Thursday, May 29, 2014

PM created a new Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

PM Narendra Modi on 27 May 2014 created a new Ministry of Skill development and Entrepreneurship. It was created recognizing the importance of skill development in India.
Sarbananda Sonowal (MP from the Lakhimpur constituency of Assam) was made Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (independent charge).
The immediate mandate of new Ministry is to ensure that India meet its target of skilling and upskilling 500 million people in India by 2022. At the same time create an ecosystem that eliminates bottlenecks which makes business easier and encourage entrepreneurship.
This is the first time a separate ministry for skill development has been created. Previously, various departments and agencies were tasked with development of skill and entrepreneurship in the country.
• The Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) worked around entrepreneurship, while the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) was involved in skill development. 
• Sam Pitroda as the advisor to Prime Minister on public information infrastructure and innovations was also involved in entrepreneurship development.
About National Skill Development Mission
National Skill Development Mission was launched by the Union Government in 2010. The mission consists of three institutions. 
• National Council on Skill Development: It is responsible for policy direction and review of spectrum of skill development efforts in country. It is headed by the Prime Minister.
 National Skill Development Coordination Board: It is under the chairmanship of Dy. Chairman Planning Commission to enumerate strategies to implement the decisions of PM’s council.
• National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC): It is a non-profit company under the Companies Act, 1956. The corporation is being funded by trust National Skill Development Fund.
National Policy on Skill Development (NPSD) approved by the Union Government and has set a target for skilling 500 million persons by the year 2022.

Mukul Rohatgi appointed as 14th Attorney-General of India

Mukul Rohatgi was appointed as the 14th Attorney-General of India on 28 May 2014. He will succeed Gulam Vahanvati. 

Rohatgi represented the Gujarat government in the Supreme Court in many cases like 2002 Gujarat riots, Zahira Sheikh and Best Bakery cases. 

Earlier, the 13th Attorney-General of India, Goolam Essaji Vahanvati and Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran tendered their resignations after change of government in India. They resigned as law officer because tenure of law officers is co-terminus with the government.

About Mukul Rohatgi
• He is a senior Supreme Court advocate and is among the top corporate lawyers in the country 
• He was the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) under the NDA regime in 1999.
• He has represented top companies in the 2G Scam trial.
• He has also been representing the Italian Embassy in the Supreme Court in case relating to two Italian marines involved in killing of two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.

Constitutional Provision for Attorney-General of India
Article 76 of the Constitution of India says about Attorney-General of India. It states that
(1) The President shall appoint a person who is qualified to be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court to be Attorney-General for India.
(2) It shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the President, and to discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution or any other law for the time being in force.
(3) In the performance of his duties the Attorney-General shall have right of audience in all courts in the territory of India.
(4) The Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, and shall receive such remuneration as the President may determine.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Election Results-2014

1-Bharatiya Janata Party-282282
2-Indian National Congress-4444
3-All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-3737
4-All India Trinamool Congress-3434
5-Biju Janata Dal-2020
7-Telugu Desam-1616
8-Telangana Rashtra Samithi-1111
9-Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party-99
10-Communist Party of India (Marxist)-99
11-Nationalist Congress Party-66
12-Lok Jan Shakti Party-66
13-Samajwadi Party-55
14-Rashtriya Janata Dal-44
15-Shiromani Akali Dal-44
16-Aam Aadmi Party-44
18-Rashtriya Lok Samta Party-33
19-All India United Democratic Front-33
20-Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party-33
21-Janata Dal (Secular)-22
22-Indian National Lok Dal-22
23-Indian Union Muslim League-22
24-Janata Dal (United)-22
25-Apna Dal-22
26-Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-22
27-Kerala Congress (M)-11
28-All India N.R. Congress-11
29-All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen-11
30-Communist Party of India-11
31-Sikkim Democratic Front-11
32-Revolutionary Socialist Party-11
33-Pattali Makkal Katchi-11
34-Swabhimani Paksha-11
35-National Peoples Party-11
36-Naga Peoples Front-11

After 25 years Olive Ridley Conservation Programme resumed in Tamil Nadu

After 25 years, Olive Ridley Conservation Programme was resumed on 23 May 2014 in Tamil Nadu by Wildlife wing of the Forest Department. Department has set up a hatchery at Besant Nagar.

