Transaction Under Scrutiny More conflict of interest? Mumbai house of Kochhars has Videocon connection TOP NEWS STORIES OPINION> International Yoga Day 2018 LIVE: Yoga transcends religion, politics, says VP Naidu Every tim Rule has J&K, situ worsened grown Firdous Tak Mumbai to Virgin Islands: Soon after Panama Papers leak, lqbal Mirchi's family rejigged offshore holdings Psycho an Hitchcock's signature r 2018 releas Panama Papers: Day after query on offshore ownership, Shishir Bajoria moved to get his name removed from records Kabir Firaque ti NHPM will e medical eme not result in falling into p The Income Tax department is probing the acquisition of the current family residence of Chanda Kochhar, the CEO and MD of ICICI Bank, in South Mumbai by her husband Deepak Kochhar in a complex transaction involving firms linked to Videocon Group Nitish Kumar's JDU again skips International Yoga Day celebrations: We never display yoga in public JP Nadda ICICI Bank Board sends CEO Chanda Kochhar on leave until probe Counter-terror ops will is over On the footba on Kashmir, th of testosteron much easier during Governors rule: J&K police
[The Hindu Edi] Transmission troubles The RBI continues to remain unable to influence the effective lending rates in the economy. O In February, in its latest statement of intent to resolve poor monetary transmission, the RBI said it would instruct banks to switch base rate customers to the marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) system from April 1, 2018. place since 2010. methodology of determining benchmark rates by linking the Base Rate to the MCLR," it O In April 2016, it had introduced the MCLR regime, scrapping the base rate regime, in o "Since MCLR is more sensitive to policy rate signals, it has been decided to harmonise the had said. Currently, under the base rate system, the lending rate at State Bank of India is 8.7% significant difference in borrowing costs, especially for smaller firms and retail consumers O This was supposed to push banks to lower lending rates. o The one-year MCLR rate is just 8.25%. This difference of 45 basis points could make a relying on equated monthly instalments. o In the RBI's assessment, a large proportion of outstanding loans and advances continues to be linked to the base rate system. This perhaps triggered the February statement.
Yetha an undertand the bankot relncuning tecardlevels af non aerformins asat the RBl is yet to operationalise that intent. One can understand the banks' reluctance to switch to the lower MCLR-based rates, given the multiple pressures they face, including record levels of non-performing assets and losses, and significant treasury losses. The RBI, which has often faced flak for poor monetary transmission, shouldn't be swayed by these concerns. An RBI study estimates that public sector banks could take a 40,000-crore hit on revenue if they allow all base rate borrowers to switch to the MCLR rate. OThe RBl, which has just allowed banks to spread the booking of losses on the treasury front over four quarters after talking tough about such rollovers - may not want to hurt them more. But this creates an unfair situation as new borrowers get MCLR rates while the older ones continue on the higher base rate system While a base rate customer can shift to the MCLR regime only by paying a fee, this outcome is not too different from the previous attempt by the RBl eight years ago to influence transmission by shifting to base rates from what was called a Benchmark Prime Lending Rate regime. There was no sunset clause included then. For troubled banks, this is an asset- liability mismatch issue. Given the need to revive the economy through consumption and fresh investment, this impasse needs to be broken.
The Hindu Ed2] Trauma at the border As part of its "zero-tolerance" approach to dealing with undocumented migrants, the Donald Trump administration in the U.S. has been separating parents and children within migrating families, leading to outrage over the burgeoning number of minors lodged in foster care. OReports suggest that between October 2017 and May 2018 at least 1,995 children were separated from their parents, with a significant majority of the instances between April 18 and May 31. In recent weeks, disturbing images and videos have emerged of screaming toddlers in the custody of Customs and Border Protection personnel, or in what appear to be chain-link cages in facilities holding older children, as well as one disturbing audio allegedly of wailing children at one such unit. O Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed deep concern about the ethics of using children, facing trauma from separation from their parents, to discourage further undocumented border crossings OMr. Trump, however, has refused to accept sole responsibility for the family separations Instead, he took to Twitter to blame his Democratic opponents for not working with Republicans to pass new immigration legislation to mitigate the border crisis.
