05th December 2019 : UPSC Prelims Notes : Prelims Sure Shot
Bharat Bond Exchange Traded Fund
Why in news?
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for creation and launch of Bharat Bond Exchange Traded Fund (ETF).
- It creates an additional source of funding for Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), Central Public Financial Institutions (CPFIs) and other Government organizations.
- Bharat Bond ETF would be the first corporate Bond ETF in the country.
Bharat Bond ETF Structure:
- Each ETF will have a fixed maturity date
- The ETF will track the underlying Index on risk replication basis, i.e. matching Credit Quality and Average Maturity of the Index
- As of now, it will have 2 maturity series – 3 and 10 years. Each series will have a separate index of the same maturity series.
- Index will be constructed by an independent index provider – National Stock Exchange
Benefits of Bharat Bond ETF to investors:
- Bond ETF will provide safety (underlying bonds are issued by CPSEs and other Government owned entities), liquidity (tradability on exchange) and predictable tax efficient returns (target maturity structure).
- It will also provide access to retail investors to invest in bonds with smaller amount (as low as Rs. 1,000) thereby providing easy and low-cost access to bond markets.
- This will increase participation of retail investors who are currently not participating in bond markets due to liquidity and accessibility constraints.
Bharat Bond ETF Benefits for CPSEs:
- Bond ETF would offer CPSEs, CPSUs, CPFIs and other Government organizations an additional source of meeting their borrowing requirements apart from bank financing.
- It will expand their investor base through retail participation which can increase demand for their bonds.
- Further, Bond ETF trading on the exchange will help in better price discovery of the underlying bonds.
Developmental impact on Bond Markets:
- This is expected to eventually increase the size of bond ETFs in India leading to achieving key objectives at a larger scale – deepening bond markets, enhancing retail participation and reducing borrowing costs.
What is an ETF?
- Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are essentially index funds that are listed and traded on exchanges like stocks.
- They track indexes like the nifty, sensex or banking index.
Centre likely to challenge Uttarakhand forest notice
The Union Environment Ministry is likely to challenge a recent notification by the Uttarakhand Forest Department on its definition of a “deemed forest”.
What are “deemed forests”?
- Deemed forests, are a controversial subject as they refer to land tracts that appear to be a “forest”, but have not been notified so by the government or in historical records.
- They comprise about 1% of India’s forest land.
- The SC, in 1996 judgement, had broadened the definition of forest to include not just land classified as forest under forest or revenue departments, but also those that are forests according to the definition of a forest. It had then also asked states to form committees to identify forests, irrespective of the nature of land ownership or whether they are notified, recognised or classified in a time-bound manner.
- There are forests that are notified either with the forest department or revenue department. Then there are those areas that are like forests but are neither recorded, nor notified. The Supreme Court had ordered that the states identify and classify these as deemed forests.
- In a recent notification, the Uttarakhand government said that in areas recorded as “deemed forest” only tracts 10 hectares and above and having a canopy density of greater than 60%, would be considered forest.
- The freedom to define which tracts of forest qualify as forest has been the prerogative of States since 1996.
- However, this only applies to forest land that has not already been historically classified as “forest” in revenue records, or categorised so by the government as “protected” or “reserve forest”.
- The issue that the notification appears to extend this definition even to tracts already recorded as forest in revenue records.
- The Uighurs live in Xinjiang, the largest and most western of China’s administrative regions, which is surrounded by Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
- They are Muslim, speak a language close to Turkish, and are culturally and ethnically closer to Central Asia than the rest of China.
- Till recently, they were the majority in Xinjiang, but massive registered and unregistered settlements of Han Chinese and heavy troop deployments have likely changed that situation.
- International concern has been growing about what China is doing to its Uighur population, a Muslim minority community concentrated in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang province. Reports have emerged of China ‘homogenising’ the Uighurs, who claim closer ethnic ties to Turkey and other central Asian countries than to China, by brute — and brutal — force.
- Around a million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims have been bundled into internment camps, where they are allegedly being schooled into giving up their identity, and assimilate better in the communist country dominated by the Han Chinese.
Why in news?
Union Minister of Chemical and fertilizers mentioned about the efforts of IFFCO in taking initiative to develop a newer form of fertilizers like ‘nano fertilizer’.
What is Nanotechnology?
- Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. By and large nanotechnology deals with structures in the size range between 1 to 100 nm and involves developing materials or devices within that size.
- At the nano-scale the matter presents altered properties which are novel and very different from those observed at macroscopic level.
What are nano fertilizers?
- Nano fertilizersare the important tools in agriculture to improve crop growth, yield and quality parameters with increase nutrient use efficiency, reduce wastage of fertilizers and cost of cultivation.
- Hence, nanotechnology has a high potential for achieving sustainable agriculture, especially in developing countries.
- World agricultural cropping systems intensively using large amount of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides to achieve more production per unit area.
- But the over usage of these chemicals and fertilizers leads to several problems like environment pollution (soil, water, air pollution), low input use efficiency, decrease quality of food material, develop resistance in different weeds, diseases, insects, less income from the production, soil degradation, toxicity to different beneficial living organism present above and below the soil surface etc.
- For solving these problems in crop production nano-fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides may effective tools in agriculture for better pest and nutrient management because these nano-materials having more penetration capacity, surface area and use efficiency which avoid residues in environment.
- Nano-fertilizers will also help in reducing subsidy burden of the Governments.
Properties of nano-particle
- Large proportion of surface atoms – Smaller particles allow better coverage of surface area.
- Nano sized particles can even pass through the cell wall in plants and animals.