Further, the department has built a concrete tomb near the hatchery to create awareness of Olive Ridley turtle conservation. As per the data of the department, this season had witnessed more than 700 Olive Ridley deaths along the coast between Chennai and Marakkanam.
In the current egg-laying season (between January and March), the groups identified 85 nests with 9784 eggs. All of them were collected and deposited in the hatchery. Of the total, only 8834 eggs have hatched.
On an average, there were more than 150 eggs in each nest, and it would take 45 days for them to hatch.
On the eve of World Turtle Day the foresters reviewed the hatching rate and the mortality rate of the young ones that were released into the sea between Neelangarai and Marina beach.

Chamling becomes longest-serving CM in the country

With his thumping win in recently held assembly election Pawan Chamling becomes the longest-serving CM in the country. Chamling was sworn in as Sikkim Chief Minister for a record fifth time along with 11 ministers. Chamling’s Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) secured two-third majority that is 22 seats out of 32 member House.

Chamling has been the Chief Minister of Sikkim since December, 1994. He is the only leader in the country to celebrate silver jubilee as the Chief Minister breaking the record of late Communist leader Jyoti Basu of being the longest serving chief minister of the country. Basu had ruled West Bengal for 23 years from 1977 to 2000.

Naveen Patnaik sworn in as new Odisha CM

Once considered as a political novice Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik was sworn in as Odisha Chief Minister for the fourth straight term. Patnaik made his political debut only after his father’s death in 1997. He became a Lok Sabha member winning the by-election from Aska. A year later Naveen floated the Biju Janata Dal, a regional party named after his father and entered into alliance with BJP to become a cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998.

In 2000, when the BJD-BJP alliance was voted back to power in Odisha Patnaik was made chief minister. The combine retained power after 2004. However, the BJD-BJP soured in the aftermath of Kandhamal riots 2008 and Patnaik severed the alliance with the saffron party on the eve of the 2009 general elections. The move not only strengthened Naveen's secular credentials, but also propelled BJD's poll prospects in 2009 when it won 14 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats and 103 of the 147 seats in the Odisha Assembly.

Since 2009, Patnaik's party witnessed many upheavals including an alleged coup bid, but the BJD supremo overcame all adversities to finally register an unprecedented record victory both in 2014 Assembly election and General Election. In the Assembly election his party won 117 of the 147 Assembly seats and in Lok Sabha polls 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats.

A writer, who also dabbled in arts after completing his education, Patnaik was a founder-member of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

Anandiben Patel to be sworn in as Gujarats first woman CM

Gujarat Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, who is considered as a disciplinarian and hard taskmaster, will succeed Narendra Modi as the new Chief Minister of Gujarat. She will be sworn in as Gujarat's first woman chief minister.

Former school teacher Anandiben made her political debut as a nominated member to the Rajya Sabha in 1994. She represented the country at the Fourth World women's Conference at Beijing.

She contested her first assembly election in 1998 from Mandal, and went on to become the minister for education in the Keshubhai Patel ministry. She won from Patan in 2002, 2007 and 2012, and handled the key portfolios of roads and buildings and revenue in the Modi government.

Known for her clean image, she is the longest serving BJP minister who joined the party in late 80s and rose steadily through the ranks. 

Patel holds the key portfolios of urban development, revenue and disaster management and was earlier in charge of education ministry, driving successfully some of the key projects, including boosting of female literacy.

Patel got the state government's gallantry award in 1987 after she jumped into the Narmada dam to save two girls from drowning. The girls had gone there as part of a picnic team from her school, Mohniba Vidyalaya in Ahmedabad, where Patel had joined as a primary school teacher in 1968 and stayed for 30 years. Her bravery earned Patel instant fame, and she was soon persuaded to join the BJP. 

