19/11/2019 : The Hindu Newspaper Self Analysis Notes
RBI had warned of the pitfalls of electoral bonds
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had advised the government that the electoral bonds it proposed in 2017 would not solve the problem of unaccounted-for money since the donor’s identity will be never be known.
- Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley first announced the idea of electoral bonds in his Budget (2017-18) speech and the scheme was notified by the government in January 2018.
- A person can buy these bonds from a know your customer compliant account from designated branches of the State Bank of India. These bonds are valid for 15 days.
- According to central banking sources, the problem with these instruments is that, while the information of the person who is buying the bond is known (to the bank), the donors’ identity is not known. This is because these are bearer bonds.
- A person who buys the bond, can give to it to another person who actually donates it to a political party, and there is no record of the person who takes it from the person who buys it.
- One hesitation RBI had was that it almost becomes currency. Because it is a bearer bond.
Pak. successfully tests nuclear-capable missile
- Pakistan has successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can strike targets up to 650 km.
- According to a press release issued by the media wing of the Pakistani military, the launch of the Shaheen-I missile was held as part of a training exercise aimed at testing the operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command.
Vodafone Idea, Airtel to hike tariffs
- Reeling under the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling on adjusted gross revenue (AGR), Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have announced that they will be increasing tariffs.
- Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), India’s second-largest telco by number of subscribers, has decided to increase the tariff, due to the acute financial stress in the telecom sector.
- A Committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary is examining the financial stress in the sector, and is likely to soon recommend measures to mitigate it.
- The telecom sector is highly capital intensive with fast-changing technology cycles that require continuing investments. It is, therefore, extremely important that the industry remains viable to support the vision of Digital India.
No more waiver, Bhutan to levy charges on Indian tourists
- In a major shift in policy, Bhutan plans to levy charges on tourists from regional countries, including India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, who at present are exempted from any charges.
- The new draft tourism policy is likely to be finalised by the Bhutanese Cabinet in December 2019.
- In contrast to other international tourists, who pay $250 (Approx. INR. 18,000) as a minimum charge per day per person, which includes a $65 a day “Sustainable Development Fee”, as well as a $40 visa charge.
- Tourists from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives had so far paid no fees, and were able to cross over without visas.
- The sharp increase in the number of tourists from the region was cited for the move.
Indian pharma can gain from U.S.-China trade war
- Chairman of CII National Committee on Pharmaceuticals and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories co-chairman and managing director has said that the U.S.-China trade war was an opportunity opening up for the pharma industry of India.
- It was said that the trade war was making companies in the West take a re-look at the tariff structure as well as worried about the security of supply from China.
- Other factors emerging as window of opportunity are:
- China’s stress on shutting high polluting industries
- China’s stress on moving away from low-end, low-value add products to more innovation.
- Additionally, China is a big market for Indian pharma.
- The need for Indian pharma firms to give shape to their backward and forward integration projects was highlighted.
- On the regulatory concerns for the Indian pharma industry, in the wake of the increased scrutiny by the US Food and Drug Administration, it was said that, a lot of companies have approvals stalled because of warning letters [from the USFDA] and that was affecting new product introduction and growth.