GS- Mains Content Enrichment
GS 2 : Mains
1.China downplays fears over swine flu
China played down the threat of a new swine flu strain with pandemic potential that researchers discovered in pigs, saying the study is not representative.
• the flu is called G4 EA H1N1.
• The new strain found in China, had all the essential hallmarks to infect humans and raised fears over another potential pandemic.
• The G4 virus mentioned in the report is a subtype of the H1N1 virus which caused a flu pandemic in 2009.
2.9 individuals as terrorists by the Centre designates
Why in news
- The Union Home Ministry designated nine more individuals (linked to separatist Khalistani groups) as “terrorists” under the amended Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)
Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA):
• UAPA, enacted in 1967, was amended in 2004, 2008 and 2013.
• The 2004 amendment was to ban organisations for terrorist activities, under which 34 outfits, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, were banned.
• amendment in August 2019, gives the Home Ministry the power to designate individuals as terrorists.
• in September 2019, the four individuals to be first designated as terrorists were Jaish-e- Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed, his deputy Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
The main concern regarding this law is that it could be misused against political opponents and civil society activists.
3. ‘private trains’ to run on tracks
Why In news
- The Railways has started the process to allow private players to operate certain trains on its network by inviting Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the operation of passenger train services on over 100 routes with 150 modern trains
• This is the first initiative for private investment in running passenger trains over the Railways network, and will attract investments of about ₹30,000 crore.
• The Delhi-Lucknow Tejas is the first train that is not operated by the Indian Railways
• The majority of trains will be manufactured in India and the private entity will be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains, which will be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kmph.
To introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance. Reduce transit time. Boost job creation. Provide enhanced safety. Provide world-class travel experience to passengers. Reduce demand supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector.
4. Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs/HFCs
Why in News
- Recently, the Central government has approved the proposal to launch a Special Liquidity Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) to improve their liquidity position.
- In the Budget Speech of 2020-21, it was announced that a mechanism would be devised to provide additional liquidity facility to NBFCs/HFCs over that provided through the Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme (PCGS). HFCs are specialized NBFCs that have a separate regulator National Housing Bank (NHB).
Details of the Scheme:
• Under the scheme a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would be set up to manage a Stressed Asset Fund (SAF) of the NBFCs/ HFCs. The SPV will issue securities, which would be guaranteed by the Government of India and purchased by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) only.
• The proceeds of sale of such securities would be used by the SPV to acquire short-term debt of NBFCs/HFCs. The Scheme will be administered by the Department of Financial Services (Ministry of Finance).
Eligibility for NBFCs/ HFCs:
• They should not have net Non Performing Assets (NPAs) of more than 6% as on 31 March 2019. They should have made net profit in at least one of the last two preceding financial years of 2017-18 and 2018-19. They should not have been reported under SMA-1 or SMA-2 category by any bank for their borrowings during the last one year prior to 1st August 2018. Banks classify borrowers into Special Mention Accounts (SMA) based on their delay in repayment.
• SMA-0 loans are overdue between 1 and 30 days.
• SMA-1 loans are overdue between 31 and 60 days.
• SMA-2 loans are overdue between 61 to 90 days.
• The asset turns NPA after 90 days of being overdue.
• Unlike the Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme, NBFCs/ HFCs do not have to liquidate their current asset portfolio under this scheme. Current assets are all the assets of a company that are expected to be used as a result of standard business operations over the next year.
• The scheme would also act as an enabler for the NBFC to get investment grade for bonds issued. The Scheme would benefit the real economy by augmenting the lending resources of NBFCs/HFCs/MFls.
• This facility would supplement the liquidity measures taken so far by the Government and RBI.