Zeliang elected as new Chief Minister of Nagaland

Three-time Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, resigned from the chair along with his council of ministers on 23rd May. Nagaland Governor Ashwani Kumar has appointed TR Zeliang as the new Chief Minister of the State. 
Rio, who has been the Chief Minister of Nagaland for over 11 years, tendered his resignation following his landslide victory in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls. 

Indian-American student Akhil Rekulapelli won National Geographic Bee Championship

Indian-American student Akhil Rekulapelli won the National Geographic Bee championship in Washington, USA on 21st May 2014. Ameya Mujumdar from Florida stood second, while California's Tuvya Bergson-Michelson finished third. Ameya Mujumdar is also an Indian American student.

Akhil won the 50000 US dollar college scholarship given to the winner of the National Geographic Bee Championship. Akhil also received a trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic's Lindblad Expeditions.

Eighth grade student Akhil Rekulapelli belongs to Virginia. He started with a School Bee competition in Ashburn and advanced to the national championship after excelling in both regional and state geography bees.

The National Geographic Bee is an annual geography contest sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The bee, held every year since 1989, is open to students in the fourth through eighth grade in participating American schools.

Rajiv Mathur takes over as new CIC

Former IB Chief Rajiv Mathur on 22nd May took over as the new Chief Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission. He was administered the oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

64-year-old Mr. Mathur succeeds Sushma Singh, who demitted office on Wednesday, as the sixth chief of the transparency watchdog. His name was recommended by a three-member selection panel headed by outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. 

“My priority would be to reduce pendency of appeals and complaints, and to strengthen RTI apparatus. One of the priorities of the Commission would be to ensure adherence of Section 4 of RTI Act (which mandates public authorities to disclose information related to their working in public domain) by various government departments,” Mr. Mathur told. There are about 14,000 appeals and complaints pending with the CIC, he said. 

He will have a tenure till August 23rd, when he attains 65 years of age. According to rules, CIC is appointed either for a maximum of five-year term or till 65 years of age, whichever is earlier. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nayak Committee to Review Governance of Boards of Banks in India submitted its report to RBI

