Daily News Analysis (Hindu, Economic Times, Times of India : 21-01-2014)

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NATIONAL

Industry ministry rejects Delhi government move on FDI in retail

  • The Centre and the Delhi government have clashed over the denotification on FDI in retail. Last week Delhi government had passed an order denotifing FDI in multi-brand retail. The Union Industry Ministry is of the view that once the state notifies FDI in retail the power to denotify it lies only with the centre and not with the state government. Therefore, it has rejected Delhi government's move.
  • The ministry is of the view that any backtracking on this issue would send a wrong message to foreign investors.
  • Earlier, Sheila Dixit government had decided to open FDI in retail within its powers to do so but now Kejriwal government has decided to reverse the policy. The centre is of the view that FDI policy creates back end jobs and policy reversal would be a retrograde step.

Related Information

FDI retail policy

The GOI allows 51% FDI in multibrand retail. Upto 95% of the sector is occupied by small next-door shops. Many are of the view that this policy would affect these shops.

Therefore the government has put certain safeguards:

1. Investors have to get government approval before investing

2. A minimum investment of $100 Mn should be made  and at least half the investment should go into building backend infrastructure.

3. The investors must source atleast 30% of goods from Indian SME's.

4. It is allowed in only 53 cities which have a population of over 1Mn.

Centre extends minority status to Jains

  • The Jain community has been granted the minority status, this makes them the 6th community after Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis to be included in this list. The centre would soon issue a notification in this regard. The status makes the community entitled to government schemes and programmes extended to minorities. Also manage their own educational institutions.
  • Jains were already enjoying minority status in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Now, the government extends this to the entire country.
  • Even though, the Jain community is small in number, but it is wealthy as the community has traditionally been in business. The community had been pressurising the government with several representations. The decision now by the government gains significance in the wake of upcoming Loksabha elections.

SC calls for a bonafide attempt from the government: Italian Marine Issue

  • The Supreme Court asked the government to make a genuine attempt to find a solution to the Italian marines issue.
  • The marines are accused of killing two Kerala fishermen in 2012.The SC had passed the matter to the centre in the view that the Kerala government did not have jurisdiction to try them. But till now no charge sheet has been filed. The accused have been waiting for the trail since two years.
  • The marines have asked the Supreme court to try them under the Maritime Zone law, the Indian Penal Code, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and not under the anti-terrorism provisions of the SUA Act as held by the NIA.
  • SUA Act(Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf) Act

SJGRY scheme: Odisha gets award for best implementation

  • Odisha has been selected as the best State for implementing the Swarna Jayanti Sahari Rojgar Yojana (SJGRY).This scheme provides self employment to the urban poor. The state would receive the National Award for 2012-13. Odisha stood first among other 14 major states implementing the scheme.
  • The reason for the success is attributed to the assistance amount of Rs. 1 lakh given to the person for self-venture units in Odisha. This amount is more than the average size of assistance given by other states.
  • Odisha has performed well in all the important components of the programme like Urban Self Employment Programme, Skill Development Training for Employment Promotion among Urban Poor (STEP-UP) and Urban Women Self Help Programme it has set new standards in achievements, recording a total expenditure of 155% (i.e far more than what it was intended to spend).

Related Information

Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY)

  • The Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) was launched on 1-Dec 1997. It took in to its fold, all the three ealier schemes for urban poverty alleviation.
  • The main aim of the scheme is to provide gainful employment to the urban unemployed youth. This is achieved through creating self-employment oppurtunities or provision of wage employment. It also aims at improving the skills, which helps in employment and tackle urban poverty.
  • The scheme includes the following components:

1. Urban Self Employment Programme (USEP)

2. Urban Women Self-Help Programme (UWSP)

3. Skill Training for Employment Promotion among Urban Poor (STEP-UP)

4. Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP)

5. Urban Community Development Network (UCDN)

Mizoram tribes take refuge in Tripura

  • The kidnap of three people by the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) militants helped by suspected Reang militants has created tension among the Reang-dominated villages in Mamit district of western Mizoram. A Kolkata-based telecommunications professional and two Mizoram-based drivers are the ones kidnapped.
  • Nearly 2,500 people have fled their homes and entered Tripura. The administration has been persuading the people to return to their villages.
  • The search for the missing people has been taken up by local youth and NGO's. An ethnic violence had occurred in 1997, the tribals had fled expecting a repetition of the same.

INTERNATIONAL

IAEA says that Iran has seized the enrichment program

  • The IAEA has made it clear that Iran has stopped its enrichment program as per the agreement made with the world powers. Iran has stopped its enriching uranium above five percent at the Natanz and Fordo sites.
  • The concerns of Western powers have been cleared by the Iran as it has stopped its uranium enriching program and also stopped further advances at its nuclear facilities.

El Nino to happen more frequently because of Global warming

  • If the global warming happens at the current rate unchecked it would result in doubling the frequency of El-Nino and the weather patterns associated with it. Scientists (University of Oxford) have said this in journal Nature Climate Change. The extreme weather conditions would affect socioeconomic conditions globally. The El-Nino affects the global rainfall and climatic conditions. The previous El Nino events were in 1982—83 and 1997—98.
  • El-Nino is a phenomenon where in the normally cool and dry ocean waters of South Pacific Ocean become warm, affecting the global climate and also Indian Monsoons. Better weather forecasting computer models and simulations have helped scientists get good insight in to this puzzling phenomenon.

ECONOMY

RBI instructs banks on gold loans

  • The RBI has instructed the banks that the gold loans should not exceed 75% (loan-to-value ratio) of the value of gold. The gold kept as collateral has to be valued at the average of the closing price of 22 carat gold for the preceding 30 days as quoted by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Ltd. This step is to standardise and make the valuation of gold more transparent. Also the bank has issued instructions to evaluate the gold based on its purity levels and observe all safeguards before lending.

Textile exports to exceed targets

  • Textiles exports this financial year are expected to cross $40 billion. Last year the exports were $33 billion and the target for this year was $36 billion.
  • The extension of GSP Plus (Generalised System of Preferences) status to Pakistan by EU would impact the Indian textile industry. Indian textile export to the EU now suffers 9.6% duty while it is zero duty for Pakistan.
  •  Therefore, the Ministry has suggested a 5% increase in duty drawback to the exporters. Money given as subsidy under Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) will be released soon by the government.

 

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