His response begs two questions. OFirst, why, when both Houses of the U.S. Congress are under Republican control, is Baba Trump unable to garner the numbers to pass legislation to end family separations? OThe answer is that poignantly tragic though the fate of these broken families may be, the issue as such has failed to garner even as much bipartisan momentum on Capitol Hill as Mr. Trump's rescinding of the Obama-era immigration order on Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals OThe second question is whether the policy of separating migrant families is new, or if there was indeed "bad legislation passed by the Democrats" that supports this action, as Mr. Trump claims. OThe answer is that both are true.
[IE Ed2] American nightmare For those looking for a silver lining in the Donald Trump Administration's move to separate immigrant children from their parents, place them in camps and, in some cases, even cage them, there is some hope. The implementation of the US government's "zero tolerance" policy towards illegal immigrants has left a trail of suffering whose repercussions will go far beyond the immediate political crisis The US owes its predominant economic and cultural position, in large measure, to the fact that it is an open society. D From its inception, it has been a nation of immigrants, each wave adding to the country's diversity, and its people's collective capability. O That, like all modern nation-states, America needs to police its borders to some degree is understandable. But the complete lack of empathy with which Trump is going about it is shameful. [IE Ed3] David over Goliath In this World Cup, the traditional powers are being forced to prove themselves all over again.
TH Art1] Neither new nor undesirable The move by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) towards lateral entry in government service Olt has invited applications from "talented and motivated Indian nationals willing to contribute towards nation building" to be appointed as joint secretaries in 10 Departments/ Ministries at the Centre. Since the problem that the new policy seeks to fix remains vague, we cannot hope for whatever improvements promised. Othe lateral entry policy goes counter in spirit to the governance philosophy enunciated by the Constituent Assembly, insofar as it concerns the candidates from private sector, consultancy firms, international/ multinational organisations (MNCs) Traditionally, the services of outside experts were availed through consultative processes, a practice quite widespread with the erstwhile Planning Commission and to some extent with its new avatar, the NITI Aayog. Olt is not clear why the government determined that the practice was not effective.
Why and wherefore The lateral entry decision is based on the assumption that since our civil servants, especially those of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS),are generalists and hence ill-suited to deal with policy implications of new technologies and new modes of thinking, the country is in dire need of domain experts Nobody questioned the assumption so far as the government invoked it sparingly and also it is prima facie valid. ace ald toat hoo th auestion wihat OThe policy's aim "also to augment manpower" can only mean that the lateral entry will be as wide as regular recruitment and used as regularly. In doing so the government is turning an exception into a rule but the whole enterprise also begs the question: what does all this mean? Neither the DoPT nor Ministries concerned cared to define 'domain expertise For example, most of the 10 posts open for lateral entry are pretty generalist. A joint secretary in agriculture? And a candidate is merely directed to the website of agriculture ministry. OHas the need for domain expertise in plant breeding been felt so as to look for another M.S. Swaminathan? Is there a need for a plant pathologist? A marketing expert? Or is the nation destined to have joint secretaries in all branches of a given Ministry? Therefore, we must recognise that domain expertise is salient only in a very narrow context.