The committee to review Governance of Boards of Banks in India on 13 May 2014 submitted its report to Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The committee was constituted under the chairmanship of P. J. Nayak. He is a former Chairman and CEO of Axis Bank.
Committee has submitted list of recommendations:
  • The Report projected the capital requirements till March 2018 in order that provisions are prudent, there is adequate balance sheet growth to support the needs of the economy, and capital is in line with the more demanding requirements of Basel 3.
  • The financial position of public sector banks is fragile, partly masked by regulatory forbearance. Forbearance delays, but does not extinguish, the recognition of this fragility. Capital is significantly eroded with the proportion of stressed assets rising rapidly.
  • The boards are disempowered, and the selection process for directors is increasingly compromised. Board governance is consequently weak. It is unclear that the boards of most of these banks have the required sense of purpose, in terms of their focus on business strategy and risk management, in being able to provide oversight to steer the banks through their present difficult position.
  • The onus of remedying this situation through radical reform lies primarily with the Central Government. In the absence of such reform, or if reform is piecemeal and non-substantive, it is unlikely that there will be material improvement in the governance of these banks. This could impede the Government's objective of fiscal consolidation. The fiscal cost of inadequate reform will therefore be steep.
  • The Report proposed that the Government distances itself from several bank governance functions which it presently discharges. For this purpose it recommends that the Bank Nationalisation Acts of 1970 and 1980, together with the SBI Act and the SBI (Subsidiary Banks) Act, be repealed, all banks be incorporated under the Companies Act, and a Bank Investment Company (BIC) be constituted to which the Government transfers its holdings in banks. The Government's powers in relation to the governance of banks should also be transferred to BIC.
  • The process of board appointments, including appointments of whole-time directors, needs to be professionalised and a three-phase process is envisaged.
  • Governance difficulties in public sector banks arise from several externally imposed constraints. These include dual regulation, board constitution, wherein it is difficult to categorise any director as independent; significant and widening compensation differences with private sector banks, leading to the erosion of specialist skills; external vigilance enforcement though the CVC and CBI; and limited applicability of the RTI Act.
  • The Report proposed the need for wide-ranging human resource policy changes. These would encompass getting younger people into top management, for which a demographic opportunity has now arisen, and which would thereby lead to longer tenures; and succession planning.
  • There is also a need to envision afresh the process of countering corruption through a redesign of the existing process of vigilance enforcement. The Report argues that present modalities are damaging and erode the ability of the banks to compete strategically, besides being only weakly effective in combating corruption.
  • Governance issues in private sector banks originate from an altogether different set of concerns. There are issues which arise from ownership constraints stipulated by RBI, which could misalign the interests of shareholders with those of the management. In several other jurisdictions, these constraints are less rigid.
  • In order to permit certain kinds of investors to take larger stakes, it is proposed that a category of Authorised Bank Investors (ABIs) be created, comprising all diversified funds which are discretionally managed by fund managers and which are deemed fit and proper.
  • It is proposed that an ABI be permitted a 20 per cent equity stake without regulatory approval, or 15 per cent if it also has a seat on the bank board. All other financial investors should be permitted upto 10 per cent.
  • The Report proposes increasing the continual stake ceiling to 25 per cent. It also proposes that for distressed banks, private equity funds - including sovereign wealth funds - be permitted to take a controlling stake of upto 40 per cent.
  • The Report also proposed that the principle of proportionate voting rights should constitute part of the regulatory bedrock that fosters good governance.
  • RBI should attempt to diversify boards in banks where independence is not visible, by mandating prior RBI approval for directors in such banks. RBI should also mandate a separation between board oversight and executive autonomy.
Terms of reference of the committee
The terms of reference of the committee include to analyse the representation on banks’ boards to see whether the boards have the appropriate mix of capabilities and the necessary independence to govern the institution, and to investigate possible conflicts of interest in board representation, including among owner representatives and regulators.

Hockey India honoured heroes of 1975 World Cup team

Hockey India (HI) honoured heroes of 1975 World Cup team on 14 May 2014. Hockey India (HI) felicitated 13 living members of the 1975 World Cup. Hockey India honoured the team with a cheque of 175000 rupees to each member.  
Ajit Pal Singh was the captain of the 1975 team. Other members were Ashok Kumar, Aslam Sher Khan, Brigadier (retd) Harcharan Singh, Leslie Fernandez, Varinder Singh, Ashok Diwan, Michael Kindo, BP Govinda, Brigadier (retd) HJS Chimni, VJ Phillips, Onkar Singh and Kaliah PE.
The 1975 World Cup team was felicitated on the eve of announcement of the squad for the World Cup. The Hockey World Cup will be held in The Hague in May 2014. Till now, India had won the gold medal in Hockey world Cup only once in 1975.

A.B. Pandya appointed as the Chairman of Central Water Commission

Ashwin B. Pandya was appointed as the Chairman of the Central Water Commission & ex-officio Secretary of the Government of India on 15th May 2014. He was holding the additional charge of the post since November 2013. Pandya joined the Central Water Engineering Service in CWC in October, 1977 as Assistant Director. In his professional career of 36 year, Pandya has heed held various positions in the Department and organisations under the Ministry of Water Resources like WAPCOS, NWDA and NPCC.

Largest diamond of World and Mughal necklace to be auctioned in Geneva

The largest flawless blue diamond of World and a rare Mughal necklace were auctioned by Christie on 14th May in Geneva. The sale is expected to fetch a total of 80 million US dollar.

Dating back to 17th century, the seven Mughal engraved spinel bead necklace will be sold at Magnificent Jewels sale. The pendent necklace engraved with names of Mughal emperors Akbar and Jahangir is expected to fetch well over 2000000 US dollar for Christie. 

