section 45I-A of the RBI Act, among others, the central bank may cancel a certificate of registration granted to an NBFC if it ceases to carry on the business of an NBFC; or fails to comply with any condition subject to which the certificate of registration had been issued to it.
v. The RBI statement did not specify any reason for cancellation of the registration certificate.
3. Centre to support rural entrepreneurs under MUDRA
i. In an effort to support rural entrepreneurs of India, the Centre on Saturday said it would think of giving loans under the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Yojana of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
ii. Speaking on the ‘e-Commerce Services: Enhancing Rural Entrepreneurship through Common Services Centres (CSCs), Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that he would request the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the purpose.
iii. “CSCs need to be funded, and being small-time entrepreneurs, they are fully qualified to get banking assistance under the MUDRA scheme. I will take up the matter with the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister as CSCs will play a major role to make Digital India successful,” Prasad said.
iv. The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) was launched in April, under which the overall loan disbursement target has been set at around ₹1.22 lakh crore for this financial year.
v. He said the CSCs are very small-scale initiatives and MUDRA is for such institutions and therefore, people who want to start such service points but do not have any funding, MUDRA can help them start their micro-ventures.
vi. CSCs are information and communications technology enabled service delivery points at the village level for delivery of government, financial, social and private services such as applying online passports, land record, digital locker and Aadhaar cards.
vii. The Minister also launched a Handbook on e-Commerce through CSCs and asked the e-Commerce companies to help linking CSCs as far as possible because 60 per cent of online markets are served in rural areas.
4. 44th Navy Day observed on 4 December
i. 44th Navy Day was observed on 4 December 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended greetings to naval personnel and commended their dedication to protect the maritime interests of nation. The occasion saw screening of Navy Telefilm 2015 titled Empowering India Through Maritime Security and Indigenisation on DD National.
ii. The Navy day is celebrated every year to commemorate the success of Operation Trident of Indian Navy on Karachi Harbour during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
iii. In one-night attack the Indian Navy sank three vessels near the largest Pakistani port of Karachi. Operation Trident resulted in the first use of anti-ship missiles in the region.
5. RBI announced revised Priority Sector Lending norms for Regional Rural Banks
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced revised Priority Sector Lending (PSL) norms for Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).
ii. Among other things, the PSL target was increased to 75 percent of total outstanding from the existing 60 percent. The revised target will be effective from 1 January 2016. The PSL norms have been revised considering the growing significance of RRBs in pursuit of financial inclusion agenda.
iii. As on March 2015, there were 56 RRBs operating in the country with a network of 20059 branches. They cover 644 notified districts in 26 states and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
iv. Medium enterprises, social infrastructure and renewable energy were included under PSL category.
v. Loans to individual farmers, for the purpose of PSL, was increased to 50 lakh rupees from the present 10 lakh rupees against pledge/ hypothecation of agricultural produce (including warehouse receipts) for a period not exceeding 12 months.
vi. The RBI has lowered the quantum of loans that will qualify as PSL. Against the earlier limit of 25 lakh rupees, loans to individuals up to 20 lakh rupees only are considered as PSL as per revised guidelines. Housing loans to banks’ own employees will be excluded from this limit.
6. International Volunteer Day observed globally
i. The International Volunteer Day (IVD) was on 5 December 2015 observed across the world with the theme The world is changing. Are you? Volunteer!.
ii. This year’s theme challenges everyone to be a part of implementing the newly launched Global Goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Through volunteerism the person can impact the sustainable development agenda by mobilizing and engaging governments and communities.
iii. The day is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.
iv. The day also pays special tribute to volunteers working to implement the new global goals. The International Volunteer Day (IVD) was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly through its Resolution 40/212 on 17 December 1985.