A clear trade-off What is common between the lateral entry policy and the push for simultaneous polls is a certain restlessness that the system has become too unwieldy to speed up development. The sentiment is honourable but misplaced. O The Founding Fathers felt that India needed a responsible government more than an efficient one. Trade-off, there is. While elaborating why the Constituent Assembly preferred the parliamentary over the presidential system, B.R. Ambedkar reflected the sense of the House that while the former is more responsible but less stable, the latter is more stable but less responsible. Is the country in such a state to opt for efficiency at the cost of accountability? Of the three methods at our disposal to ensure the government is responsible, one is independence of jiudiciary; the second is to subject the executive to constant scrutiny of the legislature; and the third is to maintain bureaucratic neutrality Most democracies train their higher civil servants to be accountable rather than efficient and India is no exception. his alleged action/inaction. If this dynamic renders bureaucracy slow to act, it's a welcome executive which is the real master. O What haunts a civil servant is the spectre of having to answer to a quo warranto writ against trait. In any case, a civil servant is expected to follow the decisions taken by the political
The new system is open to three groups 1) officers of State governments; 2) employees of public sector undertakings and assorted research bodies; and 3) individuals in the private sector, MNCs, etc. Among the three groups, any metric of accountability, bureaucratic neutrality and fidelity to due process gets progressively worse from group 1 to 3. The nation cannot escape the havoc likely to be wreaked by a large number of private sector experts becoming joint secretaries on three-to-five year contracts. Whatever training or orientation that these new entrants will undergo cannot match 15-20 years of acculturation/on-job training that regular officers receive before they become joint secretaries. Unless the government is mindful of the dangers, lateral entry can result in large swathes of higher bureaucracy being consumed by the 'nation-building' zeal at the cost of accountability.
TH Art2] The seeds of sustainability In early June, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced that the State would fully embrace Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), a chemical-free method that would cover all farmers by 2024. Earlier in the year, he had revealed these plans at the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos The way to improve the welfare of farmers reduce the cost of farm inputs, O cut toxins in food, and improve soils. Andhra Pradesh has become the first State to implement a ZBNF policy.
The planting of multiple crops and border crops on the same field has provided varied income and nutrient sources. OAs a result of these changes, there is reduced use of water and electricity, improved health of farmers, flourishing of local ecosystems and biodiversity and no toxic chemical residues in the environment. In early 2016, Sikkim was declared India's first fully organic State OBut organic agriculture often involves addition of large amounts of manure, vermicompost and other materials that are required in bulk and need to be purchased These turn out to be expensive for most small farm holders. Why need ZBNF? OResilient food systems are the need of the day given the variability of the monsoons due to global warming and declining groundwater in large parts of India. OThe drought-prone Rayalaseema region (Andhra Pradesh) is reportedly seeing promising changes already in farms with the ZB More encouraging is that the programme can have a positive effect on many of the sustainable development goals through improvements in soil, biodiversity, livelihoods, water, reduction in chemicals, climate resilience, health, women's empowerment and nutrition.
TH Art3] Beating plastic pollution We celebrated 'World Environment Day' (June 5) with a critical theme: beat plastic pollution, Since India was the global host of this year's event, and also one of the victims of plastic pollution, we should view this danger seriously. The Theme: The theme urges governments, industries, communities and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives. O It also urges this target group to reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastics, which are polluting our environment and threatening human health Plastic: O Plastics are organic polymers of high molecular mass and often contain other substances. Due to their low cost, ease of manufacture, versatility, non-corrosiveness and imperviousness O Plastic was invented in New York in 1907 by Leo Baekeland. They are usually synthetic, mainly derived from petrochemicals. to water, plastics are used for multiple purposes at different scales. Further, many chemists, including Nobel laureate Hermann Staudinger (father of polymer chemistry) and Herman Mark (father of polymer physics), have contributed to the materials science of plastics. However, these scientists could not have anticipated such an exponential growth of plastic production.
What should we do? In reality, we cannot eliminate plastic use from our day-to-day activities. However, we should not allow plastic to reach the soil or water The government should restrict plastic production and encourage recycling through appropriate policies. OThe 'Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016' need to be strictly followed. As most plastic items pass through our hands, public care, with behavioural change, is necessary. Household-wise waste segregation is the key. Every shopkeeper should go in for abd encourage the use of biodegradable packing materials while shoppers should use cloth bags. Mass public awareness on the dangers of plastic hazards is a prerequisite. Eco-friendly substitutes (cloth/paper/jute bags, leaves/areca leaf plates, paper straws) should be developed O For this, scientific and financial support (soft loans and subsidies) is required. O Charges for plastic bag use and deposit-refund for plastic bottles may be effective options. The recent decision by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on extending the mandate on packing food grains and sugar products in jute bags is welcome. Even if the intention is to promote the jute industry, it is a step that reduces plastic pollution. The Swachh Bharat Mission should emerge as a platform for plastic waste management.