Following are some of the precious diamonds to be sold
  • Eleven Mughal spinel beads with a total weight of 877.23 carats kept at Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. Three of them engraved with names of Emperor Jahangir and one with that of Emperor Shah Jahan. The sale will also feature many important coloured and colourless diamonds such as the 5.50 carat The Ocean Dream.
  • The Rajah Diamond a 26.14 carat gold-mine brilliant-cut diamond is among 14 jewels that are being auctioned under A Passion for Jewels: Collection of a European Gentleman.
  • Another section of the sale Noble Jewels features a natural pearl and diamond necklace and was originally in the personal jewellery casket of Queen Elizabeth of Prussia.
  • Six months earlier, Christie's Geneva sold The Orange the largest fancy vivid orange diamond in the world for 35.5 million US dollar. It is a global record for an orange diamond.

Sajai Singh appointed as President of International Technology Law Association

The International Technology Law Association on 14th May 2014 appointed Sajai singh as the President. Sajai Singh is the first President from the Asia-Pacific region of the world.

Bangalore based Sajai Singh is a Partner in J. Sagar Associates, a leading national law firm. He heads the firm’s Technology, Media & Telecommunication Practice, and his focus is on representing emerging technology companies in a range of industries. 

He has also assisted many international businesses and funds with investing in India. In addition to his practice of law, Singh conducts two professional skills development courses at the National Law School of India University.

He is active with leading legal organizations, such as the American Bar Association, and he is often called to speak at international events. He has been part of ITechLaw leadership since 2010.

Pankaj Advani won CCI Biliards title

Pankaj Advani on 14 May 2014 won Cricket Club of India (CCI) Classic Billiards and Snooker tournament. He defeated two-time world runner-up Dhruv Sitwala 1425-447 in the final.

The Bangalore-based Eight-time world champion Pankaj Advani also won the Highest Break award for the 530, which he scored against Devendra Joshi in the quarterfinals.
At the halfway mark of the four-hour final, Sitwala was trailing 227-787 with the aid of a 95 break. While, Advani had procured breaks of 243, 193, 98, 87 and 78. 

Delhi has the worst air quality in the world - WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently released its 2014 version of the Ambient Air Pollution (AAP) database revealed that thirteen of the dirtiest 20 cities were Indian. Delhi tops the list followed by Patna, Gwalior and Raipur in second, third and fourth spot respectively.

Delhi’s air has PM2.5 concentrations of 153 micrograms and PM10 concentrations of 286 micrograms--much more than the permissible limits. The higher limit of particulate matters in the air poses risk of respiratory diseases and other health problems.

Beijing, otherwise dubbed as “Greyjing” for its smog, was in 77th place with a PM2.5 reading of 56, little over one-third of Delhi's pollution level.

The database contains results of outdoor air pollution monitoring from almost 1600 cities in 91 countries. The database contains results of outdoor air pollution monitoring from almost 1600 cities in 91 countries. The database covers the period from 2008 to 2013, with the majority of values for the years 2011 and 2012.

According to WHO report air pollution, which is the fifth largest killer in India, killed about seven million people globally in 2012, making it the world’s biggest environmental health risk. About 80 percent of those deaths came from heart attacks and strokes, although air pollution also increases lung cancer deaths.

Govt announces Lt Gen Dalbir Singh as the Next Chief of Army Staff

Government has announced Lt Gen Dalbir Singh’s name as the next Army Chief to succeed Gen Bikram Singh, after the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) gave its approval. He will have tenure of 30 months as the Chief of the force when he takes over from Gen Singh who retires on July 31. On the principle of merit Lt Gen Singh has been recommended for the top post by the defence ministry.

Lt Gen Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, who is currently the Vice Chief of Army Staff, was commissioned in the Army on June 16, 1974. In his 40 years long career, he has held various Command and Staff appointments. He was a Company Commander in 'Op Pawan' in Sri Lanka and commanded 53 Infantry Brigade which was committed in counter insurgency operations in the Kashmir Valley from July 2003 to March 2005. He holds the distinction of commanding 8 Mountain Division in Kargil from October 2007 to December 2008.

He has attended various career courses in India and abroad including National Defence College, Long Defence Management Course and Senior Command Courses, and Executive Course in USA in 2005.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ANC won the South African Elections for the fifth successive term

African National congress (ANCwon the national elections of South Africa for the fifth successive term. In the election results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission in Pretoria on 9th May 2014, the ANC won the elections with 62.2 percent of votes. This was the fifth national elections held in South Africa after apartheid ended in 1994.

In the National and Provisional Elections of 2014, the voter turnout was as high as 75 percent. Out of 29 parties only 13 parties received enough votes to have representation in the National Assembly in Parliament. This is the first National Assembly in Parliament in South Africa after the Nelson Mandela‘s death in December 2013. Jacob Zuma is the presidential candidate of ANC. With this win, he will assume the office of President for second five-year term.

Monday, May 12, 2014

India honoured New Frontiers Award 2014

Arabian travel Market (ATM) awarded India with New Frontiers Award 2014 on 8th May 2014. It was awarded at the special round table session at annual event of ATM in Dubai.

It was awarded for its outstanding contribution to rebuild physical infrastructure and its rural tourism economy in the wake of the June 2013 floods, landslides in the northern state of Uttarakhand, the devastation wreaked by tropical Cyclone Phailin.

The award includes crystal trophy, the New Frontiers Award comprises ATM exhibition space valued at US $ 10000 along with additional marketing support in promoting the outstanding tourism opportunities offered by the India. Arabian Travel Mart on its ninth edition (2014), the award reinforced the overall focus of the programme, under the theme ‘Recover, Repair, Rebuild’. Philippines was honoured the New Frontiers Award in 2013.

Caparo Group won International Business of the Year award 2014

Caparo Group founded by leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has won the International Business of the Year award 2014 at the Asian Business Awards Midlands in Birmingham. Receiving the award on behalf of the company last evening, Lord Paul’s daughter Anjli Paul dedicated it to her younger sister Ambika.

Lord Paul arrived in London in 1966 in search of a cure for his fourth child Ambika, who was suffering from leukemia. As he emerged from the trauma of her death, Lord Paul set up Caparo, which is today the largest family-owned business in Britain.

Indian documentary 'Silent Screams' won three awards at US festival

A documentary film about politics of rape in India has bagged three awards at the 2014 New York Festivals International TV and Film Awards. “Silent Screams — India’s Fight Against Rape” directed by Pria Somiah and written by Manira A. Pinto won a Gold World Medal for ‘Best Investigative Report’ as well as two Bronze Gold Medals each in the ‘Current Affairs’ and ‘Human Concerns’ sections respectively. 

The film follows journalist Namita Bhandare as she meets rape survivors, law-makers and enforcers, activists and lawyers to understand the politics of rape and the plight of victims in their fight for justice. 

The trigger for the documentary, produced by Miditech for Channel NewsAsia was the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old in Delhi on December 16th, 2012 and the subsequent rising up of people across the country to express shock and outrage. 

In exclusive interviews, Nirbhaya’s parents and brother describe her last few days, repeat achingly sad conversations and demand justice for her brutal and unnecessary death. The film also investigates the case of a 15-year-old Dalit girl. 

The film has already won the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union - Perspective Award 2013, in Hanoi. It has been screened at the Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival 2013, Mountain Echo’s Festival in Bhutan and distributed across colleges, NGOs and legal aid organisations across the world. 

New York Festivals International TV and Film awards, currently in its 57th year received entries from over 50 countries over a variety of categories. The jury chose winners amidst competition from 700 entries. 

New dancing frog species found in Western Ghats

14 new species of dancing frogs were discovered in the Western Ghats of southern India by the scientists/biologists. These tiny acrobatic amphibians (frogs) were found by Indian biologists. The Indian Dancing frogs are scientifically known as Micrixalidae and their family comprises a single genus Micrixalus. Name of the species has been derived by their style of unusual kicks used to attract the mates. The species of other dancing frogs are found in Central America and Southeast Asia. The Indian family evolved about 85 million years ago.