TH FAQ] Right on Kashmir's rights? What prompted this human rights report? OThe first ever report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistan- occupied Kashmir, published last week, has been in production since 2016. DA new wave of violence had then hit the Kashmir Valley, when protests sparked by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani were met with force by security personnel; about 51 protesters and civilians were killed in the months that followed, while more than 9,000 were injured by pellets and bullets. Consequently, the OHCRC asked India and Pakistan to allow its teams access to the State, a request that was refused.
Why is this report controversial to India? O Apart from being irked by the report's criticism of India's handling of the protests, alleged extra-judicial killings and hard tactics, the Ministry of External Affairs is also upset by the terms used to describe militants O For example, Hizbul Mujahideen, which is regarded as a terrorist organisation by India, was described in the report as an "armed group". o Wani, regarded as a terrorist by Indian security forces, was described as the o India in its official statement said the report "undermines the UN-led consensus o Finally, it makes specific recommendations aimed at India, including removing the "leader" of the organisation on zero tolerance to terrorism" Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from areas and instituting inquiries into alleged human rights violations. What was the methodology used? In the absence of direct interviews, the OHCHR used "remote monitoring" from local sources to write the report.
[IndianExpress Art] The state is taking healthcare The government has carried out several reforms in healthcare. It assigns the highest priority to people's health and is also alive to the country's obligation under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A series of steps have been taken under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reform the country's healthcare. These include the formulation of the National Health Policy, 2017, financial aid to expecting mothers and The Avushman Bharat (AB) Scheme is the most significant of these O enforcing a ceiling on the prices of cardiac stents and knee implants, D a renewed focus on nutrition. programmes.
Non-communicable diseases and traffic deaths alone cost the country 6.5 per cent of The inability to afford treatment is the leading cause for people not seeking medical OCurrently, out-of-pocket expenditure constitutes 62 per cent of the healthcare its GDP a huge cost indeed. care. spending of families in the country most times, they have to dig into their savings or even take loans. OCatastrophic expenditure (when a household spends more than 40 per cent of its income on health) is a major cause of impoverishment in India and every year, this pushes around 63 million people below the poverty line OYoung lives are often lost for the want of treatment to easily curable conditions. OIn such cases, the suffering continues years after the loss. OThe treatment of severe health conditions can wreak havoc on families but even common diseases like dengue, malaria or broken bones can result in a financial shock to many households.
The public sector will have a golden opportunity to improve its services and compete with the private sector. The government has approved 24 new medical colleges at the district-level and ratified the upgradation of public hospitals and new tertiary care facilities, including six AllMS. DA public hospital will retain the money it earns through AB-NHPM. OThese hospitals have also benefited under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and state health insurance schemes. and services. spur them on to even greater achievements. OHospitals in many states used this additional revenue to improve their infrastructure OThere are numerous stories about the success of public hospitals. AB-NHPM could We cannot, however, underestimate the challenges The unprecedented scale of the scheme is a big challenge. Health insurance schemes are operational in 24 states and UTs. The coverage and scope of benefits under these schemes differ widely.
Way forward AB-NHPM has evolved a structure that accommodates the unique features of state schemes while also providing flexibility to states to exercise their choice on the mode of implementation. Olt will merge the existing schemes into one large pool, remove inefficiencies and bring in economies of scale. The states must own the scheme while the Centre is committed to offer all possible help to overcome challenges. Olt has already signed MoUs with 20 states/UTs for implementation of AB- NHPM. These MoUs provide the basis for launch of the scheme in the states/UTs and also detail the roles and responsibilities of the two stakeholders. OThe government is earnestly fulfilling its health-related commitments.
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