They were identified by using molecular DNA markers and morphological descriptions. As per the biologists, they breed after the yearly monsoon in fast-rushing streams. Their size is a reason that breeding happens only when the level of stream drops down. The case is vice-versa in case when the streams dry out early, in such conditions they get caught without the right conditions to breed. These frogs are tiny in shape and are not bigger than a walnut and they can be swept away easily in the mountain stream. The biologists also identified that their habitat appears to becoming increasingly dry. Listing of these new species of the study was published in the Ceylon Journal of Science on 8th May 2014. This discovery has brought the number of known Indian dancing frog species to 24.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

High-level panel submitted a report on Resolution Regime for Financial Institutions to RBI

High-level panel submitted a report on Resolution Regime for Financial Institutions to RBI. It was notified by RBI on 2 May 2014. The panel has made recommendations in order to bridge the gaps and develop an effective resolution regime for all financial institutions, when they run into viability problems.
High-level panel recommendations 
The panel recommended a separate Comprehensive legal frame work for resolving Financial Institutions (FIs) as well as financial market infrastructure (FMIs).
The resolutions framework is to ensure continuity of financial services, protection of depositor and policy holder funds and to establish financial stability. It is guided by the
• Initiate resolution action in timely and speedy manner
• Protect and maintain stability of the financial system as well as public confidence in financial system
• Ensure continuity of essential financial services and critical functions like payment systems, clearing and settlement functions
• Protect depositors, insurance policy holders, and client funds/assets, through protection schemes and other arrangements within limits
• Avoid taxpayer’s money and not create a expectation that public support will be made available 
• Ensure imposition of looses to the shareholders and unsecured creditors in a manner that respects hierarchy of claims
• Ensure predictability through clear legal framework  and procedural clarity
The financial institutions include all kinds of banks of public, private, foreign, rural, and cooperatives. It will also include insurance companies, securities firms, commodities markets and pension schemes.
Financial market infrastructure includes payment systems and central counterparties, which will include clearing houses, securities settlement systems, depositories and trade repositories.
The panel has recommended setting up of a single independent Financial Resolution Authority (FRA).
About Financial Regulatory Authority
FRA should be sole responsible for operation and implementation of the framework including decision to choose appropriate resolution tool except the power to an institution into as temporary public ownership (invoked by government on the recommendation of FRA).
The FRA will work in coordination with regulators and will take over the task of providing depositor insurance protection to insurance policyholders within limits.
To set up FRA either transforming the present Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) into FRA or FRA to be set up  that will subsume DICGA.
The regulators (RBI, SEBI or Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) will coordinate with the FRA to resolve the distressed institution in earlier stage. FRA may use a variety of measures like
• Liquidation
• Purchase and assumption
• Bridge institution
• Good-bank and bad-bank
• Bail-in and temporary public ownership
New mechanism bail-in is recommended, where investors in capital instruments lose money but small depositors are protected. The bail-in mechanism is used when there is a failure of domestic and global systemically important banks.
Previously, failure of financial institutions has been addressed through government bailouts or through forced mergers with government banks.
The Panel also recommended for the integrated financial database management system which will function as central data base wherein all the FIs and FMIs will submit regular financial information electronically.  The data base is collected in order to ensure the availability of high quality and timely data, the supervision agencies and FRA should access to those information.
About High level panel
The High level panel was constituted by the Sub-Committee of the Financial Stability and Development Council in 2013, in light of the global financial crisis of 2008 and to develop a separate resolution framework for financial institutions, different from the corporate insolvency regime. 
The panel was headed by RBI deputy governor Anand Sinha as Chairman and Arvind Mayaram as Co-Chairperson.
Other members of the panel are M J Joseph, Ramesh Abhishek, P Vijay Bhaskar, B Mahapatra, Jasbir Singh, Dr Mohapatra, Alok Nigam, P K Nagpal, Usha Suresh, G S Hegde, P Vijay Kumar, Vijay Chugh, Dr Mamta Suri, Deepa Kotnis and Chandan Sinha.